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Best Rifle Scope under $400: Buyers Guide and Top 5 Models

When hunting, you want accuracy, perfect tools, and obviously perfect rifle. Only then you can expect great results. Let’s assume that you already have the rifle you love and the skills you need. What you need next? The answer is you need a scope for that rifle. A while back, these accessories were considered extremely expensive and not very useful. Today, with the Best Rifle Scope Under $400, you can expect to boost your hunting or shooting skills, and you can enjoy more than ever before.

Keep in mind that there are almost countless choices on the market, so it is crucial to choose the one that will give you the best results every single time. This is going to be our mission, and we will guide you through the process.

To keep things simple, we will begin with a buyer’s guide that should help you understand all about the scopes in general and will help you understand which factors you actually should consider and why. Without further ado, let’s begin.

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What to look for in a new rifle scope?

Below are the main factors you will have to use to find the Best Rifle Scope Under $400. We kept things as easy as possible and tried to explain the parameters with common words so all readers can understand without spending additional time on using dictionaries to find scope-related terms that nobody uses!

How much magnification does a scope offer?

Think of magnification as a Zoom option on your smartphone camera. It is actually the same thing. Magnification allows you to use a scope for nearby targets and also for those who are far away while ensuring the accuracy!

Most models have multiple magnification levels. You will obviously use lower levels when the target is a few yards from you, and you will use higher levels (magnify the target) when it is 100-600 yards away.

The secret is to have a scope that offers suitable magnification at any given moment. Higher magnification levels are always a better option and more appealing. Basically, you can shot targets that are far away from you but still remain accurate with the targets that are close to you.

What is the light transmission?

Light transmission is measured in percentage, and as you can assume, higher is better. What this means is that a scope can provide better or higher light transmission when there is no much light.

For this price range, we can say that 98% is more than just common and definitely appealing. Furthermore, this feature helps you while hunting by allowing you to see better through the scope.

What is the size of that scope

All scopes have different dimensions, but all of them have the same or identical size. It ranges between 40mm up to 44 mm, and it is usually the size we will recommend. Yes, there are bigger, and there are smaller scopes.

Bigger scopes have a bigger field of view, and they usually come with better magnification capabilities. But, they are also heavier and more complicated to carry.

Smaller scopes are completely opposite. They have a smaller field of view, and they are narrower, easier to carry, and they won’t increase the weight of your rifle significantly. 

The field of view capability

The field of view is simply said the area you can see while looking through the scope. It is measured per 100 yards and expressed in feet. For instance, a scope can have 31-32 feet of FOV over 100 yards.

This is the area you can see while looking through the unit. Higher means you can see more surface and prepare yourself easily for a moving target. A smaller field of view means you will see less space while looking through the scope.

Understanding the eye relieve

Eye relief is different for each scope, and it isn’t something you can change. This is expressed in inches, and it is generally around 1-8 inches.

The eye relief refers to the distance you will have to keep from the rear lens at all times. If you are too close, then the image will be fuzzy, and if you are too far away, you will see only a dot. It is a more focused feature on the overall experience than on the actual effects when it comes to shooting.

Keep in mind that a higher eye relief makes a scope safer to use. Basically, the risk of scope hitting the eye when you fired the shot is decreased. When your eye is closer, the risk is increased.

Is a scope weatherproof?

The Best Rifle Scope Under $400 must stay weatherproof at all times. What this means is that you can use it when it’s raining, when there is snow or when there is a lot of wind. The bottom line is that scope must withstand all of these, and it must work perfectly in any way possible.

You obviously don’t need a scope that can be used only during sunny weather and kept at home or in a case when it’s raining. Due to this very reason, we will include the scopes on our list that are completely waterproof and safe to use at all times.

Nitrogen or argon filled

You can see that some scopes are filled with nitrogen, while others are filled with argon. So, what’s the difference?

Nitrogen is more affordable and more common. It offers great but not perfect anti-fogging capabilities. These scopes are the most common on the market today, and they do have all the needed capabilities.

Argon is rare, and you can see it in premium scopes. It offers a bit better anti-fogging capabilities, and it can be used for various purposes.

In general, most average and professional hunters and shooters will be satisfied with hydrogen-filled. Argon-filled scopes are obviously more expensive, and they are top of the range products designed for professionals who want only the best.

Reticle type and design

A reticle is the inner marking on the lens. There are countless sub-variations and types nut at the end, we can see that there are six main types. They are Scope Cross Hairs, Duplex Reticle, Mil-Dot Reticle, Leupold Reticle, BDC Reticle, and Christmas Tree Reticle.

All of this means that you can go for any type you like. It is more of an individual preference factor. However, there are some practical differences. For instance, Christmas Tree Reticle is preferable when you are shooting in windy locations, BDC Reticle is great for shooting at 500 yards or more, etc.

If you are a beginner, choose the reticle you find the most interesting. If you are a professional, you already know what to look for and which type is preferable for you. A more important fact is to have a reticle that changes the size when you zoom in and out.

What’s the coating of the lenses?

Coating of the lenses is useful to enhance the light of the target and to eliminate glare and mirage. In plain words, you get better feed through the scope. There are four main types here.

  1. Lenses coated with a single chemical
  2. Single chemical coating on all the surfaces
  3. Multi-coated lenses with multiple chemicals
  4. Fully multi-coated lenses come with multiple chemicals on all areas of the lens

We ranked the coated scopes according to their effectiveness. The first two are usually found in low-end scopes suitable for beginners. The third is the most common these days, and it is useful for scopes of all price ranges and purposes.  

The 4th type of coating is superior and reserved for premium products with all possible benefits and all the advantages you can think of.

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