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.

Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

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.

Top 5 models

UTG 4-16X50 1″ Hunter Scope, AO, 36-color Mil-dot, w/ Rings – Affordable yet powerful scope that can be used anywhere

UTG 4-16X50 is one of the most interesting models here and considering the low price, ideal for those on a tight budget. It is great for predator and also varmint hunting, and it comes with all-new EZ-TAP Illumination Enhancing (IE) System with 36-color and dual-color modes.

The scope is ready to be used at all weather conditions, and it is immune to shocks, rain, fog, and anything similar. The lenses are coated with emerald, which makes them better for light transmission. Parallax adjustable is from 5 Yds. to Infinity. It’s the best Rifle Scope Under $400 here, today.

Features:

  • Great light transmission- Feature is possible thanks to emerald coated lenses.
  • Nitrogen filled- The scope is filled with nitrogen and immune to shocks, fogging, and rain.
  • EZ-TAP Illumination Enhancing (IE) System- Comes with two color mode and with 36 color mode.
  • 1/4 MOA per Click- Precise settings thanks to Premium Zero Locking and Zero Resetting Target Turrets.

Pros:

  • Value for money- The scope comes with everything you will need but still has an affordable price.
  • Attention to detail- It features emerald coated lenses, accurate adjustments, and great features overall.
  • Accuracy- The scope is very accurate at all conditions. This also means that it can be used in all-weather situations, and it won’t fail.

Cons:

  • Finish- The scope doesn’t look like a premium model, and it certainly isn’t.
  • Rings quality- These accessories are made from cheap materials.

Who is it For?

The scope is an excellent choice for all users who need premium features, but they are on a tight budget. You still get all the features you do need, but nothing more.

UTG 4-16X50 1Buy on Amazon

Vortex Optics Spitfire 3x Prism Scope – Modern, powerful and loaded with features scope of the modern generation

The scope is ideal for close and mid-range targets, come in superior design, and all of that is paired with tough construction and tons of details available at any given moment. Then there is a reticle which is etched directly on the lens for a better overall experience. Here we must add that a fast focus can adjust to the desired target within the second.

The installation is another advantage. This scope can be installed on 30 and 40 mm mounting heights. This allows you to use it on multiple weapons and for multiple purposes. The unit has 3x magnification, it weighs 15.4 ounces, and eye relief is 2.8 inches.

Features:

  • 31.5 feet field of view- The field of view at 100 yards. It is more than just sufficient for most users, and it will meet your expectations.
  • 2.8 inches eye relief- Eye relief comes at 2.8 inches, and it is average.
  • EBR-556B- Enhanced Battle Reticle is designed for distances between 0 and 500 yards.
  • Illumination control- To get the desired color and intensity, all you have to do is turn a dial.

Pros:

  • Light and compact- The scope comes with 15.4 ounces weight and length of 5.5 inches. This makes it ideal for compact weapons.
  • EBR-556B (MOA) – The reticle is superior compared to similar models, and it is used to improve the accuracy and provide stunning results in 0-500 yards range.
  • Modern design- Many of you will agree that the design is one of a kind and truly special.

Cons:

  • Possible issues with sellers- Some owners have reported that the sellers are not correct with their descriptions and, etc. Buy only a new product.
  • Too short eye relief- This feature makes it average in the world of scopes and eliminates the possibility to attack the scope on the AR platform.

Who is it For?

Vortex Optics Spitfire 3x Prism Scope is the best choice for users and hunters who want the modern, appealing, and sophisticated scope to use on an everyday basis. Users who like combat-based scopes will make the same choice as well.

Athlon Optics, Argos BTR, Riflescope, 6-24 x 50 First Focal Plane – Futuristic reticle paired with superb light transmission

Athlon Optics, Argos BTR, Riflescope, 6-24 x 50 First Focal Plane is an excellent scope for those who are looking or simplicity and quality to make long-distance shots easier than ever before. The scope is just right for targets at 500-600 yards.

This scope is a bit unique. First of all, it is filled with argon rather than hydrogen. The reticle adjusts the size according to your preferences. When you zoom in, it shrinks, and when you zoom out, it will grow.  The overall construction is made from 6061T6 aluminum. The same material is used for aircraft construction.

Advanced Fully Multi-Coated is also an important fact to mention here. It makes the light transmission better through the entire light spectrum. It also makes the scope easier to use when there is no a lot of light. The magnification is four times, and the model is immune to water and fog.

Features:

  • Valid reticle- The reticle will change its size when you zoom in or zoom out. When you zoom in, it will shrink the dimensions, but when you zoom out, it will grow. 
  • Advanced Fully Multi-Coated lenses- The feature is used to improve light transmission, especially when there is no enough light and to make shooting more accurate.
  • 6061T6 aluminum construction- The name type of aluminum is used for the construction of aircraft all over the world. It is lightweight yet strong and durable.
  • Argon-filled- The scope is filled with argon rather than with hydrogen. This improves its immunity to the rain, fog, and bad weather.

Pros:

  • Great reticle- The reticle changes the size as you zoom in or out, making the overall experience better.
  • Easy to use- The scope is made to be used by beginners and professionals at the same time.
  • Lightweight and strong- The construction makes the scope strong yet lightweight and suitable for all occasions.

Cons:

  • No instructions- There are no instructions or additional documents and papers in the package.
  • More suitable for long-distance shots- The cope is simply better when it comes to focusing on long-range targets. 

Who is it for?

Athlon Optics , Argos BTR, Riflescope, 6-24 x 50 First Focal Plane (FFP) 30 mm Tube, Illuminated APMR MIL Reticle,Buy on Amazon

Leupold VX-1 3-9x40mm – The toughest scope of them all that comes with great features

Leupold VX-1 3-9x40mm comes made by one of the best manufacturers in the industry. It is paired with a special nitrogen-filled system (that became industry standard) and probably the best reticle of them all. The scope offers superb quality and even better durability.

The unit has 3:1 zoom ratio suitable or various targets. The aluminum is the same type as the one used in aircraft all over the globe. The main tube is 30mm in diameter. 1/4 MOA precision finger adjustment is available as well.

Features:

  • Multicoat 4 lens system- Provides superb visibility and clarity from edge to edge at all situations.
  • Fog and weatherproof- The scope is designed to be used in all-weather situations.
  • Proprietary nitrogen system- It is an advanced nitrogen filling system that is reserved for top-notch scopes available on the market.
  • 3:1 zoom ratio- This zoom ration makes the scope ideal for versatile applications at any given moment.

Pros:

  • Great quality- The scope is made to last and comes with strong construction and a high level of attention to detail.
  • Clarity- The clarity is present from edge to edge thanks to the Multicoat 4 lens system.
  • Appealing zoom ratio- The zoom ration of 3:1 makes the scope ideal for multiple and versatile applications.

Cons:

  • Poor customer support- It is difficult in some cases to contact customer support and solve an issue.
  • Expensive repairs- The repairs affect the coating on the lenses are very expensive.

Who is it for?

Leupold VX-1 3-9x40mm is an excellent scope for those who need and want reliability and durability. It is well-made with O-rings at all crucial points and an excellent zoom ratio. The scope isn’t special but performs well and without significant complications.

Sniper Compact Rifle Scope 4×32 – The most affordable scope with decent performances and interesting features

We were impressed with the combination of the price and the features of the new Sniper Compact Rifle Scope we have here. It is made from aircraft-grade aluminum, comes with Picatinny Rail Low Profile Scope Rings x 2, and also emerald coating of the lenses.

Users can choose between mil-dot, five lines, or rangefinder options. These are different types of reticle a scope offers. Brightness and clarity are above average, and the overall construction is average.

Features:

  • Emerald coating- The lenses have an emerald coating, which makes the light transmission better and offers a higher level of clarity in all situations.
  • For and rainproof- Yes, the scope is also immune to rain, fog and obviously can be used in demanding situations.
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum- The same type of aluminum is used for constructing the aircraft and can be seen in other, premium scopes.
  • Three available options- You can choose between mil-dot, five lines, or rangefinder reticle options available.

Pros:

  • Affordable- This scope is the most affordable unit on our list, but it still offers decent results on the field.
  • Decent features- Don’t respect too much from it, but you do get most of the features you will ever use.
  • Complete package- In the package, new owners =get a scope, lens caps, screws, and also a hex wrench.

Cons:

  • Poor construction- The construction, especially the attention to detail, is average in the best-case scenario.
  • Reticle issues- Some models come with reticles that are not as advertised.

Who is it for?

Sniper Compact Rifle Scope 4×32 is the best choice if you are on a tight budget, and you are looking for the cheapest scope that can still help you get accurate shots and withstand all sorts of weather.

Sniper Compact Rifle Scope 4x32 with Ring, Hunting ScopeBuy on Amazon

Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Conclusion

Today you were able to find the Best Rifle Scope Under $400 in multiple flavors. We tested all of them, and our verdict is as seen above. We tested the accuracy, the features, and the overall design of an easy model. Now it is your choice to make.

When looking for the best scope in this price range, make sure to use our help as much as possible. In the beginning, we have presented you with the points or better-said factors you should start considering today. They are the latest, the most accurate and the most useful you will need.

With the best scope, you can finally improve your accuracy to the completely new level, and you can make impossible shots, easier than ever before.