Whether you’re a seasoned hunter or just starting out, having the right shotgun scope can make all the difference in your accuracy and success. But with so many options on the market, how do you know which one to choose? In this guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know to find the best shotgun scope for your needs. From the different types of scopes available to tips on installation and maintenance, we’ve got you covered. So let’s dive in and discover the world of the best shotgun scopes.
If you’re in the market for a shotgun scope, it can be overwhelming to navigate the various options available. To help you make an informed decision, consider the following factors when selecting the best shotgun scope for your needs:
- Magnification and Lens Quality: One of the primary factors to consider is the magnification of the scope and the quality of the lens. Higher magnification may be useful for long-range shooting, while lower magnification may be more suitable for close-range hunting. Additionally, consider the quality of the lens and look for features such as anti-glare and scratch-resistant coatings.
- Reticles and Crosshairs: Another important factor is the reticle or crosshairs of the scope. Look for options that are easy to see and align with your target, and consider features such as illuminated reticles for low-light shooting conditions.
- Eye Relief and Field of View: Eye relief and field of view are important considerations for both comfort and accuracy. Look for a shotgun scope with a comfortable eye relief distance and a wide field of view for easy target acquisition.
- Durability and Weather Resistance: Your shotgun scope will be exposed to various weather conditions and may undergo rough handling during transport or use. Look for scopes that are durable and weather-resistant, with features such as shock-proof and water-proof construction.
- Price and Value for Money: Finally, consider the price and value for money of the shotgun scope. Look for options that offer the features you need at a reasonable price point, and consider factors such as warranties and customer reviews to ensure you’re making a smart investment.
By considering these factors, you can choose the best shotgun scope for your needs and ensure a successful hunting or shooting experience.
Types of Shotgun Scopes
There are several types of shotgun scopes available on the market, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the most common types of shotgun scopes:
- Red Dot Sights: Red dot sights are popular for their simplicity and ease of use. They are designed to provide quick target acquisition and are especially useful for shooting at moving targets. They have a single dot reticle that can be adjusted for brightness and can be used with both eyes open.
- Reflex Sights: Reflex sights are similar to red dot sights but have a wider field of view. They use a non-magnifying lens to project a reticle onto the shooter’s field of view, providing quick target acquisition and improved accuracy. They are also compact and lightweight, making them a popular choice for hunters and shooters who need to move quickly.
- Holographic Sights: Holographic sights use a laser to project a holographic image onto the shooter’s field of view. This provides a clear and precise reticle that can be used for long-range shooting. They are also highly durable and can withstand harsh weather conditions and rough handling.
- Rifle Scopes: Rifle scopes are designed for longer-range shooting and are often used by hunters and precision shooters. They provide magnification and a reticle for improved accuracy and can be adjusted for windage and elevation. They are generally heavier and bulkier than other types of shotgun scopes, but are highly effective for long-range shooting.
- Night Vision Scopes: Night vision scopes use technology to amplify available light and provide a clear image in low-light conditions. They are highly effective for hunting or shooting at night but can be expensive and require additional equipment such as a night vision monocular or goggles.
By understanding the different types of shotgun scopes available, you can choose the best option for your needs and improve your accuracy and success in the field.
Top Picks for Best Shotgun Scopes
The Feyachi micro red dot scope is the perfect addition to any variety of shotguns. Featuring 2 MOA, which allows for accurate, both-eyes-open shooting with the quick acquisition of targets at close range. No matter what environment you're in, with 11 red dot brightness settings and unlimited eye relief, this scope can provide optimal visibility in all light conditions. Low profile and compact, this micro red dot shotgun scope is a great option for hunters looking to increase their hunt's chances of success.
- Almost exact replica of a Romeo 5
- Great price point
- Long battery life
- Can starburst in extreme sunlight
- 2 MOA
- 11 Brightness setting
A top-tier sight that takes aim to the next level, the Sig Sauer Romeo5 red dot scope is no joke. This small scope blends modern technology with classic reliability for an optic that provides every feature you need to dominate on any terrain. Featuring, 1x20MM magnification and a 2 MOA, for precision accuracy so your shots land where you want them without fail. Furthermore, this scope features an IPX-7 waterproof rating, and the bulletproof design helps to withstand any condition. The integrated M1913 Picatinny interface provides industry-standard mounting options for a wide range of applications. Sig offers a great scope at an extremely low price for the quality offered.
- Awesome quality at an affordable price
- Easy to sight in
- Water resistant design
- Some units may need the battery reinstalled if stuck
- 2 MOA
- 40,000 Hour battery life
- IPX-7 Waterproof design
- Picatinny real interface
The Vortex Optic scope with 3 MOA offers rapid target acquisition while giving you a precise point of aim. Fully multi-coated lenses also give you a clean and wide field of view to make the most out of Venom's 10 brightness levels. You can also choose between an auto or manual brightness mode for your needs with variable dot intensity controls located on the left side of the sight. Furthermore, this model also has parallax-free construction and 1 MOA windage and elevation adjustments. Amazingly fast and accurate target acquisition for your firearms.
- Easy install
- Same quality as scopes that cost twice the price
- Duds can happen, but customer service is quick to make it right
- 3 MOA
- Aluminum housing
- Easy to change battery
This handy red dot sight is an absolutely fantastic value for the money. Perfect for shotguns, rifles, and even handguns, this scope is easy to get on target. The parallax-free design ensures that the dot stays fixed on the target without centering as your eye moves around it—you’ll never lose track of where to shoot. When you need fast and accurate shooting at an affordable price, give MidTen a shot and see what you think.
- Lightweight aluminum design
- Installation is a breeze
- Duds are also common with this brand, you may need to reach out to MidTen
- 2 MOA
- Made from aluminum
- 11 Brightness options
- 2 Height mounting options
Feyachis red dot shotgun scope features low power consumption, unlimited eye relief, and an integrated mount to standard 20mm Picatinny or Weaver rails, which are extremely common on most guns. Featuring 4 selectable reticles and 5 brightness settings allows you to customize this scope to meet all your needs. Furthermore, you can use this product in any other situation where quick target acquisition is necessary. It is not waterproof, but still has a lightweight and shockproof design at a very affordable price point.
- Well made
- Easy install
- No green options, only red at the moment
- Made of aluminum alloy
- Fully adjustable wind and elevation
- 40MM reflex lens
This scope features 4 different reticle patterns so you can choose the best one for any situation. Furthermore, you can also choose between red or green dots to suit your preference and switch it anytime, with no need to adjust scope settings. And the water and fog-proof body are sealed with O-rings that will not leak in cold conditions. It is also shock-resistant enough to withstand the recoil of most shotguns. Lastly, Tacticon's reflex scope mounts onto any weaver or Picatinny rail easily.
- Great value
- Choice of red or green
- Well built
- A little bit harder to see during bright sunny days
- Lifetime warranty
- 45 degree offset mount included
- Fog proof
Engineered with 2 MOA, this red dot shotgun scope features eleven different brightness levels to make sure you never lose sight of your target again. Battle-tested to hold zero with heavy recoil, and resists water and fog like pricier options. Furthermore, this scope features eleven adjustable brightness levels for every light condition imaginable and a reflection-proof lens coating so you can more effectively shoot in the sun. This is a great option for a backup or a .22 rifle as well.
- Can withstand pretty heavy recoil
- Lens caps are not great
- 2 MOA
- Easy to zero
- Wind and fog proof
- 11 adjustable settings
- Offset mount included
Installation and Maintenance
Proper installation and maintenance of your shotgun scope are essential for optimal performance and longevity. Here are some tips for installing and maintaining your shotgun scope:
- Choose the right mounting system: Select a mounting system that is compatible with your shotgun and your scope. There are many types of mounting systems available, including Weaver, Picatinny, and dovetail mounts. Make sure to choose a mounting system that is appropriate for your shotgun and scope.
- Check for proper fit: Before installing the scope, ensure that the mounting system fits securely on your shotgun. Loose or ill-fitting mounts can cause accuracy problems and damage to your scope.
- Properly align your scope: Properly align your scope using a bore sighter or by sighting in your scope at a shooting range. This will ensure that your scope is aligned with your shotgun and that you can achieve accurate shots.
- Regular cleaning: Regularly clean your scope to remove dirt, debris, and moisture. Use a soft cloth and a lens cleaning solution to clean the lenses, and avoid touching the lenses with your fingers.
- Protect from damage: Protect your scope from damage by using lens covers when not in use and by avoiding impact or rough handling. You can also purchase protective cases or sleeves to help protect your scope during transport.
- Check for damage: Regularly check your scope for damage, including scratches, dents, or other signs of wear. If you notice any damage, take your scope to a professional for repairs or replacement.
By following these tips for installation and maintenance, you can ensure that your shotgun scope performs at its best and lasts for many hunting or shooting seasons to come.
Tips and Tricks
Here are some tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your shotgun scope:
- Practice, practice, practice: The best way to improve your accuracy and success with a shotgun scope is to practice. Spend time at a shooting range or in the field to improve your skills and get comfortable with your scope.
- Use the right magnification: When using a rifle scope, it’s important to choose the right magnification for your needs. If you’re shooting at close range, a lower magnification may be more appropriate. For longer-range shots, you may need a higher magnification.
- Pay attention to eye relief: Eye relief is the distance between your eye and the eyepiece of the scope. Proper eye relief is important to avoid injury and ensure accuracy. Make sure to adjust your scope’s eye relief to fit your needs.
- Use proper shooting techniques: Proper shooting techniques, including breathing control, trigger control, and body position, can all improve your accuracy with a shotgun scope. Practice these techniques regularly to improve your shooting skills.
- Consider the lighting conditions: Lighting conditions can have a significant impact on the performance of your shotgun scope. If shooting in low-light conditions, consider using a scope with illuminated reticles or a night vision scope.
- Be patient: Patience is key when using a shotgun scope. Take your time to line up your shot and make sure you’re confident before pulling the trigger.
By following these tips and tricks, you can improve your accuracy and success with a shotgun scope and get the most out of your hunting or shooting experience.
Cheap vs Expensive
When it comes to shotgun scopes, there is a wide range of prices available, from budget-friendly options to high-end models. Here are some things to consider when deciding between a cheap and expensive shotgun scope:
Cheap Shotgun Scopes:
- Affordable: Cheap shotgun scopes are often a good option for those on a tight budget or for beginners who want to try out shooting with a scope without investing a lot of money upfront.
- Lightweight: Many budget-friendly scopes are lightweight, which can make them easier to handle and maneuver in the field.
- Adequate for close-range shooting: Cheap shotgun scopes can be a good option for those who primarily shoot at close range and don’t need a high level of magnification.
- Poor quality: Cheap shotgun scopes often have lower-quality materials and construction, which can affect their performance and durability.
- Limited features: Budget-friendly scopes may have limited features, such as no illuminated reticles, limited magnification options, or limited field of view.
- Less accurate: Cheap scopes may be less accurate than their more expensive counterparts, which can affect your success in the field.
Expensive Shotgun Scopes:
- High quality: Expensive shotgun scopes are typically made with high-quality materials and construction, which can improve their performance and durability.
- Advanced features: High-end scopes often come with advanced features, such as illuminated reticles, variable magnification options, and a wider field of view, which can improve your shooting experience.
- More accurate: Expensive scopes are often more accurate, which can lead to better success in the field.
- Expensive: High-end shotgun scopes can be expensive, which may be a barrier for some shooters.
- Heavy: Many high-end scopes are heavier than their budget-friendly counterparts, which can make them more difficult to handle and maneuver.
- Overkill for some shooters: Expensive scopes may be overkill for some shooters who primarily shoot at close range or don’t need a high level of magnification.
Ultimately, the decision between a cheap and expensive shotgun scope depends on your individual needs and preferences. If you’re a beginner or primarily shoot at close range, a budget-friendly option may be adequate. However, if you’re an experienced shooter or need advanced features for long-range shooting, investing in a high-end scope may be worth the cost.
When it comes to shotgun scopes, there are several top brands that are known for their quality and performance. Here are some of the top brands to consider:
- Vortex: Vortex is a popular brand that is known for its high-quality scopes and accessories. They offer a wide range of shotgun scopes with advanced features, such as illuminated reticles, variable magnification, and durable construction.
- Leupold: Leupold is another well-known brand in the shooting community. They offer a variety of shotgun scopes that are designed for different shooting styles and purposes, such as hunting, tactical shooting, and competition shooting.
- Nikon: Nikon is a trusted name in the optics industry, and their shotgun scopes are no exception. They offer a range of scopes with features like clear glass, multi-coated lenses, and waterproof construction.
- Burris: Burris has been in the optics industry for over 40 years and has established a reputation for quality and durability. They offer a range of shotgun scopes with advanced features like ballistic reticles and magnification options.
- Bushnell: Bushnell is a well-known brand that offers a variety of shotgun scopes at different price points. They have scopes with features like multi-coated lenses, adjustable magnification, and durable construction.
When considering a shotgun scope, it’s important to research different brands and models to find the one that best fits your needs and budget. These top brands are a great place to start, as they have a proven track record of quality and performance.
Alternatives to Shotgun Scopes
While shotgun scopes are a popular choice for many shooters, they are not the only option available. Here are some alternatives to shotgun scopes:
- Iron sights: Iron sights are a simple and traditional option for aiming your shotgun. They are lightweight, durable, and don’t require any batteries or additional equipment. However, they can be difficult to use in low light conditions and don’t offer the same level of precision as a scope.
- Red dot sights: Red dot sights are a popular alternative to traditional scopes. They use a red dot to indicate the point of aim, which can be easier to use for some shooters than traditional crosshairs. They are also lightweight and durable, making them a good option for those who need to quickly acquire a target. However, they may not be as precise as a traditional scope and can be affected by bright sunlight or glare.
- Reflex sights: Reflex sights are similar to red dot sights, but they use a reticle that appears on a lens in front of the shooter’s eye. They offer a wide field of view and can be used with both eyes open, making them a good option for fast-moving targets. However, they may be more expensive than other alternatives and can be affected by parallax error.
- Ghost ring sights: Ghost ring sights are a type of iron sight that uses a larger rear sight and a smaller front sight. They are designed to be used quickly and accurately at close to medium ranges. They are lightweight and don’t require any batteries, making them a good option for those who prefer a simple and traditional sight system. However, they may not be as precise as the scope at longer ranges.
When choosing a sight system for your shotgun, it’s important to consider your individual needs and preferences. Each of these alternatives offers unique advantages and disadvantages, and the right choice will depend on your shooting style, intended use, and budget.
Pros and Cons of Shotgun Scopes
Shotgun scopes are a popular choice for many shooters, but they do have both advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the pros and cons of using a shotgun scope:
- Increased accuracy: Shotgun scopes can greatly improve accuracy, especially at longer ranges. They provide a clear and precise aiming point, which can help shooters hit their targets with greater precision.
- Better sight picture: Scopes offer a larger and more detailed sight picture than traditional iron sights, which can make it easier to aim and acquire targets quickly.
- Versatility: Shotgun scopes can be used for a variety of shooting styles and purposes, from hunting to competitive shooting.
- Advanced features: Many shotgun scopes come with advanced features like illuminated reticles, variable magnification, and weather-resistant construction, which can enhance the shooting experience.
- Cost: Shotgun scopes can be expensive, especially if you want high-quality optics with advanced features.
- Weight and size: Scopes can add weight and bulk to your shotgun, which may not be ideal for all shooters.
- Reduced field of view: Scopes offer a narrower field of view than iron sights, which can make it more difficult to acquire targets in fast-moving or unpredictable situations.
- Potential for damage: Scopes are more delicate than iron sights and can be easily damaged if dropped or mishandled.
Ultimately, the decision to use a shotgun scope will depend on your individual needs and preferences. While they can offer many advantages, they also have some disadvantages that should be considered before making a purchase.
Meet Eric McGough, a seasoned adventurer and military veteran who traded his tech career for a life of outdoor exploration and freedom. He plans to travel the world, discover new adventures, and share information about great destinations, gear, and more on the Shaman Mountain Sports and Outdoors Blog.