8 Best Air Rifle Scopes – (Reviews & Unbiased Guide 2020)

Selecting the best air rifle scope for you should definitely not be a split-second decision. Airgun hunting means that you have to be precise and accurate. Therefore, a reliable scope is a necessity. Since your prey can be a small animal, a dangerous one, or one that is further away, you need to make sure that your pellet or bullet hits the spot you want. Moreover, it is a more humane way to hunt. 

Finding the right scope requires a lot of research. In this article, we have gathered all the relevant information we could find about this product category including some air rifle scope reviews on the top-rated models available today. By the time you are done reading, you should know exactly what to look for and how to find the scope that will best suit your hunting needs.

PRODUCTDETAILS
UTG 3-9X32 BugBuster Scope, AO, RGB Mil-dot, QD Rings

UTG 3-9X32 1″ BugBuster Scope, AO, RGB Mil-dot, QD Rings 

  • Magnification: 3-9 
  • Objective lens: 32   
  • Reticle style: Mil-dot
  • Price: $$
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Hawke Vantage Riflescope

Hawke Vantage Riflescope 1″  

  • Magnification: 4-12
  • Objective lens: 50 
  • Reticle style: Mil-dot
  • Price: $$ – $$$
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UTG 4-16X44 30mm Scope, AO, 36-color Mil-dot, w/ Rings

UTG 4-16X44 30mm Scope, AO, 36-color Mil-dot, w/ Rings  

  • Magnification: 4-16 
  • Objective lens: 44
  • Reticle style: Mil-dot
  • Price: $$$
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Bushnell 614124 Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Adjustable Objective Riflescope 

Bushnell 614124 Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Adjustable Objective Riflescope  

  • Magnification: 4-12 
  • Objective lens: 40 
  • Reticle style: Multi-X 
  • Price: $$$
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UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope, AO, 36-color Mil-dot, Rings

UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope, AO, 36-color Mil-dot, Rings 

  • Magnification: 3-12  
  • Objective lens: 44 
  • Reticle style: Mil-dot
  • Price: $$$
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Daisy Winchester Outdoor Products 4 x 32 AO Winchester Scope

Daisy Winchester Outdoor Products 4 x 32 AO Winchester Scope 

  • Magnification:
  • Objective lens: 32  
  • Reticle style: Fine crosshair
  • Price: $
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Nikon Prostaff P3 Target EFR 3-9x40 AO Matte Precision Black

Nikon Prostaff P3 Target EFR 3-9×40 AO Matte Precision Black  

  • Magnification: 3-9 
  • Objective lens: 40
  • Reticle style: Precision Reticle
  • Price: $$$$
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Hawke Airmax 30mm SF Riflescope

Hawke Airmax 30mm SF Riflescope  

  • Magnification: 3-12
  • Objective lens: 50  
  • Reticle style: AMX-IR
  • Price: $$$$$
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Best Air Rifle Scopes Reviews

1. UTG 3-9X32 1″ BugBuster Scope, AO, RGB Mil-dot, QD Rings

UTG 3-9X32 BugBuster Scope, AO, RGB Mil-dot, QD RingsProbably the first thing that will come to mind when you see this model is robust. The scope certainly has a solid build. Moreover, it can be used for .22 air rifles, airsoft sniper rifles, as well as real steel guns. Since it is filled with nitrogen, this unit prevents humidity from getting in, and you can use it in any weather conditions, including rain and fog. 

The UTG 3-9X32 1″ BugBuster Scope, AO, RGB Mil-dot, QD Rings feature dual red and green illumination which means that you will be able to use it in any light conditions as well. For increased comfort, the scope has a very accommodating eye relief and a sunshade. 

For maximum light transmission, the tube is coated with emerald while the turrets have 1/4 MOA per click adjustment. What is more, this model also comes with 19 aiming points, compared with other standard Mil-dot reticle modes that have only nine.

Pros

  • This air rifle scope offers great illumination and light transfer
  • It is extremely easy to mount on most rifles
  • This model holds zero very well
  • It is available for quite an affordable price, given its quality

Cons

  • It may take a bit of effort to get a clear image
  • The included mounting rings are not very good

2. Hawke Vantage Riflescope 1″ 

Hawke Vantage RiflescopeSimplicity is often underrated. There isn’t always a need for bells and whistles, but a solid product to do the job it was designed for. The Hawke Vantage Riflescope 1″ is not only on the budget, but it will get the job done without any fancy extras you might not even use anyway. 

It is true that this product does not stack up to top-tier brands but you will get a lot of value from it, especially if you are on a tight budget. This model has a variable magnifying 4-12x with an objective lens of 50 mm, and it will fit the range of most decent air rifles. 

It is rather a tough scope that can handle the multi-directional recoil of an air rifle, so you do not need to worry about this aspect. Moreover, the optics are covered with 11 distinct types of coatings ensuring a significant reduction in glare.

Pros

  • This scope has an adjustable objective and fast-focus eyepiece
  • The turrets are finger-adjustable, so no tools are needed
  • It holds zero very well
  • This scope is a great option for pellet air rifles

Cons

  • The glass is only alright and does not seem to be the highest-quality

3. UTG 4-16X44 30mm Scope, AO, 36-color Mil-dot, w/ Rings

UTG 4-16X44 30mm Scope, AO, 36-color Mil-dot, w/ RingsThis model has pretty much every feature an air gunner could desire in an air rifle scope. It has a mil-dot reticle, side-focus parallax adjustment, an ample 44mm objective, zero reset-able locking target turrets, as well as a sturdy 30mm tube. 

Moreover, the UTG 4-16X44 30mm Scope, AO, 36-color Mil-dot, w/ Rings also comes with a set of 30mm Picatinny rings and flip-up scope caps that protect your lenses. The design of this scope allows you to obtain maximum light transmission as well as durability. 

What is more, to make the light transmission even better, Emerald lens coating was used in the construction of this unit. Therefore, you will get an even better image clarity in all weather conditions. The tube is also completely sealed and filled with nitrogen. This makes the unit water and fog proof, so you can hunt in any season you like.

Pros

  • The scope is equipped with lockable and zeroing target turrets
  • The unit also comes with power selector rings
  • It is available for quite an affordable price, given all the premium features

Cons

  • The optical clarity of this model is not as bright as some other, similarly-priced scopes

4. Bushnell 614124 Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Adjustable Objective Riflescope 

Bushnell 614124 Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Adjustable Objective Riflescope This no-frills 4-12Xmm scope has a duplex style reticle as well as an adjustable objective for parallax. However, the beauty of this device is actually in its simplicity. The scope is not weighted down by illuminated reticle units or the additional moving parts of lockable target turrets. 

Since these features are absent, the manufacturer was able to invest extra money into a high-quality glass. Therefore, the Bushnell 614124 Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Adjustable Objective Riflescope is optically sharper compared to many similarly-priced products in this line. Moreover, it is also a great choice for spring-piston air rifles. 

The 4-12X offers a versatile magnification range and has an objective of 40mm which makes it a good option for most air-rifle applications. Since the optics are argon-filled, they remain stable no matter what ambient temperature it has to face, offering the ultimate fog-proof protection. 

Pros

  • The O-ring sealed optics remain dry inside, even when the unit is completely immersed in water
  • The dusk and dawn brightness multicoated lenses offer clarity and brightness
  • This model features fingertip windage as well as elevation adjustment

Cons

  • This model does not have very good light-gathering capabilities

5. UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope, AO, 36-color Mil-dot, Rings

UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope, AO, 36-color Mil-dot, RingsGood shooting glasses are not enough if you want to make sure that you will always hit your target. This model is a very durable and versatile option. First of all, it is fog-proof and waterproof which means that it can be used in any weather conditions. Furthermore, it is highly resistant to extreme recoil. 

Even though it has a very sturdy construction, do not think that it is bulky and ugly. The finish of the UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope, AO, 36-color Mil-dot, Rings definitely makes the unit stand out. And we haven’t even got to the optics! This scope is parallax-free from ten yards to unlimited, which is an amazing feature. 

What is more, you can enjoy EZTap illumination technology. This means that you will still be able to see your target in low-light conditions with no issue. It is also an excellent feature for color-blind users. 

Pros

  • The scope comes with emerald-coated lenses and integrated angled front sunshade with flip-open lens caps
  • If offers superior zero locking and zero resetting target turrets for precise adjustment
  • The manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty for this model

Cons

  • The magnification power of this scope could definitely be improved

6. Daisy Winchester Outdoor Products 4 x 32 AO Winchester Scope

Daisy Winchester Outdoor Products 4 x 32 AO Winchester ScopeDon’t let the price of the Daisy Winchester Outdoor Products 4 x 32 AO Winchester Scope fool you! Even though it is a very affordable product, it does not lack quality. First of all, you will definitely like the fully-adjustable windage and elevation settings. 

For this reason, you will be able to use the scope for several different applications. The objective is also adjustable, so if you need sharp images, you can count on the scope to deliver them. The eye relief is also decent. With a diameter of three inches, you do not have to worry about the scope pushing into your eye socket. 

Moving on, this unit has a 25-foot field of view at 100 yards. This scope is also shockproof which accommodates the recoil from spring-gun air rifles. Having all these possibilities to adjust the settings, your accuracy will be improved and you will enjoy great shooting experiences.

Pros

  • Even though very affordable, this scope is extremely accurate
  • It is also very easy to mount and to zero
  • The lenses are of high quality as well

Cons

  • This model has a fixed low magnification
  • The rings are not so good for certain types of air rifles, so replacements might be needed

7. Nikon Prostaff P3 Target EFR 3-9×40 AO Matte Precision Black

Nikon Prostaff P3 Target EFR 3-9x40 AO Matte Precision BlackThe Nikon Prostaff P3 Target EFR 3-9×40 AO Matte Precision Black has a 3-9x variable magnification power and an objective lens of 40mm. It comes with all the proprietary Nikon lens coating you might think of. Their traditional dusk-to-dawn light transmission technology is also present among the features of this model. 

The unit features spring-loaded auto zero-reset turrets that are adjustable at increments of 1/4 MOA. Furthermore, the body is made of sturdy aircraft-grade aluminum. Thanks to the large, aluminum quick-focus eyepiece, eye relief is also amazing. You should not expect anything from the reticle. 

The Precision Target Reticle does its job very well by helping the user take his or her shots without obscuring anything in the sight image. The entire scope is quite simple, rugged, light, and it gets the job done, which is more important than being packed with multiple features that you might not need anyway.

Pros

  • Every glass surface features several layers of anti-reflective compounds
  • The adjustable objective lens provides parallax-free focusing from ten yards to infinity
  • The generous eyepiece allows a consistent eye relief

Cons

  • If you are used to the Mil-dot reticle, you might find the turret clicks a little too soft

8. Hawke Airmax 30mm SF Riflescope

Hawke Airmax 30mm SF RiflescopeAs you might already know, airguns such as a serious 22 air rifle can have devastating effects in optics if you are not using the right product. This model was definitely developed for very serious air rifle shooters and hunters. 

The chassis design of the Hawke Airmax 30mm SF Riflescope features the AMX reticle that is based on mil spacing. Moreover, the Airmax series has elevation and windage aim points that are excellent for pellet trajectories. Furthermore, this model features Side Focus parallax adjustment that is able to focus down to ten yards. 

You will also get additional Side Focus wheels in the box. The illuminated reticle maximizes your visibility in brush and dark covers. Featuring 16-layer fully multi-coated optics, as well as a large 50mm objective lens, you will also obtain exceptionally clear and bright images. This unit will surely make you stand out and your shooting adventures will always be successful.

Pros

  • This model was specifically designed to withstand the double recoil of air rifles with a rugged and durable construction
  • Despite its many features, the unit weight only around two pounds
  • The scope comes with a lifetime warranty

Cons

  • This scope is the most expensive on our list, so it is not for every budget

What Is An Air Rifle Scope?

What is an Air Rifle ScopeIf you are new to the subject, you may find air rifle scopes a bit confusing. However, once some basic terminology and considerations are understood, choosing a good and reliable unit will become a piece of cake. 

So, what is an air rifle scope? Simply put, it is an optical device that you mount on your air rifle in order to be able to improve your accuracy and hit your targets exactly where you want. However, this was a simple explanation. Now let us go in a bit deeper!

1. Why use an air rifle scope?

Do you really have to use an air rifle scope of an air rifle? Couldn’t any rifle scope do? There are many people who think that a standard rifle scope can be used for air rifles as well. You should keep in mind that this can be a costly mistake. 

First of all, spring-piston, gas, and higher-powered air rifles generate a lot of recoils, which is not the regular, unidirectional recoil of a traditional firearm. When talking about air rifles, there is a two-way recoil. The first is when the large spring-mass uncoils or the gas-piston is released. This sends the rifle backward. 

The second is when the piston reaches the end of its length, and this jars the gun forward. To make things clearer, this double recoil creates a disaster for lenses as well as the fragile internal parts and can even ruin an average scope within just a few shots. Therefore, if you have an air rifle, you need to get a scope that was specifically designed for these types of guns. 

2. What does an air rifle scope do exactly?

Current telescopic sights are precision tools that often come with many exciting features. At the most basic level, a scope has only one thing to do. It helps the shooter to point the barrel of your air rifle in a certain direction. 

It doesn’t really matter what type of shooting you are performing or what type of air rifle you are using. The principle is the same, and that is that the scope is a type of sighting system that ensures the bullet or pellet flies through the air in a known trajectory and it hits your target. 

3. How does an air rifle scope help the shooter?

The answer: through magnification. The scope optically enlarges the target which helps you see it more clearly and in more detail. A typical scope offers 9, 10, 12, and even 16 times magnification. 

At the same time, a high-end scope can magnify an image up to 80 times more than viewed with the naked eye. In other words, magnification allows you to set the point of aim and, consequently, the point of impact, with excellent precision.

4. What are the benefits of using an air rifle scope?

If you read so far, you already realize what some of the benefits are. First of all, it allows you to shoot with precision. This means that once you find your target, you aim, and you hit it. Also, an air rifle scope is specifically designed for these types of rifles, so it will not get damaged due to a high amount of recoil. 

Another advantage of using such scopes is the fact that you do not have to get close to your target. Some games may be dangerous animals, so you will definitely want to keep your distance. 

Furthermore, you will be able to hunt in a more humane way. Having the ability to kill your target with just one precise shot is much better than hitting it in the wrong spot, only wounding it. This might offer your prey time to run away and die somewhere in agony. 

Main Parts Of Air Rifle Scopes

RifleScope TerminologyToday, you can find a multitude of air rifle scopes on the market. Some of them have simple construction, while others are packed with various, sometimes even fancy, features. One thing that they have in common is the basic structure. 

All scopes have certain typical basic components. It is the quality of these elements that will determine the overall effectiveness of the optic. Let us see what parts does a rifle scope includes and how they work

1. Eyepiece

If we are to start with the rear part of the scope, we will find the eyepiece. It is a piece of glass that is often adjustable to be used with or without glasses to offer the user a clear image. 

Sometimes, this is called parallax focus but it is incorrect. Having an adjustable eyepiece doesn’t have anything to do with adjustable parallax, but we will explain that a bit later. All that it does is let you adjust the image clarity that is most suitable to your needs.

2. Tube

Moving forward, we can find the outer tube of the scope. Generally, this is an aluminum tube that is filled with nitrogen to positive pressure. This is necessary in order to prevent fogging and also to keep the unit waterproof. Commonly, there are two tube sizes. 

The most popular is the one-inch diameter but the more expensive models will have a slightly larger diameter tube of 30mm. A larger tube enables more light transfer, and this is a great help in low light conditions and for the higher magnification scopes. Some cheaper models use plastic tubes. 

They will be able to get you started, but that is pretty much what you can expect from them. Moving on, inside the outer tube, there is an inner tube that houses the reticle as well as other components, depending on what type of scope you have. The inner tube is the part that is moved by the adjustment turrets in order to align the scope to the air rifle. 

3. Reticle

If you look into the eyepiece, down the inner tube, you will see the reticle of the air rifle scope. This term refers to the crosshairs of the unit. Furthermore, there is a big variety of reticles available on the market today. The reticle can be a wire one or an etched glass type. The most popular type is the wire, which is also a less expensive choice. 

Although there is nothing wrong with the wire type, the etched glass is better and it can be found on higher-end scopes. The reason is that it is more resilient to harsh recoil and it will also hold up for a longer time compared to the wire reticle. Depending on the type of scope, some models may have a straight line reticle, while others may have a duplex reticle. 

The latter has thinner lines in the center, and they change to thicker lines towards the outside of the field of view. Moreover, you should know that the preferred reticle, regardless if it is a wire or etched glass, is a mil-dot or another range-estimating reticle. 

Some higher-end scopes come with matching computer software corresponding to the reticle which enables you to calculate pellet drop.

4. Adjustment turrets

The following set of components is represented by the adjustment turrets. Since all scopes have both horizontal and vertical adjustment, the turrets allow the user to point the optics in the desired direction. They work by releasing or applying pressure in the inner tube which is held in place by springs that oppose the turrets. 

It is important to mention that you need to keep a bit of tension on the springs in order for the scope to maintain your settings. As a general rule of thumb, you should have at least one full turn of adjustment left on your turrets, at all times. In case you do not have this one turn, your point of impact can move around because of the recoil. 

Moreover, the scope’s height over the receiver requires a lot of upward correction on the vertical turret adjustment. However, you need to be careful not to over adjust by trying to move the point of impact up to the 10th ring. 

5. Objective

Moving forward with the scope’s anatomy, the front part of the scope contains the objective. Its size is always referenced in the unit’s description. A 4×32 model has a magnification power of four and a 32mm objective lens. 

If you see a reference such as 4-12×40, it means that the scope has a 4 to 16 magnification power with a 40mm objective. The larger the objective, the better because it has a wider opening to gather more light.

6. Lens

The typical air rifle scope includes many lenses. All types should use coated lenses because this feature enables increased light transfer and a clearer sight image. Higher-end models have better coatings which truly make a difference when using your scope in low light conditions or at the limits of its magnification range.

Other Things To Know About Air Rifle Scopes

As previously discussed, all scopes have a few basic parts that are common to all of them. But throughout our article, you might have noticed that we mentioned some models having additional features. Here are some of them explained.

1. Variable power 

Some scopes allow you to magnify your target so that you can see it easier. As previously mentioned, some models are referenced with a number followed by an X and then another number. For example, if you see 4×32, it means that the scope has a magnification power of 4 and a lens objective of 32mm. 

However, other scopes have two numbers separated by an “-” before the X. For instance, 4-12×32. This means that you can adjust the magnification power from 4 to 12. As you might imagine, having the ability to magnify has its benefits. When the magnification is increased, the field of view is reduced. 

When you get to the highest magnification, you will not be able to see the things that are close to you. But when you have a variable powered scope, you can easily reduce the magnification and open the field of view so that you can find your target easier. Variable power also means that you get more flexibility regardless if you are out in the field or simply target shooting.

2. Parallax adjustment

If you have ever looked through a scope, you might be familiar with the parallax effect. Essentially, this effect tends to happen when looking at distances over two yards. A fixed object seems to move as the user moves his or her head. 

Of course, the object does not move in reality but it seems that way due to what is known as the parallax effect. So, how can you hit your target if it seems to move? In order to deal with this situation, an adjustable objective is required. It is basically a ring that is placed around the objective that you can use in order to adjust the focus as you need it.

3. Reticle

The reticle or crosshairs is a very important subject when discussing air rifle scopes. There are several types of reticles that you can select from, and each has its own benefits. We are going to discuss the most common ones.

The most classic style is a fine crosshair. Basically, there are two thin lines that cross in the middle. The greatest benefit is that it does not cover much of your target which is excellent particularly for hunters. However, when you are hunting in deep woods where there is a lot of dark background, it is very easy to lose the center.

The duplex crosshair has thicker lines around the edges of the field of view which makes it easier to see the target against dense vegetation. Also, it does not cover much of the target either.

Similarly to the duplex crosshair, we also have the Mil-Dot which uses small dots along with the hairs. This makes it easier to see and also offers targeting zones and range findings if you want to use it for that.

Air Rifle Scopes & Firearm Scopes

Many people believe that a scope can be used for both air rifles and normal rifles. They might look similar and have some common parts and features, but they are not. While you could use your air rifle scope on a normal fire weapon, you cannot use a normal scope on an air rifle. 

As hard as it may seem, an air rifle produces more recoil and it can destroy a standard scope. Do you remember what we said about the two-way recoil earlier? That is the reason why you need a specifically designed scope for your air rifle. However, there are more differences between the two types that should be mentioned. 

There are certain additional features that are not normally found on scopes designed for centerfire use. For example, an air rifle shooter needs a scope that has the ability to focus at close range. These scopes can bring an object into clear focus as close as ten yards, while a normal rifle scope can usually focus as close as 50 to 100 yards. 

The reticle design is also different for air rifle scopes. Since a pellet moves slower than a bullet, it is going to take more time to reach its target. As a consequence, the longer the projectile takes to reach the target, the more time gravity has to cause it to drop. 

In order to prevent this from happening, a reticle that has additional aiming points is an excellent feature to have. Styles such as Mil-dot or MTC SCB that have additional 1/2 markings are great reticles for air rifle shooters. 

Air Rifle Scope Buying Guide

Best Air Rifle ScopeIf you are an airgun hunter, then you already have a reliable air rifle. However, no matter how good of a shooter you are, there may be certain situations where aiming your target is very difficult. Therefore, a dependable air rifle scope should not be missing from your tactical gear

Of course, you can also be concerned about not forgetting your tactical pants and tactical vest, but the scope is what will help you to always hit your target. Beware, however, because the market is full of options. You should never select the first item that comes your way! So, let’s see what you should be looking for when selecting your air rifle scope.

1. Fixed or variable magnification

Even though we have discussed this before, magnification is one of the most important features you should check before buying that scope. In case you are going to use your rifle for hunting purposes, it is important to think about what and where you usually perform this activity. 

Having that in mind, you should also consider if you want your scope to have fixed or variable magnification. A higher magnification is excellent when aiming at distant targets. However, you should also keep in mind that the higher the magnification, the smaller if your field of view. Also, as magnification is increased, the lesser light will be able to penetrate the scope. 

Fixed air rifle scopes have lower magnification but large fields of view. Therefore, they are a good option for shooting at close ranges as well as sighting moving targets fast. In this sense, they are ideal for eliminating pests and for small game hunting. 

What is more, since they have less moving parts, these models are usually more straightforward to use and a little more durable. On the other hand, variable air rifle scopes have a range of ocular magnification. 

Therefore, they can deliver the best of both worlds. Low magnification and a large field of view for close-range shooting as well as higher magnification for distant targets. The model you select should cover your shooting needs best. 

2. Objective size

The size of the objective is the second number after the X, and it is measured in millimeters. It is the lens that faces away from you. What you need to remember about the objective is that the larger it is, the more light can be gathered by the scope. 

This enhances the image brightness even for distant targets seen at higher ocular magnification. However, just getting a scope with a large objective does not solve the issue of high magnification darkening, but it can surely help. 

Another thing you should consider is that even though larger objectives are able to gather more light, they also make the scopes bulkier and heavier. Therefore, think really well before you select a monster scope just because it looks cool. Chances are you will regret your decision and you will not have better accuracy. 

3. Weight

You may not think about this as a very important aspect when searching for an air rifle scope, but it is. The weight of your entire hunting gear is extremely important, especially if you have to carry it over long distances and for many hours. In such situations, take our word for it, you will feel every pound. 

Depending on your situation and shooting practices, the weight of the scope should not make the overall weight of the rifle uncomfortable. We are not talking just about carrying it, but also about holding it while aiming and shooting. 

You should be able to hold your air rifle comfortably. If not, your hands will tire very quickly and you will most probably lose the ability to hit your targets too well.  

4. Reticle Type

We’ve already covered this aspect, but we need to mention that it is important to select the reticle type based on where and what you hunt. You already know that you can choose between a fine crosshair, duplex crosshair, or mil-dot. There are the most common types of reticles, but there are others as well. 

You can also select a target dot which is pretty much a fine crosshair configuration with a center dot. This one has pretty much the same drawbacks and it is not useful for distance shooting or for hunting. The circle looks like a target dot but it has a larger and thin-lined circle around the bulls-eye. 

However, it is easy to lose the hairs and to cover or clutter the target, just as with the previous type. If you are looking for something more advanced, you can also consider an illuminated reticle. Even if some think that this is a completely useless and expensive feature, it is not always the case. If you often shoot at black targets, it is very difficult to use a dark reticle. 

However, by illuminating the reticle, you will be able to see the crosshairs against the target much easier and faster. This feature is also useful when you are hunting in low light conditions, or when your target is hiding in the shadows. Again, the type you choose should be the one that can be most useful for your shooting purposes. 

5. Turrets and adjustments

A turret’s primary job is to make the necessary adjustments that are referred to as windage and elevation. There are various types of turrets because different scopes are designed for several purposes. You should select standard ballistic turrets with adjustments that are commonly related to the distance you usually fire in yards. 

These non-tactical models generally have adjustments valued at 1/4 or 1/8 and are in inches. Moreover, many companies manufacture low-profile ballistic knobs that are capped in order to prevent accidental adjustments. There are also open-style turrets that are intended for accurate adjustments and highlighted by their height and small adjustment scales. 

Turrets with two-key adjustment systems are also available. The first one is displayed in Minute of Angle or MOA and it corresponds to one inch when shooting at a hundred yards. The second one is expressed in MRAD which is approximately 3.6 inches at a hundred yards.

The MOA turret is usually most common for a large variety of shooters, and MRAD is usually preferred by long-range shooters.

6. Construction

The main tube is the body of the scope and it can vary in diameters of 25, 30, and 34 millimeters. This aspect largely depends on the brand as well as the type you are searching for. An air rifle scope with a larger tube offers more space for interior components and it also enhances the range of adjustment which is an essential factor for long-distance shooting. 

Moreover, a bigger housing requires special mounting rings that can be more expensive and more limited in options. If you want to spend more on a scope, you should not invest more than $50 for the base mount. As a general feature, most current scopes are argon or nitrogen-purged in order to prevent fogging. This also makes them waterproof as well as shockproof. 

How To Use an Air Rifle Scope

Air Rifle Scope ReviewsLet’s say you have your air rifle, pellets, targets, and a brand new scope. In order to make the most of your shooting experience, you should use your scope to increase your accuracy in shooting. It is time to mount the scope on your air rifle, but for that, you will need a suitable set of mounts.

1. Mounting the scope

Choosing the right scope mounts depends on the options you have on the rifle and the size of the scope’s tube. It is very important to get a set that will fit both the scope and the rifle and that will keep the scope well-attached. Once you have everything, it is time to attach the scope to the air rifle. 

Usually, you should first attach the scope to the mounts with equal clearance between each mounting point and both ends of the unit. This should be pretty easy with a one-piece mount, but it can become more tricky with a set of two-piece mounts because other obstacles might stand in the way. 

At this point, you should not overtighten the screws, because some adjustments might still be necessary. The next step is to attach the mounts to the air rifle by placing the mounted scope on the gun’s rail and loosely tighten the screws. 

Afterward, keeping the rifle comfortably on the shoulder, you should move the scope forward and backward, closer and further away from the eye, in order to get the best sight image through the scope. Once you feel comfortable with the distance, you can tighten all of the screws.

2. Matching the scope with the rifle

Since every scope and rifle is different, the two have to be matched together in order for the pellet to hit the center of the crosshairs, and exactly where you want it to hit. To obtain this, you should decide on a suitable distance to zero your rifle scope

For this process, you need a sturdy and secure rest to shoot from. A shooting rest might be very useful to have. Basically, it is important for the rifle to sit in the exact same position each shot. Moving on, you need to shoot at a paper target so that you can see exactly where the center of the crosshair is in relation to the point the pellet hits the target. 

For instance, if you hit the crosshair at the center of the bullseye and the pellet hits lower, higher, more to the left, or more to the right, the scope allows you to adjust the position of the center of the crosshair. For this process, you might need to remove a turret cover in order to adjust right/left windage, or up/down elevation with a coin. 

Other scopes allow you to twist the turret. However, this depends on the model of your scope. You will surely need to repeat this process a few times until you manage to match the center of the crosshair with your point of impact. This means that your air rifle hits zero. 

3. Other considerations

You should keep in mind that if you are shooting outside, there are other factors you should consider. The wind is one of them. Also, the type and quality of the pellets can make a difference, but also the air pressure from the cylinder, if you are using a pre-charged rifle.

FAQ About Air Rifle Scopes

1. What is the bell of an air rifle scope?

As you might already know, the most important parts of any scope are the lenses. The objective lens is the larger lense and it is positioned at the end of the scope, farthest from the air rifle’s stock. Its main purpose is to gather light and transmit it to the ocular lens which is the one closest to your eye. 

The part of the scope housing the objective lens is called the objective bell, and the one that contains the ocular lens is called an eyepiece. Most air rifle scope lenses are fog-proof and waterproof.

2. What is subtension magnification?

Ballistic reticles work through something that is called subtension. A reticle’s subtension is basically the distance that the span of that particular reticle can cover at a certain distance. Therefore, as the range to the targeted object increases, so does the subtension of that reticle. 

For instance, if your projectile is 10 inches at 100 yards, you will need a secondary aiming point below the primary aiming point that subtends to 10 inches at 100 yards, in order to hit at that range. 

This subtension would be 3.3 inches at 33.33 yards. Unfortunately, many hunters do not understand that due to this, a standard duplex reticle in a variable-powered air rifle scope can be used similarly to a ballistic reticle.

3. Is an illuminated reticle more helpful?

Air rifle scopes with illuminated reticles definitely improve hunting experiences in low light conditions and shaded areas. The major difference between a fine crosshair and an illuminated reticle is that you will have a clear red dot light on the target point. 

This feature is extremely helpful when light is not enough during hunting or when targeting objects with dark backgrounds. However, you should also consider that most hunters recommend reducing the weight of the air rifle as much as possible, a scope with illuminated reticle actually increases the weight a bit. 

This happens because this type of reticle requires an additional battery and a control knob. Therefore, the weight of the battery and that of the knob will add to the overall weight of the air rifle. Still, do not think that the overall weight will increase a lot. 

We are only talking about one or two ounces, depending on the battery’s size. We suggest that you think of your shooting activities and then decide if you really need an illuminated reticle.

4. How do I clean the lens on my air rifle scope?

First of all, it is extremely important to remove the dust before you rub. You can do this by using a clean and dry microfiber cloth or a cleaning tip that is specifically intended for this purpose. If your scope is waterproof, you can move to the next step and run the lens under your water faucet but do not spray too hard. 

You can also use a cotton swab that was dipped in water. Afterward, you can wipe the optical glass using a lens tissue, a microfiber cloth, or a cleaning tip. Make sure you only use materials that are designed for this purpose or you might end up with scratched lenses.

Best Air Rifle Scopes Comparison Chart

ProductMagnificationObjective lensReticle stylePrice
UTG 3-9X32 1" BugBuster Scope, AO, RGB Mil-dot, QD Rings3-932Mil-dot$$
Hawke Vantage Riflescope 1"4-1250Mil-dot$$ – $$$
UTG 4-16X44 30mm Scope, AO, 36-color Mil-dot, w/ Rings4-1644Mil-dot$$$
Bushnell 614124 Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Adjustable Objective Riflescope4-1240Multi-X$$$
UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope, AO, 36-color Mil-dot, Rings3-1244Mil-dot$$$
Daisy Winchester Outdoor Products 4 x 32 AO Winchester Scope432Fine crosshair$
Nikon Prostaff P3 Target EFR 3-9x40 AO Matte Precision Black3-940Precision reticle$$$$
Hawke Airmax 30mm SF Riflescope3-1250AMX-IR$$$$$

Wrap Up

As you can see, finding and choosing the best air rifle scope is not the easiest task. There are a lot of things to consider such as shooting purposes, lighting conditions, target types, as well as various features of the scope. Just like the objective lens that gathers the light and transmits it to the ocular lens, we have also gathered all the relevant information we could find on this topic to make things a bit easier for you.

The air rifle scope reviews we prepared are meant to show you what are some of the top-rated models available on the market today. You might even be able to select one from the list. If not, the buying guide, together with all of the details we discussed, should guide you in the right direction. We are confident you are going to choose a model that best suits all of your shooting needs.