Best Rifle Scope Under $500: 10 scopes tested head-to-head

Best Rifle Scope Under $500: 10 scopes tested head-to-head

I bought 10 rifle scopes to give you a completely unbiased review of the best rifle scopes under $500. The scopes considered are all approximately 4-14 magnification, which is very common for a hunting and general purpose field scope.

Best Overall Scope:
Best Lightweight, Capped Scope:
Second Place for Lightweight, Capped Scope:
Best Target or Competition Scope: Arken 4-16×50 MIL


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Special thanks to Blackhound for sending me their scope to review when I wasn’t able to purchase one since they were out of stock. Blackhound is a great company with excellent customer support. I suspect the copy I received is an outlier with the top turret problem. I will continue to support them in the future.


  1. eaglessj on October 28, 2021 at 8:22 pm

    You could have just stopped with Leupold. MADE IN USA!

  2. Jaxon Seiter on October 28, 2021 at 8:23 pm

    Do a review on the riton x3 conquer

  3. Andre Custis on October 28, 2021 at 8:23 pm

    What about hawke

  4. Lee Lathrop on October 28, 2021 at 8:23 pm

    Best scope under 500 is the Sightron S-Tac 4-20×50. It has better glass than everything you tested. It also tracks unbelievable and isn’t overly heavy. Seeing you didn’t even include it in your test shows me you have a lot of research and testing to do.

  5. Rhett Dean on October 28, 2021 at 8:25 pm

    I did like the video but the scope selection was all over the place. It’s like a top 10 cars under $50k. And why does vortex get to have 2 selections?

  6. Sylverbullit on October 28, 2021 at 8:26 pm

    Great review! I’m impressed with how many different scopes you had, and many tests were conducted. Nice to have a few great options under $500. And, you kept the video less than 15 minutes. You gained another subscriber and link clicker.
    I’ve had the Primary Arms SLx with the 6.5 Creedmoor reticle for two years and love it. Relieved it did well in your test, lol!

  7. Frank Bonazza III on October 28, 2021 at 8:26 pm

    I own a Primary Arms SLX FFP 4-14x with the ACSS 5.56 reticle, and I absolutely love it. I paid $200 for it, and the quality is great, especially for the price.

  8. warren valdez on October 28, 2021 at 8:27 pm

    This is so satisfying, would be nice to do torture testing

  9. Juan Lira on October 28, 2021 at 8:28 pm

    I’m not taking my $2500 rifle in a river or swimming pool. And the winner is the Arken. I already have the vortex diamondback tactical.

  10. Steven Bass on October 28, 2021 at 8:35 pm

    I have a Vortex Diamondback Tactical 4-16×44 EBR-2C (M0A) on my 6.5 Grendel and absolutely love it. 👍🏼

  11. Knox Flier on October 28, 2021 at 8:36 pm

    Good review. A few months ago I bought the last Althos you showed at my local Academy, so got to look it over before I bought. Overall I’m very please for the relatively low cost vs features and performance. I mounted it on a premium springer air rifle as it has focus for those ranges, and is supposed to withstand dual direction recoil these powerful springers put out. Happy with my choice, glad to see in top 3 here and could definitely recommend for the money.

  12. Les Burge on October 28, 2021 at 8:40 pm

    Good information!! Thanks

  13. Kevin Barker on October 28, 2021 at 8:40 pm

    great video, thanks

  14. Mark Martin on October 28, 2021 at 8:41 pm

    Great test but you missed one brand and that is Nikon monarch or Prostaff series

  15. PAYTON MAC on October 28, 2021 at 8:41 pm

    I HAVE , a Burris Signature Series 3 by10 40 mm 1990 still does the job .

  16. Josh on October 28, 2021 at 8:43 pm

    Personally I think you need to go to $1000 for the best bang for your buck

  17. Backfire on October 28, 2021 at 8:43 pm

    I did my best to give good reasoning to support my personal choices for the winners here, but seriously these are all good quality scopes. If you end up with an Athlon, Primary Arms, Leupold, or any other because of your personal preferences, you’ll have a good scope too.

    Also, I really think I just got an unlucky copy of a Blackhound. There are tons of positive reviews of Blackhound scopes, so don’t let my experience dissuade you from working with a great company like Blackhound. However, I had to be honest about the flaws I experienced with mine.

  18. Kristopher Hitchens on October 28, 2021 at 8:44 pm

    Hard to say "best riflesccopes under $500" when you have 10 out of the thousand that are out there on the market.

  19. Douglas Austin on October 28, 2021 at 8:44 pm

    thanks for the videos

  20. William Rowsell on October 28, 2021 at 8:45 pm

    Wanna donate one of the ones you don’t want to me? 😅

  21. Max Meridius on October 28, 2021 at 8:47 pm

    Excellent review! I’d like to see a 1-8 and below for short range shooting – thanks for the video

  22. Bart S on October 28, 2021 at 8:48 pm

    Great video, I was hoping to see the Bushnell Match Pro rifle scope.

  23. A W on October 28, 2021 at 8:50 pm

    Diamondback tacticals are the only ones I buy anymore for any hunting rifle.

  24. Michael Mignone on October 28, 2021 at 8:52 pm

    Without watching I’m going to guess the blurred out one in primary arms 1-8x.

    Edit: well if the 1-8x was used then I think it would’ve been first. $100 less than the one shown, comes in moa or mils and 17 ounces (1/2 pound lighter)

  25. Die Hard on October 28, 2021 at 8:54 pm

    The size of the bell is only going to let light in as much as the size of the tube will allow, the bigger the main tube the better for letting more light as well as giving you more come up when dialing in, not sure if you mentioned or knew that

  26. How it Really Is on October 28, 2021 at 8:54 pm

    The best scope I’ve used for under $1000 is the $250 SWFA 10x. I’ve tried the Vortex Diamondback, Vortex Viper PST, Leupold VX, Sig Tangos, and the Bushnell you list here, and it absolutely curb stomps them all.

  27. Paul Schab on October 28, 2021 at 8:56 pm

    I love my Athlon BTR Gen II.

  28. One Target One Shot on October 28, 2021 at 8:57 pm

    Excellent video ( i have a FALCON S30 GEN II 5-30X56 FFP B28 price 399,00 € + 40.00€ shipping. Am very happy because i use this scope in pcp air rifle. 22lr. and 338. ) Thank you for sharing personal time and knowledge for us

  29. Luis Ceja on October 28, 2021 at 8:58 pm

    Great video thanks

  30. Jeff Monroe on October 28, 2021 at 8:59 pm

    Swampfox Kentucky Long should of been involved

  31. Terry Leblanc on October 28, 2021 at 9:00 pm

    I really enjoyed so much information and testing.. ty ty.. my happy bubble popped when I saw communist China! Ahhh shucks

  32. Jason Banks on October 28, 2021 at 9:00 pm

    I have two diamondback scopes.. Love it. Shoot groundhogs out to 818 yards.

  33. allen patterson on October 28, 2021 at 9:00 pm

    The Vortex Crossfire II AO is the best scope in my opinion under $500 I like it better than my diamondback as a hunting scope as a target scope I’ll take the diamondback only because if open turrets but my crossfire ll AO has been great everything about it is high quality it has held zero for the past two years and it’s been dropped out of a tree stand and banged around like you can imagine took six shots to zero it at 100 yards. Overall good video though

  34. Taylor Simmonds on October 28, 2021 at 9:01 pm

    Any chance you you review the Vortex Venom and say how it would fit into this comparison?

  35. LCJ Jr. on October 28, 2021 at 9:01 pm

    FYI – The side focus Burris Fullfield E1 model has the Ballistic Plex E1 reticle which is not a good reticle for hunting. You need to buy the Burris Fullfield II model with the objective lense parallax adjustment to get the plain Ballistic Plex reticle which is much better for hunting. Good review but you should have touched on the reticle designs and benefits and drawbacks.

  36. Michael W. Urban Sr. on October 28, 2021 at 9:01 pm

    I havnt watched the whole video yet but i have been searching for a scope that would work for competition as well as hunting? Which one would u suggest for these tasks? Thanks

  37. J-D Griesel on October 28, 2021 at 9:02 pm

    You should check out hawke scopes

  38. joshua kim on October 28, 2021 at 9:03 pm

    Yall need more love for the work and passion you put into these videos!

  39. john costabile on October 28, 2021 at 9:04 pm

    Great video. Provided all the information I needed to help make a decision on a new scope.

  40. Christian Grest on October 28, 2021 at 9:05 pm

    Really good and thorough comparison. New subscriber. I’ve owned a couple of the Vortex Diamondback Tactical 4-16×44, did atleast one video on them a couple of years back and I have to agree…it’s really a great scope for the money. I don’t miss it not having illumination either as honestly I don’t tend to use that feature a ton anyways.

  41. Brandon Brown on October 28, 2021 at 9:05 pm

    I feel like the Nikon pro staff should’ve been in the budget scope mix!

  42. Eric Angutiqjuaq on October 28, 2021 at 9:07 pm

    R.i.p 13%

  43. Kayo406 on October 28, 2021 at 9:08 pm

    I would have liked to see you put the nikon prostaff 5 into the line up been eye balling it for a while

  44. Zane Snyder on October 28, 2021 at 9:10 pm

    Try out some riton scopes sometimes I’m a leupold guy all the way but I bought a riton for one of my rifles because I have a friend with 2 of them that he loves… for the price so far I am very very impressed for the price point it’s a very quality optic I personally am trying out the x1 primal 4-16×44 model it’s not a leupold vx5hd class scope but I’d buy it over any vortex scope other than razor line maybe

  45. Jen Psaki’s Cousin on October 28, 2021 at 9:14 pm

    I have an 80 dollar Tasco that has been flawless for about 5 years now. Not as clear and bright as a better scope but still I’m impressed.

  46. aaron johnson on October 28, 2021 at 9:15 pm

    I have the 4-16 Diamondback Tactical and I love it. Never used those other scopes but I have to say, I’ve looked through more expensive scopes than the diamondback tactical that didn’t look as good.

  47. scbane on October 28, 2021 at 9:15 pm

    You missed a critical criteria, in my opinion. Warranty and customer service.
    For me, Vortex. I am willing to take a slight drop in optics quality, albeit with significant cost savings, for great customer service and warranty.
    I used to be a Leupold guy….til I learned via 2 service claims, that they only back their products at your expense, if at all.
    Also, Leupold components are mostly made overseas and ASSEMBLED in the USA. BIG difference from made in the USA.
    I now exclusively rely on Vortex optics for my hunting and casual target shooting rifles. Why? Is their glass the best? Nope. Because I have used their warranty/customer service 3 times, and had my products replaced with new products, no receipt and no questions asked.
    My viper scope costs 1/3 less than a Leupold VX-III. my Diamondback HD costs half what a Vx-II costs. Leupold screwed me on warranty twice, and it took 3 weeks each time. Vortex took care of me in less than 10 business days, 3 times in 10 years. VIP warranty indeed.

  48. Ian S on October 28, 2021 at 9:15 pm

    I have that diamondback scope on my browning hells canyon in 6.5 creedmoor and I love it. Great video 👍🏽👍🏽

  49. cumgoat on October 28, 2021 at 9:17 pm

    Awesome test, but why not include the Leupold vx-3?

  50. OregonGrown on October 28, 2021 at 9:17 pm

    This is a great video and just what I was looking for. A buddy of mine said the recoil on my 7mm rem mag would be too much for the Diamond back scope and would knock it out of zero. After seeing the tests you ran I’m confident it would hold up just fine. Thank you for the time and effort put into this video. When it’s time to buy I will come back and use the link to help the channel.