Having a quality scope on your air rifle is vital as it ensures you’ll accurately hit your target. Finding that perfect scope is a challenge though. That’s why we researched countless products, addressing their pros and cons, to come up with five of the best air rifle scopes.
The following provides all the information you need about our top five picks in addition to offering a guide to teach you what to look for in an air rifle scope.
In a hurry? Check out the bullet list below to quickly read about your choice of scope:
- UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope
- Winchester by Daisy Outdoor Products 2-7 x 32 AO
- CVLIFE 3-9×40 Compact Rifle Scope Crosshair Reticle
- UTG 3-9X32 1″ BugBuster Scope
- Soft Air Swiss Arms 4×32 Rifle Scope
Air Rifle Scope – Buyer’s Guide
It is not only important to find the best air scope rifle, but you should focus on choosing the correct one for your gun and your needs.
Fixed Scopes vs. Variable Scopes
There are two main types of air rifle scopes to choose from: fixed and variable.
A fixed air rifle scope is one that you cannot adjust as it is set to one magnification. In general, fixed air rifle scopes have a lower magnification. You will usually see it denoted by something like 4×32.
Though the magnification is not high, a fixed air rifle scope does have a rather large field of view. This makes it ideal for close-range shooting at things such as small rodents. A fixed scope does not give you a lot of flexibility to aim at varying distances.
Fixed air rifle scopes are also more straightforward to use since they require next to no adjusting. However, a huge advantage is that the fixed air rifle scope will practically have no parallax distortion in the ranges that it’s useful for.
The downside is that you can’t just dial in magnification when you see a target at a specific distance from you.
With a variable air rifle scope, you get a range of ocular magnification that can be adjusted, for example, 3-9x. This is shown as 3-9×32. The 3-9x signifies the magnification range and the 32 measures the diameter of the objective lens in millimeters.
They are useful in the sense that you can get both low magnification and a large field of view for close target shooting, and you can also zoom far enough to handle targets in the distance.
If there is any disadvantage to owning this type of scope, it is the fact that it tends to require a good deal of readjustments when you adjust magnification. If you dialed in your air rifle scope for 50 yards and then try to shoot at 150 yards you’ll need to readjust elevation, windage, and possibly parallax. Therefore, a scope with parallax adjustment besides windage and elevation adjustments offers a good advantage!
Fixed air rifle scopes require fewer of these adjustments but will, on the other hand, also not allow you to use the same scope for a wide range of distances. You’ll find both fixed and variable optics for air rifles as part of the best air gun scopes available today.
Though touched on in the above section, it is beneficial to understand as much as possible about every detail of a scope. When you are looking at the magnification, know that the number translates to how much the target is magnified in comparison to how it looks without a scope.
To use previous examples, a 4x magnification indicates that you are seeing the target as though it is four times closer. So, if you are hunting a target that is 100 yards out, with a 4x magnification, it appears as if it is only 25 yards out, allowing you to have better accuracy in your shot.
A reticle is an essential component of an air rifle scope as it allows you actually to aim at your target with the air rifle scope. Besides, the reticle assists in helping you estimate the wind. Other than the standard crosshair, the reticle comes in different styles with each one designed with a particular use in mind.
The most common styles of reticles you will find are fine, thick, dot, and mil-dot.
Fine crosshair has one of the best levels of accuracy, which makes this type more ideal for target shooters. It is one of the most simple models though, and it doesn’t tend to work as well in low-light environments.
If you are looking for something that offers clarity in low-light situations, you may consider going for the thick crosshair reticle. It is clear to see through in general. However, because of the thickness, it is not the most accurate at all times.
Another type seen as the most simplistic approach is the dot reticle. All it features is an enclosed circle that has a dot in the center. Sometimes, some crosshairs will extend through the field of view.
Out of all the reticle types, the mil-dot airgun reticle remains the most popular. It features small dots that are along fine lines that head to the center of the hairs, but there are many variations to it as well. It offers a good deal of coverage against dark environments, and at the same time, it doesn’t obscure the smaller targets.
No matter what type of reticle you decide to go with, be sure that you understand how to focus your reticle for your eye specifically so that you can get the most use out of it.
All About Lenses
On a scope, the front lens is known as the objective lens. The objective lens holds control over the amount of light that is allowed into the scope. The amount of light is determined by the diameter of the objective lens. For instance, with a larger diameter, more light is allowed in. This does help with a crisper sight picture when you shoot with your air gun.
Something to keep in mind is that as the lenses grow in diameter, the overall weight of the scope increases. Furthermore, a larger size may result in additional mounting hardware so that the scope can be placed at a higher level.
To offer you such a clear view regardless of the size you choose, lenses are made from glass. Since glass reflects light with such ease, it is imperative that you want a lens that has a coating on it. A handful of different coatings exist such as a single coating, fully coated, multicoated, and fully multicoated.
For single coating, it indicates that there is a single layer of coating on at least one piece of the lens. Fully coated lenses feature a single layer coating across all glass surfaces.
Fully Multi-Coated Lenses
As for multicoated, one lens surface has multiple coatings. The fully multi-coated lenses place those various coatings on every glass surface which makes it the superior choice for an air rifle scope.
No matter which one you choose to go for, be sure that the coating is high in quality so that it can better reduce glare while improving the transmission of light. Most scopes for air rifles from top-quality manufacturers will have proprietary coatings on the objective lens and all other lenses.
You won’t specifically be able to find out whether a coating itself is high-quality but using the best air rifle scopes from the most reputable brands will ensure that your objective lens and other optics are fully multi-coated with the best available coating mixtures.
Reviews of the Best Air Rifle Scopes
UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope
This UTG Compact Scope has a shockproof design, and thanks to its strength platform, it won’t budge when hit. It has a 30mm tube, and beyond being shockproof, it features rain-proof and fog-proof capabilities.
For the reticle, it uses a mil-dot reticle design. There are nine dots in each direction on the mil-dot reticle.
With that said, you have an estimated 19 aiming points to use. Built into this mil-dot reticle is Illumination Enhancing (IE) Technology.
This allows you to personalize the scope as it offers 36 different color variations for the illuminated reticle. This is beneficial when dealing with light changes. Switching the colors is done with a simple press of a button.
As for the lenses, this scope utilizes a multicoated emerald. This aids in maximum light transmission, which, in turn, can grant you a higher level of clarity.
The turrets are designed well to offer more consistency when it comes to elevation adjustments and windage. Also, the side wheel turret design grants you quick access to adjust to your needs, making it highly user-friendly. This also has locking and re-setting features to add a layer of protection.
The UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope comes with additional accessories to make your time using the scope even easier. It includes heavy-duty rings and flip-open lens caps.
- Able to focus quickly
- Good durability
- Offers clear image
- Can feel a bit heavy
- Sometimes it’s awkward holding zero
Winchester by Daisy Outdoor Products 2-7 x 32 AO
This Winchester Scope has a 2-7x variable magnification power that is backed by a cross-hair reticle. The scope tube size is 1″, and this optic features variable magnification so that you have freedom in adjusting it for your needs.
Not only is there an adjustable objective lens, but the knobs allow for quick and straightforward adapting to windage and elevation.
This scope for air rifles is designed to be fog-proof to help keep your vision clear and shockproof so that the scope can better accommodate recoil. This ensures that the Winchester Scope will last you a good deal of time before the need arises to replace it.
As for seeing out of the scope, it offers crisp sight images and clear resolution whether you are zooming 10 yards or 200 yards out. It is user-friendly not only in how well you can adjust, but how you can mount it in the first place.
The Winchester by Daisy Outdoor Products 2-7 x 32 AO Scope comes with mounting hardware for you to use, and the thumbscrews on the mounts are quick-release.
- Features smooth magnification
- Offers good field of view
- Quickly adapts to different mounting requirements
- Might loosen somewhat after a few shots
- Rings appear to be in low-quality
CVLIFE 3-9×40 Compact Rifle Scope Crosshair Reticle
To help with accuracy, the CVLIFE Rifle Scope uses a quality crosshair reticle design. This can also increase the speed of your aiming. The Kellner eyepiece it features grants you an extra field of view as well so you can get high-quality use out of this scope.
The CVLife 3-9×40 Compact air gun scope is sealed well in addition to being 100% nitrogen-filled. By doing this, the rifle scope has better fog-proof and rain-proof abilities so that you can use the scope under various weather conditions with no issues. Further protection is seen in the fact that the lenses have a scratch-resistant coating to keep it safe from oils, dirt, etc.
Further proof of the durability of the CVLIFE Rifle Scope is seen in its body. It is made using high-strength aluminum alloy. At under 8″, the scope is easy enough to carry around.
The 40 mm objective lens provides lots of light transmission for low-light conditions for a scope intended for air rifles. In combination with the 3-9x zoom you’ll have one of the best air gun scopes for an affordable price.
It is overall an excellent choice for an air rifle scope considering its ease of use and fast ability to focus. Also, though some may not appreciate the short eye relief (What is Eye Relief on a Scope? – Scope Clearance Guide), it is sufficient for an air rifle.
- Easy to put into focus
- Able to hold its setting well
- Glass is clear
- Large objective lens for crisp sight image in low-light conditions
- The mounting hardware feels cheap
- Minimal eye relief – Long Eye Relief vs Short Eye Relief Scope – Everything you need to know!
UTG 3-9×32 1″ BugBuster Scope
Another scope seen as the best scope for an air rifle is the UTG BugBuster. With a 1″ tube, this is seen as one of the most efficient UTG products.
One of the best features of the UTG 3-9×32 1″ BugBuster air gun rifle scope is its locking capabilities. No matter what happens, even if you drop the scope or take a fall while holding the gun, your original aim settings remain locked into place.
This air rifle scope is battery-powered, and it comes with two lithium metal batteries that have a long-lasting lifespan. For higher reliability beyond the previously mentioned lock system, the BugBuster Scope is 100% nitrogen-filled and sealed. It fights off rain, fog, and shock so it can last you a great deal of time through heavy use.
The resettable turrets of the UTG 3-9×32 BugBuster are high in quality, and they offer proper adjustment for elevation and windage. This scope achieves a parallax-free view from as close to 3 yards to as far out to infinity. The parallax adjustment is dialed in through the adjustable objective.
The UTG airgun scope comes with an adjustable wide-angle front objective lens. The objective lens measures 32 mm in diameter and lets sufficiently large amounts of light into the scope for a crisp sight image.
For the reticle, the BugBuster second focal plane scope uses red and green illumination. The illuminated reticle allows greater diversity, which can be helpful if you are using the airgun scope in various environments as well as different lighting conditions.
- Built well to last for a couple of years
- Compact and lightweight design
- Holds its adjustments well
- Reticle seems off by a few degrees
- Crosshairs may get fuzzy
SoftAir Swiss Arms 4×32 Rifle Scope
The Soft Air Swiss Arms Rifle Scope may feature a slight learning curve if you are not used to using scopes, but it once you understand it, it’s relatively easy to use.
It features no-tool adjustment, and the adjustable objective provides you with a fixed 4x magnification power. The crosshairs are an essential, fine design that offers just enough accuracy.
This scope is useful regardless of the altitude or even the terrain you are on all because of how you can adjust according to windage and elevation. The Swiss Arms Rifle Scope is intended for the majority of Airsoft guns even though many use it for standard rifles as well, and it can see its best use for midrange shooting.
The SoftAir Swiss Arms 4×32 scope for air rifles comes equipped with a standard rail interface and mounting system. For the material, it features a rubber-finish body that holds up well to frequent use. It includes a flip-open lens cover, Weaver rings, and sunshade.
The 32mm objective lens is a good match for use on air rifles. You’ll get a good sight image at the typical ranges you’ll be using a 4x magnified scope on air rifles.
- Images are clear
- Once sighted in, it holds well
- Adjusts and mounts to various guns
- Eye relief seems unforgiving
- May take some getting used to
After reviewing five of the top-rated air rifle scopes, we conclude that the UTG 3-9X32 BugBuster Scope is the winner amongst the group.
For one thing, it is user-friendly so that beginners can make use of it as well as intermediate to advanced shooters. The compact design of this scope for air rifles allows it to fit on most rifles without weighing it down, and it even features the use of the mil-dot reticle, one of the more popular reticle designs.
The BugBuster Scope also offers quality adjustment and magnification, and the red and green illumination can help with seeing under various conditions. It is a versatile product that we feel many can adapt to suit their needs.
Have any thoughts about our top five products or our number one pick? Feel free to share them with us.