The 10 Best Deer Hunting Scopes Under $500 in 2024

A good deer hunting scope is essential gear for having a successful hunt. With so many models on the market to choose from, it can be tricky to find the right balance of features and quality while staying under budget. This comprehensive guide will explore the top-rated deer hunting scopes under $500 for 2024 based on performance, build quality, features, and value.

How Scopes Can Improve Your Deer Hunting

Using a reliable scoped rifle when deer hunting offers significant advantages over traditional open sights. A quality scope with ample magnification enables you to:

  • Accurately place shots from much farther distances
  • See fine details of targets
  • Steadily track moving deer
  • Maintain visuals in low light at dawn and dusk when deer are most active

However, with such a wide selection of scopes with varying attributes at different price points, choosing the ideal model for your needs and budget can get confusing. This curated list simplifies the process by showcasing the 10 best-performing deer hunting scopes under $500 this year.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Deer Hunting Scope

Before exploring recommendations, here are some key factors to weigh when deciding which deer hunting scope is right for your preferences, hunting style, rifle, and budget:

Magnification Power

The magnification power determines how closely you can visualize your target. Most expert hunters recommend variable magnification, commonly 3-9x or 3-12x, for deer hunting. This enables scanning the landscape at lower magnifications and zooming in when ready to aim and fire.

Objective Lens Diameter

The objective lens is at the front of the scope and transmits light to give a clear, bright image. A larger lens diameter, for example, 40mm or 50mm, delivers brighter views in low light compared to a smaller diameter.


The reticle is the aiming point that shows where your shot will land. For deer hunting, the main options are:

  • BDC reticle: Allows accurate aiming at varying distances
  • Duplex reticle: A classic crosshair plus posts good for mid-range shots
  • Illuminated reticle: Reticle lights up to stand out against dark backgrounds

Tube Diameter

Tube diameter typically ranges from 1 to 1.5 inches. The larger the tube, the more internal adjustments for windage and elevation. A 30mm tube is fine for most deer hunters’ needs.

Durability and Weather Resistance

Deer season conditions can be wet, cold, snowy, and icy. Seek scopes touted for waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof performance. Aircraft-grade aluminum housing offers durable protection.

Now that you know how to evaluate key scope attributes, let’s review the top 10 best deer hunting scopes under $500 recommended for 2024.

The 10 Best Deer Hunting Scopes Under $500 – Reviews 2024

1. Vortex Optics Viper HS LR Second Focal Plane Riflescopes

Vortex Optics Viper HS LR Second Focal Plane Riflescopes
  • Magnification: 6-24x
  • Objective Diameter: 50mm
  • Reticle: XLR MOA reticle
  • Length: 15 inches
  • Weight: 23.6 ounces
  • Rating: 4.9 out of 5

Vortex Optics is a trusted, leading scope manufacturer, and the Viper HS LR model provides superior performance. Notably, imaging is vibrant and highly defined courtesy of the extra-low dispersion (XD) lens elements and 50mm objective. An astounding 6-24x magnification facilitates shooting way out to extreme distances even as far as 1,000 yards.

This Vortex scope has a premium, fully multi-coated lenses for optimal light transmission. The 30mm main tube is made of aircraft-grade aluminum to withstand heavy recoil. The Viper LR2 also delivers excellent water, fog, shock, and scratch resistance thanks to the strong ArmorTek protective coating. Overall, it’s the best long-range hunting scope under $500.

2. Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9x40mm Rifle Scope

  • Magnification: 3-9x
  • Objective Diameter: 40mm
  • Reticle: Nikoplex reticle
  • Length: 12.4 inches
  • Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Rating: 4.8 out of 5

The Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9×40 provides tremendous value at its very reasonable price point. The fully multicoated lenses generate crisp target images even in low light. The 40mm objective lens optimally balances magnification power with brightness.

This model also features a generous 4 inches of eye relief and a constant 3.6 inches between 100 and 200 yards when sighted in. The 1/4 MOA click adjustment turrets are also resettable to zero after sighting. With shock, water, and fogproof integrity, the Buckmasters II perseveres through harsh hunting conditions. Overall, it’s the best mid-range scope under $200 for deer hunting available today.

3. Zeiss Conquest V4 3-12×56 Rifle Scope

Zeiss Conquest V4 3-12x56 Rifle Scope
  • Magnification: 3-12x
  • Objective Diameter: 56mm
  • Reticle: ZBR-2 reticle
  • Length: 14 inches
  • Weight: 17.6 ounces
  • Rating: 4.8 out of 5

The Zeiss Conquest V4 3-12×56 scope demonstrates elite-caliber optical performance synonymous with the leading German lens makers. The generous 56mm objective lens gathers abundant light for brightly detailed sight pictures regardless of conditions.

The 4x zoom range covers all common deer hunting distances exceptionally well. The scope offers elite-level mechanical and optical quality noted for its alignment reliability even under heavy recoil over countless shots. The Conquest V4 also boasts extensive ruggedness against rain, dust, snow, shocks, and more courtesy of the tried and tested LotuTec protective coating.

4. Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x40mm Rifle Scope

4. Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x40mm Rifle Scope
  • Magnification: 3.5-10x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 40mm
  • Reticle: Duplex reticle
  • Length: 12.8 inches
  • Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Rating: 4.9 out of 5

Leupold is arguably the most time-honored American scope manufacturer. The Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x40mm unites elite optical clarity and ruggedness expected from the brand with contemporary features hunters demand.

Notably, the 6:1 zoom ratio provides ample magnification versatility for deer stalking and shooting whether up close or farther out. Index Matched Lens System technology noticeably enhances image brightness, sharpness, and contrast for confident shooting in all conditions.

Add in top-tier waterproofing, shockproofing, and repeatable finger-click adjustments, and you have one of the best mid-range hunting scopes money can buy. Its modest size and weight also complement most popular deer rifles very ergonomically.

5. Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope

Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope
  • Magnification: 3-9x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 40mm
  • Reticle: Multi-X reticle
  • Length: 12 inches
  • Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Rating: 4.7 out of 5

The Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn 3-9×40 Riflescope reliably performs in challenging low-light hunting conditions when deer are most actively feeding. Multiple Dusk & Dawn Brightness (DDB) multicoated lenses amplify what little ambient light exists for crisp target visualization. The fast-focus eyepiece also quickly brings scenes into sharp view when timing is critical.

Despite the budget-friendly price, this scope offers fantastic durability. The one-piece tube is nitrogen purged and O-ring sealed to prevent interior fogging while withstanding rain, dirt, and recoil. If you want an affordable, high-quality low-light hunting scope, the Banner Dusk & Dawn is easily one of the best options.

6. Burris Fullfield E1 3-9x40mm Hunting Scope

Burris Fullfield E1 3-9x40mm Hunting Scope
  • Magnification: 3-9x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 40mm
  • Reticle: Ballistic Plex E1 reticle
  • Length: 12.4 inches
  • Weight: 11.17 ounces
  • Rating: 4.8 out of 5

The Burris Fullfield E1 3-9x40mm scope offers tremendous value by delivering impressive optical and builds quality that rivals far more expensive models. Noteworthy features include an incredibly accurate trajectory compensating E1 reticle with bullet drop out to 500 yards pre-calculated for popular hunting loads.

Hi-Lume multicoating creates abundant brightness and contrast for true colors and clarity. The generous 4-inch eye relief provides ample spacing, while 1/4 MO

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7. Primary Arms SLx 3-9x40mm Rifle Scope

Primary Arms SLx 3-9x40mm Rifle Scope
  • Magnification: 3-9x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 40mm
  • Reticle: Illuminated ACSS 5.56 / 5.45 / .308 reticle
  • Length: 12.6 inches
  • Weight: 17.5oz
  • Rating: 4.7 out of 5

This Primary Arms scope punches well above its modest price tag. Notably, the ACSS reticle has bullet drop compensating and ranging functions calculated for popular deer cartridges built right in. The illuminated center dot promotes fast targeting and accuracy in dim settings.

Fully multi-coated lenses generate bright, crisp views across the entire zoom range. The 30mm tube built from 6063 aluminum handles heavy recoil while nitrogen filling and o-ring seals make it impressively water and fogproof. For an illuminated BDC scope with premium features under $300, the SLx 3-9x40mm delivers tremendous value.

8. Athlon Optics Argos HMR 6-24×50 First Focal Plane (FFP) Rifle Scope

Athlon Optics Argos HMR 6-24x50 First Focal Plane (FFP) Rifle Scope
  • Magnification: 6-24x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 50mm
  • Reticle: APMR FFP IR MIL reticle
  • Length: 15 inches
  • Weight: 23 ounces
  • Rating: 4.8 out of 5

The Athlon Optics Argos HMR 6-24×50 is equipped with elite-level attributes at a fraction of the price of comparable long-range rifle scopes. Notably, it uses extra-low dispersion glass with index-matched multilayer lens coatings for stunning HD clarity across its entire 6-24x magnification range.

The 34mm tube built from aircraft grade aluminum pairs impressive ruggedness with ample windage/elevation adjustment travel to dial in at extreme distances. The first focal plane reticle also maintains subtensions constantly for simplified long-range holdovers. Complete water, fog, and shockproofing further bolster its hunting reliability.

9. TRUGLO TRU-BRITE 30 Series 1-6x24mm Scope

TRUGLO TRU-BRITE 30 Series 1-6x24mm Scope
  • Magnification: 1-6x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 24mm
  • Reticle: Illuminated BDC reticle
  • Length: 10.1 inches
  • Weight: 17 ounces
  • Rating: 4.6 out of 5

This innovatively designed TRUGLO 1-6×24 scope brings reflex sight speed up close and variable magnification for mid-range shooting together beautifully. The 30mm tube and quality optics including a multi-coated objective lens and wideband lens coating generate sharp views in all conditions.

The illuminated BDC-style reticle aids rapid shooting from 0-500 yards when sighted for 100 yards. Bombproof construction with rubber armoring and nitrogen filling ensures complete water, fog, and shockproof integrity. If you want an affordable 1-6x scope optimized for deer hunting, this is it!

10. Monstrum G3 6-24×50 First Focal Plane (FFP) Rifle Scope

Monstrum G3 6-24x50 First Focal Plane (FFP) Rifle Scope
  • Magnification: 6-24x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 50mm
  • Reticle: Illuminated rangefinding mil-dot reticle
  • Length: 13 inches
  • Weight: 23 ounces
  • Rating: 4.5 out of 5

The Monstrum G3 6-24x50mm delivers tremendous value and performance given its bargain price. The 30mm aircraft-grade aluminum alloy tube houses quality glass lenses delivering HD visuals across the entire 6-24x magnification range. The first focal plane rangefinding mil-dot reticle also retains subtensions with 10x zoom.

Fully multi-coated lenses generate abundant brightness while the 50mm objective diameter gathers plenty of light for dawn and dusk shooting clarity. Rugged construction makes this scope highly resistant to recoil, water, and fog. For extreme-distance shooting on a tight budget, the Monstrum G6 punches far above its class.

Final Thoughts on Selecting the Ideal Scope for Deer Hunting

As highlighted, today’s optics market offers high-performing deer hunting scopes to match virtually any preferences, features needed, and budget. Carefully reflect on your hunting style, regular terrain, and distance to targets, rifle, and available funds.

Then use this curated list of picks fitting under a $500 budget cap to select the ideal deer hunting scope delivering the magnification range, brightness, adjustments, reticle options, ruggedness, and overall quality guaranteeing ethical shots and hunting success.