February 12th, 2022

Saturday at the Movies: Riflescope Comparison Tests + Spotters

riflescope optic scope test video comparison review product movie

For a benchrest, F-Class, or ELR competitor, the optic may easily be the most expensive component of the rifle. Even a hunter may spend as much on glass as he/she does on the rifle itself. Because scopes represent such a big investment, it is important to do some research before deciding what to buy.

Unfortunately, it is pretty much impossible to “test drive” a half-dozen or more optics. Thankfully, there are some video reviews on the internet that are, for the most part, helpful. Here we provide five scope comparison tests, with different price points, high to low. We also include a special BONUS — a unique review of 19 different spotting scopes from ten different manufacturers.

1. Nine Long Range Scopes Compared by Pew Pew Tactical

Pew Pew Tactical (PPT) published lengthy comparison of nine long range scopes. For each model PPT examined clarity, eye relief, reticle design, parallax, and windage/elevation travel. PPT also provides short videos for all the scopes showing the operation of the controls. FULL PPT REVIEW HERE.

riflescope Pew Pew Tactical optic scope test video comparison review product movie

NINE Long Range Scopes Compared
1. Vortex Strike Eagle 4-24×50mm
2. Vortex Viper PST II 5-25×50mm
3. Leupold VX3i LRP 8.5-25×50mm
4. Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25×56mm
5. Burris XTR II 5-25×50mm
6. Steiner PX4i 4-16×56mm
7. EOTech Vudu 5-25×56mm
8. Primary Arms 6-30×56mm
9. Schmidt & Bender PMII 5-25×56mm

2. $1500 Max Price Five-Scope Showdown

This 5-scope comparison test by Armslist Media yielded some surprises. All the scopes in the review retailed for $1500 or less. Most offer 5X at the low end and 20X or 25X at the high end. Three provide a four times zoom ratio, while the SIG Whiskey5 has a five times ratio and the Leupold VX6 has a full six times zoom ratio, with its 3-18X lens. That’s good for varmint hunters who often scan a wide field of view and then zoom in on a critter to make the shot. We think all these scopes offer good value for the money. We add that anyone considering these optics should also look at the Zeiss V4 line which offers outstanding glass at very competitive prices. The Zeiss Conquest V4 6-24x50mm is just $1249.00 at EuroOptic. The Zeiss V4 would be one of our first choices for a SFP varmint scope, no doubt about it.

FIVE $1500 Scopes Compared
1. Leica ER 5-20x50mm
2. Leupold VX6 3-18×50mm
3. Nightforce SHV 5-20×56mm
4. Trijicon TR23 5-20×50mm
5. SIG Sauer Whiskey5 5-25x50mm

3. Five Sub-$1000 Scopes Reviewed by Precision Rifle Network

If you are looking for a moderate-priced optic for a PRS or hunting rifle, consider one of the scopes featured in this comparison review. These all offer 24-25 powder at the high end, plenty of magnification for PRS/NRL matches. This video compares the controls of all five optics, and there are through-the-lens views showing the reticles on each optic. The tester criticized the SIG Tango for “scope shadow” in view, and overly complex labeling on the knobs. He liked the Burris XTR2 saying it “is a well-respected optic in the precision rifle community … it is basically ‘bomb-proof'”, but he felt that Burris glass color fidelity was not on a par with the Vortex or Nightforce. (7:58). NOTE: the Nikon Black FX1000 series has been discontinued so these optics are available now at very attractive prices. Even before the price cut, the reviewer said “Guys, for the money, I’m not sure there’s another scope on the market that can compete with this thing.” (7:12). The 4-16x50mm FX1000 is just $649.99 at EuroOptic.com — a steal. We’ve used the 5-25x50mm FX1000 scope reviewed in this video — it has truly excellent glass, albeit stiff knobs.

FIVE $1000 Scopes Compared
1. Burris XTR2 5-25×50mm
2. Nightforce SHV 4.514x50mm
e. Nikon Black FX1000 6-24×50mm
4. SIG Sauer Tango4 6-24x50mm
5. Vortex Viper PST Gen2 5-25×50mm

4. Ten Under-$500 Riflescopes Review by Backfire

This is a very comprehensive test of ten scopes under $500 MSRP. Unlike many reviews, the tester actually purchased all the tested scopes with his own money to provide a fair, unbiased review. The ten scopes all have approximately 4-14X magnification, common for a hunting/general purpose field scope. The reviewer ranked the $349 Vortex Diamondback Tactical FFP as the Best Overall scope. The reviewer’s first choice for a Target/Competition scope was the $299 Arken 4-16×50 model. The $175 Burris Fullfield E1 Hunting model was named the best “Lightweight, Capped Scope”.

Ten Under-$500 Scopes Compared
1. Arken 4-16x50mm SH4 Gen2 FFP, $399
2. Athlon Talos BTR 4-14x44mm, $279
3. Blackhound Genesis 4-4x44mm FFP MOA, $299
4. Burris Fullfield E1 4.5-14x42mm, $175
5. Bushnell Nitro 3-12x44mm, $399
6. Leupold VX Freedom 4-12x40mm, $299
7. Primary Arms SLx 3-18x50mm, $479
8. SIG Whiskey3 3-9x40mm, $169
9. Vortex Crossfire II 4-12x44mm, $299
10. Vortex Diamondback Tactical 4-16x44mm, $349

Price listed at time of video release, September 2021. Prices may have changed.

5. Best Rimfire Scopes under $200 (.22 Plinkster)

.22 Plinkster is an honest tester who shoots thousands of rimfire rounds every year. So he’s in a good position to review budget-priced scopes designed for rimfire rifles. Because rimfire rifles have a different kind of recoil pulse than centerfire rigs, and because rimfire rifles are often shot rapid fire at plates, with hundreds of rounds fired in an afternoon, you want to find a scope that has been thoroughly tested to ensure long-term durability. Among the dozen scopes he tested, .22 Plinkster favored the Bushnell Rimfire Series: “I’ve used these [Rimfire Series] scopes a lot. These scopes, for the price point… you can’t go wrong.” He also recommended the Vortex Crossfire scope, noting that it had very clear glass and a rock-solid, transferrable lifetime warranty: “Vortex is one of my favorite scope to use, and as a company they really stand behind their products.”

BONUS Video — 19 Spotting Scopes Reviewed

Spotting scopes reviewed backwoods pursuit

You’ll find many riflescope comparison videos on YouTube. But there are far fewer reviews that look at more than two or three spotting scopes at the same time. Here is a remarkable comparison test that examines 19 spotting scopes ranging from under $300 to over $3000 in price, with both 65mm and 85mm size categories (actual max objective tested was 88mm). If you’re in the market for a new spotting scope, this is a “must-watch” video.

Spotters tested: Athlon Ares UHD, Athlon Cronus UHD, Bushnell Forge, Bushnell Nitro Compact, Bushnell Nitro Full Size, Kowa TSN 553, Kowa TSN 773, Kowa TSN 883, Leupold Santium SX-5, Maven CS.1, Maven S1.A, Nightforce TS-82, Meopta Meostar S2 Standard, Meopta Meostar S2 Wide Angle, SIG Sauer Oscar 8, Swarovski ATX 65mm, Swarovski ATX 85mm, Vortex Razor HD 65mm, and Vortex Razor HD 85mm.

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