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5 Best Muzzleloader Scope for the Money – Tested Reviews

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Confused about which scope to get for your muzzleloader? You are in the right place.

Buying the right scope for the money can be tough, especially if you haven’t used scopes before. But don’t worry, you won’t have to go through 25 different scopes to find the best one for your needs and budget, we already did that for you.

After spending hours in the wild hunting and scoping with my muzzleloader, I trimmed the selection down to the 5 best muzzleloader scopes that are worth every penny in 2022.

These scopes have been ranked based on durability, ease of aiming, weather-resistance, and other factors that truly matter.

In case you are in a hurry and don’t want to read all the details but straight jump to purchase, check out a summary of my picks below.

  1. Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44mm RiflescopeOur Top Pick
  2. Vortex Optics Diamondback Riflescope 
  3. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 
  4. Primary Arms SLX 3-18x50mm Scope
  5. Bushnell Trophy Rifle Scope

And if you need a little more detail before making a purchase, this comparison table is for you.

IMAGEPRODUCTFEATURESPRICE
Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44mm RiflescopeLeupold VX-5HD• ZeroLock technology prevents accidental change of turrets
• CDS provides bullet drop compensation for 100% accuracy
• HD quality visuals even at 15x magnification
View Price
Vortex Optics Diamondback RiflescopeVortex Optics Diamondback• BDC reticle provides bullet drop and holdover estimation for accuracy
• Argon purge prevents fog build-up on the lens
• Metal on metal turrets allow resetting to zero even after sight-in
View Price
Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 RiflescopeVortex Optics Crossfire• Costs less than $150 and thus ideal for budget buyers
• SFP reticle remains large and bright at all magnification levels
• Aircraft-grade aluminum build for durability and water resistance
View Price
Primary Arms SLX 3-18x50mm ScopePrimary Arms7 Illuminated reticle with 6 brightness levels
• The reticle gives range estimation for easy aiming
• Get 12x magnification with excellent visuals
View Price
Bushnell Trophy Rifle ScopeBushnell Trophy• Priced lower than $150
• Multi-X reticle provides good accuracy and visibility
• Comes with a quick focus eyepiece and a longer 4” eye relief
View Price

And for the nerds in the house that want to dig deep into the details, get in-depth reviews of my favorite muzzleloader scopes below.

Best Muzzleloader Scopes for 2022 Reviewed

1. Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44mm Riflescope

Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44mm Side Focus RiflescopeCheck Latest Price on Amazon

If you are a pro and will settle only for the best even if that means spending the big bucks, then you’ll be happy to know that the Leupold VX-5HD is an absolute beast and here’s why.

You want crystal clear visuals irrespective of the lighting or weather and the Leupold VX-5HD is built to deliver just that. How?

Well, firstly, made with only the most premium of lenses with multiple layers of anti-reflective coating, the scope gives you HD quality visuals as it has the best light transmission. This allows you to use the full range of the 15x magnification without any blurring on the sides.

It also helps combat low light in tandem with the illuminated reticle that is never lost in the background and remains crystal clear in any lighting condition making it easier to scope and shoot at dusk or dawn when most deers are out.

It also comes with a special Twilight Max HD Light Management system. Unlike other Leupold scopes where this feature adds only 20 minutes of light, here you get an amazing 30 minutes of extra shooting light as it reduces glare and improves lens clarity.

In case you are worried about the hassle of having to recharge the battery or carry an additional battery pack, relax, the scopes will last you multiple hunting trips on a single charge. 

One of the reasons being its motion sensor tech that deactivates the reticle illumination after 5-minute of inactivity and reactivates in 1-2 seconds when touched without even pressing a button.

Furthermore, the scope is weather-resistant. Whether you want to use it in extreme cold or heat i.e. -40ºF to 160ºF, the Leupold has been tried and tested to survive any kind of abuse.

That means you could even drop it or bump into a rock and it won’t crack or scratch (no not even the lens).

Feel free to leave it submerged in water up to 33-feet deep as well, thanks to the tightly sealed o-rings and nitrogen purging (the scope continues to perform just as well as a new one).

Furthermore, it has been tested on Leupold’s proprietary testing simulation known as the punisher to last a whopping 5000+ impacts, and in case you are wondering, each impact is about 3x the recoil of a .308 rifle. (this bad boy will last for years).

But even after all that, if you still face any trouble, you won’t have to pay a penny for any repair or replacement as the scope is backed by Leupold’s lifetime warranty. 

Coming to the turrets, I love the fact that the elevation dial and magnification ring are numbered as it makes it easier to get precise adjustments. Plus, all dials are smooth and need minimal effort for adjustment and yet hold position well even when mounted/dismounted or moved around regularly.

That is because it is equipped with ZeroLock technology. Furthermore, it also has a custom-dial system (CDS) that compensates for bullet drop making it easier for both newbies and pros to shoot long-distances.

Pros

  • ZeroLock ensures turrets do not change unintentionally
  • CDS makes shooting easier by compensating bullet drop
  • It is waterproof and weather-resistant
  • Built to handle physical abuse 
  • Illuminated reticle for low light usage
  • Illumination turns off automatically after 5 mins to save battery 
  • Get 30 minutes additional shooting light with Twilight Max HD Light
  • Crystal clear optics and full 15x magnification

Cons

  • On the expensive side but worth every penny

Check Latest Price on Amazon

2. Vortex Optics Diamondback Riflescope 

Vortex Optics Diamondback 1.75-5x32 Second Focal Plane Riflescope - Dead-Hold BDC Reticle (MOA)Check Latest Price on Amazon

Don’t have a thousand dollars to spend? Well, the Diamondback riflescope by Vortex Optics costs less than half and yet comes with some impressive features tailor-made for newbie hunters. Here’s all about it.

Firstly, it comes with a Dead-Hold BDC reticle. Since it compensates for bullet drop and gives holdover details, making long-range shots is easy and eliminates the need to carry additional tools for estimations.

And since it is an SFP reticle, it remains the same at all magnification levels and thus is easier to spot.

But that’s not all.

It is also equipped with precision metal on metal turrets that allow you to reset zero even after sight-in. And to ensure it is done with 100% precision each time, there is a special glide erector system.

They come with capping for added protection, which can easily be removed if needed. They are numbered and this in tandem with their good audibility makes precise adjustments a breeze. Plus, they are smooth, and it only takes mere seconds to adjust them.

Furthermore, adding to the ease of aiming and shooting with the scope are the quick-focus eyepiece and the decent 3.5” eye-relief that ensure you can latch on to even moving targets in a jiffy without the recoil hurting your eyes.

It offers 10x magnification, which is lesser than the Leupold, but you get excellent visuals at 10x thanks to the use of a quality lens and anti-reflective coating. And that quality continues when in low light as well.

To ensure the scope can withstand the shock of not just the recoil but also a few bumps, it is a hard-anodized coating on top of a solid aircraft-grade aluminum build. This also ensures you remain camouflaged even in bright sunlight (because there’s nothing more important than your safety in the wild).

To top it all, the scope is 100% waterproof. So whether you plan to use it in the rain or drop it in a puddle of water by mistake, or have to keep it submerged for 5-10 minutes, it can handle it all.

Playing a helping hand in this are the sealed o-rings while the Argon purging prevents fog build up on the lens for clarity in any situation.

And for any troubles you may still face, there is a lifetime warranty backing the scope that saves any overhead expenses you might have had to pay for with other brands

Lastly, you also have the option of going with multiple magnification levels and a different V-Plex reticle in case you want to save money.

On the downside, the reticle isn’t illuminated and thus not ideal to use in dusk or dawn.

Pros

  • BDC reticle for precise aim at long distance
  • Excellent durability and shock-resistance
  • 100% waterproof thanks to the sealed o-rings
  • The hard-Anodized coating improves camouflage
  • Quick-focus eyepiece for quicker aiming
  • Turrets are numbered and loud for quick, easy adjustments
  • Good visuals at 10x magnification
  • Argon purging to prevent the lens from fogging up
  • Smooth magnification ring with clear numbers for precision
  • Allows resetting to zero even after sight-in
  • Backed by a lifetime warranty

Cons

  • The reticle isn’t illuminated
  • Lower magnification than the Leupold

Check Latest Price on Amazon

3. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 Riflescope (Budget Muzzleloader Scope)

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 Rimfire, Second Focal Plane, 1-inch Tube Riflescope - V-Plex ReticleCheck Latest Price on Amazon

What if I told you that you can have your new muzzleloader scope for less than $150? Not kidding and cheap doesn’t always mean poor quality is exactly what the Vortex Optics Crossfire II shows.

While it has a lower magnification than the Vortex Optics Diamondback, the visuals at 7x were pretty good when compared to the Bushnell or others in the price range in daylight. There’s slight blurring in low light but considering the cost, it isn’t surprising.

While it does lack in the optics department, its build is as good as any high-end scope as it has the same aircraft-grade aluminum build as those mentioned above.

So yes, this can take a beating and in tandem with the sealed o-rings also makes it waterproof. Wouldn’t want to leave it submerged in the water for too long but in rain, you should have no trouble.

And if the weather gets colder, you don’t have to worry about fog build up on the lens either as it has nitrogen purging. 

The single tube construction doesn’t just add to the durability by reducing joints that are vulnerable to breakage but also improves shock-resistance. 

And even though one of their cheapest models, it still has the same lifetime warranty, ensuring you get the best bang for your buck.

I also love the fact that it has a longer eye-relief than the Diamondback at 3.8” inches. A small difference but definitely adds to the comfort of using the scope. It also has the same quick-focus eyepiece so you can quickly lock on to your targets. 

And further helping with that is the SFP V-Plex reticle which maintains a large size at any zoom level. Though on the downsides, it does not give you any holdover or bullet drop compensation. Plus, it isn’t illuminated which means using the scope at dusk or dawn can be challenging.

As for the turrets, they were pretty smooth and grippy with the right amount of audibility. Since turrets aren’t numbered, this helps eliminate any guesswork as you’ll know exactly when the turret has changed.

They are also capped. This makes it harder to adjust them on the go but provides them added protection while ensuring they do not switch positions while mounting or detaching unless done manually.

Pros

  • Costs less than $150
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum used in construction for durability
  • Sealed o-rings make it waterproof
  • Nitrogen purging prevents the lens from becoming foggy
  • SFP reticle remains large and clear at any zoom
  • Good shock resistance
  • Turrets are smooth and audible for accuracy
  • Capping ensures they do not change unintentionally
  • Backed by a lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Turrets aren’t numbered
  • No illuminated reticle for low light usage
  • Visuals blur at 7x magnification in low light

Yes, the scope has its share of drawbacks, but if you have a restricted budget, it hardly gets any better than the Crossfire II from Vortex Optics.

Check Latest Price on Amazon

4. Primary Arms SLX 3-18x50mm Scope

Primary Arms SLX 3-18x50mm FFP Rifle Scope - Illuminated ACSS-Apollo-6.5CR/.224VCheck Latest Price on Amazon

Primary Arms is another popular brand when it comes to scopes and their SLX 3-18x50mm scope shows you exactly why and goes toe to toe with the Diamondback.

In fact, it outdoes the Diamondback in various departments. For example, it has much higher magnification. Yes, there’s blurring around 18x, but you get good visuals to about 10-12x thanks to the multi-coated lens allowing you to aim at distances of about 800 yards.

Changing the magnification is just as easy as it is with a throw lever thanks to the fin on the power ring that you can remove as and when needed.

Another thing it has over the Diamondback is an illuminated reticle. With 6 brightness levels, you have all the control needed to ensure clear visuals even at dusk or dawn giving you a wider time-range to hunt.

And this setting can be adjusted in seconds with the conveniently placed dial. You can even turn it off if needed.

But this illumination means you need to recharge the battery or carry additional battery packs as the battery life of the scope is below average.

Another thing I like about the scope is that all the turrets and the magnification ring are numbered. Plus, the turrets are a tad taller than usual for a better grip while good audibility and smoothness add to the ease of using the scope as you can make adjustments quickly.

And neither will the turrets change accidentally as the scope has a special locking system in place. Jump, run, travel on a bumpy road, it holds the adjustment for years making it a set it, forget it scope.

The reticle further adds to this comfort as it gives you bullet drop compensation and holdover, so firing at long range without any additional equipment to do the math is a breeze.

Durability is again top-notch. Drop it, put it in water, use it in rain, the aluminum build with the sealed o-rings ensures solidity for years through thick and thin. Plus, it is also backed by a lifetime warranty.

Oh, and there are flip-up covers as well that protects the lens and the magnification glass from scratches, dust, dirt, and oil.

On the downside, the reticle is an FFP reticle, and while that works great at high and medium magnification at lower levels, the reticle becomes smaller than I would have liked. But considering you are using it for hunting, you won’t be using it at a low magnification that often.

Pros

  • The power ring can be replaced and removed
  • Turrets are numbered and taller for a better grip
  • Top-notch durability and waterproofing
  • Nitrogen purge prevents fog build-up
  • The reticle is illuminated for low light
  • You get 6 brightness levels to choose from
  • Good optics till 10x to 12x magnification for a range up to 800 yards
  • The locking system prevents turrets from changing accidentally
  • The reticle provides holdover and bullet drop estimation
  • Flip-up covers provide added protection to the lens

Cons

  • Low battery life
  • Blurring at high magnification
  • The FFP reticle becomes too small at lower magnification

Check Latest Price on Amazon

5. Bushnell Trophy Rifle Scope

Bushnell Trophy Rifle Scope with Multi-X Reticle, Matte Black, 3-9 x 40mmCheck Latest Price on Amazon

Last but not least on the list is another budget pick that costs as much as the Vortex Optics Crossfire II but here’s why I prefer the Vortex over the Bushnell.

Firstly, the Crossfire II provides better optics. Yes, the Bushnell has higher magnification but considering the blurring at 10x, I am not too thrilled about it.

Even the reticle isn’t illuminated, so I wouldn’t recommend you use this either at dusk or dawn. And neither are mounts or rings provided with the scope.

But it isn’t all bad. Here’s what I like about it.

The Multi-X reticle is a standout. It is thick on the outer side, which ensures good clarity in most situations but is thin in the center for better accuracy. Furthermore, it also features a quick-focus eyepiece for quicker target acquisition. 

It also has a slightly bigger eye-relief at 4-inches for comfortable usage.

Durability is decent. It can handle rains and nitrogen purging keeps fog away, but I wouldn’t suggest you submerge it deep into the water.

You also want to avoid dropping it, but it can handle a few bumps. And in case there are any manufactural issues, the scope is backed by a lifetime warranty.

Turrets aren’t numbered. No surprises there, but I like how smooth they are and how the capping ensures the position doesn’t change.

Pros

  • Costs less than $150
  • Comes with a quick focus eyepiece 
  • It has a larger 4” eye relief
  • Nitrogen purging to prevent fog on the lens
  • Multi-X reticle for better accuracy and visibility
  • Decent durability for the price

Cons

  • Not as waterproof as the other scopes
  • No numbered turrets
  • Blurring at 10x magnification
  • No illuminated reticle

Check Latest Price on Amazon

Conclusion

Whether you are looking for a scope for your Muzzleloader or AR 15, finding the right scope without proper testing can be tough. After all, testing durability, optics quality at different distances and magnification levels takes time.

With this details guide, I did all of that for you and I am sure finding the best muzzleloader scope will be a breeze.

In case you have been using a different scope or any of these and would like to share your experience, do drop them in the comments below. You can also write to me your questions via the contact page.

Till then, happy and safe hunting

About Author

James Towndrow, a NRA-certified Firearms Instructor. During a career of 18 years had won several shooting competition including major leagues. Taking all those experience down the road, is now a successful Shooting Instructor in Texas, US.


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