Best Shotgun Scopes – Finding the Best Shotgun Scope for Your Money
If you’re looking for the best shotgun scope, look no further. We’ve put together a list of our top picks for the the best shotgun scopes. Whether you’re looking for a shotgun scope for deer hunting or a tactical shotgun scope, we’ve got the best picks for you below.
If you like tactical shotguns, check out our article about the best laser sights for shotguns as well.
Alright, here are our top picks for the best slug gun scopes:
Bushnell Trophy XLT Circle-X Reticle Shotgun Scope
This Bushnell makes a fine introductory level scope for a lot of purposes. The low magnification (1.5-4x) is suitable for rimfire as well as shotguns.
It’s a sturdy scope, purpose-built for slug guns, but far from perfect. It boasts a 3.5” eye relief, but if you begin cranking up the magnification, you are going to notice that shrink, and the risk of scope-bite increases. Depending on the recoil of your weapon, it’s something to think about. Assume 2” of solid eye relief at 4x.
The reticle design is a crosshair and a circle. The circle should aide placement of buckshot. The sighting system is superb for 50-150 yard shots that you would expect while slug gun hunting. This shotgun scope is fine on a budget, but there are other options out there too.
This thing is some kind of miracle of engineering. For the price point, it seems to hold up very well, it holds zero, and believe it or not, the glass is pretty clear, save for some spherical aberration at the edge of the field of view.
Like any scope, there are going to be lemons, but most of the reviews on this guy come back positive, and it occasionally goes on sale for $80. It’s no Trijicon, but it will turn a head or two.
There are recommendations out there to use a little blue loc-tite on the mount screws, as they have a tendency of coming loose and creating a wiggle. Scope wiggle is a bad thing, and on any heavy recoil rifle it’s a good idea to check that your scope is secure from time to time.
This is a bit of an oddity in the world of shotgun scopes, it has a magnification range from 3x – 9x, just like the Nikon mounted on my deer rifle. Even for a slug gun, 9x just seems like way too much. The minimum magnification of 3x is a bit high, too, but forgivable. The aperture is 40mm, which should collect plenty of light, even when the sun is falling fast in the west.
Other than that, I couldn’t find a single thing wrong with this scope, and it has some gunnies that don’t yet own a fully rifled shotgun rethinking the idea of buying one. A scope like this isn’t just a shotgun scope.
You could mount this on just about anything and be certain that it’s going to hold up against whatever. If you do have accuracy out to 200 yards with your slug gun, this might definitely be the scope for you, unless you want to spend four times as much cash.
Another Nikon, this one speaks to me as a true shot-gunner’s scope. The 2x – 7x magnification range, crystal clear picture, and price make this a fine scope for any slug gun.
It’s pretty much everything mentioned in the previous item on this list, but with a more appropriate magnification range and a slightly smaller aperture.
If you find that you need more aperture for dusk hunting, the other Nikon might be a better fit, but this one will definitely provide versatility to your shotgun with its 2x low magnification for a wider field-of-view.
What Makes the Best Shotgun Scope?
You have lots of options available to you in terms of scopes for shotguns, so it’s important to know what sets them apart. Here’s what to look for.
Build Quality of the Shotgun Scope
So if you’re planning on taking your shotgun out to the woods for some deer hunting or turkey hunting, you’ll want something that can stand up to some bumps as well as the weather conditions. The last thing you want is a foggy shotgun scope that has water in it.
The best shotgun scopes are built with quality metal components and a durable finish. Don’t go too cheap with your shotgun scope or else you’re going to regret it.
You want a clear sight picture before pulling the trigger on your target. Good shotgun scopes don’t skimp on optical clarity, much like their rifle scope counterparts. For most shotguns, you’ll want a shotgun scope in 4x32mm or so.
Good Windage and Elevation Adjustment Knobs
There’s nothing worse than a shotgun scope (or any scope) that loses zero. You want to make sure that the knobs for windage and elevation are smooth and will be able to allow you to find zero correctly for your shotgun. Similar to sighting in a laser sight, there is a bit of work to get your shotgun scope sighted in. Why not make this process easy with a good quality shotgun scope with proper windage and elevation knobs.
The Best Shotgun Scope for Deer Hunting
If you’re going after deer with slugs, like many hunters with shotguns, a good shotgun scope can make your hunt worthwhile with a good clean shot. Lots of guys (and gals) still chase whitetails with just the iron sights but I personally like using a scope on my hunting shotguns.
We love this shotgun scope because it’s affordable for almost every hunter, has awesome optical quality for a shotgun scope and it looks great in AP camo. Bushnell is a great brand for optics including shotgun scopes.
Another good feature of this scope is that it has adjustable magnification from 1.75 to 4x. I like that a lot since I hunt both turkey and deer with my shotgun.
Regarding durability, the Bushnell Trophy XLT is tough as nails. I can’t even count how many times I’ve slammed this thing against overhanging tree branches and more. The finish still looks great even after the 2 seasons that I’ve owned the scope.
The Bushnell XLT is also lightweight. I know most shotgun hunters hate having to drag a heavy gun around but this thing really is pretty light at around 13 ounces.
Make sure you check out the Bushnell Trophy XLT since it’s so cheap on Amazon right now.
The Best Shotgun Scope for the Money
This is a tough one but I think we’ve found a winner.
The Nikon ProStaff Shotgun Hunter is a great example of affordable optics for shotguns. This shotgun scope has adjustable magnification (2x to 7x) and features multicoated lenses for amazing optical quality.
What I like the most about this shotgun scope is the awesome BDC 200 reticle from Nikon. It’s great for relatively quick target acquisition and really helps when targeting game.
The Nikon Prostaff shotgun scope also won’t weigh down your shotgun a ton at 13.9 ounces.
Overall the Nikon Prostaff Shotgun Hunter is the best shotgun scope for the money on the market right now. If you haven’t already, check out what others are saying about this Nikon shotgun scope here.
What’s the Best Shotgun Scope for Tactical Shotguns?
If you’re a tactical shotgun owner, you’re looking for a good scope or shotgun sight that is going to give you a clear sight picture with quick target acquisition. For that, you need to take a look at our top rated shotgun scope which is the Bushnell TRS-25 red dot sight. We did a review on the Bushnell TRS-25 before and you’ll find that we loved it for it’s size, features, weight and clean sight picture.
Decisions, Decisions… Which Shotgun Scope is Best?
Whether you’re a shotgun hunter looking for a shotgun scope for deer hunting or a tactical shotgun owner looking for a good red dot sight for your shotgun, we’ve listed a few scopes that are fit for your gun. If you look at the reviews, you’ll see why people love these shotgun scopes. If you’re looking for a really good shotgun scope at a really good price, well then any one of the shotgun scopes listed above would be best for you.