Crossbow scopes, also referred to as crossbow sights can simply be described as crossbow visual aids. Primarily, two types of scopes exist with the best crossbow set including one of these types.
Crossbow Scope Types
The Red-Dot Crossbow Scope
This is the most basic as well as cheapest of the two scopes. Often, this scope can go for less than $50. The red-dot crossbow scopes come in two different varieties namely: the triple-red dot scope or the single red-dot scope. When sighting using the single dot type, you will tend to try and align the dot with the target so as to improve on the accuracy of the shot. As you align the dots, you will also be able to adjust to the best possible distance based on your feel and experience. The three dot type on the other side comes with three dots with the top dot used to sight targets within a range of 20 yards, the middle for 30 yard targets and the bottom dot coming handy when you are targeting at a range of 40 yards.
Optical Crossbow Scopes
This is typically a more expensive but more efficient scope that lies in the price range of between $90 and $250. These products are normally quite heavier than their simple counterparts, thanks to the wide accessories range attributed to them. They feature very high quality optics, comparable to what you will find in rifle scopes. Typically, they allow for magnification ranging between 1X and 5X, with the majority of them being weather proof. Just as in the case with the simple red dot counterparts, these scopes come with single or multi-reticle options, with the reticles performing the exact role performed by the red dots as expounded above.
Choosing the Best Crossbow Scope
When you make the decision to add a crossbow scope to your hunting accessory, it is important to follow the correct guidelines so as to end up with the best crossbow scope in the market. Below are tips you can follow in order for you to make a smart decision
a) Size and Weight
There are different crossbow scope sizes in the market. As a hunter who moves around in the wild and travels to other parts of the region and beyond, you really want to have the smallest possible scope for easy carrying. Similarly, the scope needs to have the least possible weight for the same reasons. In addition, heavier scopes pose the risk of throwing your crossbow off the balance. The best crossbow scopes are those that weigh less than one pound. Together with making it difficult to hold the crossbows, heavier crossbows reduce the accuracy of shots. Lightweight and compact designs are important factors of consideration.
b) Magnification and Optics
Juggling between magnification and optics quality is yet another important factor of consideration. If the lens of your scope isn’t able to produce bright and crisp images, no matter how much powerful the scope is, it becomes useless. Lens coating therefore comes into play with the fully multi-coated lenses being able to produce the brightest and crispiest images.
- Fog proof and waterproof
When shopping for these optic accessories, you need to consider their durability and ability to use in a wide range of weather conditions. Waterproof and Fog proof are important features to consider. It is the fog proof feature that will prevent the early dew, fog and mists from clouding your scope’s lens. In other words, you need to be using this accessory any time you need it, failure to which it becomes a white elephant. Don’t mind spending those few extra minutes and dollars just to ensure that your accessory has these features.
- Easy Mounting
If a scope is too complicated to mount, its life span will definitely be reduced. This is due to the wear, tear, impact and sheer pressure that come with the process of mounting and un-mounting. You should also be looking for a product that can easily be calibrated and adjusted for wind speed and elevation without the use of a tool. A small dial feature will make such adjustments a breeze, and this is exactly what you need.
The mounting rings need to be firmly attached not forgetting resistance to wear and tear. Remember you will be using this product in the field, where the bow may occasionally be falling down. A sturdy storage case would be convenient for travelling and durability.
- Center Tube Diameter
The durability of a scope is greatly determined by the center tube diameter. This diameter also determines the base and size of rings needed for mounting.
d) Range compensation
Reticles and dots are responsible for such compensations as discussed earlier. In addition, the Field of View must also be greatly factored in during the selection process. It is worth noting that the wider the Field of View of your scope, the better the range compensation of your sighting. Wider lenses ideally have better FOVs but as you go wide, also remember the weight as wider lenses come with additional weights.
e) Eye Relief
The eye relief is defined in simple terms as the distance possible between your eyepiece lens and your eye under which the size of the FOV will not be reduced. Let the eye relief be as long as possible. Unlike in other scopes such as the riflescope where the eye relief is only important for glass wearers, in the crossbow scopes, the eye relief is pivotal for everyone. Shorter eye reliefs pose a risk of the eyepiece hitting your eye upon the release of an arrow.
f) Exit pupil
It is the measure of light amounts going through the accessory to reach your shooting eye. The higher the exit pupil, the better your accuracy
g) Other Factors to Consider
- Budget: Just know that you get what you pay for
- Power and settings: The more intuitive the adjustment options are the faster and better the target will be acquired.
- Intended target range
Reviews of the 5 Best Crossbow Scopes
Truglo Crossbow Scope 4X32 with Rings APG
If you are in the process of stepping up to a great optic device but you are running on a tight budget, then you have an answer in the Truglo 4x32. The product features great magnification and incredible eye relief for a price less than $100. It is 8 inches long and crafted from aircraft quality aluminum for durability. It also features 1-inch rings that make mounting easy.
- Fully-coated lenses for best contrast, clarity and maximum brightness
- Durable leaf spring makes windage & elevation adjustments easier.
- Durable, non-reflective, scratch resistant matte finish
- Special range finding reticles
- Generous 4-inch eye relief
- Fingertip elevation and windage adjustments under the screw down caps
- Rubber eye-guard
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Deer-sized reticle
- Great light transmission
- Excellent Field of View
- Special range finding capability
- Durable, non-reflective, scratch-resistant camouflage finish
- Rings aren’t able to fit all scope mounts
- No illumination
With an FOV of 24” @ 100 yards, 4X magnification, waterproof and fog proof features together with aluminum construction for durability, all at less than $100, you have the best crossbow scope which can’t be found elsewhere with such a low price tag.
UTG 4X32 1" Crossbow Scope, Pro 5-Step RGB Reticle, QD Rings
This scope features a 32mm objective lens which provides impressive fixed magnification. Its performance with a price tag of less than $100 is truly impressive hence its appearance in the list of the best crossbow scopes. The scope features a unique five-step green/red reticle design make it a great crossbow accessory. With this crossbow, one has a wide distance range of 10-50 yards under which they can use the product.
- True Strength Platform built featuring fog proof, shockproof and rainproof
- Parallax pre-adjustment feature @ 50 yards
- Precision broadband lens coating for better light transmission
- Pro 5-step reticle with integrated range finder lines
- Premium zero lockable together with zero resettable target style turrets
- Easy mounting
- Broadband lens coating
- Perfect illumination offered
- Features an integrated anti-glare sunshade
- Often quality issues
- Lacks compensation adjustments
This is a durable and accurate crossbow scope, coming with a wide Field of View for reliable sighting and hunting. It has been constructed on a robust true strength feature thus making it not only great in performance but also incredible in durability.
Nikon Bolt XR Crossbow Scope Black Matte (BDC 60)
In this black matte non-illuminated scope is a product that doesn’t fear water, fog or shock, not forgetting that it is a great performer. Allowing the hunter to zero in on a 60 yard away target, the 3X magnification scope offers aiming precision at long distances. It has fantastic light gathering and features crisp and clear images
- Large ocular having quick focus eyepiece
- Lightweight and compact
- Fully multi-coated lens
- Shockproof, fog proof and water proof
- 3X to 32X magnification mounted on a 32mm objective lens
- Zero-reset turrents
- Quick-focus eyepiece with 3.4” eye relief
- Advanced BDC 60 reticle with precision of aiming points @ 60 yards
- Up to 92% light transmission for improved contrast and brightness.
- Zero-setting sighting turrents makes viewing easier
- An excellent eye relief
- Great light gathering and transmission
- No scope rings included
- No illuminated reticles
- Horizontal sighting lines absent. Features dots which are hard to see
The Nikon Bolt XR knows that choosing the best crossbow scope comes with a combination of various factors, all of which it has given serious considerations. Get this product and become the go getter hunter.
Hawke Crossbow 1.5-5X32 IR SR Scope with Illuminated Circles, Matte
This is a high performance & crossbow specific accessory that features a speed selector thus making it possible for the scope to be compatible with and bow with 275 fps-425 fps speed ranges.
- Speed selector ring from 275 fps-425 fps speeds
- Crossbow rigors resistant
- 1-inch Mono-tube design enhances maximum strength
- Reticles having up to 100 yards aim points
- Dual blue/red color illumination
- Waterproof. Fog proof and shockproof
- ½ M.O.A turrets for adjustment reliability
- Manufacturer warranty
- Keeps up with the fastest crossbows
- Great performance
- Versatile and durable
- Compatible with almost any crossbow in the market
- Easy to install and to use
- High performance optics.
- Speed and magnification can’t be adjusted independently
- Doesn’t come with scope rings
If you are looking for the best crossbow scope that is capable of keeping up with the speed of your fast crossbows, then the Hawke 1.5-5X32 IR SR is your answer. In combination with a fast crossbow, you can keep the pace with an agile deer among other fast animals.
Excalibur Twilight DLX Scope Multi Range Reticle
The design of this scope factored the late evening and the early morning hunters. With a 30mm tube and a 44mm objective lens, the product is just the best crossbow scope as far as light gathering and transmission is concerned.
- Dual green/red color reticle illumination
- Huge objective measuring 44mm for better light gathering
- Adjustable multiplex crosshair system
- 30mmtube provides unimpeded transmission of light
- Fully multi-coated lenses for maximization of brightness and clarity
- Stunning image crispness and clarity
- Weather resistant
- Best performance even under dim surroundings
- Comes with scope rings
- Best possible capabilities of light gathering
- Too large to be accommodated in some crossbow cases
- Quite bulky and heavy
- Adjustability is only possible for crossbow shootings of 300-400 FPS
If I were to rate this scope as per the individual features, I would give it a 5 star for the optics, durability, value and ease of sighting in. in other words, if money is not the issue, this hunting accessory is the best crossbow scope that any hunter should consider going for.
It is not easy to choose the best crossbow scope if you don’t know how to go about the process. This is because different scopes are packed with different features not forgetting that they target different types of hunters. All in all, though slightly heavy and bulky, the Excalibur Twilight DLX stands out as the best bet in the lot. It is durable, has a wide Field of View and comes with great magnification power. Depending on your budget and expertise, choose the best crossbow scope for your category and start hunting the game with better precision and accuracy.