Best Crossbow Scope Picks for Precision, Accuracy, Weight, Situation, Budget, and more.
When it comes to crossbow hunting, accuracy is key. And one of the most crucial components for achieving that precision is the crossbow scope. Most crossbows come as a package with arrows, quiver, and some form of optic. There are several reasons you would want to upgrade. Our feeling is they fall into 4 main categories: add range-finding capability, improve magnification and optical quality, thermal/night hunting, or minimizing weight considerations. A good crossbow scope can make the difference between a successful hunt and a missed opportunity. With so many options available on the market, choosing the right crossbow scope can be a daunting task. To help you make an informed decision, we’ve put together a comprehensive roundup of the best crossbow scopes available today. Here are our top choices for each situation – further down the article is a description of each one:
Let’s discuss the four main reasons why a crossbow scope is essential for any serious crossbow hunter. Crossbow scopes offer several advantages, including:
Crossbow scopes provide a clear, optical view of your target, allowing you to aim with greater precision and repeatability. This is especially crucial when shooting at longer distances or at small game. Today’s crossbows are capable of delivering arrows into small, tight groups out to even 100 yards on the range. There are ethical considerations if a hunter should shoot that far, and under what conditions, but that discussion is for another day.
Faster Target Acquisition
Most crossbow scopes come equipped with reticles that help you quickly acquire your target. This can be a game-changer when you’re hunting fast-moving animals and have only a few moments to make a decision on whether to shoot. Accurate ranging of your target is still necessary for even the fastest, flattest shooting crossbows. But some of the new scopes available will perform that task for you, minimizing the need for a separate range finder.
Better Low-Light Performance
Many crossbow scopes feature illuminated reticles, which are ideal for hunting during dawn or dusk when visibility is limited. Also, if the scope has some magnification, identification of the target is easier in low light situations.
With a high-quality crossbow scope, you can have confidence in your shot placement, which reduces the likelihood of wounding an animal without a clean kill. The inherent accuracy of a crossbow with a scope is high, and becoming proficient with your crossbow is easier than with a vertical bow.
The Burris Oracle X range finding Crossbow Scope is a highly advanced range finding sight. It features a built-in laser rangefinder and ballistic calculator that stays accurate throughout the 2-7X power magnification. This scope takes the guesswork out of long-range shots out to 200 yards by providing real-time ballistic data and a calculated aiming point that is illuminated and adjusted automatically based on your arrow’s velocity and trajectory. This unit allows you to easily set up multiple arrow/broadhead combinations, zero them using traditional adjustments on the sight, and then reliably shoot this arrow/broadhead combination at any range from 5 to 100 yards. There is a wireless remote supplied that is used to trigger the sight to calculate a shooting solution once the viewfinder is placed on the target. It can be held in your hand or kept in a pocket. We found it most useful to affix it to the frame of the crossbow just above the trigger and activate it with your trigger finger as you aim the crossbow. Included is the Burris Forever Warranty. Weight – 1.9 pounds.
The TenPoint EVO-X Marksman Elite Crossbow Scope is a top-of-the-line choice known for its outstanding clarity and durability. It is often suppled with the top models from Tenpoint crossbows. This scope offers variable power 2-8X magnification, making it suitable for short to mid-range to long shots. It has a user-selected choice of illuminated red and green reticles for shots up to 60 yards, plus non-illuminated chevrons for longer shots. They are calibrated in 10-yard increments from 20 to 100 yards but is consistent and accurate beyond ranges needed for hunting. The scope can be set to match the manufacturers rated arrow speed of the crossbow, from 300 to 500 FPS, which calibrates the arrow drop compensation settings. Windage and elevation settings are easily adjusted with micro-adjustable turrets. Mounting is onto Weaver rails and the scope is supplied with scope caps.
Vortex Optics is known for producing high-quality optics at affordable prices, and the Crossfire II Crossbow Scope is no exception. This 30mm scope offers 2-7x magnification, providing versatility for both short-range and long-range shots. The XBR-2 BDC dual illuminated reticle is customized for crossbows, designed to be calibrated to a 40 yard zero, then uses the reticle to provide accuracy for shots from 20 to 100 yards. The anti-reflective, fully multicoated lenses deliver a bright and clear sight picture. The Crossfire II is built to withstand recoil and harsh weather conditions, making it a durable and dependable choice. Weight is 14 ounces, comes with flip caps.
The Truglo 4x32mm Crossbow Scope is a budget-friendly choice that offers great value for the price. It provides single magnification of 4X, allowing you to adapt to different hunting situations. The adjustable, illuminated reticle offers multiple aiming points for various distances, and the scope is designed to withstand the recoil of crossbows. While it may not have all the bells and whistles of more expensive options, it gets the job done without breaking the bank. Weaver Ring mounts included.
The Ravin R161 3 Dot reticle sight allows you to keep both eyes open and on your target. The dots are calibrated for different ranges, and they allow for fast target acquisition. The sight is waterproof, fog proof and compact. This is ideal for shots inside of 40 yards and adds minimal weight to your crossbow.
The AGM Adder Thermal Scope is built on a 30MM tube housing, similar to a standard riflescope. It boasts a high resolution 384×288 thermal sensor and a high-quality OLED display. Magnification ranges form 3-24X (much more than needed for a close-range crossbow) and has 4 color palettes. It will calculate distance, record video, and stream over WIFI. Rechargeable batteries provide over15 hours of use, and the unit mounts with 30mm quick detach mounting rings, making it easily usable on another weapon. Weight is 1.9 pounds. See our more in- depth AGM Adder Review.
Garmin takes laser range-finding crossbow scopes to a new level of sophistication with the ability to precisely plot a shooting solution on targets out to 115 yards. This unit boasts 3.5X magnification and produces a calculated, illuminated aim point with brightness adjusted to ambient light conditions. Initial sight in of the unit requires the user to select a bolt/broadhead configuration and enter these parameters into the sight. Several shots with this bolt will confirm calibration and accuracy at any range. The range button for the scope can be mounted in a convenient location to quickly active the range finder, calculate the distance and produce the perfect aim point. Weight is 1.9 pounds.
Additionally, if you’re a frequent user of other Garmin products – you’re able to find the spot your arrow was aimed aiding you in animal recovery.
Ravin Crossbows can be supplied with the Garmin Xero X1i scope integrated as a package. The scopes are supplied preloaded with the specifications of each model. This makes setup very fast.
The Trijicon 3×24 XB Compact ACOG Crossbow Scope lives up to the Trijicon pedigree with military grade toughness, including Mil Spec levels of shock and water resistance. The low weight, low profile scope operates without batteries and provides exceptional optical performance with its Trijicon fiber optic and Tritium light source system that automatically adjusts the brightness and contrast of the reticle in any light conditions. It works with crossbows rated from 300 to 440+ FPS and is designed with stadia lines that show arrow drop out to 80 yards in 5 yard increments. Mounts to Picatinny rail, weight is 8 ounces.
The ATN Thor 4 Thermal Scope is a thermal scope with a built-in range finder, ballistics calculator, ability to record video, and stream via WIFI. The GEN 4 384×288 Ultra-Sensitive sensor detects and records an animals heat signature. Video can capture before, during and after the shot. Battery life is 18 hours, and the unit mounts with 30mm rings. Weight is 1.9 pounds.
The Ravin 550FPS Crossbow Scope is designed specifically for Ravin crossbows but can be used with other crossbow brands as well. It offers 1-8x magnification, with red or green illuminated reticles calibrated from 20 to 100 yards, making it one of the most versatile scopes on our list. The illuminated reticle has multiple brightness settings, and the scope features an innovative Speed Lock feature that ensures precise accuracy at different arrow speeds. It’s built to withstand harsh conditions and still maintain zero, making it a reliable choice for serious hunters.
The Hawke XB30 Pro SR Crossbow Scope is a favorite among crossbow enthusiasts for its exceptional clarity and precision. It features a 30mm objective lens and 1-5x magnification, allowing you to adapt to various shooting scenarios. The illuminated SR reticle offers quick target acquisition, and its adjustable brightness settings ensure visibility in all lighting conditions. The Hawke XB30 Pro SR can be calibrated for arrow speeds from 215-450 FPS, and is shockproof, waterproof, and nitrogen-purged for fog resistance, and comes with Hawkes lifetime warranty, making it a robust choice for any environment.
The UTG 4×32 Crossbow Scope is an affordable option that doesn’t compromise on quality. It offers fixed 4x magnification and a 32mm objective lens, making it suitable for mid-range shots. The dual illuminated reticle with multiple brightness settings ensures visibility in various lighting conditions. The scope is also shockproof, fog proof, and waterproof, and it comes with flip-open lens caps and Picatinny rail mounts. Weight is 1.55 pounds.
The Excalibur Overwatch Scope is another fantastic option, particularly if you often find yourself hunting in low-light conditions. It boasts a 30mm objective lens with 2-5X magnification and a choice of red or green illuminated multiplex reticle that ensures you can see your target clearly even at dusk or dawn out to 100 yards. It has a speed dial that adjusts from 300 to 475 FPS to compensate for arrow trajectory. The compact and rugged design of this scope is built to withstand the rigors of crossbow hunting, making it a reliable choice for serious hunters. Flip up lens caps are included.
Barska’s Illuminated Red Dot Optic is made for crossbows. It features a large 30mm tube and 3 dots with red or green colored illumination with variable brightness. This optic allows you to keep both eyes open and on your target at all times, and mounts to a standard picatinny rail. Weight is 4.8 ounces.
How to Choose the Right Crossbow Scope
Selecting the right crossbow scope can be overwhelming, but considering a few key factors can help you make an informed decision:
Choose a magnification level that suits your hunting style and typical shooting distances. Lower magnification (e.g., 1-5x) is ideal for short-range shots, while higher magnification (e.g., 3-9x) is better for long-range accuracy. Most crossbow shots are made at relatively close range (30-60 yards) so any more magnification than 4X or 6X will probably be a hindrance not a help due to constriction of the field of view.
Keep in mind that higher magnification can make it more challenging to acquire and track fast-moving targets.
Objective Lens Size: The diameter of the objective lens determines how much light enters the scope, affecting brightness and low-light performance. A larger objective lens (e.g., 32mm or 40mm) allows more light, making it more suitable for dawn or dusk hunting.
Reticle Type: Different crossbow scopes come with various reticle designs. Common reticles include:
Duplex Reticle: Simple and versatile, suitable for general hunting.
BDC (Bullet Drop Compensation) or ADC (Arrow Drop Compensation) Reticle: Provides multiple aiming points for different distances, reducing the need for holdover adjustments.
Illuminated Reticle: Offers better visibility in low-light conditions, such as dawn or dusk. Having a choice of either red or green is considered a premium package. If you hunt during low-light conditions, consider a scope with an illuminated reticle. It allows you to maintain visibility of the crosshair against dark backgrounds.
Mil-Dot Reticle: Provides precise aiming points for long-range shots but may require more training to use effectively.
Durability and Weather Resistance:
Ensure that the crossbow scope is built to withstand the rigors of hunting. Look for scopes that are shockproof, fog proof, and waterproof.
Opt for scopes with nitrogen-purged tubes to prevent fogging, especially in cold and humid environments.
Eye Relief: Eye relief refers to the distance between your eye and the scope’s eyepiece while maintaining a full field of view. Adequate eye relief prevents “scope eye” injuries and provides a comfortable shooting experience.
Field of View: A wider field of view allows you to see more of your surroundings, making it easier to track moving game. However, higher magnification scopes typically have a narrower field of view.
Mounting Compatibility: Ensure that the scope is compatible with your crossbow’s mounting system. Most scopes come with Picatinny or Weaver-style rings, but it’s essential to verify compatibility before purchase.
Price and Budget:
Crossbow scopes vary widely in price. While it’s tempting to opt for the most expensive model with all the bells and whistles, consider your budget and how the scope aligns with your hunting needs.
A mid-range scope with the right features can often provide excellent performance without breaking the bank.
Warranty: Better quality crossbow scopes will have solid warranty packages. Many of the best manufacturers have lifetime warranties on their products.
Weight and Size: Weight is always a consideration with a hunting weapon. A typical crossbow can weigh 6-7 pounds, and a sophisticated scope can add 1-2 pounds more. Consider what you plan to do using your crossbow and select a scope that matches your needs. If you plan on covering a lot of ground, you may want to opt for a lighter system, or procure a sling or carrying system to make it easier to carry the additional weight.
Compatibility with Your Crossbow: Selecting a crossbow scope ultimately depends on your specific hunting needs and preferences. Take the time to research and test different scopes if possible, as personal comfort and compatibility are crucial for a successful and enjoyable hunting experience. By considering these factors and making an informed decision, you can find the perfect crossbow scope to enhance your accuracy and overall hunting performance.
Whether you’re here perusing for yourself or someone else, these crossbow scopes make some of the best gifts for hunters of all ages and skill levels. We hope you found your answers and if not, feel free to drop us a questions at [email protected].
Affiliate Disclosure: This article was written without bias or any paid advertising from the companies and brands listed above. Affiliate links were placed in the article after submission from the writers. If you found this review helpful, and plan to purchase a crossbow scope – please use the links above where we earn a small commission at no additional cost to you – thank you.
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