The Best Crossbow Scope – A Complete Buyer’s Guide

best crossbow scope
Crossbow Scopes

Crossbow hunting has seen a huge surge in popularity in recent years and while every archer and hunter, both amateur and professional alike, knows the importance of a good crossbow, a powerful crossbow scope is of almost equal importance. They’re a must-have item for helping to visualize and make your shot. They lead to an accuracy that is simply unparalleled without one. That being said, crossbow scopes can run high in terms of cost, so investing in the best crossbow scope is crucial. We’re here to help with that. Whether you want to update an older model or you’re buying your first scope, we’ve laid out some of the key things you should know before you make your purchase and reviewed our pick of some of the best crossbow scopes on the market.

Editor’s Picks

 Nikon Bolt XR Crossbow Scope ReviewUTG 4X32 1" Crossbow Scope
 Nikon Bolt XR Crossbow Scope ReviewUTG 4X32 1″ Crossbow Scope
Amazon Rating
Lowest Price$$$$Amazon See it$$$Amazon See it
TypesCrossbow ScopeCrossbow Scope
Weight0.7 pounds1.59 pounds
Product Dimensions12 x 3.75 x 2.75 inches9.92 x 3.62 x 2.87 inches
 Read Full ReviewRead Full Review

Types of Crossbow Scopes

Now that you know some of the great benefits a crossbow scope can provide, let’s take a look at some things you should consider when you make your purchase. To find the best crossbow scope, you should know exactly what it is you should be looking for. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

First things first, you should decide what scope you want. There are four main types of scope to choose from:

Red-Dot Crossbow Scope

This is the most basic and therefore, also the cheapest of the scope types. The name comes from the fact that a red-dot scope produces a red dot that the archer can see and use to aim at their target. Red-dot scopes can come in one of two varieties – single red-dot scope or triple red-dot scope. With a single red-dot scope, you can align the dot with the target and adjust your distance accordingly, while a triple red-dot scope allows you to set three distances.

Reticle Crossbow Scope

A reticle scope has crosshairs that split the lens into four quarters, either etched into the lens, wired in or sometimes even illuminated. These scopes are some of the oldest and most common scopes around.

Optical Crossbow Scope

This is a more expensive and more technical type of scope that is also more efficient than the red-dot scope. The have very high quality optics and have a wide variety of accessories attributed to them, leading them to be heavier than red-dot scopes. They are often weatherproof and offer magnification usually between 1X and 5X.

Laser Crossbow Scope

The laser scope is an alternative to the other two types and most suited for dealing with targets that are in motion. The laser helps to predict where the crossbow bolt will be likely to strike, making it easier to hit moving targets. Laser scopes are great for getting incredibly accurate shots with midrange targets. They may be either attached to the underside of the crossbow or sometimes they are an accessory attached to another scope.

What To Look For In a Good Scope

Size: An important consideration to keep in mind is the size of the scope you want. There are a number of different sized scopes on the market. In order to be able to move around easily and quietly, it really helps a hunter to have the smallest scope possible. Similarly, scopes with the lightest weight possible will make your job much easier while also avoiding throwing your crossbow off balance. Bulky and heavy scopes can affect the accuracy of your shots. Lightweight and compact scopes are always better with the best crossbow scope weighing under 1 pound.

Optics and Magnification: Optics and magnification go hand and hand are arguably the most important part of scope. After all, even if you have a super light and easy to carry scope, what’s its use if you can’t see well out of it? Finding the right match between optics and magnification can be tricky. Even if your scope has very powerful magnification, it’s pretty much useless if your lens can’t produce crisp, clear images. That’s why the lens coating is important. Lens with multi-coating  that can produce bright, clear pictures are definitely something to look out for.

Durability: You’ll be taking this scope out with you in all manner of weather conditions, so durability is another thing to consider. A scope that is waterproof and fog proof is always useful to prevent your lens becoming clouded for mist or dew. Scopes that mount easily are also more durable as they eliminate damage from wear and tear. The diameter of a scope’s center tube can also affect durability, with the thickness of the walls playing a part in the strength of the tube.

Mounts: The mount to which you attach your scope to your crossbow is another important thing to consider. You want your scope to mount easily to prevent damage caused by difficult mounting and unmounting and to make your job much easier. The mounting rings should be attached firmly and are usually manufactured from steel or aluminum. There are few different types of mount options such as dovetail rails, picatinny rails and weaver rails.

Field of View: Like the red dots and reticles, the field of view is another feature that greatly impacts field range compensation and should be considered. Generally, wider is better as the wider the field of view of the scope, the better the range compensation. Keep in mind however, that although wider lenses give better fields of view, it can also impact the weight of the scope.

Eye Relief: The eye relief is the distance between the eyepiece lens and your eye where the field of view won’t be reduced. The longer the eye relief possible, the better to prevent any injuries from the eyepiece hitting your eye upon the release of the arrow as can happen with shorter eye reliefs.

Exit Pupil: The exit pupil refers to the amount of light that filters through your scope to reach the shooting eye. A higher exit pupil will improve your visibility, increasing the accuracy of your shots.

Budget: Finally, the last thing to consider is your own budget. Scopes can range from under $50 to over $250, so consider how much you’re willing to spend on your crossbow scope and try and find the option that delivers the best features for that price.


Crossbow Scope Reviews

1) UTG 4X32 1″ Crossbow Scope, Pro 5-Step RGB Reticle

UTG 4X32 1 Crossbow Scope


Key Features:

  • Pro 5-Step Reticle: The unique five-step green and red reticle design is perfect for day and night shooting.
  • True Strength Platform: A robust and truly durable scope that features rainproof, fog proof and shock proof features.
  • Parallax at 50 Yards: With a wide distance range, you can pre-adjust to between 10-50 yards with this impressive scope.
  • Broadband Lens Coating: Multi-layered coating provides excellent broadband anti-reflective properties to the lens.

The Good:

  • This scope mounts very easily and stays firmly in place through multiple shootings.
  • You get perfect illumination with this scope with a choice or red or green reticles that work amazingly even in low light.
  • The broadband lens coating is really excellent with impressive anti-reflective and anti-glare properties that work great in strong sunlight.

The Bad:

  • This scope lacks range compensation adjustments, which would improve field of view. However, the FOV is quite wide in this scope already that this would pose a bigger issue on a narrower lens.


2) Truglo Crossbow Scope 4X32 with Rings APG

Truglo Crossbow Scope 4X32



Key Features:

  • Fully Coated Lens: This scope’s fully coated lenses provide excellent brightness, clarity and contrast in your images so you’ll always find your target.
  • Range Finding Reticles: With intuitive crosshairs that can be quickly and easily adjusted from 20 to 50 yards, this special reticle will estimate the correct distance for you.
  • 4 Inch Eye Relief: A generous 4 inch eye relief prevents and injury from blowback.
  • Leaf Spring: The leaf spring makes it easy to adjust for wind and change elevation.

The Good:

  • This scope offers a great reticle with a deer sized range finder that makes it easy to zero in on your target.
  • This is a very durably constructed scope with a tube crafted from aircraft quality aluminum and scratch-resistant camouflage finish.
  • The great light transmission offers very clear visibility, which will lead to more accurate shots.

The Bad:

  • This scope doesn’t feature illumination so it isn’t suitable for night hunting. However, it offers excellent magnification and optics from dawn until dusk so unless you hunt exclusively at night, this shouldn’t be a problem.


3) Nikon Bolt XR Crossbow Scope 

Nikon Bolt XR Crossbow Scope Black Matte


Key Features:

  • Impressive Magnification: This scope offers an impressive magnification range from 3X to 32X on a 32mm objective lens.
  • BDC 60 Reticle: Get precise aim at further distances with the BCD 60 reticle that reaches points out to 60 yards.
  • Light Transmission: This scope transmits up to 92% of the available light for brighter, clearer pictures with great contrast.
  • Withstand the Elements: Take this scope out no matter the weather thanks to its shockproof, fog proof and waterproof properties.

The Good:

  • The zero reset turrets are a great feature that makes viewing and sighting field adjustments incredibly easy.
  • The 92% light transmission really offers amazing light gathering and transmission, giving you a very clear picture.
  • This scope has a large ocular that works great with the wide field of view and has an impressive quick focus eyepiece.

The Bad:

The only thing that could make this scope better would be illuminated reticles. The lack of them makes it difficult to see further in low light conditions which is the one downside of this otherwise excellent scope.


4) Barska 4×32 IR Contour Scope

Barska 4x32 IR Contour Scope


Key Features:

  • Illuminated Reticle: The illuminated red or green dot reticle provides options for bright or low light conditions.
  • Shockproof Construction: The scope is sturdily constructed with shockproof properties that can handle intense recoil.
  • Long Eye Relief: A 3.4 inch eye relief protects against any accidental injury from blowback.
  • Fully Coated Lens: The fully coated lens gives your scope fantastic brightness and contrast through the lens.

The Good:

  • This scope is designed for use on rifles as well as crossbows, so the durable construction is no joke. Built to withstand intense recoil, you’ll get incredible durability with this as a crossbow scope.
  • A side turret makes it really easy to adjust the reticle brightness and color for quick work in the field.
  • As well as being shockproof, this scope is also fog proof and waterproof, so it can withstand harsh weather conditions.

The Bad:

  • With a 4X magnification, this scope is intended for close-range targets and is therefore unsuitable for those looking for a longer shooting range.


5) Trophy Ridge Speed Comp XV525IR Crossbow Scope

Trophy Ridge Speed Comp XV525IR Crossbow Scope


Key Features:

  • 1.5X to 5X Magnification: Adjust your magnification from 1.5X o 5X on this scope.
  • Illuminated Reticle: The illuminated 9-position reticle lets you adjust the reticle from 20 to 100 yards, making it easy to hit the bullseye even in low light.
  • 25mm Tube: The ultra small 25mm tube makes this scope very lightweight and easy to carry around with you.
  • Ultra Clear Glass Surfaces: Boasting ultra clear glass surfaces, the scope offers impressive image clarity and brightness.

The Good:

  • Mounting is very easy with this scope, thanks to the high quality mounting rings included.
  • The illuminated BDC reticle works great, allowing you to adjust the scope easily and see well when the sun goes down.
  • The crosshairs are very easily found unlike other scopes, which makes it incredibly easy to sight in and allows greater accuracy in your shots.

The Bad:

  • This scope doesn’t feature any specific weatherproof properties that could make it even better but it does still hold its own fairly well without them.


Benefits of Buying a Crossbow Scope

When we think of traditional archery, we tend to think of the classic, traditional compound or recurve bow, so even when someone decide to take up shooting with a crossbow, they often overlook the need for a scope. Why would a bow need a scope after all?

This is a mistake many beginners make and it’s only when one has tried shooting without a scope do the many benefits they provide come to light. From accuracy to confidence, there are a heap of advantages that having a scope can provide to you and your aim.

Enhanced Accuracy: An overall improvement in your accuracy is one of the most obvious advantages to using a scope. Whether you’re aiming for a target or hunting prey, accuracy is of the utmost importance to using a crossbow. Thanks to their magnification of a target, scopes lead to much greater visualization of the target and with a little practice at using this useful tool, hugely enhanced accuracy with every shot.

Increased Range: Increased range is another significant benefit to using a crossbow scope. Simply put, using a scope will allow you to hit targets that would otherwise would have been challenging or downright impossible to hit in the conventional method of shooting. Because a scope magnifies and helps visualize the target, you’ll increase your overall shooting range and be able to hit your mark from much further away.

Improved Score: Target shooting can great fun but it’s also fiercely a fierce competitive sport and for those who practice it, finding ways to improve their scores is of primary importance. Scopes are one of the best ways to do this. Thanks to the improvement in accuracy and range, learning how to use a scope can be one of the most advantageous things to do for competitors. By using a scope on their crossbow, archers can hit their targets more accurately each and every time, giving a dramatic boost to their scores.

Hunting Advantages: It may go without saying but the above benefits also lead to many great hunting advantages. One of the reasons many hunters prefer crossbows over rifles is thanks to the silent draw and fire that leads to a silent kill. Even if you miss your target, the whole forest won’t be alerted to your presence the same way they would be with a gunshot. Hunters who can master the use of a crossbow scope will hit their targets with more accuracy and frequency, so you’ll never have to miss that once-in-a-lifetime shot again. And because scopes lead to greater accuracy, they also lead to more precise, quick and ethical kills where the animal doesn’t suffer.

Improved Confidence: One of the best advantages a scope can give you is a huge boost to your self-confidence. When you know you’re going to hit your target, you lack the nervousness that can lead to careless mistakes. When you’ve mastered the use of a scope, then your confidence in your aim will be unparalleled, allowing you to focus entirely on the target, without nerves getting in the way and leading to excellent results each time. And each time your scope helps lead to a better shot, your confidence will improve even more.

Tips For Choosing The Best Crossbow Scope For You

Now you know what to look out for, you’re almost ready to make choose your crossbow scope! But before that, here are just a few additional tips to help you make your choice.

  • The type of scope you choose will greatly affect your budget. You can get an excellent reticle or red-dot scope for a drastically cheaper price than optical or laser scopes.
  • The weight of the scope is important. If a scope has any accessories or extra features that make it heavier, consider whether they are really worth the cost of carrying the extra weight around with you.
  • Consider your intended target range. For example, if you plan to use your scope for hunting small game, then a scope with a short to mid-range distance is best.
  • Your scope should fit tightly onto the mount but not so tight that it is difficult to remove without causing damage.
  • Picatinny mounts will alleviate the scope ½ inch above the crossbow and therefore works best with a red-dot scope.
  • Weaver mounts are considered the sturdiest rail.

Final Recommendation

While you can’t go wrong with any of the scopes we’ve reviewed above, our pick for best crossbow scope has to go to the Nikon Bolt XR. An impressive field of view, great magnification and incredibly durable construction with various weatherproof properties lead this to be a scope you’ll be using for many years to come.

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