Not all major riflescope manufacturers have put out new rifle scopes for 2020, but those that have more than covered every need of the modern hunter. There are options for every budget, from location and load customized all the way down to the most pocketbook-friendly optic on the market.
Shop early and be ready for the fall hunt with these scopes.
Leupold VX-3i CDS-ZL
In a pleasant surprise, one of our favorite scopes of the year is not the most expensive. Leupold’s VX-3i line is great on its own, but it’s the CDS-ZL model that really make this optic perfect for hunters. The Custom Dial System with ZeroLock means this scope offers quick, custom adjustments in the field. With the CDS, Leupold gives owners a custom dial for their specific load and location.
Check out our full review for all the details, but long story short, hunters range the target, dial the elevation, and send it — no holdovers or guesswork. Oh, and the VX-3i CDS-ZL is crisp, clear, made in America, and has a Lifetime Guarantee. We tested the 2.5-10x40, but Leupold also offers a 4.5-14x40 with either a Duplex or WindPlex reticle. MSRP is $649 to 779.
The Banner 2 is neither top of the line nor a top choice for most serious hunters; however, not all hunters live and die by the sport. Some want a no-frills optic where price is the main concern, and the Banner 2 caters to that market. It uses what the company calls “Dusk and Dawn coatings” and even comes with the scope rings. Scoff all you must, but even casual hunters will appreciate the Banner 2’s Lifetime Ironclad Warranty.
Bushnell offers six options, from 3-9x40 through 6-18x50, each with the DOA Ballistic reticle. It’s even compatible with Bushnell’s free Ballistic app, but the scope itself could not be any simpler and easy to use. MSRP rests at $89 to $139.
Many serious hunters want quality optics without breaking the bank, and the Leupold VX-Freedom line is ideal. The budget-friendly line of American-made Leupold VX-Freedom riflescopes found a welcome audience last year, but 2020 sees even more interesting additions to the family. Our recent favorite is the FireDot line of VX-Freedom riflescopes, which use a proprietary push-button, multi-brightness illuminated center aiming point. We mounted the FireDot on our Marlin Dark lever action in .45-70, and the optic is crisp, clear, and tracks like a dream.
Also, of great interest in the American-made Leupold lineup is the VX-Freedom caliber-specific scopes, including the .350 Legend and .450 Bushmaster, as well as Muzzleloader, Rimfire, and Scout variants. MSRP is $259 to $779.
The Trijicon name is synonymous with high-end tactical quality. Trijicon recently brought that high-end quality to hunters with models geared for the field. At the top of Triijcon’s new hunting line is the Credo HX. The name of the game here is rapid target acquisition as the company uses its Bindon Aiming Concept feature that “provides a clear aiming point that draws the shooter’s eye for fast engagement.” Ultimately this equates to both-eyes open shooting.
There are seven models of Credo HX, from 1-4x24 up to 4-16x50, with variants in both first focal and second focal planes, each using LED illumination. MSRP sits between $999 and $1,499.
Meopta brings the same technology used in the US Army’s TOW Missile to your hunting rifle. The new Dichrotech reticle is battery-free, yet automatically adapts to changing light conditions for optimal view of the reticle. Further, the reticles are transparent and do not block the view of the target like standard black lines. This setup is ideal for low-light conditions, and it’s certain that some of the best hunting happens at dusk and dawn.
The Optika6 line of riflescopes with the Dichroic reticles are available in six reticle styles and multiple magnifications. Though Meopta has long been a Czech Republic optics force, the company’s website says these scopes are “developed and designed in the USA.” The reticle technology steals the show here, but Meopta’s Optika6 line of optics still maintains a high-quality, crystal clear build with all the features hunters appreciate. MSRP is $499 to $899.