Any serious archer will tell you that the right optics for your crossbow will make the difference between a bull’s eye and a near-miss.
There’s a lot of choices out there, and there’s a lot you need to take into consideration if you want to get the right scope for the job. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the best crossbow scope models currently available, as well as a few tips and tricks to make sure your purchase is bang on target.
Best Crossbow Scope
Best Crossbow Scope Reviews
1. Excalibur Tact-Zone Illuminated 2.5-6x32 Crossbow Scope
The Excalibur Tact-Zone scope is a mid-end, well made, and reliable scope that’s great for use on a range or out on the hunt. It really shines in low light conditions, and thanks to the variable magnification and unobtrusive reticle, it’s a great choice at any distance.
While it might not be the cheapest scope out there, you certainly get what you pay for. It’s got a number of features that make it a stand out option. First of all, the variable zoom, going from 2.5x to 6x magnification, gives you an impressive level of versatility and makes the scope effective at short, medium, and long ranges. That being said, the magnification is tied to your bolt velocity setting, which might throw some users off.
Next, the reticle is etched onto the lens, and can be illuminated with either red or green lighting. The reticle itself is easy to sight with and the lines are sized just right to be nicely visible without getting in the way. It’s a great scope for low-light conditions and night hunting. The range markers are in 10-inch increments from 20 to 60 yards.
Last, but not least, the adjustable bolt velocity ring, goes from 275 to 410 fps, lends even more accuracy to your shots, and is what really makes this scope stand out from the crowd. It might take you a bit more work to get zeroed in, but once you do you should end up with reliable arrow grouping and pinpoint accurate shots.
If you’re not getting a reliable hit each time after you’ve dialed in this scope, chances are that it’s down to the difference in the construction of your bolts.
Robustly built, shock-proofed, and weather-proofed - yet relatively light-weight - this is an excellent choice for all sorts of climates and environments. The multicoated lens ensures that you have an impressive clarity of vision, even in humid settings. The objective lens diameter is an industry-standard 32mm, which provides a good level of light gathering. The flip-up scope covers are a nice touch, and will help keep your lenses scratch-free for longer.
Depending on your skill level and experience, zeroing in the Excalibur Tact-Zone scope can be a bit of a complicated procedure, though once you’ve had a bit of practice, it gets easier to work out. It also doesn’t come with any mounting rings, so you’ll have to buy them separately.
2. Leapers UTG 4x32 1" Crossbow Scope
Despite coming in at a lower price point, the Leapers UTG 4x32 1” scope doesn’t sacrifice quality. It’s a fixed magnification illuminated optic, with a 5-step reticle calibrated for crossbows that fire at 300fps. Great clarity and solid weather-proofing make this an excellent choice for a medium to long-range sight that won’t break the bank.
The focus of this scope is reliable clarity of vision in any condition, and it has a number of features that are impressive to find on an optic at this price point.
The 32mm objective lens may be standard, but it comes with a shroud as part of the body of the scope. This helps to reduce glare from the sun, and makes it a good choice even on a bright day. It’s just as handy in lower light conditions, thanks to the adjustable brightness and a choice between red and green on the built-in battery-powered illumination.
It’s also well designed, as the generous eye relief will give you a clear sight of your target without recoil being an issue. If you need more room, it’s easy to adjust the mounting using the included set of quick release, low profile mounting rings that can be fitted on a Picatinny or Dovetail rail.
The 4x fixed magnification might not be ideal for close-range shots, but as the scope is designed to stay parallax-free up to 50 yards (the practical limit of most crossbows) and the field of view is good up to 100 yards, this scope is well suited for hitting a small target at range.
UTG use their proprietary Broadband Lens Coating to ensure that you have great clarity of vision in both dusty and foggy conditions. The 1-inch aluminum tube is well built, and recoil resistant, so it should last a good while even if you accidentally drop it in a hurry to fire the next bolt. The flip-up lens covers also help to keep it in working condition for longer. Finally, the UTG 4x32 1” is a great scope if you need to travel.
The reticle isn’t perfect, as the crosshairs go all the way across your field of view. This can be a bit obstructive and can sometimes make it harder to track your target. It’s also somewhat heavier than many crossbow scopes out there, making it slightly harder to stay on target for longer periods. It can also be a little tricky to zero, so it’s not necessarily ideal if you’re looking to just point and shoot out of the box.
3. Nikon NIKW9 Prostaff P3 3x32 Crossbow Scope
A mid-range scope in terms of magnification and cost, the Nikon Prostaff P3 is a highly durable, lightweight, and exceptionally clear fixed 3x zoom scope that’s great for medium to long-range shooting in a variety of conditions.
With over a century’s worth of experience, Nikon has established itself around the world as one of the top producers of high-quality optics. This expertise is on show in their range of crossbow scopes, and the Prostaff P3 is no exception. The fully multi-coated lenses reduce glare and reflections while transmitting an industry-topping 92% of the light they capture, and are resistant to fogging up in wet environments.
The scope itself is made from very resilient aircraft-grade aluminum, as are the turret caps for the windage and elevation adjustment knobs. This means that it’ll survive even the roughest of treatment. Speaking of adjustments, it’s easy to do by both feel and sound using the 1-MOA spring loaded click-stop knobs. So, once you’ve got the entire thing set upright, you can zero them to make field adjustments even easier.
The reticle contained inside the scope uses Nikon’s proprietary BDC system, zeroed to 20 yards, with aiming point circles at 10-yard intervals out to a range of 60 yards. It’s easy to line up a shot with it, and it doesn’t obstruct the view of your target too much. Despite the lack of illumination on the crosshairs, the excellent quality of the optics ensures that it’s still exceptionally bright from dawn to dusk.
The standard 32mm objective lens provides a good field of view, though it is slightly narrower than some other scopes. The scope is lightweight, thanks to its aluminum construction, coming in at just under 11 ounces. The eye relief is a respectable 3.4 inches, giving you plenty of room and a comfortable fit when aiming and firing.
The Prostaff P3 doesn’t come with any mounting rings included, so you might have to pick some up when you buy it. The lack of variable magnification is a shame, as it limits the scope’s utility at shorter and longer ranges. The circle aim points on the reticle are a touch on the small side, which can make target acquisition a bit harder than it should generally be.
4. Hawke XB1 1.5-5x32 IR SR Crossbow Scope
The Hawke XB1 is one of the more expensive options on the market, but you certainly get a lot of value for your money. This model is very durable, highly adjustable, has an excellent range of magnification options, and the aim points go out to 100 yards. It’s a great scope for both the range and on a hunt.
From the minimal 1.5x magnification all the way up to a powerful 5x zoom, this crossbow scope can handle just about any range that your bow would be able to manage. The lenses are made from high-quality glass and are fully multi-coated for improved clarity and light gathering. The scope is nitrogen purged, meaning that it is pretty much resistant to all forms of harsh weather.
You can adjust the reticle for your crossbow’s bolt velocity, from a relatively pedestrian 250fps all the way up to a blistering 425fps. The crosshair is zeroed at 20 yards, and features aim points in 10-yard increments all the way up to the impressive 100-yard mark. Couple that with a powerful bow and the highest 5x zoom setting, and you’ll be able to accurately hit targets at distances not possible with lesser scopes.
It’s also great in a wide range of light conditions, thanks to the illumination that can switch between red and green lighting and 5 different brightness settings. This added versatility makes it a great choice when out in the field. It will also survive any knocks and bumps as it’s built as a shock-proofed 1-inch aluminum monotube.
All in all, this is a highly versatile, robust, and precise scope that is an excellent pick for just about any distance, target size, light condition, and weather.
It’s also worth noting that despite how it is listed on many websites, the reticle aim points are actually crosses rather than circles.
The low-profile turrets are sealed against the weather, and are easy to use while providing an impressive range of settings. The settings include ½ MOA increments up to 120 MOA, and audible clicks on each increment. It comes with flip-up lens covers and a lens cloth, so maintaining the optics is a breeze.
The main downside of this scope is common to many crossbow scopes with both variable magnifications and speeds - the two settings are linked to each other. It’s not great if you’re looking to just zoom in on your target, but it is hardly a deal-breaker. The eye relief might be a little close for comfort for some archers, measuring a relatively short 3 inches.
5. TRUGLO 4x32 Crossbow Scope
Here is a lower-priced offering from a respected manufacturer TRUGLO. The 4x32 fixed 4x magnification crossbow scope is all about durability and ease of use, while maintaining excellent clarity. It also comes at a surprisingly low price.
This rugged scope is a great choice for the huntsman on a budget. It’s made from highly durable aircraft-grade aluminum, and is treated with a non-reflective, scratch-resistant coating. It’ll be able to take any punishment you throw at it while out in the field, without any glare catching your prey’s eye.
Its lenses are fully coated, providing excellent light-gathering characteristics as well as impressive clarity and contrast, making it useful even in low light. It is fog and water-resistant, and the scope’s body is filled with nitrogen, so condensation won’t ever be a worry. Plus, if you encounter any issues down the road, this scope is covered by a limited lifetime warranty. Therefore, you can be assured you’re getting a scope that will last as long as you need it to.
The eye relief is a very generous 4 inches, which provides for near-unparalleled comfort, which is only compounded by the addition of a rubber eye guard. You won’t be going home with black and blue around your eyes with this scope mounted to your bow.
The reticle design is recoil compensated, ensuring that if you have to take more than one shot that you’ll end up with the same level of accuracy for each one. It’s zeroed at 20 yards, with 10-yard increments up to 50 yards, and is especially well-sized for deer hunting. The leaf-sprung adjustment knobs are protected by screw-down caps, and hold their zeroing for extended periods of time.
The bottom line is that this is an excellent sight for the money, the one that will keep you shooting accurately all season long.
The 4x magnification is a reasonable middle ground zoom that is best suited for medium to long-range shots. The 32mm objective lens provides plenty of light, which is helped by the integrated shroud over the aperture.
The reticle doesn’t feature any illumination, which isn’t much of a surprise for a low-cost scope. The lack of variable zoom or velocity settings means it’s not perfectly suited for bows with outlying bolt velocities. Some people have reported that the mounting rings are sometimes difficult to fit, requiring more torque than you might expect.
When upgrading your scope or buying your first one, it’s important that you know what to look out for. That way, you won’t end up with a sight that doesn’t work for your crossbow and your hunting style. Let’s take a look at some of the most important features, and help you find the best crossbow scope for you.
One of the most important considerations, the magnification settings of the scope you are looking for, will largely determine if it’s right for how and what you shoot. Higher zooms can help to get a clearer picture of your target, but rely on high-quality optics to be able to get a clear picture of what you’re shooting at. Lower magnifications are good for closer targets and greater situational awareness, but won’t make hitting distant shots much easier. The best crossbow scope should have good magnification settings.
2. Eye Relief
Eye relief is the distance between your eye and the lens of the scope. If it’s too short, you run the risk of the scope hitting you in the face when your bow’s recoil kicks in as you shoot. Extra features like eye guards around the rim of the scope can also help to mitigate any painful accidents.
The design of the scope’s reticle is the key to getting an accurate shot, and you should keep in mind your intended usage when considering reticles of the models you shortlist. If the reticle is poorly designed, it can end up obstructing your view rather than making your life easier. The number of increments and the distance between them can also be important if you plan on shooting at varying ranges.
Illuminated reticles are a very useful addition if you expect to be using your bow in low light conditions, like at dawn or dusk. It can help to ensure that you can see the crosshairs no matter the light level. Also, it can be of use in brighter conditions to help distinguish the aim point from a dark background. The best crossbow scope should perform well in a wide range of light conditions.
5. Objective Lens Diameter
The objective lens is where the environmental light enters your scope, and the size of it determines how much of that light is captured and transmitted into your shooting eye. A 32mm diameter for the lens is the standard, and you will find it in the vast majority of crossbow scopes. Larger diameters are normally reserved for scopes with higher magnification than is practical on a crossbow, such as for long-range scopes for rifles.
Crossbow Scope FAQs
1. Can You Use a Rifle Scope as a Crossbow Scope?
Yes, you can use some rifle scopes on your crossbow, although with some caveats. Some rifle scopes are not designed to hold up to the multi-directional recoil that firing a crossbow produces, though if the scope is rated for air guns, then it will likely manage fine. Many rifle scopes are also designed for shooting at longer ranges than crossbows can achieve. Therefore, even if you do have a rifle scope, it might not produce the most accurate results.
Question 2: How Important Is Illumination?
Illumination is hugely important if you’re planning on shooting in particularly low light settings, and near vital if you plan on hunting after the sun sets. Variable brightness can be a real benefit, as it makes the illumination more useful in a wider set of circumstances.
Question 3: Should Sighting the Scope Be a Priority During Set-up?
Sighting your scope should absolutely be a priority for you after you’ve mounted it. All third-party optics will require some adjustments to ensure that they are guiding your shots as accurately as possible. It’s very unlikely that you’ll be on target out of the box.
Question 4: Does Having a High-Quality Reticle Make a Difference?
If you’re planning on ensuring consistent groupings at long range, or hitting your prey dead with the first shot, then a high-quality reticle is a must. Low-quality reticles can ruin your aim, as they can obstruct your view, or lack range notches for you to adjust for the distance of your target.
Question 5: What Is Considered Good Eye Relief?
The industry standard sits at around 3 ½ inches, which generally provides a comfortable sighting experience. Every scope with the eye relief bigger than this will provide extra security for your eyes. However, shorter eye reliefs are generally found on scopes that feature more powerful magnifications. The best crossbow scope offers plenty of protection and great performance.
The title of the best crossbow scope for 2019 goes to the impressive Hawke XB1 1.5-5x32 SR IR scope. With its wide range of magnifications, adjustable illumination settings, aim points up to 100 yards, and thorough weather-proofing, this is truly a scope for any bow in any situation.
If you’re on a tighter budget, however, then you should check out the TRUGLOW 4x32 1” scope, which is highly robust and is an especially great option for deer hunts.