HUNTING

Best 1-4 Scope: Top Rated Models and How to Decide

Best 1-4 Scope
Shawn Harrison
Written by Shawn Harrison

So, you want to shoot at a short range, but you still have issues with accuracy? If you’ve tried iron sights but haven’t clicked with them, it’s time to try a scope. But now you have the issue of how to decide, right? Well, the best 1-4 scope isn’t easy to choose, but it’s well worth the effort.

For instance, you will get very good precision and an accurate field perception. That’s because the smaller magnification also enlarges the field of view. That means you will get an optimal target selection, as well as good engagement at close quarters.

Gun with Scope on the Table

To help you achieve all that, we’ve only selected the most quality items on the market for our reviews. But to really help you make the best choice, we’ll start with a short, yet complete how-to-choose guide. All these useful info is summarized in the table below.

Our Top Picks

ProductReticleCoatingWindage and Elevation AdjustmentsPrice
Mueller Speed Shot Rifle4 MOA dotFully multi-coated½ MOA per clickCheck price on Amazon
Burris MTAC IlluminatedStar BDCHiLume multi-coated½ MOA per clickCheck price on Amazon
Centerpoint MSR3 MOA dotMulti-coated¼ MOA per clickCheck price on Amazon
Bushnell Drop Zone-223Drop Zone-223 BDCFully multi-coated0.1 MIL per clickCheck price on Amazon
Leupold VX-HOGPig PlexMulti-coated¼ MOA per clickCheck price on Amazon
Barska IR HuntingMil-dotMulti-coated¼ MIL per clickCheck price on Amazon
Bushnell Throw Down PCLBTR-1 BDCFully multi-coated0.1 MIL per clickCheck price on Amazon
Firefield Close CombatMil-dotFully multi-coated¼ MOA per clickCheck price on Amazon

Things to Consider Before Buying

All the factors to take into account should be evaluated according to your main purpose. So ask yourself these questions: Which targets are you using this scope for? When are you using it? Are you shooting/ hunting for fun or not? That will make it easier to get the right scope without getting too impressed by superficial characteristics.

Reticle

The reticle is very important because it tells you what you’ll be able to shoot. For instance, a Mil-dot reticle is great for tactical purposes. A star-shaped reticle or a donut reticle is great for bigger targets because it’s precise and it doesn’t obscure them. A dot reticle is amazing for faster, small game.

Scope Reticle

Image credit: thetruthaboutguns.com

If you’re interested in shooting various targets, we recommend a 3 MOA or a 4 MOA reticle thanks to its accommodating size. Besides, choosing a BDC reticle is great for differences in elevation, and an illuminated one is great for different light settings.

Coating

We recommend getting at least a multi-coated scope seeing as multiple layers of coating will render brighter images. Some of the best optics on the market are fully multi-coated with unique, anti-glare substances that prevent reflection.

Multi Coated Scope on a Gun

Image credit: recoilweb.com

Apart from that, the coating is also important for increasing light transmission. Seeing as most 1-4 scopes have a small lens diameter too that’s not amazing for dim light, you need to compensate this fault with more layers of coating if you’re planning to shoot at dusk or dawn.

Windage and Elevation Adjustments

1 MOA at 100 yards is 1 inch, and 1 MIL at 100 yards is 3.6 inches. So when you calculate how precise the windage and elevation adjustments are for your scope, you should take these measurements into account. That’s because some manufacturers use the MOA click adjustments, while others use the MIL measurements.

Scope Windage and Elevation Adjustments

Image credit: thetruthaboutguns.com

Besides that, make sure you get audible clicks and a good grip of the turret knobs. It’s even better if you have turrets that can be reset to zero, but that’s just a bonus.

Construction

If you’re using your scope frequently and on rugged terrain, you should look for a sturdy construction. Aluminum is great for the tube, but this should also have some sort of coating to prevent scratches. A gas purging is essential if you’re looking to prevent internal fogging, and O-seals are great for waterproofing and dust proofing your scope.

Scope on a Gun

If you know you’ll be using your scope in rough conditions, slamming or dropping it a lot, make sure it can withstand forceful impacts. But ensuring your scope is shockproof is also important for its ability to hold the zero.

Included Things

A complete package is always nice, provided the things inside it are useful. For instance, we like to see included mounts, but sometimes they’re flimsy.

We also love lens caps because they offer further protection to your scope, as well as turret caps. An included battery is a plus too, seeing that helps you use your scope right out of the box.

1-4 Scope

With that in mind, let’s take a look at what the market has to offer.

Best Products on Today’s Market

All the products below are suited for a wide array of purposes and preferences, but we’ve listed the pros and cons for each to help you decide.

Mueller Speed Shot Rifle Scope

Price: Approx. $250Mueller Speed Shot Rifle Scope

Weight: 1.1 pounds

Dimensions: 10.2 x 1.8 x 1.8 inches

Specific features: 1-4x 24 mm, 30 mm tube, 3.5 mm eye relief, fully multi-coated, capped turrets, 1/2 MOA click adjustments, 4 MOA dot reticle, 11 brightness settings

Best use: Speed shooting

The Mueller Speed Shot Rifle Scope is the perfect scope to consider if your purpose is speed shooting. So whichever target you might have that requires fast shots, like hogs, bears, or turkeys, the illumination system of this scope will help you a lot. That’s because its light can be seen during the day without the tube glowing and blurring your image.

The 4 MOA dot reticle is also great for these types of targets, being versatile enough for bears and squirrels alike. Besides, you’ll get 11 different brightness settings so you can shoot regardless of how dim or bright it is. However, the adjustment knob might seem a bit stiff.

The 30 mm tube is also good, but the 3.5 mm eye relief could use some improvement. On the other hand, the capped turrets work well, they’re easy to use and the 1/2 MOA click adjustments are precise and audible.

PROS:

  • Versatile
  • Fast
 CONS:

  • Small eye relief
  • Stiff brightness adjustment knob

Related: The Butler Creek Flip-Open Scope Cover is just the thing you need in terms of additional dust protection. This is easy to mount, it’s resistant and easy to flip, so it’s actually perfect for all sorts of optics you might have.

Check the price on Amazon

Burris 200437 MTAC Illuminated Scope

Price: Approx. $330Burris 200437 MTAC Illuminated Scope

Weight: 1.1 pounds

Dimensions: 11.3 x 2 x 2 inches

Specific features: 1-4x 24 mm, star-shaped BDC reticle, precision ground index matched glass, HiLume multicoating, 30 mm tube, 32-100 feet at 100 yards FOV, for AR rifles, 600 yards maximum distance, life warranty

Best use: Big game hunting

The Burris 200437 MTAC Illuminated Scope is one of the best small resolution scopes for big game hunting thanks to a wide field of view between 32 to 100 feet at 100 yards, depending on the magnification. That means you’ll have the means to follow bigger game before taking your shot. However, the 1x is more likely a 1.25x, though you can still keep both your eyes open, and the zoom knob is a bit stiff.

Besides, the star-shaped BDC reticle is illuminated and easy to use on bigger targets. This sort of reticle might not work on smaller animals because it’s big enough and a bit busy. However, it’s glass-etched so you can rely on its long-term functionality.

Speaking of the glass, this is top-notch, precision ground index matched glass that’s very resistant. The HiLume multi-coating is anti-reflective so you’ll minimize glare and get bright images. We love the 30 mm tube that’s very solid too.

The fact that it fits AR rifles is another plus, and the 600 yards maximum distance is perfect for deer or bear hunting. And if that doesn’t convince you, maybe the included life warranty will.

PROS:

  • Holds zero well
  • Wide FOV
  • Quality reticle
 CONS:

  • Not a true 1x
  • Stiff zoom ring

Related: To mount this scope on your rifle, you’ll need a quality mount like the Burris AR PEPR 30-mm Scope Mount. Since it’s a 30 mm mount, it can definitely fit it, but we love the rings and base construction. Besides, you’ll get both a Picatinny ring top or a smooth top if you have another rail for your rifle.

Check the price on Amazon

Centerpoint 1-4×20 MSR Rifle Scope

Price: Approx. $80Centerpoint 1-4x20 MSR Rifle Scope

Weight: 1 pound

Dimensions: 4.75 x 3.75 x 12 inches

Specific features: 1-4x 20 mm, 1-inch tube, 3 MOA dot reticle, 65 MOA ring, 250 yards maximum range, aircraft-grade aluminum alloy, fits AR rifles, Picatinny rail mount, battery and lens covers included

Best use: Close range hunting

The Centerpoint 1-4×20 MSR Rifle Scope is a good scope for fast shots thanks to a 3 MOA dot reticle that allows quick target acquisition. We also love the 65 MOA ring that is very versatile for different types of targets. However, the 250 yards maximum range means you can use this scope at a short range, even if you have varied targets.

The 1-inch long tube is manufactured from aircraft-grade aluminum alloy. For the great price, you’ll get a sturdy, low-weight scope that also proves to be shockproof, waterproof and fog proof.

Besides, you’ll get a complete package with Picatinny rail mount, battery and lens cover included. The Picatinny rail is great for most AR rifles, but it’s a bit cheaply made, so you might need to change it. However, it enables you to at least get the feel of this scope and use it right out of the box.

PROS:

  • Clear image
  • Good focus
  • Inexpensive
 CONS:

  • Cheap mount

Related: The CVLIFE 6- 9 Inches Tactical Rifle Bipodmight be just the thing you need for this scope. You can easily attach the Centerpoint MSR to it, then do some bird watching or scouting. Either way, it’s an inexpensive addition to your hunting gear, and it’s also a quality product.

Check the price on Amazon

Bushnell Drop Zone-223 Reticle Riflescope

Price: Approx. $110Bushnell Drop Zone-223 Reticle Riflescope

Weight: 1.1 pounds

Dimensions: 20 x 7 x 7 inches

Specific features: 1-4x 24 mm, fully multicoated, fast-focus eyepiece, Drop Zone-223 BDC reticle, 0.1 MIL target turrets, 30 mm tube, anodized aluminum alloy

Best use: Mid-range hunting

The Bushnell Drop Zone-223 Reticle Riflescope is the perfect choice for shooting at medium distances thanks to its Drop Zone-223 BDC reticle. That’s because this reticle is calibrated for 55-62 grain bullet weight, allowing 223 REM loads. Besides, it has aiming points to a maximum distance of 500 yards, which is perfect for increased accuracy.

Speaking of accuracy, the 0.1 MIL target turrets are extremely precise too. We love the fast-focus eyepiece the most, though, since it allows you to catch fast-moving targets like bears or turkeys. The reticle crosshairs are a bit thick for smaller targets, unfortunately, and the 1x is more like a 1.25x.

The 30 mm tube is very resistant to different weather and on-field conditions since it’s manufactured out of an anodized aluminum alloy. Its gas sealing won’t let any water or debris inside, stopping any fog formation that might blur your image. Besides, the full multicoating explains why you’ll get such bright images.

PROS:

  • Accurate
  • Fast
  • Resistant
 CONS:

  • Wide reticle
  • Not a true 1x

Related: We recommend the CCOP MNT-1516 AR-ArmourTac Mount for this rifle. It’s made from a resistant T6061 aluminum alloy, and it includes both the rings and the base for a Picatinny rail. This is a high profile mount with a 2 inches forward extension that’s been extensively tested to withstand inclement weather and rough terrain conditions, which is why we like it for the Bushnell scope.

Check the price on Amazon

Leupold VX-HOG Rifle Scope

Price: Approx. $250Leupold VX-HOG Rifle Scope

Weight: 0.5 pounds

Dimensions: 14 x 3.2 x 3 inches

Specific features: 1-4x 20 mm, Pig Plex reticle, 1/4 MOA per click, multi-coated, nitrogen gas purging, 1-inch tube, matte black finish

Best use: Hog hunting

The Leupold VX-HOG Rifle Scope is great for a short to a medium range hunting of hogs since the reticle is a bit thick. The first thing we love about it is its lightweight, it’s half as light as most 1-4 scopes on the market, and for the same price. We also appreciate the multiple layers of coating which make the rendered images bright.

The Pig Plex reticle is very accurate, with subtensions that help you achieve a fast target acquisition no matter the conditions. Even the windage and elevation adjustments are precise with ¼ MOA per click. These are all reasons why the scope is the perfect device for varmint hunting.

The 1-inch tube is particularly resistant to bad weather thanks to a nitrogen gas purging. This means you’re getting a waterproof and fog proof scope. Its matte black finish that not only looks stylish, but it also prevents on-field scratches.

PROS:

  • Precise
  • Weather-resistant
  • Quality optics
 CONS:

  • Thick reticle

Related: The Leupold Mark 2 IMS 1″ is an integral mount system that fits 1-inch tubes like that of the VX-HOG. It has both the rings and the Picatinny-style rail, but the reason why we recommend it is that it’s very light, being made from aircraft-grade aluminum.

Check the price on Amazon

Barska 1-4×28 IR Hunting Scope

Price: Approx. $125Barska 1-4x28 IR Hunting Scope

Weight: 1 pound

Dimensions: 10 x 2.9 x 4 inches

Specific features: 1-4x 28 mm, glass-etched illuminated Mil-Dot reticle, fully multi-coated, CO-2 nitrogen purged, O-ring sealed, 4.5 inches eye relief, target-style windage and elevation, dual Cantilever mount, flip-up caps and battery included

Best use: Precision shooting

The Barska 1-4×28 IR Hunting Scope is a good scope for precision shooting thanks to its Mil-Dot reticle that’s illuminated. You’ll get three different reticle colors too, red, green or black to suit different environments. Besides, the reticle is etched in glass so it is protected enough to remain functional for a long time.

The fully multi-coated lens render extremely bright images, with no fogging. We love the careful CO-2 and nitrogen purging for removing any sort of glare and internal fog formation. The added O-ring seal makes this scope waterproof as well as dustproof, contributing to the image brightness.

The 4.5 inches eye relief is a bit moot. While it’s a particularly long eye relief for maximum comfort that works well with AR rifles, some might consider it too big. Either way, the target-style windage and elevation are indisputably good, seeing as they account for increased shot precision.

The whole package is complete with included dual Cantilever mount, flip-up caps, and battery. Among the things we’re not so crazy about, you could say this scope doesn’t have a true 1x, it has an obvious optical distortion for the smaller magnification and it doesn’t hold the zero very well.

PROS:

  • Amazing reticle
  • Great glass
  • Complete package
 CONS:

  • Not a true 1x
  • Optical distortion for smaller magnifications
  • Doesn’t hold zero

Related: We recommend the ELENKER CAL 223 5.56mm Bore Sighter, a laser unit cartridge that works very well with 223 REM rifles. The main reason why we think it would be a perfect fit with the Barska scope is that it helps it hold the zero even after more shocks and impacts that would otherwise destabilize it.

Check the price on Amazon

Bushnell Optics Throw Down PCL

Price: Approx. $210Bushnell Optics Throw Down PCL

Weight: 1.1 pounds

Dimensions: 9.5 x 3.8 x 3.1 inches

Specific features: 1-4x 24 mm, fully multi-coated, FFP illuminated BTR-1 BDC reticle, 11 brightness settings, Throw-down PCL lever, 0.1 MIL click adjustments, 500 yards max, anodized aluminum alloy, gas-sealing

Best use: Medium-range shooting

The Bushnell BTR-1 BDC Throw Down PCL is another amazing scope for medium-range shooting considering you’re able to make precise holdovers to a maximum distance of 500 yards. In this case, you can shoot games of different sizes, thanks to a BTR-1 reticle that’s particularly versatile.

This is a front focal plane sort of reticle, making it perfect for tactical purposes and for increased distances. It also allows bullet drop compensation, so it accounts for differences in elevation too. And to make sighting easier, it’s also illuminated.

In fact, you’ll get 11 brightness settings for the utmost versatility. Unfortunately, the shiniest brightness levels will wash out the lens, so it’s harder to see. But the full multi-coating helps a bit in that regard, considering it accounts for increased light transmission and image clarity.

The Throw-down PCL lever is great for changing the light intensity fast. The target turrets are very fast and precise with 0.1 MIL click adjustments, but we would have liked locking turrets or caps for them.

The overall construction is another plus. Made from an anodized aluminum alloy, this is a very resistant scope. Its gas sealing makes it dustproof and rainproof too, so you can use it in difficult conditions.

PROS:

  • Resistant
  • Clear
  • Fast
 CONS:

  • No locking turrets
  • Hard to see at max brightness

Related: We like the Aero Precision Ultralight 30mm Scope Mount because of its rugged extruded aluminum construction with an anodized finish. Together with the Bushnell Throw Down PCL it makes the perfect team regarding on-field durability.

Check the price on Amazon

Firefield Close Combat Riflescope

Price: Approx. $100Firefield Close Combat Riflescope

Weight: 1 pound

Dimensions: 11 x 6 x 4 inches

Specific features: 1-4x 24 mm, Mil-dot reticle, red/ green light, fully multi-coated, 1/4-inch click MOA adjustment, weatherproof, fog proof, dustproof

Best use: Big game hunting/ CQB

The Firefield Close Combat Riflescope is a versatile scope for various purposes that include big game hunting as well as CQB. The first reason is its true 1x that allows you to use this scope with both eyes open for accurate depth perception and no image distortion. But you’ll also get nice images, pretty clear and with a wide field of view for the whole magnification range.

Besides, the 1/4-inch click MOA adjustments are great for tactical purposes as well as rangefinding seeing as the adjustments are very precise. The Mil-dot reticle is very accurate too, especially for holdovers, windage and bullet drop compensation.

With its red and green light, the reticle works in different light settings, but not so much in full sun. The fully multi-coated optics account for great image brightness. We also like the resistance of this scope, that proves to be weatherproof, fog proof, and dustproof, but its mounting rings are somewhat flimsy.

PROS:

  • Versatile
  • True 1x
  • Bright images
 CONS:

  • Not great for full sunlight
  • Flimsy mounting rings

Related: The very versatile Golden Finger Quick Release Scope Ring Mount is just what you need for this scope. It fits both Cantilever and Picatinny style rails, and it’s a quality mount for all tactical rifles.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap Up

Whether you’re looking for a big game shooting scope like the Burris 200437 MTAC or one for varmint hunting like the Leupold 114933 VX-HOG Rifle Scope, for a close range or for middle range, for speed or for accuracy, we’ve got it all.

So after reading our reviews, you can always go back to the beginning and consult the table that summarizes their main characteristics or read their pros and cons again. We’d really like to hear from you though, so tell us what you ended up with. The comments are right below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shawn Harrison

Shawn Harrison

Shawn Harrison is our expert in hunting. He was born in Alaska, so hunting was his hobby since high school. Later, Shawn took a Hunter Training at Alaska Department of Fish and Game to structure his knowledge and now he is open to share his knowledge with our readers. Shawn is taking ‘Safety First’ approach on all of his trips, especially is some people are going hunting for the first time.