HUNTING

Best Air Rifle Scope: Get More Out Of Your Air Powered Weapons

best-rifle-scope
Shawn Harrison
Written by Shawn Harrison

Just a few short years ago, air powered weapons were considered nothing more than toys and recreational hobbies. However, with the amount of technology and engineering that went into them, they have become veritable killing machines, with an element of silence thrown into the mix.

That being said, the more powerful air rifles became, the more hunters switched to them. It’s easy to figure out why, they’re silent, they have next to no recoil or blowback and they can pack just as much power as regular rifles.

However, with air rifles being used in order to hunt, there was a clear need for scopes to be developed in order to match the needs of the shooters.

While they are rather similar to the scopes used on normal rifles, the air rifle scopes are in fact a lot lighter, a lot more versatile and slightly larger than the normal hunting rifle scopes.

Product NameMagnificationReticleLengthPrice
Hammers 3-9x32AO3-9 x 32Mil-dot12.75 inchesCheck price on Amazon
Cvlife Tactical 3-9X40 Optics R43-9 x 40Crosshair12.20 inchesCheck price on Amazon
Barska 3-12X40 Ao3-12 x 40Mil-dot13.7 inchesCheck price on Amazon
Crosman CPA416AORG24-16 x 40Centerpoint14 inchesCheck price on Amazon
Utg 4X32 Hunter1-4 x 32Mil-dot12.20 inchesCheck price on Amazon
Cvlife Hunting 6-24X506-24 x 50Crosshair15.75 inchesCheck price on Amazon
Utg 3-9X40 Hunter3-9 x 40Mil-dot15.4 inchesCheck price on Amazon

That being said, figuring out which scope is the right choice for your rifle will be quite a challenge, and you will have to look at all the details and see what every scope has to offer before you start narrowing down your list.

Things To Consider When Choosing The Best Air Rifle Scope

There are a few things that we need to consider before rushing off to buy a new scope. First of all, the scope that you will use will help your accuracy with a ball or a light projectile, not an actual rifle bullet, so not just any hunting scope will do.

When it comes to air rifle scopes, the main things that you will have to worry about are optical capabilities, the size of the scope and overall weight of the scope. Getting a proper grasp of these key elements will help you understand what you are looking for as well as what you should avoid, depending on what rifle you use, what you hunt and where.

Optical Capabilities

This covers everything from magnification levels to the field of view and optical protection against glares, flares, and reflections.

Optical capabilities on air rifle scope

When it comes to magnification levels, they are similar to the scopes that are used with regular hunting rifles, however, there’s a small twist, the air rifle scopes have higher magnification levels. This is because of the fact that air rifles fire projectiles that are a lot lighter than bullets, but with the same velocity and force behind them.

This means that the air rifle projectiles often times travel a lot greater distances before they start to drop, meaning that they are overall a lot more accurate over long distances. So make sure to look at what your hunting grounds are and plan accordingly.

If you will spend a lot of time in open fields and generally open areas, you might want to go for a scope with very high magnification levels and optical protection, however if you are in a more dense area, like a forest or jungle, you might want lower magnification levels but with a wider field of view.

The Weight Of The Scope

The weight of the scope is particularly important when it comes to air rifles. This is because the air rifles are generally lighter than their regular rifle counterparts.

scope mount

While lighter rifles are easier to maneuver, the moment you add a heavy scope on top of them you will start to sway when you aim. The rifle sway is also why hunters take a deep breath and hold it in before they take the shot.

The heavier the scope in relation to the weigh of the rifle, the wider the sway will be. That being said, try and go for scopes that are as light as possible, especially if you are rolling with a very light rifle to begin with.

The Size Of The Scope

This is a more utilitarian aspect to keep in mind, however, it is fairly important nevertheless. One of the things that you will see is the fact that air rifle scopes are actually larger than normal hunting rifle scopes. This is mainly due to the increased optical performances that air rifle scopes sport, and it could be problematic.

As a good rule of thumb, the scope should never be longer than half the length of the barrel that it will be placed on, and the tube of the scope should never be thicker than the actual barrel.

view through scope

The longer the scope is in relation to the barrel, the harder it is to calibrate it and maintain a decent level of accuracy. The thinner the barrel of the rifle, the more difficult it is to mount the scope onto it, often times adapters have to be used in order to make some scopes fit on certain barrels.

The Best Products On The Market

While there are a few scopes on the market, it is always a lot easier to decide once the list is narrowed down to only a handful of options. That being said, here are some of the best and some of the most popular air rifle scopes currently on the market. Hopefully, the one that you are looking for is among them.

Hammers 3-9x32AO Air Rifle Scope

hammers air scope

Price: Approximately $53

Weight: 1.6 pounds

Dimensions: 12.75 x 3.2 x 2.5 inches

Specific features: Finger-tight wind and elevation adjustment knobs, internally reinforced structure

Best use: Medium / long range hunting, high powered air rifles

While it might seem a bit complex and hard to use, the Hammers 3-9x32AO Air Rifle Scope is actually very simple and highly intuitive. So much so that it does not really require the shooter to have any experience with scopes or hunting rifles for that matter.

One of the things that you will notice right off the bat is the fact that all the controls and all the adjustment knobs are on the shooter’s side of the scope. This is something that not all scopes do, and it helps out quite a bit when you are trying your best to get a clear shot while standing perfectly still.

The actual construction of the scope is quite interesting in of itself. Despite the fact that it was built for an air rifle, it is still able to handle a lot of physical and kinetic energy without stressing the inner lenses.

While it is great for medium and long distance shooting, it does have a bit of a problem when it comes to close range targets. Because it has a 32 mm objective lens and starts off with x3 magnification level, aiming fro close range targets is tricky to the point where you have to compensate with your eye relief distance in order to get a clear shot.

All in all, this is a great scope to have, especially if you are a beginner and are just now learning about scopes and how to use them when hunting.

PROS:

  • Very easy to use
  • Control knobs are very close to the shooter’s hand
  • Durable and capable of taking a lot of punishment

CONS:

  • Does not do well with close range targets
  • Can give the illusion of complexity

Related: For the shooters that love using high powered long distance rifles, Hammers also sells the Hammers Telescopic Shooting Tripod, which gives them a lot more accuracy, while reducing rifle sway completely.

Check the price on Amazon

Cvlife Tactical 3-9X40 Optics R4

cvlife tactical

Price: Approximately $22

Weight: 1.2 pounds

Dimensions: 12.20 x 3.2 x 2.5 inches

Specific features: Fully multi-coated glass lenses, scratch resistant coating, 100% nitrogen filled

Best use: Medium / long range hunting, medium/high powered air rifles

There is always something to be said about having the perfect scope for the job, and the Cvlife Tactical 3-9X40 Optics R4  can be one of those scopes.

One of its main strengths is how it handles light and protects the shooter’s eye from glaring and reflective effects. It manages to do this as well as it does because of the fully multi-coated glass lenses that it sports, giving it a multitude of layers of optical protection for the shooter.

Something else worth noting about this scope is the fact that, although its main purpose is to serve as an air rifle scope, it is also strong and sturdy enough to serve as a scope on firearms as well.

This is because the actual scope structure is split up into 2 parts, the inner and outer construction, leaving a small buffer area in between which negates any kind of kinetic force caused by recoils and blow-backs.

Perhaps the only disadvantage that this scope brings to the table is the fact that the cold is its worst enemy. Because of the machined aluminum structure, it is a great and versatile scope to have when hunting in warm climates, but a difficult to handle mess the colder it gets.

Simply put, the cold causes the small space between the 2 structures to warp slightly, which causes the scope to become a lot less responsive than it would normally be, to the point where turning the control becomes a gamble. All things considered, it is still a great scope to have and to use, as long as you don’t go hunting at the north pole.

PROS:

  • Great optical protection against lighting effects
  • Sturdy 2 part construction
  • Durable aluminum body

CONS:

  • Does not perform well ion extremely cold environments
  • There is no other way of calibrating the scope other than the 3 shot method
  • Slightly longer eye relief distance

Related: CVLIFE have a lot of useful hunting and tactical gear available for purchase, the Cvlife Red & Green Dot Sight is one example. It can be used for close-up and short range shooting, as well as an extra attachment on top of the long distance scope itself.

Check the price on Amazon

Barska 3-12X40 Ao

Barska 3-12X40 Ao

Price: Approximately $57

Weight: 1.1 pounds

Dimensions: 13.8 x 3.8 x 2.5 inches

Specific features: Extra rigid shockproof construction, balanced eye relief distance

Best use: Medium / long range hunting, medium/high powered air rifles

One of the first things that will stand out when you see the Barska 3-12×40 Ao scope is the elegant simplicity of the design. While it is sturdy enough and strong enough to be used without having to worry about it, it also gives that sleek feeling when aiming down the sights.

Its simple design also brings with it very simple to operate controls, which makes this ideal for beginner shooters. No matter what game you are hunting, or how skilled and versed you are as a hunter, this scope will be able to serve you properly regardless.

Another thing to mention here is the reticle that it sports. Although relatively common, the Mil-Dot reticle actually helps the shooter a lot more in this situation. When combined with the 40 mm objective lens and the field of view that it offers the shooter, it becomes a lot easier to aim at both standing and moving targets.

The only downside to this scope is the fact that mounting it can be a bit tricky. If you are one of the shooters that prefers a low profile scope, you’re out of luck. The 40 mm lens forces the shooter to mount the scope on risers, giving it a taller profile.

PROS:

  • Very easy to use
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Adjustable objective lens

CONS:

  • Can be tricky to mount
  • Can cause eye strain if the eye relief distance is neglected

Related: Another great item that Barska offers is the BARSKA Red Laser with Built-in Mount and Rail which you can use on your rifle, underneath your scope, in order to add a bit more accuracy into the mix.

Check the price on Amazon

Crosman CPA416AORG2

Crosman-CPA416AORG2

Price: Approximately $100

Weight: 1.2 pounds

Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 3.2 inches

Specific features: Dual illuminated Mill-Dot reticle, rated for both air gun and firearm use.

Best use: Long range hunting, high powered air rifles

Elegance and aesthetics are pleasing to see, however when you combine them with powerful capabilities, like in the Crosman CPA416AORG2’s case, what you get is a great balance of looks and utility.

Right from the very beginning, you will see that this scope is defined by its performances. Among the most important of them all is its magnification capabilities. This scope is able to give the shooter anywhere between 4 and 16 times magnification through a 40 mm objective lens, achieving a wide and generous field of view in the profess.

Another thing worth noting about this scope is the fact that it is officially rated for both airguns and firearms, meaning that you can swap the scope between both weapons without having to worry about any damage being done to it.

The downside with this scope is the fact that it is a bit pretentious when it comes to cleaning and maintenance. The design itself, while pleasant to look, it offers the shooter grooved scope controls. Although it makes it very easy and comfortable to control the scope, it also makes cleaning the scope a lot more time-consuming.

If you’re not really bothered about the bit of extra time spent cleaning it, then you will still have one of the best hunting scopes on hand.

PROS:

  • Easy and comfortable to use
  • Pleasant and elegant design
  • Can be used with both air guns and firearms

CONS:

  • Requires a bit of extra time to clean and maintain
  • Can be a bit difficult to mount because of the diameter of the tube

Related: Crossman also help shooters out by allowing them to purchase the Crosman RMCOIL Silicone Chamber Oil, making it possible to clean and lubricate the rifle while out hunting as well as at home.

Check the price on Amazon

Utg 4X32 1″ Hunter Scope

Utg 4X32 1" Hunter Scope

Price: Approximately $39

Weight: 1.5 pounds

Dimensions: 12.20 x 3.2 x 2.5 inches

Specific features: 1.4 MOA per wind and elevation adjustment knob click, reduced eye relief distance, fully coated and protected lenses

Best use: Medium range hunting, medium/high powered air rifles

The UTG 4X32 1″ Hunter Scope is a more modern adaptation of the classical sniper scope. It is similar in size and design to the classical scopes used by the snipers in the Vietnam War, however with more modern technologies and adaptations thrown into the mix.

Sporting the Mil-Dot reticle, this nifty little scope gives you a magnification level of between 1 and 4 through a 32 mm objective lens. While it might seem a bit restrictive, it is actually well within the requirements for the purpose of this scope.

It is not a long range scope, but rather a medium range one, giving the shooter clear vision to both close up and considerably far targets. This is great for hunting in dense foliage and congested environments such as thick forest and jungles.

Another thing worth noting is the fact that this scope sports a smart spherical construction, meaning that all the joints and controls are synchronized in order to give the shooter a smooth and efficient experience. This makes it highly responsive and capable of making lightning fast adjustments on the go.

The only problem is the fact that it is not among the easiest scopes to use out there. The reduced magnification level alone is enough to deter beginner shooters, and it does take a bit of time to get used to. However, when this is all said and done you will have a fast and versatile scope.

PROS:

  • Very responsive
  • The controls require next to no effort to operate
  • Adjustments are very precise

CONS:

  • Considerably lower magnification level
  • Does not cater to beginner shooters

Related: Shooters can also purchase the UTG Multi-functional Tactical Messenger Bag  from UTG, which will help them carry their ammunition as well as different extra accessories in an easy to reach position.

Check the price on Amazon

Cvlife Hunting Rifle Scope 6-24X50

Cvlife Hunting Rifle Scope 6-24X50

Price: Approximately $32

Weight: 1.9 pounds

Dimensions: 15.7 x 3.8 x 2.5 inches

Specific features: 50 mm objective diameter, red and green reticle illumination, uses the Kellner Eyepiece with Dioptric Adjustment Lens

Best use: Long range hunting, medium/high powered air rifles and air assault rifles

Right out of the box, you will notice that the CVLIFE Hunting Rifle Scope 6-24×50 is big. Probably a bit too big for an air rifle scope. While it is a big scope, it is also able to bring the performances that back it up, offering the shooter a magnification level of between 6 and 24, with a 50 mm objective lens. This is a monstrous magnification level, over a very wide field of view, which make it one of the best scopes on the market in regards to optical performances.

That being said, this scope is not for just any kind of rifle. It is better suited for high powered long distance and extremely long distance hunting rifles. It also works well with long distance air assault rifles, making it a lot more versatile in terms of its applications.

Another thing that is easily noticeable is the fact that it offers the shooter a whole range or controls to work with. Indeed every single aspect of the scope and its optics is at the shooter’s fingertips. However, this brings a small downside to it.

Because of all the controls as well as the massive capabilities of the scope, it is not at all suited for beginners. It can easily overwhelm new shooters as well as make it easy for them to miss-match the settings on the scope, resulting in a lot of missed shots and wasted ammo.

PROS:

  • Offers the shooter a wide range of controls
  • Very high magnification levels
  • Very wide field of view

CONS:

  • Is not recommended at all with firearms
  • Unfriendly towards beginners
  • The shooter often times feels restricted to very high powered rifles

Related: As an alternative, CVLIFE also allows the shooters to purchase the CVLIFE 4×32 Tactical Rifle Scope, giving them a more short range option to choose from.

Check the price on Amazon

Utg 3-9X40 1″ Hunter Scope

Utg 3-9X40 1" Hunter Scope

Price: Approximately $88

Weight: 1.3 pounds

Dimensions: 15.4 x 3.2 x 3 inches

Specific features: Emerald lens coating, EZ-TAP Illumination Enhancing System,  Picatinny/Weaver Rings and High-Quality Flip-open Lens Caps

Best use: Long range hunting, medium/high powered air rifles

Balance is what makes good things great, and such is the case of the UTG 3-9X40 1″ Hunter Scope, one of the most popular air rifle scopes on the market.

The 2 main factors behind its popularity are its balanced performances and the low price point, making it not only one of the most capable scopes on the market but also one of the most capable scopes under the $100 dollar price point.

The design of the scope itself is a familiar and generic one. It sports the adjustment and windage/elevation controls on the shooter’s side of the scope and an objective adjustment control at target’s end.

Things kick up the moment you look through it. It sports a balanced 3 – 9 magnification level range and a 40 mm objective lens for the perfect field of view.

It can also handle the daylight pretty well, with its emerald lens coating filtering out any unwanted light effects such as flaring or reflections. It also handles the night time pretty well too, sporting the  EZ-TAP Illumination Enhancing System, it is able to light up its reticle and allow you to take the shot even in low visibility and very low lighting conditions.

PROS:

  • EZ-TAP Illumination Enhancing System
  • Emerald lens coating
  • Balanced magnification and field of view capabilities

CONS:

  • Takes a bit of time to get used to
  • Can be problematic to clean

Related: The shooters can also purchase the UTG Covert Carry Ambidextrous Messenger Bag from the same manufacturer, which makes carrying ammo and extras a lot easier.

Check the price on Amazon

In conclusion

While there are quite a few things to take into account, all in all purchasing a scope for your air rifle is similar to purchasing scopes for regular hunting rifles, and while the principles behind the weapons are different, the principles behind the scopes are not.

You will have to look at what you will be hunting, then at the rifle that you will be using and the setting in which you will find yourself. Once every detail is noted down, it’s just a matter of looking at all the different options on the market. As long as you take your time and compare the scopes, you will find the best scope for your air rifle.

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.

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