HUNTING

Best Scope for .270 Winchester: Shoot for Quality

Best Scope for .270 Winchester
Shawn Harrison
Written by Shawn Harrison

Choosing the best scope for .270 Winchester is like choosing your cutlery – touchy and personal, but when you make it, you’re likely to stick with it for the greater part of your life. However, you will probably agree with us when we say that finding just the right one for your needs isn’t the easiest of tasks.

The .270 is a great choice for hunting thanks to its moderate recoil and flat trajectory, but it’s not worth a plugged nickel unless you pair up your rifle with a matching glass. So where do you start your search for the ideal scope?

Luckily for you, we decided to do the legwork so you wouldn’t have to, and make a short list of the most popular units on the market. Of course, we made sure to include a little bit of something for everyone and their budget. Keep reading on to find out more!

Our Top Picks

ProductOpticsParallaxMounting SystemPrice
Nikon Buckmaster 3-9x40 RiflescopeBrightvue multicoated glassPreset, 100 yards1-inch rings (Picatinny or Weaver)Check price on Amazon
Leupold 111230 VXR 1.25-4x20mm ScopeDiamond coating, lead-free glassNot specifiedPicatinny-style railsCheck price on Amazon
Leupold VX-1 3-9x40 Waterproof Riflescope4-layered, lead-free glass75 yards1-inch ringsCheck price on Amazon
BARSKA 6.5-20x50 AO Varmint Target Dot RiflescopeMulticoatedAdjustable objective1-inch rings (Picatinny or Weaver)Check price on Amazon
Bushnell 4-12 x 42mm Laser Rangefinder RiflescopeFully multicoatedNot specifiedPicatinny-style railsCheck price on Amazon

Things to Consider Before Buying

Just in case this is your first scope for your .270 rifle, we prepared a short guide to help you make an informed decision when buying one.

Coating

Many folks mistakenly talk about different-brand optics’ ability to “gather” light, and it’s entered common parlance so much no one bothers to correct anyone anymore. The thing is, a 40 mm lens will have the same light-gathering capability irrespective of the brand.

The thing that differentiates them is how much light they are able to transmit from the objective lens to your eye, which will depend on the quality of the glass and, more importantly, the coating. Painting with a broad brush, we can divide scopes into four types according to this parameter.

Scope Coating

Image credit: thesurvivallife.com

Coated scopes have a single layer of anti-reflective coating on the objective lens (either or both surfaces), typically magnesium fluorite, usually found on lower-end scopes. The fully coated ones have at least one layer of anti-reflective coating on both surfaces of the objective and ocular lenses, as well as the long side of the prism in prism scopes.

The most common type is the multicoated, which features multiple layers of coating on either or both sides of the objective lens. The fully multicoated combine the fully coated and multicoated definitions, and you get the idea what this one is.

Parallax

The parallax can mess with your shooting. In plain terms, let’s imagine you have your rifle fixed on a stand, with the crosshairs aligned perfectly with the center of the target. Then you move your head around, and the crosshairs move with you.

Most of the times, you won’t even notice this, because most scopes come parallax-free (typically 100 yards, 50 on rimfire scopes). Alternatively, another reason you may have never noticed this is because the error margin is miniscule (less than an inch at 500 yards with your everyday 3–9x scope).

That said, parallax doesn’t really come into play unless you’re planning on doing some ultra-precise shooting, shooting at really long ranges or shooting at really close ranges (25 yards and in). Of course, there are ways to compensate for this if you really need precision. The easiest and most common is to use a scope with adjustable parallax (via a turret/knob on the left side of the scope or on the objective lens itself).

Focal Plane

You’ve probably come across two abbreviations while reading up on scopes – the FFP and SFP. These refer to first focal plane and second focal plane reticles, respectively, and you’ll only find them when reading about scopes with variable power.

Black Scope

Image credit: gundigest.com

Of the two, the FFP reticle is the newer type. It changes size as you change magnification, allowing for better flexibility and more precision on long-range shots (great for Mil Dot scopes). On the flipside, it may block whatever you’re aiming at when shooting at extreme distances (it’s extremely rare, but it does happen). They’re also the more expensive variant.

Conversely, the SFP reticle remains constant irrespective of the magnification, which makes using the MIL or MOA scales more difficult than it already is. On the other hand, though, they are cheaper and typically brighter on extreme magnification.

MIL vs. MOA

The choice here pretty much boils down to your own personal preferences. Technically speaking, a 1/10 MIL system will be marginally less precise than a ¼ MOA (though also slightly less difficult to communicate), but the difference is barely perceptible (about 1 inch at 1,000 yards).

Scope MOA

The biggest impact is in the math – if you use the metric system, you’ll find it easier to estimate with a MIL system, and conversely, if you use the imperial system (yards/inches), the math will be easier with MOA.

Whichever way you go about this, make sure that the turrets match the reticle (surprisingly enough, a good number of entry-level glass will have mismatched turrets and reticles, with the former being in ¼ MOA clicks, and the latter being a Mil-Dot).

Magnification & Field of View

Most scopes these days will come with variable power, which is great if you need versatility. If you’re, say, hunting deer or hogs, you can get by with a 3–9x magnification, but for varmints, 4–12x is more like it.

Scope Magnification

Image credit: ronspomeroutdoors.com

Of course, the greater magnification, the narrower the field (FOV) of view gets. Typically, you wouldn’t want to go beyond 12x for hunting, but some other usages may require more. If you do go big, consider getting a bipod or tripod to stabilize your rifle, or else the image will shake too much, no matter how calm your hands are.

Reticle Type

Again, everything boils down to purpose. For all-purpose shooting, there’s no better than Duplex. Mil-Dot is great if you need to do some ranging and/or long-range shooting. BDC factor in how much the bullet trajectory will drop at a given distance, and it’s available in an even more complex reticle known as the Christmas tree (compensates for the wind drift).

Scope Reticle

Image credit: marchscopes.com

Another choice you’ll have to make concerning reticles is whether to go for an illuminated or non-illuminated one. Obviously, the former will be more useful when hunting in low light (twilight), and the latter for hunting in broad daylight.

Eye Relief

When it comes to rifle scopes, the average eye relief is about 3 to 3.5 inches, though higher end ones will have about four inches of it. Obviously, the more of it you have, the better you’ll avoid getting a scope kiss, especially on a high recoil gun.

Scope Eye Relief

Image credit: thetruthaboutguns.com

Now, keep in mind that the more power (magnification) the scope has, the smaller the exit pupil will be, and the closer you’ll have to position your eyes to the eyepiece.

Best Products on Today’s Market

Down here you can see the reviews of the 5 top rated scopes for .270 Winchester available on the market. Granted, you may not agree with our choice, but you can’t know that before giving it a read. Enjoy!

Nikon Buckmaster 3-9×40 Riflescope

Price: $100–$200Nikon Buckmaster 3-9x40 Riflescope

Weight: 16.1 ounces

Dimensions: 15.7 x 4.8 x 2.9 inches

Specific features: 3–9x magnification, 40 mm objective lens, 3.6-inch eye relief, variable field of view (35.7–11.9 feet at 100 yards), windage and elevation adjustment (¼ MOA per click), 100-yard preset parallax, multi-coated optics

Best use: Deer hunting

As you might have already inferred from reading the name, the Nikon Buckmaster 3-9×40 Riflescope is the result of Nikon and Buckmaster working together. If you’re looking for a nice piece of budget glass, this product may just be the thing for you.

As we’ve come to expect from Nikon, the optics are superb (at the price range), with the anti-reflective coating transmitting 92% of the light the lens catches. It’s not the 98% of the higher-end models, but then again, the price is just so approachable.

On that note, although the image clarity is undeniable, the Buckmaster isn’t all that good in low light conditions. So, if you want something to hunt bucks with at dusk or dawn, you might want to skip this one.

Another great feature on the Buckmaster, and arguably its major selling point, is the BDC (Bullet Drop Compensator) reticle, which (for those of you not in the know) allows you to predict, within reason, how much a bullet will drop at any given range.

Granted, there is a bit of a learning curve to the BDC reticle if you’ve never used it before, but it’s nothing too complicated.

PROS:

  • Inexpensive, good value for money
  • Excellent clarity for the price
  • Fairly lightweight
  • Finger-adjustable windage and elevation
  • Great entry-level optics (right after the Prostaff)
  • Lifetime warranty
 CONS:

  • The BDC setup has a learning curve
  • Objective not that great for low light conditions

Related: In case you don’t have any appropriate mounting rings lying around, you might want to invest in these – the Accushot 1-inch High Profile Picatinny/Weaver Rings or the AccuShot 1-inch Medium Profile Picatinny/Weaver Rings. Apart from being durable, they also come with a great price. Though remember that with a 40 mm lens, the low profile would probably not fit.

Check the price on Amazon

Leupold VXR 1.25-4x20mm Scope

Price: About $450Leupold VXR 1.25-4x20mm Scope

Weight: 11.5 ounces

Dimensions: 14 x 3.2 x 2.9 inches

Specific features: 3–9x magnification, 40 mm objective lens, multicoated optics, illuminated reticle, finger-adjustable windage and elevation (¼ MOA per click), waterproof, fog proof, lockable eyepiece, made in the USA

Best use: Close to medium range shooting

The Leupold VXR 1.25-4x20mm Scope is a nice option for shooters looking something for close to the mid-range glass, whether it’s for hunting or just plinking off in the backyard. Plus, it’s fairly reasonably priced (though still far from cheap).

The VXR comes with a relatively small objective lens, which would restrict it from being used in low light conditions were it not for the Firedot Duplex illuminated reticle. That said, the coating does a great job of transmitting the light and reducing glare.

Another nice feature is the variable magnification coupled with quite a generous field of view – 75 feet at 100 yards with the lowest and 29 feet at 100 yards with the highest magnification. This is ideal for tracking fast moving targets at close to medium range.

As for the power supply (for the illuminated reticle), the 111230 VXR requires a single CR2 3V battery (not included, apparently), which should be good for the entire season. That said, you can just use the Firedot as a plain non-illuminated reticle.

PROS:

  • The illuminated reticle is perfect for twilight
  • Fast acquisition
  • Generous field of view even at max magnification
  • Long eye relief
 CONS:

  • Doesn’t come with a lens cover
  • Not ideal for long range shooting

Related: Since this model doesn’t come with a lens cover, you might want to get one. The Leupold Alumina Flip Back Lens Cover is made out of titanium which should make it pretty durable. On top of that, this exact model should allow you to use the scope fairly easy and quickly.

Check the price on Amazon

Leupold VX-1 3-9×40 Waterproof Riflescope

Price: Around $200Leupold VX-1 3-9x40 Waterproof Riflescope

Weight: 11.2 ounces

Dimensions: 12.6 x 1 x 1 inches

Specific features: 3–9x magnification, 40 mm objective lens, multicoated optics, finger-adjustable windage and elevation (¼ MOA per click), waterproof, fog proof

Best use: Long range shooting

Leupold is pretty much a household name when it comes to hunting optics, and the two puppies that are on our list perfectly showcase why. Think of the Leupold VX-1 3-9×40 Waterproof Riflescope as almost ideal when it comes to long-range shooting. On that note, if you’re looking for something to shoot at close range, you might want to skip this one.

That said, the image clarity is surprisingly high for the price range (then again, it is Leupold, so it shouldn’t be that surprising), and you can probably get away with hunting in the moonlight, though remember that this isn’t a night vision device.

Another great thing about this model is the durability of its housing and the ability to withstand quite some punishment and still hold zero. On that note, the scope is rated waterproof and fogproof, so you can take it hunting in any weather.

Speaking of housing, the main tube is 1-inch in diameter and should mount to most scope rings.

PROS:

  • Very reasonably priced
  • Good beginner’s scope
  • Quite lightweight and compact
  • Bright and sharp image even in low light
  • Bright and clear image, perfect for hunting in twilight
  • Comes with a scope cover and lifetime warranty
 CONS:

  • Not really good at close range
  • No parallax adjustment
  • Some shooters might prefer lead glass

Related: While you’re at it, be sure to also check out what the manufacturer offers in the way of cleaning products and protective gear. We recommend the Leupold Lens Pen and the Leupold Scope Cover, respectively – both should help you prolong the life of your device.

Check the price on Amazon

BARSKA 6.5-20×50 AO Varmint Target Dot Riflescope

Price: Approximately $60BARSKA 6.5-20x50 AO Varmint Target Dot Riflescope

Weight: 22.3 ounces

Dimensions: 15.95 inches

Specific features: 6.5–20x magnification, 50 mm objective lens, multicoated optics, Mil-dot reticle, variable field of view (16-5.7 at 100 yards), waterproof, fog proof, shockproof

Best use: Varmint hunting, shooting in low light conditions

The BARSKA 6.5-20×50 AO Varmint Target Dot Riflescope, much like the name would suggest, is a nice choice for anyone looking to do a bit of pest control in their backyard – squirrels, prairie dogs, groundhogs, tax collectors, you name it. Plus, it costs next to nothing.

That said, the scope doesn’t feel or act cheap, not by a long shot. The large 50 mm objective lens couples with the variable magnification (6.5-20x) to give you a surprisingly good image (though it gets blurry and dim at high magnification).

The downside, obviously, is that light transmission is barely up to par, so you can’t exactly go hunting in the twilight. Then again, at the price point, you can’t expect 98%.

The housing is rated waterproof, fog proof and, best of all, shockproof, so you can feel secure walking over slippery terrain with your rifle slung. The scope should survive an occasional inadvertent bump or fall, but do try to avoid testing these claims, just in case.

PROS:

  • Perfect for pest control
  • Rugged, can withstand a decent amount of punishment
  • Works perfectly up to 100 yards
  • Fairly compact, but still requires medium or high profile rings
  • Surprisingly clear picture at lower magnification
 CONS:

  • Once you go over 16x, the picture starts getting fuzzy
  • You might want a longer eye relief
  • You get what you pay, and you don’t pay much for this one

Related: If you’re thinking about stepping up your outdoor game, try out the Barska Loaded Gear VX-200 Tactical Vest – not only it comes at a great price but it’s also fully adjustable no matter your size! The vest comes with plenty of pockets and compartments and is available in three different colors.

Check the price on Amazon

Bushnell 4-12 x 42mm Laser Rangefinder Riflescope

Price: Approx. $760Bushnell 4-12 x 42mm Laser Rangefinder Riflescope

Weight: 24 ounces

Dimensions: 13 inches

Specific features: 4–12x magnification, 42 mm objective lens, multicoated optics, variable field of view (26–8.5 feet at 100 yards), BDC turrets, rangefinder (30–800 yards of range), +/- 1-yard accuracy, battery-operated, 2-year limited warranty

Best use: Hunting

As you can see from the name, the Bushnell 4-12 x 42mm Laser Rangefinder Riflescope is a 2-in-1 rangefinder/riflescope, which can be both a blessing and a curse, depending on how you view it.

On the one hand, even a layperson can see how knowing the exact yardage to your mark can be useful (the yardage shows within the eyepiece), but on the other hand, this also means that the scope can’t function to the fullest without batteries.

Breaking the unit into constituents, we get a pretty standard 4–12×42 mm riflescope with multicoated optics and a laser rangefinder with a variable max range (1,200 yards for the reflective target, 550 yards for deer). The usable range is about half those numbers.

Getting back to the optics part of the unit briefly, it’s worth mentioning that it incorporates a Mil-Dot reticle with BDC (Bullet Drop Compensator) turrets, which complements the rangefinder quite nicely.

Another nice thing about this scope is that it’s a rail mount – it doesn’t require any mounting rings. On that note, keep in mind that the scope doesn’t take any third-party mounts, just Bushnell’s proprietary.

A nickel’s worth of free advice – be sure to check whether hunting with this scope is legal in your state (lots of states have some sort of ban on optics that use vision-enhancement, such as night vision, infrared or lasers).

PROS:

  • Built-in rangefinder
  • BDC reticle for consistently precise shots
  • Comes with a wireless trigger pad
  • Decent accuracy
  • 2-year limited warranty
 CONS:

  • No illuminated reticle
  • Eats through batteries
  • A bit on the heavy side

Related: Seeing how this product apparently doesn’t come with a battery, you’ll need to invest in some right out of the gates. We recommend the Duracell Cr2 Ultra Lithium Photo Battery (6-pack) or the Viridian CR2 3 Volt Lithium Battery (3-pack). Both brands come at a great price and shouldn’t let you down out in the field.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap Up

That’s all, folks! We finally reached the end of our best scopes for .270 Winchester list. We hoped you enjoyed reading the reviews and found something you like, or that you at least learned something new and can now make a fully informed decision on your own.

Obviously, there’s no clear winner here, since not everyone will have the same needs and preferences. Different strokes for different folks, as golfers say.

Brush hunters of Maine will need glass that gathers plenty of light, while those that hunt on the plains of Oklahoma or Texas require lots of zoom, and folks hunting with dogs have to go for low power for rapid acquisition.

So, do you agree with our list, or would you change something? Better yet, do you have any campfire stories starring one of our scopes to share? If so, do leave us a comment and share the article. Until, then, happy hunting!

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.