In this guide I’m going to show you the best 45-70 scope.
These are the same scopes that many optic experts and hunters use.
The best part?
I’ve sorted the scopes by use. So whether you’re on a budget or need a solid scope for 45-70 rifle, you’ll find it here.
Let’s get started!
The 45-70 cartridge is the best to use for big game hunting.
Not only are the rifles that fire these cartridges tough as they come, but the scope has to measure up to the challenge.
These cartridges have a long history dating back to the 1800s. Back then, this was the top cartridge to use for hunting.
It’s power is unmatched. If you want to take down any large game, trust me, this is your cartridge.
If you want the best big game hunting experience possible, you’ve got to know what scope to get for the 45-70.
So keep reading to get recommendations on the exact scope features to look for. But first, let’s briefly go over the top features of the 45-70 cartridge itself…
If you’re looking for a powerhouse shot, look no further than a 45-70 cartridge.
The 45-70 loads are strong enough to take down any game size.
Yep, that’s right. If you need to take down a wild hog, moose, or even a grizzly bear, this should be the only cartridge you bring into the wilderness.
The 45-70 cartridge is a bit range-limited.
But this is actually not a negative. The 45-70 was never designed for long-range, so it makes perfect sense that it wouldn’t have this capability.
So what range is it good for?
This rifle cartridge is excellent for short-range shots. Specifically, a 200 yard range and below.
Now that we know this rifle range is within 200 yards, it’s time to talk speed.
The 45-70 rifle is incredibly fast.
Are there faster options out there? Yes, but don’t let that negate the speed of the 45-70.
Because with speed, you also need accuracy. And this rifle certainly holds up.
So if you’re still thinking you could pull off long-range shots, then the 45-70 would work best for target shooting rather than hunting.
But how do you find the best scope for this rifle?
To answer this, let’s go over the top scope features to look for.
The best features you need to check out for any scope is its accuracy, quality of the glass, and its durability level against the elements.
When looking for a great scope, it needs to be one that will certainly last a long time.
Plus, you don’t exactly need a lot of fancy features when your scope can get you the best usage for your money’s worth.
So with that said, let’s begin.
The best thing to look for in a scope match is accuracy.
This includes magnification levels.
A magnification level of 1-4x would be the best for short to mid-range shots.
In fact, any closer and you may get blown away from the brute force of the 45-70 cartridge.
So this magnification would be excellent for hunting deer.
If you’re looking to get big game, go for a scope that’s at least 3-9x magnification to leave more space between you and that huge bear.
You want to look for a scope with quality glass.
Here are some features to look for:
You want a scope that lists having “multi-coated lenses” in the specs will give you a crisp and clear sight picture.
You want to avoid scopes that make your target appear foggy or hazy when you look through them.
You also want to look for a scope that has an easy-to-read reticle that doesn’t block your view of your target.
If you want, you can even find scopes with illuminated dot reticles.
If you are interested in finding the perfect scope for late-night hunts, check out these night vision scopes.
If you are going to mount this to such a heavy-hitting rifle like a 45-70, you need a durable scope.
Not only should your scope shake off heavy recoil like a beast, but it should be built to last.
Look for a scope that’s made from aircraft-grade aluminum.
- Scopes made from a single tube are also more durable.
- A nitrogen purged scope will not fog up on you on bad weather days.
- O-ring sealed scopes will be waterproof and will even survive being submerged.
- All of these points will help you pick a scope that is super shockproof, waterproof, and fogproof.
So you can bring one of these scopes pretty much anywhere without worry.
The 45-70 cartridge is absolutely the best pick for big game hunting.
It has the power, speed, and precision to bring down large game that would easily tear you to shreds.
Plus, by choosing the best scope to advance the 45-70 cartridge power and fit your specifications, that grizzly bear is going down.
So if you’re a hunter that needs the best scope features to match the powerful 45-70 cartridge, then you’ve met your match.
If you’re pressed on time, here’s a quick list of the best 45-70 scope:
- Burris 200261 Ballistic Plex 2-7×32: Best Overall
- Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20: Best for Lever Action
- Leupold VX-R Hog 1.25-4×20: Best for the Budget
- Aimpoint PRO Red Dot: Best Red Dot for 45-70
- Nikon PROSTAFF P3 2-7×32: Best Marlin .45-70 Scope
The Burris 200261 Ballistic Plex 2-7×32 is the best overall scope.
This scope provides the highest levels of clarity, durability, and precision out of the many rifle scopes I’ve tested.
Want to know how? Keep reading, starting with…
The Burris 200261 Ballistc Plex has crystal clear glass.
The index-matched Hi-Lume multi-coating is a fancy way of saying this optic performs well in low-light while also reducing the glare.
This means you’re less likely to blow your cover while hunting, and you can stay out longer.
This optic also uses quality lenses in a larger size than comperable scopes which helps with better light transmission.
This scope uses a Ballistic Plex reticle. It’s simple, elegant, and effective.
The marks are sharp and thin for precise aiming with ballistic drop marks if you want to shoot at varying or extended distances without having to adjust the windage and elevation knobs.
It’s also a second focal plane, meaning the scale of the reticle maintains its size throughout all magnifications- so the reticle remains readable no matter the distance.
It’s a low frills reticle that offers versatility for short or medium target ranges without sacrificing fast target acquisition by loading the reticle with too many hashmarks or numbers.
It’s simple; it’s clean; it’s lethal.
The Burris 200261 has 9.2-12” in of eye relief.
This allows for both one and two eyes open shooting.
To go more in depth, the scope has a decently generous eyebox at 2x that’s easy to find for fast snap shots. This holds all the way up to 5x and 6x for a crisp picture alignment.
At 7x, the eye relief is still more than comfortable, but it’s the eyebox that gets finicky. You have to be aligned exactly behind the reticle to see clearly because the eyebox become fairly narrow at that point.
If you’re head is slightly off-center, the picture will have a hazey blur effect or black out entirely.
With proper technique this isn’t really a problem. It also helps to make sure that the scope has been properly mounted with the correct relief.
Overall, the Burris 200261 has a rugged construction that’s waterproof, shockproof, fogproof, and ready for whatever you throw at it- or throw it at.
Every scope is individually recoil, water and fogproof tested to ensure its quality before leaving Burris.
The outer tube is manufactured from one solid piece, maximizing it capability to withstand shock and vibration from heavy recoiling calibers.
On the inside of the optic, the internal assemblies are precision-gauged and hand-fitted to maintain a consistent point of impact regardless of shock and vibration. This holds for all magnification ranges.
The scope’s Nitrogen gas purged body means that the scope is fog-free in the cold, rain, inclimate temperatures, or fluctuations. You’ll have a clear shot no matter the weather.
A lot of scopes use Nitrogen purging to seal the inside of their optics, but Burris actually takes it a step farther by filling and purging this optic 24 times to truly evacuate any moisture.
Burris also uses specially made quad seals to provide double insurance against leakage.
Also ideal it the scope’s lightweight and compact design. It’s only 9.7 in long and 13 oz, making it easy to carry in the field.
There aren’t a lot of flashy features on this scope, but it invests the highest performance quality into the pieces that it does have.
The elevation and windage adjustments are steel on steel, sturdy, repeatable turrets with audible clicks.
The low-profile turrets create a sleek profile and don’t obstruct your view when you’re aiming with both eyes.
They’re finger-adjustable with a Posi-lock system that locks your adjustments into place with a double internal sprin-tension system.
Zeroing was easy. It only took 5 rounds at 25 yards before moving out to 100 and I was able to get it quickly dialed in after that.
Once the reticle is zeroed, the covering tube replaces the internal spring and locks the inner tube in place.
It holds zero through all the shock, recoil, and vibrations that come with the lifestyle.
This optic has a versatile 2x-7x magnification range which makes it ideal for short- and mid-range distances.
It performs its absolute best at 75-100 yards, but can be pushed to 300 yards.
The magnification ring is a little tough to turn, but I’d rather have ti tight than loose.
There are no rings or mounts included with the optic.
Personally, I’m a fan of the 1” Warne QD Low Rings.
This optic is best mounted in front of the ejection port for extended eye relief and both eyes open shooting. This also helps with fast target acquisition and situational awareness.
I also like to add lens covers to protect my optics from the elements. The Vortex Optics Flip Cap Optic Cover, Size 3 fits both ends of this scope very snugly.
The combination of clarity, durability, and unbeatable warranty is what makes the Burris 200261 Ballistic Plex 2-7×32 the best overall variable-power scout scope on the market.
It’s an ideal optic for shooters who need a working rifle, carbine, or multi-purpose scout rifle.
- Posi-Lock system
- Burris Forever Warranty
- Straightforward Ballistic Plex reticle
- Index-matched, Hi-Lume multi-coating
The durability alone is one of the reasons why I keep coming back to this particular scope for all of my short- and mid-range shooting needs.
If you’re considering the Burris 200261 Ballistic Plex 2-7×32, you won’t be disappointed.
- Scout Scope fixed 2.75x-20mm matte black heavy plex
- 1-piece tube construction, reinforced quad-seal gas seals and Hi-Lume Multi-coated lenses
- Water, fog and shockproof
The Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20 is an amazing scope and perfect for lever action.
In fact, I’d call it the best scope for 45-70 lever action rifles.
It’s what I use for so many reasons.
Want to hear what they are? Keep reading…
The glass on this scope is crystal clear and crisp.
This is because the lenses are fully multi-coated, which helps to let in more light. This in turn gives you better, truer colors for a bright sight picture.
The VX-Freedom also features the Twilight Light Management System. This is Leupold’s signature system that allows you to see in dim or low-light conditions. Like those dawn and dusk times where prey is most prevalent.
Plus, this scope has a Duplex reticle for quick, easy target acquisition.
The Duplex reticle has thicker outer posts and thinner crosshairs, which draws your eye right to the center of target. The crosshairs also allow you to make those long range, precision shots.
And it’s nice and clean looking, unlike some of the more complex reticles that just clutter up your sight.
I use it all the time for varmint hunting on my .17 HMR rifle and the duplex reticle makes it easy to spot and quickly target my prey.
The Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20 has 4.17-3.74 inches of eye relief.
This is actually more than the average for this type of scope, which means you don’t have to worry too much about having the perfect cheek weld, although that’s always important.
The eye box is also quite generous, so you’ll get a wide field of view.
The Leupold VX Freedom is built to last, just like all of Leupold’s products.
It’s super lightweight and compact, which is what makes it so perfect for a lever action because it doesn’t weigh it down too much.
That’s because it’s made from aircraft quality aluminum, so this thing can definitely take a beating. I’ve knocked mine around a bunch and there’s not a mark on it.
On top of that, it’s waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof. And, it has scratch resistant lenses, making it solid, sturdy, and dependable.
If that’s not enough, Leupold offers a lifetime warranty for this scope. And I can personally attest to the company’s amazing customer service.
The elevation and windage turrets are ¼ MOA and are very precise.
The adjustments are finger clicks, so they’re very easy to make. Plus, you get a nice, solid click with each adjustment that you can feel and hear.
What about zeroing?
The process only took me about 15 minutes to get it zeroed, so it was pretty fast and easy.
So far, the zero has held. I’ve gone through at least 500 rounds and never had to make an adjustment.
The Leupold VX-Freedom has a variable magnification of 1.5-4x.
This is my personal sweet spot for all types of hunting. As I mentioned earlier, I use it for varmint hunting. I also move it over to my .308 rifle for deer hunting when I need to.
Although, I will say that I wish it started at 1x for a little better close range, like for home defense and close quarters combat. But the 1.5x isn’t a huge difference.
The parallax is fixed on this scope and I haven’t noticed any problems with it. Even without the perfect cheek weld, there hasn’t been any distortion.
This scope doesn’t come with any kind of mount or rings, but for the quality and the price, I wouldn’t expect it to.
Plus, rings aren’t that expensive. I’d recommend the Leupold QR rings. They work well for a lever action and you can easily switch the scope back and forth between your rifles, like I do.
I personally like to have flip back lens covers too. So, Leupold’s Alumina covers are also a great add on.
- Model #59030 - Alumina flip back lens cover in size 20mm
The Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20 is a great all around scope and perfect for lever action.
- Duplex reticle
- Lifetime warranty
- Crystal clear glass
- Compact and lightweight
- ¼ MOA finger click adjustments
- Twilight Light Management System
If you want the best scope for 45-70 lever action rifles, try the Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20. You won’t regret it.
You want the best riflescope on the market for all of your hunting needs.
But many of them are wildly out of your price range.
Well, except the VX-R Hog 1.25-4×20 scope, which is an affordable option.
Oh, and it’s a better deal than many of those overly priced hunting scopes.
So how is this scope any better for a budget-friendly price?
Keep reading to find out…
The glass clarity is excellent.
In fact, this scope has the clearest glass on the market for a fraction of the price.
This is due to its full multi-coated lenses, giving the best clarity in any environment.
Plus, the glass is scratch-resistant. So you’re getting high-quality glass clarity that will last.
What about the reticle?
The specialty FireDot Pig Plex Reticle is push-button illuminated.
And it’s specifically designed for hunting hogs.
This scope’s FireDot feature gets your eye on the target quickly and accurately.
Which means you’ll be getting the fastest target acquisition possible.
So 100 yard kill shots are made easier and more achievable.
But keep in mind that any range past 200 yards isn’t practical for the wide reticle.
The eye relief is 3-4 inches.
Which is a generous amount of space, which means more comfort for your eye.
Plus, the eye relief is the perfect amount to make that fast target acquisition really effective.
This scope is constructed of aircraft quality aluminum, while also compact and lightweight.
Plus, it has an argon and krypton gas blend which helps it resist the harsh effects of thermal shock.
Which means this scope can put up with a ton of abuse in any temperature.
So if you prefer to go hunting at night in the middle of freezing cold winter, this scope can handle it all.
And if that weren’t enough, it’s also waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof.
The turrets have a great range of windage and elevation with this scope.
This is due to its tactile repeatable finger click for swift adjustment.
Which means these turrets are easily adjustable in seconds.
Plus, if you want to make a distant shot, you can adjust for the windage just by using distinct finger clicks.
So adjusting while on the go is as easy as can be!
But does it zero?
Yes, and zeroing is made easy with this scope.
Just sight in between 200-300 yards and it’ll hold zero really well.
The magnification is 1-4x, which is all the zoom power a stalking hunter needs to get that shot.
And the scope is parallax free.
This scope doesn’t have a mount included, so here’s my recommendation.
I paired this Leupold VX-R Hog scope with the Leupold Mark 30mm Matte Mount. It’s lightweight, sturdy, and works as well as any scope mount on the pricier side.
But what is included with this scope?
It comes with standard bungee lens covers, which aren’t bad.
But if you’d like something more durable to cover your scope lens, I recommend getting the 20mm Leupold Alumina Flip Back Lens Cover for a secure fit.
- Model #59030 - Alumina flip back lens cover in size 20mm
If you’re an avid hunter, I would highly recommend the VX-R Hog 1.25-4×20 scope. Especially if you’re hunting in harsh conditions such as a thick forest or marshy swamp.
- The 30mm maintube offers incredible strength and allows for the greater range of windage and elevation adjustment.
- Illuminated FireDot Ballistic reticle.
- Crafted from 6061-T6 aircraft quality aluminum
- FireDot Pig Plex Reticle
- Tactile finger-click adjustment
- Excellent glass clarity
- Ultimate thermal and shock resistance
This scope comes with lifetime warranty. So Leupold will repair or replace your scope, no matter what happens.
If you’re a hog hunter, this scope is a no-brainer. When it’s been designed to hunt hogs with the Pig Plex reticle feature, you know you’re about to have the greatest hunt of your life.
The Aimpoint PRO Red Dot sight is my personal favorite for the 45-70.
In fact, most big game hunters will agree that it’s perfect for those close range shots that are most common in that kind of hunting.
The first time I tried it, I was hooked.
Want to know why? Keep reading…
You get what you pay for and the Aimpoint PRO proves that with excellent glass clarity.
The glass is crystal clear and has a slight blue tint.
The lenses are multi-coated and anti-reflex, which cuts down on glare and lets in more light for a crisp sight picture.
The 2 MOA red dot reticle is perfect for hunting, with super fast target acquisition.
The dot size is adjustable and I really love that I can have it tiny at night and bigger during the day, so it’s easy to see, even in the brightest part of the day.
It has 10 illumination settings, 6 for daylight and 4 for night. And, it’s night vision compatible. So you’ll be able to rely on this red dot no matter the hour.
You’ll get unlimited eye relief with the Aimpoint PRO.
This means you’ll be able to quickly get on target, without worrying about the perfect cheek weld or head position.
Also, you’ll be able to keep both eyes open, which lends itself to fast target acquisition and optimal situational awareness.
For those reasons, it’s a perfect choice for self defense and close quarters combat and any rifle you’d use for that, whether it’s the 45-70 or something like the Ruger 10/22.
You can trust Aimpoint to make high quality products and the Aimpoint PRO is no exception.
The hard-anodized aluminum alloy tube can take a beating. I’ve dropped mine in the back of my truck and it still works perfectly.
And it’s waterproof and submersible up to 150 feet.
It also uses a high efficiency circuit, which means you can leave it running for about 3 years, without fear that the battery will die when you need it the most.
I’ve had mine for about 2 years now and it hasn’t failed yet. I keep it on the 7th setting most of the time, which is plenty bright and keeps the battery lasting longer.
The elevation and windage turrets are simple and easy to use.
In fact, I was able to use a nickel to make the adjustments, so no tool is necessary.
And, the clicks were distinct and easy to feel, so it was very easy to count them.
Zeroing was a breeze.
Mine came pretty close to being zeroed right out of the package. It only took me 5 or 6 shots to get it just right.
I’ve shot over 500 rounds at least, without having to readjust. The zero has held perfectly.
And it’s extremely accurate.
The magnification is fixed at 1x. This is the same for all red dot sights, unless you add on a magnifier.
As I said, I use mine mainly for hunting big game, and I usually am only targeting prey at around 100 yards max, so this magnification is perfect.
The Aimpoint PRO is also parallax free.
This sight comes with a QRP2 rail grabber mount, and it really is part of the reason the Aimpoint PRO is so accurate.
The mount secures quickly and easily and keeps the sight secure, which is why it holds zero so unbelievably well.
The spacer makes it perfect for co-witnessing and it attaches easily to the rail of an AR-15, 45-70, or even a M1A rifle. You can remove the spacer for shotguns or sub-guns.
It also comes with front and rear flip-up lens covers. The front lens cover is threaded, which allows for an anti-reflective device. And the rear lens cover is transparent.
This means that if it’s an emergency and you don’t have time to flip up the covers, you’ll still be able to get on target quickly and make an accurate shot.
The Aimpoint PRO is by far the best scope for 45-70 rifles.
- Clear glass
- Rugged durability
- Unlimited eye relief
- Fast target acquisition
- Easily zeroes and holds
- Precise elevation and windage turrets
If you like to hunt big game, especially in cover heavy areas, try putting the Aimpoint PRO Red Dot on your 45-70. You’ll be happy you did.
- Absolute co-witness with iron sights (with the supplied spacer installed)
- Features 2 MOA red dot for accurate target engagement
- Includes front and rear plastic flip cap lens covers
The Nikon PROSTAFF P3 2-7×32 is the best scope for a Marlin .45-70.
I’ve purchased several sights below $500 and none have been able to withstand the recoil of my Marlin .45-70. Until this one.
Keep on reading to find out how. Starting with…
For the price, this optic has very clear, fully multi-coated glass.
Multiple layers of anti-reflective coating protect all the air-to-glass surfaces and maximizes light transmission.
The coatings aren’t as durable as a more expensive scope and tend to wear off over time and cleaning, but for a sub $500 optic it does the job.
This optic has a Quick Focus Eyepiece with a smooth turning aluminum ring which allows for crisp reticle focus and quick target acquisition.
Speaking of the reticle, it’s a basic Bullet Drop Compensation (BDC) reticle.
Reticle adjustments have precise, positive clicking MOA adjustments, and they maintain your setting even with heavy recoil.
The crosshairs are crisp lines for fast target accuracy, while the Spot On open circular marks measures exact aiming points at various yardages for your specific caliber, ammunition, and load.
The marks are clear and crisp for precise aiming with ballistic drop marks if you want to shoot at varying or extended distances without having to adjust the windage and elevation knobs.
It’s also a second focal plane, meaning the scale of the reticle maintains its size throughout all magnifications- so the reticle remains readable no matter the distance.
Most optics sacrifice eye relief to get a broader range of magnification settings, but not the Nikon PROSTAFF.
This optic has a consistent eye relief of 3.8 inches in every magnification.
It’s a solid distance and keeps the scope from giving you a third eyebrow.
Small but sturdy is this optic’s MO. It’s built to withstand inclement weather and the punishing shock of high recoils.
Per Nikon, all rifle scope products undergo recoil testing with the 50 caliber cartridge. So you can rest assured that this optic was tested to take a beating.
It’s waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof. The nitrogen sealed body also prevents the scope from fogging due to humidity or rapid temperature changes so you’ll always have a clear shot, rain or shine.
The O-ring sealed optics prevent dust and corrosion from damaging the scope, and it keeps the internal body dry even when the scope is totally immersed in water.
Despite the cheap price, the weatherproofing features on this scope are top-notch.
The main body is built from an aluminum one-inch tube for enhanced durability. Plus it has a sleek look that looks clean and lethal on my Marlin 45-70.
The Nikon PROSTAFF is fuss-free with only two turrets: windage and elevation. What it lacks in frilly features, it makes up for in quality.
The Spring-Loaded Instant Zero-Reset Turrets can be reset to your zero after sighting in for easy reference when making field adjustments.
You get a very versatile 2x – 7x magnification range.
The 3x Zoom Ration offers flexibility for a variety of hunting situations.
It strikes an ideal balance between a wide field of view at the low end and increased detail at the high end, all in a compact size.
There’s minimal distortion of the edges at higher powers, but it maintains a good field of view throughout.
Parallax is fixed at 100 yards and isn’t prominent at that point either.
No mounts or rings are included with this optic.
This will take mounting rings with a one-inch diameter.
I like the AccuShot Picatinny/Weaver Medium Profile 2-piece 1-inch Rings. They’re very affordable and still sturdy enough to take a beating.
The scope is also compatible with Nikon’s Spot On Custom Turrets.
The Nikon PROSTAFF P3 2-7×32 is the best optic for a Marlin .45-70 due to its versatility and durability.
This is a solid entry-level scope. It’s versatile, durable, and holds zero well on MSR’s and Marlin 45-70s alike.
Here’s why it works:
- Fast focus eyepiece
- Fully multi-coated optics
- Generous, consistent eye relief
- Spring-loaded instant zero-reset turrets
If bought new and registered, the scope is covered by Nikon’s lifetime warranty. But with Nikon getting out of the scope manufacturing game, I’m not sure how warranty issues will work in the future.
In short, the Nikon PROSTAFF P3 2-7×32 is the best budget scope on the market for a Marlin .45-70. I wouldn’t hesitate to get one.
- Fully Multicoated Optics with multiple layers of anti-reflective coating on all air to glass surfaces maximizes light transmission, brightness and contrast
- Generous, Consistent Eye Relief keeps your brow safe
- Waterproof O-ring sealed to prevent moisture from entering body
I hope you enjoyed my best 45-70 scope guide.
Now I want to turn it over to you:
Which scope will you pick for your 45-70 rifle ?
Let me know by leaving a quick comment down below.