The 3 Best Air Rifle Scope [2020 Update]

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Not sure what scope to get for your air rifle?

Look no further.

I’ve tested ALL the best air rifle scope (plus air rifle scope mounts and accessories.)

By the end of this guide, you’ll find the perfect optic for your air rifle.

Let’s get started!

The 3 Best Air Rifle Scope

If you’re pressed on time, here’s a quick list of the best air rifle scope:

  1. Hawke Airmax Airgun Scope 2-7×32: Best Overall Scope for Air Rifle
  2. ATN X-Sight: Best for Night Shooting
  3. UTG 3-9X32: Best Scope under $100

1. Hawke Airmax Airgun Scope 2-7×32: Best Overall Scope for Air Rifle

The Hawke Airmax 2-7×32 is the best scope I’ve come across for an air rifle.

This optic is a target shooters dream. With a specialty reticle and a huge operative range, there isn’t much you can’t do and do well with the Hawke Airmax.

Choosing a scope for an air rifle is a little bit different than choosing a firearm scope. For more info on what makes an air rifle scope different, check out this guide to air rifle scopes.

To see the best overall airgun optic on the market, keep reading…


Glass Clarity & Reticle

The glass clarity on the Hawke Airmax is fantastic.

The high quality glass is fully multi-coated in 16 layers, so I know it will stay as clean as it was when I took it out of the box.

What really impressed me was the glass-etched reticle. The Hawke Airmax scope uses an AMX reticle,, which was specifically designed for air rifles. The mil-dot reticle floats comfortably in the center of the sight picture. It’s easy to see and kept me on target anywhere from 10 to 100 yards.

The Airmax is optimized for target shooting. It is a serviceable option for varmint hunting, but if that’s your primary objective, check out my first choice for varmint hunting.


Eye Relief & Eye Box

The eye relief is 3.5 inches, which is generous in my book.

The wide eye box made it easy for me to find my target fast.


Durability

The Hawke Airmax Scope is lightweight, durable and best of all, nitrogen purged.

Why does that matter?

Nitrogen purging ensures the scope is 100% waterproof shatterproof and fog proof.

The only issue I had with the design is the lens cap. I found it a little flimsy and hard to maneuver with one hand, so I replaced it with a Butler Creek lens cap.

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Butler Creek Flip Open Scope Cover Black 1 MO30010
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Elevation & Windage Knobs

The turrets are perfect for in field adjustment.

The Hawke Airmax has extra large turrets that feel good in the hand, and turn easily with a satisfying click. Each click is .25 MOA which makes it easy to get a fine zero. It held zero like a champ.


Parallax & Magnification

The 2-7x magnification is a lot to work with.

I feel confident about taking this to a competition anywhere up to 100 yards. The image is clean, and the parallax turret is east to adjust.

I like this scope for long range target shots, but the variable magnification works perfectly anywhere above ten yards out with no tunneling.

If you are looking for a lower range fixed magnification scope you might want to look into a rimfire scope instead.


Mounting & Rings

To mount the Hawke Airmax, you will need a 1-inch dovetail or pic rail mount kit. I used these Hawke dovetail rings.

You will need a hex screw, which you probably already have. In case you don’t, Winchester makes a nice gun screw set.

Winchester 51 Piece Gunsmith Screwdriver Set
  • 51 Piece Screwdriver Set /One 1" Socket Adaptor
  • 12 Flat Heads Bits/8 Hex Bits
  • 4 Phillips Bits/2 Long Phillips Bits

Is the Hawke Airmax Airgun 2-7X32 worth it?

The Hawke Airmax is one of the best scopes out there for competition air rifles.

It’s priced surprisingly low for such a great optic. What makes it my top choice is…

  • Lightweight build
  • Audibly clicking turrets
  • Non-telescoping magnification
  • Specialty AMX reticle made for air rifles

And of course, Hawke backs up their quality promises with a no-fault lifetime warranty, so you can shoot with confidence. If you take your sport seriously, I highly recommend giving the Hawke Airmax Airgun Scope 2-7×32 a try.

Hawke Airmax Airgun Scope 1"
  • SPECIALLY DESIGNED SCOPE FOR AIR RIFLES – rugged and durable to withstand the air rifle double recoil
  • OUTSTANDING VISION IDEAL FOR VARMINT / AIR GUN SHOOTING, with 16 layer Fully Multi-Coated optics for exceptional clarity
  • GLASS ETCHED AMX RETICLE with multiple aim points specially designed for air gun pellet trajectories to improve accuracy

2. ATN X-Sight: Best for Night Shooting

The ATN X-Sight 4K Pro is the best sight for night shooting.

In fact, I purchased this optic strictly as a night scope for hog hunting. After seeing how it tremendously improved my accuracy, I kept it on my AR-15 and tested its performance during casual target shooting and deer hunting.

By the end of this review, you’ll know if the ATN X-Sight is for you.

Let’s dive in!


Image Clarity & Reticle

The image quality is bright and clear.

The ATN X-sight is equipped with several reticle patterns and color options, which makes shooting easy. It doubles as both a digital daytime optic and a night vision scope: definitely worth its price tag.

Speaking of night vision…

The X-Sight 4K PRO sports an Enhanced HD NV Mode. I’m certainly seeing a higher quality than other “Night Vision” scopes, including the units that cost thousands of dollars more than the ATN X-Sight.

Although the scope does come with an IR attachment light, I chose to upgrade it with the ATN IR850 SUPERNOVA IR Attachment.

ATN IR850 Supernova Infrared Illuminator for hunting, law enforcement, search & rescue and military use, includes IR Illuminator, Easy rail mounting system, single lithium battery and battery charger
  • Featured with a high-powered infrared LED 850 mW for long-range illumination capacity
  • Constructed from aircraft grade aluminium with hard anodized finish surface. Highly durable. Waterproof to IPX8 standard
  • Four modes of operation. The IR850 Supernova has 4 stage output-Low at 5%-30%-70%-100%. These modes can be accessed by turning the brightness control ring

Take my word: it was worth every penny. I was hitting small game at night out to 300 yards without issues.

The ATN X-sight also features a built-in rangefinder and ballistic calculator that’s amazingly accurate.

You just enter your gun and ammo specifications via the ATN Obisidian App on your smartphone, and it takes into account everything that affects your trajectory, including— Relative Humidity, Wind Speed, Wind Direction, Temperature, Barometric Pressure, and Elevation.


Recording and Streaming

Recording videos with the X-Sight 4K Pro came out to be very clear at 10X zoom. Unfortunately, the quality started degrading as I was approaching full zoom. This isn’t uncommon with digital scopes, though.

I did extensive research before buying this scope and found that most shooters who have issues with the product freezing or being pixelated don’t understand the technology.

Make sure you read the instructions on the manual thoroughly and make sure to upgrade the firmware to the latest version.

Also, you can easily google any problem and find a solution- just like you would do with an iPhone.

Moving on, let’s talk about the Recoil Activated Recording (RAV) feature. This was super helpful to me. I didn’t have to worry about pressing the record button every time.

Why?

Because as soon as the X-sight detects recoil, the RAV feature automatically saves that 10-second snip before the shot and 10 seconds afterward.

The videos are stored on the removable micro SD Card for viewing at a later time. The dual streaming option also allows you to simultaneously record and Livestream your hunts. How cool is that?


Eye Relief & Eye Box

The eye relief is excellent, ranging from 3-3.5 inches.

On the flip side, the ATN X-sight’s eye box is a bit narrow.

The 3-14x scope has 460 ft field of view at 1000 yards, while the 5-20x version has 240 ft.


Durability and Battery

This ATN X-Sight is very durable, and the buttons are tactile. The ruggedness reminded me of the battle-tested ACOGs.

The X-sight doesn’t get damaged if left out in the sun, nor does it have to be protected from light exposure, unlike other regular night vision scopes.

The entire unit weighs about 2.2 lbs, which tips the heavier side of the scale, but compared to an AR-10 with a standard scope, the weight difference is about the same.

It took about six hours to fully charge. However, once fully charged, it is said to provide a continuous use of up to 18 hours.

It ran it for about 12 hours on the range, and the battery indicator wasn’t even at the halfway mark, so I’d say ATN advertises the battery life accurately.


Zeroing

Zeroing was remarkably easy thanks to the ‘One Shot Zero’ feature. All you need to do is take one shot, align it with the crosshairs, and push a button. This is extremely helpful if you’re a beginner.

It took me less than 20 rounds using the .308 Winchester to get it perfectly zeroed.

My personal favorite feature is the Profile Manager. Essentially, you can save multiple zeroing-in data for different firearms and ammo. You can easily switch weapons without having to reset everything. This saved me a lot of time in the range.


Magnification

This ATN X-Sight 4k Pro can be purchased with two magnification options: 3-14x50mm and 5-20x65mm.

Which one should you get?

Get the 3-14x50mm if your target range is between 25-250 yards. BUT if you plan on zooming in, you will lose a lot more clarity with the 3×14 than the 5×20.

So if you’re shooting out past 250 yards frequently, I recommend getting the 5-20x65mm model.


Mounting & Accessories

Fortunately, ATN has eased the hassle of a complicated setup.

The ATN X-Sight comes with a versatile mounting system that includes standard rings, an L shape ring, and a Picatinny rail. Simply pick the right ones for your needs.

It took me less than 10 minutes to mount the scope on the Hardened Arms 16-inch 7.62x39mm AR-15 upper.

Word of advice: make sure your mounting screws stay tight. I check mine every time I go to the range. They haven’t come loose yet, but it’s good to keep on top of it.

The sight also comes with a heap of accessories, including:

  • Eyecup
  • Sunshade
  • Lens cover
  • UBS-C cable
  • Cleaning cloth

Is the ATN X-Sight 4k Pro worth it?

The days of breaking the bank to have an excellent night vision scope are over. The ATN X-sight is a game-changer.

Why? It’s got:

  • One-shot zero
  • 4K UltraHD Sensor
  • Excellent Night Vision
  • Long-lasting battery life
  • Recoil Activated Recording
  • 3-14x or 5-20x magnification
  • Fog proof, dustproof, and fully waterproof
  • Built-in Smart Rangefinder & Ballistic Calculator
  • 1080p HD Video Recording & Photos to your smartphone

Plus, the scope comes with ATN’s 2-year warranty for returns and repairs, the accessories are covered for one year, and the battery for six years.

For under $1000, the ATN X-Sight 4K Pro displays exceptional quality and value for day and night shooting.


3. UTG 3-9X32: Best Scope under $100

I love the UTG 3-9X32, and you will too.

It has a wonderful reticle, easy adjustment, and includes everything.

If you’re looking for a budget scope, this is the one.

Read on to find out why.


Glass Clarity & Reticle

The image is bright even at high magnification, though I have noticed a little darkening after sunset at 9x power.

The lenses are multi-coated in emerald green to increase light transmission as much as possible, and it works well.

There is a little tickle of distortion right at the edge of the field of view, but not a big deal to me.

You can change the color to red or green, but even if your battery dies you still have the regular black reticle. I bring extra CR1620 batteries in the field with me.

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The UTG 3-9X32 reticle is also very usable for a mil-dot. There are nine dots in any direction, giving plenty of different points of aim without the need to touch a turret.


Eye Relief & Eye Box

The eye relief is listed as 3-4 inches, so you need to stay inside that range to get a clear image.

This is probably the one con of the scope, but for my 30-06, it isn’t an issue at all. That’s right where I had the Leupold mounted before moving it to another rifle.

It can be a problem if you have a target 22 and you like to snuggle with your optic. Overall though, I would say that the eye relief is just about right for most shooters.

(If you like it longer or shorter you might want to check out these Ruger 10/22 optics.)


Durability

The UTG 3-9X32 BugBuster is nitrogen purged and built around a framework of strength over all else.

I have yet to have any issue with it holding zero. It literally needs to come loose from the rail to throw it off, and I love that in a scope.

It’s never fogged or given me any kind of problem, even on wet mornings hunting rabbits in 40 degree weather over snow from the previous day.

The caps and sunshade are a bonus, and they help to keep everything well protected and dust free until you are ready to take your rifle out to the field.

UTG has something they call a “True Strength” platform that their scopes are built around, something about the way the pieces inside fit together to keep things in alignment. Whatever it is, it works. My hunting rifle stays on target season after season, and it hasn’t let me down yet.


Elevation & Windage Knobs

The bad news is the knobs require an allen key to adjust.

The good news is that all of the required hardware for the scope is included, even the wrench for the windage and elevation knobs.

Actually I lied, you don’t need to wrench to adjust them in the field, just for zeroing in at the range. The wrench loosens a securing bolt and allows the turret cap to spin freely, so once you are dialed in you can set your tick marks to zero.

This is becoming a pretty common feature on scopes, but in case you are wondering, it allows you to adjust for windage or elevation in the field and then return the knobs to zero without counting clicks.

Speaking of clicks, the adjustments on the turrets are ¼ MOA. Perfect for long-range shooting, whether in competition or hunting mountain goats across a wide canyon.

And yes, there’s a very satisfying click when you turn them.


Parallax & Magnification

Magnification of the UTG 3-9X32 BugBuster is straightforward. Just twist the power ring near the turrets and go, like any other scope.

There is an added bonus that a diopter adjustment comes with a lock. Once you have the reticle clarity set for your eyes, there’s no need to touch it ever again.

Parallax on the BugBuster is adjustable on the end of the scope. That is, where the objective lens is located. A quick twist sets you up anywhere from infinity to as close as three yards.

I’ve dialed in the parallax to the required setting, looked through while moving my head about with the rifle in a rest, not a single problem. The reticle follows the target.


Mounting & Rings

Everything is in the box, even the mounts. I don’t think I need to tell you what a relief that was. Shopping for rings is my least favorite part about being a shooter.

The rings also come with quick-detach mechanisms and fit on Weaver or Picatinny rail systems. If you are going to be dressing up your little black rifle with a long-range scope, you won’t have to shop around for detachable rings.

And what’s more? They’re pretty darn sturdy. Torture tests are conducted by UTG for durability under normal wear-and-tear conditions, and the rings are built just as rugged as any I’ve seen. I think I said earlier, and I’ll repeat it here, I’ve never yet had to re-zero this scope.


Is the UTG 3-9X32 worth it?

This scope is for long-range shooters who want a quality piece of glass at an affordable price range.

The key features of this scope are:

  • 9 mil-dots
  • ¼-MOA clicks
  • Illuminated reticle
  • Easy turret adjustment
  • Quality glass on a budget
  • All hardware and tools included
  • Parallax adjustment down to 3 yards

It’s hard to beat this scope for less than 100 clams. I’ve tried almost every budget scope on the market, and found most of them severely lacking. But the UTG 3-9X32 BugBuster gets the job done and does it amazingly for the price.

It also comes with a lifetime warranty.

If you want to put a powerful scope on your rifle, the UTG 3-9X32 is what you need.

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UTG 3-9X32 1' BugBuster Scope, AO, RGB Mil-dot, QD Rings
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UTG 3-9X32 1" BugBuster Scope, AO, RGB Mil-dot, QD Rings
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  • 1 Inch Tube with Emerald Coating for Maximum Light Transmission, Premium Zero Lockable & Resettable Turrets with 1/4 MOA Per Click Adjustment
  • Range Estimating Mil-dot Reticle for Optimal Aiming and Shooting Performance, Adjustable Objective from 3 Yards to Infinity

Now It’s Your Turn

I hope you enjoyed my best air rifle scope guide.

Now I want to turn it over to you:

Which scope will you pick for your air rifle?

Let me know by leaving a quick comment down below.

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