Today I’m going to show you the top 3 best lightweight rifle scopes on the market right now.
The best part?
I’ve sorted the scopes by use. So whether you’re looking for a lightweight hunting scope or a budget-friendly optic, you’ll find it here.
Let’s get started!
The 3 Best Lightweight Rifle Scopes On The Market Reviews
If you’re pressed on time, here’s a quick list of the best lightweight rifle scopes:
- Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×44: Best Overall Lightweight Scope
- Vortex Optics Razor HD LH 1.5-8×32: Best Short-to-Medium Range Scope
- Swarovski Z5 3.5-18×44: Best Hunting Scope
1. Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×44: Best Overall Lightweight Scope
The Leupold VX-5HD is the best overall lightweight scope on the market.
I’ve used it for hunting, precision shooting, and even plinking.
What makes it so versatile? Everything, starting with…
Glass Clarity & Reticle
Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44mm has one of the clearest images you can find on a rifle scope.
The lens is made from high-quality, high definition glass which dramatically sharpens your view.
The defining feature of the lens is the Leupold Twilight Max HD Light Management System. This technology reduces glare while maximizing the transmission of red and blue light.
As a result, low light conditions become much brighter and clearer. It works so well that you can actually add about 30min to your shooting time at dawn and dusk!
Leupold offers five reticle options for this model:
Duplex, Illuminated FireDot Duplex, Wind Plex, Boone and Crockett, and Impact-29 MOA.
Each reticle has a matte finish and offers a little something different to fit your needs as a shooter. For example, the Illuminated FireDot Duplex option is an illuminated red dot with 7 brightness settings, perfect for use in waning sunlight.
Eye Relief & Eye Box
Eye relief on the VX-5HD 3-15x is a roomy 3.7 inches at the lowest magnification and 3.82 inches at the highest magnification.
The eye box is really generous. So you will have plenty of wiggle room when positioning your eye behind the lens. This really comes in handy for uphill shots and awkward angles.
Durability & Weight
Everything about the VX-5HD 3-15x shows how highly Leupold values durability. This thing was built with the rugged outdoors in mind.
The tube is 100% waterproof and made from extremely tough 60/61 T6 aircraft aluminum (like my Aimpoint Pro red dot).
It’s completely shockproof. You can step on it, drop it, or even fall down a hill with it — your scope will not lose its performance or it’s zero setting.
T6 aluminum is also very lightweight. At 19.2 ounces, the VX-5HD 3-15x is lighter than most other opticals of its caliber.
This is definitely the scope you want to pack when every ounce matters.
The durability doesn’t just stop at the tube design. The lens is also crafted to take on the tough stuff. It’s dirt-resistant, scratch-resistant and fingerprint resistant! You couldn’t muck up this lens even if you wanted to.
The hydrophobic guard-ion coating causes it to repel all water. No streams, water droplets or even fog can form on the lens.
Elevation & Windage Turrets
The turrets on the VX-5HD 3-15x are easy to finetune and large enough to be comfortable for most hands.
The side windage adjustment is capped to prevent accidental changes to your setting.
Elevation adjustment is located on the top of the scope and features a twin bias spring erector system. This ensures the scope will track well and then return to zero.
Say you want to make faster adjustments? Well, with the press of a button, you can dial the elevation up by 2 turns.
Leupold also offers a coupon for 1 free custom zero lock elevation dial.
Once you receive your scope, simply send in the required specifications and they will manufacture a dial specific to your rifle and ammunition.
Each custom dial will come equipped with the Custom Dial Zero Lock 2 (CDS-ZL2) system. This allows the dial to remember your zero and lock in place when you turn to it.
Imagine taking long shots with an elevation dial made specifically for your needs. No more guessing at holdover or trying to figure out ballistics calculations. This is the type of customer attention that keeps Leupold loyalists coming back.
Magnification & Parallax
The 3-15x magnification is great for acquiring long-range targets. (So is a laser range finding rifle scope).
You get a clear field of view at every level of magnification. No contending with fuzziness around the edges at higher levels.
The side focus parallax adjustment allows you to quickly adjust for parallax from any position.
All you have to do is set it for the range of your target and you are good to go.
Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×44: Is it Worth it?
If you’re looking for a lightweight scope that has all of the premium Nightforce optic features at a fraction of the price, then get a Leupold VX-5HD.
It’s got everything you need:
- Clear glass
- Various reticle options
- Lightweight build
- Audible, crisp turrets
- True tracking
It even comes with Lifetime warranty. So if the scope ever breaks, Leupold will fix it for free.
In short, the VX-5HD 3-15×44 is a quality investment that will serve you well.
- Model #171714 - VX-5HD 3-15x44mm Side Focus Riflescope with Fine Duplex CDS reticle and Matte finish
- Side Focus Parallax Adjustment - adjusts the scope's parallax for less perceived movement when you're engaging targets at longer distances
- Guard-Ion Hydrophobic Lens Coating - Extremely durable, scratch resistant and sheds water, dirt, and fingerprints.
2. Vortex Optics Razor HD LH 1.5-8×32: Best Short-to-Medium Range Scope
The Vortex Razor HD 1.5-8×32 is the best short-to-medium range scope for the money.
Hunters praise it as one of the best lightweight hunting scope.
Is it true?
Let’s find out…
Glass Clarity and Reticle
The Vortex Razor contains fully multi-coated, extra low-dispersion lenses that ensure brightness and clarity in your field of view.
The objective lens size is smaller than other scopes in the Razor family, but many hunters find the lens quality high enough to compensate for lower light transmission.
The G4 BDC reticle is sleek and minimal to help draw your eye to the center point for precise aim.
Its thick subtensions are designed for the highest magnification, so hunters can better focus their aim in low light.
The reticle itself is not illuminated, but the extra sharp lens quality makes up for it. It’s a second focal plane reticle, so it doesn’t change in size. You can turn the ocular bell to focus the reticle to your desired resolution.
Shooters out on the range have reported that the G4 greatly improves MOA accuracy.
The G4 BDC reticle comes with a detailed product manual to help you measure bullet drop at varying distances and calibers.
Eye Relief and Eye Box
The 3.8 inches of eye relief is plenty enough to keep your eye in one piece after every hunt.
The eye box is generous. And the lens image is clear and sharp from edge to edge, indicating ease of use and excellent field of view.
Durability and Weight
The Razor comes in at under a pound and is about a foot long.
You’ll appreciate this lightweight option while tracking and hunting in harsher environments.
The exterior tube’s aircraft-grade aluminum coating keeps it safe from water, oil, dirt, and structural damage. O-ring seals and argon gas purging protect the lens from fogging up or getting water inside, keeping your lens clean and undamaged.
The scope holds its zero well, even with the hard recoil of a muzzleloader rifle.
Elevation and Windage Knobs
The Razor scope includes elevation and windage turrets with protective, removable caps. The turrets are set to adjust at ¼ MOA.
However, the knobs are a bit mushy in comparison to my Vortex HST and PST.
Magnification and Parallax
Magnification stays clear and sharp throughout, from its base of 1.5x to its maximum setting of 8x.
You may find that the base setting is identical to a true 1x, as other shooters have observed.
The scope has a fixed parallax setting of 100 yards, so there’s no need for a side parallax turret.
Vortex Razor HD LH 1.5-8×32 Review: Is it Worth it?
If you’re a hunter looking for a light, sturdy scope on a budget, the Razor HD Light Hunter is the way to go.
It won’t ever burden your load or slow you down.
It’s designed to survive all weather conditions and won’t nick or crack if dropped or handled roughly. It’s the only choice if you plan to hunt larger game at short to mid-range distances.
Best of all, it maintains the image quality and focal accuracy of a riflescope beyond its cost of under $500.
- The Razor HD LH 1.5-8x32 is an ultra-sleek, lightweight hunting scope. High density, extra-low dispersion lenses and premium XR coatings combine to produce razor sharp resolution from edge to edge.
- A highly forgiving eyebox gives generous eye relief. The locking ocular focus ensures your reticle always stays sharp and crisp.
- A single piece, hard anodized tube enhances strength and durability. Armortek coatings protect exterior lenses from scratches, oil, and dirt.
3. Swarovski Z5 3.5-18×44: Best Hunting Scope
Many scopes and red dots are flooding the market with lots of gizmos and gadgets stuffed into them.
It creates a scene of overweight, fragile tubes that you can’t take into the field. However, if you search hard enough, you can find dependable and reasonable options.
One of those options that you cannot ignore is the Swarovski Z5 3.5-18×44.
This is an impressive hunting optic. It’s fully loaded with features and tech that will make your hunting 10x easier.
Let’s take a closer look…
Glass and Reticle
Swarovski uses their unique swarovision technology in the glass.
Which equates to a clearer image and less color fringing. It also provides more color fidelity than regular glass. Or in other words, a sharper image with a more vibrant color definition.
Along with the crystal-clear glass, it comes with your choice of two reticles:
The first is a basic plex reticle. This features a simple crosshair with thicker peripherals for the more traditional shooters.
The other option is the 4W reticle. This uses a set of hash marks for the horizontal line and a solid vertical line to make the crosshairs. The hash marks are at 2 MOA apart for easy windage adjustment.
Take note that the reticle in this optic is fixed. So, if you decide that this is the scope to go with, make sure you buy one with the reticle you want.
Eye Relief and Eye Box
The eye relief sits back at a comfortable 3.47 inches. This is nice if you are shooting while wearing glasses.
The exit pupil on this scope ranges from 2.4 to 10mm depending on the magnification you use.
This is all capped off with a 35 to 44mm objective lens. Which means you have a nice full field of view and a clear image no matter what distance you’re shooting at.
Durability and Weight
This is one area where the Z5 really shines.
The weight comes in at a light 15.9 oz. and the length stretches to 14.29 inches. The tube is an inch in diameter, making it nice to mount lower if that’s your preference.
This optic is waterproof in up to 4 meters of water. The turrets are also waterproof even when the caps are removed.
This is perfect if you are out hunting and get caught in the rain or need to ford streams or rivers.
The real gem of its durability is the Swarovski patented spring system.
Most scopes use a leaf spring to keep themselves adjusted. This optic uses a 4-point coil spring system that helps keep it zeroed even when it’s been bouncing around.
It’s an ideal feature for hunting, walking over rough terrain, or using on larger caliber rifles.
Overall, this scope is a resilient optic that is made to withstand being tossed about. The dependability is an impressive feat considering some of the techier features.
Elevation and Windage Turrets
This is where some of the more futuristic features come in. This scope has a ballistic turret that can be set at 4 distances. The way this works is simple…
First, go to Swarovski’s website to access their ballistic calculator.
Then, enter information such as caliber, ft. per second, distance, etc. This will generate the adjustments you need to make to the scope. (You can print this out for convenience).
On the elevation turret, there are three color-coded dots. Each dot can be clicked to the appropriate distance using the adjustments from the website.
This means that if you need to adjust your distance, you have preset markers on your turret to turn to. No more trial and error or self-adjusting!
Pretty cool, right?
Magnification and Parallax
This optic’s magnification goes from 3.5X to 18X.
This wide range allows for more variation at different ranges. Whether it’s 75 yards or 600 yards, you have the power to adjust to the needed magnification.
This scope also has an adjustable lateral parallax turret on the side. This works at longer distances and has a mark at the 100-yard point.
So, if you are taking those long-distance shots with 6.5 Creedmoor caliber, you’ll still be able to clearly see the target. Plus, the 100-yard marker makes it easy to reset when needed.
So, with all these features, durability, and versatility, it begs the question…
Swarovski Z5 Review: Is it Worth It?
This is a hunter’s optic through and through.
First, it’s rugged and lightweight.
The unique 4-point coil system ups the ante when it comes to keeping the scope zeroed. Add the fact that it’s waterproof and you have a resilient optic. It is made to be hoofed around mountains, through rainstorms, and into any environment you wish.
Second, it’s high-quality.
Glass clarity is not sacrificed for the ruggedness. If anything, the glass quality is more enhanced than your average scope. You get an HD grade optic that you can depend on. In addition, you get reticle options and an online ballistic calculator. Just because it can survive a rainstorm doesn’t mean you can’t see clearly.
Lastly, it’s versatile.
When you see that deer, it won’t always be at 100 yards. Switching through preset distances allows for quicker shots and less guesswork. This is super handy while in the field. While being convenient, it is also easy to set these distances. You also get the magnification and parallax you need to really stretch this scope and your rifle to the max.
For the moderate price, the Swarovski Z5 is a competitive option for hunting. It will reach several distances, provide clear images, and work when you need it to.
- Light, handy and reliable scope of exquisite quality typical for Swarovski products.
- 3.5-18x zoom with adjustable parallax and elevation for supreme precision at any range in any weather
- Completely waterproof at up to 4 metres deep
Now It’s Your Turn
I hope you enjoyed my best lightweight riflescopes guide.
Now I’d like to hear from you:
What scope are you going to use from this list? Or perhaps you have a question about one of them.
Either way, let me know by leaving a quick comment down below.