The 3 Best Muzzleloader Scope [2020 Update]

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Today I’m going to show you the best muzzleloader scope.

In fact:

I’ve hand-tested over 10 scopes alone for this review.

The best part?

I’ve sorted the scopes by use. So whether you’re on a budget or need the best muzzleloader scopes, you’ll find it here.

Let’s dive in!

The 3 Best Muzzleloader Scope

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

  1. Vortex Diamondback 1.75-5×32: Best Overall
  2. Bushnell Banner 3-9×50: Best Muzzleloader Scope Under $100
  3. Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10×40: Best Long Range Muzzleloader Scope

1. Vortex Diamondback 1.75-5×32: Best Overall

The Vortex Diamondback 1.75-5×32 is the best overall scope on the market, especially for hunters.

In fact, it’s got all the features and qualities that you could need at an affordable price that won’t break the bank.

I put this on my AR-15 to test it out months ago and have yet to take it off because it works so well.

Want to hear more? Keep reading…


Glass Clarity & Reticle

The first time I looked into this scope I was surprised to find the glass was just as clear as other scopes that are twice the price!

The lenses are fully multi-coated, which means you get a nice, bright sight picture, even in the midday sun.

The Dead-Hold BDC reticle is my favorite part of the Vortex Diamondback 1.75-5×32.

Having a bullet drop compensation reticle means that you’ll easily be able to estimate your holdover at varying distances, even as far out as 500 yards.

The reticle is second focal plane, which means that it doesn’t change size with magnification. With 1.75-5x magnification, this works great.

If you had a higher magnification to shoot at extra long distances, you might need the reticle to increase in size. But since I’m not using this scope for 3-gun competitions, my average prey is usually only around 100-300 yards.


Eye Relief & Eye Box

The Vortex Diamondback 1.75-5×32 has 3.5-3.7 inches of eye relief.

If I have one complaint about this scope, it’s that the eye relief does seem to be a little unforgiving, depending what you mount it on.

On my AR-15 it’s tolerable with a good cheek weld, but on something like 6.5 Creedmoor, it would be pretty tight.

However, I do really love that this scope has a fast focus eyepiece. This allows you to get the reticle focused quickly.

Target acquisition is fast and easy, almost as good as a prism scope or red dot sight.


Durability

This scope is built like a tank and can handle whatever you throw at it.

It’s a one-piece tube with a hard anodized finish that can take a beating. This finish also helps to keep your setup camouflaged when you’re out hunting.

Plus, it’s O-ring sealed and Argon purged, which makes it waterproof and fogproof.

If that’s not enough, it’s backed by Vortex’s unlimited lifetime warranty that covers anything that could go wrong.


Elevation & Windage Knobs

The elevation and windage turrets are ¼ MOA click adjustments.

The turrets give nice, audible clicks and have a zero reset under the caps.

Speaking of zeroing, it couldn’t be easier. After only a handful of shots, I was hitting a half inch target easily and exceptionally accurately.

And, after at least 400 rounds or so, the zero has held. I even accidentally dropped it on the gravel road and it was still dead on.


Parallax & Magnification

The Vortex Diamondback has 1.75-5x magnification.

This is the perfect range for brush hunting and big game hunting. It gives you an accurate sight picture from 100-500 yards easily.

For deer hunting, you’ll be hard pressed to find a scope that’s better than this one.

As for parallax, it’s fixed at 100 yards and I really haven’t noticed a problem.


Mounting & Rings

This scope is an excellent value, but you will need to buy your own mount.

I’d recommend getting Vortex Pro Series Rings. That’s what I used and they’re great.

Vortex Optics Pro Series Riflescope Rings
  • The finishing touch to your rifle and optic combination. Pro Series rings combine rock-solid reliability and strength with high quality machining to ensure ultimate accuracy and consistency.
  • Streamlined, lightweight and durable, these rings use four T-25 Torx-style socket cap screws for secure mounting.
  • Fits Weaver and Picatinny Rails.

As for other accessories, it doesn’t come with much. Just removable lens caps. I’d suggest getting some flip-up caps like the Vortex Optics Defender Flip Caps.

Vortex Optics Defender Flip Cap Set - Eyepiece E-10 (41.5-46mm) & Objective Lens Cover O-24 (28-31 mm)
  • Virtually indestructible, the Defender flip caps are the most versatile and durable on the market, these are the last flip caps you'll ever need. Made in the USA.
  • A stainless steel spring flips the Eyepiece into multiple stop positions: vertical, 45 degrees and 90 degrees. The vertical position is for inserting your dope disk in to have easy access to while...
  • The E-10 fits all Vortex Riflescopes EXCEPT the 1-inch tube Viper model VPR-M-01BDC, VPR-M-04BDC and VPR-M-03BDC. Outside diameter: 41.5-46 mm | 1.6-1.8 inches

Is the Vortex Diamondback 1.75-5×32 worth it?

This scope is really the best overall scope for hunters, with all the features you need.

It has:

  • Audible click turrets
  • Fast focus eyepiece
  • 1.75-5x magnification
  • Dead-Hold BDC reticle
  • Fully multi-coated lenses
  • Shockproof, waterproof, fogproof

If you’re an avid hunter and want a scope that has all the features you’ll need to bag your prey, try the Vortex Diamondback 1.75-5×32. You won’t be disappointed.


2. Bushnell Banner 3-9×50: Best Muzzleloader Scope Under $100

The Bushnell Banner 3-9×50 is by far the most elite budget friendly muzzleloader scope I have found throughout my hunting career.

Not only does the scope come in at an amazing price, but the quality and attention to detail is apparent.

If you want to learn why this scope hasn’t come off my muzzleloader setup since the day I purchased it stick around.


Glass Clarity & Reticle

The Bushnell Banner 3-9×50 is a scope with unbelievable brightness and glass clarity.

Even with the impressively low price, Bushnell did not sacrifice any quality with the building of this scope.

The dusk and dawn brightness multi coated lens provides amazing improvements to both the clarity and brightness of the scope.

In addition, the scope has a fast-focus eyepiece that makes target acquisition even easier.

The Bushnell Banner 3-9×50 gives me great confidence whether I am out for a day on the range or sitting in a tree stand during muzzleloader season.

The reticle that comes on the Bushnell Banner 3-9×50 is the multi-x reticle.

This was my first experience with this particular reticle and I am really enjoying it so far. I tend to be slightly picky about my reticle and this one has fit my shooting style unbelievably well.

This scope was an absolute dream addition to my muzzleloader setup.

Not being my main form of hunting, I try to keep my muzzleloader setup on a tight budget and the Bushnell Banner 3-9×50 fit right into that.


Eye Relief & Eye Box

The eye relief on the Bushnell Banner 3-9×50 is very forgiving and a great option for any setup.

I have found that with the forgiving eye relief, the sight can be mounted in a comfortable position on any firearm.

I have used this primarily on my slug shotgun setup and muzzleloader setup.

It would also work great on any other rimfire options.

In addition, the scope has a fantastic field of view which makes this a great option for any hunting setup.

The Bushnell Banner 3-9×50 has got to be one of the best budget muzzleloader scopes I have used.

Also, here are some great options if you are looking for a handgun scope for those long muzzleloader hikes.


Durability

The durability so far on the Bushnell Banner 3-9×50 has been fantastic.

My muzzleloader definitely takes the stress of long hikes and some crazy weather. This scope has seen it all and continues to perform like I just took it out of the box.

The Bushnell Banner 3-9×50 is waterproof, fogproof, shockproof, and dry-nitrogen filled.

This scope has taken a beating and keeps on going. Especially in my muzzleloader setup, I need a scope that works 100% of the time no questions asked.


Elevation & Windage Knobs

The elevation and windage knobs have performed surprisingly well for the low price tag this scope comes in at.

Usually on budget scopes I find the turrets are often mushy and inconsistent.

This is not the case with the Bushnell Banner 3-9×50. The turrets have been precise and accountable every time I have used them.

They have well defined movement and sound that makes it a satisfactory scope to zero.

My zeroing process was surprisingly easy. I took the scope directly out to the range right after I got it.

In maybe 30 minutes I was able to achieve some of my best muzzleloader groupings at 100 yards.

In addition, I have rarely had to touch the turrets since I zerod for the first time.

This tells me that the zero holds fantastically well on the Bushnell Banner 3-9×50.


Parallax & Magnification

I have been using the Bushnell Banner 3-9×50 for a few months and have noticed a slight parallax as I get higher in magnification.

It is nothing excessive and certainly doesn’t hinder my shooting abilities; however, it is something that I noticed throughout my testing.

The Bushnell Banner 3-9×50 has a magnification of 3x to 9x which is perfect for my usage.

This being on my muzzleloader setup means that it is not often I am taking shots beyond 100 yards.

9x is far more magnification than is needed for a shot at that range, but it is certainly nice to have when the heart is racing and the hands are sweating.


Mounting & Rings

The Bushnell Banner 3-9×50 did not come with mounts so I purchased a set of Warne 1inch Quick Detach Rings in a Low Matte finish.

I ended up going for the quick detach mounts because I thought I was going to be swapping it out on my slug setup.

This was not the case and I can’t seem to take it off my muzzleloader because I like that setup so much.

I would also recommend getting Monstrum Rubberized Flip-Up Lens Covers (Objective Lens: 37-42mm).

Monstrum Rubberized Flip-Up Rifle Scope Lens Covers (Objective Bell | 26-30 mm/1.0-1.2 inch Diameter)
  • Rubberized flip-up rifle scope lens covers that conform tightly around your rifle scope tube, protecting your lenses from dust and abrasion
  • Spring-loaded flip-up mechanism pops open effortlessly when needed and securely tightly when not in use
  • Each package includes one Rubberized Flip-Up Lens Cover

These have been some of my favorite flip up lenses I have found to date.


Is the Bushnell Banner 3-9×50 worth it?

I am very cautious about spending money on budget scopes because I am unsure how long they will last me. The Bushnell Banner 3-9×50 has put all of my worries to bed and has become my favorite muzzleloader scope in my entire arsenal.

Here’s why:

  • Price
  • Clarity
  • Durability

In short: the Bushnell Banner 3-9×50 is a fantastic scope that will outperform scopes that cost over double the price.

If you are still unsure whether the Bushnell Banner 3-9×50 is the right scope for you, give it a try. I am sure you will be just as thrilled as I am.


3. Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10×40: Best Long Range Muzzleloader Scope

For the true muzzleloader fan, a high quality scope is a must.

Whether hunting or target shooting, accuracy with a muzzleloader can be tough.

The Leupold VX-3i can remove one part of that difficulty.


Glass Clarity & Reticle

The glass is some of the finest I’ve seen on a rifle scope.

A military-grade coating called DiamondCoat 2 is the reason. It allows maximum light transmission while being very scratch resistant. The lenses are built for life.

The DiamondCoat 2 also lets all colors of light in, so there is no tinting whatsoever, and it shows when you have a big buck sighted near twilight. The only thing brighter is night vision.

The duplex reticle is pretty plain, but for a muzzleloader it isn’t a big issue. You aren’t going to be taking game at 300 yards. It’s perfect for a muzzleloading application and many others.


Eye Relief & Eye Box

I’ve found the scope to be very comfortable on top of my modern front stuffer, then I found the reason.

Even at maximum magnification, the spec sheet on the Leupold boasts 3.6 inches of eye relief. It’s even greater at 3.5x power, a whopping inches. I could mount this thing on my shotty and fire 3.5 inch shells without worry of scope bite, much less the kick from any black powder rifle out there.

That said, you won’t need to adjust anything on your rifle’s mounting location to plop this guy on. It’ll work fine for pretty much every rifle out there on a standard rail.


Durability

Leupolds are tough. I’ve owned several over the years and this is one area where they never cut corners.

They have a special scope torture device at their lab, called the Punisher. This machine bangs the test design 5000 times with three times the force of a .308, and any design that doesn’t pass gets sent back to the drawing board.

It’s one of the main things I love about this brand. They are simply the toughest scopes out there, and the new DiamondCoat 2 coating adds another layer of military-grade durability to the lenses themselves.

They’re also waterproof to 33 feet and have a special proprietary gas blend inside to keep moisture out. They won’t fog or falter, even at 40 below.


Elevation & Windage Knobs

Super reliable turrets, but what else would you expect?

The clicks are firm and precise, which makes zeroing the scope a breeze.

It won’t be too often on your muzzleloader that windage and drop will be an issue, but if you do want to take a long shot, you know the drop on a lead ball can be tremendous.

Being able to click down for some skill shots to impress your friends is important, and the scope has an adjustment range of 52 MOA. It’ll give you the adjustment you need for any range you would ever want to shoot your muzzleloader.


Parallax & Magnification

Magnification ranges from 3.5 to 10, and adjusts easily with the smooth turning dial.

The adjustment is perfect for a muzzleloader scope. At 3.5x, you have a wide enough field of view to hunt accurately while still getting a huge boost in the accuracy of your shots, and 10x makes even the tiniest targets at 100 yards big enough to see.

10x is also a great magnification for testing the accuracy of your loads. We put so much effort into weighing bullets, picking the right wadding, carefully measuring powder, and greasing with the right lube, that it’s nice to see how reliable all that work really is at the range.

If there was a complaint about this scope, it would be that the parallax is non-adjustable. It’s set at 150 yards with Leupold. But again, for hunting or target shooting, the scope is still going to be tighter than most muzzleloader groups.

Plus cheek rest is a skill, and most of use wouldn’t be shooting black powder if we didn’t like a challenge.

If you won’t need the high magnification, of course, you might consider something designed for a battle rifle.


Mounting & Rings

No rings are included with the scope, and while any ole one-inch rings will do the trick, you are pairing a rugged muzzleloader to a rugged scope. Prudence dictates using something sturdy to do it, like Leupold Permanent Weaver-Style Cross-Slot rings.

Leupold also makes lens covers to work with their VX-3 line.

Leupold Alumina Flip Back Lens Cover Kit - 40mm & Standard EP
  • Model #62990 - Alumina flip back lens cover kit in size 40mm and standard EP

Is the Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10×40 worth it?

If you are looking for a budget scope, this probably isn’t it. That said, one feature of the VX-3i is that it was designed to be a bit more wallet friendly than some other Leupold scopes.

If you want the absolute best value in a quality scope for your muzzleloader, this is the one.

Let’s recap.

  • Crystal clear view
  • Military-grade coatings
  • Tremendously long eye-relief
  • Passed Leupold’s torture testing
  • Great magnification range for muzzleloaders

And it comes with the best lifetime guarantee in the world of shooting.

Really, you can’t go wrong with the Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10×40 scope. It’s the obvious choice.


Now It’s Your Turn

I hope you enjoyed my best muzzleloader scope guide.

Now I want to turn it over to you:

Which scope will you pick for your rifle?

Let me know by leaving a quick comment down below.

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