Editor choice

Best Crossbow Scopes – Buyer’s Guide

Best Crossbow ScopesCrossbow hunting is a rilling sport that requires some level of skill.

But you don’t really need much experience to become a crossbow hunter.

With the right equipment and practice, you can improve crossbow hunting skills in no time.

There are many crossbow scopes you can choose from. But most of them are fixed power scopes. That means they are 3x, 4x or 6x scopes. A 3x scope is great for short distance shooting.

So if you are turkey hunting and you want to bring it up closer with minimal movement and take a shot, you can achieve this much more easily with 3x power than a 6x.

Some crossbow scopes use illuminated reticles and  the illuminator feature can be switched on and off depending on the lighting conditions. The illumination feature is beneficial when you want to go hunting for deer or other game at night.

Most scopes have color display options. So you can choose how you want your illumination to appear. And the most common colors are red and green.

With fixed scopes, you only have the diopter adjustment and this adjustment allows you to sharpen your target and get clear and visible reticles.

That said, we have come up with a list of some of the best crossbow scopes and it is based on our research.  This is just a guide to help out newbie hunters who are looking to buy their first crossbow scope.

We have also included a guide that discusses the features you need to consider when buying a crossbow scope.

Top pick
NIKW9 16608 Prostaff P3 3×32

Nikon products are popular with hunters and shooters. And this is because they produce premium quality optics.

So when we decided to write a review listing the best crossbow scopes, we had to include a Nikon product. You can never go wrong with Nikon scopes and without a doubt when we tested the NIKW9 Prostaff P3 Crossbow, we were far much more impressed with its performance compared to other crossbow scopes. This is why it took the top spot on our list.

So here is what you get with the Nikon Prostaff P3.

NIKW9 16608 Prostaff P3 3x32

  • Multicoated Lenses
  • Aluminum Body
  • BDC Reticle Options
  • Spring-Loaded Turrets
  • Adjustable Eyepiece
  • Audible Click Stops
  • Shockproof & Waterproof Body

Check now

We’ve tested 5 crossbow scopes and the winner is above!

Crossbow Scopes Comparison Chart

Model

NIKW9 16608 Prostaff P3 3x32

Hawke 12221 XB1 1.5-5X32

Excalibur 1964 Null Tact-Zone 2.5-6x32

Sightmark SM13061 Core SX 3x32

Vortex Optics SE-1624-1 Strike Eagle 1-6x24

Photo

NIKW9 16608 Prostaff P3 3x32

Hawke 12221 XB1 1.5-5X32

Excalibur 1964 Null Tact-Zone 2.5-6x32

Sightmark SM13061 Core SX 3x32

Vortex Optics SE-1624-1 Strike Eagle 1-6x24

Magnification

3x

1.5-5x

2.5-6x

3x

1-6x

Objective Lens Diameter

32 mm

32 mm

32 mm

32 mm

24 mm

Tube Diameter

1 inch

1 inch

30 mm

1 inch

30 mm

Reticle

BDC 60

XB1 SR

Tact-Zone

VXR-L

AR-BDC, 2nd Focal Plane

Field of View
35.6 ft/100 yds

75-22.5 ft/100 yds

n/a

44.2 ft/100 yds

 116.5-19.2 ft / 100 yds

Eye Relief

3.4 inches

76-81  mm

n/a

76.2 mm

3.5 inches

Exit Pupil Diameter

10.7 mm

21-6 mm

n/a

10.6 mm

24-4 mm

Parallax Setting

20 yards

50 yards

n/a

30 yards

100 yards

Weight

10.9 oz

13 oz

17.6 oz

14 oz

17.6 oz

Check on Amazon

Check on Amazon

Check on Amazon

Check on Amazon

Check on Amazon

Check on B&H

Check on B&H

5 Best Crossbow Scopes (as of October, 2020):

1. NIKW9 16608 Prostaff P3 3×32 Crossbow Scope Review

NIKW9 16608 Prostaff P3 3x32

  • BDC 60 Crossbow Reticle
  • Fully Multicoated Optical System
  • Hand-Turn 1 MOA Adjustments
  • Spring-Loaded Turrets
  • 1″ Aircraft Grade Aluminum Main Tube

Check Price on Amazon!

This NIKW9 16608 Prostaff P3 3×32 uses BDC reticles designed by Nikon and the reason why Nikon made these reticles is to help long-distance shooters.

NIKW9 16608 Prostaff P3 3x32 uses BDC reticles designed by Nikon

With these reticles, you can take shots that are 60 yards or more and they also give you a good idea of where your holdover is going to be.

You can adjust the reticles as well and there are audible clicks stops to control the movement of the reticles. So it does give you the flexibility to use more than one reticle when shooting at long ranges.

NIKW9 16608 Prostaff P3 3x32 Review, Pros and Cons

The P3 uses multicoated lenses to ensure more light passes through the scope so as to make your visuals clear and bright.

It has spring-loaded elevation and windage turrets, which are resettable to zero point. And it has an adjustable eyepiece to help you focus on your target with ease and speed. It also has excellent eye relief to make your life easier.

NIKW9 16608 Prostaff P3 3x32 has excellent eye relief

Main Features

  • Fully Multicoated Optical System
  • BDC 60 Crossbow Reticle
  • Hand-Turn 1 MOA Adjustments
  • 32mm Objective Lens
  • Spring-Loaded Instant Zero-Reset Turrets
  • Rugged 1-inch Aircraft Grade Aluminum Main Tube
  • Aluminum Quick Focus Eyepiece
  • Generous, Consistent Eye Relief
  • Shockproof & Waterproof Body
PROS:
  • Multicoated lenses for vivid and sharp visuals
  • Aluminum body for strength and longevity
  • BDC Reticle options
  • Easy to turn spring-loaded turrets that are resettable to zero point
  • Adjustable eyepiece for quick focusing
  • Audible click stops
  • Excellent eye relief

CONS:
  • Hard to see the crosshairs on the reticles

2. Hawke 12221 XB1 1.5-5X32 Crossbow Scope Review

Hawke 12221 XB1 1.5-5X32

  • XB1 SR Illuminated Reticle
  • 5 Intensity Levels in Red or Green
  • For 250-425 Feet/sec Bolt Speeds
  • 11-Layer Fully Multi-Coated Optics
  • 1″ One-Piece Monotube

Check Price on Amazon!

The Hawke 12221 XB1 1.5-5X32 IR SR scope has garnered much praise for its image clarity and optimal performance in low light conditions.

The image quality of the Hawke IR is excellent. The reticles are visible and clear. The illumination feature works great in the dark. You can easily identify animals with the lighted reticles that are yards away.

Hawke 12221 XB1 1.5-5X32 IR SR scope has XB1 SR Illuminated Reticle

Another great thing about the Hawke IR is that you can adjust the speed to your bow’s speed using the inbuilt speed selector feature.

The only problem with the feature is that it also adjusts the magnification. So when you adjust speed, the magnification changes as well. So you need to determine which one you want to use.

Hawke 12221 XB1 1.5-5X32 Review, Pros and Cons

If you adjust the magnification, you’ll need to treat the speed as if it’s not there to maintain the magnification.

Like most riflescopes, the Hawke IR has adjustable windage and elevation turrets to help improve your aim.

The eyepiece is also adjustable, but when you dial it in, there is no locking ring. So you need to be careful not to accidentally bump the scope with your hand or on an object.

The one key thing as a hunter you’ll love about this scope is that you can hit your target dead on that that is anywhere between 20 to 80 yards. But for ranges that are more than 100 yards, it falls short.

It has a sturdy build and it is designed to withstand harsh environments. So basically, given that the Hawke IR is a budget crossbow scope, it does perform optimally well.

Main Features

  • 1.5-5x Zoom Range & 32mm Objective Lens
  • XB1 SR Illuminated Reticle
  • 5 Intensity Levels in Red or Green
  • 11-Layer Anti-Reflection Fully Multi-Coated Optics
  • For 250-425 Feet/sec Bolt Speeds
  • ½ MOA low profile no-snag finger tip turrets
  • Fixed Parallax Set at 50 yards
  • Wide 21-6mm Exit Pupil
  • Fast Focus Eyebell & High Torque Zoom Ring
  • Lightweight & Durable Aluminum Alloy Chassis
  • Nitrogen-Filled for Water & Fogproof Performance
  • Flip-Up Objective & Ocular Lens Covers
PROS:
  • Illuminated reticles that offer accurate aiming points at intervals of 10 yards from 20 to 100 yards
  • Clear images in low light conditions
  • Speed selector feature to adjust your scope to your bow’s speed
  • 32mm objective lens for bright visuals
  • 1.5x to 5x magnification range
  • Fully multicoated optics for sharp views
  • Affordable

CONS:
  • Speed selector feature changes the magnification

3. Excalibur 1964 Null Tact-Zone 2.5-6×32 Crossbow Scope Review

Excalibur 1964 Null Tact-Zone 2.5-6x32

  • Multi-Coated Lens
  • Tact-Zone Reticle
  • Red/Green Rheostat Illumination
  • 30mm Tube
  • Adjustable for Speeds 275 – 412fps

Check Price on Amazon!

The Excalibur 1964 Null Tact-Zone 2.5-6×32 is a small and light scope that is easy to mount on a crossbow. The 32mm objective lens delivers sharp views and you can magnify your targets up to 6 times.

The objective lens size may be small for some users, but the Excalibur lens gives you a field of view of 25 feet at the 2.5x base magnification. This is large enough to shoot a target that is moving.

Excalibur 1964 Null Tact-Zone 2.5-6x32 has the Tact-Zone reticle & Red, Green rheostat illumination

The scope uses illuminated reticles that are super clear. And with lighted reticles, you can spot animals in the dark easily. So this scope gives you the flexibility to go hunting at night.

Excalibur 1964 Null Tact-Zone 2.5-6x32 Review, Pros and Cons

And you can choose to switch off the illumination function when you don’t need it.

The optics on this scope are excellent. It uses multicoated lenses for pristine images. The lenses are also purged with dry nitrogen to prevent them from fogging when weather conditions are not conducive.

Excalibur Null Tact-Zone 2.5-6x32

Via: @steve3527

The Excalibur is a scope that you can use in any weather condition. It’s designed to withstand harsh environments. And although it’s not impervious to damage, it has a strong aluminum body.

Excalibur Null Tact-Zone 2.5-6x32

Via: @outdoor_adventures_4thehunt

Main Features

  • 2.5-6x Magnification
  • 32mm Objective Lens
  • Multi-Coated Lens
  • Reticle Construction: Etched
  • Reticle: Tact-Zone
  • Red/Green Rheostat Illumination
  • 30mm Tube
  • Adjustable for Speeds 275 – 412fps
  • 1/2″ Click Adjustments @ 20 yards
  • Strong Aluminum Body
  • Shockproof, Waterproof & Fogproof
PROS:
  • Multicoated lenses for quality images
  • Strong build that is water and impact resistant
  • Illuminate reticles for night hunting
  • 2.5x to 6x magnification for short and long-distance shooting
  • 32mm objective lens with a wide field of view
  • Nitrogen purged lenses for fog-proof performance
  • Adjustable for arrow speeds of 275fps to 412fps

CONS:
  • Poor lens covers
  • Doesn’t come with scope rings

4. Sightmark SM13061 Core SX 3×32 Review

Sightmark SM13061 Core SX 3x32

  • Fully Multicoated Optics
  • Red Illuminated Etched Reticle
  • 11 Reticle Brightness Settings
  • Adjustable for Speeds 250 – 450fps
  • Designed to Withstand Crossbow Recoil

Check Price on Amazon!

The Sightmark SM13061 Core SX 3×32 crossbow scope is designed for hunters who like to hunt deer. It’s got a 32mm objective lens with a field of view of 44.2 feet at 100 yards. That is wide enough to hit a moving deer.

The scope uses multicoated lenses for sharp viewing and it has multiple reticle options. There is an illumination option, which comes in green and red color.

Sightmark SM13061 Core SX 3x32 has the Red illuminated etched reticle

So you can light the reticles when you are out hunting in total darkness. And during the day, you can switch off the illumination to save battery charge.

There is a rangefinder feature that shows you how far you are from your target. This distance is usually displayed in yards or meters and it improves your precision aiming.

Sightmark SM13061 Core SX 3x32 Review, Pros and Cons

The scope can be calibrated to your crossbow’s speed if the arrow speed is between 250fps and 450fps. Keep in mind that if you are shooting at ranges longer than 20 yards, you need to adjust your magnification so that it matches your crossbow’s speed before aiming.

This scope has a magnification 3x, and with that power range, you can hit anything that is up to 75 yards.

For durability and strength, Sightmark Core SX has an aluminum that is shockproof and waterproof. The lenses are purged with nitrogen gas to prevent them from fogging. And they are coated with a special coating to prevent dirt from sticking on them.

Main Features

  • 3x Magnification
  • 32mm Objective Lens
  • Fully Multicoated Optics
  • Red Illuminated Etched Reticle
  • 11 Reticle Brightness Settings
  • Tuned for Various Crossbow Speeds (250-450fps)
  • Reticle Holdover Points Out to 60 yards
  • Killzone Rangefinding for Medium Game
  • Capped Turrets & Aluminum Body
  • Designed to Withstand Crossbow Recoil
  • Shockproof, Fogproof, Weatherproof
PROS:
  • Multicoated lenses for pristine views
  • Illuminated reticles with color display options for night hunting
  • Parallax adjustment option for clear views at long distances
  • Adjustable turrets for sharp focusing
  • Adjustment speed range of 250fps to 450fps
  • Fog-free lenses
  • Wide field of view to help you track a moving target
  • Excellent eye relief
  • Shockproof, fog proof, and waterproof construction
  • Affordable

CONS:
  • The power adjustment ring is not smooth
  • Turrets don’t reset to zero

5. Vortex Optics SE-1624-1 Strike Eagle 1-6×24 Review

Vortex Optics SE-1624-1 Strike Eagle 1-6x24

  • AR-BDC Reticle, 2nd Focal Plane
  • 30mm Single-Piece Maintube
  • 1/2 MOA Impact Point Correction
  • 140 MOA Windage/Elevation
  • XD Lens Elements
  • Fully Multi-Coated Optics

Check Price on Amazon!

The Vortex Optics SE-1624-1 Strike Eagle 1-6×24 is a tactical variable power scope with a 1x to 6x magnification range. Variable power scopes have become popular because they are more accurate and they do well in dim conditions.

So with the Vortex Strike Eagle, you can adjust the magnification for more accuracy. And the max 6x magnification is low enough to see targets at long distances without distortion.

Too much magnification makes it hard to see a target clearly. This is why most hunters prefer scopes with low magnification.

The 24mm objective lens is rather small. Some people prefer crossbow scopes with larger objective lenses. Nevertheless, it does display images in high resolution, which is what’s most important.

Vortex Optics SE-1624-1 Strike Eagle 1-6x24 Review, Pros and Cons

And combined with the multicoated lenses, the views are clearer and brighter. The lenses are also purged with nitrogen gas to prevent them from fogging in certain weather conditions.

The Strike Eagle uses illuminated reticles. During the day, you can switch off the illumination to save battery. And switch it back on at night.

Vortex Optics SE-1624-1 Strike Eagle 1-6x24 scope has the illuminated, glass-etched BDC reticle

The adjustment turrets on the scope are capped and are easy to use. After you sight in your scope, you can reset the turrets to zero with ease.

The scope has a 30mm main tube made of aluminium. So it is light in weight and durable. Overall, the Strike Eagle is an affordable scope that has great features and performs well in low light conditions.

Vortex Optics SE-1624-1 Strike Eagle 1-6x24 scope

Via: @brian.crady

Main Features

  • 1-6x Magnification & 24mm Objective Diameter
  • Fully Multi-Coated Optics & XD Lens Elements
  • 30mm Single-Piece Maintube
  • 1/2 MOA Impact Point Correction
  • 140 MOA Windage/Elevation
  • Illuminated, Glass-Etched BDC Reticle
  • Second Focal Plane Reticle
  • Aircraft-Grade Aluminum & Hard Anodized Finish
  • Fast Focus Eyepiece & Capped Reset Turrets
  • Shockproof, Waterproof & Fogproof
PROS:
  • Illuminated reticles for nighttime hunting
  • Pristine and sharp visuals
  • Capped windage and elevation turrets for fast focusing and precision aiming
  • Aluminium build that is strong and long-lasting
  • Fog proof lenses
  • Water and shockproof construction
  • 24mm objective lens
  • 1x to 6x magnification
  • budget-friendly

CONS:
  • Narrow field of view making targets hard to see at long distances
  • Poor eye relief

Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6×24 reticle AR-bdc subtensions:

Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6×24 reticle AR-bdc subtensions

Buyer’s Guide

Image Clarity

So it’s not always possible to check the image clarity of a crossbow scope especially if you are buying it online. What we recommend is checking what other users are saying about the image clarity of the scope.

And the reason for this is that there are many brands out there that claim their scopes deliver clear and sharp visuals even in dim conditions. But sometimes this is not the case.

So check if the scope uses coated lenses, as they deliver sharper views than those that are not coated. Check to also see what type of glass lens the scope uses.

Extra-low dispersion (ED) glass is the most commonly used glass lens in scopes because of its ability to reduce color fringing.

So basically, those are some of the features you could look at when it comes to the optic quality.

The Zoom Factor

For crossbow hunting, a 4x or 6x magnification is adequate. But if you want one with higher magnification is really up to you. This is a scope that is mounted on a crossbow and not a rifle.

So basically, you can only hit a target that is less than 100 yards away and you don’t need high magnification for that.

For crossbow hunting, a 4x or 6x magnification is adequate

Via: @tinaletourneau

Some expert hunters recommend 3x for shooting at targets that are close by and 6x for targets that are 100 yards or more away. The advantage you get with low power scopes is that you can see your target clearly and you can keep track of it.

With high power, it can get difficult to find your target that is on the move, particularly if its a small animal.

Illuminated Reticles or Not

Some crossbow scopes come with illuminated reticles. And these reticles make it easier for you to see your prey at night. If you want lighted reticles, ensure that there is an enhancement feature on the scope to help you control the brightness and contrast of your images.

Some users have complained that illuminated reticles become too bright and the brightness obscures the views. But if there is a feature that enables you to control the brightness, that is a plus point.

Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6×24 AR-BDC First Person POV – C_Does:

Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6×24 AR-BDC First Person POV – C_Does

There are some scopes that have illuminated dots and these types don’t have any magnification. And the dot is to give you a visible aim of your target.

You can adjust the brightness of the illuminated dot depending on the lighting conditions. The one thing you need to know about scopes with illuminated dots is that they are meant specific bow speeds.

So if the crossbow speed is 200 to 300 fps, you need to ensure that your scope matches your bow.

Eye Relief

Eye relief is an important element of every scope. And its something you should consider when choosing a crossbow scope. Most such scopes have an eye relief range of 3inches to 5 inches.

So the eye relief you want is a personal preference. What we would recommend is to get a crossbow scope with a long eye relief to prevent injury.

Weight and Size

Long scopes may seem appealing, but they are much heavier than short scopes. And scopes with high magnification are heavier than scopes with low magnification.

When you are out in the field, you want a scope

Via: @yandc5

When you are out in the field, you want a scope that is light in weight because it’s easier to use and handle. So get a scope that is small and has low magnification.

Budget

There are some great budget crossbow scopes if you are on a budget. But if you don’t mind spending thousands of dollars on a scope, then there are those too.

When it comes to how much you want to spend on a crossbow scope, it all depends on what you can afford or how much you are willing to spend. You can choose to save up to buy an expensive one. Or you can choose to go with a mid-range priced scope.

Tips for Buying a Crossbow Scope

Don’t buy new crossbow scope if it’s not necessary

If you already have a crossbow scope that works perfectly fine, don’t feel the urge to buy another one because it’s the latest one in the market.

However, there is nothing wrong with owning more than one crossbow scope, but don’t strain yourself to get a new one that might cost an arm and a leg when your old one works well.

If you don’t already own a crossbow scope, but you want to buy don’t be fooled by the price tag. Just because a crossbow scope is expensive, it doesn’t mean that it can do a better job than a cheap one.

So do your research and find out what users are saying before making a decision.

Don’t break your bank to own a crossbow scope

If you want to get into crossbow hunting, you don’t need to spend more than you can afford. There is a huge range of crossbow scope models for just about every budget. You also don’t need to buy a brand new scope.

You can get a quality second-hand crossbow scope

Via: @7ryeguy7

You can get a quality second-hand crossbow scope if you are on a really tight budget.

Illumination is not everything

Some people will buy a crossbow scope because it has illuminated reticles, and there is nothing wrong with that. But if you plan on hunting only during the day, then you don’t need one with illuminated reticles.

The only time you can use the illumination feature is at dawn or dusk. So when deciding whether to buy an illuminated scope or not, keep in mind that illuminated scopes are heavier and more expensive.

And in any case, you might find that in most cases, you don’t need this feature on your scope.

Fixed power scope or variable power scope

Most crossbow scopes are fixed power scopes. And fixed power scopes are easier to use, they are reliable and have excellent light transmission. Variable scopes are also reliable, but they are not easy to use.

Most crossbow scopes are fixed power scopes

Via: @alexander.mccormickoutdoors

When you need to hit a moving target, it’s easier with a fixed scope because you don’t need to adjust the power. B you would need to estimate how much hold over you need on your scope for varying ranges without adjustment.

Once you have that information in hand, the only thing you need to do is get the range right.

With a variable power scope, you have to use the adjustable turrets to get a more accurate and precise aim. And this can be a problem, if you need to act fast. Also, they only provide accurate data at a specific magnification.

So generally speaking variable scopes power have their own advantages, but when it comes to ease of use, the fixed power scopes are hands down the easiest to use.

Conclusion

Crossbow hunting requires some investment. And how much you are willing to spend depends on you. What matters is what the scope can help you achieve.

For long distance shooting, the NIKW9 Prostaff P3 Crossbow would be ideal. For short range shooting, try the Vortex Optics Strike Eagle, which is designed for that type of shooting.

It’s also important that when you are choosing a crossbow scope, you check on the features mentioned above. Otherwise, you may end up with an expensive scope that is totally useless.

Best Crossbow Scopes

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

OpticZoo - Best Optics Reviews and Buyers Guides