best budget air rifle scope

Best Budget Air Rifle Scope of 2021: Complete Reviews With Comparisons

If you come to think of it, air rifles can do virtually everything a traditional long rifle does.

And as such, they are continuously building a niche for themselves.

To gain an advantage over the accuracy of long rimfire rifles, you’ll want to invest in the best budget air rifle scope.

Below, we have compiled five of the best air rifle scopes that don’t exceed the 100-dollar mark.

Each one is unique and has different magnifying powers, so choose the one that’s best for your shooting practice.

Best Budget Air Rifle Scope Reviews

1. UTG 3-9×32 1” BugBuster AO Scope with RGB Mil-dot

Riflescopes with higher magnification are much more expensive than scopes with lower magnifying power.

Even so, this does not automatically mean that budget rifle optics are unreliable pieces of hardware.

This is where Under the Gun (UTG) comes in, a large grouping of scopes from the Leapers brand.

UTG offers high-quality optics at unbelievably low prices.

One of its budget-friendly offerings for air rifles is the UTG 1” BugBuster 3-9×32 AO Scope.

It is 8.11 inches long and weighs 14 ounces.

Review

The UTG 1” BugBuster 3-9×32 AO Scope comes really cheap for its high-end feature set.

It includes precise and reinforced elevation and windage adjusters to help you retain your zero mark using lockable and resettable target turrets.

Furthermore, the set is complete with maximum-strength lever-lock QD rings, a two-inch sunshade, and flip-open lens caps.

Its windage and elevation turrets come with a ring-lock mechanism.

With its revolutionary Smart Spherical Structure (SSS), the scope has simplified and strengthened inner and outer tube interactions.

The SSS brings a highly synchronized joint motion to provide the most reliable, responsive, and precise windage and elevation adjustments.

  • Reticle and Illumination

The UTG 1” BugBuster 3-9×32 AO Scope has a Tactical Range Estimating (TRE) mil-dot reticle.

It has a 3-9x variable power magnification and a 32mm diameter objective.

Leapers and UTG pioneered the range estimating concept as early as 2003 to give hunters and shooters worldwide a very useful tool.

You can switch between 9-dot, 6-dot, and 4-dot TRE.

In addition to the TRE reticle, the scope incorporates SWAT Illumination, which finely adjusts the reticle brightness intensity to your preference.

The RGB on the mil-dot stands for red, green, and black—the three colors you can choose from for SWAT Illumination.

  • Field of View

At 100 yards, the field of view of the UTG 1” BugBuster 3-9×32 AO Scope is 37.7 feet at 3x magnification and 14 feet at 9x magnification.

  • Eye Relief and Exit Pupil

The eye relief is 4.2 inches at 3x magnification with an exit pupil of 10.6mm.

In comparison, the 9x magnification will give you 3.2 inches of eye relief with an exit pupil of 3.6mm.

  • Parallax Setting

Finally, the adjustable objective (AO) offers parallax-free views from close range to infinity.

Pros:

  • Air-gun rated for forward and reverse recoil
  • Waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof
  • Includes QD mounting rings
  • Parallax setting from three yards to infinity
  • With red and green illumination on TRE mil-dot

Cons:

  • Needs three-volt CR1620 batteries for illumination
  • Many counterfeit products posing as UTG
  • Most expensive among the options

2. CVLIFE 6-24×50 AOE Hunting Riflescope

CVLIFE offers affordable riflescopes that are nonetheless excellent choices for competitive shooting and hunting.

If you need something with a wider range of magnification options, check out the CVLIFE 6-24×50 AOE Hunting Riflescope.

It is significantly larger than the first option from UTG, weighing 22.22 ounces and measuring 15.75 inches long.

Still, like the UTG BugBuster, it has a one-inch tube diameter.

Review

The CVLIFE 6-24×50 AOE Hunting Riflescope is an excellent scope for long-range shooting and hunting.

It has a solid, sturdy build, and adjustments are fairly easy to make to zero any rifle you may have.

Sure, you’ll find 6-24x50mm scopes with better optics, but they will definitely cost much more.

What’s great about this scope is that it already comes with a single lens cover, an Allen key, and a cleaning cloth.

You also get two scope mounts for a 20mm weaver dovetail rail, though you will need to purchase different mounts for other rail sizes.

  • Optics

Despite being budget-friendly, this scope allows you to choose from 6x to 24x magnification using a 50mm objective lens.

Because it has a magnification 24 times larger than the actual target size, it can easily fall under the long-range optics category.

What’s more, the reticle on the CVLIFE 6-24×50 AOE is a mil-dot that uses red and green illumination similar to the UTG BugBuster.

You can switch between five intensity levels while using red or green lighting.

The adjustable objective is electric (AOE), which means the scope requires a battery for illumination.

Luckily, the unit already comes with a single CR2032 battery.

  • Field of View

The CVLIFE 6-24×50 AOE Hunting Riflescope has a 28-feet field of view at 100 yards.

This FOV, of course, becomes narrower as you increase the magnification.

Compared to all our other options, this rating is relatively low for the field of view.

Nonetheless, you’ll find that its other features will make up for this drawback.

  • Eye Relief and Exit Pupil

CVLIFE rates this scope with an eye relief of 3.52 inches and an exit pupil range of 5.1 to 16.9mm.

Pros:

  • Most magnification settings among the options
  • Comes with red and green illumination
  • Largest objective diameter among the choices
  • Good quality for the affordable price
  • Easy-to-adjust and capped turrets

Cons:

  • The price limits the quality of lenses
  • Included mounts won’t fit all rifles
  • Heaviest scope among the options
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3. Winchester 4×32 AO Camo Model 35 Scope by Daisy

The Winchester 4×32 AO Scope by Daisy is another good riflescope for the price.

It is a full-sized scope with a one-inch diameter body tube suitable for an air rifle.

This scope measures 11.8 inches long, weighs 12.3 ounces, and has a one-inch diameter aluminum body tube.

Review

The Winchester 4×32 AO Scope has a 32mm adjustable objective (AO), allowing you to focus on your targets better.

You will find calibrations on the AO for 15 feet, 50 feet, 25 yards, 50 yards, 75 yards, 100 yards, and 200 yards.

An additional infinity calibration lets you clear up the blur on your scope for targets that are much farther than 200 yards.

If you take a closer look at the other options, you’ll realize that they all have similar calibrations on the objective.

However, they offer better magnification and have reticle illuminants.

The Winchester 4×32 AO Scope makes up for the fewer features with a highly durable, shock-resistant, water-resistant, and fog-proof build.

The included mounting hardware will fit a 3/8-inch dovetail rail.

  • Reticle and Magnification

This scope uses a simple R4 crosshair reticle, and it doesn’t offer viewport illumination.

Aside from the AO, the Winchester 4×32 only has a magnification power of four times the actual size of the target.

You might want to choose something with a higher magnifying power if you plan to shoot long-range.

  • Field of View

The field of view for this scope is 30.5 feet at 100 yards or 10.1 meters at a distance of 100 meters.

  • Eye Relief and Exit Pupil

The Winchester 4×32 AO Scope features a 3.1-inch eye relief and an 8mm exit pupil diameter.

Pros:

  • Cheapest among the options
  • Fog-proof and shock-resistant
  • Includes mounting hardware
  • Adjustable sights for windage and elevation
  • Adjustable objective

Cons:

  • Fixed magnification
  • You can get better scopes at the same price

4. Bushnell Banner 3-9×40 Riflescope

best budget air rifle scope

The Bushnell Banner 3-9×40 Riflescope is another budget-friendly, high-powered variable scope for long-range centerfire shooting.

It is 12 inches long and weighs 13 ounces.

If you haven’t noticed, the Bushnell Banner 3-9×40 Riflescope offers the same magnification power as the UTG BugBuster.

However, it has a larger objective diameter of 40mm.

Review

The Banner 3-9×40 Riflescope is one of Bushnell’s more popular scopes.

Its best selling point is the fact that it offers tremendous value for its remarkably low price.

It boasts exceptional lenses that provide improved light transmission for an actionable target picture.

This feature works even during the hazy dusk or dawn hours, which is when many game and fowl are more active.

The air-to-glass surfaces of its lenses have multiple layers of anti-reflective coating, enabling the scope to deliver bright, high-contrast images.

  • Waterproof Construction

In addition to the exceptional fog-proofing, the Bushnell Banner presents excellent waterproofing.

The optics components are O-ring sealed.

As a result, the scope’s interior stays dry even when you completely immerse it in water.

Furthermore, Bushnell purges the interior of this scope for fog-proofing by filling it with argon.

Because of the ultimate fog-proof protection, the optics remain stable regardless of ambient moisture and temperature.

  • Reticle and Magnification

This scope features the Multi-X SFP reticle, which provides a classic sight picture.

Like the UTG BugBuster, it magnifies the actual target size between three times up to nine times.

Unfortunately, the Banner 3-9×40 does not have any illumination features.

  • Field of View

At 100 yards, this scope’s field of view measures 32 feet at 3x magnification and 11 feet at 9x magnification.

Its field of view is much narrower than the UTG BugBuster, even if it has a much wider objective diameter.

  • Eye Relief

The advantage of the Banner over the BugBuster or the other options here is its much more comfortable eye relief distance at six inches.

You will want a scope with this kind of eye relief if you are using a rifle with a much powerful recoil.

Pros:

  • Exceptional eye relief
  • Budget-friendly
  • Stays dry inside even when immersed in water
  • Argon-filled fog-proofing

Cons:

  • No reticle illumination
  • Non-locking turrets
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5. Primary Arms Classic Series 6x32mm Riflescope

best budget air rifle scope

The Primary Arms Classic Series scopes offer excellent solutions for new shooters and budget-conscious enthusiasts.

In addition to the best quality control practices in the factory, Primary Arms provides excellent customer service.

One of Primary Arms’ Classic Series riflescopes is the 6×32 fixed magnification scope.

Review

The Primary Arms Classic Series 6×32 Riflescope proves that entry-level scopes do not have to be of poor quality.

It is a tough scope, and Primary Arms supports this claim by providing you with a lifetime warranty.

Because it is designed for the 22, you can expect it to last as long as your .22-caliber rifle.

Its premium components are probably why it sits at a much higher price point for its relatively limited feature set.

For adjusters, the scope comes with capped finger turrets so that you can quickly regulate your sights for windage and elevation.

  • Reticle and Magnification

Like the Winchester 4×32 AO, the Primary Arms Classic Series 6×32 Rifle Scope is a fixed magnification scope.

It offers better magnification at 6x the target size, and it uses the patented ACSS 22LR reticle.

This reticle takes advantage of bullet drop compensation (BDC) and correlates it with range estimation for multiple targeting applications.

  • Field of View

Comparing it to the other options here, the Primary Arms Classic Series Scope has the narrowest field of view.

It only covers a field measuring 17.5 feet, making it quite difficult to see underlying conditions around a target’s location.

  • Eye Relief

In addition to the narrow field of view, it offers a relatively short eye relief, which measures only 3.10 inches.

Essentially, this means you get a more concise and clearer picture of your target while keeping the weight positioned to the rifle’s rear.

Pros:

  • Lightest scope among the options
  • Larger magnification than the Winchester scope
  • Entry-level optics
  • Budget-friendly and high-quality
  • Usable for plinking, competitions, or hunting
  • Extremely effective reticle for accurate range estimates

Cons:

  • One of the more expensive choices
  • You can find variable power scopes at this price point
  • Narrow field of view
  • Short eye relief

Verdict

For a feature-packed shooting experience, we recommend the CVLIFE 6-24×50 AOE Hunting Scope as the best budget air rifle scope.

Despite being affordable, it provides the most magnification power with multiple illumination options.

What’s more, it offers enough eye relief for continuous sight picture acquisition.

If you are okay with a scope that uses lower magnifications and still provides variable power, the UTG BugBuster is your best bet.

It has similar red and green illumination features as the CVLIFE, but its three-option TRE mil-dot offers better target acquisition.

Additionally, it boasts parallax-free views in both close and long-range scoping situations.

It may require spending a bit more, but the feature set and improved quality more than compensate for the slightly higher price.

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Prices correct at the time of publishing
09/24/2021 02:24 am GMT

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