The .243 Winchester is one of the most popular deer hunting rifle calibers in America, especially for young hunters. Originally developed in the early 1950’s, the .243 was a modification of the standard .308-caliber rifle that had been in use for decades before.
The .243 was originally intended to serve as a deer hunting caliber that would carry a little more distance than its counterparts and offer less kick. As it turns out, the caliber has become a favorite among whitetail deer hunters and has even become one of the most popular all-purpose rifles of all time.
Hunters have come to rely on the .243 Winchester’s ability to take down any kind of game animal smaller than a whitetail. In fact, it’s become a go-to caliber for both varmint hunters and those looking to thin out wild hogs around their hunting property.
Best .243 Scopes 2020
While there are so many positives about the .243 Winchester, it can seem like it would be fine to mount just any old scope on this rifle and get to the woods, but decades of trial and error and even testing has been done to determine exactly which type of scope performs best on the .243. When paired with an ideal scope, the .243 is nearly unmatched in the ability to take down game animals from long distances with superior accuracy.
Here are some of the best scopes for the .243 Winchester rifle to use when hunting, or just target shooting at the range.
The Bushnell brand is a mainstay among whitetail deer hunters and has been among the most popular optics companies in recent decades. The Bushnell Trophy XLT is a great pick for the .243 Winchester, and while it is compatible with many other big game hunting rifles, it might even seem like this scope was built specifically for this rifle.
One of the biggest selling points for the Bushnell Trophy XLT is the ease of setup when mounting to your gun. There isn’t too much complexity and, once fitted to the rifle, the scope will remain in place and can take quite a beating.
Optics are as clear as any other brand and the Trophy XLT offers some enhanced lighting capabilities to help hunters deal with those dawn or dusk shot opportunities. The scope’s magnification range is 3-9x and is perfect for deer hunters that will be taking shots in dense forests.
The Nikon Monarch lineup boasts 4-inch eye relief in all their scopes and the Monarch 3 BDC is likely the best for a .243 Winchester. With eight levels of magnification settings, this one allows hunters or target shooters to get just the right magnification for their intended target’s range.
The Nikon Monarch offers one-inch main tubes and is an ideal all-purpose scope that can function in shooting less than 100 yards to out just about as far as you feel comfortable taking a shot with the .243.
This scope is both fogproof and waterproof and the Nikon brand is easily one of the best in the business when it comes to outdoor optics.
The Vortex brand is considered one of the most superior models among hunting optics—and for good reason. Vortex offers one of the most rugged products that somehow beats out most of the other competitors when it comes to staying on target and offering clear and crisp sight picture.
The Vortex Optics Viper is no exception to the norm for this company’s products. This scope is designed more for long range capabilities than anything else, but that doesn’t mean most hunters should over look the Viper 6.5-20×50.
With 30 mm tubing and 50 mm objective bells, the Vortex Viper is likely our top choice for hunters looking to reach out and take some long shots with their .243 Winchester. This one is also fogproof and waterproof, and also is crafted with T6 aircraft-grade aluminum, Argon and sealed O-rings for supreme durability.
Leupold scopes have carved quite a name for themselves in the outdoor industry over the course of many years. Like the Bushnell Trophy scope, the Leupold VX-2 Compact is among the top picks for deer hunters as this one is an outstanding all-purpose scope that offers great functionality at both short and long range.
With a 4x to 12x range, this scope can produce a solid sight picture out to what most would consider to be the maximum range for a .243 Winchester. The 40 mm objective bell garners the “compact” namesake and the 3:1 zoom ratio is perfect for whitetail hunting or even those looking to go after varmints.
This scope is smaller and lighter than most scopes that we would recommend for a .243, which means it is our go-to for those looking to fit their youth model rifle with a superior scope that isn’t oversized.
The last scope on our list comes from the Leupold brand and might be one you’ve heard of before if you’ve shopped around for scopes much at all. Considered to be the most popular among Leupold scopes, the VX-2 1.5-4×28 IER Scout is one of the best scopes for a .243 for a number of reasons.
This scope has excellent light transmission for low-light shooting situations and is one of the clearest scope picture you’ll find. When shooting the IER Scout at it’s maximum magnification, hunters have reported that it maintains its clarity and offers superior optical abilities compared to others that typically become slightly distorted when maxed out.
This scope is fogproof, waterproof and shockproof, which makes it one of the best for taking into the field and shooting in rugged settings where a scope might get bumped around a bit. Those who have used this scope are usually singing its praises and it’s hard to argue with them.