Best Muzzleloader Scopes 2020
With the rise of hunting seasons dedicated to muzzleloaders, these “primitive” weapons have seen a surge in popularity. However, the modern muzzleloader bears little resemblance to the black powder rifles once carried by Daniel Boone, Lewis and Clark, and Davy Crockett.
Modern inline muzzleloaders have barrels with tighter rifling, shoot high-performance bullets, and feature an uncluttered top line perfect for mounting a modern optic. As technology has extended the effective range of the standard muzzleloader, a quality optic is almost a necessity for hunting success.
Deer hunting with a muzzleloader is one of the more exciting forms of taking one of these elusive animals. Typically, these seasons fall later on in the year, allowing outdoorsmen to extend their season.
Quick tips to improve your chances of success with a muzzleloader
- Design a deer food plot specifically for late season hunts
- Use a rangefinder (check out our best rangefinder guide) or a set of rangefinder binoculars (also, we wrote a best rangefinder binoculars guide)
- Invest in a scope for your muzzleloader, which we’ll talk about below
- Use a treestand early in the muzzleloading season, spot and stalk later
- Use a spotting scope (see: best spotting scopes) for long range spot and stalk hunts
Muzzleloader Scope Reviews
So, who makes the best muzzleloader scope?
Muzzleloaders are a special type of hunting weapon, so you don’t want to slap just any old rifle scope on your black powder weapon. Most muzzleloaders deliver some pretty powerful recoil which can damage the inner components of a poorly made optic. To be reliable and effective, you need a scope that can handle serious shock and still hold zero like there’s no tomorrow.
With that in mind, here are our top picks for the best muzzleloader scopes of 2019.
1- Nikon Prostaff P3 Muzzleloader Riflescope
Nikon is well-known for producing high-quality optics. Their Prostaff P3 Muzzleloader riflescope sets the bar pretty high when it comes to black powder hunting scopes. Constructed of lightweight (yet surprisingly durable) aircraft grade aluminum, this scope is made to not only withstand harsh recoil, but also the thumps and bangs of backcountry hunting.
The Prostaff P3 features a fully multi-coated optical system that provides a bright, vivid sight picture and optimizes light transmission for easy down-to-dusk shooting.
This scope also features a BDC 300 reticle designed specifically for .50 caliber muzzleloaders. This unique reticle accounts for projectile drop over distance and can be optimized using Nikon Spot On Ballistic Match Technology for a customized point-of-aim to match virtually any sabot.
Built for easy field adjustments, the Prostaff P3 has spring-loaded windage and elevation knobs that be instantly reset to zero. It also has some pretty generous eye-relief, allowing you to get on target quickly and intuitively. However, Nikon thought to add a rubber bumper ring on the outer eyepiece for a little extra protection for your brow. As someone who’s had more than one recoil-induced black eye, I find that pretty thoughtful.
2- Leupold VX-Freedom Muzzleloader
It’s hard to beat the quality of Leupold optics. Offering some of the best value, Leupold stands behind their products with a full lifetime warranty.
One hundred percent waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof, the Leupold VX-Freedom muzzleloader scope is built to handle anything Mother Nature throws your way. Although muzzleloader season usually comes with milder weather, the VX-Freedom is tested to perform in temperatures from -40 degrees to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. It is also built for rough handling and was engineered to survive a minimum of 5,000 impacts on Leupold’s unique recoil simulation machine.
Perfect for deer hunting, the VX-Freedom features Leupold’s proprietary Twilight Light Management System, which is designed to maximize light transmission, adding up to ten extra minutes of shooting time. It also reduces glare and provides sharp, vivid image quality.
3- Vortex Optics Crossfire II 1×24 Muzzleloader Scope
Another great budget option is the Crossfire II from Vortex Optics. This optic is compact, durable, and meets the “no magnification” rules some states have for their primitive weapons seasons.
It features fully multi-coated optics for bright, crisp low-light images and a V-Plex reticle to aid accurate shot placement. The Crossfire II has pretty long eye relief and a forgiving eye box for easy target acquisition. Adjustment controls are easy and intuitive and it is both waterproof and fogproof.
If you want an optic as simple and uncomplicated as your muzzleloader, the Vortex Optics Crossfire II is the perfect scope for the job.
4- Konus Pro 275 Muzzleloader Rifle Scope
Rugged and recoil-proof, the Konus Pro 275 features multi-coated lenses, 3-9x magnification, and produces crisp, clear images throughout the entire zoom range. The ballistic reticle is laser etched and designed to match up with most modern black powder loads.
Adjustments for elevation and windage are easy to make with click adjustments that are crisp and audible. The zoom ring is also smooth and easy to use in the field.
While a lot of muzzleloader hunters will consider the Konus Pro 275 to be a tad on the bulky side, it is a durable product that works well for hunters who won’t wander too far from the truck.
5- Bushnell Trophy Muzzleloader Scope
We realize not everyone has several hundred dollars to invest in a muzzleloader scope. If you are a hunter on a budget, the Bushnell Trophy Muzzleloader Scope offers plenty of premium performance, only without a premium price tag.
It features fully multi-coated optics with rain guard HD that offer incredible light transmission even in dank weather conditions. Plus, the Bushnell Trophy is one hundred percent waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof.
The Bushnell Trophy has a short, compact one-piece tube construction with integrated saddle that doesn’t get in the way when you’re hiking to and from your favorite hunting spot.
My favorite features are the fast-focus eyepiece and side-parallax adjustment which allow you to dial in on your target with quick precision.
Bushnell also backs their Trophy Muzzleloader Scope with a no-questions-asked lifetime warranty. What have you got to lose?
Summing It Up
Any of these muzzleloader scopes will help increase your odds of success this hunting season. However, it is important to remember: It isn’t the gear that makes the hunter. No piece of equipment, no matter how fancy or expensive, is a substitute for skill. In the end, it is the hunter that makes the shot, not the rifle scope.
Be sure to take time to properly sight in your new muzzleloader scope before hitting the woods this hunting season. You should also spend some time gaining proficiency with your weapon, especially after adding a new optic. A well-placed shot is the only thing that will bring down game quickly and humanely, which should be the goal of every hunter, no matter what weapon he (or she) carries into the woods.
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