The muzzleloader rifle has been around for a very long time. Before the advent of more modern rifles, hunters depended on a muzzleloader to feed themselves and their families. Although we now have bolt action, AR-15, and semi-automatic firearms now readily available, muzzleloaders remain popular amongst hunters and anyone who wants a more traditional shooting experience. The list below contains the top ten best muzzleloader scopes for everything from hunting to target shooting.
When hunting with a muzzleloader rifle, you only have a single shot to fill your tag. In other words, accuracy is the name of the game. While a scope won’t extend your muzzleloader’s range by substantial distances, it can help to make sure your shot goes exactly where you intend it to.
If you have never bought a scope for a muzzleloader before, it’s important to keep a few things in mind while you are shopping around.
If you don't have time for the details, check out the list below for the best rated Muzzleloader Scopes:
- 1Leupold VX-Freedom Muzzleloader
- 2Bushnell Trophy Muzzleloader Scope
- 3Thompson Center Rifle Scope 1x32mm
- 4Nikon Prostaff P5 2.5-10x42 BDC
- 5UTG 4X32 1" Crossbow Scope
- 6Burris 3-9 x 40mm Fullfield II Riflescope
- 7Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Riflescope
- 8Vortex Optics Copperhead 3-9x40 Riflescope
- 9UTG 3-12x44 30mm Compact Scope
- 10Simmons 8-Point 3-9x50mm Riflescope
Table of Contents
- How to Choose Muzzleloader Scopes?
- Best Muzzleloader Scope on the Market Review
- 1 Leupold VX-Freedom Muzzleloader
- 2 Bushnell Trophy Muzzleloader Scope
- 3 Thompson Center Rifle Scope 1x32mm
- 4 Nikon Prostaff P5 2.5-10x42 BDC
- 5 UTG 4X32 1" Crossbow Scope
- 6 Burris 3-9 x 40mm Fullfield II Riflescope
- 7 Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Riflescope
- 8 Vortex Optics Copperhead 3-9x40 Riflescope
- 9 UTG 3-12x44 30mm Compact Scope
- 10 Simmons 8-Point 3-9x50mm Riflescope
- Final Thoughts
How to Choose Muzzleloader Scopes?
Muzzleloaders are a straightforward weapon. A single shot wrapped in a wad, loaded on top of blackpowder, and ignited by a spark results in a resonating bang and a satisfying cloud of smoke. A firearm like that deserves a scope that holds to similar values. Illumination, high levels of magnification, intricate reticles, and other advanced scope features aren’t really necessary.
A simple yet durable scope with clear glass and a simple reticle pairs perfectly with a muzzleloader rifle.
Modern muzzleloader rifles can have an effective range out to about 200 yards. Older or antique muzzleloaders are even shorter than that. While it can be tempting to buy a scope with a high magnification level, a lower magnification level in a muzzleloader scope is actually a lot better. A scope with 12x magnification is the top end of where you would want to be.
You will also have a choice between a variable magnification scope and a fixed magnification scope. This choice really comes down to personal preference. If you want the ability to change the magnification when the situation calls for it, then go with a variable scope. If you want to trend towards a more traditional style of muzzleloader scope, then a fixed scope is a great option.
The most common calibers found in muzzleloader rifles today are .45 caliber, .50 caliber, and .54 caliber. Depending on the size of the loads used, a muzzleloader can deliver a fairly hefty kick of recoil. The last thing you want is for your carefully sighted in scope to be knocked off its zero after one shot. This is where durability comes in.
Some key things to look for in the way of durability are glass etched reticles, single piece construction, and a 30mm main tube. A scope purged with nitrogen or argon and equipped with O-ring seals are also important to look for. This will keep moisture and smoke out of the inside of your new scope.
Keep those features in mind while you shop for a scope for your muzzleloader rifle and you’ll be sure to make a great choice. The list below covers the top ten best muzzleloader scopes available on the market today.
Best Muzzleloader Scope on the Market Review
1 Leupold VX-Freedom Muzzleloader
Coming from one of the most well-known and highly respected optics companies in the world, the Leupold VX-Freedom Muzzleloader scope is an excellent scope option for any muzzleloader rifle. It has durability covered soundly with military standard scratch resistant lenses, 6061-T6 aircraft grade aluminum construction, and 100% waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof ratings.
The Twilight Light Management System can extend shooting light by up to 10 minutes while the UltimateSlam reticle makes holdover compensation a simple task. The knurled turrets with ¼” MOA click increments allow for precise adjustments for ultimate accuracy. The parallax on the VX-Freedom is set for 60 yards which is an optimal range for hunting with a muzzleloader.
3x - 9x
2 Bushnell Trophy Muzzleloader Scope
Another scope designed specifically for muzzleloading rifles, the Bushnell Trophy Muzzleloader Scope features fully multi-coated optics that allow for 91% light transmission. This high degree of light transmission provides a clear and bright image while in the field. With a wide field of view at all levels of magnification, target acquisition with the Bushnell Trophy is extremely fast.
The one piece aluminum tube stands up to even the most punishing recoil while the fast focus eyepiece allows for quick adjustments when time is at a premium. With a limited lifetime warranty, this muzzleloader scope from Bushnell is 100% waterproof, shockproof, and fogproof for high quality performance in even the toughest hunting or shooting conditions.
3x - 9x
3 Thompson Center Rifle Scope 1x32mm
The Thompson Center name stands tall in the muzzleloader world so you can be sure that the Thompson Center 1x32mm rifle scope was designed with muzzleloader shooters in mind. With a fixed 1x magnification, this scope holds true to the tradition of muzzleloader hunting.
With a 60’ field of view at 100 yards, you will have no problem locating game or zeroing in on your target when using this scope. This scope has a matte black finish to eliminate reflection that could spook game and the centerplex reticle features an inner circle for simple holdover estimations.
Centerplex w/ Inner Circle
4 Nikon Prostaff P5 2.5-10x42 BDC
If you plan on hunting deer with your muzzleloader rifle, the Nikon Prostaff P5 is an excellent option for the money. The Prostaff P5 is handsomely designed with knurled aluminum turret caps, a matte black finish, and ergonomic lines that look great on a muzzleloader. This scope isn’t only nicely designed. It also packs a punch in performance.
With fully multi-coated optics, a wide field of view, and a high level of light transmission, the Nikon Prostaff P5 is a great value with its under $200 price tag. The feature that makes this scope ideal for deer hunting is the Nikon BDC reticle. Once you have it sighted in, the BDC reticle allows you to instantly accommodate targets at varying ranges which any deer hunter knows is incredibly important when on the stand.
2.5x - 10x
5 UTG 4X32 1" Crossbow Scope
Despite the fact that it is marketed towards crossbows, the UTG 4x32 1” Crossbow Scope works really well as a budget muzzleloader rifle scope. The 4x magnification is optimal for typical muzzleloader ranges and the bright image and wide field of view allow for fast target acquisition.
Lock in your zero with the lockable and resettable turrets and don’t worry about losing it. The UTG 4x32 Crossbow Scope is built on a true strength platform to allow it to withstand even harsh recoil. The illuminated reticle features five levels of brightness that are controlled via a side mounted dial. This scope also includes a quick release scope mount.
2.5x - 10x
6 Burris 3-9 x 40mm Fullfield II Riflescope
You would be hard pressed to find a better muzzleloader scope for under $200 than the Burris Fullfield II riflescope. The high grade, precision ground optical glass used in this scope is coated with an index matched multi-coating that increases the already impressive light transmission. The low light performance of the Fullfield II is unsurpassed amongst muzzleloader rifle scopes.
The adjustable eyepiece is integrated into the body of the scope for easy magnification changes in the field. With a 1” tube, superior gas seals, and capped turrets, the Fullfield II is completely waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof. A ballistic plex reticle rounds out this scope as an excellent muzzleloader scope option.
3x - 9x
7 Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Riflescope
If you do a lot of shooting or hunting with your muzzleloader rifle in low light conditions, the Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn is an ideal option. The biggest bucks tend to wait until last light to emerge from the gloom. Don’t miss out on a trophy with a scope that can’t perform dim lighting conditions.
The capped turrets feature ¼ MOA click increments to precisely zero in the Multi-X reticle. The Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn is 100% waterproof and fogproof and offers 3.3 inches of eye relief. With its single piece construction, quality materials, fast focus eyepiece, this muzzleloader scope is an incredible value at under $100.
3x - 9x
8 Vortex Optics Copperhead 3-9x40 Riflescope
If you want a durable and reliable scope for your muzzleloader rifle, look no further than the Copperhead from Vortex Optics. Once you mount this scope on your muzzleloader, you can expect high quality performance without question. The O-ring seal prevents any moisture, fog, smoke, or debris from entering the scope and every glass surface exposed to air is multi-coated for superior light transmission.
This scope is constructed from a single piece of aircraft grade aluminum and features a hard anodized finish for extreme durability in the field or on the stand. With an adjustable focus knob, an easily accessible magnification ring, and a dead-hold BDC reticle the Copperhead has all the features any muzzleloader hunter needs. Vortex Optics offers a lifetime warranty on their scope so you can carry the Copperhead into the field without worry.
3x - 9x
9 UTG 3-12x44 30mm Compact Scope
The UTG 3-12x44 30mm Compact Scope features an advanced mil-dot reticle that can be illuminated in 36 different colors. This allows you to dial in the exact color you need for any possible shooting situation. Built on the UTG true strength platform, this scope is extremely durable and can hold up to any caliber of muzzleloader rifle.
Completely sealed and nitrogen purged, this scope from UTG is 100% waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof. The textured turrets feature zero locking technology so you won’t lose your zero after a bump or following heavy recoil and the illuminated reticle is built with a specially designed circuit that ensures uninterrupted operation through your shot. The UTG 30mm Compact Scope is on the heavy side so it is best suited for hunting or shooting from a rest or stand. UTG is so confident in the durability of this scope that they offer a limited lifetime manufacturer’s warranty.
3x - 9x
36 Color Illuminated Mil-Dot
10 Simmons 8-Point 3-9x50mm Riflescope
The Simmons 8-Point rifle scope would look great on both modern and antique muzzleloading rifles. The low profile design won’t inhibit the classic lines of a muzzleloader and the QTA eyepiece ensures rapid target acquisition. With a 50mm objective lens diameter allows a tremendous amount of light through the fully multi-coated optics which provides a high contrast and bright target image. The Simmons 8-Point allows you to gain a few extra minutes of shooting light which can be the difference between a filled tag and a failed hunt.
Locking finger adjustable turrets offer audible ¼ MOA clicks to make fine tuning the zero on this scope a breeze. The generous eye relief and wide field of view at all magnification levels make this scope very comfortable and safe to shoot from a hard-kicking muzzleloader. Fully waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof, the under $100 Simmons 8-Point rifle scope is an excellent choice for hunters and shooters on a budget.
3x - 9x
You only get a single shot when hunting or shooting with a muzzleloader rifle. That one shot is all you get when you have your targeted game or a bullseye in your sights. Adding a modern scope to a muzzleloader rifle is a great way to improve your accuracy, increase your rifle’s effective range, and shoot in low light conditions. A simple design and uncomplicated reticle fits in perfectly with the simplicity of hunting or shooting with a muzzleloader rifle.
Look for a simply designed scope that is durable and doesn’t have too much magnification, and your next muzzleloader hunt or trip to the range will be a lot more effective. Use the list of the best muzzleloader scopes above to narrow down your options and zero in on the right choice for you and your rifle.