Top Elk Hunting Rifle Scopes 2019 | Hunters From The West Love These!

September 15, 2019
Elk hunting in Jungle

Being a successful elk hunter is dependent on your ability to accurately aim at and shoot a target. In order to do this, you should have a high-quality scope that performs well and makes shooting easier for you.

It can be difficult to pick the perfect hunting scope because there are so many technical factors to consider. These factors include magnification ranges, light management, optical quality/clarity, and more. The choice you make also depends on what kinds of conditions you are hunting in.

For close-range shooting in daylight, a simple 3-9×40 scope will suffice if you are hunting elk. That is the most common scope magnification for elk hunting. If you anticipate shooting long-range, you need a scope with a higher magnification, like a 6-18×50 scope. This will allow you to increase your zoom and maintain clearer sight.

In this guide, we’ll review some of the best rifle scopes for elk hunting and break it down in terms of price, quality, and value.

Bushnell Engage Riflescope, Matte Black, 1″ Tube

Bushnell engage riflescope

The Engage Riflescope from Bushnell is an amazing mid-range scope with a 3-9 power and 40mm objective lens. On this lens is an EXO Barrier Protection coating that bonds to the glass of the lens, thus repelling oil, debris, dust, and water.

The multi-coated lens has layers of an anti-reflective coating which makes for bright images at a high contrast. Its Deploy MOA reticle with hashmarks makes windage and elevation much easier. Considering the affordable price point, this is a great option with lots of helpful features.

Since it is fully multi-coated, this item wears very well even after extended use. A riflescope should last you many years before it shows any signs of wear and begins developing performance issues. For that reason, this scope should definitely be on your radar.

Rather than buy a cheaply made scope that you will end up replacing quickly, you’re better off choosing a scope like this one that won’t quit on you. And, you’ll be impressed by the image clarity that this scope offers. It’s arguably the best hunting scope under 1000 dollars.


  • Deploy MOA (SFP) reticle
  • 6-19x40mm magnification/objective lens
  • Parallax adjustment from 15yd to infinity
  • 15in eye relief
  • Capped elevation and windage turrets
  • Fully multi-coated


  • Good quality
  • Excellent magnification
  • Resilient design
  • Fair price


  • N/A


Athlon Optics, Argos BTR, Riflescope


This scope from Athlon Optics is a great option for beginners who want high-end features. Because of the 6-24x magnification, this scope boats the best scope power for western hunting, and it works well for both mid-range and long-range shooting.

With the fully multi-coated lens, you’ll get a clear and bright image, even in low-light situations. Athlon Optics has an innovative XPL coating that protects the lens on this scope from dirt, debris, grease, and weather. The aircraft-grade aluminum body of this scope is ultra-durable and will wear well over time.

By using the illuminated reticle on this scope, you can maintain accuracy and precision in a low-light environment. If you’re elk hunting at night, this feature will prove to be very useful. The scope is also waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof, making it the best scope for 30 06 elk hunting.

Using argon purging, Athlon Optics purges any moisture from this model to ensure thermal stability and dependable waterproofing.

While the price point is a bit high, you do get a bunch of cool features with this scope. If its within your budget, this Athlon Optics scope is a strong pick for its excellent magnification range and XPL coating.


  • 6-24x50mm magnification/objective lens
  • Glass Etched APMR FFP IR MIL reticle
  • Matte finish
  • Fully multi-coated lens
  • 6061 aluminum body
  • 3-inch eye relief
  • 10 yds to infinity parallax adjustment


  • Durable and resistant
  • Sleek design
  • Good eye relief
  • Big magnification range




  • Expensive

Vortex Optics Strike Eagle Second Focal Plane Riflescopes

Vortex Strike Eagle

What makes this Vortex Optics scope so great is the versatility and speed that is offered to AR shooters who need to have strong target acquisition at close ranges. The Strike Eagle is perfect for most situations, making it a great pick for hunters who want an all-in-one type of scope.

Like most scopes, this one comes with a fully multi-coated lens which makes for a crisp, clear, and bright image. Another stand-out feature of this model is the excellent low-light performance.

Low-light performance is very important if you intend on shooting at night. As a general rule of thumb, choose a scope with good low-light performance even if you don’t primarily shoot at night. Sometimes, hunters will start shooting during the day but they won’t finish until nighttime. If you don’t have a scope like this one, it will be frustrating trying to shoot in the dark without the proper scope.

Of all the models we’ve reviewed so far, this one has the largest eye relief. This is due to the smaller magnification range.

On this model, you’ll also find zero resettable, tactical style turrets with clearly marked adjustment indicators. This will ensure that your reference of travel and dialing is always accurate.

Again, this model is a bit pricey, so whether or not you choose it depends entirely on your budget and your needs. But, it can be considered one of the best mountain hunting scopes and one of the best vortex scopes for elk hunting.


  • 1-6x24mm magnification/objective lens
  • 5 inch eye relief
  • 5-19.2ft/100 yds field of view
  • Capped turret style
  • 30 mm tube size


  • Lightweight
  • 1x variable optics


  • High price

AR-15 Elk Hunting Set-Up

The AR-15 is a practical gun for Elk hunting because it is versatile and can be figured in many ways. The configuration that you choose depends on what kind of hunting you will be doing of course. In the case of elk hunting, choose a gun of any one of these calibers:

  • .300 AAC Blackout
  • 5 Grendel
  • .223/5.56
  • 8 SPC II
  • .450 Bushmaster

All of these calibers will get the job done. Your choice depends on what you’re looking for in terms of performance. Many other calibers would suffice for elk hunting, but these are definitely the most common.

Elk are fast animals that are easy to lose sight of. Another thing to consider is whether you’ll be shooting at night or during the day. This choice depends on preference and how much you’re willing to challenge yourself.

Just make sure to have a scope with good low-light performance if you are going to hunt at night. This will make things much easier for you. If you add a white light to your gun, that will also prove to be helpful during nighttime shooting sessions.

Our pick for the best elk hunting scope for the AR-15 is the Athlon Optics, Argos BTR, Riflescope, 6-24 x 50 First Focal Plane (FFP) 30 mm Tube, Illuminated APMR MIL Reticle. This is because of the large magnification range. When hunting elk, it’s better to practice long-distance shooting since they can be easily startled. This scope also operates well at close-range.

While the price is a bit high, this scope will serve you well. Think of it as more of an investment. A cheaper scope may not wear well over time. Rather than constantly having to repurchase a cheap scope, it’s better to purchase one that will last.


It can be intimidating trying to find a good riflescope because of how many options there are on the market. One way to take the stress out of your search is to do a lot of research so you’ll end up confident in your purchase.

Most importantly, you want a scope that gives you a crisp image, low-light visibility, and a useful magnification range. Precision is everything when it comes to elk hunting, so keep that in mind when you’re searching for the right riflescope.

Strong optics can transform the way you hunt and make things much easier for you. It’s becoming increasingly clear that hunters shouldn’t underestimate the power of a well-made scope. Fortunately, many great models that won’t break the bank exist. We hope this review brought you one step closer to finding your next piece of hunting equipment.

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