When most people think of shotguns, they don’t consider them as precision weapons but as weapons that might not be too accurate. Modern shotguns, however, are extremely precise and accurate, especially when properly configured. This includes having the proper choke, as well as a decent shotgun optic or other sights such as a red dot. A decent sight may make or break a hunter’s accuracy or even influence the accuracy of someone wanting to defend himself with a shotgun.
Do you want to get the best shotgun scope for your weapon? Choosing any type of optic to match the shooting needs of a shotgun might not be a good decision because these weapons have features different from a normal rifle. Although there are some excellent optics that are ideal for shotguns and other firearms.
Let’s start with the reason why you have to consciously choose the best scope for your shotgun; then, we’ll go into other things we need for effective shotgun hunting, after which we’ll give you some recommendations to assist you in picking the best shotgun scope for your shooting needs.
- What’s the point of a shotgun scope?
- Use Holographic sight or Red Dot sight for Close Shots
- Riflescope vs. Shotgun Scope
- Shotgun Ammo
- Benefits of Shotgun Scopes
- Things To Consider Before Buying A Shotgun Scope
- Other Features Your Scope Must Have
- Best Shotgun Scope Reviews On The Market
What’s the point of a shotgun scope?
A shotgun with optics? Why? Don’t they fire a wide range of pellets? Yes, they sometimes do, and other times they fire a single bullet, which makes sense to use a shotgun scope for excellent accuracy. Is there a distinction between rifle scopes and shotgun scopes? Can they be used interchangeably? I’ve heard some folks claim that a rifle scope can be used on a shotgun, and I’ve also heard horror stories of how it didn’t work for others.
Some may even question why you would put a sight on a shotgun in the first place. A scope does not appear to be necessary for turkey hunting. After all, you’re not going to snipe the fowl from a great distance. But adding a sight to a shotgun can actually increase your odds of obtaining a clean shot on that turkey. Larger wildlife requires even more precision than turkey hunting.
Scopes are also used by hunters who shoot pellet bullets, particularly those who hunt wild turkeys. Large red dot optics are popular among turkey hunters because these sights can be zeroed such that the dot is placed in the center of the pellet spread. The best shotgun scopes are divided into two categories: the traditional scopes and the red dots.
Although you can use iron sights to shoot a game, but utilizing a scope allows you to see the target clearly. It is a lot simpler to aim, your chances of missing would reduce, and you would have more kills. You won’t be tempted to always raise your head or check if the bird or animal you want to shoot is moving if you have a scope. Crosshairs enable you to keep track of your target. It won’t also hurt to magnify your target; rather, it will make you see the targets more clearly if you can afford to add a little weight to your shotgun.
Use Holographic sight or Red Dot sight for Close Shots
The red dot has the benefit of having a broad field of view. You can use a red dot sight or holographic sight if you are shooting at close range. Also, with the correct scope, you can use iron sights to view your target; this is possible if you have a co-witnessing mount. Iron sights, whether at the rear sight side or front end of your barrel, are useful if the battery fails unexpectedly. The battery’s life varies. Some companies claim that the batteries last longer, but reality shows otherwise. Larger tube-shaped batteries have a longer lifespan. Regardless, you have to replace your battery after a few hunts if you are using a red dot sight.
Riflescope vs. Shotgun Scope
There are several distinctions between shotgun scope and rifle scope. As a result, you must understand the differences between a rifle sight and a shotgun scope. You would not be able to achieve an accurate shot if you don’t understand the distinctions. Let’s look at some differences;
The shot distance is one of the most significant distinctions between a regular riflescope and a shotgun sight. Shotguns are usually shot within the 100 yards range or less. Shotguns are mostly utilized for close-range shooting or hunting. A rifle scope will often have greater yardage. Using a riflescope on a shotgun will completely ruin the distance limitation rule.
Different magnification ranges are available on different scopes, whether they can fit on a regular scope or shotgun scope. Since shotguns are shot distance shooting weapons, the magnification range needed for a shotgun is usually smaller than that of a regular rifle scope. As a result, a standard rifle scope will give an excessively high magnification range that is not needed for a shotgun.
Another significant distinction between these two types of scopes is eye relief. When compared to riflescopes, shotgun scopes often provide more eye relief. It makes determining the zero location more precise. As a result, hunting with a shotgun scope is straightforward. Furthermore, the shotgun scope absorbs recoil more gently.
A riflescope, on the other hand, is the direct opposite. They are designed for long-range shooting, thus, maintaining the zero position at such a distance is difficult. Another concern with a common rifle scope is recoil complexity, which is generally caused by the high magnification.
One of the most important components of a scope is the reticle. It is the major source of precision. The scope can be configured in a number of shapes. But there is one thing they all have in common: the firing point.
There is just one firing point visible via the rifle scope. Other mathematical computations, on the other hand, are based on the scope features. The majority of riflescopes will provide you with estimates based on wind rate, distance covered time, and other factors.
On the other hand, the best shotgun scope will just show the firing spot. A circular figure or just a dot in the middle of these scopes can be used to determine the firing location. The dot is plainly visible, but the computations are slightly difficult to grasp.
When you opt to use a shotgun, you usually shoot inside 100 yards. As a result, there is less need for long-range shooting information.
These are some of the most significant differences I discovered between shotgun scopes and riflescopes. There are several alternatives available, and if you can’t tell the difference between the two, your entire mission will be wrecked. Make sure you obtain a sight designed for shotguns. A normal rifle scope with high magnification and needless features will ruin your shotgun activities.
What kind of ammo can one use to go hunting with a shotgun? A basic 12 gauge shotgun is a useful weapon. It is an incredible weapon, and there are so many things you achieve. There is a variety of shotgun ammunition available for hunting deer, hunting birds, and protecting oneself.
This is low-cost ammunition. Every shotgun owner should have several cartons of these on hand. Although designed for clay birds, most hunters use the birdshot on feathered birds as well. This could be the only ammo type used by some shotgun hunters. There are so many possibilities with it. You can fire all day without feeling like you’re squandering money.
Several firms specialize in turkey loads. These rounds are meant to provide consistent and reliable shots up to 40 or 50 yards for a game the size of a turkey. They are more costly than birdshot and are necessary for turkey hunting.
Buckshot is effective at close range on deer. It is also useful for self-defense. This round can have a lot of recoils; however, some companies produce “reduced” or “controlled” recoil rounds.
Benefits of Shotgun Scopes
Still not sure if you should invest in a shotgun scope? The advantage of using a shotgun scope is that it will enhance your shooting experience. A scope on your shotgun is not a luxury but a necessity that ensures you take a perfect and accurate shot. Here are some benefits.
There is no strain on your eyes!
Using a shotgun to aim and hit a target can be exhausting, regardless of whether you have perfect vision, weak eyesight, or old age is causing you visual problems. A scope will relieve eye strain by making it easier to focus on your target. It will also allow you to shoot with utmost precision, and your overall experience will be more enjoyable and valuable.
There will be no sight alignment issues!
When utilizing a scope, you don’t need to line your shot. This distinct feature is known as crosshairs. It pinpoints the exact location of the bullet’s impact. This is very useful and a good reason to use a scope for your shotgun.
Bright and well-lit!
Good lighting is essential while aiming at a target. A scope can assist you with this if you’re shooting in low-light conditions. It has different lighting elements that improve the visuals in a dim environment.
No more Tilting Problems!
If you’re one of those folks who always have to slope their shotgun before taking a shot, you no longer need that. Shotgun scopes take the stress off you by helping you maintain your aiming position. It will use crosshairs to maintain the selected level and solve the problem.
Magnification = Precision!
Magnification would provide a clear picture of the target. This will allow you to achieve a clean shot which is what every hunter or shooter desires. In contrast to using your bare eye or iron sight, a shotgun scope will allow you to zoom in on the target.
Things To Consider Before Buying A Shotgun Scope
There are several considerations to bear in mind while shopping for a shotgun sight. The first and most crucial consideration is common sense. Believe your intuition. However, you must also educate yourself via adequate research. Here, I’ll go through some of the things you should consider if you want to get the best scope.
What is your intended use?
What are your interests? Is a shotgun scope made for this purpose? Attempting to adjust or use a scope for something it was not intended to be used for is an incoming disaster. There are so many more questions you have to ask yourself. Does the power ring or parallax control provide strong, no-frills grips? Do you mostly need the scope for daylight or low light conditions? Or do you require both? Will you utilize your scope for military or law enforcement purposes? There are several questions that must be appropriately answered. Consider this: Make a note of it if necessary.
Another thing to consider is that it makes no difference what your scope costs if you do not know how to utilize them. Practice makes perfect, and understanding a piece of equipment makes it more useful. Your present skill level can also have an influence on the scope you require. A simple scope will suffice for a novice. Professionals do not require a gadget for merely practicing but for large hunts with a need for high precision. So, once again, the goal or intended use of a scope is very important.
An affordable price
A low-cost item is frequently pricey in the long run. However, you should be aware that not all costly scopes can give you what you want. Some scopes with excellent characteristics may turn out to be a huge tragedy.
But why is this happening? Simply because the qualities it provides do not work well with your activities. That is why you should examine the required features for your shooting. Then, determine if the scope you want to purchase satisfies these standards. Otherwise, you’d be only purchasing a short-term gadget. If you decide to purchase a costly scope, always check the reputation of the brand. Check for additional perks such as warranty or replacement options. With that, you’ll be able to see whether the producer is confident in their product.
The key to success is simplicity!
Technology is always evolving. There is always the most recent upgrade, which includes a supplementary benefit that the prior version did not have. So it is really thrilling when you discover the most recent improvement on a scope and purchase it.
However, think about it calmly. Sometimes the most recent features are quite complicated and difficult to use. It becomes much more difficult if you are only a beginner shooter. Spending too much money on a sophisticated feature upgrade isn’t a good idea for most individuals. Choosing the most important elements and keeping to them is a wise decision.
Keep an eye on legal requirements
Depending on your state of residence. The legality of obtaining a firearm scope varies from place to place. Always check to see if there are requirements you need to follow. Check to see whether you are permitted to possess one shotgun.
Simple to Use
There are several models to choose from. Each one can provide you with a variety of features and benefits. Most shooters become distracted and overlook a critical factor; the simplicity or ease of use!
It is critical that your scope is simple to use. A scope with several features is difficult, and for newbies, this will just distract them and make them exhausted. If possible, read various reviews and ensure that the scope you want to buy is straightforward to use.
Other Features Your Scope Must Have
Let’s look at the other things you need to check when buying a shotgun scope.
The optical quality is one important aspect of any scope, whether shotgun or normal rifle. You must ensure that the scope can give you a better target image. Purchasing a scope that provides the same vision as your naked eyes is a total waste. Scopes with high-quality lenses and various coatings will perform admirably. These scopes often provide the sharpest and brightest images. As a result, ensure that you are attentive enough to choose specifications that provide clarity. Two different scopes at about the same price might have varied clarity.
Glass quality is the first component of high-quality optics. Unfortunately, there is no clear benchmark for finding good glass quality; therefore, choosing a scope from a manufacturer recognized for quality lenses is important.
Lens coatings are another important aspect of optical clarity. The lens of a scope can have coatings that minimize glare, increase light transmission, and improve sight image. More coating layers mean better optical features.
Shotguns are not long-range weapons; thus, you don’t need high magnification. A 3-9x magnification, which is one of the most popular scope magnification power, is considered excessive for shotguns. A shotgun user should be able to shoot with a 1x to 2x minimum magnification and a 5x to 7x maximum magnification. For fixed power scopes, the maximum magnification should be roughly 4x, although you can use a red dot without magnification. You can add a magnifier anytime you want it.
As previously stated, shotguns are not long-range weapons; hence no sophisticated reticle is required. A basic duplex reticle should suffice. A duplex reticle is pretty similar to a standard crosshair. The key distinction is that the lines get thicker as they move from the reticle’s center to the edge. This makes the reticle simpler to see, and the small center guarantees that it does not obscure your target image.
Some scopes may also have distinct or extra markings. Scopes developed expressly for shotguns, for example, may feature markings to assist you in forecasting the spread pattern at a given distance.
The limited range of shotguns also has an effect on parallax. If you glance through a scope, move your head, and see the reticle shift, you’ve experienced parallax. When the picture projected by the sight is too far away from the reticle, parallax arises. Most scopes are designed to eliminate parallax at around 100 yards.
Shotguns have short parallax settings at about 50 yards or 75 yards because they are short-range weapons. Adjustable parallax is also useful since it allows you to adjust the parallax where it is convenient, generally starting at 10 yards.
Shotguns are famed for their ability to kick back. This can be an issue with scopes since your eyeball is immediately behind them. A scope with adequate eye relief keeps your eye, as well as your face, safe from the recoil of the shotgun.
But what exactly is eye relief?
It is the distance between the scope’s lens and your eye where you can easily observe the scope’s whole sight image without being obstructed.
Because the actual distance changes with magnification intensity, eye relief is commonly expressed as a range. The eye box is the area inside this range.
This is unquestionably a major priority that you should consider. Nobody likes to buy new scopes just a few days after an initial purchase. As a result, you’d have to check the stuff it is made. Ensure that the quality is satisfactory. A strong scope is what makes any horrible situation bearable. It must be able to endure a heavy fall or scratches. When hunting or shooting, these things are unavoidable.
A shotgun kick isn’t simply a threat to your eyes and faces; the recoil may ruin a poorly constructed scope. Shock resistance is crucial for shotgun sights because of the recoil effect.
Look for a sight that has been subjected to extensive recoil and stress testing to guarantee that it can withstand your shotgun round after round. Most shotgun scopes are always good to use, but there are lots of non-shotgun-specific scopes that can take shotgun recoil. Aside from that, practically any scope should have some durability features. Because scopes are usually used outside in different weather, they should not be harmed by rain and fog.
The scopes should withstand cold and heat without difficulty. The more durable a scope, the more costly it would be.
Turrets are a crucial element of every sight, and shotgun optics are no different. Turrets are essentially the knobs that allow you to alter the windage and elevation settings on a scope. The elevation adjustment knob, for example, moves up and down to compensate on bullet drop, whereas the windage adjustment moves horizontally from left to right.
Turrets that are well-designed should give both audible and tactile feedback, allowing you to make changes without having to look at the turret. It should also include a feature that prevents unintentional changes. Some turrets include locking mechanisms, while others have caps that hide the turrets.
The mounting method is important for all scopes, but it is especially important for shotguns due to the high recoil. Scope rings that are sturdy enough to keep your scope firmly in place are required. Most scopes include rings out of the box. Some don’t; therefore, you’ll have to buy the scope rings separately.
Best Shotgun Scope Reviews On The Market
1. Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8×24
This scope is a great turkey hunting shotgun scope. Although the regular shotgun bead or rear sight can be used for turkey hunting or deer hunting. A decent scope allows a deer hunter to aim accurately and have a clean shot. I’ve taken down even the toughest gobblers with this Vortex Strike Eagle scope.
You will know if this Vortex scope is right for you at the conclusion of this scope review. Let’s get started!
The glass on this Vortex Strike Eagle scope is clear and sharp. The lenses include anti-reflective coatings to improve light transmission. The scope’s eyepiece has a rapid focus dial that provides for easy and quick reticle focusing.
When it comes to reticles, this Strike Eagle scope comes with an improved BDC reticle etched on the second focal plane, which means the size won’t change as magnification levels change. It also features a lighted reticle. It provides the deer hunter with 11 different brightness settings. The brightest setting of the scope was not as bright as I’d have wanted for daylight shooting. However, this scope performed admirably in low light settings, so I’m pleased with it. The “horseshoe” reticle, I believe, provides what hunters want for fast target acquisition, while the crosshairs give precise shots at longer distances.
The Strike Eagle offers unlimited eye relief. The scope’s eye box, on the other hand, seemed tight, especially when I increased the magnification. However, the remedy was simple. With practice and careful attention to my cheek weld, I was able to get a properly centered, complete field of vision sight image.
Vortex is noted for its dependability in terms of durability and toughness. I can attest to this myself because this scope handled recoil and drops with ease. The aircraft-grade aluminum body makes it tough to break, and the O-ring seals and nitrogen purge keeps rain, fog, ice, and snow out.
In reality, I’ve used the scope in a variety of field circumstances, and it functioned admirably. The Strike Eagle design has a flaw: the battery life.
The battery was supposed to power the scope for about 10,000 hours, but mine only lasted approximately 150 hours, especially because I was always utilizing the brightest level. An extra CR2032 battery may be stored in the battery compartment, which is located behind the windage cover.
Elevation and windage adjustment knobs on the Vortex Strike Eagle are tough and capped. The capped turrets adjust in 1/2 MOA increments and give tactile feedback as well as an audible click when moved forth and back. You can configure a total of 40 MOA in elevation and windage.
This scope has a 1-8x magnification range, making it ideal for any conventional hunting scenario less than 800 yards.
There were two setbacks in this scope: First, when used at 1x magnification while both eyes are open, the optic produces a small “fish-eye” effect. Secondly, the scope is adjusted for parallax at 100 yards; for any shooting beyond that range, you will need to make some adjustments to hit correctly.
Overall, it’s still a good scope for the price.
2.Bushnell Trophy Shotgun Scope Series
The Bushnell Trophy scope series has been in the market for a long time and has a reputation for producing low-cost scopes that deliver results, similar to the other scopes in the market. We chose it because of its lower price and more extensive features.
The Trophy scope series is one of Bushnell’s scopes worth considering, especially for the budget-conscious shotgunners searching for the best scope available. The Bushnell Trophy optic comes in different variants, but we’ll focus on two for shotguns.
The 2-7x Bushnell scope has a 36mm objective, while the 3-9x Bushnell comes with a 40mm objective lens. The Bushnell shotgun scope’s 2-7x magnification is great for hunters. With the fast-focus eyepiece, you are assured of fast target acquisition. The reticle is multi-X, and it is great for shooting at different distances. The scope magnification is suitable for shotgun hunting. To be honest, anything above 7x magnification is pushing the performance capability of a slug gun.
The scope is made of a one-inch tube and also finished in a lovely matte black. Because it does not reflect light, its matte finish is ideal for morning hunts. The scope has unlimited eye relief, and it is shockproof, fog proof, and waterproof. This Bushnell series is a good scope for slug gun shooting.
3. Vortex Optics Diamondback 1.75-5×32
The Vortex Optics Diamondback is ideal for folks who want a very low magnification but do not require a red dot. The 1.75x to 5x magnification range provides mild amplification, which is appropriate for shotguns at short ranges. The Precision Glide Erector System of the scope enables seamless transitions between the magnification settings.
The Vortex Diamondback optic is fully multi-coated and has a BDC reticle with Dead-Hold. While a BDC reticle isn’t normally required for a short-range shotgun scope, this Vortex scope is basic enough that it won’t complicate your needs. The scope has a 32mm objective lens. The 32mm objective lens allows plenty of light through the scope. The parallax is set at 100-yards, which is appropriate for a scope that is not built for shotgun only.
The Vortex Diamondback optic is quite tough. It has a one-piece aircraft-quality aluminum body that has been hard anodized. With the argon gas purge and o-ring seals, you’re sure of fog-proof, shockproof, and waterproof capabilities. The capped turrets, fast-focus eyepiece, and eye relief of 3.5-inch are all important features. The scope includes replaceable lens covers, as well as Vortex’s VIP lifetime guarantee, which covers both faulty and accidental damage.
4. Bushnell Banner 1.5-4.5×32
If you want a variable magnification scope with a smaller range, then the Bushnell Banner scope would be worth considering. This 1-inch main tube scope type has a 1.5x – 4.5x magnification range and is outfitted with the Multi-X reticle from Bushnell. The scope’s magnification range is ideal for shotguns, and it has a 4inch eye relief which is sufficient to minimize scope bite from recoil. The scope is shockproof, waterproof, and fog-proof.
Because of the Multi-X reticle, this sight is equally suited for usage with slugs.
5.1 Leupold VX-Freedom 2-7×33
Leupold has a solid reputation for producing high-quality scopes. The VX-Freedom series offers quality at a reasonable price. Shooters who are used to conventional hunting riflescopes will find it extremely familiar.
This scope, like others in the VX-Freedom family, employs Leupold’s Advanced Optical System, which provides users with exceptional light transmission while also decreasing glare and boosting sharpness and clarity. The big objective lens allows a lot of light as well. It has the Hunt-Plex reticle from Leupold, which boasts strong lines. The top line tapers gradually, creating a wider field of view. As you may expect, this reticle was created exclusively for hunters.
The scope is also quite durable. It is waterproof, fog resistant, and shock resistant. It is also built to survive harsh temperatures, and the lenses include scratch-resistant coatings to help maintain a clean and clear vision. This sight incorporates turrets for elevation and windage adjustment that are fingertip adjustable. Each click adjustment is 1/4 MOA, while the elevation and windage turrets have a 75 MOA range.
Overall, the Leupold VX-Freedom is a great all-around shotgun scope. It may be used with either a slug gun or a regular shotgun. The 2-7x magnification is perfect for your shotgun, and it is not excessive, so you won’t be overpaying for features like excessive magnifications that you don’t need.
Mike has been shooting, reloading, and bullet casting for over 40 years. He lives in rural Indiana where he has a backyard target range. Married for almost 40 years, Mike and his wife teach adult education in their home county and have four sons with their families, totaling 10 grandkids.