Varmint hunting is a great way to keep your hunting skills sharp during the off-season.
It is a sport that combines the fast-paced action of target shooting at the gun range with the excitement the pursuit of the game provides to hunters of all ages.
It’s a way to manage pest populations from getting out of hand, reduce predicate on your livestock, and prevent the risks associated with disease transmission.
Rifles can be used in getting shots at animals, but shots at small mammals may not be gotten easily without the use of a varmint scope. No matter what rifle or caliber you choose, adding the best varmint scope can make all the difference between success and failure.
You need to choose a hunting varmint scope based on the usage, not to be caught on the edge. With a good scope, you can control pests and also gain the advantage of getting shots from long distances.
- 1 What is a varmint?
- 2 What Makes a Great Varmint Scope?
- 3 What Firearms are Suitable for Varmint Shooting?
- 4 Varmint Scope Considerations
- 5 Accessories
- 6 Our Pick for the 8 Best Scopes for Varmint Hunting Are
- 7 Best Varmint Rifle Scopes for Hunting Reviewed
- 8 Leupold Rifle Scope – BestVarmit Rifle Scope
- 8.1 Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-12×56
- 8.2 Leupold Side Focus Riflescope – Best Varmint Scope for AR 15
- 8.3 Simmons 8-Point 3-9x50mm Rifle Scope with Truplex Reticle
- 8.4 Bushnell Banner Dusk 4-12×40 -Best Budget Varmint Scope
- 8.5 Nikon Black FX1000 4-16×50 – Best under $1000
- 8.6 ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20 Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope
- 9 What Do You Look For In The Best Rifle Scopes for Varmint Hunting?
- 10 Conclusion
What is a varmint?
“Varmint” most commonly brings to mind small pest mammals and birds. For example, things like rabbits, squirrels, dogs, rats, crows, and beavers. These also include wild boars, coyotes, owls, or weasels.
Mainly agricultural pests are of concern to farmers due to damages caused to crop/livestock. Crops are at risk of these pests as they stand as a threat to human health.
Bird pests are considered huge problems in their rights and there are certain species like pigeons as well as corvid family and seagulls which can damage human problems.
Since the types of pests vary by region, the types of firearms and optics used for pest control also vary. This means that there’s not going to be the “one” scope that will get the job done; they’re all going to be different. The scope you will need will depend on what, where, and when you’re hunting.
What Makes a Great Varmint Scope?
A great varmint scope is the one that can help you get the job done no matter what time of day it is or what the weather condition is.
There are varmint scopes that have night vision, and these are really helpful if you want to hunt down varmints that only come out at night.
Varmint scopes with objective lens can help you capture light while hunting, and multi-coated lenses can help you produce an amazing picture.
Shockproof varmint scopes are very handy since you do not know when your rifle and scope can slip from your fingers.
Fog-proof and weatherproof varmint scopes are also necessary since you will be hunting varmints in different environments and different weather conditions.
What Firearms are Suitable for Varmint Shooting?
Due to the variety and the size of the varmints that you can hunt, there is also a vast range of firearms to choose from.
If you’re looking to control the number of pesky birds, you should most likely select a high-capacity shotgun. The semi-automatic types are particularly useful when shooting geese or pigeons.
There could also be instances where you can just use a simple air rifle for this purpose. In the cities where pest controllers are often at work, such professionals like to use air weapons. This is more discreet, and it is safer as well as it makes less noise, and it does not expose the workers. The addition of scope with a mil-dot reticle improves the accuracy of your projectiles in these tighter areas.
When shooting from long range, a rifle will remain the tool of choice.
The most popular style of varmint hunting involves long-range rifles chambered for flat-shooting cartridges like .17 HMR, .22-250 Remington, .223 Remington, and .243 Winchester.
More miniature caliber rifles such as the .22l are an excellent choice when hunting smaller varmints from over a hundred meters away.
The 17hmr and the .22 Magnum offer similar accuracy levels over the same range. They’re better suited when shooting from an extended field closer to 200 meters. Projectiles such as the .17 are incredibly accurate, and perfect for hunting light-skinned vermin, but this ammunition is far more expensive.
When you’re going to hunt varmints from longer ranges, or you’re trying to tackle larger pests, you’re going to have to choose a more significant weapon: the .220 swift, .243, .223, or the .22- 250 Ruger are also suitable.
Varmint Scope Considerations
The size of the varmint or predator that you plan on hunting will drive the decision on choosing the best scope.
If you want to shoot prairie dogs or squirrels, a smaller rifle such as the .22 LR or .17 HMR will likely be enough.
You are interested in shooting coyotes or making long-distance shots, I would suggest that you step up to something like a .22-250 or a .223.
Want to control foxes, then you can consider using either browning x-bolt in .223 as well as Tikka T3 in .243. If you want to shoot a rabbit, you can rely on .223.
This can also be very effective when it comes to the control of bird pests. Air rifles are strong and effective, and they can control pests under different circumstances.
To successfully shoot varmints, you will need some additional accessories on top of your scope and rifle to make your life easier. One of the most important kits you require is the bipod.
Since most of the shootings are not static or stationary and involve moving around, you require this kind of kit. Most bipods can be securely attached to the CD of any rifle, making them the perfect shooting aid.
There are different models, but my topmost recommendation is the bipods by Harris. They have a built-in swivel, which allows you additional movement when the rifle is mounted. The legs of these bipods are also extendable, offering extra support in different circumstances. The importance of this is that you can use the rifle in different shooting positions.
If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time for the details, here are our best picks for varmint scopes:
Here’s a brief look at our top 3 picks of the best varmint scopes.
Depending on your skill level, a range finder might be useful if you’re looking to hunt some long-range prey. You need some kind of caliber suitable for the distance such as the .260, .204, or .220 from swift. If you get enough practice in, you’ll likely not need a rangefinder for shots of less than 200 meters.
There are different brands of ranger finders in the market and the best of them come with optical equipment such as Nikon, Bushness, and ATN products. This can of products are expensive in the past and as they become more common across different sports, it also becomes more affordable.
Our Pick for the 8 Best Scopes for Varmint Hunting Are
|Vortex Optics Diamondback Second Focal Plane Riflescope - Best Varmit Rifle Scope||Check Price|
|Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10×40||Check Price|
|Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-12x56||Check Price|
|Leupold Side Focus Riflescope - Best Varmint Scope for AR 15||Check Price|
|Simmons 8-Point 3-9x50mm Rifle Scope with Truplex Reticle||Check Price|
|Bushnell Banner Dusk 4-12x40 - Best Budget Varmint Scope||Check Price|
|Nikon Black FX1000 4-16x50 - Best under $1000||Check Price|
|ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20 Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope||Check Price|
Now let’s move on to the scopes themselves.
Best Varmint Rifle Scopes for Hunting Reviewed
Vortex Optics Diamondback Second Focal Plane Riflescope – Best Varmit Rifle Scope
The Vortex Optics Diamondback varmint scope has a 4x to 12x magnification range and a 40 mm objective lens. These sizes are an excellent pick for varmint hunting scopes fast-running targets like turkey, deer, and slugs.
XD Extra-low dispersion glass increases resolution and color fidelity while XR fully multi-coated lenses maximize every minute of shooting light. Which makes it great because of the quick focusing features and compactness for users. It offers hunters crystal clear and bright images even in the dark.
The parallax adjustment is easily accessible while keeping a trim profile and allowing optimal mounting height. And, with a 4x zoom range, the Diamondback offers highly versatile magnification.
Supported by a Dead-Hold BDC Reticle, this rifle scope will take you a long way in any grand shooting games and predator hunting. It has a quick focus eyepiece that makes it quick and easy to focus your reticle.
The scope can be good protection against wild animals since its expertise is a constant high accuracy even from a distant focal point or in any unsteady location.
It also has a solid single-piece tube with a hard anodized finish, lending the Diamondback 4-12×40 rugged reliability. The feature makes it a shockproof, firm scope and provides camouflage at the same time.
The eye relief is somewhat short, which is 32.4-11.3 feet at 100 yards. However, it still provides an excellent long-range view.
Magnification – 4-12×40
Eye Relief – 3.1 inches
Field of View -32.4-11.ft/100 yds
Weight – 14.6 oz.
|Good price||The eye relief is quite short.|
|Water and Fog-proof||Slow customer service support|
|Clear optics at full power||Reticle not suitable for massive adjustment since it is a Second Focal Plane|
|Good bullet drop compensation|
|Well-constructed anodized frame|
|Multi-coated lens for brighter vision|
|Patented BDC Reticle for high accuracy target|
|The objective lens of the Vortex rifle scopes is adjustable.|
|The turret design helps hunters with the ability to zero reset after sight-in.|
Leupold Rifle Scope – BestVarmit Rifle Scope
Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10×40 is one of the most popular models since the last few decades; it works incredibly well in almost any hunting environment. Tight brush and long-range shots are a piece of cake for their extremely versatile magnification range.
The aluminum housing is lightweight, durable, waterproof, fogproof, and features a twin bias spring erector system that helps increase holding force. The scope is also highly compact and lightweight
The Rifle scope has an easy turn power selector that makes changing magnification simple, even with gloves on.
This scope’s best feature is the Twilight Max Light Management System. This system optimizes the scope’s light transmission to reduce glare and provides excellent lens clarity. It also adds up to 20 minutes of additional shooting light.
Magnification – 3.5 – 10x
Eye Relief – 4.4 – 3.6 inches
Field of View -29.8 – 11 ft/100 yds
Weight – 12.6 oz
|Lightweight||Turrets don't have zero.|
|Excellent optics.||Unilluminated duplex reticle|
|Excellent durability||Turrets revolutions are hard to keep track of|
|Good build quality.|
|Excellent at low-light.|
|Twilight light management system.|
|Twilight Max Light Management System|
Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-12×56
The Vortex Optics Crossfire II is one of our favorite and most commonly recommended scopes. The Hog Hunter AO version is specifically designed for hunting large varmints, like feral hogs. That is especially true for hunting in low light conditions when is the time many varmints.
It has very good long eye relief and a very forgiving eye box, that will allow getting a very precise and clear image of your target.
The parallax is adjusted through a rotating objective bell. On the other end of the scope is a fast-focus eyepiece, for easy reticle focusing.
And speaking of the reticle, this scope has a V-Brite illuminated reticle. This reticle uses Vortex’s V-Plex reticle as a base but adds an illuminated center dot.
The closed turrets are a nice touch that comes in handy when using them on a hunting rifle. All in all, when it comes to low light situations, big game, small game, this scope is one of the most versatiles out there.
Waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof thanks to single-piece construction and nitrogen purging, this scope can perform in any conditions that might present itself in the field.
Eye Relief – 3.5 inches
Magnification – 12×56
Field of View -36.2-9.2 ft/100 yds
Weight – 21.1 oz.
|Amazing value||Snow might cause it to fog|
|Capped reset turrets||Some shooters may prefer a side parallax adjustment knob|
|Ideal for all game sizes|
|Fully multi-coated lenses|
|Super clear in low light condition|
|Matte hard-coat anodized finish|
Leupold Side Focus Riflescope – Best Varmint Scope for AR 15
Leupold VX-3i 4.5-14×50 Riflescope is a compact scope that works excellently with AR-15 rifles.
This is rifle scopes are popular among hunters who like to hunt during dawn or dusk, the time. This model is great for long-range shooting, and it comes with adjustable magnification.
The image quality remains clear even in cases of sunny conditions or high glare. The turret systems are consistent and simple to use.
Leupold VX-3i is rugged and made for heavy recoil. You can use any rifle/ammunition and the scope won’t lose zero. It can also handle muzzle loaders, slug guns, and airguns.
The reticle is a duplex model, and it meets every standard. Furthermore, the scope of the traditional and comes with the most improved gadgets. It is one of the most technologically advanced in the market.
Eye Relief – 3.6 inches
Magnification – 4.5-14.4x
Field of View -16.7-4.5 ft/100 yds
Weight – 29.6 oz.
|Very good in low light||Hard to keep track of turrets revolution|
|Lightweight & Compact||Turrets have no zero stop and are not zero resettable|
Simmons 8-Point 3-9x50mm Rifle Scope with Truplex Reticle
This model is a decent, affordable scope that will help improve your shooting skill and hunting vision. The scope offers many great features that ensure you will have the best hunting experience.
Simmons 8-Point 3-9x50mm Rifle Scope remains the most popular choice and if you want to use it for a heavier recoiling gun like the .260, .243, and the larger models, you can always consider this kind of scope. It is also great for varmint like the .223 and the .222.
It is quite sturdy and comes with coated lenses that make it optimal for tactical use and hunting.
The optical glass lenses are fully coated to provide quality, bright, sharp, and high contrast target images.
The TrueZero fingertip windage and elevation adjustment system stays locked to zero through vigorous conditions. The adjustments are done with % MOA SureGrim audible- click windage and elevation adjustments which have SureGrip rubber surface making it easier for you to make alignments.
Farmers will find it great to shoot down foxes and other wild critters. It also offers enough sighting and zooming functions to help you improve accuracy through better shooting visibility in low light conditions.
This scope is a great budget option and there is no denying that it offers incredible value for the money you’re paying.
Magnification – 3-9x
Eye Relief – 3.75 inches
Field of View -31.4-10.5 ft/100 yds
Weight – 13.2 oz.
|Multicoated lenses||Rings setup not included|
|Nice easy grip surface||Lacks parallax compensation.|
|Good eye relief space.||Not very precise at longer ranges.|
|High quality features in a basic scope.|
|Very clear optics that are also well protected.|
|Great price for what you’re getting.|
Bushnell Banner Dusk 4-12×40 -Best Budget Varmint Scope
Bushnell is known for being the low-price leader and a giant in the optics manufacturing industry.
The Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn rifle scope was designed specifically for low light shooting. It has features like DDB fully multi-coated lenses, a 50 mm objective lens, and ED prime glass.
Excellent waterproof construction with O-ring sealed optics, so they can stay fog proof and dry inside. The argon purged optics make this a very reliable and stable scope during various temperature changes.
You also get a fast focus eyepiece and high-quality target turrets that provide ¼-MOA fingertip windage and elevation adjustments.
With a 6-18x magnification range, this version of the scope is a perfect long range rifle scope for under $300.
If you will be shooting varmint from a long distance just before sundown, which is often the case, you will appreciate the performance of this value driven scope.
Eye Relief – 3.3 inches
Magnification – 4-12x
Field of View -29-11 ft/100 yds
Weight – 15 oz.
|Lightweight||Huge objective bell and overall size|
|Excellent low light performance|
|The ideal level of quality vs price|
Nikon Black FX1000 4-16×50 – Best under $1000
This high-quality rifle scope from Nikon is perfect for long-range varmints. It is versatile, fun to build, and most importantly, It is fun to hunt varmints with.
The Black FX1000 has a finely detailed match-grade FFP (first focal plane) reticle. The reticle of the scope is glass etched and can be used to estimate target range and size at a certain magnification accurately. This is a match-grade reticle that has 10 brightness settings and that will maintain clarity and sharpness in any light conditions.
It incorporates everything you need for ranging, holdover, and windage corrections.
Nikon Varmint scopes are O-ring sealed to prevent the liquid substance from entering the body. It is fog-proof and shockproof as it is well constructed for easy utilization.
There is also a convenient return-to-zero stop which allows you to quickly and easily return to your zero, no matter how many adjustments you’ve made.
Shooters will appreciate the superb target turrets on this awesome riflescope. They provide crisp, precise 25 MOA adjustments with each revolution.
Clarity of images/pictures is guaranteed even from different shooting positions and postures.
Eye Relief – 4.0–3.6 inches
Magnification – 4-16x
Field of View – 27.2‐6.8 ft /1000 yards
Weight – 23.3 oz.
|Illumination can be turned on or off||Expensive to purchase but worth it|
|It is resistant to water, shock, and fog||Clicks are not so audible when utilized|
|The return to zero stop works perfectly well|
|It has the best long-range and also tracks well|
|Adjustments are accurate making it easy to use|
|It includes eye relief depending on the magnification setting|
ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20 Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope
This is one of the best products from ATN, and it comes with the most advanced features. This scope uses a technology that allows users to use the scope for both day and night hunting. You get to enjoy clear images throughout.
Its Recoil Activated video allows you to record all your victories. You do not get to miss a thing and all your outings will be clearly recorded and ready for sharing.
Varmint hunting long ranges means you ought to have a laser rangefinder on you. The built-in rangefinder makes work very easy for you. You do not need to bring a piece of additional equipment to range your target.
You get a ballistic calculator as well. With it, you can forget all about charts and complex reticles.
Magnification – 5-20x
Eye Relief – 65 mm
Field of View -240 ft/1000 yds
Battery life – 22 + hrs with extra pack
|Ballistic calculator||USB port might get loose|
|Smart range finder|
|Light levels can be adjusted easily.|
|1080p HD Video Recording and Photos|
|You get to choose your preferred reticle colors|
|With so many features, you can be sure to achieve a lot with this scope|
|It comes with a preinstalled rangefinder to help you quickly calculate the distance to your target.|
What Do You Look For In The Best Rifle Scopes for Varmint Hunting?
Here are some features to look for to make sure you’re choosing a high-quality scope:
There are different kinds of varmints, and they can be tricky to track down and hunt. This is why you will need magnification in your varmint scope in order to lock your desired target.
1-9x is plenty enough power for close-mid range shots. Higher power scopes are for long shots – you won’t need it in the woods, but you will need it for wide, open plains over several hundred yards.
The favorite magnification range for varmint hunters is between 4x to 14x. This range has a wide view on the low end, so you can make close-range shots and have enough magnification to spot varmints easily.
Mil Dot and BDC scopes are wonderful for hitting targets at unknown ranges in variable scenarios
Opt for an extremely accurate BDC reticle for extreme long-range shooting. Basic crosshairs should get the job done for most hunting if you intimately know your rifle and loads.
Mil-Dot is great because it makes for precise shooting at different ranges including shorter ranges and can work better with air rifles especially those that are low-powered with poor trajectory.
If you are required to shoot in a low light condition, you require the illuminated kind of scope. Illuminated reticle enables fast target acquisition and better low-light potential.
Look for a scope that’s O-ring sealed and nitrogen or argon-purged to make it waterproof and fog proof.
Your scope should be made from a durable material like aircraft-grade aluminum. This helps ensure that the scope is shockproof.
Ideally, the lenses will have a scratch-resistant coating, but at the very least you should make sure you have lens covers for them.
4. Clarity and Contrast
You want a crisp, clear, and bright sight picture with excellent definition and color fidelity.
Multicoated lenses are ideal. Lens coatings help ensure good contrast, improve light transmission, and reduce glare. Coatings may also provide scratch resistance.
These are features that you only get in more expensive scopes, but optics makers like Burris and Vortex are offering insanely good scopes with these features, at very affordable prices.
Invest in your scope, and ensure you buy from a company that can offer a warranty that matches the quality of the scope. Is the warranty not good enough? Be brand-specific.
There is no doubt about it, varmint and predator hunting are becoming more popular and therefore the technology is following pace. Any of the scopes on our list will help you keep pest populations in check.
These are the best scopes in the market and any of them is very useful in varmint hunting.
Depending on what you want, I would always opt for the Leupold scope shown above. It comes with the most interesting features such as different magnification options. This is also the best when it comes to quality performance. It allows light, and you can use this with ease in low-light conditions.
There are a lot of scopes and several calibers that these varmint scopes can fit. Using a particular scope on a perfect and accurate rifle is very important to how you can get your aimed target without missing.
No matter which optic you choose to top your varmint gun, you’ll need a steady hand, proper breathing, and good trigger control, so make sure you spend some time practicing your shooting fundamentals.