Best 50mm Rifle Scope For The Money – Reviewed 2021

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50mm scopes are the gold standard in image brightness and clarity, especially if you want to reduce how much the image darkens as you increase magnification. 50mm is a reference to the size of the objective lens diameter, and all other things being equal, a larger objective lens will result in a brighter, clearer, sharper image.

But there are significant tradeoffs to a 50mm objective, which we’ll talk about, but we’ll focus mostly on our recommendations for the best 50mm rifle scopes for the money since that’s probably why you are here. First, let’s go over a couple things to make sure that a 50mm scope actually makes sense for what you want it for.

Buying Guide

Do You Need a 50mm Scope?

If you are limited to daylight hours for hunting or shooting, then there’s not as much point to choosing a 50mm scope over a 40mm, and if you’re going to be working at magnification lower than 18x, the need for a 50mm becomes even more questionable. 

50mm is the scope equivalent to a 5.2 liter V10 engine for a car; the performance is there, but if you never push the scope to the limits where it can take advantage of it, then you pay a lot more for only slightly better day-to-day.

Differences Between 50mm Rifle Scopes

50mm rifle scopes differ in a variety of ways. They have different magnification ranges (some of which make sense and others that are somewhat baffling), they may have a first focal plane or second focal plane reticle, and they may have either a 1-inch or 30mm tube. In all cases, there’s a lot more to consider than just objective lens diameter when finding the right scope for you.

PRODUCT

DETAILS

Products

BEST FOR ACCURACY

Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical 6-24x50 FFP

Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical 6-24x50 FFP

  • Diameter: 50mm
  • Magnification: 6-24x
  • Length: 14.5 in
BEST FOR WEATHER

Athlon Optics Argos BTR 6-24x50 FFP Riflescope

Athlon Optics Argos BTR 6-24x50 FFP Riflescope

  • Diameter: 50mm
  • Magnification: 6-24x
  • Length: 14.1 in
BEST FOR CLEAR IMAGE

Zeiss Conquest V4 6-24x50mm Riflescope

Zeiss Conquest V4 6-24x50mm Riflescope

  • Diameter: 50mm
  • Magnification: 6-24x
  • Length: 14.5 in
BEST FOR STRENGTH

Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 6-24x50 SFP Riflescope

Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 6-24x50 SFP Riflescope

  • Diameter: 50mm
  • Magnification: 6-24x
  • Length: 15.5 in
BEST FOR ACCURACY

Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x50mm Scope

dmr scopes

Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x50mm Scope

  • Diameter: 50mm
  • Magnification: 3-9x
  • Length: 12.1 in
BEST FOR BRIGHT IMAGE

Burris Scope Fullfield lv 6-24x50 Fine Plex Matte

Burris Scope Fullfield lv 6-24x50 Fine Plex Matte

  • Diameter: 50mm
  • Magnification: 6-24x
  • Length: 15.6 in
BEST FOR FAST TARGET

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12x50 AO SFP Riflescope

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12x50 AO SFP Riflescope

  • Diameter: 50mm
  • Magnification: 4-12x
  • Length: 14.2 in
BEST FOR LONGEST RANGE

Barska 10-40x50 Varmint Mil-Dot Riflescope

Barska 10-40x50 Varmint Mil-Dot Riflescope

  • Diameter: 50mm
  • Magnification: 10-40x
  • Length: 16.53 in
BEST FOR DURABILITY

Sig Sauer Tango4 6-24x50 Riflescope

Sig Sauer Tango4 6-24x50 Riflescope

  • Diameter: 50mm
  • Magnification: 6-24x
  • Length: 17.01 in

Considerations When Choosing The Best 50mm Riflescope For The Money

One of the first things you should consider is how much you can afford to spend. 50mm scopes tend to be more expensive than smaller ones, so figure out how much you can justify spending and work within that price range. The second is how much magnification you’ll be needing. You can get 50mm scopes that only go up to 9x magnification, and all the way up past 24x

You also need to decide if you want an SFP or FFP reticle. I always prefer FFP reticles when possible, but they are more expensive and at lower magnification it’s hard to justify the cost. The wider the magnification range the more valuable an FFP reticle is to have.

Parallax adjustment is another important consideration. I would say if you are shooting far enough to justify a 50mm scope, you really should have parallax adjustment as well. I’m sure there are cases where it’s not important, but at long distances, having parallax fixed at 100 yards just doesn’t cut it.

Drawbacks of 50mm Scopes

As with anything, there are tradeoffs to getting a 50mm scope. The most obvious one is that it’s much bigger, and probably too big to mount comfortably on the rings you may already have, so you’ll need taller rings, and you’ll also need to find a way to adjust your cheek weld so that you can have proper shooting form while still looking through the higher scope.

Depending on your rifle, this may be simple, but it’s still something to consider. Another drawback is how much more expensive they are, and depending on the multi-coating and other specs that affect image quality and brightness, they may not actually be brighter and sharper than a 40mm scope from a different brand.

Advantages of 50mm Scopes

So what exactly does a 50mm scope do for you? Well it increases the size of the exit pupil, which mostly just makes the image brighter, but it can also create a slightly more forgiving eye box at lower magnifications during the day when the exit pupil is larger than the pupil of your eye.

The brightness and sharpness increase from 40mm to 50mm may seem small, but it can actually make a big difference. In bright sunlight, for example, if you are maxing out your scope at 24x, with a 40mm objective lens the exit pupil would be 1.67mm, which is smaller than the pupil of your eye at 2mm. This means that the image would become noticeably darker as you zoomed in.

On a 50mm scope, however, in bright daylight at 24x, the exit pupil would be 2.08mm, which means it would be right around the same size as the pupil of your eye. This means that in bright conditions, you may not even be able to detect that the image is getting darker even at 24x magnification.

In low-light situations, your eye pupil will grow large enough in size that the image in the scope will be noticeably darker at 24x, but you’ll still be able to take advantage of more magnification range than with a 40mm.

This is another reason why I recommend looking first at FFP reticles if you’re looking at higher magnification, because the image can get so dark so quickly that the max magnification becomes unusable in many situations, and you don’t want to lose the ability to properly estimate wind holds and bullet drop holdovers as well.

10 Best 50mm Rifle Scope For The Money

We’ve done our best to include a variety of options that we think are the best 50mm scopes for the money at a variety of different price ranges. None of these are cheap, and some are very expensive. Our definition of ‘best for the money’ means that it exceeds expectations at the price point.

1. Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical 6-24x50

50mm rifle

The Diamondback is a great option if you’re not looking to spend too much money and want to go all-in with long range features. You have a first focal plane reticle, a side focus parallax adjustment knob, and a magnification range out as far as 24x. The finish is anodized and highly durable, and the lenses are low dispersion high-end glass

The 50mm objective diameter does a lot of heavy lifting for the Diamondback since the other parts of the optical system aren’t as polished as some of Vortex’s more expensive scope lines. The turrets are exposed and are resettable to zero.

For the money, this is a great scope with a bright and sharp image. It comes with the EBR-2C reticle in either MOA or MRAD depending on your preference, and it really shines at 600 yards and beyond.

Vortex Optics Diamondback 6-24x50

The price of Vortex Optics Diamondback 6-24x50 varies, so check the latest price at

Want to know more about best vortex scopes? Check out our guide.

2. Athlon Optics Argos BTR 6-24x50 FFP Riflescope

50mm rifle scope

The Athlon BTR line really defies its price point, and brings phenomenal value. It offers the same magnification range as the Vortex Diamondback, but adds an illuminated reticle which is also on the first focal plane.

The ATMR MOA reticle isn’t as flexible for long range shooting, though. It has hashmarks on each axis of the crosshairs, but it doesn’t have a tree going down to allow you to compensate for wind and elevation at the same time. It’s constructed with aircraft-grade aluminum and is argon-purged instead of nitrogen-purged for even better fogproofing.

The BTR really punches above its weight, and considering their lifetime warranty, definitely deserves its spot on this list.

Athlon Optics Argos BTR 6-24x50

The price of Athlon Optics Argos BTR 6-24x50 varies, so check the latest price at

If you are looking for similar option, then must check out our detailed Athlon Midas Tac 6-24X50mm Review

3. Zeiss Conquest V4 6-24x50mm Riflescope

50mm scope

Here’s an option for you folks who prefer a second focal plane reticle for long range. The Conquest V4 is relatively affordable for a Zeiss scope, and the incredible optics inside mean that you will get great brightness and clarity even at the long end of the magnification range.

This is great because it makes it more feasible for you to shoot at 24x and be able to take the most advantage of the reticle. Because it is SFP, the marks on the reticle won’t be true-to-size unless you are at the max magnification, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use the reticle at other settings, you just have to learn how much distance they represent at those settings.

Marks on an FFP reticle will represent the same amount of distance no matter what magnification you’re at, but since an SFP reticle stays the same size regardless of how zoomed in you are, the meaning of the lines changes throughout.

You get side focus, an illuminated reticle, and tactical turrets along with the incredible glass.

Zeiss-Conquest-V4

Zeiss Conquest V4 6-24x50mm

The price of Zeiss Conquest V4 6-24x50mm varies, so check the latest price at

4. Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 6-24x50 SFP Riflescope

best 6.5 grendel scope

Here’s an option that is about half the price of the Zeiss and also has an SFP. You get the same magnification range, and the image quality is actually very good, but it’s not Zeiss quality. You also lose out on the illuminated reticle, so if that’s important for you then you’ll want to move along.

Reticle is the VMR-1 in either MRAD or MOA, and the scope comes with a 4in sunshade, CRS shims, lens cloth, and protective lens caps. You can adjust the parallax from 50 yards to infinity, and the scope is waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof. The 30mm tube is a one piece tube constructed from a single piece of aluminum.

The VMR-1 is a BDC reticle, but does not have a full tree that extends downwards, which means that you aren’t able to estimate the holds for both windage and elevation at the same time.

Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 6-24x50 SFP

The price of Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 6-24x50 SFP varies, so check the latest price at

5. Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x50mm Scope

objective lens scope

Here we’re going to switch things up a bit. The VX Freedom 3-9x doesn’t fit the mold of all the other scopes we’ve included so far. This is a great rifle scope to give you unparalleled image quality at the 3-9x range. Leupold has a lot of 50mm scopes at different magnification ranges so if you want a Leupold scope specifically, they are phenomenal scopes.

Like all Leupold scopes, the VX Freedom is thoroughly tested to make sure that it can withstand intense recoil and harsh treatment. Even the lenses have a special, military-grade scratch resistant lens coatings to keep them safe in all situations. Considering the massive exit pupil and Leupold’s light management system, you will be hard-pressed to find an image as bright, sharp, and colorful at this price point.

The multi-coated lenses are among the best and brightest in the business. If you want durability and high-quality optics and consider those more important than features like parallax adjustment and reticle illumination, then this Leupold might be the best rifle scope for you. It’s not a long-range scope, per se, but it still does great.

Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x50mm

Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x50mm Scope

The price of Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x50mm Scope varies, so check the latest price at

Compare to Nikon Prostaff

Nikon may no longer make riflescopes, but there are still plenty available on the market if you are interested in them, and Nikon’s reputation is all about the quality of the image, just like the Leupold. Most Nikon scopes are cheaper now than they used to be, so if you are willing to prioritize image quality over features, then you can look at some of those options as well.

6. Burris Scope Fullfield lv 6-24x50 Fine Plex Matte

Burris Scope Fullfield lv 6-24x50 Fine Plex Matte

This is a great option if you’re a minimalist. The reticle is a simple duplex, with very fine lines, and with no illumination. There is side focus parallax adjustment, and the rifle scope is covered by Burris’ Forever Warranty. It’s first focal plane, which is impressive at the price point.

The field of view is actually a little wider than most at this range at between 6.2 and 20 feet at 100 yards, so this may be a little more adapted to hunting than some other rifle scope options on this list. It’s a matte black finish with a fast focus eyepiece, and is overall a fine rifle scope for long range.

It’s o-ring sealed to be waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof, and the wide field of view plus the zoom range makes it a great scope for long-range target shooting. The lenses are fully multi-coated to improve light transmission and reduce glare.

Burris Scope Fullfield lv 6-24x50

The price of Burris Scope Fullfield lv 6-24x50  varies, so check the latest price at

7. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12x50 AO SFP Riflescope

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12x50 AO SFP Riflescope

The Crossfire II is somewhat unique for a few reasons. First, it has an adjustable objective for parallax, which could be a good or a bad thing depending on your preference (I prefer side focus), and it only goes from 4x-12x instead of all the way up to 24x. What this means is that there are fewer lighting conditions in which the pupil of your eye is bigger than the exit pupil.

It may seem like a significant drawback to only have 12x magnification, but when you combine that with an SFP reticle, it actually might make a ton of sense depending on what shooting you’re doing. If you’re shooting between 300 and 600 yards, you may not want to go above 12x anyway, and with this rifle scope you can still take full advantage of the Dead-Hold BDC Reticle.

That said, this rifle scope is one of the most affordable options on the list, and the magnification would be considered a sacrifice for most shooters trying to break into 50mm scopes. The windage and elevation turrets are capped.

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12x50 AO SFP

The price of Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12x50 AO SFP varies, so check the latest price at

8. Barska 10-40x50 Varmint Mil-Dot Riflescope

Barska 10-40x50 Varmint Mil-Dot Riflescope

This is the only other option with an adjustable objective, and it’s even more affordable than the Crossfire II. It’s not illuminated and the reticle is a basic mil-dot, but considering the incredibly low price, those may be small sacrifices. As the name would suggest, this rifle scope is designed with hunting varmints in mind, which is usually done at longer ranges.

With a minimum of 10x magnification and a maximum all the way to 40x, it’s probably not a surprise that the upper limits of the magnification aren’t particularly useful. This rifle scope really performs better between 10-24x. 40x magnification is a tall order even from a premium scope, so it probably isn’t surprising that the image quality on this budget scope falls apart.

Even with that issue at higher magnifications, it’s a phenomenal scope for the money, and may be the right choice to start getting into LRP shooting.

Barska 10-40x50 Varmint Mil-Dot

The price of Barska 10-40x50 Varmint Mil-Dot  varies, so check the latest price at

Compare to the Bushnell Banner 6-18x50mm

The Bushnell is one of the only other truly budget options for a 50mm scope. Even though the Barska technically goes up to 40x, the lower image quality at higher powers makes it still pretty comparable to the Bushnell Banner. If you want something that goes lower than 10x and still get up high enough for varmint shooting, you may want to consider the Banner 6-18x50mm.

9. Sig Sauer Tango4 6-24x50 Riflescope

Sig Sauer Tango4 6-24x50 Riflescope

There’s a lot to love about this scope. It has a 6-24x magnification range, it’s got a 30mm tube and a solid construction that holds up great to heavy recoil, and it even has an illuminated reticle with different choices based on what you want to get. The turrets are resettable to zero and the illumination uses Sig’s MOTAC technology to kick the illumination on when it senses motion.

If you’re willing to live without parallax adjustment of any kind, then this is a great scope. If you have your shooting form down to a science and find that you don’t spend much time adjusting for parallax anyway, then this could be a great option, but otherwise you may want to consider one of the other options.

Eye relief is around three and a half inches, and it’s a matte black color. Overall, I’d say the Sig is a better hunting scope than LRP scope.

Sig Sauer Tango4 6-24x50 Riflescope

The price of Sig Sauer Tango4 6-24x50 Riflescope varies, so check the latest price at

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ]

40mm vs. 50mm Scope

We talked a little about this at the beginning, but the only real advantage that a 50mm scope offers over a 40mm scope is that it lets more light into the scope and makes the exit pupil bigger. As long as the exit pupil is bigger than the pupil of your eye, you’ll be able to get the maximum amount of brightness out of your scope image.

The exit pupil of the scope gets smaller as you increase the magnification, and when the exit pupil gets smaller than your eye, the image starts to get darker. Having a larger objective lens keeps the exit pupil bigger longer, so the image stays brighter throughout the magnification range.

On the flip-side, though, a 50mm scope is physically larger, so it’s harder to mount sometimes and usually requires taller rings and possibly adjusting your shooting form to get your eye high enough to see into the scope properly.

Is a 50mm Scope Better Than a 40mm?

Yes and no. If you are hunting in dawn, dusk, or even night time, then a 50mm will certainly give you a brighter image than a 40mm, so in that case it’s better. But if you’re shooting mostly in daylight anyway then you probably won’t notice much of a difference between the 40mm and the 50mm, especially if you’re only using it occasionally.

It can get trickier when you start to factor in the extra cost of a 50mm, because you may find yourself having to sacrifice other important specifications to get a 50mm scope in the price range you can afford.

If money is no object, you don’t have to sacrifice any other specs, and you have no problem adjusting your shooting stance for the larger scope, then a 50mm will usually be better than a 40mm.

There’s a saying in the filmmaking world that the best camera is the one you have, and the same is true of scopes. If you have a 40mm scope, then it might make more sense to practice and maximize its capabilities before deciding to drop the cash for a 50mm scope instead.

Factors to Consider When Buying a 50mm Scope

A lot of these are the same as the factors to consider when buying any scope, but there are some unique considerations as well.

How Are You Going to Mount It?

A good follow-up question would be: is it rated for the recoil of the rifle you’re putting it on? With a 50mm scope you can’t just pick up any scope rings and expect it to work because the objective is so big that it will bump into the top of the rifle and won’t sit straight. You’ll have to buy taller rings that can get it up high enough to get clearance.

The next issue with that is then your scope is so high that your old cheek weld may not work anymore. In that case, you have to find a way to get your cheek higher on the scope. A stack of wash cloths and duct tape might do it for you, but more likely you’ll need to purchase a cheek riser or something similar that works with your rifle.

This takes planning and foresight, or you risk having an unworkable set-up for however long it takes to get all the parts in that you need.

What Shots Have You Missed That You Would Have Made With a 50mm?

My basic philosophy about purchasing new equipment is that it has to solve a problem that exists, or one that is very likely to exist in an excursion that I already have booked on my calendar. This is a tough bar to meet sometimes, especially when I really want to try something new but my current solution is working fine.

So, can you honestly say that you have missed a shot that you wouldn’t have missed if you had a 50mm scope? Even if you made the shot, did it require more luck than it would have with a 50mm? In my experience, the answers to those questions are more likely to be yes the further out you’re trying to shoot, whether you’re hunting or target shooting.

And hey, maybe it’s worth getting a 50mm scope just to have some variety and different tools that you can work with.

What Magnification Do You Need?

If you want to shoot out to 1000 yards, you obviously need more magnification than if you’re shooting at 100 yards. I’m not going to wade into the waters of discussing what magnification you need at different distances, because if you ask that question to 100 shooters you’ll get 100 unique answers, but it’s generally agreed-upon that the further out you’re shooting the more you need.

You can get 50mm scopes like the Leupold with magnification as low as 9x, or as high as 40x like the Barska. If you’re not sure what magnification you need for the distance you’ll be shooting, you probably just need to shoot some more with the scopes you already have access to to get a sense of it.

Mathematically speaking, a target at 300 yards should appear roughly the same size with 6x magnification as that same target would look at 50 yards with 1x magnification, but it doesn’t always work that way. The field of view will be very different, there may be distortions in the glass, and the image will be darker the further out you go.

First Focal Plane vs. Second Focal Plane

Don’t worry so much about the names, in fact I’ll just abbreviate them as FFP and SFP because it’s less confusing that way. If you have a simple, bare bones crosshair, then there is no functional difference between an FFP scope and an SFP scope because the center of the reticle is the only aiming point, and it’s accurate 100% of the time throughout the zoom range on both.

The differences come when you have hashmarks, mil-dots, a BDC ladder, or a rangefinder on the reticle, because these things cannot represent the same distance on the target area at different magnifications if they stay the same size. This means that the scope manufacturer has to calibrate the reticle to be accurate at just one magnification setting. This is what an SFP reticle is.

Usually the manufacturer will calibrate an SFP reticle to be accurate at the highest magnification.

Quick clarification: the markings on a reticle will represent a certain distance, and this is usually measured in MOA or MRAD. These are very similar, so let’s use MOA as the example. At 100 yards, 1 MOA is essentially 1 inch in a left-right or up-down direction.

If you have dots on your crosshair that are supposed to represent 1 MOA of distance from the center, they can only do so at one point in the zoom range because everywhere else they would either be too small or too big in relation to the image, because the image gets bigger or smaller as you zoom in.

An FFP reticle is designed to stay accurate throughout the entire zoom range, so the reticle will actually shrink and grow as you zoom out and in throughout the range. I have no idea what technical wizardry scope manufacturers use to make this happen, but it’s amazingly helpful and valuable.

Reticle Illumination?

This is another thing you need to ask yourself whether it makes sense for you specifically, because illumination will add expense and weight to your scope, and if you don’t need it then there’s no point in having it. Illumination can be nice with FFP reticles because at the low end of the magnification the reticle can be so small that it’s difficult to see even in good lighting.

With SFP reticles, they’re the same size throughout, so illumination is more handy in low-light conditions where the black etched reticle blends in with the target area.

Another aspect of this question is compatibility with night vision. If you want to use a scope with a night vision device, make sure to double check that they are compatible with each other. An illuminated reticle may not show through at all on a night vision device.

Final Thoughts

There aren’t a whole lot of good 50mm scopes that are in the budget price range, but there are plenty that are less than $1000 and since the shooters who can really get the value out of a 50mm scope are mostly experienced shooters who get out hunting or target shooting often, the cost is easier to justify.

You can pick up pretty much all of these scopes on either Amazon or OpticsPlanet. If you felt like this article was helpful, let me know in the comments so I can make sure to keep writing content like this.

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Featured Image Joe Stewart

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