The Best Crossbow Scopes for High-Performance Hunting

BEST CROSSBOW SCOPES

Need a great optic to go with your hunting crossbow to really max out its effective range? It’s a good thing you came here, since using any old rifle scope just doesn’t provide the same experience or effectiveness as using a true, well-calibrated crossbow hunting scope.

Interested in finding a top-tier scope, but don’t have the time or money to do a bunch of testing yourself? That’s what we’re here for.

PRODUCT

DETAILS

Products

BEST FOR MAX STRENGTH

Hawke Crossbow IR SR Scope

Hawke Crossbow IR SR Scope

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 1.5-4.5x
  • Length: 8.3 in
BEST FOR ALL WEATHERS

Hammers Crossbow Scope

Hammers Crossbow Scope

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 4x
  • Length: 12 in
BEST FOR BRIGHT IMAGE

Vortex Crossfire II Crossbow Scope

Vortex Crossfire II Crossbow Scope

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 2-7x
  • Length: 9.5 in
BEST FOR ACCURACY

TenPoint HCA-097-II 3X Pro Crossbow Scope

TenPoint HCA-097-II 3X Pro Crossbow Scope

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 3x
  • Length: 8.5 in
BEST FOR DURABILITY

UTG 4x32 Crossbow Scope

UTG 4x32 Crossbow Scope

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 4x
  • Length: 8.19 in
BEST FOR RELIABILITY

CenterPoint Optics Crossbow Scope

CenterPoint Optics Crossbow Scope

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 4x
  • Length: 7.63 in
BEST FOR SHOCK RESISTANT

TRUGLO Compact Crossbow Scope

TRUGLO Compact Crossbow Scope

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 4x
  • Length: 8 in
BEST FOR RAPID TARGET

Barnett Crossbow Scope

Barnett Crossbow Scope

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 4x
  • Length: 8 in
BEST FOR CRISP IMAGE

Sightmark Core SX Crossbow Scope

Sightmark Core SX Crossbow Scope

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 3X
  • Length: 8.9 in
BEST FOR CLARITY

Killer Instinct Lumix Crossbow Scope

Killer Instinct Lumix Crossbow Scope

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 4x
  • Length: 9.45 in

Above, you’ll see a collection of 10 exceptional crossbow scopes from vendors like Amazon and Optics Planet that we tried out and compared against one another to find the best of the best. Some are pricier than others, but all of these scopes will help you hit shots you never dreamed of and come home from your next hunt successfully.

crossbow scopes review

We’ll take a more detailed look at each of the above optics in our detailed crossbow scope reviews. But before we do that, let’s determine what makes a good crossbow scope stand out from more mediocre models.

Crossbow Scopes – Why Use Them, Anyway?

When there are so many excellent rifle scopes available, it might seem a fair question to ask why you should bother using a crossbow scope in the first place. After all, can’t you just mount any good rifle scope on a crossbow and call it a day?

best crossbow scope

Well… yes and no.

In truth, crossbow scopes don’t differ all that much from regular rifle scopes. Most top-tier models will use the same types of materials, offer similar magnification settings as close-range rifle scopes, and even be mounted similarly, using either rail systems or scope rings.

However, crossbow scopes are specifically calibrated for use with crossbows as opposed to rifles. This matters since, ya know, crossbows fire totally different projectiles compared to firearms.

Furthermore, many crossbow scopes are designed to be a little lighter in weight. Others may also be designed to mount onto crossbows a little more easily than a rifle scope adapted for crossbow use would be.

So, can you use rifle scopes? Sure. But if you want the best hunting experience with your crossbow, you’ll stick with a crossbow scope.

What Makes Top Crossbow Scopes Stand Out?

As mentioned earlier, many of the same things that make a good rifle scope will also indicate a quality scope for crossbows. Brands like Vortex Optics, Nikon, UTG, and CenterPoint Optics all make great optics, but brand shouldn't be the only thing you consider.

Let's break down the specific features you should pay attention to when selecting a crossbow scope to guarantee a great pick.

Magnification Setting Matters

The magnification setting is arguably the most important aspect of a crossbow scope. It essentially describes how many times the scope “zooms in” your sight picture, or describes how far you can see when looking into a scope’s lens.

A higher magnification setting means that the scope zooms further in and offers you a farther sight picture. As you might expect, this is great for hunting more distant animals or for hitting smaller targets. However, higher magnification means that the scope isn’t as good for targets that are closer to you.

The vast majority of crossbow scopes have magnification settings between 2x and 5x (with 4x being the most popular by far). This will let you hit targets out to and above 100 yards easily, with the specifics being limited by your crossbow model and skill level.

You can alternatively go with red dot sights for crossbows. Red dot scopes are best for close-range engagements, however, rather than hunting game at typical engagement distances.

Fixed or Variable – They Offer Different Advantages!

You should also consider whether a crossbow scope comes with fixed or variable magnification. A fixed magnification scope can only magnify up to a certain, fixed power: for instance, 4x with a 32 mm objective lens.

Meanwhile, a variable magnification scope can magnify between a few different settings, say, 2x-7x. This allows you to swap the magnification power using a ring control on the scope’s tube near your eyepiece. This is great for many crossbow hunters since it allows them to use the same scope for different hunting engagement distances.

illuminated crossbow scope

But fixed magnification scopes are often a little cheaper, and they can also be good choices. You’ll never have to quickly swap back to a higher or lower magnification power if your target runs away or moves closer to you. You aren’t as versatile or flexible if you have a fixed scope as opposed to a variable scope, but there’s something to be said for the simplicity and ease of use offered by these optics.

Tube and Lens Size

You should also consider the tube and lens size of a given crossbow scope. Larger tubes are necessarily larger overall to fit bigger lenses, and may be more difficult to mount on a smaller crossbow weapon. Smaller tubes are usually lighter, which may affect your crossbow’s overall balance a little less and make aiming with the scope much easier.

However, larger tubes can afford larger objective lens sizes. Why does this matter?

Basically, the larger the lens size, the more light the scope can collect, and the clearer the sight picture will be. There's a reason why sniper scopes have huge objective lenses – it’s so the optic can collect enough light to provide enough visual information for the sniper!

illuminated crossbow scopes

What size objective lens is right for your crossbow? The majority of crossbow scope objective lenses will hover around 32 mm in diameter or so. You don’t want to go too much higher than this since you might throw off your crossbow’s balance or be unable to install the scope correctly.

Ultimately, just remember this when selecting a scope: smaller scopes are easier to install, lighter in weight, and better for close-range shooting. Larger scopes are better for more distant targets, for light gathering in dim environments (such as dusk and dawn), and for larger crossbows.

Durability – It’s Critical for a Long-Lasting Scope

You should also heavily consider durability before making a final decision. More durable crossbow scopes will last longer, meaning you won’t need to replace them nearly as often. 

The majority of top-tier crossbow scopes will be made with aircraft-grade aluminum, which is an alloy that combines light weight with exceptional durability. Other polymers and materials like carbon fiber can also be found, depending on the scope in question.

All in all, it’s just essential you pick a scope durable enough for your needs. This goes double if you want to use the scope frequently.

At the same time, what if you’re buying a scope for a beginner or someone trying out crossbow hunting for the first time? In this case, going for a cheaper and less durable scope may actually be the better choice since you won’t know if the newcomer will want to use the same scope for the long-term or even stick with the hobby for the foreseeable future.

Coatings and Weatherproofing

Lastly, investigate whether a given crossbow scope comes with lens coatings and weatherproofing for its tube body.

Lens coatings (usually described as multicoated lenses or something similar) means that the lenses of the scope have been coated during manufacturing with special protective materials. 

These will let the lenses offer scratch-resistant performance, and some can even help the lenses collect additional light to provide a brighter, more detail-oriented sight picture for the shooter. Others might even help water slide off the lens rather than smearing, in case you hunt in inclement weather.

best scope for crossbow

Speaking of inclement weather, any hunter should look into a crossbow scope that has been weatherproofed. This means good quality o-rings and a gas-purged tube to keep the scope both waterproof and fogproof. 

A waterproof scope is easy to grasp, and super common. But fog-proofing is highly important if you plan to hunt during the beginning and end of the day, when fog tends to collect depending on your climate. 

A fog-proof scope won’t allow water to passively leak into a scope’s internal mechanisms or for water to condense from the air in the scope (because all the air has been purged and replaced with a gas like nitrogen or argon).

A shockproof scope is more durable than others and is more likely to work even if it’s ever dropped or damaged from physical damage. All in all, weatherproofed scopes are more durable, will last longer, and are top choices for hunters who spend most of their time out in the wild and the elements.

Other aspects are also important, such as the scope's MOA values, but the above factors are most critical to ensure you get a scope that's right for your needs.

1. Hawke Sport Optics Crossbow IR SR Scope – Best Overall Crossbow Scope

In terms of sheer crossbow scope functionality and versatility, there isn’t much better than the Hawke Sport Optics Crossbow IR SR Scope. It’s a variable scope model with a magnification range of 1.5-5x.

crossbow scope reviews

But why is this great? It means you can use the scope more effectively for both close and long-distance targets, especially compared to many other crossbow scopes on the market.

In addition to this great magnification range, the scope comes with a speed selector/adjuster that will help to match your post speed from between 250 and 425 FPS. In other words, it automatically calibrates the reticle for the speed of your bolt. The reticle can also be illuminated, so feel free to use this during the low light hours of the day.

This illuminated scope is lightweight, durable, and features 11 layers of multicoated optics to afford fantastic clarity and accuracy. While the scope body is only 1 inch in diameter, it’s exceptionally tough and can withstand even heavy crossbow recoil without suffering and performance.

This scope is a perfect example of why you should focus on a crossbow scope for use with your bolt weapon instead of using a rifle scope designed for another type of hunting tool.

Hawke-Crossbow-Scope

Hawke Crossbow Scope

The price of Hawke Crossbow Scope varies, so check the latest price at

2. Hammers Compact Illuminated Crossbow Scope – Best Budget Crossbow Scope

best crossbow scope for the money

This Hammers Compact Illuminated Crossbow Scope isn't quite as top-tier as the last, but it's phenomenally affordable and is a great choice for budget-minded shoppers or beginners to crossbow hunting trips who aren't sure if they want to stick with the hobby over the long-term.

This affordable scope still comes with an illuminated reticle that can swap between two colors depending on your environment. It’s only a fixed magnification optic up to 4x power, but this is a typical magnification power for crossbow users. It also comes with a 32 mm objective lens, which is wide enough to collect plenty of light for optimal transmission and a great sight picture.

Furthermore, the scope comes with Weaver rings, so you should be able to quickly and easily mount the optic to your crossbow even without a lot of experience or advanced tools. It offers 3.5 inches of eye relief (the optimal distance between your eye and the scope lens before it bucks into your orbital bone from recoil), too.

While it isn't nearly as durable as some of the other scopes on the list, it does provide great clarity when sighting your target, ease-of-use, and a low price tag. As a result, it's the top pick for those who need something cheap but effective in general, even if it won't break any records.

Hammers-Compact

Hammers Compact Crossbow Scope

The price of Hammers Compact Crossbow Scope varies, so check the latest price at

3. Vortex Optics Crossfire II Crossbow Scope – Best High-End Crossbow Scope

Vortex Optics is perhaps better known for its lines of high-quality rifle scopes. But here they demonstrate that they also produce top-tier crossbow scopes with the Vortex Optics Crossfire II Crossbow Scope.

best crossbow sight

This particular crossbow scope is a variable magnification model that can zoom anywhere between 2x and 7x. It has a 32 mm objective lens, plus a red and green illuminated red dot reticle that allows you to accurately shoot in lowlight conditions, like dusk and dawn (also the times when many animals are most active).

The magnification ring is further useful since it has markings for FPS so you can use the scope for a variety of different bows or bolt setups. The included rings, plus a cover for the scope’s lenses, round out its accessories and really provide you with your money’s worth.

To make things even better, the scope comes with a matte black finish that won’t glare in the sun. Since it only weighs 14 ounces, it’s also not too heavy. It provides 2.7 inches of eye relief, but this isn’t a huge deal with many crossbow models compared to rifle firearms. 

The multicoated lenses will ensure phenomenal light transmission, and full weatherproofing across its tube guarantees a long life span.

Vortex-Crossfire II

Vortex Crossfire II Crossbow Scope

The price of Vortex Crossfire II Crossbow Scope varies, so check the latest price at

4. TenPoint HCA-097-II 3X Pro-View 2 Crossbow Scope

This TenPoint HCA-097-II 3X Pro-View 2 Crossbow Scope can magnify up to 3x: a little shorter than most other crossbow scopes on the market. But this makes it a great choice for close-quarters engagements or for hitting targets that are a little closer than others. The optics are fully coated to ensure maximum light transmission and fantastic color contrast across the spectrum.

scopes for crossbows

It also comes with non-illuminated black dots that can be set to either red or green colors as well. Basically, these serve as holdover points you can use to estimate your bolt drop for hitting targets at a distance. The crosshairs are designed for 20, 30, 40, and 50-yard distances.

The dots are easily controlled using a knob on the side of the scope, which allows you to customize the illumination level. 

Furthermore, the scope is easy to mount since it comes with 7/8” mounting rings out of the box. Additional windage and elevation adjustment turrets can be controlled with your fingers instead of a tool, making this quite the advanced and high-quality piece of equipment.

It is pretty pricey, however, and just a few dollars shy of the high-end Vortex scope described above. Still, it’s a solid choice if you want something long-lasting, durable, and with a few extra bells and whistles that you can’t find on many cheaper crossbow scopes.

TenPoint-HCA-097-II

TenPoint HCA-097-II

The price of TenPoint HCA-097-II varies, so check the latest price at

5. UTG 4x32 Crossbow Scope

The UTG 4x32 Crossbow Scope is a relatively compact crossbow scope with a magnification power of 4x and a 32 mm objective lens: standard features as far as most other crossbow scopes are concerned. It's a really robust optic, featuring really durable and thick lenses with quality optical coatings that boost light transmission and overall clarity.

barnett crossbow scope review

You’ll also enjoy a wide field-of-view with this scope, which is bolstered even further thanks to the premium, zero-resettable, and lockable windage and elevation turrets.

These zero-reset turrets will allow you to compensate for wind or elevation differences relative to your target, plus lock those adjustments at their current values to prevent you from accidentally nudging things out of place.

The scope also comes with an illuminated reticle, which can be calibrated using a dial on the side of the scope. 5 horizontal lines on the reticle will allow you to quickly aim at 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50-yard increments.

It comes with flip-open lens caps and quick detach ring mounts, too, allowing you to swap the scope between weapons in a few seconds. The only real downside is the relatively high weight of 1.59 pounds. Use this for heavy crossbows and you shouldn’t see too much trouble.

UTG-Crossbow-Scope

UTG Crossbow Scope

The price of UTG Crossbow Scope varies, so check the latest price at

6. CenterPoint Optics Crossbow Scope

This CenterPoint Optics Crossbow Scope is another relatively standard and incredibly affordable model with a magnification power of 4x and an objective lens at 32 mm. It also comes with an etched glass reticle that can be illuminated for even better accuracy.

best cheap crossbow scope

The etched glass design of the reticle means that it won't shudder or shift, even if you combine this scope with a high-powered and high recoil crossbow. The illumination controls will allow you to use the scope capably even in low light environments, and it comes with additional aiming points out to 50 yards.

The scope overall is made from a single piece of aircraft-grade aluminum and is designed for durability. It comes with Picatinny rings to be used with any appropriate mounting system, plus multicoated optics for greater light transmission and a clear image.

Ultimately, there are few affordable crossbow scopes that strike as well a balance between price and effectiveness as this model. Consider it if the other budget-friendly pick described above isn't quite what you're looking for.

CenterPoint-Crossbow-Scope

CenterPoint Crossbow Scope

The price of CenterPoint Crossbow Scope varies, so check the latest price at

7. TRUGLO Compact Crossbow Scope

This TRUGLO crossbow scope has standard magnification attributes, like 4x power and a 32 mm objective lens. But it also comes with a dual-color illuminated reticle that can quickly be swapped between red and green at the touch of a button.

best scope for crossbow hunting

The scope can also work well on small carbines like this one.

However, the reticle is perfectly functional without the illumination control, meaning you won’t be out of luck if the battery suddenly runs dry in the middle of a hunt.

The reticle is also noteworthy since it comes with rangefinder markings and bolt drop compensation marks. This is similar to a riflescope BDC reticle, and will allow you to hit more distant targets with more accurate shots.

An anodized matte black finish will reduce the likelihood of corrosive damage, and the entire scope is made of aircraft-grade aluminum for lightweight and durability.

It also comes with fully multicoated lenses and 4 inches of eye relief. This, as a result, makes the scope a perfect pick for high recoil crossbows that fire heavy bolts at their targets.

Overall, this scope is a great pick for larger and sturdier crossbows that are used to take down bigger game, as opposed to lighter and smaller crossbows for similarly smaller targets.

TRUGLO-Crossbow-Scope

TRUGLO Crossbow Scope

The price of TRUGLO Crossbow Scope varies, so check the latest price at

8. Barnett Crossbow Scope

This crossbow scope from Barnett has several features that make it stand out from the crowd, even if its magnification power of 4x and objective lens size of 32 mm make it seem rather ordinary. Specifically, it comes with a multi-reticle crosshair system with five pre-programmed points.

ten point crossbow scopes

These will allow you to rapidly acquire any target and ensures that it is compatible with a variety of full-size crossbows with different FPS ratings, sizes and even bolt types.

Even better, the scope comes with full weatherproofing and dovetail mounting rings out of the box to make installing it quick and easy. The scope is even more valuable due to the lifetime warranty that comes with the purchase. This warranty covers any defects in manufacturing or workmanship.

Ultimately, it’s a good scope that can be used between multiple crossbows over the course of its life.

Barnett-Crossbow-Scope

Barnett Crossbow Scope

The price of Barnett Crossbow Scope varies, so check the latest price at

The Sightmark Core SC Crossbow Scope is a lesser-known model that nonetheless has several things going for it. Designed for 3x magnification, it's already calibrated for 320 FPS crossbows out of the box. This makes it a perfect choice if your favorite crossbow has the same FPS rating.

best sight for crossbow

But more importantly, the scope is made with range finding capabilities

You get this thanks to the red or black illuminated reticle that can be adjusted between 11 different brightness settings for a variety of lighting environments, which also comes with arrow drop compensation markings to allow you to compensate for long range shots.

The multicoated optics, low-profile windage and elevation turrets, and weatherproof design mean it's a perfect hunting scope for those that like to take their crossbow out to take down larger game like moose or elk. The matte black finish will even help you stay hidden by reducing sun glares, and it’ll get rid of the risk of corrosive damage at the same time.

Sightmark-Core-SX-Crossbow-Scope


Sightmark Core SX Crossbow Scope

The price of Sightmark Core SX Crossbow Scope varies, so check the latest price at

10. Killer Instinct Lumix Crossbow Scope

The Killer Instinct Lumix Crossbow Scope is a final solid choice, featuring typical attributes like 4x magnification power and a 32 mm objective lens. But the lenses are made with premium glass and feature etched reticles that won’t move, even when used with high recoil crossbows.

best crossbow red dot scope

Furthermore, the reticles offer multiple aiming points that use rheostat brightness illumination in either red or blue colors. It’s not quite the same thing as a full-sized illuminated reticle, but it offers many of the same advantages for a fraction of the cost and still works quite well in any low light situations.

The optics are multicoated and are further effective thanks to the fast-focus eyepiece. The tube body of the scope is nitrogen purged to ensure weatherproof performance. Overall, it's a slim and minimalist optic designed for a wide variety of crossbows rated at 300+ FPS.

Killer-Instinct-Lumix

Killer Instinct Lumix Crossbow Scope

The price of Killer Instinct Lumix Crossbow Scope varies, so check the latest price at

Parting Shots

We hope it’s clear as day that finding a great crossbow scope isn’t impossible. In fact, there are tons of top choices that could serve you well, depending on your unique needs, budget limits, and personal preferences.

Our advice? Find an upper limit for your crossbow scope purchase, then pick the one that looks like it was made to fit on your prized crossbow. If in doubt, go with our top choice, the Hawke Sport Optics Crossbow Scope: you can't go wrong with its variable magnification, multicoated lenses, and overall durability.

Be sure to let us know which scope you go with in the end, and tell us about your experiences once you spend some time with any of the above optics in the field. We’d be happy to hear your comments or unique perspectives!

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