Finding the right scope to put on a .450 Bushmaster rifle can be a little difficult, right?
I know when I got mine built I was a little daunted by all the optics choices out there, and I didn’t know right away what exactly I wanted to put on my rifle.
Fortunately for me, I do gun stuff for a living, so I went out and talked to some of my manufacturer buddies, and begged, borrowed, and pleaded for a bunch of scopes and red dots to try out to see what worked best on the .450 Bushmaster.
And fortunately for you, I’m going to share what I found during my testing. ‘Cause I’m nice like that, and also I like you. You seem like good people. Here are the scopes we're going to be discussing.
Vortex Optics Strikefire II
Aluminum Alloy Chassis
Primary Arms SLx Advanced
Aluminum - 6061
Extruded High Strength Aluminum
Primary Arms SFP
Leupold VX Freedom
Vortex Optics Crossfire II
Aircraft Grade Aluminum
EOTech Vudu 2.5x10
Let’s take a look at what our criteria are for the best .450 Bushmaster scopes, and then we’ll dive into some specific recommendations for what works best with this awesome caliber.
What Are We Using the .450 Bushmaster For?
With choosing glass for a rifle, this is the most important question to ask: what’s the rifle for?
In the case of .450 Bushmaster, the answer is “putting big holes in stuff”. That’s what the round was designed to do, after all, and boy is it good at its job.
I wanted a .450 Bushmaster rifle for hunting, and I imagine that’s why most of you own one, or are thinking about owning one. Hunting with an AR-15 is a tantalizing prospect, and the .450 Bushmaster opens up a whole world of larger game that can’t be taken ethically with your standard 5.56x45 ARs.
This is mainly a thing in the Midwest, so forgive me if you live in the South and this sounds like nonsense, but some folks can’t hunt with .270, .30-06, or .243.
I know, the horror.
If that’s the case for you though, then the .450 Bushmaster suddenly makes an awful lot of sense, right?
It’s a big, straight-walled cartridge that is ballistically very close to the venerable .45-70, but can be fired from standard AR-15s (with a new upper) and bolt-action rifles as well. This makes it a more attractive hunting option for those that don’t like lever guns.
It also hits like a freaking train, making it a very popular short-range hog hunting round, particularly in areas that allow night hunting, or where brush hunting is popular. There are few better caliber options for stalking through the swamps of South Georgia after hogs than the .450 Bushmaster.
Ask me how I know.
Finally, it works with standard AR-15 lowers and magazines, which makes it a great option if you’ve already got an AR on hand.
Things to Look For In a .450 Bushmaster Scope
So, we’re looking for a scope that we can use for hunting, and one that can stand up to the abuse of the heavy-recoil from this cartridge. What else are we looking for?
I’m so glad you asked.
As with most scopes, we want something that’s well made. This may seem like a “duh” requirement, but it’s especially important on the .450 Bushmaster. We’ve all bought cheap scopes when we’re on a budget, but that may not fly here.
The recoil from this round is pretty hefty, especially compared to most other AR-15 calibers, so you want something that is fairly shockproof to stand up to that energy without losing it’s zero.
You also want something that can handle being carried through the woods and up a ladder into a stand, and all the little bumps that come with that. Aircraft-grade aluminum is the name of the game, along with a waterproof and fogproof tube that has good o-rings.
This also means we want multicoated lenses to help prevent scratches on the objective lens and to aid light transmission, which we’ll discuss more in a minute.
The .450 Bushmaster is a fairly short range round, so you don’t really need a high magnification here. You probably also want a fairly wide field of view for fast target acquisition when that herd of hogs comes trotting across the field and you have to quickly choose which one you’re going to take down.
You’re not going to be reaching out to long ranges with this round, so a standard 3-9x magnification hunting scope is typically more than enough. I personally prefer either a 1-8x low-powered variable optic (LPVO) or a red dot, especially for hogs.
If you’re in an area where you have to take longer shots, the 3-9x is a perfectly acceptable option as well though. Higher magnification scopes also have a more restrictive eye box along with a narrower field of view, which isn’t great for quick reaction shots on moving targets.
This is another reason why we like red dots and holo sights for this caliber, as many of them have unlimited eye relief.
Listen, I love my BDC reticles as much as anybody, but do we really need them for .450 Bushmaster?
Most of the time, no. First of all, good luck finding someone who makes a reticle or BDC turrets for .450 Bushmaster. It’s hard enough just to find ammo for these rifles. Though we will cover some options that have BDC reticles.
This is a short-range hunting round so a nice plex or duplex reticle is likely fine for simple holdover. We can definitely get away with Kentucky windage and elevation adjustments here, no bullet drop compensator required.
The one thing I will recommend here is an illuminated reticle. This helps tremendously with quick shots, especially as the light is fading.
Good Light Transmission
What are we most likely hunting with .450 Bushmaster? Deer, elk, and hogs. When are they most active? 30 minutes before you get to the stand, or 30 minutes after you leave.
When are they the second most active? When it’s juuuuust about too dark to shoot, early in the morning or late into the evening.
A scope with good light transmission will allow you to stay in the field just a little bit longer and make those shots a the very last minute of legal shooting hours, which can be the difference that makes or breaks a hunting trip.
Best Scopes for .450 Bushmaster: Reviewed
With all this in mind, and after much experimentation and many Amazon purchases, here are the scopes that I have found to be the best options for the .450 Bushmaster.
I’ve included both red dots/holosights, and more traditional hunting scopes and LPVOs so there should be something here for everyone.
Best Red Dots and Holo Sights for .450 Bushmaster
Red dots and holo sights make a lot of sense on a .450 Bushmaster rifle. These are often brush guns, and the round itself is fairly short range so the lack of magnification isn’t an issue. The quick target acquisition and wide-open sight picture make for very fast shooting as well.
1. Vortex Optics Strikefire II
The Vortex Optics Strikefire II is an affordable, tube-style red dot sight that is aimed at the tactical and hunting markets. This is an excellent all-around option for a brush gun, and for hog hunters in general this is great scope-style red dot, especially since it works well with a magnifier.
The scope uses a 4 MOA dot with 10 brightness settings, and the whole scope is a single piece of aluminum so it can easily stand up to the heavy recoil of the .450 Bushmaster. The finish is a matte black hard-anodized coating that will resist scratches and corrosion.
Finally, the tube is gas-purged and sealed with o-rings in order to keep the optic waterproof and fog proof, and like all Vortex scopes and optics, the whole unit is covered by a transferable lifetime warranty.
2. Primary Arms SLx Advanced Red Dot
Primary Arms provides another affordable option in their SLx Advanced Red Dot sight. This is another tube-style red dot with 10 brightness settings, 3 of which are optimized for night vision usage which is great for hog hunting after dark.
The wide field of view and 2 MOA dot are perfect for quick reaction shots, and with an estimated 14,000 hours of run time on lower settings, it’ll always be ready to go when you are.
Also, like the Vortex option above, it has a lifetime warranty that covers defects due to both workmanship and materials and wear and tear so as long as you don’t smack it hard enough to break something, it’s covered forever.
3. Aimpoint CompM4
The king of the tube-style red dot sights, the Aimpoint CompM4 is one of the most battle-tested optics on the planet and is guaranteed to stand up to even the toughest of abuse. This is one of the original red dots issues to US troops, and is optimized for night vision use, but it works well in any environment.
It has 7 NVD-compatible brightness setting and 9 daylight settings, and features a unique coating that allows near 100% light transmission of the red dot itself so it can be used on very low brightness settings, while still providing the clearest possible sight picture.
On lower settings, the single AA battery can run for up to 80,000 hours, but you’re more likely to get 5-6k hours out of it, which still isn’t bad at all. It’s also the perfect height to work with Aimpoint 3xMag red dot magnifier.
It is constructed of aircraft-grade aluminum and is water-resistant to 150 ft which is...more than you need, honestly.
Overall, this is a time and battle-tested optic that has seen success in everything from the War on Terror to the pro-shooting circuit. And frankly, if it’s tough enough that US Marines can’t break it, then you’re probably not gonna break it either (said with love, Travis).
4. Eotech EXPS2-0
Switching to the holo sight side of things, the EOTech EXPS2-0 is another battle-tested design that comes with all the benefits you’d expect from a holo sight, and all the excellent features you’d expect from a legend in the optics world like EOTech.
A holo sight allows for even faster target acquisition than a standard red dot, and the reticle on this is optimized for both close-range reactionary shooting and long-range precision work out to the max range of the .450 Bushmaster.
The main circle of the reticle is 68 MOA, and the interior dot is 1 MOA for precise aiming at any distance. The ½ MOA per click adjustment makes it easy to get your windage and elevation set quickly and easily.
This version also comes with side-facing buttons so you can easily change brightness settings even when running a magnifier or night vision/thermal monocular addon, and a QD lever to quickly remove the optic if needed.
Best Magnified Rifle Scopes for .450 Bushmaster
If you’re going to be reaching out a little further, then you probably want some more magnification. Here are our favorite options for magnified scopes for .450 Bushmaster.
5. Primary Arms SFP
The Primary Arms 1-6x24 SFP Gen III scope is a great LPVO (low-powered variable optic) that is absolutely great on top of a .450 Bushmaster rifle.
The ACSS-Predator reticle uses an illuminated second focal plane chevron reticle and a BDC system that is geared towards quick range estimation to help you easily judge distances when making a shot on coyotes or hogs, which is great for most people hunting with the .450 Bushmaster.
The low-end of magnification is a true 1x, which is good for those times when you’re stalking through the brush after something.
6. Leupold VX Freedom
The Leupold VX Freedom 3-9x is one of the most popular hunting scopes around, and with good reason. This 3-9x scope is designed from the ground up for close to mid-range hunting.
It features some of the clearest glass in this price range, and it utilizes Leupold’s Twilight Management system for some of the best light transmission possible, giving you extra time in the stand late in the day or early in the morning.
You can also get a CDS turret that is custom-calibrated for the .450 Bushmaster’s drop, making those long-range shots that much easier.
The 3-9x magnification is on the upper end of what you need for this caliber, but if you’re hunting more in the 150-200 yard range than the 25-50 yard range, this is a really good option. Field hunters, take note. This is probably the one for you.
Finally, like with all Leupold scopes, you get a lifetime warranty that is one of the best in the optics industry so even if something does go wrong, you’re still good to go.
7. Vortex Optics Crossfire II
The Vortex Crossfire II 2-7x32 is another fairly budget-minded option, but the magnification range is perfect for the .450 Bushmaster.
This scope is really one of the best values in the industry, with fully multi-coated optics and a sunshade you’re never going to have to worry about glare. You also have single-piece construction, machine-locked lenses (not glued in place), and o-rings to keep everything water and fogproof.
It’s also nearly shockproof, which is what we want on heavily-recoiling calibers like the .450.
8. EOTech Vudu 2.5-10x
The EOTech Vudu might be expensive, but it’s also one of the best optics to come out in the past several years.
The 2.5x10 FFP version is pretty much the ultimate short-range AR optic.
The XC High-Density glass on this optic dramatically increases edge-to-edge clarity and some of the best light transmission around. The anti-reflective coating cuts down on glare as well, giving you the clearest possible sight picture at all times.
You also get a fast-focus eyepiece, tactical-style zero-reset turrets, and various MRAD and MOA-dot reticle options. The entire optic is gas-purged and sealed to keep everything water and fogproof.
Make no mistake, this is an expensive option, and you could go pick up a number of lower-grade optics for the same price (4-5 Nikon Buckmasters, Nikon Prostaffs, or Vortex Diamondbacks) but if you’re after premium performance and are willing to pay a premium for it, this is the option to go with.
The .450 Bushmaster is an excellent round that calls for an excellent scope. Many scopes will be battered to pieces by the heavy recoil and hard use that many of these rifles see.
If you’re looking for a great scope for your .450 Bushmaster rifle, these are the ones we recommend you look at first. All have stood the test of hard use in the field, and all have put meat on the table reliably.
What do you think of these scopes? Which ones are you likely to pick up for your rifle? Let us know in the comments! And when you’re done here, be sure to check out our list of the best AR-15 scopes for more content like this.