8 Best Slug Gun Scopes [Reviewed In 2021]

Best Slug Gun Scope

After writing about some of the gun world's options regarding slug guns or shotguns that are dedicated to shooting rifled and sabot slug, and then even more tuned in, shotguns with rifled barrels using rifle scopes have been quite interesting.

I must agree. I am currently looking to create the never before thought of (that is not true, but sounded cool in my head) precision slug gun. It sounded better in my head, and the reverb was turned up a bit as well.

OK, what am I talking about? I will acquire an old Remington bolt action 12 gauge from a pawn shop, and turn it from a bird shooter to a big game shooter. A buddy of mine has dubbed it Mjolnir (Thor's hammer). I like it, and it gives me a chance to wear my cape and Viking helmet, but more on that later, maybe.

Scope Mount or Base

One part about a high-quality rifle scope or shotgun scope on a slug gun is the ability for that scope to take that pounding from the recoil.  Most of the scopes from high-quality makers will have no problem with massive recoil. 

Hell, they test them with magnum rifles and rate some for the 50 BMG.  One crucial part of this particular build and your build for whatever gets your juices flowing in the slug gun world will be the scope mounts.  Here is a link to an article in HuntingMark.com that talks about mounting the scope, read it carefully.

how to mount a rifle scope

The other thing about mounting a scope on a heavy recoiling gun is not looking to save money here. The last thing you want is that expensive scope to get knocked off and hit the ground or have it fly off and hit you in the eyeball, and the worst of it all is what if you miss the trophy elk that was only 50 yards out of the blind, the horror!

What Do We Look For In A Slug Gun Scope?

Well, I am glad you asked. First off, before we get into MOA or low light shooting, etc, we have to talk about the shockproof and durability rating, and if you have any doubt about the quality build of the scope you are holding in your hand, go to the next one; this amount of recoil will tear some scopes apart. 

This scope and the gun platform will be good out to about 200 meters, maybe 300 if you really tune it, but think about the 200-yard shot. If your favorite rifle scope has a BDC 200 meters, it will not work on a slug gun. The 8–24x56mm is just too much, for this platform, save that for your 7mm Magnum build. I know it is rolling around in your head.

PRODUCT

DETAILS

Products

BEST FOR VIVID IMAGE

Nikon Prostaff P3

Nikon Prostaff P3

  • Diameter: 40mm
  • Magnification: 4-12x
  • Length: 14.1
BEST FOR DURABILITY

Vortex Optics Diamondback 1.75-5x32

Vortex Optics Diamondback 1.75-5x32

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 1.75-5x
  • Length: 10.2 in
BEST FOR CLEAR IMAGE

Bushnell Banner Dusk to Dawn

Bushnell Banner Dusk to Dawn

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 1.5-4x
  • Length: 10.5 in
BEST FOR WEATHER

TruGlo 4x32 Compact Shotgun

TruGlo 4x32 Compact Shotgun

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 4x
  • Length: 10.5
BEST FOR QUALITY IMAGE

Bushnell Trophy 3-9x40

Bushnell Trophy 3-9x40

  • Diameter: 40mm
  • Magnification: 3-9x
  • Length: 12.0 in
BEST FOR ACCURACY

Simmons Prodiamond Shotgun 4x32mm

Simmons Prodiamond Shotgun 4x32mm

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 4x
  • Length: 9.5 in
BEST FOR LONG RANGE

Burris 3-12x32 handgun Scope

Burris 3-12x32 handgun Scope

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 3-12x
  • Length: 10.8 in
BEST FOR BRIGHT IMAGE

Leupold Mark Mod1

Leupold Mark Mod1

Leupold Mark Mod1

  • Diameter: 40mm
  • Magnification: 3-9x
  • Length: 12.6 in

The Other Factors That Will Need Considering Are:

  • Weight
  • Length
  • Pistol, Scout, or Standard
  • Rifle or Dedicated Shotgun
  • Sabot through a rifled barrel
  • "Rifled" slugs from a smoothbore barrel
  • Guage of shotgun
  • And if you plan to stalk or ambush hunt.
  • Probably need to include the reticle illuminated or not.

Choosing The Scope

OK, we have talked a bit about mounting the scope and what we generally want in the scope, let us now look at what is on the market for said scope.

If you plan on using a rifled barrel for your slug gun, you need to shoot sabot slugs. This set-up accuracy is pretty impressive for launching a full ounce of .50 caliber lead from a 12 gauge shotgun. The felt recoil is one to help you remember the day as well.

For this slug gun and optics platform, rifle scope with a clear image can be used, but if you choose a scope with any bullet drop compensator it will not work; ignore that part, use the reticle ballistic plex reticle if your scope has that option, and hold-over shooting.

The second or first focal plane, at 200 meters, will both work great. The first focal plane may be slightly more advantageous due to the hold-overs staying constant as the magnification increases.

8 Best Slug Gun Scopes

1. Nikon Prostaff P3

nikon slug scopes

It is a sad day in the gun world to lose an optics maker like Nikon, I love their products, and now we have to buy them as they are found and hurry to get our hands on the crystal clear image and price tag that makes this rifle scope unbelievable.

The Nikon ProStaff P3 uses Nikon's Predator reticle, the standard crosshairs, with the center is replaced with a circle small tiny circle, but it lets your look through the circle let the led out.

The magnification is 3-9x power, and the objective lens is 40mm, so it is made much like a rifle scope, but a bit smaller package. The P3 is about 5 inches long and just over ¾ inches wide, and high weighs in only about one pound at 15 ounces.

The turrets are great, and spring-loaded resetting zero stop, finger turning turrets. The main body tube is made from aircraft aluminum, nitrogen purged for the weather, and dust resistance. The quick focus adjustable eyepiece is also made from aluminum, not plastic. The lens glass is fully multi-coated for unbelievable clarity.

Nikon Prostaff P3

The price of Nikon Prostaff P3 varies, so check the latest price at

2. Vortex Optics Diamondback 1.75-5x32

vortex shotgun scope

The Vortex name says quality scope, you can't go wrong with any of their offerings, which may be the one that makes it to the Mjullnier slug gun. With magnification ranges down to 1.75x power and up to a maximum of 5x power, the slug gun is right in its sweet spot.

Tough as nails, everyone has heard all that, but the recoil they test optics too at Vortex is fantastic. On top of the toughness great anodized coatings and weatherproofing, the Diamondback price is easy on the pocketbook.

The Diamondback is a Second Focal Plane Reticle, so that means basically that the crosshairs will stay the same size when you increase the magnification. Still, you will sacrifice the hold-overs, and the magnification increases. 

slug scope

If you have an SFP scope, set your reticle where you plan to shoot and learn the hold-overs from there, this is a 200 – 300 meter gun we are talking about here, not much need for twisting things.

The scope is a standard rifle scope size at 14 and ½ inches long, 2 inches wide, and 2 inches high, it weighs in at 1.3 pounds. This scope is made for brush guns and slug guns. If you don't know what a brush gun is, it's a heavy hitter rifle like the 45-70 or the .444 Marlin. To take a deer out as a fast action shooter, the slug gun can do the same and do a great job at that.

With that in mind, the Diamondback does have a bullet drop compensator reticle that may work for a sabot shooter. The turrets are hunting style capped and can be zero resets after sighting in for your distance. 

The lenses are fully multi-coated. The turrets are fantastic. They are metal-to-metal precision ground to perfection, the central tube is 1," and O-ring sealed, purged with argon to fight off any environmental issues.

Vortex Optics Diamondback 1.75-5x32

The price of Vortex Optics Diamondback 1.75-5x32 varies, so check the latest price at

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

3. Bushnell Banner Dusk to Dawn

bushnell shotgun scope

As of late, the folks at Bushnell are stepping up to challenge the industry heavy hitters. The precision optics they make for long-range shooting have taken that sport by storm, and the close game has been in the hands of Bushnell for a very long time. 

That is not due to the quality of their scopes. It is the affordability and availability. Makers like Vortex only sell and stock in authorized dealer locations, but you can find a Bushnell nearly anywhere, and then in the field, you can also find them anywhere.

The Bushnell engineers have made a lense coating the call the Dusk and Dawn Brightness (DDB) full multi-coating treatment, and for the price, why not give it a shot, especially if you are unsure you really want to do the slug gun set up. 

Bushnell Banner Dusk to Dawn

Get one of these optics, put a rail mount on your Remington pump gun, go to the range use up some stored ammo. Try the TruGlo out in poor weather conditions and let it fly, and see if this is the right choice for you, eventually, if that Bushnell does not live up to its claims, go bigger.

The Banner scope has a reticle they call the Circle X. This is not exactly what you see. It is a duplex style scope, thick to thin center. The circle is set right at that transition from thick to thin and makes an excellent fast action or sight picture, especially in the morning's wee hours.

The turrets are finger adjustable, but not the huge knobby tactical style, which is nice. The main tube is one piece, and Bushnell claims it is 100% waterproof. I don't plan on buying one and chucking it in the lake now; if Bushnell wants to send me one, I will be happy to test it and get right back to you on the results.

Another great feature, and the reason this scope ranks right here, can be ordered at a slug gun model scope, so it gets its place higher on the list than a converted or conscripted rifle scope.

Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn

Bushnell Banner Dusk to Dawn

The price of Bushnell Banner Dusk to Dawn varies, so check the latest price at

4. TruGlo 4x32 Compact Shotgun

shotgun scopes

If you plan on running the smoothbore barrel on a pump shotgun and putting a scope on it for the deer that seems a bit too far away, this may be your answer. The scope is small and lightweight, fixed power. After all, you are using a pump gun and most likely stalking vs. ambush hunting.

The fixed power makes all that BDC reticle stuff irrelevant; it will take some getting used to hold-overs, but that is just range time, and when is that ever a bad thing.

The quality on the TruGlo at times is questionable, and we only shoot straight here at the hunting mark (yes, I did that on purpose), so you need to know what you are looking at quality-wise as well as practical.

The size is excellent for a stalking gun, 6" long, ½" wide, and ½" long, weighs in at 16 ounces. The reticle is a diamond reticle, and the duplex reticle is for this rimfire model, which will die quickly on the shotgun. 

The diamond reticle is very much like the Bushnell Circle x we looked at above. That reticle is made for deer and turkeys and custom engineered for shotgun hunting.

The lens glass is fully multi-coated, the body and glass are both treated with scratch-resistant coatings. TruGlo lists the materials, and I have to admit it is nice to have an honest listing by a maker, as multi, so that is high impact plastic and aluminum, so that means the focusing eyepiece will be plastic take it for what it is worth to you.

TruGlo 4x32 Compact Shotgun

The price of TruGlo 4x32 Compact Shotgun varies, so check the latest price at

5. Bushnell Trophy 3-9x40

bushnell trophy shotgun scope

The Bushnell Trophy model was once offered for shotgun specifically, made for turkey hunting. I can not locate one for sale on either Bushnell's corporate webpage or the Amazon page for Bushnell. I can find some for sale on other sites, so that must be old stock still on the shelf; I don't know.

For the precision shooting slug gun we are talking about here, the Bushenlss Trophy Rifle Scope 3-9x40 will work just fine, and before you say it, yes, there is a reason; hang on a few seconds longer.

The turkey scope reticle was more suited for buckshot shooting, and we want the Bushnell Multi x reticle for hitting one projectile into a bullseye. So what is the reason to look into this rifle scope? On a slug gun, it has a 4-inch eye relief, that's why. The specifics read like most other Bushnell optics.

The reticle is in the Second Focal Plane. The main body is a one-inch tube, dry nitrogen filled. The scope boasts waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof. The parallax is fixed, and the listing and manufacturer info I could find did not say where it is fixed. A fast focus eyering handles the focus.

The scope is a regular rifle scope size at 12 inches long and weighs in at just 14.3 ounces. The glass is fully multi-coated for good light transmission. The turrets are fingertip adjustable for windage and elevation.

Bushnell Trophy 3-9x40

The price of Bushnell Trophy 3-9x40 varies, so check the latest price at

6. Simmons Prodiamond Shotgun 4x32mm

slug gun scope

Not many hunters use Simmons out west in Utah, and I don't know why. Maybe my shop needs to make a difference in that market. I had a deer rifle that I purchased a while back with a Simmons precision scope mounted on it, and it was a great optic.

The Prodiamond Shotgun Prohunter is one of the few proper shotgun scopes left, and it is all shotgun scope. The finish is available in matte black or matte camo, so this is perfect for getting in the blinds for turkey or whitetail as both of these critters can see more than we think they can.

The Prohunter is a fixed magnification right in the sweet spot for the slug shooter at four power, and the objective at 32mm will give a good field of view and sit close to the barrel when you mount it. The size is the same as a rifle scope at over 14 inches long and 3 ¼ high and wide, weighs in at just over nine ouches.

The glass is fully multi-coated, and the turrets are secured through Simmons TrueZero lock. This will keep your crosshairs from wandering under heavy recoil. The reticle is very similar to Bushnell's diamond reticle, who had it first, I don't know, but this one, specifically made for shotguns, and even more specifically for slug guns, so for this article, Simmons wins.

The main body is a one-inch tube, and waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof. The quick focus eyepiece ocular and excellent eye relief at four inches.

Simmons Prodiamond Shotgun 4x32mm

The price of Simmons Prodiamond Shotgun 4x32mm varies, so check the latest price at

7. Burris 3-12x32 Handgun Scope

best shotgun scope

Come on, did you think I would not revisit the Burris? One of the few makers of dedicated handgun scopes on the market and lifetime warranty. So why is it lower on the list? The optics are a bit on the pricey side.

They are offered in matte black and silver. The scope is made for a complete operation variable magnification scope in a stout and compact package. Under 11 inches long and 16 ounces, that is a lot of glass in a small package.

Everything is made from aircraft-grade aluminum, the turrets are precision machined to fit metal-to-metal and adjust smoothly as butter, the turrets are capped like most hunting scopes. The parallax is adjustable on the objective hood from 25 yards to infinity.

The main body is a one-inch tube, nitrogen purged, water and fog proof. The reticle itself, supported with a dual internal spring-tension system making it shock and vibration proof. The eye relief is incredible, at ten inches plus. The manufacturer states up to twenty-four inches of eye relief, which will reduce quite a bit as you increase the magnification.

The reticle is Burris' Ballistic Plex, and according to Burris, it can be made to work with any caliber or gauge in this case and bullet weight; check with their fantastic webpage; it will have your charts available for you.

The lenses are coated with Burris' Hi-Lume coating for maximum light delivery to your eyeball.

Burris 3-12x32 Handgun Scope

The price of Burris 3-12x32 Handgun Scope varies, so check the latest price at

8. Leupold Mark Mod 1

best slug gun scope

Why put the Leupold last on my list, the price tag, and availability. The Mark Mod1 is also made for the AR Platform, so the etched reticle BDC will not work with the slug gun.

The Mark AR Mod1 has an excellent precision shooting reticle called the fire dot; right at the crosshairs, the illuminated red dot shows the crosshair's exact center. The reticle is a second focal plane, ensuring you practice the hold-over shooting, adjust for magnification, etc.

The Mod1 is a full-size scope at 14 inches long, 3 inches wide, and 3 inches high. Weights respectable at just 1.2 pounds. They do this by using a 1" main body tube made from 6061 aircraft aluminum, and other features like the turret knobs are made from polymer. The main tube is nitrogen purged, water, shock, dust, and fog proof; you name it.

The lenses are fully multi-coated with Leupold's multicoat 4 system, which provided crystal clear edge-to-edge clarity. The turrets are finger adjustable, and the magnification ring is aggressively knurled to make it quick and stable to adjust, even wearing gloves.

Leupold Mark Mod1

Leupold Mark Mod1

The price of Leupold Mark Mod1 varies, so check the latest price at

Want to know more about leupold scopes check out our guide on best leupold scopes

Summary

Now that we have spent some time talking about shotguns dedicated to slug shooting, and the optics choices on the market, you have more than enough knowledge to look at what is available in your area and affordable to your checkbook.

Please do not go crazy on overspending for an idea that you may not be 100% behind. Look into the lower-cost options, try them out, and then improve your optics. 

If you are like me and feel the need to make a super slug shooter, for just in case, say a Sasquatch season comes along, get the best scope you can afford, get the best amount that you can possibly get, put your slug gun together and give it a go in the woods.

If you go this route, please let me know in the comments that you went down this path and how it worked. Tell us all what you chose for your gun and scope platform so we can all make better decisions. Even if we learn what not to do, we are all still learning.

Good luck, good hunting, and good shooting.

References

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