At first glance, the words “shotgun” and “scope” don’t seem like they should fit together. After all, shotguns are designed to cover a wide area within a short distance with projectiles. Why would you need a scope for that?
Well, you’re never gonna be picking off targets from half a mile away with a shotgun. But plenty of optics exist that are designed for close range shooting. Many CQB sights are designed to allow for rapid target acquisition.
Best Shotgun Scopes 2020
We’ve built a collection of some of our favorite shotgun scopes available in 2020. There’s a mixture of variable and fixed power scopes. All of which have been highlighted due to how well they fit our buying criteria which takes into account durability, price, magnification and other key factors.
Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope
When I first glanced at this product I saw a fairly compact and well put together shotgun scope. I wasn’t particularly wrong upon closer inspection, either.
It clearly has a matte black color. The metal casing it’s held in looks as durable as they say it is, too.
This scope is manufactured by Bushnell. Bushnell are a very reputable brand. They’re focused specifically in optics and optics designed for outdoor applications. They were actually founded in Japan shortly after the end of the second world war by their American creator, David Bushnell. The story goes that he picked up 400 pairs of binoculars, took them back home and managed to successfully sell all of them.
In terms of functionality this scope isn’t actually just a shotgun scope. It can also be used with rifles, pistols and really any gun with a picatinny rail. It’s particularly easy to mount compared to other sights. It has a magnification level of 1x and a 25mm objective lens diameter.
It’s totally waterproof – to the point where it can even be submersed in low levels of water. This is due to the solid O-Ring construction. It’s also shockproof to protect against recoil and general bangs and scrapes. It’s nitrogen purged to prevent fog build up also.
There’s 11 different brightness configurations available. All of which can be configured easily with the simple to operate “easy adjust” brightness dial.
It weighs in at about 4 oz. It’s also only about 2.4 inches in length. So overall it makes for a pretty compact scope and you can see why it’s used on handguns as well as shotguns and rifles.
TRUGLO 4x32mm Compact Rimfire and Shotgun Scope Series
At a preliminary glance, you’ll probably note that this is a fairly large scope for a shotgun. But it doesn’t look awkward or out of place. It’s manufactured by a brand called TRUGLO. They produce a great deal of hunting equipment and have been in business since 1993. So they’re a fairly safe brand to consider doing business with. Especially given their warranty program and customer service standards.
It has a magnification level of 4x. Which may seem like a lot for a shotgun but this can grant you a particularly great level of accuracy at mid range. The objective lens diameter is about 32mm which will allow plenty of light to filter through. This grants you a great deal of clarity, contrast and of course brightness.
It looks pretty well put together. Especially with the matte black, scratch-proof coating that surrounds the device. I’m unsure as to where these scopes are actually manufactured as TRUGLO did not make this information easily accessible on their website. What I can tell you about the manufacturing process is that it’s manufactured out of one single, machined piece of aircraft-tier aluminium alloy. This is great as the elimination of multiple moving parts can seriously cut down on the likelihood that you’ll encounter errors further down the line.
The lens is fully coated to help stave off glare. There’s also a rubber eye guard to enhance user comfort.
It comes in two models, one with a duplex reticle and one with a diamond reticle. Which one you opt for ultimately boils down to personal preference. The diamond reticle is the one you’d likely settle on if you’re planning on mounting this on a shotgun for hunting purposes.
Konus 7249 Shotgun Black Powder Riflescope 1.5x-5x32mm
The Konus 7259 is a pretty unimposing scope, all things considered. It doesn’t have a particularly huge objective lens diameter, although it is fairly long. It’s manufactured by a brand known as Konus. They’re an Italian optics company, founded all the way back in the 1970s. They’re a well established optics brand, evidenced by the fact that they have managed to grow to the point of international distribution.
This particular scope is a great choice for a shotgun. It has variable magnification levels, with a minimum magnification level of 1.5x. The maximum is a magnification level of 5x. This means it’s great for both close and medium range applications.
It has an engraved reticle and all of the basic markings of quality that you’d come to expect from a professional scope. It’s shockproof, waterproof and fog proof. The interior has also been nitrogen purged to prevent build up of internal fog.
It’s particularly easy to use the adjustment dials to adjust for both windage and elevation. Lens caps and a lens cleaning cloth are also provided to ensure that you can take as much care of your scope as possible.
It’s likely made at home in Italy, unless declared otherwise. So if you were looking for a product that was made in the USA this may not be the best pick for you. If you’re indifferent about import products or have had some positive experiences with this brand in the past you might want to press on, though.
It weighs in at about 14 ounces. So you shouldn’t expect it to be causing you too much fatigue – although this is considerably heavier than some other scopes on the market.
NIKON Buckmasters II 3-9x50mm BDC
When it comes to the production of high quality optical devices – few people do it better than Nikon. This is why the Nikon buckmaster is a product we seriously recommend. It was designed from the ground up to be used by deer hunters allover America. It’s unlikely you haven’t heard of Nikon before, you’ve likely used one of their cameras at some point in your lifetime. (or had your picture taken by one).
But just in case, a quick refresher. They were founded in 1917. That’s over 100 years ago. They also specialize in just about every aspect of imagery you can imagine. From developing cameras and binoculars right through to the development of microscopes and other scientific instruments which utilize lenses.
Naturally, when they make a product, the quality is generally pretty high. As such it’s unsurprising to learn that this scope has all the hallmarks of a high quality optic. It’s built to be extremely durable – being fogproof, shockproof and waterproof. The BDC style reticle allows you to quickly adjust your shots on the fly.
Functionally, you can expect to see a magnification level of 3x at a minimum. You can crank this all the way up to 9x if need-be, though.
The actual lens itself has an objective lens diameter of 50mm and it’s multi-coated to protect against glare. This means that you can expect to see quite a high level of detail and contrast as more light filters through the lens.
Shotgun Scope Buyers Guide
If you’re planning on sourcing a shotgun scope yourself, there’s a few things you should keep an eye out for. We’ve outlined some of the things you should keep in mind below.
Durability is a huge deciding factor when you’re sourcing an optic. The durability of your device will boil down to the materials used in the manufacturing process and the overall quality of the manufacturing process. Aircraft aluminium is a commonly used durable metal, so the presence of this can be a great sign. There’s also a handful of different types of steel that are almost always a good choice for scope manufacturers. Ideally your sight should be waterproof/rainproof to prevent long term damage if you get caught in bad weather. It should be shockproof to stave off damage from recoil or potential knocks and scrapes. It should also be nitrogen purged on the inside. This prevents the build up of fog internally which can damage your accuracy and obstruct your vision.
Is there a handful of moving parts in your scope? It’s much more likely to fall apart versus a scope that’s manufactured from a uniform, machined piece.
Magnification is another important factor. Obviously, given that you’re using a shotgun, there’s a limit to your range. So you’re probably not going to get much use out of a sight that’s locked in at 6x magnification. With that in mind, a little bit of magnification can go along way. Non-magnified sights are classified as 1x magnification. This means the image inside the sight appears as 1x its original size – in other words, it’s not magnified. You don’t need to immediately jump up to 2x magnification after this, though. Scopes can go up in increments of 0.5. So you can also opt for a 1.5x or 2.5x scope.
Scopes that are dialed in to one particular magnification are known as fixed power scopes. They can’t be adjusted or changed.
You can also get scopes with variable power. Being able to adjust the magnification of your shotgun is great because it allows you to adjust for variances in distance. It also grants you the ability to adjust to shooting with different magnification levels – giving you the chance to figure out what works best for you.
The quality of the image is incredibly important. Poor image quality means poor accuracy when it really counts. Nitrogen purging, as mentioned above, will help prevent fog. But the size of the lens diameter will also dictate how much light filters through to provide you with a clear image.
Price is another incredibly important factor to keep an eye out for. Not necessarily the over-all price, but whether you’re getting what you pay for. Bigger brands can sometimes get away with introducing a little bit of a higher price threshold. But only if they actually have the quality to back it up. If you have reservations about pricing, double check customer reviews. Look and see if the brand is providing you with a warranty