The Best Crossbow Scope Buyer’s Guide

Crossbow scopes are a must-have accessory for the individual participating in archery, whether one is on an archery range or hunting live game. Scopes are used for the purposes of magnification of the target: It makes for easy visualization of the shot the archer plans to make with a crossbow. Scopes lend to the accuracy of one’s shot and can, therefore, contribute to ethical, quick kills where the animal does not suffer. Sometimes referred to as sights, there are many models to choose from, all with unique designs and features. It is imperative that an archer get a crossbow scope that fits the bow properly and that serves the specific needs of the archer.

Scope Fundamentals

The basic design of a scope is that it features a long black tube. At one end of the black tube is an eyepiece fitted with an ocular lens. Moving beyond the eyepiece toward the opposing end of the sight in question, if the archer has invested in a model with zoom functions, one will find a power ring for adjusting the zoom of the sight. In the middle of the scope body, there is an elevation adjustment and windage adjustment tool. At the end of the scope, you will find an objective bell, where the body of the scope becomes a bit wider and almost bell shaped. The objective bell houses the second lens in the unit: The objective lens. The scope is mounted to the body of the crossbow above the trigger. An archer can choose from three main types of scopes including the red dot sight, reticule scope, and laser scopes.

Red Dot Sight vs Reticule Scope

The red dot sight is so called because the scope produces a red dot the archer can see and which the archer uses to aim at the target. Sometimes the dot is green instead of red. Some red dot sights come equipped with single style distance settings, but there are also more advanced multi-dot scopes allowing the archer to set several distances. Often times the red dot scope allows you to adjust the scope setting so the illuminated dot is either darker or brighter, depending upon preference.

Reticule Scope is a unit that has crosshairs that break up the lens view into four quarters. This type of scope is one of the oldest used and the most common. The crosshairs in the reticule scope might be etched into the lens, wired in, or even illuminated.

Alternative Sights

A laser sight is an alternative type of scope most ideal for when you are aiming at a target in motion. The laser helps the archer predict where the arrow will likely strike the selected target. A laser sight can be attached to the underside of an archer’s crossbow or in some cases the accessory is attached to the upper portion of the scope. If the archer is using the laser sight along with a quality scope, it serves as a good tool for determining midrange targets with incredible accuracy. As an alternative, some bows are fitted with iron sights: These sites are the most basic and are crafted of durable metal materials. With the crossbow, there will be two sights on the equipment. One of the sights is located in the crossbow’s front and it is either a post, bead, ring. Another iron sight is on the back of the bow and it is situated perpendicular to the crossbow’s line of sight. In some cases, iron sights have features allowing for adjustments of the elevation and the windage.

Scope Mounts: Your Options

The scope you choose has to be mounted to the bow’s structure. There are a few options when it comes to selecting a mount for your scope, including dovetail, Picatinny, and weaver rails. Crossbow scope rings are typically manufactured out of steel or aluminum. When selecting the ideal scope for your archery needs, you will need to consider what the scope contributes to accuracy, size, and range.

For the most part, archers look for scopes that increase range so they have an easier time in striking their selected targets. If you are using your scope for hunting purposes and your prey is small game, you will need a scope that features a short to mid-range distance. The scope needs to fit tightly onto the scope mount and it should be lightweight, but durable. If the scope is too heavy, such as a variable scope, it can end up hindering one’s ability to hunt instead of improving the hunt.

Dovetail Rail

The Dovetail Rail looks a lot like the Picatinny Rail in that there is a set of grooves running parallel that end up clamping on a set of tiny ribs raised right in the scope base’s middle section. The Dovetail rail mounts are the oldest mounts in use and are sometimes called Redfield Style or Leupold Style due to a 1931 patent on the mount’s design.

Picatinny Rail

A Picatinny rail will elevate the scope about 1/2 inch above the crossbow body, it is therefore most ideal when you are using a red dot scope. The word Picatinny originates from the original place of origin where the system was designed, at the New Jersey-based Picatinny Arsenal.

Weaver Rail

With the Weaver Rail, this type of mount will clamp to scopes’ beveled outer edge. The Weaver Rail is considered sturdier than alternative mounts like the Picatinny and the Dovetail rails.

Recommended Products

TacFire®1×30 Red Dot Sight for Crossbows

The TacFire® Red Dot Scope features a 30mm tube and measures about four inches long. The unit is light as it weighs eight ounces. The exterior color of the unit is black and the scope is crafted out of durable, aircraft grade anodized aluminum materials. The housing of the scope is shock resistant to ensure the longevity of the unit. The scope has a magnification of 1X, and the lens color on the scope is a rich ruby red. Specifically designed for use with the crossbow, the TacFire® 1X30 scope has dual illuminated green and red and for fast target acquisition, it offers unlimited eye relief. This scope is ideal for recreational crossbow and archery endeavors and hosts an integrated Picatinny/weaver base scope mount. The price is affordable as well. This model is fitted with two flip up lens covers to keep the lenses protected when the scope is not in use.

4×32 Multi Reticle Scope by SA Sports

The 4×32 Reticle Scope by SA Sports features the classic black reticle setup and multiple sight points. The scope is sold with dust covers to keep the lenses protected when the scope is not in use. The unit also comes with an Allen hex key, a cloth for cleaning the scope lenses, and weaver style rings. The most common sighting positions used with this scope might include settings at 20, 30, 40, and 50 yards. The unit requires one lithium ion battery to operate.

Hammers 4X32 Illuminated Scope

The Hammers scope comes with Weaver Rings. The unit has a compact design, it is lightweight and lends a snug fit when attached to the crossbow. The Hammers scope has a 4X magnification, and a multi-line reticule that is illuminated so there are several yardages you can set. The Hammers 4X32 Scope features a quick focus ring located where the end of the eyepiece is, and you can adjust the elevation and windage with your fingertip. The scope is crafted out of aircraft quality aluminum and features a non-reflective anodized finish. This model is shockproof, waterproof, and fog proof.