You can have the latest and greatest crossbow on the market and it won’t do you any good if you can’t place the arrow where you want. And the best crossbow scope is one that does just that: help you be more accurate. You point, you shoot, you pierce your target. Hitting where you aim is important when just shooting targets. But when you’re at the crossbow hunt, then it becomes absolutely critical. Ethics demand that you know your hunting gear is fine-tuned and ready to rock. This is where a top notch scope makes things easier and much more accurate. Because once you’ve mounted your scope correctly, well, hit exactly where you aim with a crossbow is actually quite easy. At least, that’s until “buck fever” sets in.
How to Choose the Best Crossbow Scope
Determining the best crossbow scope is a bit subjective in terms of features (like type of illumination, reticles, etc.), but there’s no hesitation when it comes to performance. The best crossbow scopes are those that make aiming in a crossbow an enjoyable, efficient, and accurate experience. If there is a lack of consistency in accuracy, this scope is the one you shouldn’t take into the woods. So keep accuracy in mind at all times when evaluating a scope.
Best crossbow scope for the money: Vortex Crossfire II
The Vortex Crossfire II. Vortex
Call me a fanboy but there hasn’t been a Vortex Optics offer yet that I haven’t liked. I guess it’s because the Wisconsin-based company knows how to do it right. They build great products at different price points, but they all come with the same no-questions-asked lifetime warranty.
The Vortex Crossfire II Crossbow Scope is no exception and it is the best crossbow scope for your hard earned dollars. The 2-7×32 scope is 9.5 inches in length and features a standard tube size of 30mm. It has 2.7 inches of eye relief and weighs 14 ounces.
The optics are bright, clear and offer dual red/green illumination. The reticle has aiming points out to 100 yards. Zero the Crossfire II at 40 yards, and the remains will be at 100 yards. As with all Vortex offerings, this scope is well built and the tolerances are tight. You can feel the quality in your hand, and the price makes it a real value option for your crossbow.
The Best TruGlo Crossbow Scope: 4×32 Compact
TruGlo Crossbow 4X32 Compact Scope TruGlo
If you’re looking for the best crossbow scope on a tight budget, TruGlo’s 4×32 Compact is a usable scope that won’t break the bank. It lacks the overall build quality of others on this list, but is very popular due to its low price. The bezel offers pretty solid performance. This is the scope I used on an older TenPoint crossbow before the upgrade and had few complaints. I wouldn’t call it a real long-range option, but at ranges of, say, 50 yards and under, it’s proven reliable and accurate.
The illuminated model offers red or green options and the BDC reticle makes it a bit easier to shoot longer distances with well-marked holds.
It’s fully coated and is perfectly glossy (although the optics aren’t in the class like others on this list). The oscilloscope uses the easy-to-find CR2032 battery, a welcome feature given that many “budget” oscilloscopes in this price range tend to use odd-sized batteries which can be difficult to locate locally.
Best Ravin Crossbow Range: Ravine 450
The ravine 450 Tony Hansen
So maybe you want one of the high-end Ravin crossbows, but your budget is a little more docile… that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some really good Ravin gear.
The 450 scope is excellent although a bit expensive. If you’re shooting a crossbow that you’ve owned for a few seasons and are looking to upgrade it, adding it to the top could make the difference. The scope features a reticle with clear aiming points from 20 to 100 yards. It’s crisp and clear and the overall build quality is exactly what you’d expect from Ravin.
You can choose between red or green lighting and you can select your level of lighting in low light conditions. The crossbow scope can compensate for speeds up to 450 fps, so it’s a scope that will grow with you as you upgrade your crossbow.
Best high-tech crossbow scope: Garmin Xero X1i
The Garmin Xero X1i Amazon
The Xero X1i is by far the most expensive crossbow scope I have handled. I only spent a short time with it during a demo session at a local dealer, but that was enough time to know that this crossbow scope is exceptional. It is unlike any other available.
If you need a reason to justify the price, here’s one: it’s a dual-purpose tool. It’s a telescope and a laser rangefinder. Yes, the rangefinder is integrated directly into the bezel and it works perfectly. The rangefinder is activated by pressing a button separate from the scope itself, allowing you to mount the button wherever you want on your crossbow. This makes it quick and easy to get range to your target without taking your hands off the crossbow.
As you move away from the target, the scope automatically places the aiming point where it needs to be for the distance. You see only one precisely calibrated aiming point based on the speed and specifications of your crossbow. It’s as simple as moving around, locking on the target, and pulling the trigger. The lighting automatically compensates for the amount of light available, so there’s no need to fiddle with light levels in the heat of battle.
Best TenPoint Crossbow Scope: EVO-X Elite Sniper
The EVO-X sniper Amazon
I was able to spend some time shooting and learning about the EVO-X range of scopes at the Archery Trade Association show and was impressed with the crossbow specific thinking and designs. This makes sense considering TenPoint has been a leader in the crossbow business for a long, long time.
The EVO-X Marksman Elite is the best of the best in the line. The scope offers variable speed as well as arrow drop compensation, meaning you can use the scope regardless of your crossbow speed or your preferred hunting arrow style and weight. This is an essential combination for reliable and repeatable accuracy over longer distances.
I’m also a fan of the reticle setup. You get crosshairs for the common ranges of 20, 40, and 60 yards; light points at 30 and 50 meters; and unlit rafters at the less common distances of 70, 80, 90, and 100 yards. I found this setup easy to use and less confusing than other reticle setups. The micro-adjustable turrets are also external, making it easy to adjust on the fly if needed.
Q: Can you use a scope on a crossbow?
The short answer is yes. The best answer is a question: Why would you? Maybe in previous years it might have made more sense. No more. Now, there are a number of exceptional rifle scopes specifically designed for crossbows and crossbow hunting. The list here gives you a good start. Trying to settle for a scope meant for a rifle doesn’t make much sense these days.
Q: Are crossbow and rifle scopes the same?
No. They’re similar the way a Ford F-150 is like a Tesla. Both have four wheels. Both are intended for passenger transport. But they are two tools made for different jobs. A crossbow scope features custom reticles for crossbow use. Scopes are intended for aiming bullets that travel much faster and generally over much longer distances than crossbow scopes.
Q: Can I put any scope on my crossbow?
Of course you can, as long as the scope fits the rings, mounts and setup you have. Of course, you can also put ketchup on a pizza. But why the hell would you do such a thing? Again, crossbow scopes are designed specifically for crossbows and there is no shortage of great options. Get a crossbow scope for your crossbow and thank us later.
Final Thoughts on Choosing a Crossbow Scope
Your crossbow scope is an accessory that helps you place the arrow exactly where you want it to go. Determining the best crossbow scope is a personal decision based on what the shooter feels most comfortable with. There are scopes with different magnifications, illumination types, and reticles, but these characteristics do not guarantee a consistent shot. Find a scope you can shoot with precision and don’t look back. Accuracy is the most important aspect when choosing a scope. At the end of the day, you just need the arrow to go where you planned.