Best Shotgun Scopes: From Turkeys to Deer

Our Top Picks

Best Overall

Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6×24

Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x24 weight with cantilever mount

Incredibly reliable for different shooting applications.

Best Turkey Shotgun Scope

Sig Romeo5 Red Dot

Offers great value and performance.

Best for Duck Hunting

EOTECH EXPS2

Best Budget Shotgun Scope

Vortex Diamondback Second Focal Riflescope

Combination of affordability and reliability.

Best for Deer Hunting

Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9×40

Perfect for hunting in low-light conditions.

Shotguns are great for both hunting and home defense. And they perform better with a reliable scope mounted on them. But among the many shotgun scopes you could pick, how do you choose the best one for your use? We picked a scope for every application in this article so you can easily pick one that suits yours.

Comparison of the Best Shotgun Scopes

SIG SAUER ROMEO5 1X20mm Tactical Hunting Shooting Durable Waterproof...
EOTECH EXPS2 Holographic Weapon Sight
Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40 Second Focal Plane Riflescope -...
Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40 (1 inch) Hunt-Plex Reticle Riflescope
Model
SIG SAUER ROMEO5 1X20mm Tactical Hunting Shooting Durable Waterproof...
EOTECH EXPS2 Holographic Weapon Sight
Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40 Second Focal Plane Riflescope -...
Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40 (1 inch) Hunt-Plex Reticle Riflescope
MSRP
$105.99
-
$199.00
$281.37
Material
Aluminum
Aluminum
Aluminum
Aluminum
Optics
Anti-reflection coatings
Holographic - Glass
Extra-low dispersion glass
Twilight Light Management System
Weight
5.1 oz.
1.25 Pounds
1.3 Pounds
‎0.55 Kilograms
SIG SAUER ROMEO5 1X20mm Tactical Hunting Shooting Durable Waterproof...
Model
SIG SAUER ROMEO5 1X20mm Tactical Hunting Shooting Durable Waterproof...
MSRP
$105.99
Material
Aluminum
Optics
Anti-reflection coatings
Weight
5.1 oz.
More Information
EOTECH EXPS2 Holographic Weapon Sight
Model
EOTECH EXPS2 Holographic Weapon Sight
MSRP
-
Material
Aluminum
Optics
Holographic - Glass
Weight
1.25 Pounds
More Information
Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40 Second Focal Plane Riflescope -...
Model
Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40 Second Focal Plane Riflescope -...
MSRP
$199.00
Material
Aluminum
Optics
Extra-low dispersion glass
Weight
1.3 Pounds
More Information
Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40 (1 inch) Hunt-Plex Reticle Riflescope
Model
Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40 (1 inch) Hunt-Plex Reticle Riflescope
MSRP
$281.37
Material
Aluminum
Optics
Twilight Light Management System
Weight
‎0.55 Kilograms
More Information

How We Chose & Must-Have Features

CategoryVortex Strike Eagle 1-6×24Sig Romeo5 Red DotEOTECH EXPS2Vortex DiamondbackLeupold VX-Freedom 3-9×40Category Average
Overall Score3.464.022.863.363.543.45
Ergonomics2.33.61.72.12.22.38
Build Quality43.54.54.34.54.16
Optics4354.24.54.14
Battery4.551.5333.4
Value2.552.13.23.53.26

Build Quality

Strike Eagle Illumination adjustment

Changes in temperature may occur while you’re out hunting. Such fluctuations can lead to mildew formation or internal fogging. So it’s best to be equipped with a scope that can deal with extreme weather changes and is made with premium-quality materials.

And of course, you want something that holds a zero even if you don’t baby it. It also helps if it keeps looking good along the way.

How do we rate it?

Is it waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof? A high rating in this category means your scope is the tank of the optics world—reliable, tough, and ready for anything Mother Nature throws at it.

Optics

second focal plane rifle scope, vortex optics Strike Eagle

Magnification is one of the most important considerations for a shotgun scope. Since you’d probably be using your shotgun for hunting or home defense, mostly. A 1-6x magnification range is perfect for those. If you’re looking for a slug gun optic, you may want a bit more magnification.

For better performance, your shotgun scope should also have excellent optical clarity and great low-light performance. So look for an optic with an objective lens of at least 40 mm with a fully multi-coated lens made from high-density glass.

How do we rate it?

High marks go to scopes that offer a view so clear it feels like you’re looking through a freshly cleaned window, not a piece of equipment. Low-light performance and the ability to maintain a sharp, bright image under various conditions also score high.

Illumination

Illumination plays a big role in getting the most out of your scope. And just because you can make out your target doesn’t mean you can always see your reticle. Scopes such as the Leupold VX-Freedom is one choice to consider as their Twilight Light Management System is designed to help you perform well when shooting in low-light conditions. 

How do we rate it?

Is it waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof? A high rating in this category means your scope is the tank of the optics world—reliable, tough, and ready for anything Mother Nature throws at it.

Ergonomics

Ergonomics refers to how well the scope fits you and your shooting style. Can you make all the adjustments easily? Does the scope feel like an extension of your eye when you’re lining up a shot? If the answer is “Yeah, kinda like how my hand fits into a bag of chips,” then you’re on the right track.

Eye Relief

Getting a scope with generous eye relief (at least four inches) is critical since most shotguns have significant recoil. 

How do we rate it?

Is the scope’s weight balanced, or does it make your rifle feel like you’re lugging around a medieval weapon? A top-rated scope in ergonomics should feel intuitive like it’s an extension of yourself rather than an awkward appendage.

Battery

If your scope has any electronic components, like an illuminated reticle, then battery life is your new best friend. There’s nothing worse than getting ready for the perfect shot only to find your reticle as dark as your chances of hitting the target without it. Long battery life is a must. You should also have easy access to replace batteries and shouldn’t have to think about it much until you need it.

How do we rate it?

We give lower scores to scopes that require battery changes more often than you change your socks. High ratings go to models with efficient power usage and long-lasting battery life, ensuring you’re always ready for the shot, day or night.

Value

Value is not only about the price tag, it’s also about getting the most bang for your buck. Sure, you could drop a small fortune on a scope, but is it overkill? A good scope should fit both your budget and your needs, offering the features you’ll actually use without the fluff you won’t.

How do we rate it?

A high rating in value means the scope offers the best blend of quality and features for its price point, striking that sweet balance between cost and functionality. Think of it as the difference between a deal and a steal.

Intended Application

Lastly, consider how you’ll be using your shotgun, whether you’ll be using it for home defense or for hunting. If you’ll be using your shotgun for home defense, a scope that has generous eye relief and offers quick target acquisition is critical.

You may even want to consider a 1x or reflex sight. 

But if you are using your shotgun mostly for hunting, you’d need a scope with higher magnification and reliable elevation and windage adjustments. Keep in mind, though, that those optics with higher magnification have less eye relief.

5 Best Shotgun Scopes

Best Overall: Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6×24 Scope

CategoryVortex Strike Eagle 1-6×24Category Average
Ergonomics2.32.38
Build Quality44.16
Optics44.14
Battery4.53.4
Value2.53.26

Score: 3.46/5

Our best overall pick is a solid budget-friendly riflescope for plinking or competitions. The scope’s reticle only has an open circle and dot at the center without any clear center crosshair. 

The extended post on the magnification ring of the Gen 2 version is easy to use and a significant improvement to earlier versions of the Vortex Strike Eagle. The eye box is a little restrictive, and you’ll really sense it if you’re coming from a red dot. However, compared to high-end scopes, you’ll notice distortion around the edge of the glass at higher magnification and average low-light performance. The included dust caps are also a nice bonus.

Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6×24 Gen 2 LPVO Review by ReloadYourGear

Pros

  • Anti-reflective coatings
  • Affordable
  • Adjustable diopter
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty
  • Illuminated reticle

Cons

  • Eye box can be a bit unforgiving
  • Glass clarity isn’t great at high magnification
  • Short battery life (258 hours)
  • Heaviest pick (18.2 oz)

What Customers Say

“I’m not an expert on optics. Much of what I know is based on product research and less on practical application. Nevertheless, based on my research and my experience with the scope so far, this is the best value available. You won’t find another scope of this quality, with these capabilities and features, from a manufacturer with a reputation like Vortex anywhere close to this price range.”

Eric Stikes

“My range is only 500 YDs. Being a novice to bolt action rifles. This is bar none a great entry-level scope. Awesome glass and smooth adjustment. Definite buy. Locked in and adjusted hit 500 yds 8 inches round Ar500 plate all day long. You cannot beat the Vortex warranty. Lifetime. There is your cue to buy.”

Darren

Best Turkey Shotgun Scope: Sig Romeo5 Red Dot

CategorySig Romeo5Category Average
Ergonomics3.62.38
Build Quality3.54.16
Optics34.14
Battery53.4
Value53.26

Score: 4.02/5

The Sig Sauer Romeo 5 is equipped with Motion Activated Illumination helps in extending your scope’s battery life as it automatically turns off the red dot when it’s not in use and automatically turns on once you pick up your shotgun.

It also features 10 illumination settings (8 daytime, 2 NV) for faster target acquisition and optimal performance in all lighting conditions. Its windage and elevation knobs are also easily adjustable as well.

If you’re looking for a high-quality scope for less than $200, the Sig Sauer Romeo5 is for you!

Sig Romeo5 Red Dot Sight Review by ReloadYourGear

Pros

  • Night-vision compatible
  • Affordable
  • Long battery life (40,000 hours)
  • Comes with a motion-activated illumination
  • Comes with a transferable, lifetime warranty
  • Lightest pick (5.1 oz)

Cons

  • There’s a bit of distortion at the edge of the optic
  • Finish gets scraped off easily
  • Comes with a bulky mount

What Customers Say

“Absolutely love this thing! Mounted on my Marlin 1895gs chambered in 45-70 govt with an American Defense T1 quick-release mount. Holds up to the recoil and honestly, I couldn’t have picked a better optic and mount. The setup was zeroed in 4 rounds and after that, I felt like I couldn’t miss! I keyholed rounds between 50 and 100 yards all day. This sight didn’t miss a beat and I will be buying more. I love Sig optics and they have yet to let me down and this one is worth every penny!!!”

Ryan

“Love this! I have an EOTech which I love and I have to say this has the quality of EOTech! I put it on my KSG 12 and it holds zero with no problems!”

Payne Hardwood

Best for Duck Hunting: EOTECH EXPS2

Category EOTECH EXPS2Category Average
Ergonomics1.72.38
Build Quality4.54.16
Optics54.14
Battery1.53.4
Value2.13.26

Score: 2.86/5

Our next pick comes from one of the pioneers in the holographic sights industry – EOTECH. So expect superior performance from the EXPS2 Holographic Sight.

The EXPS2 Holographic Sight comes with 20 manually adjustable brightness settings for all types of lighting. It features a quick-detach lever which is great for when you want to switch this sight back & forth between shotguns. 

The EXPS2 Holographic Sight is proven to function even after its glass is occluded or covered with mud or snow. It’s also equipped with an auto-shutdown feature that’s user-programmable for up to 8 hours. This allows you to save your battery for when it’s time for action!

Pros

  • Comes with a 10-year warranty
  • Unlimited eye relief
  • Side button operation
  • Lightweight (11.2 oz)

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not compatible with night vision
  • Short battery life (1,000 hours)

What Customers Say

“I love this sight! My AR-15 is so fun to shoot with this Eotech. It was easy to sight in and it is really accurate! I love the quick detach mount. you can take it on or off in a second and it won’t lose its Zero! I got this model with the adjustments on the side rather than in the back because I plan to get the Eotech magnifier to go behind this sight. If you get the model with the adjustments on the back you can’t get to them very easily. This model is a little more money with the side adjustment but is a lot easier to access the adjustment buttons. Also wanted to get this model with the 1 battery, CR123, rather than the model with the 2, AA batteries because it is longer and takes up more space on your rail! It is a lot of money to pay for sight but worth every penny! You want the best you got to dig a little deeper into your pocketbook! I give it a FIVE STAR!”

Rick Wear

“I am cross-eye-dominant. That means that while my left eye is dominant, I am right-handed. That causes all kinds of aiming problems that I find difficult to overcome (I find it difficult to close my left eye while keeping my right eye fully open). With the EOTech sights, I can keep both eyes open and I have no cross-eye-related sight picture shift.”

Michael

Best Budget Shotgun Scope: Vortex Diamondback Second Focal Riflescope

CategoryVortex DiamondbackCategory Average
Ergonomics2.12.38
Build Quality4.34.16
Optics4.24.14
Battery33.4
Value3.23.26

Score: 3.36/5

Our next pick may be affordable, but it comes with Vortex’s premium lifetime warranty, so you know that it’s designed to last.

The Vortex Diamondback is equipped with a precision-glide erector system for smooth magnification changes even under extreme weather conditions. This scope is perfect for hunting and long precision shooting because its side parallax knob and exposed tactical turrets make adjustments hassle-free. 

One minor drawback is that these turrets can’t be locked, but they’re very tight and are resettable.

Pros

  • Fast-focus eyepiece
  • Extra-low dispersion glass
  • Shock-proof, waterproof, fog-proof 
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • No parallax adjustments past 300 yards
  • No illumination
  • Heavy (14.6 oz)

What Customers Say

“Very good scope for the money. Love the warranty and so far it’s very accurate for my skill level. Sighting my 6.5 hells canyon in I could clearly see my groups and while at max zoom short-range objects can get a bit out of focus it’s still full stars for me.”

Cryptos

“Beautiful piece of glass. Most are intimidated by 6-24 but it is such a good range of zoom. The parallax settings were spot on and the reticle is very eye-friendly. Not too long for most rifles even with sunshade. The eye relief is more than adequate to prevent scope bite. Very happy there is finally a high-quality FFP scope out there at a budget rifle price point.”

Mark M.

Best for Deer Hunting: Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12×40

Category Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12×40Category Average
Ergonomics2.22.38
Build Quality4.54.16
Optics4.54.14
Battery33.4
Value3.53.26

Score: 3.54/5

Like most Leupold scopes, the VX-Freedom uses its manufacturer’s proprietary Twilight Light Management System. This system allows optimum light transmission and reduced glare. Thanks to several layers of proprietary lens coatings. So you can hunt in the evening and still get tack-sharp images.

It’s made from 6061-T6 aircraft quality aluminum, is impact tested using Leupold’s recoil simulation machine, and is tested to perform in the most extreme climate and pressure changes. So rest assured that the VX-Freedom can survive the strongest recoils and the harshest weather.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty
  • Comes with scratch-resistant lenses
  • Lightweight (12.2 oz)

Cons

  • Not night vision-compatible
  • No illumination

What Customers Say

“Quality beyond reproach. Can’t beat em for the price. This is the only brand of scope I have on my rifles.”

Gonzo

Final Thoughts

Our job here is done, we’ve delivered the best shotgun scopes available. Now it’s your turn to decide and choose which one to buy. Don’t take too much time thinking, though, that turkey won’t wait for you for too long!

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Last update on 2024-07-14 / Images from Amazon Product API