The 4 Best 56mm Scopes on the Market – Reviews 2019

best 56mm scope

Photo by Travis D / CC BY

So why get a 56mm scope? Well, rifle scopes with 56mm objective lenses provide a very large, bright sight picture, and they’re tended to be built for long-range precision shooting. To that end, there are all manner of 56mm scopes on the market, ranging from cheap air gun scopes masquerading as suitable for firearms, to high end military grade optics that you could use to hunt alien spacecraft with.

A great many fine hunting and target rifles are now sporting 56mm scopes, and so we sat down to figure out what the best ones are. You won’t find junk here—some of those were just depressing to consider actually installing, but you’ll find some of the finest optics on the market that fit almost any budget.

Below are our recommendations for the 4 best 56mm scopes on the market:

UTG 56mm Scope

This is about as entry level as you want to get on a good 56mm scope. Disregard the cheesy attempts to make the scope sound tactical. Rather, it is what it is, which is a decent Chinese scope (they do exist) that will put a 56mm optic on your rifle.

The 4-16 power magnification makes it suitable for most hunting and target shooting needs, and it is built rather well, with multi-coated optics, etched reticle, side parallax adjustment, and an illuminated reticle. If you have a budget, or just want a big freaking scope on top of your deer or elk rifle, this is the one for you.

UTG Helps Level Out Long Range Shots

Vortex Optics 56mm Crossfire II Hog Hunter Scope

Only Vortex could build a 56mm scope called Hog Hunter and then stand behind a scope designed for such rugged duty. This 3-12 power scope is perfect for any sort of hunting task you might have, and designed for the needs of night hunters.

The 56mm objective lens allows for a crisp, clear sight picture, even when hunting at night with lights, while the illuminated reticle gives you an edge in low light conditions. And because it is made by Vortex, the aircraft-grade aluminum alloy body, shock, water and fog proof construction, and brilliantly clear optics are simply a given. Not only is this a step up from the UTG,it may be the only step you need to take.

Crossfire II 3-12X56 AO Hog Hunter Riflescope

NightForce SHV 56mm Scope

56mm scopes are popular because of their enormous light gathering potential, which makes them very useful for night hunting or hunting around the thin edges of daylight. With that in mind, we would be remiss to not review something by NightForce. The SHV is a monster of a scope, with 5-20 magnification, a 30mm tube, zero reset turrets, and special coated optics for optimal clarity.

This military grade scope is perfect for basically everything you’d want a 56mm scope for, from target shooting to hog hunting at night. While it is an expensive optic, it is also quite likely literally the best 56mm scope for the money—if your pockets are deep.

NightForce SHV 5-20X56 Riflescope– Video Review

Millet Illuminated 56mm Scope

Because 56mm scopes are popular for hunting at night and in twilight conditions, it is nice to have an illuminated reticle. Millet offers such a scope, with an oversized 35mm tube (and thoughtfully ships a set of rings for this hard to find diameter), 6-25 power magnification, unique multi coated optics for a clear sight image, and of course the illuminated reticle.

As a bonus, this powerhouse of a scope clocks in a very reasonable price, making it a real bargain in the world of high powered scopes. This is ideal for day or night hunting, target shooting, or just about anything else you’d want a monster sized scope for.


Choosing the Best 56mm Scopes

Most shooters are happy with a 30-40mm objective lens. It is an idea size for most applications, and readily fits on rifles without unusually tall scope bases. However, these normal- sized scopes come with their own limitations, which are corrected with the 56mm scope.

It is a fact that the larger the objective lens and the larger the scope tube, the greater light transmission you get, which leads to a clearer, superior sight picture. 56Mm scopes hit a sweet spot for high quality sight pictures, and feature 30mm (or larger!) tubes which combine to deliver a crisp image. This is invaluable in low light conditions, night hunting, or for long range target shooting.

The last element of a high quality sight picture is the physics of the glass itself, which varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, as each company will use a different glass formula and optical coating. However, such physics are well understood, and you can rely on any quality scope manufacturer to use high grade glass and coatings.

The higher grade (and priced) scope should generally have higher grade glass and optical coatings. The internals of a scope can be safely trusted from any major manufacturer, although some, like NightForce (see full specs) pride themselves on creating almost excessively rugged scopes. Spend according to your needs.

The right 56mm scope becomes a combination of price point and features. Not everyone needs an illuminated reticle like the Millett (see full specs), and not everyone needs a high-grade scope either. On the other hand, sometimes those features are just the ticket. While night hunting often takes place with spotlights, it is hard to argue against an illuminated reticle as a “just in case” thing, while that same feature is all but pointless on a benchrest rifle.

When buying your 56mm scope, be sure to pair it (if the manufacturer doesn’t already include some) with a good pair of high profile scope rings. After all, you’ll need it for that big objective lens to clear the barrel.

The best 56mm scopes are things of beauty and a joy to behold. It will deliver a brilliant sight picture under almost any lighting condition, and will bring distant targets close in for precise shooting. They are specialty scopes for specialty shooting, and that shooting requires tough, well=built scopes. Choose the right combination of price, feature, and build quality, and you are set!

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