The scope should be crystal clear and nice and bright. Varmint’s fur or hair often camouflages the creatures in nature; for example, the light brown prairie dog blends very well into its environment. A good scope makes it much simpler to see the prey, as well as what the wind is doing around your target for long range shots. Varmint scopes aren’t isolated to a single level of magnification since hunting coyotes in Florida can be a lot closer than hunting coyotes in Texas, but optics should have some magnification. A good reticle that allows for easy compensation is another major feature one should look into.
Below are our recommendations for the 4 best varmint scopes on the market:
SWFA SS 10x42 Tactical
- SWFA SS 10x42 Tactical Riflescope Mil-Quad Reticle 1/10 Mil Adjustments Rear Focus SS10X42MQ
- Price as of 10/19/2020 15:04 PDT(more info about ad)
If we are talking about going for the best of the best and budget isn’t our main priority, the SWFA SS is an excellent optic. SWFA’s unique methods of distribution and manufacturing means you get an awesome scope that’s a great value. With its relatively high price tag for a varmint scope, the SWFA isn’t for everyone, but with its features most scope companies would be charging, at least, six hundred for it.
The SWFA SS (see full specs) is a 10 power optic with a fixed magnification. Instead of worrying about first or second focal plane, a fixed power offers you the advantages of the first focal plane scopes, with the price of a second focal plane scope. 10x is a sufficient power for varmint hunting and allows the user to distinctly both the game they are hunting and the environment around the animal. The lenses are crystal clear, and shooters get a look at the world in high definition.
The SWFA SS uses a mil dot reticle for windage and elevation and allows users to make simple windage calls and to hold over for bullet drop. The scope features tactical turrets for in the field adjustments and a side focus knob. The rear magnification ring is textured and easy to grip and spin, perfect for when you’re wearing gloves and in the cold. The optic gives users a crystal clear perception and while not cheap, it’s one of the best varmint scopes you can buy.
- Nikon 6729 ProStaff 4-12 x 40 Black Matte Riflescope (BDC)
- Price as of 10/19/2020 15:14 PDT(more info about ad)
The Nikon Prostaff is a classic Nikon design with a long history as a hunting optic. The Nikon is available is a wide variety of different magnification levels, but I prefer the 4-12 x 40 mm design. First off 4-12 really opens up the range options and allows hunters in the western prairies and desert lowlands to see far and wide. The 12 x magnification and crystal clear optics allow you to really see the area around your target and pick up on the subtle changes in wind direction.
The Nikon Prostaff (see full specs) is also fully multi-coated with an excellent Nikon coating. This permits 98% of available light to be transmitted through the scope and combined with Nikon’s high-quality glass you get a bright, clear, and consistent sight picture, even as the sun begins to wane, or before it’s high in the sky. The Prostaff features a bullet drop compensator that features unique ballistic circles. These circles are see through and simple, and easy to use. When hunting something small, like most varmints are, these see through reticles make it possible to see your target.
The Nikon Prostaff is nitrogen purged to prevent any fog build up inside the optic. The scope is sealed with an O-ring to prevent entry of dirt, debris, and water. The Prostaff has a quick focus eyepiece that makes it very simple to get behind the optic and get on target. Bar none, this is one of the best varmint rifle scopes out there.
- Tasco Varmint 2.5-10x 42mm True Mil-Dot Reticle, 1/4 MOA Turrets Riflescope
- Price as of 10/19/2020 15:56 PDT(more info about ad)
The Tasco Varmint offers a lot of versatility in a nice and affordable package with a wide range of nice and handy features for taking out whatever pesky critter gets in the way. The Tasco Varmint is a 2.5 to 10 power optic, so right away the versatility of magnification is there. Using the optic at 2.5 gives you a clear and wide view, and as you begin cranking up the magnification you can extend your range, and your ability to observe.
The Tasco Varmint has a surprisingly high level of clarity for such an affordable optic. Everything is bright and easy to see at a variety of distances. The lenses themselves are multi-coated and give a decent amount of light transmission at early morning and late evening. During the normal daylight, I couldn’t tell much difference between this optic and one that costs four times as much. The Varmint uses SuperCon as its lens coating and it performs well given the low price point of the optic.
The Tasco Varmint uses a true mil-dot reticle that allows for easy windage compensation and elevation holdovers. The Varmint’s turrets use ¼ MOA adjustments for simple zeroing and precise targeting. Without a doubt, this is one of the best varmint scopes for the money.
Bushnell AR optics Throw Down
- Bushnell Optics, FFP Illuminated BTR-1 BDC Riflescope with Target Turrets and Throw Down PCL, Matte Black, 1-4x/24mm
- Price as of 10/19/2020 20:54 PDT(more info about ad)
The AR 15 is one of the more popular platforms in the United States and is actually a very versatile hunting rifle. The AR 15 is perfect for varmint hunting and the Bushnell series of AR optics are perfect for taking down those terrible prairie dogs or coyotes. The Throw Down PCL is a small lightweight optic with a 1 to 4 variable magnification, and an aggressive magnification lever.
A 4x magnification is perfect for hunting in the brush on the edges of fields when coyotes tend to stalk their prey. Even at 1x or 2x, the optic allows hunters to engage multiple varmints at close ranges, and transition from target to target rapidly. If you’ve ever seen prairie dogs come in and out of their den you know how important transitioning is. The Throw Down lever is a folding variant that allows the user to near instantly change magnification.
The Bushnell AR Throw Down PCL is equipped with a bullet drop compensator that allows shooters to reach out at to 500 yards and drop rounds into targets with boring regularity. The Bushnell Throw Down PCL is also a first focal plane scope, so the bullet drop compensator is accurate and reliable at any magnification. The Bushnell AR is easily among the best varmint scopes and is also a great all-around excellent optic period.
Varmint hunting is a literal blast. It’s a thrilling sport that remains fun, exciting, and challenging. Having the best scope for varmint hunting can aid in isolating an animal and ensuring a humane kill, which is always a consideration. An optic makes is an effectiveness multiplier and allows shooters to get the most out of their hunts. Good luck!
Owner of Reloaderaddict.com, Boyd Smith is a major handgun enthusiast, and although he owns Glocks, he prefers the revolving wheel type. His go-to guns are a Smith & Wesson 642 Performance Center for carry and a Ruger GP100 in the nightstand biometric safe (he has kids). He loads both revolvers with old-school 148-grain Federal Gold Medal .38 wadcutters. It’s OK if you think he’s a wimp. Email him.