Crossbow scopes, also called sights, are essential for hunters who strive for fast, clean, accurate shots. Scopes come in a variety of sizes and shapes and should fit both the crossbow and the hunter’s needs. There are several types of scopes that can be used with crossbows.
A scope is basically a tube with a crosshair or crosswire sight mounted inside. The tube is then mounted onto the crossbow. It magnifies the target which enables better placement of your shot in the crossbow range.
- Red Dot Sight
This type of scope is easy to use and has a red or green dot through which the hunter aims. There are single and multi-styles. With the single style, you can only aim at one distance to shoot your target. Multi dot scopes have several aiming points so that you can aim at different distances. This is useful since gravity often affects arrows. For example, a single red dot may give you a 20-yard base, whereas a multi-dot scope will give you a 20-yard base in addition to 30 and 40 yards. These scopes have several lighting options and can make the dots darker or brighter.
- Reticle Scope
This scope has crosshairs that are illuminated, wired in, or etched in.
- Iron Sights
These are metal markers that help with accurate aim. There are generally two sights – one in the back, which is perpendicular to the line of sight, and one in the front, which is a ring, bead or post. Some sights can be adjusted for windage and elevation.
- Laser Sight
This type of scope is excellent for shooting at moving targets. It shoots a laser to show you where the target will most likely be hit. Lasers can also be used to sight-in your crossbow.
Choosing the Best Scope for your Crossbow
When mounting your scope you can choose from several options: Weaver, Dovetail or Picatinny rails. The Weaver rail is the most sturdy rail, and attaches to the outside beveled edge of the scope; Dovetail rails have a parallel pair of grooves that are designed to attach to the small raised ribs in the center of the scope base; Picatinny rails enable optics to be raised by ½”, making it ideal for red dot sights. Crossbow scope rings are usually made from aluminum and steel.
When choosing a scope for your crossbow you should take into consideration range, size and accuracy. Generally, hunters would like a scope that provides more range to ensure that they hit their target. When hunting small game, the best scope is one that can function at a short or mid-range distance. Be sure to select a scope that is lightweight and fits snugly on the crossbow. Heavier scopes, like variable scopes, can be a hindrance to the hunter.
Top Crossbow Scopes of 2017
Below is our selection of the top scopes for crossbows, based on our reviews, expert opinions and feedback from other owners.
#1: TRUGLO 4X32 Camo Crossbow Scope Review
The lenses on this scope are fully-coated which provides maximum clarity, contrast, and brightness. AR (anti-reflective) coating is a form of an optical coating that is commonly used on lenses to reduce reflection. This gives you better contrast and lessens stray light. Its non-reflective camouflage matte finish makes this scope scratch-resistant and durable. The tube is one piece made of aircraft quality aluminum. TRUGLO Camo Crossbow scope has a special range finding and trajectory compensating reticle along with generous 4 inch eye relief. It also includes a rubber eye guard which is more comfortable for the user. Located under the screw down caps are fingertip windage and elevation adjustments.
Dimensions of this scope are 9 x 1.8 x 2.8 inches and it weighs approximately 1.3 pounds. It comes with a limited lifetime warranty and is a good quality scope for an affordable price.
#2: Excalibur Shadow Zone 2-4X32mm Scope Review
The Shadow Zone features a red/green color illuminated multiplex reticle 2-4x32mm which is ideal for hunting in low light environments. The reticle is the fiber and fine lines inside of the eyepiece of a scope, called crosshairs. Crosshairs are the cross-shaped, intersecting lines that you will see in the scope. As mentioned above, crosshairs can be etched onto the glass using a diamond point, wired which does not obstruct light that passes through the scope or illuminated, by a battery-powered LED or by a fiber optic or plastic light pipe that collects ambient light. This scope enables you to adjust crosshair spacing for approximately 10-yard increments, using Excalibur’s adjustable multiplex crosshair system. Shadow Zone can be adjusted to 20, 30, 40 or 50 yards, but not under 10 yards. This matches the precise trajectory of your crossbow at speeds between 250 and 350 fps.
#3: Raging River Crossbow 4X32 Multi-reticle Scope Review
This study scope is made of aluminum alloy with a non-reflective matte finish, and provides 4 times magnification for increased clarity. This means your target will appear 4 times larger than it is. Although this may seem like a good thing, you must remember that the more magnification you have, the darker the target will be, because light is lost in the magnification. Four to six is good for general shooting and hunting. The Pro 5-step illumination reticle enables you to shoot in low light environments and provides unlimited eye relief. This scope has an objective lens diameter of 32mm. Multi-reticle scopes have thick lines around the edges which taper off to thin lines in the middle. The thick lines make it easy to see against darker backgrounds, and thin lines provide a better aiming point.
Dimensions of the Raging River crossbow scope are 2.5 x 2.5 x 8 inches.
Make sure you get a solid crossbow case to avoid damaging your crossbow and scope while in transit.