Best First Focal Plane Scope Under $500

For any hunter, target shooter, survivalist or a weekend range regular, a good rifle scope is essential. A good scope not only allows you to see not only the target more clearly but also beyond it, thereby increasing the safety factor. The scope also allows you to go hunting time early and late in the day during when the big game will be moving around. Shooting under low light conditions is an added bonus that the rifle scopes provide along with a higher degree of precision. Equipped with the right scope the modern rifles and bullets can provide you with a higher degree of accuracy than ever before.

Before purchasing a scope, you need to be able to distinguish between a good scope and a bad scope so that you make the right choice. The market is flooded with a variety of scopes and if you do not know what you are looking for, making the wrong choice can be very easy. While buying a scope also keep in mind that you will get what you pay for so buying a cheap model can lead to problems in future. In this article, we will review some of the top scopes in the market and will also provide with the guidelines that will help you to make the right choice.

Table of Contents

Buying guide for the best focal plane scope under $500

Here are a few points that you need to keep in mind while buying a scope.

The power

A rifle scope is often specified as a 3.5-10×50 or 4×32 (power-power x objective dia.) where the power is expressed as the magnification factor. So in a fixed power scope marked as 4×32, the object in view is magnified four times. A scope with variable power provides you with greater versatility and flexibility. The type of scope that you will choose depends on the type of hunting that you will be doing. While hunting within close ranges, a scope with a small power can be chosen and for long ranges, a scope with the power of 16X or even 20X can be chosen.

Optics

Optics is extremely important while buying a lens and many companies pay a lot of attention to provide quality optics. The clarity depends on the quality of the glass and ED glass or extra-low-dispersion glass delivers sharper images and superior colour fidelity. A chemical coating on the glass can reduce the amount of light reflected and provide a better quality of vision. Some brands provide multiple coatings to provide brighter and clearer images.

Objective lens

The second number in the lens specification provides the diameter of the objective lens in mm. So in a 4×32 lens, the objective lens diameter is 32 mm. The lens located farthest from the eye of the shooter while viewing through the scope tube is an objective lens. The larger diameters allow the passage of a higher amount of light and better clarity of vision. But the larger size will also make your scope heavier and larger in size.

First Focal Plane

The FP scopes have become very popular in recent times even though they were popular for among tactical and long-range shooters. The main advantage of this type of lens is that the reticle appears to change the size and grow and shrink with magnification. In other words, the reticle always looks the same no matter what your zoom level is. This definitely provides some advantage in terms of viewing and shooting.

Additional features

Scopes come with additional features like gas purging which uses nitrogen and argon gases to make the instrument waterproof and prevent fogging on the inside. Eye relief is the comfortable distance that a scope can be held from the eye and still allows the user to see clearly. A bigger eye relief results in more comfort for the user.

Vortex Optics Viper HS Second Focal Plane Riflescopes

The versatility of the Viper HST makes it ideal for a wide range of shooting applications and the advanced optical system makes it a great choice for all situations.

Vortex Optics Viper HS Second Focal Plane Riflescopes

Overview

This is a scope that offers a professional-grade construction along with a superior grade optical system. It offers a great blend of precision, enhanced versatility and smooth operation.

Feature and Benefits:

Superior optical system

This unit comes with XD glass that offers an image that is crystal clear from edge to edge. In addition, it also offers a multiple coated lens that captures the most light from dawn till dusk.

Good built

The lens comes with ultra-hard, scratch-resistant Armortek coatings provides great durability and the hard-anodized matte black finish over high-grade aluminium base makes the unit look awesome.

Premium components

The unit has a superior grade erector-spring system to ensure maximum repeatability and ease of adjustment. The enhanced quick-reset turrets allow for fast re-indexing your zero after sighting in.

Additional features

The unit comes with a 4x zoom range and a fast-focus eye-piece that allows quick and easy reticle focusing. In addition, Argon purging provides fog proof and waterproof performance

Key Specifications:

  • Length: 12 inches.
  • Weight: 16.5 oz.
  • Reticle: Dead hold BDC
  • Eye relief: 4 inches
  • Tube size: 30 mm.

Pros and Cons:

Pros
  • An ultra-strong built quality
  • Customized hashmark design.
  • Ideal for tactical shooting and hunting.
  • Precision-Glide Erector System.
  • Fog-proof and shockproof design.
.
Cons
  • The zoom range is limited.

 

Conclusion

This is a very good scope that delivers excellent performance and reliability in a wide range of conditions while offering a whole lot of versatility.

Nikon Monarch 3 BDC Riflescope

This lens has been a popular choice for hunters with its superior optics and has received high-grade reviews for its glass quality and overall performance.

Nikon Monarch 3 BDC Riflescope, Black, 4-16x42

Overview

This is one of the most popular scopes from Nikon and is versatile enough to get mounted on any rifle action firearm, regardless of calibre. The optical and mechanical excellence of the unit makes it a very capable scope with flagship-grade performance.

Feature and Benefits:

Effective zoom

This unit comes with a zoom range of 4X to 16X, letting you get up close and personal with targets at varying distances with complete ease, making it a versatile model.

Great optics

The 42mm objective lens comes with fully multi-coated optics that offers 95 per cent light transmission for superior brightness and clarity of the image.

Good engineering

The unit comes with BDC reticle for dead-on holdover points at extreme distances along with a side focus BDC reticle for dead-on holdover points at extreme distances.

Advanced features

With this scope, you need not worry about mounting related problems as the entire process is simple and easy. The spring-loaded instant zero-reset turrets make adjustments easy

Key Specifications:

  • Length: 20.1 inches.
  • Weight: 1.19 pounds.
  • Reticle: BDC
  • Eye relief: 4 inches
  • Objective diameter: 42 mm.

Pros and Cons:

Pros
  • Enhanced Ballistic Match technology.
  • Hand-turn windage and elevation adjustments.
  • Outstanding image quality.
  • The built quality is top-notch.
  • Fog-proof and waterproof design.
.
Cons
  • Rings not included.
  • Non-illuminate reticle

 

Conclusion

This is a great choice for any long-range shooting application and offers top-class optic at a very decent price.

Athlon Optics, Helos BTR, Riflescope

The scope offers a First focal plane reticle that comes with a top-class construction offering exceptional strength and superior grade optics for great clarity.

Athlon Optics , Helos BTR , Riflescope , 6-24 x 50 First Focal Plane (FFP) 30 mm Tube, Illuminated APMR MIL Reticle ,

Overview

This model has been designed with care to provide a first-class experience with some high-end features included in it. From the robust construction to the high-end argon purging, the lens is packed with useful features that will keep you happy during shooting.

Feature and Benefits:

One-piece design

This unit has been crafted from 6061T6 aircraft-grade aluminium and s heat treated for extra strength. The unit is also mechanically strong and extremely durable.

Argon purging

Argon is used to remove any trace of moisture content in the tube that prevents any fog build up when it is moved from hot to cold temperatures or vice versa.

Good optics

The multi-coated optics effectively reduces reflected light and increases the transmission of light. XPL coating protects the lenses from harsh weather conditions, as well as dirt and grease.

Glass reticle

The reticle is etched with glass that provides excellent support for the complex reticle design and offers high shock resistance to recoil that makes the unit durable.

Key Specifications:

  • Length: 15.5 inches.

  • Weight: 31.5 ounces
  • Magnification range: 6-24x
  • Eye relief: 4 inches
  • Objective diameter: 55 mm.

 

Pros and Cons:

Pros
  • The rotation of the illumination dial is smooth and tight.
  • Shockproof construction.
  • The illuminated reticle provides greater visibility.
  • Waterproof and great thermal stability.
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty.
.
Cons
  • The scope is heavy.
  • Turrets have very soft clicks and quite difficult to feel

Conclusion

The product offers great value and the lifetime warranty that it comes with makes the deal even sweeter when considered for first-time buyers.

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Nikon PROSTAFF 5 BCD Riflescope

The Prostaff is one of the best offerings of Nikon in this price category and will satisfy even the most demanding hunters with its features and performance.

Nikon PROSTAFF 5 BCD Riflescope, Black, 4.5-18x40

Overview

Equipped with numerous effective features, this scope is among the most popular ones from Nikon. It offers crystal clear optics along with different variable zoom magnifications which can provide you the crisp image quality that makes it a pleasure to use in a variety of situations.

Feature and Benefits:

Superior reticle

This reticle comes with bullet drop compensation feature that makes it a great choice in long-range shooting. It provides very precise bullet trajectory calculations and better shot accuracy.

Quick focus eyepiece

The eyepiece comes with spring-loaded instant zero-preset turrets feature that makes field adjustments extremely easy. The enhanced eye relief also provides a clear view.

Superb optics

The multi-coated optics transmits light in an efficient manner that provides images that remain clear and vivid no matter what the external light condition is.

Easy adjustments

The reticle adjustments are made in 1/8 MOA click-stop moves you can both feel and hear and enables quick adjustments without and fear of backlash error.

Key Specifications:

  • Length:13.6 inches.
  • Weight: 17.2 oz
  • Magnification range: 3.5-14x
  • Eye relief: 4 inches
  • Objective diameter: 40 mm.

Pros and Cons:

Pros
  • Precise windage and elevation adjustments.
  • Effective Nikon spot on Ballistic Match Technology.
  • High-quality BDC reticle.
  • High-quality multi-coated optics.
  • Nikon’s Limited Lifetime Warranty.
.
Cons
  • No focus lock.
  • A narrow field of view.

 

Conclusion

Designed for long-range use, this scope offers excellent dependability and offers features which only a few scopes in its price class can offer.

Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x50mm Riflescope

This is a unit that is perfect for almost any kind of hunting situation and its overall design makes it a robust model that offers a vivid and bright target image.

Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x50mm Riflescope

 

Overview

Even though this scope is a low budget offering from a high-end manufacturer, you will not find anything cheap in its performance. It offers an all-round performance that is ideal for any beginner as well as a skilled professional in a hunting expedition.

Feature and Benefits:

Superior eyepiece

The unit comes with a well-engineered eyepiece that can speedily get your reticle into focus with your eyes and assume a “locked” on target acquisition.

 

Excellent durability

The scope has been specially tested to survive 5000 recoil impacts on a testing machine. The ultra-lightweight construction also disperses recoil energy effectively for enhanced durability.

 

Great low light performance

The Twilight Max Light management system can add up to 20 extra minutes of shooting light and reduces glare for premium edge-to-edge image quality.

All weather-ready

The scope has been designed to be waterproof and fog proof so that extreme weather conditions will not affect your shooting in any way.

Key Specifications:

  • Length:12.3 inches.
  • Weight: 14.7 oz
  • Magnification range: 3.5-10x
  • Eye relief: 4.5 to 3.6 inches
  • Main tube diameter: 1 inch

Pros and Cons:

Pros
  • Precise windage and elevation adjustments.
  • Diamond coat 2 coating offers greater brightness and clarity.
  • Blackened lens edges for reduced glare.
  • Twin Bias Spring Erector System.
  • Shockproof, waterproof and fog proof.
.
Cons
  • The zoom range is limited.

Conclusion

The scope offers high contrast images in all manner of light conditions and it also comes with a lifetime warranty that proves the high level of confidence in the product.

 

Vortex Optics Viper PA Second Focal Plane Riflescopes

This is a versatile scope that offers superb clarity and brightness along with a top-notch performance that will elevate your shooting to a new level.

Vortex Optics Viper PA Second Focal Plane Riflescopes

Overview

From heavy-duty components to smooth precision, the scope offers can easily compete with some of the premium brands with its excellent performance. The unit is built for tactical shooting and hunting and the rugged construction makes it a perfect companion for all seasons.

Feature and Benefits:

Effective spring system

The erector-spring system is built with premium components to ensure maximum repeatability and ease of adjustment under a variety of operating conditions.

Superior lens

The fully multi-coated, extra-low dispersion lenses are made from premium glass and the resolution and colour fidelity are top class at all points.

Rugged built

The scope is made from a single piece tube crafted from aircraft-grade aluminium that provides ruggedness and rigidity along with shockproof construction.

Additional features

The unit uses a precision-glide erector system along with reset turrets allow quick re-indexing. The side knob parallax adjustment feature allows for quick and easy operation.

 

Key Specifications:

  • Length: 14.4 inches.
  • Weight: 21.6 oz
  • Magnification range: 6.5-20x
  • Eye relief: 3.1 inch
  • Main tube diameter: 30 mm

 

Pros and Cons:

Pros
  • Delivers a crisp and sharp image.
  • Easy adjustments for excellent handling.
  • Easy zero-reset function.
  • Unlimited lifetime warranty.
  • Shockproof, waterproof construction.
.
Cons
  • The eye relief is on the lesser side.
  • Does not hold zero well.

Conclusion

This is a very good scope for those who intend to do long-range shooting and the overall performance is top-notch from the most important aspects.

 

Burris 6.5-20 x 50mm Fullfield II Ballistic Mil-dot Rifle Scope

This is a scope designed for tactical marksmen and long-range shooters who prefer to choose the traditional features along with top-class accuracy.

Burris Fullfield II Plex Rifle Scope

Overview

With an anodized exterior and a great finish, this scope not only looks great but also provides top-class performance. It is also extremely user-friendly and effective, making it one of the popular choices for both hunting and the shooting range.

Feature and Benefits:

Excellent optics

The high-performance glass of the scope provides excellent clarity and contrast. The big 50mm diameter of the objective end collects more light, giving you a nice bright view.

Quick adjustments

The simple, integrated eyepiece and power ring has no-slip grips for quick adjustment. The positive, steel-on-steel click adjustment ensures repeatable settings for enhanced accuracy.

Improved accuracy

The scope offers parallax adjustment for improved accuracy at long distances. The 6.5x – 20x magnification range of the Fullfield II will assist with quick target acquisition.

Value for money

The traditionally designed unit offers great quality at a very reasonable price that makes it a good choice for first-time buyers without compromising on quality.

Key Specifications:

  • Length:14.5 inches.
  • Weight: 19.0 oz
  • Magnification range: 6.5-20x
  • Eye relief: 3.1-3.6 inches
  • Main tube diameter: 1 inch

 

Pros and Cons:

Pros
  • Delivers a crisp and bright view.
  • Easy adjustments for excellent handling.
  • Effective ballistic Mil-Dot reticle.
  • Nitrogen filled fog-proof build.
  • Durable, integrated-eyepiece design
.
Cons
  • The eye relief is on the lesser side.

Conclusion

Easy to use and delivering a clear image, this scope provides bang for your buck and can be a very dependable companion for long-distance shooting.

 

Conclusion

So these are the top first focal plane scope under $500 that you can select from the current market. These models are very well designed ones with top-class durability that makes them ideal for outdoor use in adverse weather conditions, In addition, the optics is of excellent quality and all the units deliver a crisp and clear image that even allows you to shoot accurately in low light conditions. These units are also picked to serve the purpose of both long-distance shooters and casual hunters with their features and efficiency. Moreover, most of these units come with a long term warranty that makes them offer even better value for money. Among these models, the Vortex Optics Viper HS Second Focal Plane Riflescope can be marked as the top choice.

The scope from Vortex offers edge to edge clarity and the superior glass makes viewing through it a real pleasure. The easy adjustments are an added advantage and the rugged build and fog proof construction make it ideal for use all round the year. The unit is also light and compact and you will find using it easy and smooth from all aspects.

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