Top 5 Best Scopes For Elk Hunting Reviews in 2021 - Catch Them Easy

Top 5 Best Scopes For Elk Hunting Reviews in 2021

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rifle scope for elk hunting

Fall is almost here. That means it's almost time for elk hunting season to begin. Before the time comes, you should make sure that you have all of the top-notch gear to do your best hunting.

One of the essential items to have in your hunting arsenal is an excellent scope for keeping your target in your sight. An extraordinary optical piece can ensure that you always hit your target.

In this article, we will sift through all of the choices for scopes on the market and provide you with best choices for this elk hunting season.

Top 5 Rated Models Comparison Table

Best Scope For Elk Hunting: Our Top 5 Picks

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12x40 AO


You can expect big things from the Crossfire II model from Vortex. It performs wonderfully at a reasonable price. It’s a great choice for beginners.

It comes with a Dead Hold - BDC reticle that will increase accuracy when holdover is an issue. It boasts technology for parallax removal. The multi-coated lens also provides an anti-reflective surface for removing light interference.

The Crossfire II also has a comfortable eyepiece to allow for quick and easy target acquisition. It is also extremely durable with high-grade aluminum, so you don't have to worry about shock from recoil. This scope is also water and fog proof for chilly fall mornings.


  • Dead-Hold BDC reticle
  • High-grade aluminum for durability


  • May not hold a sight at long range
  • Issues with focusing

Customer Sentiments

Customers seemed to love the fact that this scope was easy to zero-in once they mounted it. Most users enjoyed that it took them only a couple of minutes to be hitting their practice targets. Besides, Vortex customer service is fantastic! They will replace the scope if it gets damaged. Another thing that seemed to stand out is the superb quality at a low price.

Leupold VX-3i 3.5x10x40mm


Leupold has been one of the top names in optical scopes for many years. When people think of quality, they think of Leupold. This scope is no exception. It packs many features into one compact long-range rifle scope.

It features 100% fog proof, shockproof, and waterproof materials. One of the main features is a Custom Dial System (CDS). The CDS allows for quick adjustments at long range. You can use a few clicks that are customized to your rifle, so you have a one-time setup. The Diamond Coat 2 lens is perfect for eliminating reflections.

It features a ¼ MOA adjustment system that allows for easy windage and elevation changes. This scope offers everything that you may want in an elk hunting scope. Although it may be slightly more expensive than other models, it is a great product.


  • Custom Dial System for a one-time setup
  • Hold focus at long range


  • CDS turret design is outdated for modern scopes
  • Erratic movements on the elevation adjustment

Customer Sentiments

Customers seemed to love the brightness of this scope. It allows for the maximum gathering of light so that you can see your target. The brightness provided a lot of eye relief when using this scope for long periods. Users also enjoyed the lightweight design.

One factor that customers did not seem to like, was the CDS turret design. Many users proclaimed that this design was outdated and did not allow for quick adjustments. Moreover, customers didn’t seem to like the erratic movements during elevation adjustment.

Nikon Black X1000


Nikon makes many good optics products. They are known for producing camera lenses, but they also make some of the best rifle scopes on the market. The extended range scope featured here is powerful and dedicated to long-range performance.

It features an etched reticle to reduce any holdover issues. It also comes with easily adjustable turrets for windage and elevation. It boasts an excellent glass optical piece that eliminates light reflection. It also has top of the line brightness and easy adjustments on the fly.

All of the body materials used are completely water, fog, and shockproof. It also features eye relief components on the lens to help with recoil and eye strain. The standout feature of this scope is the quality glass.


  • Illuminated reticle for fast target acquisition
  • Adjustment knobs are grippy and accurate


  • Fuzzy at higher magnifications
  • Second focal plane reticle means you must adjust for holdovers

Customer Sentiments

Customers seemed to love the illuminated reticle. It can make a big difference when trying to acquire targets. You can also turn it off if you don't want to use it. Another selling factor is the high-quality MOA adjustment turrets. Customers claimed this product had perfectly adjustable knobs.

Some customers were not big fans of the fuzziness at some upper magnifications. There weren’t too many complaints when it came to this product. One customer did not enjoy the sunshade that came with it, as it did not quite fit correctly.

Bushnell Elite Tactical G2DMR FFP Reticle Riflescope


Bushnell has been making quality shooting sports products for years. Their optics are well known and have a great reputation. The Elite Tactical is a top-notch Bushnell product with a warranty to back it up.

It comes packed with features such as multi-coated glass for only the best light transmission in any condition. It also comes with adjustable magnification from 6 to 24 times for long-range shots. One of the top features is a First Focal Plane (FFP) illuminated reticle. It allows you to gather the target in any light.

Not only is the reticle illuminated, but it is also G2 military spec certified. It features mil-spec hash marks for easy windage adjustments. As a bonus, Bushnell includes a sunshade with this product. 


  • Designated Marksman Rifle (DMR) illuminated sight
  • First Focal Plane hash marks for easy elevation adjustments


  • FFP sight gets more significant as you zoom
  • Issues with reticle illumination

Customer Sentiments

Most customers made positive comments about this scope. One of the significant factors that they loved was the DMR light up reticle. They also enjoyed the durable body construction that prevented any dust or water from damaging the glass.

One factor that customers seemed to struggle with was the illumination of the sight. Some customers claimed that they could not get this feature to work. A few users also claimed the FFP sight grew bigger as you zoomed in, which may not be suitable for everyone. This product is also pretty expensive, which may be a factor to consider when shopping.

Athlon, BTR Argos Rifle Scope


Athlon Optics is a company that has been flying under the radar in the shooting sports industry. They are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to affordable scopes. The Argos scope is an affordable and high-performance optic.

It features a high-powered First Focal Plane (FFP) light up reticle for perfect accuracy at any distance. It will get bigger or smaller according to the magnification setting that you are using. It is also etched directly on the glass for premium durability and light transmission. The coated glass also brings out all true colors across the spectrum.

It is also featured with the highest grade aircraft aluminum to ensure that you won't have any breakage issues. Besides, it is waterproof and has excellent resistance to temperature changes. The Argon purging feature offers perfect resistance quality for all debris.


  • First Focal Plane (FFP) sight for high magnification
  • 18 MIL knobs for parallax adjustment


  • Not as bright as other models reviewed
  • Issues holding zero at high magnification

Customer Sentiments

Many customers loved the value of this product. They claimed that the price for the quality ratio was fantastic. They also seemed to enjoy Athlon's customer service, which is paramount if you need to make a return for any reason.

One factor that customers didn't like was the brightness. They argued that it wasn't as light reflective as other models. This can be critical if you are in direct sunlight while elk hunting. Users also advised that the FFP crosshairs may not be suitable for everyone since they change size according to magnification.

What To Consider When Choosing a Scope For Elk Hunting

There are many different factors to consider when choosing your next riflescope. Since they come in so many different shapes and sizes, it is vital to figure out what you want from your purchase.

Reticle and Focal Plane

One factor to consider is what type of reticle you want to use. As a starting point, we recommend a duplex style reticle. It will work for most ranges, rifle sizes, and locations. Unless you want a specific crosshair design such as a Boone and Crockett for big game hunting. There is also a BDC style reticle for long-range shooting.

You will need to consider if you want a fine or more substantial crosshair. Another consideration is what focal plane you want the reticle to be etched onto. A reticle on the first focal plane will shrink and grow upon adjusting the magnification. Some people do not like this design.

If you choose the one that is on the second focal plane, you will have to make more adjustments to windage and elevation when you increase magnification. This is a personal preference, so ensure that you try both before purchasing.


Turrets are the knobs that adjust the windage, elevation, and magnification. There are many different types on the market. Tactical style ones allow for quick and easy adjustments on the fly. Mil-dot turrets are the best, but it does take time to learn the system. If you are not familiar with it, then you will need to opt for a scope with quarter inch adjustments.


The magnification factor is purely subjective to your desires. The best way to determine what magnification you want for your scope is to test out a few different zooms at various distances. Some variable zoom scopes are not quite as accurate at long range. You should base your choice of magnification specs on how far you want to shoot.

Eye Relief

Eye relief is the amount of distance between your eye and the scope lens piece. If you are going to be doing long-range shooting with a high-powered rifle, then you need more significant eye relief. It will help with the recoil of your firearm. The last thing you want is to hit your eye on your scope after shooting.


The parallax of a scope is when you move your head or eyes and the reticle shifts position. Some smaller range scopes do not have any parallax issues. Long-range ones often experience some parallax problems. To adjust for this, you will need to have a precision parallax knob.

What Makes a Good Scope For Elk Hunting

In our opinion, the best elk hunting rifle scopes are generally suited to fit your specific needs. In general, you want to choose a scope that has a high-quality glass with a durable design. The best glass on scopes will generally be more expensive.

A proper elk hunting scope will also have a durable body design made out of the best material. It will also be waterproof and fog proof so that nothing will stand in the way of you and your shot. Top-notch optics will also have easily adjustable turrets for lining up a perfect shot. You also need one with the kind of reticle that you prefer. An illuminated reticle can be helpful for target acquisition, especially at dusk hours.

The Final Say

In this article, we have discussed many different optics. We have also discussed optics at various price points to fit every budget. The best scope for elk hunting out of the top reviewed ones is the Nikon Black X1000. We chose this one as a perfect mid-price range scope that will suit anyone's needs.

If you are looking for a budget scope, we recommend the Athlon Optics Argos BTR Riflescope. It is budget-friendly, but still comes packed with features that every hunter will love.