7 Best Varmint Rifle Scopes  - 2023 Top Scopes Reviews and Guide

Varmint hunting is a different kind of game. It is done to control pest species. Over the years, there is an improvement in this kind of scope. Improvements are in stretch range and the ammunition. It makes it possible for even small vermin to be shot at.

There is no doubt that the use of long-range against varmints is helpful because it cuts down the efforts to get the birds within range using a smaller caliber rifle and shotgun. Even with your marksmanship, you are going to shoot at a great range and make a great result. With practice, you can easily make your target.

varmint hunting with rifle

What is a varmint?

Varmints or sometimes known as vermin or pests such as  birds which are harmful to crop. They are also referred to as threatened species or predate livestock. These often are dangerous to human existence for some reason. First is for the large numbers and they need to eradicate from the face of the earth.

So, pay attention and follow through!

rifle and scope varmint hunting

These varmints are available in different parts of the world. They, exist in various sizes, shapes, and varieties. In a country like the USA, a number of them are available such as coyotes, squirrels as well as jackrabbits and these have their life underground. In the UK species such as rabbits, squirrels as well as foxes are among the most dangerous.

Even  African elephants are known to destroy crops are considered pests. So the name and species will vary by country and culture

Bird species that are often included as pests that need control. In modern attention focuses on mammals. Bird pests are considered huge problems in their rights and there are certain species like pigeons as well as corvid family and seagulls which can damage human problems.

Such species like Carolina parakeets and passenger pigeons had caused serious problems in the country around the period 1800s. because of that, they were targeted in large numbers in those days and that is why they are virtually non-existent.

Firearms Used for Shooting Varmint

1. Rifle or Shotgun?

Just as there are different varmint species, in this way, different firearms are available to target the animal. When it comes to the control of the bird species that cause damages, many people prefer shotguns.

If on the other hand that you are targeting geese, pigeons in huge numbers, then you have to look for high capacity and semi-automatic shotguns.

There could also be instances where you can just use a simple air rifle for this purpose. In the cities where pest controllers are often at work, such professionals like to use air weapons. This is more discreet and it is safer as well as it makes less noise and it does not expose the workers.

There is a benefit associated with using air rifles for this kind of work. If you choose with mil-dot style reticles, there are huge benefits associated with it because it makes it easier for you to compensate for the poor trajectory associated with that kind of rifle.

2. Caliber

For the various models of the varmint shooting especially those meant for small mammal vermin, many people would choose the long-range rifle.

Small design calibers like 22lr are always the most popular and many people are familiar with it.

The popularity is because it is very accurate and it makes the best choice for those wishing to shoot at one hundred meters.

Aim Accuracy

There are those within .22 magnum as well as .17 hmr, this is good because it makes for more range in a similar package. For .17 hmr scopes click here.

The ammunition used for this kind of weapon is expensive. 

The .22 mag and .17 hmr are good for ranges within 200 meters and they are the best for smaller varmints like rabbits.

The advantage of .17 is that they are more accurate and they have more ballistic uses and they are the best choices for bigger varmints.

3. Range

If you are looking for the varmint shooting at an extreme range or a larger pest, then it is better if you can use larger pests for that purpose.

There are other calibers out there which include .223, .243, .22-350 rugger, and so on. These are good because of the velocity

gun and scope Safety

These kinds of calibers are very popular for varmint shooting over the years. The swift was first developed in the year 1935, and they were using 1400 t/sec faster than the closet competitors. The first factory round capable of 4000 ft for a second at that time.

The newest developments such as the .260 Remington was in the 90s. the .204 rugger was around the year 2004. The .220 swift might not have been the most popular choice then but many people are choosing it when it comes to varmint shooting.

4. Caliber and Action

There are other powerful cartridges in the market. Many of the frequent ammunition available are heavy and they are not good for this kind of shooting. Besides they will never shoot in flat trajectories such as the faster calibers.

These days, the most popular varmint shooting rifles include the bolt action sporting type. They are 15 and other similar ranges might not be best.

This is because they are not as stable or accurate when you are shooting at long ranges. The reason is that they often use short barrels, long magazines as well as semi-automatic actions.

Although they are good weapons they are not the most suitable for varmint shooting.

Bolt action and heavy barrel hunting rifles are the most popular and it is not surprising that varmint shooters would always opt for this model. You can choose from the various varieties out there. The choice will depend on the type of pest control that you want to do.

Proper rifle and scope aiming

5. Varmint Type

If you want to control foxes, then you can consider using either browning x-bolt in .223 as well as Tikka T3 in .243. If you want to shoot a rabbit, you can rely on .223.

For those who want to control grey squirrels, they can resort to shotguns as this is the best choice for such. If on the other hand that these varmints come in a bait station and if they feed on bird feeders, then you can use air rifles to control them as this is more effective for that.

This can also be very effective when it comes to the control of bird pests. Air rifles are strong and effective and it can control pests under different circumstances.

6. Accessories

Engaging in varmint shooting would require different kinds of accessories. These accessories are good for scope and rifle.

One of the most important kits you require is the bipod. Since most of the shootings are not static or stationary and involves moving around, you require this kind of kit. If it is well attached, you can use it for different kinds of shooting.

It is impossible to shoot such varmints like deer without this kit. You can add this to your rifle. It can enhance your shooting significantly and you like the fact that the product is affordable. There are different models but my topmost recommendation is the bipods by Harris.

The most important part of this is that it comes with swivel which makes it easier for you to move about even as it is mounted.

Furthermore, this product comes with extendable legs. This makes it easy to try shooting in different positions.

Furthermore, this bipod is longer than others. The importance of this is that you can use the rifle in different shooting positions.

If you are planning to carry out a long-range varmint shooting using .260, .240, .220 then you can use range finder and it can assist you in achieving a better result.

If you want to carry out the shooting in a position that is not up 200 meters, you may not need the range finders. This range finder is necessary because you can use it to fine-tune your shooting and it leads for accuracy.

There are different brands of ranger finders in the market and the best of them comes with optical equipment such as Nikon, Bushness, and ATN products. This can kind of products are expensive in the past and there are affordable ones these days.

In Our Opinion The 

Best Scopes for Varmint Hunting Are

Scope Image



Simmons 8-Point 3-9x50mm Varmint Rifle Scope with Truplex Reticle

Simmons 8-point 3-9x50mm

Bushnell Banner Dusk

Bushnell Banner Dusk 4-12x40

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-12x56 varmint hunter

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-12x56

Vortex Optics Diamondback Second Focal Plane Riflescopes for Varmint hunting

Vortex Optics Diamondback SFP 4-12x40

Nikon ProStaff 4-12x40 Rifle scope MILDOT Reticle

Nikon Pro Staff 4-12 x 40mm

Leupold VX-3i 4.5-14x50mm Matte Duplex Mark 2 Integrated Mount System

Leupold VX-3I 4.5-14x50mm Duplex

ATN X-Sight II HD 3-14 Smart Day or Night Rifle Scope 1080p Video Ballistic Calculator Rangefinder WiFi E-Compass GPS Barometer iOS Android Apps

ATN Day/Night Riflescope

Things To Watch Out For In A Scope


This kind of reticle is referred to as crosshair and it is popular because of the thickness. The model is great because many hunters cannot do without it. This because it makes it easier to hit the target and it has edges over the standard crosshair.


This is another factor to consider. This comes with dots on its axis. The importance of this is that it is easier to adjust especially when it comes to windage and distance. The distance is one milliradian.

This model is great because it makes for precise shooting at different ranges including shorter ranges and can work better with air rifles especially those that are low powered with poor trajectory.

Most importantly, mil dots make additional points of aim and this is good for matching the trajectory of the gun.

Single Dot Scope

This is another kind of scope and it is known for its low magnification, and it is good when it comes to hunting of fast target. If you want to aim target on the run, then you can always consider this. You can find this kind of scopes in scout style rifles. Besides, you can see them in shotguns and pistols. If you want to engage in long-range varmint shooting, then this is not good for that.


If you are required to shoot in a low light condition, you require the illuminated kind of scope. It can draw the eye and can be very useful when it comes to target acquisition. Furthermore, this kind of scope comes with adjustment turret especially if the reticle can be adjusted. Furthermore, this works with batteries.

Hope this was helpful

Now let’s get down to business with the

Top 7 Scopes List

The scope is as important as the rifle. You have to spend your time and resources to get the best from the various brands in the market.

You must evaluate the various conditions you want to operate the rifle. For instance, check whether you want to use it under a poor lighting condition and whether it would require longer ranges.

If you want to hunt deer and with a moderate range scope it is better to use fixed magnification. If you are targeting a varmint that is smaller and with longer ranges, it is better to look for variable magnification. Moreover, you should opt for a scope that provides larger lenses like 50mm.

The importance of this is that it makes more lights available. In the same way, this makes for better images, especially in a poor light condition.

Another important thing that you must not ignore includes reticle. This is very important and it is indispensable in any scope. Various models were introduced to the market and it has undergone innovation over the years.

These days there are various models and styles of a reticle in the market and it is not easy to choose one. 

1. Simmons 8-point 3-9x50mm

Simmons 8-Point 3-9x50mm Varmint Rifle Scope with Truplex Reticle

This model remains the most popular choice and if you want to use it for a heavier recoiling gun like the .260, .243, and the larger models, you can always consider this kind of scope.

Even for smaller lighter recoiling guns, these are the best options like the .22lr and .17hmr. One of the key features is the affordability, as it does not go beyond $200.

 If you are a budget-conscious buyer, you can always consider this model. Even the scope can retail for $50. The features are great and you have value for your money.

For the closer range shots, you can consider those with lower magnifications. Those with 9 times magnification are good for longer ranges. This is the best choice for those on a strict budget.

This makes the list because of the quality and it can do the shooting job. For different ranges, this product can do.

This product is also great for larger varmint like the .223 and the .222. 

It is great because of the wonderful stopping power. This can cover different ranges and it can take on heavier objects. It uses little recoil. If you want more capable rounds then you can consider upgrading the scope.


  • Magnification – 3-9x
  • Eye Relief – 3.75 inches
  • Field of View -31.4-10.5 ft/100 yds 
  • Weight – 13.2 oz.


  • High quality optics
  • Multicoated lenses
  • Nice easy grip surface


  • Rings setup not included

2. Bushnell Banner Dusk 4-12x40 [Budget Friendly]

Bushnell Banner Dusk

Bushnell is known for having great prices when it comes to optics and are also one of the top leader in the manufacturing of optics. Their entry level prices make this scope a go-to for every type of hunter, from beginners to advanced. 

This scope has low excellent low light performance as any other expensive scope with multi-coated lenses.

It has a 1/4 M.O.A fingertip windage and elevation turrets with really nice grip when wearing glove during cold winter times.

Excellent waterproof construction with O-ring sealed optics so they can stay fog proof and dry inside. The argon purged optics make this a very reliable and stable scope during various temperature changes. 

Las but not least, when it comes to magnification the 18x and wide objective lense make this an ideal scope for varmint hunting. 


  • Magnification – 4-12x
  • Eye Relief – 3.3 inches
  • Field of View -29-11 ft/100 yds 
  • Weight – 15 oz.


  • Lightweight
  • Budget friendly
  • Shockproof/waterproof/fog-proof


  • Limited Warranty

3. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-12x56

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-12x56 varmint hunter

Vortex again with another win. 

This scope excels when it comes to low light conditions because of it's oversized objective lens. It does not matter if you are in full sunlight or, dusk, dawn or under heavy shade, the clarity on this scope will ensure you have a perfect shot every time.

It also have very good long eye relief and a very forgiving eye box, that will allow to get a very precise and clear image of your target. It also has a very fast focusing eyepiece that allows for quick and easy focusing.

The construction materials on this scope are also top notch. It is made from a single piece of aircraft grade aluminum that gives it it's outstanding shockproof capabilities and tremendous strength.

Just like all other Vortex scopes this one comes with nitrogen purged o-rings that give the scope waterproof and fog proof capabilities. 

The closed turrets are a nice touch that come handy when using it on a hunting rifle. All on all when it comes to low light situations, big game, small game, this scope is one of the most versatiles out there. 


  • Magnification – 12x56
  • Eye Relief – 3.5 inches
  • Field of View -36.2-9.2 ft/100 yds 
  • Weight – 21.1 oz.


  • HD and coated lenses
  • Super clear in low light condition
  • Ideal for all game sizes
  • Amazing value


  • Snow might cause it fog

4. Vortex Optics Diamondback SFP Riflescope 4-12x40

Vortex Optics Diamondback Second Focal Plane Riflescopes for Varmint hunting

When it comes to optics, Vortex is one of our to go scopes. 

This scope can give you a wide range of opportunity, from big/medium game all the way down to varmint hunting.

It's dead hold BDC is super convenient for hunting or shooting at various ranges because of it's ability to hold-over. Other option are also available such as the V-plex.

All lenses are multicoated for clear and fog proof optics. It provides super clear images in low light environments such as dusk and dawn. 

It also has a quick focus eyepiece that makes it quick and easy to focus your reticle.

Last but not least, the all metal on metal precision turrets make it very easy to zero after your done with the sight-in. A precision glide erector system make it convenient and precise when it comes to repeating the process. 

Argon purged O-ring ensure that your scope will remain fog-proof it's entire life. 


  • Magnification – 4-12x40
  • Eye Relief – 3.1 inches
  • Field of View -32.4-11.ft/100 yds
  • Weight – 14.6 oz.



  • Slow customer service support

5. Nikon Pro Staff 4-12 x 40mm

Nikon ProStaff 4-12x40 Rifle scope MILDOT Reticle

Nikon is a clear leader in this kind of product. The scope is unique and it comes with a mil-dot reticle but you are not going to enjoy extreme magnification with this.

This model is wonderful for the centerfire rifles. It is good for air rifles as well as rimfire rifles. You can use this for long range because the magnification can support that very well. You can use this for your varminting needs because it can perform.


  • Magnification – 4-12x
  • Eye Relief – 3.7inches
  • Field of View -23.6-7.9 ft/100 yds 
  • Weight – 15.5 oz.


  • Multi-coated lens
  • Mil-dot reticle
  • Spring loaded turrets
  • Quick focus eyepiece


  • Not suitable for long range

6. Leupold VX-3I 4.5-14x50mm Duplex

Leupold VX-3i 4.5-14x50mm Matte Duplex Mark 2 Integrated Mount System

Leupold scopes do not disappoint and it is expected that this model is not going to disappoint you. This model is great for long-range shooting, and it comes with adjustable magnification. The scope is one of the best and it comes with the most useful features.

The reticle is a duplex model and it meets every standard. Furthermore, the scope of the traditional and comes with the most improved gadgets. It is one of the most technologically advanced in the market.


  • Magnification – 4.5-14.4x
  • Eye Relief – 3.6 inches
  • Field of View -16.7-4.5 ft/100 yds 
  • Weight – 29.6 oz.


  • Multi-coated lens
  • Waterproof and shock proof
  • Amazing HD quality optics


  • No longer available

7. ATN X-Sight II HD 3-14 Smart Day or Night Rifle Scope 

ATN X-Sight II HD 3-14 Smart Day or Night Rifle Scope 1080p Video Ballistic Calculator Rangefinder WiFi E-Compass GPS Barometer iOS Android Apps

This is one of the best products from ATN, and it comes with the most advanced features. If you want to become a perfect shooter, this model can be of great help.

You can use this even in darkness, this is because of the most innovative technology it uses. 

This comes with a recoil support recording. Most importantly, this is Bluetooth compatible. You can use it with your phone to record footage. It comes with other fantastic features.


  • Magnification – 3-14x
  • Eye Relief – 3.3 inches
  • Field of View -240 ft/1000 yds 
  • Battery life – 22hrs with extra pack


  • Night vision
  • Ballistic calculator
  • Smart range finder
  • 1080p video recording


  • USB port might get loose


These are the best scopes in the market and any of them is very useful in varmint hunting. Depending on what you want, I would always opt for the Leupold scope shown above.

It comes with the most interesting features such as different magnification options. 

This is also the best when it comes to quality performance. It allows light and you can use this with ease in low light condition. You cannot use this in the dark time as you would use the ATN product. Its duplex reticle makes it more comfortable to use than others. Furthermore, you can adjust it with your finger. All these are great varmint scopes.

George Grey

About the author

Being an avid outdoorsman since I can remember, my passion for survival, hunting and the outdoors has grown every year. I love being out in the country and living off it whenever time allows. Huge Rifle Scopes aficionado!

George Grey