So you are looking for best ar 15 scope under 200. AR-15 has enjoyed great popularity ever since it has been available for everybody. It is easier to handle, very accurate with close range shots. You can add different scopes and other parts to customise it. It is an impressive weapon but it is difficult to handle for long range due to bullet drop. Therefore, you need a scope to improve your long-range shots.
We have compiled list of best scopes which are easier to mount and handle. Proceed to read the list or jump to the buyer guide through the table of contents.
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LIST OF BEST AR 15 SCOPE UNDER 200
Following are the best scopes that you can mount on your AR 15. They are all under 200 and each can contribute a lot to your aiming.
Bushnell BTR-1 1-4x24mm
The first scope of this list of best ar 15 scope under 200. There are loads of options available in the market for low magnification AR scopes. You can magnify target four times of what you see with the naked eye. This is read by the expression 1-4x. The weight of the scope is 17.3 oz and is almost 9.5 inches long. The design overall is not very compact but in comparison with other scopes in the same range, it will not make your gun look bulkier.
It comes with the PCL or Power Control Lever. This gives you control over magnification when you need to do quick adjustments from minimum to maximum magnification power. With range within 1 to 4 power, you are most likely a close range shooter and will opt to stay between 2-3 power. Non-PCL version also comes with this model but that is not recommended. Another interesting point is that Bushnell has added O ring and groove to the PCL. This imparts enough space to make sure that the PCL and aluminum ocular casing do not collide.
You will get finger adjustable turrets with this scope. But you need to give special care to ensure that they are not dialed off-zero because of the absence of locking and no zero stop. As this is an entry level scope, therefore, you should not expect a very high-quality build of the clicks. They are well apart along with hearable and tactile feedback but you will experience lash with each click. But as stated earlier that this is a short range scope, so this problem is not something to be concerned of.
The scope comes with BTR-1 ballistic reticle measured for .223 cartridge. Different distances are marked on the reticle so you can make the proper calculation before the shot. The top dot is to help for 0-200 yard range, while markings for 300 to 600 yards are also made. You can use the reticle during daytime. The visuals are bright enough without using any illumination. It comes with reticle illumination and you will be surprised how precisely they have covered the illumination turret marked from zero to eleven. From 2 – 11 you can cover a wide range of lighting conditions. Position 11 can even be seen with bright light during daytime against a white object.
Overall it’s a great scope under 200 dollars for the money. Like all scopes, it has shortcomings as well. Its turrets are lashing as explained above already. If you are a close range shooter it will be an excellent scope to mount on your scope mounter.
Nikon P-223 3×32 Matte BDC Carbine
This is a fixed range scope and offers great durability. Although most scope these days are designed for nonfixed power but Nikkon P-223 has enjoyed great success over the years and is widely used on different rifles. As it is a fixed scope with low magnification it provides the benefits of the very wide field of view. With features likes these and under reasonable budget, this scope makes into the list of best ar 15 scope under 200 dollars.
With fixed low magnification, your acquisition of the target gets faster and if you do most of the hunting within 200 – 300 yards then this is great scope for you. Two lenses are included in the cardboard backing package it comes up with. They also provide a cloth, which you can use to clean the lenses.
They have put time into the color of the scope. It is matte black which matches most of the ar rifles out there. So it will look quite decent on you scope mount. Therefore, it gives a low profile look to the rifle which is ideal for tactical gear lovers.
It also comes with a Bullet Drop Compensator calibrated for the .223 Remington round. BDC helps shooter to get the scope adjusted for targets of different ranges since as soon as you shot, the bullet travels through BDC arc and the strike of the round gets balanced. However, if you want to learn more about how to use the BDC then head over to the Nikkon official website and learn how you can calibrate the BDC. The material on the website is by the App name Spot On.
As this is a short range scope, it will not be very effective for long range shooting beyond 200 yards. If you read the buying guide then you would have inferred that by yourself. But for close range, it is perfectly designed to operate effectively. Like Bushnell, the reticle has to mark under the main crosshair to depict different ranges.
The lens is made in Japan but scope assembly is carried out in Philipines. The scope is Parallax free up to 100 yards. This means that for close range target you do not need to do adjustments as it comes factory adjusted for close range shooting. But if you plan to do long range shooting then you need to match the plane of the reticle and the scope.
You can have .24 inch MOA with a positive click with a small twist and click. Once you are done with windage and elevation you can return to the zero position by pulling up the caps. This is a quick and easy transition. NIkkons provide a lifetime warranty with this model, this shows the amount of quality being fed into the product to strengthen the brand authority. The scope has shortcoming for some of the shooter as you will not have the ability to back up iron sights. But you can still cover this problem by mounting an additional red dot sight on forend rail of the rifle.
Nikon P-223 3-9×40
NIkkon has provided many scopes with BDC reticles to deal with the problem of bullet dropping. This scope also deals with the ar 15 well-known shortcoming. Hence it makes into our list of best ar 15 scope under 200 dollars. At this price range, Nikkon has worked very closely in minimizing the light loss by reflection. With P-223 you get 98% light into the scope and only 2% lose by reflection.
The BDC or Bullet Drop Compensation reticle for this scope has been made ideal for .223 Remington cartridge with a 55-grain polymer tip. You can also make aiming much more easier by going to Nikkon website and learn further from the Spot On program on their website. Spot on will teach you how to use the equipment for bore distance, target range, the calibre of ammunition etc. It is extremely useful as it will help you in getting the perfect shot via Spon On App.
This is variable zoom scope. You can zoom from 3 to 9 times of the size of what is visible to the naked eye. This magnification is more than enough for using .223 Remington bullets. But the 9x magnification requires some experience and calculation to pull off the best shot.
As you zoom into target long range target, like many scopes this one is also prone to the well-known Parallax problem. If you are not aware of this problem, then it is recommended that you scroll down or from the table of contents read the ‘’Adjustable Objective’’ point in the buyer guide section. Like the other nikkon scope reviewed here, this variable power range scope also has auto parallax correction for targets up to 100 yards. Beyond that, you will need some experience to line up the plane of scope and plane of the reticle.
You also get abundant eye relief with this model. Also, you get positive feedback with ¼ inch MOA. You can reset turret by lifting spring-loaded knob and twisting few turns. In addition, scope o-ring is sealed and nitrogen filled to keep it safe from misty foggy conditions. The matte black colors add to the tactical nature of the scope. The downside is for long range aiming you will experience vibration and even mirages especially when you are aiming at down angle.
Leupold VX-1 3-9×40
In this list of best AR 15 scop under 200, Leupold VX-1 is an amalgam of high quality with a very economical price tag. Usually, the scopes coming at this price are meant for unprofessional shooters or someone who is just looking to get some practice before moving on to high-end scopes. Leupold VX is for those budgeted shooters who are looking something reliable.
They have done the coating 4 times on the lens which makes the lens 92% free from reflection. Although it is relatively lower than the Nikkon and Bushnell but anything more than 90% is great. You will be still able to see bright and crispier images of the targets. The zooming range is 3x to 9x which is suitable for short to medium range hunt.
This scope is designed for steady hunting. It does not offer faster target acquisition. The lens also has unobtrusive locking ring which let you lock onto the target with low effort. There are 56 Minutes of angles with each having windage and elevation at .25 inch clicks. However, you do need to note that the adjustment system is not extraordinary. It is like any other normal scope within this budget range of under 200 dollars.
Leupold scope is compatible with .223, .270 and .308 hunting calibers. Leupold also provides their own rings and base which helps to make a mount on any firearm easily. Another plus point is the customisability with a different reticle. You can have duplex gloss, duplex matter, and LR duplex/matte. The tube is of 1 inch with the strong build of aluminum which imparts lightweight to the scope. In addition, the scope is filled with nitrogen to make it safe from misty weather.
Like Nikkon, Leupold is also offering a lifetime warranty on the product. This depicts the number of efforts being put in by both brands into their product. The problem is that like other long-range scopes under the budget of 200 dollars. The magnification is not as great and you might experience trouble aiming. You can check Leupold official website to know the more detailed analysis of this scope.
Bushnell Optics Drop Zone 223 4.5-18x 40mm
This is a variable powered scope with a load of magnification power available. It has a strong build and can bear the recoils from .223 Remington shots. You will find its reticle up to to the modern standard which is easier to read and operate. You can easily increment your shots from 100 to 500 yards of distance. The glass is clear enough and has a low reflective rate.
It offers a massive range of magnification from 4.5x to 18x power range. You will also get parallax correction with this scope. The functionality helps effortlessly to correct errors which comes in long-range shooting as the plane of scope and reticle goes out the balance.
In addition to the ballistic drop zone reticle, you also get reticle specific calibers which allow users make every shot with great precision. It also includes fast focus eyepiece which will help in very quick target acquisition. When you combine this with long-range magnification it becomes a very handy scope.
You can use is it in rainy weather as the scope is water and fog proof. It is also shock resistant and extremely rugged build makes this scope highly durable. It is made up of a high quality alloy containing aluminum which lowers the weight. Bushnell has done another coating over the structure to save it from damage because of exposure.
The lens is coated to reduce the reflection loss. You can use the product even during low visibility conditions. However, in terms of turret tracking as it does not offer high accuracy especially in a situation where you need to do quick hunting. You can try to cover up by making the scope set to zero and then lock it with glue so it does not wobble.
BUYING GUIDE FOR SCOPE
From the budget of under 200 dollars, it is safe to assume that you are completely new or still at beginner level. You might get puzzled when you hear all the complicated terms about a scope but at Tell Me Best we try our best to write buying guide as easy as possible. We have made a list of all the most important factors that you must understand before you proceed to buy a scope.
Here is a list of factors that will affect your choice of the best ar 15 scope under 200 dollars.
Whenever you read a riflescope you will observe that it is represented in form of a number expression. E.g. 2.5-10 x 40 or 3×24. This expression is important as it holds two important factors about the scope. Please note these are a hypothetical number just to explain how you should read it.
The first number 2.5-10 or 3 is the magnification power of the scope. This shows how much you can magnify the object relative to your naked eye. So, there is two type of scopes. One which has variable magnification power like 2.5-10 and other with a fixed magnification of 3.
Therefore, you can magnify a target from 2.5 of its size to 10. While fixed scope will show fixed magnification of 3 times of what the object is appearing with the naked eye. The variable power scopes are more expensive as they offer more diverse operation.
When choosing the power of the scope, you must put into consideration your style of hunting. If you are hunting in close range then magnification of up to 4 is sufficient. You will get a wider field of view and you can aim target quickly.
However, if you are a long range hunter then go for magnification up to 20x. You can clearly view the target by such a scope who is 300-400 yards away from you. If you select a variable power scope from 3 -12 it will give you a long range of magnification variation. We have covered the same topics in identifying great binocular to place in your arsenal.
The second number in the expression 2.5-10 x 50 i.e. 50 is the diameter of the lens. So in this scope, the outer diameter is of 50mm. Bigger the lens is bigger will be the area which allows more light to get into scope. More the light entering into the scope more will be the image definition or clearer will be the image when you view it from the scope.
The size of a light beam that leaves the scope is called Exit Pupil. You can calculate it by dividing the diameter of the lens with the power you are currently operating on. So for the fixed scope of above example 3×24, the exit pupil is 8mm.
During summer or on bright days human pupil can go maximum to the size of 4mm. But when it gets dark the pupil can expand to a maximum of 9mm. So if you are a day hunter you do not need a big Exit Pupil as your eye pupil size cannot take full advantage of the exit pupil. But if you are planning to hunt at night you can make full use of this size of exit pupil
Reticle or Crosshair they both mean the same thing. It is the two thin wires that cross each other to mark the aim of the scope. They can also be pointed posts, dots, more than one dot and even bars. The most common reticle you will come across is the multiplex.
The multiplex reticle has thick wire lines near the circumference but as they cross each other they become thinner. This makes it’s easier for you to aim and take a more pinpointed shot. But there are other options available as well. It depends on your style of hunting. Choose what suits you more.
You can adjust the objective lens in some scopes. If you plan to hunt at very long distances then you need the adjustable lens. When you increase magnification then your aim will experience a condition called Parallax.
So, when you view a distant object, the reticle will shift which will make it difficult to aim at right spot. In other words, the image formed by the scope and reticle are not on the same plane. Most of the manufacturers have optimised the scopes to operate up to 150 yards without Parallax by employing auto adjustment.
In short, if your style of hunting is to take the target from large distances then you need an adjustable objective.
It is the distance between the eyepiece and your eye. It is usually referred to as range because with magnification range lenses you have to change your distance from the scope as well. Manufacturers provide lateral adjustment after mounting the scope. You get the optimised distance according to your style of shooting. It is a crucial factor, as it helps in aiming quicker for elusive shots.
Usually, the eye relief can be two to four inches. This is for safety purposes as well. All guns recoil and if you are aiming too close to the scope then the recoil might injure you. Especially in case of shotguns. You need an eye relief of a foot at least. Aiming too close to the scope might waste your eye. So, Stay Safe and know the eye relief of the scope.
FIELD OF VIEW
Field of view of FOV is the amount of area captured by your lens. Usually, the focal length and eyepiece together form the field of view. Wider the field of view, wider will be the area you can look through the scope.
This also means that more light will be entering into the lens and relatively blurry image will be formed. So, if you have a wider field of view then you will have lesser magnification power. As you magnify more you will lose more definition of the image. Therefore, the power of scope is inversely related to its field of view.
If you are a close range hunter then you require a wider field of view. On the other hand, if you are a long range hunter who hunts at several hundred meters then you need a smaller field of view. This will ensure that your magnification power is not compromised and the aim is at pinpoint accuracy.
MINUTE OF ANGLE
Minute of angle or MOA is the variance on 100 yards distant target. It is also referred to as the adjustment of the scope. So for a .25’’ MOA, for each click you do on the adjustment knob, the impact point of the bullet will also do a movement of .25’’ at 100 yards.
WINDAGE AND ELEVATION
Windage and elevation are an adjustment you do in vertical and horizontal direction on to your scope.
It is the diameter of your scope. Typically scopes are of one-inch diameter or 30mm diameter. But you should not confuse diameter with the fact that it will capture more light to reach at your side. Rather light entrance is related to the Exit Pupil mentioned above in this post.
Larger the diameter of the tube more will be the strong build of the scope. In addition, if you have a larger scope then you have more room for windage an elevation.
As light enters into the scope pupil, some of the light gets reflected back typically 5%. So, the image you observed without a coating of magnesium fluoride on your scope will lose its quality. Such image formed will be low in the definition and darker.
To minimize this problem the pupil side is coated with Magnesium fluoride. This makes the amount of light reflected back lower than 1 percent. Typically around 0.25% to 0.5%, this is a massive improvement and image you will observe will have 99% of its definition preserved. But for scopes covered in this budget of under 200, anything above 90% is a bliss.
Airguns have their own special scopes. As their recoil movement is both forward and rearward. So if you used a scope not designed for the airgun it will result in scope damage. Therefore, you might be tempted to use air scope for your air gun. By no means, you should try that and must get a separate scope for your air guns. We only included this as a factor because it is more common to damage scopes that are not compatible with air guns than you think.
WEIGHT AND LENGTH
If you buy a great scope but if it is heavier in weight than you will get tired out quickly. If you buy larger objective with extensive power then you will have benefits but these features come at the expense of weight.
Try to minimize the weight of the rifle, as it is already a heavier gun and you are already carrying a lot. Look for a balanced fixed scope with normal objective size. Yes, I am talking about the sweet spot that works great for both close and long range targets. Do a calculation that gives you larger exit pupil which forms brighter image and weighs lesser.
All scopes in this list of the best ar 15 scope under 200 dollars are pretty similar to each other. We have covered short range scopes, mid-range scopes and high range scopes as well.
Choose the one which suits your style the most. Do keep in mind that within this budget you can have a great close range scope for fast acquisition but for long range hunting you will experience problems. Therefore, if you are planning to do long range shooting then you need to improvise the scopes. It will take some time but you will get used to your scope and will be able to understand how to maneuver it for long range shooting.