When it comes to scope magnification, there are many ranges available. One of the most practical for a wide range of gun owners, especially hunters, is 1-8x. Read on to learn why it’s ideal and what the best scopes are in this magnification range on the market today.
Comparison Chart of the Best 1-8x Scopes
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Magnification Explained - What is a 1-8x Scope?
Scope magnification level is measured in “x”s. Thus, you can determine the range of a scope, by its magnification, such as 1-8x, 4-12x, and so on, all offering different magnification ranges.
You can think of each x as 100% enlargement. So, for example, 4x refers to 400% enlargement of your viewing picture, whereas 8X is 800% enlargement. It’s worth noting that the highest potential magnification of a scope is not the only number to pay attention to.
For example, if you have a scope that magnifies up to 8x, but starts at 2x, you should understand that at a minimum you will be seeing a picture that is 200% enlarged.
Why not keep going larger and larger? Well, in terms of practicality, having 3,200% magnification might sound great, but you want to keep a wide enough viewing angle to see what you’re doing. Thus, 1-8x provides great magnification at enough of a range for most hunters shooting near or far without limiting the view.
Aspects to Consider When Buying a 1-8x Scope
Simply choosing a scope in the 1-8x range requires a little more thought beyond just the magnification range, however. You should also bear in mind:
This is a measure of how wide the lens is. Not only does that mean a potentially larger viewing picture, but, because a wider lens allows more light into the tube, it means a brighter picture as well. This isn’t quite as important as it is with scopes that go to much higher magnification levels, but it’s still important, and you should look for a sufficiently wide diameter.
Because magnification scopes are all about precision at any range, they typically include unique reticles. From regular crosshairs to mil-dots to proprietary reticles the manufacturer creates, there are many options.
Ease of Use
Windage, elevation, and parallax are common adjustable elements on most scopes, and how the scope allows you to make these adjustments will determine how easy it is to do in the thick of a hunt. Look for one that isn’t in the way but is also easy to reach without taking your eye off the target.
Review of the Best 1-8x Scopes
Now that you get the gist of rifle scope magnification in the 1-8x range, let’s take a look at the best products on the market today. We’ll categorize them according to how they stand out among their peers, but bear in mind the aspects to consider and be sure to find one that’s right for you.
Vortex Optics - Strike Eagle 1-8X24MM Scope AR-BDC2 Reticle
You don’t need to take our word for it, as countless hunters would agree that the Vortex Optics Strike Eagle is a top choice for a 1-8x powered scope. It’s not the most premium scope on our list, but it does get very close. What we love is that it is full-featured, well-made, durable, useful for almost any type of hunter, and very well-priced. All of this makes it an obvious choice for our top scope.
Constructed from a single piece of 30mm aircraft-quality aluminum with an O-ring seal and nitrogen purging, it is proofed against shock, fog, and water.
As for the view, the lenses are fully multi-coated for optimum brightness in virtually any conditions, offering a crisp and clean picture. The BDC reticle is glass-etched and illuminated, with 11 settings for whatever lighting condition you find yourself in. Windage, elevation, and parallax are all adjustable in ½ MOA increments with capped turrets which are easily within reach and produce audible clicks.
Additionally, an included mount makes installation simple and easy, while the battery, while it rarely needs changing, is easily accessible from the top of the unit between the turrets.
This solid construction, ample feature set, ease of use, and great performance are not encumbered by a large price tag, either. Providing exceptional value and even a lifetime warranty, the Vortex Optics Eagle Strike is the 1-8x magnification scope to beat.
It’s hard to find faults with the Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-8x, which is precisely why it’s become a big favorite amongst hunters. With a great price point, the excellent picture at any magnification level or light condition, solid construction, and even a lifetime warranty, it should certainly be sufficient for most hunters.
Best 1-8x Scope for the Money:
Trijicon RS27-C-1900026 AccuPower Riflescope, 1-8x28mm
While the Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-8x is offered at a great price point, it’s difficult to beat the value of the Trijicon AccuPower, which, while pricier, gives you a heck of a lot more for your money.
For starters, you have a 28mm objective lens as compared to a standard 24mm objective lens. As stated prior to our reviews, a wider objective lens is a great advantage, as it gives you a bigger view. This is critical when zooming in, as you’ll have about 17% greater view, requiring less precision when initially acquiring targets. Not only that, but the wider lens also means unbeatable brightness.
You also get more finely-tuned adjustable turrets, which do produce an audible click every ¼ MOA turn. Additionally, these adjustments are lockable and hold exceptionally well. Meanwhile, a fully-illuminated reticle etched into the first focal plane provides excellent crispness in any lighting condition.
As you should expect from a scope from Trijicon, it is made from a durable aircraft-grade aluminum with a black nitride finish for maximum stealth. It also resists corrosion while being fully proofed for water, fog, and shock.
This being Trijicon, you also get an American-made product backed by a lifetime warranty.
Don’t let the higher price tag of the Trijicon AccuPower fool you. Though it’s pricier than our top pick, you will get an incredible value. With a wide objective lens and super-precise adjustments, it will take your hunting to the next level.
Best Primary Arms 1-8x Scope:
Primary Arms 1-8x24 SFP Rifle Scope with Illuminated ACSS 5.56 \ 5.45 \ .308 Reticle
Primary Arms is a big name in scopes and their top scope for 1-8x magnification makes it easy to see why.
For starters, you get the proprietary ACSS reticle, which intelligently combines bullet drop compensation, moving target leads and wind holds into one single system. This will take a short while to understand if you’re used to more basic reticles, but if you put in the minimal effort to understand how it works, you’ll wonder how you ever survived without its assistance. You’ll enjoy lightning-fast precision up to 300 yards and superb accuracy retention up to 800 yards.
The view is crystal-clear through its 24mm diameter, thanks to multi-coated lenses. Windage and elevation are adjustable with ½ MOA clicks on capped turrets. Additionally, the turrets are low profile.
Construction is also excellent, as the unit is made from 6063 aluminum with full waterproofing and a nitrogen purge ensures fog resistance. It is also black anodized to resist corrosion. This unit also resists reflection particularly well, making it one of the stealthier of the bunch.
All in all, it is a solid scope that we do find to be very comparable to our top choice. The real deciding and stand-out feature here is the ACSS reticle, and whether that justifies the added expense. We believe that this scope might be a better value for shooters who tend to shoot on the longer end of the range, as bullet drop and other factors are a bigger concern at long ranges. Of course, anyone who shoots in windier areas will also really like this feature.
This excellent scope from Primary Arms is a particularly useful tool for shooters who prefer shooting from afar, or who often find themselves in adverse weather. Its proprietary reticle gives hunters an edge against wind and bullet drop.
Best Shepherd 1-8x Scope:
Shepherd Scopes Series 1-8x24 R-MIL
We love Shepherd Scopes for their incredible commitment to craftsmanship. Their products are made in the United States, down to each component, and the difference is obvious from the moment you look through the glass.
The lenses are multi-coated and offer a crystal-clear picture that surpasses the clarity of any scope in its price range. The 24mm objective diameter consistently captures excellent light for superb shooting in any level of illumination, while a red or green reticle of variable brightness ensures you can nail your target with the utmost of care. The reticle itself is a super-precise, highly advanced variant of a mil-dot and crosshair hybrid with bullet drop indications.
Thanks to its sturdy construction, it reliably holds zero over time. Fully-adjustable windage and elevation on capped turrets provide precise ¼ MOA adjustments with an audible click. Additionally, the dials are well-textured and turn smoothly, with just enough resistance.
The material itself is aircraft-grade aluminum with a black nitride finish. It is nitrogen-purged and O-ring sealed. You’ll enjoy reflection, corrosion, shock, and fog resistance along with waterproofing. Shepherd has created a truly rugged piece of equipment.
Ultimately, the reticle is the only particularly unique feature. It’s not quite as advanced or intrusive as the Primary Arms reticle, making it a great compromise for those who want something a bit simpler. Where it really shines, however, is in the quality of the manufacturing. It’s a bit pricier than some others on our list, but if you want a solid, made-in-America scope designed and built to last, you can’t beat this unit.
Shepherd Scopes produces premium scopes that are handmade in the United States from only the best parts. While it is not a massive departure in terms of features, those with a budget for a high-quality build will love this durable option.
Best Bushnell 1-8x Scope:
Bushnell Tactical Elite SMRS 1-8.5x 24mm Illuminated BTR-2 FFP Reticle Riflescope
Are you looking for your “lifetime scope?” Do you just want to know what the best scope on our list is when cost isn’t a factor?
If you’ve got the budget to go with the best of the best, we introduce you to the Bushnell Tactical Elite SMRS. There are other scopes that are this good, but this scope—while pricier than the rest on the list, yes—costs substantially less than its high-end peers and packs in the best features around.
Let’s start with the optics. Utilizing the absolute best glass around (think the same quality as the glass in Shepherd scopes) combined with a special, proprietary multi-coat, light shines through in the absolute darkest of situations. Not only that, but you’ll swear your view is clearer than with the naked eye. It’s simply that good.
Additionally, you get an excellent reticle. The smart design combines several reticle styles into one for great precision at short or long ranges. Mil-hash marks enable superb holdover, ranging, and windage correction with super-crisp visual indications. Illumination for 11 lighting conditions has been carefully calibrated to always be perfect. The turrets themselves use a proprietary T-Lok for top-notch security.
The tube itself is made from a single piece of aircraft-grade aluminum with no stress points. It is given a black anodized finish for corrosion resistance and a sleek, reflection-resistant matte. Going the distance, Bushnell has opted for argon purging over nitrogen, along with O-ring sealing, to provide unbeatable protection from water, fog, shock, and other environmental concerns.
One of the coatings on the lenses is a Rain Guard HD coat which keeps water off the glass and it works perfectly well for dirt and debris, too. Of course, for a premium product like this, you’d expect a warranty, and you’ve got it—for life.
Objectively, the Bushnell 1-8x is probably the best scope on our list, although its price is likely prohibitive for many readers. That said, if you’re looking for a “lifetime scope”, the premium build and high-end features of this scope are unbeatable. It should be the ultimate goal of any serious hunter.
Best Uses for a 1-8x Scope
Here are the best used for a 1-8X scope:
While going up to 8x magnification provides you with decent power when you need to shoot up to a few hundred yards, the ability to stay at 1x or 2x means that you’ll always be ready to aim at closer targets. This becomes much more difficult or impossible when your lowest magnification setting is 4x or 8x.
One problem with scopes that provide a larger magnification range is that they tend to be pricier. To be sure, you can find great budget scopes in this range, and we’ve looked at those separately. But for your money, it’s hard to find a better value than in a 1-8x scope.
Additionally, 1-8x scopes tend to have excellent pictures because they don’t need to compensate nearly as much as higher-magnification scopes. This is relevant not only for the quality of the picture but the level of light passing through. Again, you can get an excellent picture from some high-end scopes with greater magnification, but this can quickly get very expensive.
A scope in the 1-8x range is a powerful, affordable, and very versatile tool for the hunter’s arsenal. Providing the range necessary in an easy-to-use and adjust manner, it’s the perfect option for most hunters. Use our guide to determine what scope works best for you and enjoy hunting from any range!