Best AR-15 Scopes for Coyote Hunting – 2020 Review

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When hunting predators like coyotes, your choice of scope can make a big difference. The coyote is usually difficult to locate at night, but now any hunter can use night vision scopes to bring the odds back in their favor.

A good scope on your AR-15 will allow you to spot, track, and kill the target with a highly-accurate shot, even in low-light conditions.

In this article, we look at the factors you should consider when choosing a scope so you can be successful in bagging a coyote in your chosen hunting environment and specific conditions.

Comparison of the Best AR-15 Scopes For Coyote Hunting

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Nikon - P-223 Riflescope

  • Compact Design for Easy Handling
  • Holds Zero Even Under Harsh Recoil
  • BDC Reticle Avoids Repetitive Adjustments
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Trijicon ACOG Rifle Scope

  • 4x Magnification With Picatinny Rail
  • Provides Sight Picture up to 800 Meters
  • Available in 7 Different Reticle Options
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ATN X-Sight Smart Rifle Scope

  • 3-14x Max Magnification w/Smooth Zoom Integration
  • Bluetooth and WiFi Connectivity
  • 50mm Objective Size
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Sightmark - Photon Xt 6.5x50mm Digital Night Vision Rifle Scope

  • Night Vision Compatibility for Hunting
  • Many Reticles for Versatility and Comfort
  • Digital Calibration and Recording
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Nightforce Optics 5-20x56 SHV Riflescope

  • High Power for Long Distance Shooting
  • Large Objective Delivers a Crisp and Clear Image
  • MOAR Reticle for Accurate Estimations
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Vortex Viper PST Gen II 2-10x32mm

  • FFP Scope Ideal for Accurate Shooting
  • Fully Adjustable for Windage Elevation and Parallax
  • Versatile EBR Illuminated Reticle
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Dealing With Predators

Coyote hunting is popular in Southwest and Midwest states, and people hunt them for multiple reasons. The first reason to hunt coyotes is population control. Coyotes are predators and in recent years their population has increased, leading to many states issuing specific coyote hunting regulations. This is because they can attack livestock, be vectors for disease, and decrease other kinds of game available for hunting.

Since coyote hunt wild animals like turkey, deer, quail, duck, and rabbit, they are increasingly coming into competition with human hunters. So, hunting coyotes makes sense as we can eliminate our competition for wild game.

The second reason to hunt coyotes is disease control. Coyotes can harbor diseases like distemper, rabies, trichinosis, and parvo, as well as parasites like mange, lice, fleas, and worms. The diseases they carry can be passed from coyotes to dogs and from dogs to humans.

The third reason for hunting coyotes is for the sheer thrill of the hunt. Coyotes are a notoriously cunning and alert quarry, with an acute sense of smell. Being wary and sensitive to movements that are not quite right in their immediate surroundings, they are a difficult animal to hunt.

Another reason to hunt coyotes is to protect livestock from attack, as they often kill and eat fowl and attack sheep and calves. In 2014, 28% of adult sheep losses and 36 % of lamb losses were attributed to predators. Of those animals, ranchers stated that 33,510 adult sheep (more than half of total predation losses) and 84,519 lambs (nearly two-thirds of all predation losses) were killed by coyotes.  

In states where it’s legal to hunt, coyotes usually have a bounty on their heads, as they provide valuable pelts.

What to Look For in a Scope

When we talk about the ideal scope for hunting coyotes, keep in mind that you’ll need to tailor your scope to your specific hunting environment and time of hunting. Nighttime hunting will have different requirements from early morning or dusk shooting.

In this article we’re going to focus on scopes that are good for dusk/dawn/daylight and for shorter ranges up to 100 -150 yards. Let’s understand what factors will affect what you should look for in a scope for coyote hunting.

Magnification

Magnification is a hotly debated topic when it comes to scopes, with some hunters advocating for the higher the better mantra and others supporting the medium-to-low magnification power. The best magnification is the one that meets your hunting requirements and style of shooting.

While hunting in the deep woods, your farthest shot will be no more than 150 yards, so a 1.5-5x may be all that you need. If hunting coyote on the open plains, your shooting range may extend to 450 yards and then you’ll need a scope with at least a 20x-power zoom. So keep in mind the kind of terrain you’ll be shooting in and what kind of habitats the coyotes in your area live in, as well as your average shot distance.

Objective Lens

This is the light-­gathering lens on the far end of your scope, and when it comes to coyote hunting, the bigger the objective lens, the better the low-light ability and the better you can shoot. The last number in the scope’s description tells you the objective size. For example, a scope with the designation of 5.5-22x56 mm has a 56 mm objective. Simply get the biggest objective you can afford. An objective that is at least 50 mm is highly recommended, but keep in mind that the size will affect your sight picture.

Reticle

There is no need to overcomplicate things by buying a fancy reticle. You should remember your AR-15 is shooting high-velocity rounds that drop very little out to 400 yards.

the reticle of a scope

But memorizing your drop at ranges of 100, 200, and up to 400 yards will allow you to take down any coyote with a simple crosshair reticle. Our recommendation is just a simple crosshair reticle, such as the fine duplex or the wide duplex.

Quick Take - Best AR-15 Scopes for Coyote Hunting

These are our recommendations for the best scopes for coyote hunting with the AR-15:

  1. Nikon - P-223 Riflescope
  2. Trijicon ACOG Riflescope
  3. ATN X-Sight Smart Rifle Scope

Review of the Best AR-15 Scopes for Coyote Hunting

The following is a list of the seven best AR-15 coyote hunting scopes currently on the market. We’ll be discussing what new buyers liked, why they stood out to us, and who will benefit from each one the most. As you look further in-depth, be sure to note the features and characteristics so you know which ones will stand out as one of your favorites. 

Now that we know what to look for, let’s have a look at some of the scopes that will serve you best when you’re on the hunt for coyotes. Let’s begin by taking a look at the first hunting scope on our list:

Pros

  • Very clear picture sight
  • Quick sight acquisition
  • Reasonably priced

Cons

  • Fewer features than more expensive scopes

What Recent Buyers Report

New buyers were quite happy with the scope for a few good reasons. One of them was the overall clarity of the scope. They were able to see images clearly and in high-definition. They also added that the BDC reticle was able to get them to hit their targets from well over 400 yards out accurately.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Nikon’s scopes are known for one of their major features- image clarity. They just so happen to possess the clearest, highest-definition image pictures of any other scope on the market. On top of that, the scope is equipped with a fine crosshair BDC reticle that makes the shooting sharp and dead-on every single time. To make it one of the more effective coyote hunting scopes on the market, it can collect light to help you see better in low-light conditions.

This scope is designed specifically for the AR-15 and is targeted at shooters who don’t need all the high-end features of the more expensive M-223. Because the P-223 scopes are factory-calibrated for 55-grain 5.56 mm NATO cartridges, they’ll be very accurate with those out of the box. However, the user can modify the sighting for other cartridges using Nikon’s Spot-On technology.

The coating on the scope is excellent for low-light shooting and the BDC 600 reticle option compensates for bullet drop up to 600 yards.

Who Will Use This Most

This will likely benefit the coyote hunter that tends to be out and about at dawn or dusk before the sun goes down. They can use it in the daytime but may not find the best luck when it comes to coyotes. Of course, that depends on the geographical area and the time of day.

Bottom Line

The Nikon P-Tactical .223 Riflescope will probably be the go-to hunting scope for you if you’re looking to knock down a coyote or two. It’s durable, clear in the image, and deadly accurate. In short, it’s the epitome of what a rifle scope should be. 

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Tough scope
  • Illuminated reticle
  • Chevron reticle For easy sighting
  • Sight tunnel retains use of iron sights

Cons

  • Fixed magnification

What Recent Buyers Report

One of the best features that new buyers loved was how far this puppy could go. Most of them were able to nail their targets with dead-on accuracy from about 800 yards out. They were also able to see a lot better in low light conditions. One user said he was able to knock down a coyote from about 400 to 500 yards out.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The design of the riflescope is perhaps one of the few things that makes this bad boy stand out. It also comes with a red and green reticle that will allow you to use the scope in either a day or night setting (depending on the light settings). The red dot will mostly serve you best in a nighttime situation. Not to be outdone, the scope is also easy to attach and detach, especially when using a Picatinny rail to attach your rifle or optics.

 Trijicon is mostly renowned for making tactical, high-end scopes with illumination for hunting and military operations. This one here is an ACOG scope from Trijicon, with an illuminated reticle to let you hunt coyotes or other game in low-light conditions, which is the time they come out the most.

The scope has a fixed 4x magnification which lets you shoot precisely to a distance of 800 meters. It also has a fixed focal plane with a constant eye relief of 1.25 inches. A wide eyepiece allows you to view your target with ease. Coyotes tend to move a lot, so sighting them with this scope becomes a lot easier.

The wide 32 mm objective of the lens lets enough light pass through so you can take clear shots even under low light conditions. The large objective, coupled with the Chevron .223 ballistic illuminated reticle, will turn your rifle into a deadly and precise killing machine. The scope measures just 5.8 inches in length and weighs a mere 9.9 ounces, so it doesn’t add any substantial weight to your rifle.

The scope is supplied with a TA51 scope mount which allows you to mount it easily over any mil-std 1913 Picatinny rail. The turret caps are tethered to the body of the optic so you don’t lose ‘em. The scope has a matte black finish, so it is also suitable for the aesthetics of your rifle.

Who Will Use This Most

This will likely be used in a night time setting, so it would make total sense if it was somehow used as a nighttime only kind of scope. However, it does have its uses during the day, as well. If you want to use this scope as a reliable hunting scope for around the clock hunting, this might be exactly what you’re looking for.

Bottom Line

The Trijicon ACOG scope might be right up your alley if you want something that will give you multiple illuminated reticles and the opportunity to reach out and touch something at some pretty far-out distances. Don’t be afraid to tack on this sucker and let a few shots rip at the range, especially when you’re getting it ready for prime time.

The Trijicon ACOG scope is the perfect solution for hunting coyotes at a close range. The scope is easy to sight and has an illuminated reticle, which helps with shooting such constantly moving targets.

Best for the Money:
 ATN X-Sight Smart Rifle Scope

Pros

  • Variable magnification 
  • Large objective
  • Durable and tough
  • Myriad of digital features
  • Night vision with changeable reticles

Cons

  • Drains batteries pretty fast
  • Weighs 2.15 lbs

What Recent Buyers Report

One of the things new buyers noticed was the large objective. This gave them plenty of real estate when it came to the image picture and that alone allowed them to acquire their targets a lot quicker than some other scopes. One user said he was able to lock onto his targets quickly whenever he was out in the field.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The scope is jam-packed with some technical features that you might least expect with an ordinary rifle scope. For example, it can record videos and take pictures. So if you want to use something that will capture every accomplishment while hunting, this could be exactly the scope you’re looking for. Plus, you might pick up on things you might have missed while you’re reviewing the videos and photos.

The X-Sight from ATN is probably the smartest scope on the market today. The scope has a large objective of 50 mm and a variable magnification of 3x-12x. This allows you to sight and hit targets over a long range.

The scope has a digital interface with a crystal clear imaging solution. Plus, the scope has multiple reticles, which can be chosen using the software. As an added bonus, you can record HD videos and take images with the scope while shooting.

It is equipped with WiFi and Bluetooth to allow you to share your images and videos in real-time by connecting it to your mobile phone. The recoil activated video filming feature eliminates the chances of the shooter forgetting to record a video.

The e-compass, built-in range finder, and shooting aid solution calculate all the ballistic inputs for you and present you with the right spot to shoot, without having to make any calculations. The scope features an obsidian user interface, with quick access buttons on the top to switch modes and use various functions.

It also features a night vision mode, which is extremely helpful when hunting coyotes or hogs. Even packed with so many features, the scope still has a tube size of one-inch to spare some space.

Who Will Use This Most

This would be an excellent scope for the avid hunter, especially those who want a great scope for around the clock use. With all these technical features, you’ll be able to use them to capture your greatest hunting moments. If you don’t mind all the techy bells and whistles in a rifle scope or if you want to watch your last hunting accomplishment in an endless loop and feel confident about the next hunt, this scope might be right up your alley.

Bottom Line

The ATN X-Sight is a scope that is a bit more than just an ordinary hunting scope. It has some features that will stand head and shoulders above any other scope you find on the market for coyote hunting. Add this puppy onto your rifle and be ready to take on any target in day or nighttime hunting applications.

The ATN X-sight is a technically-advanced scope with a plethora of digital and ballistic features. With this scope, all you have to do is point and shoot, without worrying about ballistics or making any calculations. The scope has been priced well, making it affordable in respect to its qualities.

Pros

  • Purpose-driven
  • High magnification
  • Six different reticles

Cons

  • Bulky
  • Expensive

What Recent Buyers Report 

As expected, new users were quite satisfied with the scope. They were able to see clearly during the night with the night vision mode. One user that he was able to pick up coyote targets situated from about 300 yards out. By the time they got slightly closer, he managed to accurately hit them with a single kill shot each time.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This scope once again is one of those with technological features that will make it stand out above the rest of the pack. You have a video feature that will allow you to capture the exact moment when you hit your target. This way, you can go back to the video and see your accomplishments again and again. There is no better confidence booster than seeing a video hit your targets.

The Photon Xt has 6.5x magnification, a large 50 mm objective lens and 640x480 resolution that allows optimal brightness and vivid detailing at up to 200 yards. This scope comes with a kit and is ready to mount up with rings, so setup is quick and easy.

With this scope, you can easily shoot out to an AR-15’s maximum effective range. A few extra features, like a built-in laser designator, allow you to see where you are pointing your muzzle when you look through the scope.

The Photon Xt features six red/green/white digital reticle options for a vast range of long-distance applications, as well as offering the ability to capture everything through the video output feature. The device also utilizes a digital windage and elevation adjustment system for guaranteed precision.

Who Will Use This Most

This will serve as a hunting buddy for those who hunt coyotes at night, especially when they want to place their trust in a great night vision scope like this. So if you are typically a night hunter, this scope is what will set you apart from the others. Plus, you’ll have the advantage each time you have a coyote in your sights.

Bottom Line

The SightMark PhotonXT is a high-powered, high-tech scope that will help you knock down coyotes or other predators that might be stalking your farm animals or stirring up trouble on your property. If you want to do some nocturnal hunting and not create any surprises for your targets, this scope will give you the edge. 

Pros

  • You can make large adjustments in both windage and elevation, making it easier to take long-range shots
  • Optimized for use in low-light conditions and has great resolution
  • The fast-focus eyepiece helps in easy and quick diopter adjustment
  • The MOAR reticle is very simple to use

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

Right out of the gate, new buyers were happy with the red dot reticle included with the scope. They were able to shoot at their targets and hit them accurately from as far out as 400 yards. One user added that he was able to sight the scope within a few minutes. Once set, the settings stayed in place through well over 500 rounds.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Nightforce SHV Riflescope has an image quality that rivals Nikon's scopes. Even better, it’s got the technology to make the color pop out even more for crisper image quality. On top of that, it stays that way, even when you have a magnification level set. At its highest level, you’ll be able to get clear image quality. No other riflescope on the market could do this quite as easily.

The Nightforce SHV 5-20×56 comes with a 5x to 20x magnification range, 56 mm objective lens diameter, and reticles located in the Second Focal Plane (SFP).

This scope is particularly useful for long-range hunters and shooters because they can use it for observation for long hours over a vast area. The field of view of this scope is wide, from 17.9 feet to 5 feet per 100 yards.

Who Will Use This Most

This scope will probably be a hunter’s dream. Whether it’s during the day or at night, you’ll get excellent image picture quality and accurate shooting from various distances. You’ll have a greater chance of hitting a kill shot in one or two attempts.

Bottom Line

The NightForce SHV Riflescope might be the best hunting buddy you’ve had in both daytime and nighttime settings. Once you install this on your rifle of choice, there is no question of what you’ll be able to accomplish in a hunting application. No coyote will ever see you coming or know what hit them until it’s too late.

Pros

  • Great for night hunting or low light conditions
  • Packed with features
  • Fogproof, shockproof, waterproof
  • Chevron reticle for easy sighting
  • Sight tunnel retains use of iron sights

Cons

  • Scope cover is not rugged enough

What Recent Buyers Report

Right out of the gate, new users were able to point out how durable the scope was. They even went so far to say it’s so durable that your zero settings will stay the same for a long time, even after multiple amounts of shock. They also reported being able to hit their shots from well over 200 to 300 yards consistently.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Here’s a little analogy for you: Nikon is to clarity as Vortex is to durability. So if you’re looking for a brand name that is known for manufacturing one of the most durable scopes known to man, the Vortex Optics brand will take the money and run in that category. On top of that, it has some pretty good image quality, as well.

Also, you get a scope that makes adjusting for parallax, windage, and elevation easier than pie. So if you want a scope that will give you the smoothest on-the-fly adjustments, this might be exactly what you’re looking for.

This Vortex Viper scope offers 2.5-10x magnification and a medium lens diameter of 32 mm. It is a lightweight scope machined from a single block of aircraft-grade aluminum.

The FOV is 47 - 10.9ft (100 yards) and the lenses are coated to allow excellent light transmission, making it ideal for low light conditions. Adjustments in the field are quick and easy with tactical-style turrets that are easy to read and adjust. It has an EBR-4 reticle.

Who Will Use This Most

This scope will mostly benefit hunters, especially those who are usually out and about before dawn or slightly after dusk. Make no mistake, it’s an excellent hunting scope for any kind of game. But if you want something to knock down predators like coyotes, you can bet your bottom dollar that this scope will come through in the clutch before the day begins or finishes.

Bottom Line

The Vortex Optics Viper is probably the best scope that you’ll want on hand if you want something that is built to last you a long time. Even with the lifetime warranty, you’ll want to stick with Vortex Optics scopes for as long as you live if you want something that will give you a reduced chance of having to re-zero the scope constantly. Of course, you’ll still be able to nail some targets from a pretty good range.

Pros

  • Waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof
  • Easy to sight-in

Cons

  • Does not come with scope covers

What Recent Buyers Report 

A lot of new buyers were happy with the overall durability of this scope. One user said it was probably one of the more durable, high-end scopes he’s used for an AR-15 rifle. On top of that, he said that once he was able to sight in the scope successfully, he managed to keep the zero settings in place, even after 500 or more rounds.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This scope might be on the higher end of the scale compared to most rifle scopes. But make no mistake about it, it’s not a scope that is delicate in quality. It’s made from high-quality aluminum, plus has great image quality to boot. But where this scope stands out is the Tactical Power Selector. It will easily allow you to zoom in to get a better look at your targets from some pretty decent distances. Plus, with the magnification power levels, the image quality won’t be as fuzzy as with some scopes.

The Mark AR Mod 1 uses a blend of argon/krypton gas for eliminating thermal shock, allowing you to aim better. It comes in various magnifications, ranging from 1.5X4 to 6X18. The multiple coatings on the lens provide a clear, bright image.

Some models come with a green reticle that can be illuminated with the push of a button. They feature six intensity levels and automatically deactivate after five minutes of inactivity to conserve the battery. The elevation dial compensates for bullet-drop, factory-calibrated to 55-grain .223/5.56 ballistics.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be put to good use by many hunters, especially predator hunters who want nothing more than a scope that can work in low-light conditions and during the day. So if you want a scope that is built to last and has easy to use adjustments, this Leupold Mark will certainly exceed your standards in what you’re looking for in a hunting scope.

Bottom Line

The Leupold Mark AR MOD Riflescope will likely be your best possible choice if you want something that’s on the higher end. While it will rival brands like Vortex Optics in terms of durability, its ease of use will be one of the main reasons why you’ll go for it.

Benefits of Getting a New Scope For Coyote Hunting

If you choose to invest in a new scope for coyote hunting, you’ll be able to enjoy some pretty awesome benefits that go along with it. You have no idea what you’ll be missing out on if you decide not to get one. With that said, these are some of the benefits that go along with your coyote hunting scope of choice:

More Visibility

Indeed, coyote hunting is best done during the night. So you’re going to need a scope that will allow you the best visibility in either daytime or nighttime settings. For example, a good thermal or night vision scope will have its uses during the day. However, most coyotes are nocturnal animals. So you’re going to need a scope that will get you through a hunting session when you have little to no light to work with.

Excellent Durability

Better durability will not only be good for longevity but depending on the material used, it can also serve a purpose in preserving the scope’s zero settings. Once you’ve sighted in your scopes, your zero settings will stay in place for quite some time. The better the durability, the less likely your zeros will get thrown off due to shock that stems from recoil.

Considerable Accuracy Boost

With almost every great quality scope, there is a good chance that it will boost your accuracy. Your rifle will have the ability to go the distance (depending on which AR-15 rifle you own). Granted, it will also depend on the riflescope’s range. Some will reach farther distances while others won’t. Consider how far you want your scope to reach out before choosing one.

Conclusion

When choosing the best scope for your AR-15, you need to know the habits of the coyotes in the locality where you plan to hunt. If you expect to hunt in low-light conditions with shot ranges of 100 to 200 yards, choose a medium magnification scope and the right coating for low light. 

The reticle and objective lens sizes will also determine the best scope for your desired conditions. You may be able to go for a less expensive scope that gives the desired results and save yourself a ton of money if you don’t need the fancy features of high-end scopes.

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