There is no denying the effect of a scope on the accuracy of a crossbow. A scope allows you to dial in your aim, adjust arc and gives a larger sight area. Some hunters argue that a crossbow is only as good as its scope, so it should be a high priority on your list of upgrades to your kit. Most crossbows come supplied with a scope that is ok to start with but it is recommended that you upgrade the scope when you can afford to. The supplied scopes are fine for target practice but if you plan on hunting with your crossbow a scope with better clarity and multiple reticles is a good idea
The Best Scopes for Crossbows - Comparison Table Updated for 2018!
Excalibur Tact-Zone Illuminated Scope
1.5-5X32 IR SR Scope with Illuminated Circles
4X32 1" Crossbow Scope
The guide below is for the top crossbow scope reviews of 2018.
Types of Crossbow Scopes
It is important to differentiate between the common types of scopes on the market, these being the optic scope and the red dot.
A red dot scope is generally smaller than an optical scope, requires a battery, and transmits a simple light reticle into the scope. A red dot typically does not have magnification, but the lighted reticle is easier to see and gives an upgrade to regular sights.
Optic sights are what you will often see on hunting rifles and offer magnification and clarity over distance. A difference between rifle and crossbow scopes is that a crossbow scope will have multiple reticles so you can track the arc of an arrow based on yards or meters. This is a helpful feature that makes crossbow-specific scopes a necessary purchase instead of a rifle scope.
On to the Crossbow Scope Reviews….
Overall Top Rated Crossbow Scope
With excellent quality and middle-range price, this offering from Nikon is the best rated crossbow scope on the market. With a lightweight design that easily mounts in weaver rings, this scope offers quick adjustment and precise accuracy.
The eyepiece is waterproof, fogproof and shockproof and has a quick focus. Nikon claims that the scope transmits 92% of available light so there is superior brightness and contrast. The scope has 3 to 32x magnification and a 32mm lens.
An excellent feature of this scope is how easy it is to adjust. The “zero-reset turrets” allow you to sight in at 20 yards and then adjust from there with knob rotation. From here, you can set ranges and move between them quickly. For a non-illuminated reticle, this is a sighting system that works very well.
This scope allows for outstanding accuracy even at medium to long distance. Nikon is so confident that they have a “60-yard challenge” of accuracy. One user reported hitting an acorn-sized target with his crossbow at this 60-yard mark.
Because of its features, ease of use, quick and clear sight picture and deadly accuracy, the Bolt XR is the top rated crossbow scope.
Personally, I like the simplicity of non-illuminated scopes, and the Nikon is the best in this category. Nikon put all of their attention to detail and craft into this crossbow scope and it shows, making it the best crossbow scope on the market.
Best Illuminated Crossbow Scope
If you’re in the market for a scope with an illuminated reticle, this crossbow scope from Hawke is second to none.
For less than $200, this scope is more expensive than the Nikon, but for the price you are getting battery-powered illumination so that this scope can be used any time from dawn until dusk.
The reticle is lighted in red and green, with aim points every 10 yards from 20 to 100 yards. This means that the scope can be sighted in at 20 yards and then fired to 100 yards without the need to adjust the sight. The aim points are accurate too, the arrow will connect with the points at the desired yardage.
This scope has a speed selector so that it can be matched to any bow from 275fps to 425fps, meaning that it can be changed from one bow to another.
While this scope has very nice features and performance, I find it difficult to recommend it over the Nikon. The Nikon’s bright, clear picture and meticulous engineering and cheaper price mean that it is what I would go for over the Hawke scope.
Best Cheap Crossbow Scope
This scope offers balance between performance and price, making it the best value crossbow scope.
This is a 32x magnification scope, so it is the same level of magnification as the Nikon. It has a wide parallax and lighted illumination which makes the sight picture crisp and bright.
This scope has multiple reticles. Each reticle is lighted and set for 10 yard increments up to 50 yards. The reticles hold to the distances very well too and make it easy to adjust your aim. I found that when sighted in the accuracy is very precise for the different reticle distances.
For the price, this scope offers excellent value and features. It has a very durable feel and solid construction and the reticle rivals that of more expensive scopes.
Best Red Dot Crossbow Scope
If I know that I will be hunting at shorter distances I prefer to use a red dot on my crossbow. Optics magnify and make a far target easier to hit, but a red dot allows quick targeting at short distances from an open perspective.
If you’re looking for a red dot, it doesn’t get much better than the Truglo Red-Dot.
The Truglo red dot offers simplicity and durability. It is shockproof and fog-proof and has a wide field of view. The Truglo also has a special reticle that allows for quick targeting.
Like the Nikon, this sight transmits light extremely well, so the sight picture is bright and clear. There is also the ability to change windage elevation with quick adjustments.
The Truglo is the best scope for the red dot category, but can also be used on handguns, muzzleloaders and rifles, meaning it’s an excellent addition to your rifle cabinet too.
These are the best scopes for crossbows in 2018. After sighting these scopes in, they all offer excellent accuracy and clarity. However, the range of options and prices means that these four are examples of the best crossbow scopes to tailor to your personal hunting and shooting needs.
Product images sourced from Amazon.com