Bow and arrow were one of the most important developments in human history. Combination of this long-range weapon and tactics enabled some ancient civilizations to realize the biggest empires in the old world. There are different types of crossbow scopes purpose-built for competition shooting and general target shooting but also hunting.
There is no single scope suitable for all kinds of scenarios, but upon your crossbow style, intended use and your preferences, you should opt for the best crossbow scope you can afford.
You can choose red dot optics adapted for crossbows or opt for a magnified scope with fixed or variable magnification.
The crossbow optics are technical accessories and you need to answer a few questions to find the scopes with the optimal magnification, reticle type, field of view, and other technical adjustments.
Before we dive in crossbows optics, we should know a couple of essential things what to look for when choosing a scope for our bow.
Since you have opted for a particular crossbow style, now you should know at what distance you will use your crossbow. While the crossbows` maximum effective range for hunting is about 80 yards for a very skilled shooter, crossbows are divided into three categories by their power. They are generally marketed for 20 yards, up to 60 yards, or over 60 yards.
When you are looking for the best scope for a crossbow, you need to find one with the best possible quality optical lens that you can afford. One rule apply to optics. When you buy a scope, you generally get what you pay for.
Another rule is the size of the scope. Because the crossbows are smaller and lighter than hunting rifles and carbines, the best scopes for them should be compact as much as possible with minimal weight, not more than one pound.
Strongly connected to the scope size is magnification or zoom power. As the crossbow is instead a short-range weapon, you don’t need excessive magnification or huge objective bells. The best scopes usually have 4x magnification and sports objectives with 32mm or 40mm diameter.
One preferred scope characteristic is a wide field of view (FoV). It directly depends on magnification, if you go with higher magnification, your scope will have the narrower field of view.
Best Crossbow Scopes
1. TenPoint Rangemaster Pro Illuminated 1.5-5X30 MM
TenPoint Crossbow Technologies is a well-known name in bowhunters community due to their hunting crossbows, but TenPoint is also a renowned distributor of accessories and optics for crossbows.
A Rangemaster Pro 1.5–5x30mm is the flagship model of their crossbow scopes lineup. This variable optics is optimized for low-light conditions due to the 30mm objective lens for great light transmission, fully multicoated optics, and an illuminated reticle.
Besides fully multicoated optics that makes this scope an excellent choice for hunting before sunrise and right after sunset, another selling point is TenPoint’s illuminated reticle with five brightness intensity settings. Actually, it is a combination of three duplex crosshairs and five red or green colored dots calibrated for 20 to 60 yards in 10-yard increments.
Along with versatile reticle, the HCA-09811 model boasts a variable speed and bolt drop-compensation setting. It means you can calibrate this scope for arrows that fly between 275 and 425 FPS.
This premium TenPoint glass consists of BaK–4 prisms and offers very practical 1.5X to 5X magnification. The Rangemaster Pro provides you with a generous field of view of 50 feet at 100 yards.
All TenPoint scopes are made of aluminum with nitrogen-purged housing and O-ring sealed lenses. These features make the TenPoint scopes being waterproof and fog proof, just as you need for severe hunting conditions or inclement weather.
The main tube has a 30mm diameter and 8.25-inch length, so the Rangemaster Pro does not take up a lot of space on your crossbow.
The scope is shipped with a set of mounting rings for attaching the scope to standard Weaver or Picatinny rail.
2. Hawke Crossbow 1.5-5X32
Hawke Sports Optics is a British company with more than 2 decades of tradition in manufacturing of almost every category of optics and other accessories.
Hawke is particularly known for their crossbow scopes and the XBI 1.5-5×32 is a premium model and one of the best-rated products in the archery market.
It comes with 1.5-5x variable magnification which is more than enough for most archers and hunters. Hawke 1.5-5×32 IR Crossbow Archery Scope comes with 11 layer fully multicoated optics and an industry-standard 32mm objective lens. That combination provides an optimal light transmission making this scope very useful for low light hunting.
The SR crossbow scope from Hawke is equipped with BDC (ballistic drop compensation) reticle system for easy aiming at different distances. The XB1 SR reticle features illuminated markers with points starting at 10 yards and increasing up to 100 yards.
The reticle is glass etched, and using a saddle mounted rheostat, you can choose 5 levels of brightness of red and green illumination.
This innovative, variable scope can be used with different arrow speeds, so it employs a speed selector allowing the scope to be matched with crossbows of varying firing speeds. Technically it means, that you can use this scope on any bow capable of firing arrows from 275fps up to an impressive 425 feet per second.
Hawke XBI 1.5-5×32 is specially designed for hunting. Hence it sports one-piece, nitrogen-filled aluminum main body for more regular use.
3. Excalibur Twilight DLX 3-6X44MM
The top model from the Excalibur lineup is the Twilight DLX crossbow scope designed the serious bowhunters and for night hunting.
The Excalibur Twilight comes with variable magnification from 3x to 6x, which offers you a convenient and comfortable use at ranges from 20 yards all over to 60 yards and more.
As an excellent crossbow scope, the Excalibur DLX is equipped with the Multiplex crosshair system with graduating chevrons with range markers from 20 yards to 60 yards.
Additionally, the multi ranged reticle of this scope allows archer for rapid target acquisition and shooting within the 100-yards out. While the reticle pattern is ideal for archers who need to make quick shots, it is illuminated in red or green color for evening or early morning hunting.
The Excalibur Twilight DLX scope can be adjusted for bows that shoot at any speed between 300 and 400 fps.
Using for the crossbow unusually large 44mm lens and 30mm tube, the competition shooters and x-bows hunters get an exceptional tool that offers amazingly crisp images in low light conditions and the ability for precise arrow placement at all ranges.
Along with increased light gathering capability and unimpeded light transmission, the Excalibur Twilight DLX boasts a fully multicoated lens for image clarity in those, especially low light situations.
Like all Excalibur scopes, the Twilight DLX scope is machined from aircraft-grade aluminum to withstand the harsh outdoor conditions.
4. NIKW9 Prostaff P3 Crossbow 3X32 BDC 60
One of the most compact and lightest crossbow optics comes from Nikon, a world leader in the optical industry. The Nikon Prostaff P3 main body is constructed of one-inch aircraft-grade aluminum, which makes this scope very durable but at the same time very lightweight at just under 11 ounces.
The NIKW9 P3 is a newer version of the Nikon’s Bolt XR crossbow scope, that couple well known Nikon optical performance with bow specific made BDC 60 reticle.
This X-bow’s specific optics features Nikon’s proven spring-loaded knobs for windage and elevation. These low profile, capped turrets are clearly marked and offer crisp, positive 1-MOA click-stop moves.
As you will expect from Nikon, all glass surfaces are coated with multiple layers of anti-reflective compounds for bright and vivid sight pictures. While the Prostaff P3 does not have illumination, its fully multicoated optics will enable you an easy spotting and aiming in early morning and dusk conditions.
Many archers describe the BDC 60 reticle as an intuitive and straightforward tool with precise aiming points up to 60 yards, and even beyond 80 yards.
The Prostaff P3 features an optimum 3x fixed magnification that can provide you even capabilities in both close and distanced shooting for today’s hunting crossbows.
5. UTG 4X32 1″ Crossbow Scope
Another true crossbow scope comes from UTG, a brand with a reputation for affordable but pretty reliable and well-built optics.
This review presents a UTG xbow scope that comes with a fixed magnification of 4x and a 32mm objective lens, an industry benchmark. The combination of 4x zoom power and crystal-clear glass view make this unit a decent solution for long-range shooting in dark conditions.
Additionally, the hunters can quickly shoot the smaller targets at the 50-60-yard marks in daytime shooting situations. Though not of Nikon’s glass reputation, this UTG is equipped with proprietary “broadband lens coating” that guarantees clarity and resolution in low-light hunting scenarios.
In the under $100 category, the UTG 4X32 is a high-quality scope built around rugged 1″ aluminum central tube, which is nitrogen-filled to be fog proof and dustproof. Since the aircraft-grade aluminum housing is completely sealed, it is also splash-proof and shockproof.
The scope is heavy only 12.3 ounces, so it will be the perfect accessory for any light xbow with shooting speed up to 300 feet per second. A-Pro 5-step reticle is designed for quick aiming at 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50-yard distances. As it features the five lines crossing the diameter of the viewing piece, it may be cluttered for some users.
Anyway, the 5-step illuminated green/red reticle enables you to sight the easy scope out to 100-yard plus.
6. Trijicon TR24 AccuPoint 1-4x24mm
The next scope is a typical riflescope designed for situations in which speed is more important than precision. These low-powered scopes slowly but surely take away primacy of red dots in military operations but also in many hunting scenarios.
Considering that, a Trijicon AccuPoint 1-4×24 riflescope can quickly adapt to your crossbow, allowing you close-in shots for big game hunts in the most challenging hunting conditions.
As a standard equipment of worldwide tactical shooters and law-enforcement professionals, Trijicon TR24 isn’t cheap. Still, it provides excellent, edge to edge image clarity, using Japanese made optics with multi-layer coated lenses for a crystal-clear picture with zero distortion.
The TR24G is based on 30mm main tube crafted from the rugged 6061-T6 aluminum that provides a weatherproof shell.
This Trijicon features 1x -4x magnification, which is paired with the reticle in the form of a simple post and triangle makes it ideal for fast reaction.
A 24mm objective is optimized for daily use, but the simple reticle illuminated through the use of fiber optics and tritium would provide some usability in a low or no light environment.
Actually, this post-style reticle with battery-free illumination is very bright, making these optics perhaps the best crossbow scope for low light.
Though on the more massive end of crossbow scopes, this low power variable is the best geared towards hunting from point-blank to the practical limit of most crossbows which is about 50 yards.
What is the maximum range of a crossbow?
While the crossbow is adequate for the hunting of mid-size games to about 40 yards, the arrow or bolt itself is capable of flying as far as 500 yards when fired from a powerful modern crossbow.
Can you use a rifle scope as a crossbow scope?
Although many crossbows come in a package with specialized scopes, you can mount a riflescope and use it with some risks of to the reverse recoil, opposite that of a rifle.
How do I properly sight-in the crossbow?
As a first thing, you have to place a target built for a crossbow at 20 yards.
Then, similar to firearms, you have to ensure a crossbow in a stable position, seat an arrow in the light rail and aiming the top of the bullseye to release the arrow.
You have to repeat two times more this step.
After you measured the distance between the middle of your group from the target center, you can adjust using the top and side knobs on the scope.
Fire another series of arrows, and your group should be now in the very center, if not repeat adjusting and test shooting.
Today most folks buy outdoor equipment under pressure and without well thought out decision. If you want to avoid typical optics-buying mistakes and wasting your money on a substandard crossbow scope, you need to make a well-informed decision. Reading guides like ours will help you for sure to save up your hard-earned money and to find the best crossbow scope on the market that fit your wishes and intended crossbow use.
Like in the firearms world, we have to choose a scope that suits our intended shooting style. As we can use a crossbow for both target shooting and hunting, there are dedicated scopes with features that not all archers would need.
There are two main crossbow styles designed for different shooting disciplines designated as match and field crossbows. The scopes for match crossbows will have various features than those used for hunting.
Depending on your preferences and the intended range of your targets you will need a specific optical sight. We hope you will probably find a suitable scope in this overview that will perfectly fit your crossbow and your shooting style.
Dakota Potts is a gunsmith, armorer, and gun rights advocate with nearly 10 years of experience. He is well respected in the industry and his work has appeared on various industry leading firearm publications. He enjoys learning about firearm history and technology. You can follow Dakota Potts on Youtube or see his Facebook.