Today the modern shotgun is a complicated shooting tool that due to advancements in ammunition and also better grade rifled and smooth bore systems better sights are often required when taking on both game and paper /steel targets. The modern glass sight systems for shotguns are not that much different from those of rifles with the exception of the fact that in most cases much less magnification is required by the scatter gun being it is a close range weapon. In many cases, shotgun targets are seemingly on the move being fur bearing game, or in many cases targets like trophy gobblers in the spring of the year. The following are some examples of workable shotgun scope systems that I have selected from a wide range of product offerings.
My Picks for Shotgun Scope
- TRUGLO TruBrite 30 Hunter
- Leupold VX Freedom 1.5-4X20mm
- TRUGLO 4X32 Shotgun Scope
- Leupold Sabot Reticle Scope
- Nikon Prostaff P3 Shotgun BDC 200
- Bushnell Drop Zone
- Burris Signature HD Hunting Rifle Scope
- Simmons 4X32
- Monstrum 1-4X20
- Zeiss Conquest V4 3-12×56 Rifle scope
Best Scopes For Shotgun – Updated 2023
1. TRUGLO TruBrite 30 Hunter
Here we have a scope sight that is a 1X4 or 1X6 magnification which brings enough power into the lens image for any shotgun fine shot or slug target that is within normal range limits. This scope uses a 30 mm main tube for increased quality regarding light transmission, and also the turret construction is clearly capable of containing heaver more shock resistant internals.
This scope has a large exit pupil and a long eye relief of 3.75 inches. This is good because shotguns using slugs or heavy loads do recoil a great deal. The field of view is generous and the click adjustments for windage and elevation are set in ½ MOA clicks.
This scope comes complete with Weaver style rings that will fit a Weaver rail system on most shotguns.
Built as a shotgun light Ar scope it has now forward bell and as such not required. The lens system pulls light well as I have been testing TRUGLO scopes/sighting system here at Ballistics Research for the past several months.
Mounting a fast control surface for power adjustments, closed caps for protection in rough conditions, and built with that heavy 30mm main tube, this is a shotgunning hunters scope and a service tool when applied to most shotgunning systems.
2. Leupold VX Freedom 1.5-4X20mm
One of the better shotgun scope design that is used today by slug big game, turkey, and general game hunters. This scope is built of as one piece tube of 6061-T6 aluminum that is aircraft grade. The lens system in this scope is handset not glued. Leupold is one of the only companies that uses this method of construction. The lens grade is very high quality and obtained from one of only two of the best lens manufactures in the world.
Designed using the Special Leupold “Twilight Management System this scope will pull extra light early in the morning and late in the evening as well. This give the hunter some additional time on both ends of the day when the game is moving at its best much of the time.
Turret adjustments in capped turrets are ¼ MOA clicks and will come back to zero dead on every time. There is no slop in this glass sighting systems elevation or windage adjustments at all.
The complete scope is designed, machined, and assembled in the USA.
3. TRUGLO 4X32 Shotgun Scope
This scope makes use of a good grade of lens glass and is built field grade tough. The turret caps are screw down type and will not allow the turret settings to change without removal. The Duplex reticle model includes 3.8 mounts with rings, and the scope can be obtained using the diamond reticle as well. This reticle is often used by turkey hunters in that the head of an adult gobbler will fit exactly into the diamond center reticle shape at 40 yards.
I have used this system for better than 25 years to date on an 870 Remington 24” barreled turkey gun that is also set up for spotlight shooting and laser targeting as well. The sighting combination is a deadly field tool, and for the most part has taken more game and varmints than any other single weapon that I currently own. Be advised that this is not a high dollar glass sight. However, I have enough TRUGLO varied types of sights to be able to state that they are built well and have held up well for me as well.
In some cases, these lower budget systems don’t do well on high recoiling weapons. If you’re shooting heavy slugs, or very high velocity specialized loads like the new super velocity non toxics I would advise moving up a grade or two in terms of price and design quality. Also, be advise that the 3/8th mount will require an adapter when using a Weaver-style rail
4. Leupold Sabot Reticle Scope
This Leupold is set up for the shotgun slug hunter in the sabot style projectile. Sabot loads are so accurate that they take the shotgun slug gun to a new level. Leupold has noticed this trend and as such has addressed the issue of better sighting systems for slug shooting shotguns,
This scope retains a special ballistic marked reticle that will allow tracking the slug to extended age limits in terms of projectile drop. At 3-9×40 the scope is almost what it to be considered as a deer hunters standard in magnification. The 3×9 is world class in terms of the right choice for whitetail hunting big woods or open ground.
The scope uses Leupold Twilight Management System that gives the shooter added time both in the early dawn and late in the evening. These are the times deer move the best and now the slug hunter can be ready for almost anything when it comes to getting a crosshair on a warm target.
Scope adjustment regarding advancing with ¼ MOA clicks is just like the big rifles in the centerfire world, and the quality glass and sealed main one inch tube make for a true big game sight as tied to a scatter guns receiver
5. Nikon Prostaff P3 Shotgun BDC 200
Nikon is a go to brand for this reviewer, and even as early as two weeks ago I used one of the Prostaff glass sight to take down a trophy whitetail buck that is in the freezer for the winter meat, and at the taxidermist soon to be a wall hanger as I write these lines.
Fully coated lens water fog poof, great light transmission, hand turn ¼ MOA sighting adjustments for windage and elevation, and the scope turret makes us of a spring loaded turret zero adjusters, The main tube is a tough one inch design, and the Aluminum quick focus eyepiece matches up with the consistent eye relief.
The BDC reticle is a system that allows the shooter to advance elevation at a glance through the sub tension system without leaving the sight of the target through the scope itself. Learn the drop of your projectile at any given range and just put it in the ring that is required for elevation and drop a few pounds off the trigger.
This scope is a “ big rifle “ 3-9 X 40mm in terms of quality and design. Current production is slow and it is a bit hard to find even through Amazon. Search it out because it is worth the trouble. Trust me.
6. Bushnell Drop Zone
Here we have a 4x/24mm rifle shotgun scope that is designed using target turrets. When would a scope like this apply? Well, I have a Hastings H&R single shot rifled barrel 3 1/2” 20 gauge that is a wildcat to be sure, but as built we shot them on whitetail, as well as mule deer. The gun and wildcat 20 gauge was so good that I hunted buffalo successfully on the South Dakota Triple U ranch being the home base for the famous film Dances With Wolves.
Just because it is a shotgun don’t think it can’t be set up for long range work. That 3 1/2” 20 gauge could stand right alongside the 45-70, Government, or most high velocity 50 caliber muzzleloaders all day long, and at one time it did just that with the proper longer range scope attached.
Drop zone uses a one piece 30 mm main tube, high open turret adjustments that are set up in fine micro points and MOA, with the BDC range finding reticle as well. The optics are multi coated, and the system makes use of a fast focus eyepiece. This scope is smaller in size than full double bell systems and is ideal for shotguns that are rifled and shooting sabot or special long range slugs.
7. Burris Signature HD Hunting Rifle Scope
This scope as set up in the 2-10X40, is a large scope than necessary for a shotgun to be sure. However, it is again a solid example of a long range slug gun scope. The scope is also offered in four additional power options make this model a general five scope offering by Burris.
I have run this level of glass sights when shoot a Hastings Paradox bull barrel target slug system as designed for ultra accurate sabot shooting in 12 gauge, and also shooting Hastings rifle cantilever mount on the Remington 870 receiver, and again shooting sabot slugs in a rifled bore system. Another feature of this scope is that it can be switched off to a centerfire high power rifle if desired.
Burris builds this glass sight with a wide viewing angle, with a ballistic E3 reticle. This sub tension ( reticle ) will allow the shooter to develop hold over marks when shooting at longer ranges. Being slugs will tend to drop fast at long range limits.
This scope has external high turret tower adjustments making it a blend of a hunting scope and a target model as well. Two for one as such on the buyers market.
Built on a sold one piece main tube, coated glass, and gas purged for water and fog protection, this is a good scope for the money. Currently, I shoot a Burris on one specialized slug gunning 12 gauge and also use them on ultra long range (one mile) super high power rifles
8. Simmons 4X32
Here we have a scope that is cut down just right for the average shotgun deer gun or turkey buster. This scope is a go-to main line scope used on small carbines, shotguns, and even the old side mount Model 94 Winchester, in 30-30 Win.
This scope is updated a bit from mine because the timeline is a span of almost 30 years between the two glass sights. Yes, that many years and mine is used for ammunition testing and gets used hard year round here at Ballistics Research & Development.
Simmons are budget based scopes, but tend to hold up well in the field. This scope uses the TrueZero windage and elevation system QTA which is a quick target acquisition eye piece install, and the scope is gas filled being water as well as fog proof.
With an objective lens of 4×32, it is basic in design and set up very well for use on shotguns. The eye relief on this scope measures 4.25 inches and that allows for heavy recoil from slugs or magnum rounds in 12 gauge loads.
With a weight of 8.6 ounces it is light enough for smaller shotguns, and still a solid unit for field applications.
9. Monstrum 1-4X20
Here we have a budget scope that is low power and uses a smaller exit reticle. The scope is built with a ranging system in the sub tensions, uses a 30 mm objective lens, and retains both red and green across hair illumination with brightness controls as well.
This scope is built strong by way of aircraft grade aluminum and is gas charged and water/fog proof.
Designed with 1.2 MOA click adjustments it is an idea for zeroing patterns or slugs via any shotgun the scope is mounted on.
Multi layer coatings protect the lens surface from possible damage, and the light gathering ability with these lenses is good.
The scope is 8.5 inches in length, 2.0 inches in width, and 1.8 inches in height. Used as a tactical system or for general shooting needs this is a workable shotgun glass sighting system at a budget price. Depending on what you’re searching for this scope is offered in five different variations by Minstrum
10. Zeiss Conquest V4 3-12×56 Rifle Scope
While this may be a big scope for a shotgun if you’re shooting a custom slug gun designed for rifled bores and sabots this could be just the thing you’re searching for. The scope is also a nice two gun flip when you want to mount it on your centerfire rifle as well.
I shoot this scope in a 303 British and also have shot it on a Remington 870 slug/turkey special when doing some contract work for an industry client. I like looking through that big glass window and seeing everything on my target even at some extended ranges when shooting sabot slugs. Remember, just because it is shotgun there is no rule that the scope needs to be small.
This scope uses the Zeiss Z-Plex system, capped elevation and windage turrets, and retains a fixed parallax. The scope is built as a one piece 30mm aluminum main tube unit, carries super high grade German glass, and allows detailed longer range clear imaging of targets at a distance.
This scope is warranty protected by Zeiss Optics.
For More Reading See Our Article On the best shotguns for home defense and what you should consider when buying a shotgun.
I have been writing firearms and outdoor material for over 50 years to date. I have hunted across the world, including Russia, and a great deal of time professional hunting in Australia. I currently live in the American West and hunt all across the Black Hills of South Dakota and the Big Horn Mountains. I have specialized much of my work as a load developer in shotguns and rifles. I have run a small company that builds suppressor barrels of my design and load tests for writing purposes and consulting. My commercial names include Ballistics Research & Development / Metro Gun Systems TM.
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