Crossbow Scopes Reviews By Expert Hunters – 2015
So, you’ve come to the point where the iron sights on your crossbow just aren’t cutting it anymore, huh? Or maybe you have a crossbow scope, but you’re looking to upgrade it to a fancier, better model. Whatever the case may be, you will want to do some detailed research and pick a crossbow scope that is the best possible upgrade you can get.
That’s why you’ve come here, after all, because we pull the research together for you. We review crossbow scopes and tell you how they stack up against the competition. I’ll go over just what we look for in a crossbow scope further below, but first – a list of all the crossbow scope reviews we have on our website so far:
After a brief overview of the scope, we look at the scope’s dimensions. After all, if a scope adds too much additional weight to your crossbow or is difficult to fit into your crossbow case while mounted on your x-bow, you need to know that. For instance, we point out that the Parker Bows Red Hot Pin Point Crossbow Scope might be a tight fit, because of its extended “Dial a Distance” turret. On the other hand, the Excalibur Tact Zone is a compact but powerful scope that fits nicely in any crossbow case even when mounted. The dimensions of a crossbow scope aren’t looked at as a “deal or no deal” characteristic, but they are important to consider.
Next in our reviews we evaluate how much magnification you get out of a particular scope. More than just that, though, we look at how good the magnified image really is. After all, what good is magnification if you can’t tell the difference between a ground hog and a rabbit with that 32X magnified image? If the scope has variable zoom, we will point that out as well, along with the parallax of the scope. A good example of this is the Nikon Bolt XR, a scope that has magnification from 3X to 32X, and the parallax is set to 20 yards.
Quality of the Optics
After looking at the magnification, we move on to the quality of the optics, which are discussed in detail within every crossbow scope review on our website. Here, we will discuss whether the optics are fully multi-coated or just multi-coated, as well as whether the barrel is nitrogen-charged. Why does this matter? Here are some facts for you.
– Coated provides a single layer of protection on at least one lens surface
– Fully coated provides a single layer on all air-to-glass surfaces
– Multi-coated means multiple layers on at least one lens surface
– Fully multi-coated has multiple layers on all air-to-glass surfaces
Obviously, the fully multi-coated optics will provide better light transmission along with protection from glare and reflection, so fully multi-coated optics are the way to go. It used to be that only the most expensive scopes were fully multi-coated, but the manufacturing processes have become economical enough that even our “best budget model,” the Arrow Precision Multi Reticle Illuminated Crossbow Scope, has fully multi-coated lenses.
As for nitrogen-charging the barrel, filling the barrel with nitrogen allows the scope to become fog-proof. The nitrogen does not condense in cold temperatures, so you don’t experience fogging on the inside or outside of your lenses. The Excalibur Twilight DLX is a good example of a crossbow scope with a nitrogen-filled barrel to prevent fogging.
In this section, we will also examine the quality of the reticle, and the brightness settings if the scope is illuminated. This is also where we will discuss eye relief, any possible diopter adjustments on the eyepiece, and the presence (or absence) of range compensation markers.
Light Gathering Capability
Moving on, our crossbow scope reviews look at how well the scope gathers light and transmits it to your eye. This is crucial information, because the more light the scope can transmit, the better the target image will be and the better the scope will perform in low light conditions. Where possible, we will tell you what percentage of light gets transmitted, but not all scope manufacturers give that information. Regardless, we’ll let you know how well-suited the scope is for low light work. By way of examples, the Excalibur Shadow Zone and Tact Zone scopes are both well-suited for low light hunting because they transmit a good portion of the available light and are able to show tiny details at long ranges that other scopes can’t discern.
Field of View
The next characteristic we will look at is the field of view, or how much terrain you can see in the scope’s image from a hundred yards. This is important information, since it determines whether or not you can use the scope effectively for varmint hunting with your crossbow or if the scope is more suited to slow-moving or stationary targets. Parker Bows’ Red Hot Pin Point 3X Crossbow Scope, for example, provides a very generous 50’ field of view at 100 yards, making it ideal for leading your targets or scouting for targets in the brush.
Mounting the Scope
It may seem silly, but mounting a scope is a very serious matter, and it deserves its own section to discuss matters involving how difficult it is to mount the scope. For example, the Ultimate Arms Gear 4×32 crossbow scope comes with rings, but they will only fit a 7/8″ Weaver rail. If you have a smaller rail, you will need to purchase rings separately. Many crossbow scopes, such as the Nikon Bolt XR and the Excalibur scopes, don’t come with rings at all. This is important to note, so that you don’t get disappointed when your new scope arrives but you can’t mount it because you didn’t know you needed to order a set of rings.
Ease of Sighting In
Once the scope is mounted, we will look at how easy the scope is to sight in. For most scopes, sighting in will involve getting your scope to hit the bull’s eye from 20 yards, then shooting an arrow through a chronograph to get your crossbow’s velocity. That information will allow you to calibrate the different range compensation markers for your particular crossbow, so you know what range those lower dots or reticle lines will shoot at. We will also tell you about any tips or tricks you might need to know to get the scope sighted in, such as the need for a 1″ offset riser for the Ultimate Arms Gear 4×32 crossbow scope on 400 FPS crossbows. We will round out this section by letting you know how well the scope holds zero, which is just as important as how easy the scope is to sight in, since you don’t want to have to sight it in again when you get to the hunting ground!
Next, we’ll talk about durability. In this section, we’ll reiterate whether or not the scope is weatherproof, waterproof, or fog-proof, but we’ll also discuss how well the scope can withstand shocks from bumps and drops. This can be very important information if you hunt from a tree stand or if you travel by air with your crossbow, since you might drop it from the stand or subject it to the torturous abuse of baggage handlers at the airport. We’ll let you know what our experiences have been, like with the Excalibur Tact Zone, which has withstood being dropped from tree stands and gone through the hands of the infamous Denver International Airport baggage system without any damage.
That’s where our review ends, with a summary. And, that’s where this page ends. At the end of each review, we’ll sum up the most important facts about the scope, which is usually how well it performs in the field. We’ll tell you whether it’s a good investment or a poor one, telling you we either recommend it or recommend you choose a different model of crossbow scope.