The Best Muzzleloader Scopes — Reviews of 6 Models

Last Updated: by Aiden Williams

What defines the best muzzleloader scope? The finest muzzleloader scope is supposed to magnify your target in order to provide you with a clear sight picture.

This improves your aiming, allowing you to shoot more accurately from great distances. It also allows you to clearly see what’s behind your target.

High-end models will allow you to hunt dawn and dusk because of their impressive light transmission and image clarity in low light conditions.

But finding the right product isn’t easy. It took me hours of research, shopping, and testing to come up with the following list of top-quality scopes for your muzzleloader.

I totally prefer the Nikon 16558 Black Riflescope because I then don’t have to think about anything as far as this scope is concerned because it comes with all the important features the best scope should have.

The Best Muzzleloader Scopes Are:

ProductDetails
1. Nikon 16558 Black Riflescope

  • Optimized BDC reticle
  • Fully multi-coated lenses
  • 1/4 MOA turrets
  • Rugged and durable construction
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2. Nikon Prostaff P3 Muzzleloader Riflescope

  • BDC 300 reticle
  • Rugged 1” aircraft-grade aluminum tube
  • Fully multi-coated optical system
  • Spring loaded instant zero-reset turrets
  • 1/4 MOA hand-turn adjustments
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3. Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9x40 BDC Scope

  • Patented BDC reticle
  • Fully multi-coated lenses
  • Super bright sight pictures
  • Consistent, generous eye relief
  • O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged
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4. Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40 Scope

  • XR fully multi-coated lenses
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum construction
  • Exposed tactical style turrets
  • Fast focus eyepiece
  • Dead hold BDC reticle
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5. Vortex Optics Crossfire II Scope

  • Fully multi-coated lenses
  • V-Plex reticle
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum
  • Fast focus eyepiece
  • Capped reset turrets
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6. Simmons Truplex 3-9x40 Scope

  • Truplex reticle
  • Fully coated optics
  • 1/4-MOA audible click adjustments
  • Shock-proof and waterproof design
  • QTA eyepiece design
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1. Nikon 16558 Black Riflescope — Overall Best Scope for Muzzleloader

Nikon 3-9x40 BDC Reticle Black Riflescope (16558)

Introducing the Nikon 16558, a heavy-duty scope that is suitable for your .50 caliber muzzleloader.

Specs

  • Optimized BDC reticle
  • Fully multi-coated lenses
  • 1/4 MOA turrets
  • Rugged and durable construction

This state-of-the-art muzzleloader scope comes equipped with the BDC reticle, which enables you to find the aiming points for multiple distances.

You can use the calculator on the Nikon Spot-on Ballistics App to establish the holdover distances for shots out to hundreds of yards.

I really appreciate the multi-layered anti-reflective coating, considering the effective light transmission and very bright sight pictures it delivers.

Another great feature is the 1/4-inch click adjustments, which make zeroing in easier and quicker, and allow you to maintain zero even with heavy recoil.

The only negative comment I have is that it didn’t come with the necessary mounting accessory.

Pros

  • Heavy-duty construction shrugs off rugged use and hard recoil
  • O-ring completely seals the scope for effective waterproofing
  • Aiming is super easy with the BDC reticle up to 600 yards
  • Anti-reflective coating enhances light transmission and image quality
  • Excellent choice for spotting whitetail

Cons

  • Mounting accessories are not provided
  • Limited color options

Conclusion

Your inline 50-caliber muzzleloader will deliver a shockingly impressive performance with scope. With the Nikon Spot-on App and the BDC reticle, you will hit the target with precision.

Overall Rating: 4.7

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2. Nikon Prostaff P3 Muzzleloader Riflescope — Most Consistent Eye Relief

Nikon ProStaff 3-9 x 40 Black Matte Riflescope (Nikoplex)

Introducing the Nikon Prostaff P3, coming in all redesigned with a new logo, BDC 300 reticle, fully multi-coated optical system, and spring-loaded instant zero-reset turrets.

Specs

  • BDC 300 reticle
  • Rugged 1” aircraft-grade aluminum tube
  • Fully multi-coated optical system
  • Spring loaded instant zero-reset turrets
  • 1/4 MOA hand-turn adjustments

The flagship feature of this scope is the BDC 300 reticle, which is a great addition because it integrates easily to see ballistic circles for instant aiming points.

The BDC 300 reticle is mainly engineered for .50 caliber muzzleloaders, which allows you to shoot accurately up to three hundred yards.

The scope comes with a fully multi-coated optical system that allows for optimum light transmission and brightness. This ensures you get vivid, bright sight pictures.

But the product that was shipped to me did not come with mounting hardware, which was quite disappointing. I would also have loved it if it were available in different colors.

Pros

  • Proprietary reticle can be optimized for improved aiming
  • Optimum light transmission delivers vivid sight pictures
  • Clearly marked turrets allow for stress-free windage and elevation
  • Referencing is easy, just reset the turrets to zero
  • Aircraft grade aluminum tube is very long-lasting

Cons

  • You may not get mounting gear
  • Could be better if it was available in different color options

Conclusion

This is one of the most versatile muzzleloader scopes. All the features are tailored towards premium performance, except for the lack of mounting hardware.

Overall Rating: 4.7

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3. Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9×40 BDC Scope — Best Long-Range Accuracy

Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9x40 Riflescope BDC Matte

Introducing the Nikon Buckmasters II, one of the most trusted muzzleloader scopes among deer hunters. Its long-range precision accuracy is remarkable.

Specs

  • Patented BDC reticle
  • Fully multi-coated lenses
  • Super bright sight pictures
  • Consistent, generous eye relief
  • O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged

The high performance of this optics is mainly due to its multi-coated lenses, which generates extremely clear pictures of dawn to dusk hunting.

It comes with the industry’s best bullet drop compensating reticle, allowing you to adjust for drops up to 600 yards. So, you can make those long-distance shots without guesswork.

I really appreciate the large glove-friendly windage and elevation dials with positive 1/4-inch click adjustments, considering how easy it is to zero in and maintain settings.

Another exceptional feature is the generous 3.6-inch eye relief, which is great because it gives you a proper and clear sight picture.

The model I received wasn’t properly packaged. It came in a thin plastic case, which I didn’t expect, considering the popularity of the Nikon brand.

Pros

  • Excellent glass quality performs remarkably in low light
  • Easy to zero in and configure the dead hold BDC dots
  • Bullet drop compensating reticles allows you to shoot over long distances
  • Long eye relief keeps your eyes safe from the heaviest recoiling cartridges
  • Rugged design is shockproof, fog-proof, and waterproof

Cons

  • Possible to receive a model that is poorly packaged
  • There are no color varieties

Conclusion

The Buckmasters II performance speaks for itself with its impressive bullet drop compensating reticle, multi-coated lenses, high performing turrets and rugged construction.

Overall Rating: 4.7

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4. Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12×40 Scope — Best Metal-On-Metal Precision Turrets

Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40 Second Focal Plane Riflescope - Dead-Hold BDC Reticle (MOA)

Meet the Vortex Optics Diamondback, one of the finest scopes for muzzleloaders. This model is packed with great features that are worth the money.

Specs

  • XR fully multi-coated lenses
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum construction
  • Exposed tactical style turrets
  • Fast focus eyepiece
  • Dead hold BDC reticle

Starting at the front of the scope, all lenses are fully multicoated for crystal clear, bright images from dawn to dusk.

The solid one-piece tube is made of aircraft-grade aluminum, which is a great feature because this material is lightweight, shock-proof, and highly durable.

Internally, the Vortex Optics Diamondback is argon purged and O-ring sealed for a lifetime of waterproof and fog-proof performance.

Another impressive design feature is the metal-on-metal precision turrets that provide you with the ability to effectively zero reset after sight in.

But I didn’t like that the packaging was poor. The scope wasn’t properly secured in a solid box as you would expect of high-end products. Also, I didn’t get the installation brackets.

Pros

  • Customized dead-hold BDC reticle eliminates guesswork
  • Exceptional light transmission for bright, crystal clear images
  • Precision turrets will allow you to zero reset easily after sighting in
  • Rugged design performs excellently in extreme weather
  • Suitable eye relief keeps you safe from recoiling cartridges

Cons

  • Some models may come with poor packaging
  • You may not get installation brackets

Conclusion

If you are looking to stretch your dollar for a high performing muzzleloader scope that your money can buy, I strongly urge you to consider the Vortex Optics Diamondback.

Overall Rating: 4.6

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5.  Vortex Optics Crossfire II Scope — Best Customized Dot Design

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 6-24x50 AO, Second Focal Plane Riflescope - Dead-Hold BDC Reticle (MOA), black, Model:CF2-31045

Introducing the Vortex Optics Crossfire II, a tougher, clearer, and brighter scope. It is completely remodeled and engineered to exceed your expectations.

Specs

  • Fully multi-coated lenses
  • V-Plex reticle
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum
  • Fast focus eyepiece
  • Capped reset turrets

The lenses of this scope are fully multicoated, which is a great feature because you get the brightest and clearest view possible.

The extremely accurate V-Plex reticle works exceptionally well at extended ranges. The bullet drop compensating feature allows you to shoot at varying ranges.

I really like the capped reset turrets with zero reset feature, which makes zeroing quick and simple. It also holds zero pretty well.

With a forgiving eye box and generous eye relief, you will be able to quickly and effectively get a quality sight picture.

The model I received didn’t come with flip-up scope covers, I had to buy some separately. Also, my scope mounts broke and I hadn’t tightened them too much.

Pros

  • High-quality glass increases light transmission
  • Allows easy and quick reticle focusing
  • Resetting turrets to zero once sighted in is simple
  • One-piece design boosts optimum visual performance
  • Rugged design withstands impact and recoiling cartridges

Cons

  • May not come with flip-up scope covers
  • Possible to receive poor quality scope mounts

Conclusion

Vortex Optics Crossfire II offers features that benefit any muzzleloader platforms, and at its price point possibilities are endless.

Overall Rating: 4.7

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6. Simmons Truplex 3-9×40 Scope — Best Value for Money

Simmons Truplex Riflescope (3-9X40, Matte)

Choose the Simmons Truplex and you will feel the difference. It is lighter than most conventional scopes and offers the most rugged performance.

Specs

  • Truplex reticle
  • Fully coated optics
  • 1/4-MOA audible click adjustments
  • Shock-proof and waterproof design
  • QTA eyepiece design

At the very front of the scope is the fully coated objective lens, which is an impressive feature because it enhances brightness and improves contrast for a crisp, clear image.

The scope is fitted with a Truplex reticle, which has thinner crosshair in the middle, making it easier for you to see precisely where your bullets will land.

It comes with the brand’s flagship TrueZero windage and elevation adjustments that is easy to zero in and holds the zero effectively during heavy recoil.

It features a fast-focus eyepiece, which swiftly focuses in your reticle, providing you with quick positive target acquisition.

It didn’t have MIL dots, though, which was quite an issue for me. Also, the performance of the optics wasn’t impressive in low light conditions.

Pros

  • Clarity through the optics is remarkable during the day
  • Zeroing in isn’t a problem and holds zero pretty well
  • Crosshairs are thin in the middle and thicker on the outside for superior aiming
  • Rugged design can stand heavy and repeated recoil
  • Reasonably priced scope for your muzzleloader

Cons

  • Does not have MIL dots
  • Poor performance in low light

Conclusion

This is a good quality scope for the money. But the quality of the reticle isn’t the very best, which is understandable, considering the affordable price point.

Overall Rating: 4.4

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Buying Guide

When it comes to selecting the best muzzleloading scope, the process does not have to be difficult. But there are a few things that I will urge you to consider.

Your Preferred Magnification

The first thing you want to consider is magnification, which is mostly personal preference. But I have a simple rule of thumb I use when it comes to selecting magnification for muzzleloader scopes.

I like to have at least 1x magnification for each a hundred feet that I am going to shoot. So, that means for three hundred feet or a hundred yards you would have at least 3x magnification.

The end result is that you don’t want to look at a target that appears more than thirty-five yards away.

The Ideal Reticle Type

Another feature that has become really popular, are bullet compensating reticles (BDC). These are reticles that have additional aiming points that allow you to compensate for the trajectory of your bullet.

BDC reticles typically come in two formats: one is a minute of angle or MOA and the second one is a MIL format.

If you get a MIL reticle, you want MIL adjustments on your scope. If you get an MOA reticle, you should have MOA adjustments on your scope.

This way the adjustments you make with your windage and elevation turns coincide with the sub-tensions in your reticle.

First or Second Focal Plane

A high-quality muzzleloader scope should have a first focal plane (FFP) reticle. With an FFP reticle, all additional aiming points will still give you the correct trajectory compensation.

But with a second focal plane (SFP) reticle scope, those hash marks only match the trajectory when the scope is set at its maximum magnification.

Fast Focus Eyepiece

Another great feature that should come with the best muzzleloading scope is a fast-focus eyepiece.

The main benefit of a fast-focus eyepiece is that it allows you to fine-tune your interface with the muzzleloader.

Final Words

After shooting about a hundred rounds with each of the aforementioned scopes, I believe the overall best muzzleloader scope is the Nikon 16558 Black Riflescope.

With its bullet drop compensating reticle, you can aim and take shots from exaggerated distances. As far as 600 yards away.

Light transmission on this scope beats the competition because the anti-reflective coating can allow you to see clear images in low light conditions.

It is also designed with rugged construction that is O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged. This means it is waterproof, shock-proof, and fog-proof.

Overall, the best muzzleloading scope should have a high-quality reticle (preferably bullet drop compensating reticle), optics that you can see through in low light, and durable construction.

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