What's the Best Scope for .243 Deer Rifle?

Matt Johnson
Matt JohnsonPublished: January 21, 2023
What's the Best Scope for .243 Deer Rifle?

Are you looking for the best scope to outfit your .243 deer rifle? We've tested and reviewed five of the best hunting scopes out there for the .243 rifle, so you can make an informed decision.

From ATN's Thor LT thermal scope to Vortex Optics Diamondback - we've got it covered! ????

CategoryScopeWhy We Love It
Best MagnificationLeupold Mark 5HD 5-25x56mmExceptional performance, durable, front focal plane reticle, superior light transmission
Best Thermal ScopeATN Thor LT Thermal Rifle ScopeThermal imaging, HD display, simple adjustments, weather-resistant
The Most Durable ScopeVortex Optics Diamondback 4-12×40Shockproof, waterproof, fog proof, metal-on-metal precision turrets
Best Budget ScopeSightron SI Series 3-9x32mm Rifle ScopeAffordable, lightweight, duplex reticle, fully multi-coated lenses
Long Range for the MoneyBurris Fullfield II Hunting Scope 6.5-20x-50mmHigh-grade optical glass, excellent brightness and clarity, steel-on-steel adjustments, lifetime warranty

But if you're still wondering which one is right for you, don't worry. We provide all the information on features, specs and more in this guide so that you can find the perfect fit for your rifle.

I have personally tried each of these scopes and even sought out opinions of other hunters to find the best ones to mount on your .243. Actually, many of these are great on other rifles as well, but for this we're just focusing on the .243.

Ready to take your hunting game to the next level with a quality scope?

A great medium-sized hunting rifle.

Winchester .243 Rifle and Rounds

Don't worry, we're going to cover all of the scopes shortly, but let's discuss the weapon of choice for a minute.

The .243 Winchester rifle is a popular choice for hunters due to its versatility and accuracy. It's almost a classic at this point.

It is an excellent choice for hunting deer, varmints, and other small game. It's even better once you throw on a good scope.

The .243 Winchester offers the shooter a flat trajectory with minimal recoil, making it easy to shoot accurately. It is also capable of taking down larger game such as elk and moose when using heavier bullets. However, we would recommend something a bit bigger when going after bigger game such as a .270, but who are we to judge?

With its wide selection of rifles available from various manufacturers, there is sure to be a .243 rifle that fits your needs.

The most accurate .243 rifle out of the box.

We've looked at countless .243 rifles over the years and we like the Savage Axis .243 Winchester Rifle straight out of the box as it is an excellent choice for hunters of all skill levels.

The Savage Axis .243 Winchester Rifle features a 4-round capacity and a carbon-steel barrel that is sure to deliver accuracy and reliability in the field. It also comes equipped with Weaver-style rings and bases, allowing users to attach additional optics and accessories to their rifle.

These are also relatively inexpensive coming in under $400. Not bad for rifle that's ready to hunt.

To top it all off, this American-made rifle is sure to provide years of dependable performance.

If you throw one of the scopes we're about to discuss on top of this rifle, you have an excellent set-up for hunting deer in any terrain.

Ideal .243 deer rifle range.

If you're doing any sort of long-range shooting, whether target shooting, varmint hunting, or tracking mule deer, you'll want to look into getting a scope with a minimum magnification power of 4x.

This will allow the shooter to accurately identify their target and get on target quickly.

It also allows for more precise aiming, making it easier to hit a deer’s vital organs or other small targets.

For those that plan on hunting at medium ranges like 200-400 yards, we recommend going with a scope of at least 8x magnification.

This will give you the ability to accurately judge distances and make precise shots at extended ranges.

No matter what type of hunting you plan on doing, you'll want to choose a scope with lens coatings that will provide superior light transmission.

What we compared in a rifle scope.

Before we get into the specific scope choices, let’s review what we should look for in a rifle scope. There are so many variables to consider, so it can be difficult to know what is best for your specific needs.

Sure, most new hunters will look at the magnification and call it a day; however, there's so much more to the best rifle scope than magnification. We wanted to include everything in our comparison so that you could make an informed decision when it comes to selecting the best rifle scope.

First we broke each of the scopes into various categories (i.e., magnification, durability, thermal, etc.) and then we looked at various factors like eye relief, field of view, lens coatings, reticle style and size, parallax adjustments, turrets design and zeroing capabilities.

In the end, you should be able to find the best scope for your .243 rifle that fits your needs and budget.

Magnification: Hitting long range targets.

One of the first things to consider when choosing a scope is magnification. For deer hunting, we recommend using a 4x to 9x power range.

The larger the magnification, the more accurately you will be able to identify your target and take accurate shots at extended distances.

Thermal: Limited light hunting.

Of course this is on the expensive side of the house, but we love thermal and figured it should make an appearance on our list.

Thermal scopes allow you to hunt in limited light conditions by detecting heat signatures and objects that absorb or reflect heat, making them a great choice for hunting hogs and predators as well.

Durability: Tough and rugged.

When you're trekking through the woods and underbrush, it's important to choose a scope that can hold up to the elements.
Make sure your scope is waterproof, fog proof, shockproof, and offers good eye relief so you can use it without fear of damaging it.

Budget scope: Shoot far and cheap.

This should probably be at the top of the list, but whether you're doing some varmint hunting or looking to take down a mule deer, you want to make sure you have a scope that fits your budget.

Long range for the money.

This is a special category, as we understand most hunters are on a budget and still want to have the best quality for their money. So we’ve looked at some of the best long range scopes that will reach out beyond 300 yards for deer hunting that are also in line with most budgets.

Here are the best scopes for .243 rifles.

Now that you know what to look for when it comes to choosing a scope, here are some of the best scopes on the market for .243 rifles.

We got our hands on tons of different scopes from target scopes to low-light scopes and everything in between. However, we think we narrowed down the best scopes for .243 rifles to these 5.

Best Magnification: Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25x56mm

Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25x56mm for .243 Rifle

Whether you're hitting targets or deer at distance, you'll want something with an insane magnification range for long-range shooting. That's where the Leupold Mark 5HD comes into play.

The Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25x56mm riflescope with an M1C3 Front Focal PR-1 MOA reticle and matte finish offers hunters exceptional performance in the field.

It's also extremely durable as it features 100% waterproof, fog proof and shockproof construction, and M1C3 Turrets with a 1/4 MOA dial and push-button ZeroLock.

Additionally, its Front Focal Plane (FFP) reticle magnifies along with the image to allow for accurate range estimation.

The twilight light management system (aka Twilight Max HD) adds up to 30 minutes of shooting light for low-light conditions, best-in-class glare reduction, and edge-to-edge HD lens clarity - making this the best scope for .243 rifles when it comes to maximum magnification.

Get the Leupold Mark 5HD for your .243 rifle!

Buy Now at SG
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Best Thermal Scope: ATN Thor LT Thermal Rifle Scope

ATN Thor LT Thermal Rifle Scope

When you have some cash to burn and need a scope that will keep you targeting bucks in limited light conditions, you'll want the ATN ThOR.

The ATN ThOR LT 3-6x50mm Thermal Rifle Scope is the perfect choice for hunters looking to get the best performance out of their rifle.

It features a 1280x720p HD FLIR display in either black-hot or white-hot mode, and a one-shot zero feature that makes adjustments in the field simple and easy.

This scope offers 10+ hours of continuous battery power for those long days in the field, and is weather-resistant with its IP rating and hardened aircraft-grade aluminum alloy construction.

All these features make the ATN ThOR LT Ultra Light Thermal Rifle Scope an ideal solution for any hunter looking for an excellent thermal imaging scope.

Get the ATN ThOR LTV 160 5-15x Thermal Rifle Scope with Video Recording for your .243 rifle!

Buy Now at SG
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The Most Durable Scope: Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40

Vortex Optics Diamondback

Hunters and sportsmen are not the most careful people in the world. So when you're looking for a scope for .243 rifles, you want something that can take a beating.

The Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40 riflescope is a classic choice for those looking for an incredibly durable scope. It's built with a solid one-piece tube and hard anodized aircraft-grade aluminum finish that make it shockproof and capable of handling the bumps and knocks associated with hunting expeditions.

What really makes it stand out is that it is argon purged and O-ring sealed, ensuring a lifetime of fog proof and waterproof performance. This Vortex scope has metal-on-metal precision turrets, which offer accuracy tracking and repeatability and the ability to zero reset after sight-in.

With its Dead-Hold BDC reticle, clear image all day long, fast focus eyepiece, and incredible durability, this Vortex optic can take any hunting trip to the next level.

This is easily the best scope for deer hunters that need something a little more robust.

Get the Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40 for your .243 rifle!

Buy Now at SG
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Best Budget Scope: Sightron SI Series 3-9x32mm Rifle Scope

Sightron SI Rifle Scope

Budget is a big concern for most deer hunters, and we understand that. That's why we believe the Sightron SI Series 3-9x32mm rifle scope is one of the best budget scopes out there. You'll target game for under $150 with this setup.

The Sightron SI Series 3-9x32mm Rifle Scope is designed with the small and medium game hunter in mind.

It features a 32mm objective lens and an extremely light weight of less than 12 ounces, making it the perfect companion for any .243 rifle. With its duplex reticle, second focal plane design, fully multi-coated lenses, and capped hunting turrets it provides amazing precision at ranges of up to 50 yards.

The 1 inch one-piece tube design ensures maximum durability, while the crosshair reticle offers superior accuracy in any lighting condition.

This scope is backed by a lifetime warranty and allows hunters to enjoy accurate shots year after year.

Sure, it's cheap, but it'll last!

Get the Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40 for your .243 rifle!

Buy Now at AZN
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Long Range for the Money Scope: Burris Fullfield II Hunting Scope 6.5-20x-50mm

Burris Fullfield II Hunting Scope 6.5-20x-50mm

Want the best performance for your buck? No pun intended!

That's why we decided to put the Burris Fullfield II scope on the list. For those looking to do some long-range shooting, you'll get the most bang for your buck with this .243 scope.

The Burris Optics 6.5X-20X-50mm Rifle Scope is a popular, traditional hunting scope that offers great performance at an affordable price.

It features a high-grade optical glass that provides excellent brightness and clarity with lasting durability.

The quality precision-ground lenses are larger than comparable scopes, allowing for better light transmission and improved accuracy in low-light conditions.

In addition, the integrated fast-focus eyepiece design ensures maximum comfort and eye relief, while the steel-on-steel adjustments provide precise tracking and repeatability. This is a big plus when you're in the deer blind for hours on end.

The solid one-piece outer tube is shockproof and able to withstand heavy recoil - not that the .243 necessarily has a heavy recoil, but it's nice to have.

This scope also comes with Burris' Forever Warranty that guarantees replacement or repair if it is damaged or defective.

It's long-range capability with it's reasonable price tag makes this Burris scope one of the best scopes for .243 rifles you can find anywhere.

Get the Burris Fullfield II 6.5-20x-50mm for your .243 rifle!

Buy Now at AZN
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Still have some questions? We've got answers!

We put together a quick FAQ for those looking at hunting scopes to outfit your .243 rifle with. We know there might be some things we mentioned that some of you may need a bit more clarification on, and we want to make sure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision.

What size scope is best for deer hunting?

There are so many variables to this question, but of the five scopes we tried for this we've got to say the ATN Thor LT thermal scope. Why? Because it's legitimately badass and since deer tend to move around in low light, you need the advantage of thermal imaging to spot and bring them down.

How far can a 3 9x40 scope shoot?

This will vary from hunter to hunter, however, it is possible to shoot accurately at long distances of up to 1,000 yards with a 3-9x40 scope that has good turrets and decent optical quality.

What is better first focal plane or second focal plane?

For precision shooting in matches, a first focal plane riflescope is advantageous as it works best with higher magnification ranges. For lower magnifications, second focal plane scopes are suitable, though they may be more expensive.

What is adjustment range?

Adjustment range is the amount the reticle can be adjusted for windage and elevation, usually measured in clicks or MOA (minutes of angle).

This means that the reticle can be adjusted to a specific distance in order to accurately compensate for windage and elevation.

What is a first focal plane scope?

A first focal plane (FFP) scope is one in which the reticle changes size depending on the magnification level - appearing small when zoomed out and large when zoomed in.

These are great for long-range shooting as the reticle remains accurate and consistent regardless of magnification.

What is a dead-hold BDC reticle?

Vortex designed their Dead-Hold® BDC reticle for use with a variety of firearms (including the .243 Winchester), from high-powered rifles to rimfires, and can help shooters put rounds on target quickly and effectively regardless of windy or calm conditions.

So what's the best scope for the 243 Rifle?

We know we threw a lot of options out there, but we've got to say the Burris Fullfield II is at the top of the list. With its long-range capability, reliable construction, and reasonable price tag - it's a no brainer!

Plus, you can't argue with their forever warranty!

Of course there are plenty of hunting optics that we've tried that didn't make the list such as the Leupold VX 3i 3.5-10x40 or the Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS3 4.5-30x50. Both of which are a great scope for everything from long-range precision shooting to long-range hunting and everything in between.

Take a look at each of these scopes, read the customer reviews for a little more detail and decide which one is the best fit for you and your .243 rifle.

Matt Johnson

Matt Johnson

Master Outdoorsman

Matt is a seasoned outdoorsman with expertise in fishing, hunting, and wildlife. With a Master's degree in Wildlife Science, he combines his passion for nature with conservation efforts, sharing his knowledge through his writing for Fish and Game Report.