Selecting a Scope for Your Air Rifle

Selecting the appropriate scope for an air rifle can be tricky. Merely attaching a favorite scope to any air rifle may cause unforeseen consequences. Proper pairing of scope to air rifle depends on several factors. The following are those factors, as well as some of the best air rifle scopes reviews.

Rated Scopes and Mounts

The ‘Airgun’ rating on a scope is required for spring-piston air rifles. This rating means the scope can handle both forward and backward recoil action inherent in these air rifles. Scopes used on regular rifles are designed for backward recoil. Forward recoil damages regular scopes.

For CO2, pre-charged pneumatic, and multi-stroke air rifles, the ‘Airgun’ rating is less important, and any scope may be used. ‘Airgun’ scopes are of higher quality.

Before shopping for a scope, ensure your air rifle can accept a scope, as not all air rifles are created equal. Once you determine a scope is practical, consider the type of scope and mount.


The range of most air rifles is approximately 50 yards; hunting is 40 yards, and competitive shooting is 10 yards. Scopes designed for regular rifles range from 50-100 yards, which may hinder air rifle targeting; this is another argument for ‘Airgun’ scopes, which typically range from 10 yards to infinity.


Magnification requirements vary based on shooting needs.

  • Plinking places no restrictions on scope selection. A scope rated 3-9x is fine.
  • Hunting requires less than 4x to provide a wider field of vision.
  • The competition typically uses a variable scope at higher power (4-20x)


There many types of reticles; here are two.

  • German Duplex – Used for small targets at any range and magnification. Good for plinking and competition, but not hunting.
  • Mil-Dot – Used by experienced shooters at a longer range.

Lens Size

The decision to go with a larger or smaller lens is a tradeoff. While a smaller lens is lightweight, a larger lens provides a clearer, brighter image, but is larger and heavier.

Air Rifle ScopesHere are a few scopes that tick all the boxes for you to consider.

Swift Premier

The Swift Premier is a robust, accurate, competitive scope that can handle strong recoil. It has excellent clarity and uses a thin-lined, optionally illuminated reticle for small targets. Its brass constructions make it heavier and more durable than some scopes. 

  • 6.5-20x variable magnification
  • 44mm objective lens
  • 15” long; 23.6 oz
  • Price: less than $300

Leapers UTG

The UTG is a versatile, multi-tasking, water-tight scope for plinking, hunting, or competitive shooting with a mil-dot, optionally illuminated reticle.

  • 3-9x variable magnification
  • 32mm objective lens
  • 8.11” long; 13.9 oz
  • Price: less than $75


This scope uses a non-illuminated mil-dot reticle. Small targets are easy to see, and the scope is exceptionally clear.

  • 3-12x variable magnification
  • 40mm objective lens
  • 16” long; 16 oz
  • Price: less than $60

Daisy Winchester 4X32

This starter scope is small, sturdy, clear, light, shock resistant, and perfect for hunting. It uses a non-illuminated cross-hair reticle.

  • 4x fixed magnification
  • 32mm objective lens
  • Price: less than $50