Since the beginning of time, it has been man vs animal. Over time men have used rocks, clubs, slingshots and rifles to keep these pests at bay. Ridding your living areas of varmints is a matter of health, safety and protecting livelihood.
Today we even have the option to call in a pest control company. But what if you don’t want to - or can’t- wait for a scheduled appointment that could be days or weeks away? That is where your varmint rifle comes in handy.
- What is a varmint?
- Firearms for varmint shooting
- Accessories for varmint shooting
- What to look for when choosing the best varmint scope
- Comparison Table of the 10 Best Varmint Scopes 2019
What is a varmint?
Since you can use rifles for just about all types of animals, it is important to understand what varmints actually are. There is a difference and it is helpful to know since it will make a difference when selecting the best varmint scope for the money.
Typically, varmint are small mammals. They are pests, however, and not beneficial to your environment. These small mammals are not hunted for food, but rather as a means of elimination. Hunting these small vermin is a means of pest control.
Varmints can range from simply pesky to the dangerous. They can interfere with your own domesticated pets or livestock. And varmints can even affect the deer population, which can have an adverse effect on the stock available during hunting season.
So what animals are considered to be varmints? Depending on where you live will determine which varmints are prevalent in your area. Here is a breakdown of the 10 most common varmints.
Coyotes are devastating to deer populations. Since they typically will go after young bucks, they can really have a negative impact on the deer population. They also are dangerous to have near livestock.
These are small creatures who have a huge negative impact. They reproduce very easily and the population can quickly get out of control. They are expert excavators too. The issue here is that all the holes and burrows they dig can seriously harm livestock that accidently steps in them.
Crows are a well known scavenger. These birds are extremely overpopulated. They have the ability to wreck cornfields, gardens and compost piles.
Foxes are usually found in more suburban settings. The issue with them is that they typically hunt and take off with small family pets. Kittens, cats and small dogs are the usual prey of foxes.
Like the coyotes, bobcats target deer populations. They will also go after livestock and house pets.
These masked bandits are severely overpopulated in certain areas. They are well known for knocking over trash cans and tearing the inside apart.
These varmints are a definite challenge to hunt. They are extremely skittish, agile and fast. These varmints have the ability to quickly climb trees and dash across lines and branches.
These varmints typically leave droppings all over the yard and like to hide under maximum cover. They can be fun to hunt with a dog.
Like prairie dogs, the ground hog likes to dig. In fact, they typically dig mazes of burrows and leave the land pockmarked with uneven footing and holes. This is dangerous for livestock, and man.
10. Feral Pigs
Typically found in southern states, feral pigs are dangerous. They are extremely aggressive and their tusks are razor sharp. They are responsible for crop loss, habitat damage and native wildlife loss. They can be dangerous to man as well.
Firearms for varmint shooting
Now that you have a breakdown on the types of varmints there are, you might be ready to do something about it! But should you use just any rifle you have? Or should you use a more specialized firearm? Using the correct firearm will give you better success in managing the varmint population.
The challenge with varmint hunting is with the ever changing conditions. The shooting distance is always changing, the varmints usually move quickly and unpredictably, and you can be aiming at the sky, the ground or in the brush. When you set out varmint hunting, it is helpful to have a rifle, ammo and accessories that can help you quickly and easily adapt to the changing circumstances.
Typically, varmint hunters can use anything from a .22 LR for long range shots to a .22 caliber rifle. So, whether you are looking for varmint scopes for 223 or varmint scopes for .17hmr, there are a few factors to think about.
Accessories for varmint shooting
Now that you have narrowed down your choice of rifle for varmint hunting, you may be looking to add some accessories. Accessories are always a good choice; they can serve to enhance your hunting experience. Since most people consider guns to be an investment, it makes sense to add accessories that will complement your rifle.
When you are varmint hunting, there are a few different types of accessories that are nice to have on hand. These accessories can make your rifle more efficient and easier.
For varmint hunting it is generally a good idea to get a bigger scope. This will be a tremendous help in sighting your target. If you are using a rifle that is up to a .223 Remington, pick a scope that offers you a 4-16 variable. If your rifle is bigger than the .223 Remington, choose a scope that offers you 24,32 or 40 magnification.
Since you will need a mount to put the scope on your rifle, the correct one is essential. Be sure to pick a mount that will not adversely affect the alignment between the scope and the barrel. Most often you should use a picatinny rail to mount your scope.
Since varmints move quickly, you want to silence or dampen the noise your rifle makes. You want to be sure to choose one that will not interfere with the speed of your shot, however. With a quieter shot and accuracy, you have a better chance of hitting your targets.
A bipod can be helpful when hunting certain varmints. It will allow you to mount your rifle. The adjustable legs of a bipod can allow you to maintain different positions that are comfortable for you.
What to look for when choosing the best varmint scope
Once you have selected the rifle you intend to use for your varmint hunting, it is time to pick a scope. The success of your varmint hunting relies on how well your rifle and scope work together. Here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting the best varmint scope for the money.
You absolutely need to make sure that the scope will fit your particular rifle.
Scopes can vary in price. Generally speaking, the more expensive a scope is, the more features it will have. Keep in mind though, you may not need all those features for varmint hunting.
This is an important consideration. If you will be shooting varmints in the yard, then you will need a scope that is best for short range shooting. If you are hunting wild coyotes or feral pigs, you will want a long range varmint scope that is better for long range shooting. Will your targets be quickly moving or still?
Here are some of the features that varmint scopes will provide. It is important to realize that you do not necessarily want any old cheap scope, nor does it have to break the bank. A good varmint scope will have the following capabilities.
Features to look for:
1.Enhanced light gathering ability- this is extremely important if you will be shooting in low light conditions.
2.Correct reticle configuration
3.Design of crosshairs to adjust the parallax
4.Adjustable scope with magnification-this will help you adjust for short range or long range shooting.
5.A fully coated lens
Comparison Table of the 10 Best Varmint Scopes 2019
Nitrogen Purged Glass
Oversized objective lens
100% waterproof, fog proof and shock proof
Twilight Max Light Management System
Multi coated lenses
100% waterproof, fog proof and shockproof
100% waterproof, fog proof and shockproof
Waterproof, shockproof and fog proof
1 Vortex Optics Crossfire II
This Crossfire II series of riflescopes offer the user exceptional performance and reliability. This scope is perfect to use when hunting in the lowest light, from early evening to the first sign of dawn.
The scope is constructed with fully multi-coated optics that feature anti-reflective coatings, a 30 mm tube and an over-sized 56 mm objective lens. This scope is perfect for hog hunters. You can take aim in heavy cover, even when light conditions are at their worst. The scope is constructed with a hard anodized single-piece aircraft-grade aluminum tube, which is then is nitrogen purged and O-ring sealed for waterproof and fog proof performance.The Vortex Optics Crossfire II has 3-12x magnification and is designed to withstand hard use. This scope is perfect for both tactical shooting and hunting.
2 Leupold VX-3i
This scope has been a proven winner over and over. It is an excellent choice to use in almost any hunting environment. You can confidently use the scope for both tight brush and long-range shots without any problem thanks to the extremely versatile magnification range.
This Leupold scope features a unique feature with its Twilight Max Light Management System. You will be able to sight a more vivid, bright, and clear target image in a wider variation of low and bright lighting conditions. This unique feature is a combination of premium edge-to-edge lens clarity, full visible-spectrum lens coatings and glare management, which provides the user with an extra 20 minutes of shooting light.The Leupold VX-3i is designed to be 100% waterproof, fog proof and shockproof. In addition, it is extremely lightweight so as not to contribute to user fatigue.
3 ATN X-Sight II
This scope has a very nice feature, especially if you need to use it both day and night! The ATN’s X-Sight II HD, can be used anytime and it will provide the best quality image regardless of lighting conditions. This scope makes use of Smart HD Optics Technology, which allows you to use your scope day and night- getting clear images day or night.In addition, the ATN X-Sight II features a built-In rangefinder. You will not need to bring along any additional equipment to range your target. This will calculate the distance so that you can have the perfect shot every time. And as a very unique feature to this scope, there is the opportunity to insert an SD card and record your target shooting in HD, no cables required.
4 Burris 200261 Ballistic Plex 2
This matte black scope is designed for all hunting situations. This scope by Burris features a posi-lock system. This means it has a coil spring assisted retractable steel post that will firmly and securely lock accuracy into place for you. This reticle riflescope is filled and purged a minimum of 24 times with high quality, laboratory grade dry nitrogen. These 24 nitrogen cycles absorb airborne and residual surface moisture that is then removed from the scope. This process ensures that it is waterproof and fog proof.
In addition, the rifle sight has been subjected to extreme recoil tests using an impact machine. The Burris 200261 features a larger diameter than most lens This is to give the user incredibly clear Images, in almost any light situation.
5 Tasco Varmint 2.5
This scope is perfect for shooting smaller to larger varmints. You can use this scope no matter where you are hunting; on the range, in the woods or on the prairie. Tasco’s rifle scopes give you ultra-bright and clear imagery needed for locating and sighting even the smallest targets.The Tasco scope is perfect for both intermediate and long ranges because it features an extra-large 42mm objective lens. In addition, it also has a true Mil-Dot reticle, to help you lock in your target. The tube is 1” in diameter, very lightweight and in a matte black finish.
6 BARSKA Varmint Mil-Dot Riflescope
This scope from Barska is a perfect choice for many different types of shooting including varmint hunting, target shooting, long range and precision shooting. It has t features an Adjustable Objective (AO) for parallax correction, a quick access magnification zoom ring as well as exceptionally high windage and elevation turrets.The BARSKA scope is a fully multi-coated optic and constructed to be waterproof, fog proof and shockproof. Designed in a matte black finish, the packaging includes lens caps and a lens cloth.
7 7. Nightforce Optics NXS Riflescope
The Nightforce Optics NXS is the ultimate long range riflescope. It has a 56mm objective lens which provides maximum clarity and resolution across the entire magnification range. This scope allows you to have precision accuracy at the longest range, yet at 5.5 power remains highly effective for shots at close ranges.
This scope is constructed using aircraft grade aluminum. The Nightforce Optics NXS is perfect for both short and long range varmint shooting.
8 Nikon ProStaff
The scope is constructed to have a nitrogen purged tube, which meets industry standards. It also has fully coated optics. The Nikon ProStaff has an O ring sealed body to ensure that it is waterproof and fog proof. It has been designed in such a manner that it can handle more demanding applications. This is what makes it reliable and among the best scopes in the market.
This scope features a Niko- plex reticle is very good for shooters. This feature gives users a clearer field of view with a more traditional crossfire. This reticle will allow you to utilize all the scope’s spot on ballistic technology while maintaining one distinct aiming point on the reticle.
9 Bushnell Banner Dawn and Dusk
This scope by Bushnell is a popular hunting scope for small game and varmints. It has been designed to maximize light gathering and for optimum clarity in the fading low light. You will find that this scope also has a fast eye focus too. This makes it perfect to use in the early morning or late in the day. It is designed to have a proprietary optical coating that works to enhance the user’s sight picture under low light conditions.
Banner is designed as a one piece tube that makes it easy to handle. It is also 100% waterproof and fog proof.
10 SWFA SS Tactical Riflescope
This scope is designed with a 10-power optic with a fixed magnification. The fixed magnification is a good feature because it offers the user the advantage of the first focal plane scopes at a price of the second focal plane scope.The 10x magnification is optimal for varmint hunting. It helps you separate the target from the environment. Its lenses are crystal clear, which allows you to have high definition viewing. This scope uses a mil dot reticle for windage and elevation. This feature will allow you to make simple windage calls as well as to hold over for bullet drop. In addition, the scope features tactical turrets too, for adjusting in the field.
When looking for varmint rifle scope recommendations, there is plenty to consider. You need to see what kind of magnification is offered, if the tube is nitrogen purged, what type of objectives lens it has and how much it weighs. These are all important factors. You want to be sure you choose a scope that is appropriate for the type of varmint hunting you will be doing. That can be short range or long range. And if your scope is not O ring sealed, nitrogen purged, then make sure that it is 100% waterproof, shockproof and fog proof. You also want to make sure that your varmint rifle with scope is light. User fatigue can be an issue when holding your rifle with optics for any length of time.
After reviewing the scopes, the winner is the Leupold VX 3-i. This scope has a unique feature with its Twilight Max Light Management System. You will be able to sight a more vivid, bright, and clear target image in a wider variation of low and bright lighting conditions. This unique feature is a combination of premium edge-to-edge lens clarity, full visible-spectrum lens coatings and glare management, which provides the user with an extra 20 minutes of shooting light.
The Leupold VX-3i is designed to be 100% waterproof, fog proof and shockproof. In addition, it is extremely lightweight so as not to contribute to user fatigue.
As with any purchase, be sure to ask your local gun experts for suggestions. They can steer you in the right direction and help you pick the right scope. At the end of the day, the best scope is the one that works best for you.