From the beginning of time, it has been man vs. animal. Men have used everything from rocks, to clubs, to slingshots, and rifles to keep these pests at bay. Ridding your living areas of varmints is a matter of health, safety, and protecting your livelihood.
Today we have the option to call a pest control company. But what if you don’t want to - or can’t- wait for a scheduled appointment? That is where your varmint rifle comes in handy.
- What is a varmint?
- Firearms for varmint shooting
- You want to consider the following when purchasing a rifle for varmint hunting.
- Accessories for varmint shooting
- What to look for when choosing the best varmint scope
- Comparison Table of the 10 Best Varmint Scopes 2020
- Top 10 Best Varmint Scope on The Market Reviews
What is a varmint?
You can use rifles for just about all types of animal. It is important to differentiate varmints from the rest. Understanding their differences will help you select the best varmint scope for the money.
Typically, varmint are small mammals. They are pests, however, and not beneficial. These small mammals are not hunted for food, but rather as a means of elimination. Hunting these small vermin is a type of pest control.
Varmints can range from simply pesky to 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 varmints? Your location 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. They typically hunt young bucks, so they can have a negative impact on the deer population. They also are dangerous to have near livestock.
These small creatures can have a huge negative impact. They reproduce very easily therefore their population can quickly get out of control. They are expert excavators too. The issue is that all the holes and burrows they dig can break livestock's legs.
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 small family pets. Kittens, cats, and small dogs are typical fox prey.
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 throwing trash everywhere.
These varmints are a definite challenge to hunt. They are extremely skittish, agile, and fast. Squirrels have the ability to climb trees quickly and dash across power lines and branches.
These varmints typically leave droppings all over the yard. They like to hide in the deepest brush. However, rabbits 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, you should be ready to do something about them! 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 the ever changing conditions. The shooting distance changes a lot. 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, you need a rifle, ammo, and accessories that can help you quickly and easily adapt to changes.
Typically, varmint hunters 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.
You want to consider the following when purchasing a rifle for varmint hunting.
1. Velocity and trajectory - Ideally the trajectory will be flat and the ammo is expelled at a high velocity.
2. Minimized projectile penetration - The bullets should be lightweight and not penetrate deeply.
3. Acidized attributes - you should have impressive accuracy and ease in hitting small targets no matter the range.
A good varmint rifle is one that does not need heavy ammo, but will deliver a fast shot. Making sure that your rifle has a flat trajectory will help in firing off a round accurately.
You should also look for a varmint rifle that is capable of speeds faster than 3000 feet per second. These critters are fast! For long shot options, both the .204 Ruger and .220 Swift can go 4000 feet per second.
Hunters also appreciate smaller caliber guns when hunting varmints. The .17 caliber, the .17 Remington, and the .204 Ruger are all popular options. The Ruger is especially appreciated because it uses smaller rounds.
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. Most people consider guns to be an investment. It makes sense then to add accessories that will complement your rifle.
When varmint hunting, there are a few accessories that are nice to have on hand. These accessories can make your rifle more efficient.
For varmint hunting you typically need a bigger scope. It will be a tremendous help in sighting your target. If your rifle 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 with 24, 32, or 40 magnification.
Since you need a mount to put the scope on your rifle, finding the right one is essential. Be sure to pick a mount that will not adversely affect the scope and barrel alignment. Most often you should use a picatinny rail to mount your scope.
Varmints move quickly and are skittish. To hunt them you need to silence or dampen any noise. You want to be sure to choose a silencer that will not interfere with the speed of your shot. A quieter shot and accuracy increase your 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 allows you to maintain a comfortable position for your body.
What to look for when choosing the best varmint scope
Once you have selected the rifle you intend to use for varmint hunting, it is time to pick a scope. Your success 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 the scope, 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 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. Ask yourself: Will your targets be quickly moving or still?
Varmint scopes provide a number of unique features. You don't necessarily need an old cheap scope, but your choice also doesn't have to break the bank. A good varmint scope will have the following capabilities:
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 2020
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
Top 10 Best Varmint Scope on The Market Reviews
1 Vortex Optics Crossfire II
The Vortex Optics Crossfire II is the first scope on our list. And you won’t believe the durability of this sucker. It is made from aircraft grade aluminum, which guarantees excellent durability. The aluminum will also absorb shock like no one's business.
Even better, this is the kind of scope that will stand the test of time and nature. If bad weather rolls in, you don't need to worry. The scope’s image quality is crystal clear. Accurate shooting is pretty much guaranteed for a wide range of distances.
2 Leupold VX-3i
The Leupold VX-3i rivals the Vortex Optics. It is considered the higher end version of its cost effective counterpart. What makes this puppy stand out is that it resists extremely adverse weather conditions. Also, it definitely gives you the great accuracy over various distances.
3 ATN X-Sight II
This scope is made for the high tech hunter. If you want something that has a rangefinder, ballistic calculator, and all the fixings, try this scope. There is no denying the X-Sight’s ability to hunt those varmints.
And best of all, you can hit your targets at impressive distances both day and night. For your around-the-clock hunting needs, the ATN X-Sight is ideal.
4 Burris 200261 Ballistic Plex 2
The Burris 200261 Ballistic Plex 2 is a pretty strong scope in terms of quality. Performance wise, it looks cool and will give you sharp shooting-level accuracy. You can hit targets up to 400 yards regardless of application. But it doesn’t stop there.
The 200261 is a pretty durable scope. It will be tough on shock and preserve your zero settings well. Last but not least, the image quality is clear and high in definition. Simply put, this is a scope couldn't be better for varmint hunting.
5 Tasco Varmint 2.5
This scope is perfect for shooting small and large varmints. You can use it 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. You will not struggle to locate and sight even the smallest targets.
The Tasco scope is perfect for both middle range and long distances. It features a 42mm objective lens that will give you plenty of real estate. 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 has a matte black finish.
6 BARSKA Varmint Mil-Dot Riflescope
If you want a scope that will make varmint hunting worthwhile, then the Barska Varmint Mil-Dot Rifle Scope is the one for you. The mil-dot reticle allows for accurate shooting. Not only that, but you get a scope that is easy adjusted. It will allow you to shoot straight and on target with every pull of the trigger.
Plus, you get a large objective that gives you plenty of coverage. When you see a varmint, you will be locked on much quicker than with other scopes.
7 7. Nightforce Optics NXS Riflescope
The Nightforce Optics NXS should definitely be the go-to option for those who want excellent precision and accuracy. You will even land a precise shot at dusk or dawn. The coup de grace is the aluminum body that makes this scope indestructible. So if you love aircraft-quality aluminum, this is the best scope you can find.
8 Nikon ProStaff
The Nikon ProStaff is probably one of the most impressive scopes on the market. Its image quality is just one of the reasons why. The clarity is insane. It looks like you are watching television on a big screen TV.
Except it is not a TV. It is a scope that allows you to knock down varmints that are a problem. This scope is no slouch when it comes to quality. It will land accurate and precise shots every time you pull the trigger.
You won’t be disappointed by the overall performance of the ProStaff. It will definitely get you all the coverage you deserve at an impressive distance. Does 400 to 600 yards sound pretty good to you? Yeah, we know it does. That might sound like a ridiculous range. But you’d be surprised how far you can knock a varmint off its feet with this scope.
9 Bushnell Banner Dawn and Dusk
Varmints pop out at any given time. But they are usually out in the low-light and during the night. The Bushnell Banner Dawn and Dusk is a pretty sweet looking scope. It gathers in all kinds of light through the lens to help you shoot at dusk and dawn.
When you look through the scope in low-light scenarios, it will provide high-quality images. This allows you to find your targets from a good distance (100 to 200 yards).
The Bushnell name is best known for making reliable scopes that get the job done. Your precise and accurate shots will knock a varmint dead in its tracks. Don’t forget, you can even rid your property of predators terrorizing your livestock.
10 SWFA SS Tactical Riflescope
If you want a scope that is simple to adjust, then you’re going to love this one. If your shots may appear a little off, you can make adjustments on the fly. It’s the kind of scope that will certainly give you a good image clarity. It will also impress a whole lot of users.
The Nikon reviewed above may be a bit pricey for you. That's okay, this scope provides a great high-quality image for the money.
If you are looking to knock down those invasive critters and predators on your property, try this scope. It’s about time you take them out one by one (or whatever your state’s bag laws allow).
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, the type of objective lens, and the weight.
These are all important factors. You want to be sure you choose a scope that is appropriate for your type of varmint. You may need a short range or long range scope. If the product you choose is not O ring sealed or nitrogen purged, make sure that it is at least 100% waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof.
You also want to ensure that your varmint rifle with scope is light. User fatigue can be an issue when holding your rifle with heavy optics.
After reviewing the scopes, our winner is the Leupold VX 3-i. It has unique features including its Twilight Max Light Management System. You receive clearer and more vivid images in any lighting condition.
The Leupold VX-3i is designed to be 100% waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof. In addition, it is extremely lightweight. You will never struggle to use this scope for a long shoot.
As with any purchase, be sure to ask your local gun expert for suggestions. They can steer you towards the right scope for varmint hunting. At the end of the day, the best scope is the one that works best for you.