Best 1-4x Scopes for the Money – Tested & Reviewed
Best 1-4x Scopes for the Money – Tested & Reviewed
The best hunting rifle on the market won’t be worth much if you don’t pair it with the right scope. It’s an investment many people are hesitant to make when they see the going rate for a riflescope, but, keeping in mind that these accessories are meant to last as long as the weapon they’re attached to, a high-quality scope is an absolute necessity.
A 1-4x magnification range is meant for firing at close quarters and from mid-distance. You might not be making any shots from a mile away, but for anyone who prefers to get up close and personal with their target, a riflescope with a 1-4x magnification range is perfect.
We’ve combed the market to find the best 1-4x scope on Amazon and compiled this guide so you can make the most informed decision about this important investment. Read on to find out everything you need to know to choose the high-quality scope that suits you best!
In a hurry? Here’s the test winner after 10 hours of research:
10 Best 1-4x Scopes for the Money - Overview
1. Nikon M-Tactical 1-4x24
- The new m-tactical mk1-moa reticle can be used to estimate range, target size, elevation holdover and wind-drift at designated magnification
This tough riflescope from Nikon is waterproof, shockproof, and fogproof. The 30mm tube that makes up its body is constructed out of an aircraft-grade aluminum alloy that holds up well in bad weather conditions and on the move. The dials for parallax and elevation adjustment have half-minute marks and a knurled (textured) construction to make them finger adjustable with or without gloves and they have a nice audible click.
A new tactical reticle from Nikon called the MK1-MOA allows you to estimate distance, target size, windage, and elevation adjustment. This scope comes with coated optics for additional brightness and contrast that makes target acquisition a breeze.
2. Crimson Trace Optics Tactical 1-4x Riflescope
- Power: the 4-16x50mm scope makes objects seem four to sixteen times closer than with the naked Eye, featuring a 50mm objective lens
Although slightly smaller than a 30mm scope, the Crimson Trace Tactical 1-4x magnification riflescope is surprisingly sophisticated. It has an SR3-MOA illuminated reticle that sits in the first focal plane, allowing it to scale as you zoom. It’s also a BDC reticle, which means you can adjust for bullet drop without any additional tools.
There’s also a red alignment O-ring to help you stay within the eye box and at the right eye relief distance. Although the illuminated reticle requires batteries, the manufacturer supposedly promises free batteries for life alongside a full lifetime warranty. The solid anodized aluminum construction and the fogproof, waterproof coated optics make this riflescope a highly effective hunting aid that’s sure to last.
3. Simmons Whitetail Classic 1-4x Scope
- Waterproof, Fog proof and shockproof for the utmost in reliability and durability
Despite it being an inexpensive investment, this riflescope is waterproof, shockproof, and fogproof just like the best of them. With its large field of view, this model is great for both short-range and long-range hunters, especially those who have weapons with a lot of recoil. Ample eye relief afforded by this 1-4x scope will prevent any knockback injuries.
The audible adjustment knobs on this scope have a bit of resistance which makes them snug and should prevent them from shifting accidentally if you’re using this scope on the move. Although the eye relief is good, the eye box itself isn’t so large which means people who have a hard time maintaining the same angle and distance from shot to shot might not like this scope.
4. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 1-4x
- The 1-4x24 Crossfire II Riflescope is one of many configurations in the Crossfire II line. The V-Brite reticle uses the v-plax Format with battery-powered electronics to illuminate the center dot for...
Great for beginners because of its forgiving eye box and for pros thanks to its illuminated V-Brite MOA reticle, the Crossfire II 1-4x has a really strong one-piece 30mm body made out of anodized aircraft-grade aluminum. The sealed O-ring makes this scope fogproof and waterproof. The center dot is illuminated for better low-light hunting as well.
The reticle on the Crossfire II is in the second focal plane (SFP) so it won’t scale when you change the magnification level. The max elevation adjustment, parallax setting, and windage levels are all 100 MOA and the adjustments are in ½ MOA increments for better accuracy and target acquisition in short-range and mid-range shooting.
5. Burris MTAC Illuminated 1-4x
Built with strong external materials and clear glass on the inside, this MTAC riflescope is definitely a contender for the best 1-4x illuminated scope. It has a proprietary plex reticle that makes for great shot placement. Although some might complain that the red dot sight is a little large, it didn’t seem to interfere with aiming. Plus, this scope has additional versatility that other illuminate scopes don’t have because it’s bright in low-light but doesn’t wash out even in direct sunlight.
They appear to have built this riflescope for close range encounters but thanks to its generous eye box and wide field of view it can also be used for tracking and even mid-range shooting. The glass used in this riflescope gives a crystal clear sight picture and it’s all backed up by a lifetime warranty.
6. Steiner P4Xi Compact 1-4x Riflescope
- SHORT RANGE PRECISION SCOPE WITH 4X ZOOM: For maximum range at low magnificaiton.
If you can make the significant investment required for this riflescope, you’re almost guaranteed to have it for life. It has a quick action that is invaluable if your target sneaks up on you or scares easily. The illuminated reticle has 11 different brightness settings for use in different light levels. There’s also a law enforcement addition with a throw lever that allows for lightning-fast zooming.
The illuminated reticle not only doesn’t wash out in the sun but also remains visible in daylight. You can disconnect all electric parts from the battery to prevent power drain when it’s not in use. The wide field of view allows for aiming with both eyes open so you can stay aware of your surroundings. This scope is waterproof and fogproof. Unlike competing brands like Viper or Bushnell, this one is made in the USA and backed with a lifetime warranty.
7. Trijicon Ascent 1-4x Riflescope
- RANGE-READY CONSTRUCTION: Tested to Military Standards, the ultra-lightweight, ruggedized design and anti-scratch glass stands up to the elements
Its sleek design and matte finish make the Ascent a sharp-looking riflescope and the aiming and adjustment features give it a highly-effective accuracy. The coated optics are anti-reflective and they didn’t fog up or let water through although the manufacturer doesn’t guarantee them to be either fogproof or waterproof.
The notches in the reticule are divided into 2.5 MOA increments and the reticule is in the first focal plane (FFP) so it does scale as you change the magnification power. The knobs are audible and finger adjustable. The reticle is a cross between a mil-dot and an MOA, which allows the user to compensate for the drop zone and have a terrifically accurate shot placement.
8. Athlon Talos 1-4x Scope
- Illuminated reticle provides greater visibility at dusk and dawn
A single-piece aircraft-grade aluminum body and an etched-on illuminated reticle make the Talos 1-4x scope a highly durable and accurate accessory for a variety of hunting weapons. The light transmission is amazing thanks to coated optics. Athlon makes this model with the reticle in either the first focal plane or the second focal plane depending on your preference.
Nitrogen purging during the manufacturing process makes this scope completely waterproof. The illuminated reticle isn’t visible in the daylight but it does help in low-light conditions. Although the shot placement is good on guns like the AR-15, this scope is probably not the best for different kinds of weapons that have more recoil.
9. Leupold VX Freedom 1.5-4x
- Finish- Matte Waterproof- Yes Tube Diameter- 30mm Power Variability- Variable Minimum Power- 1.5 Maximum Power- 4 Adjustment Type- Click Exposed Turrets- Yes Finger Adjustable Turrets- Yes Turrets...
Just like many other scopes from Leupold, this is a lightweight model with great light transmission and an unobtrusive body that doesn’t obstruct your view when you’re taking aim. There are few riflescopes with the image quality that this model has. An illuminated mil-dot allows you to shoot a fairly long distance even in low-light conditions and during the day you’ll have a true-color image at your disposal.
The eye relief and eye box are both fairly forgiving. Adjusting and returning to zero are both easy on this riflescope. If you’re looking for a lightweight scope that can help you get on target as fast as possible, this is the one for you.
10. Barska 1-4x IR Hunting Scope
- Precision Aiming: The 1-4x magnification scope features 1/2 MOA adjustments and adjustable rheostat for efficient shooting.
This Barska scope has it all: ample light transmission, an accurate mil-dot illuminated reticle, locking turrets, and more. It’s been nitrogen-purged and O-ring sealed so that it’s waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof. You don’t have to worry about accidentally moving the windage or elevation adjustments because the knobs lock in place and the illuminated reticle can be made either red for low-light conditions or green for daytime hunting.
Beginners might not need all the features in this robust scope but everyone will appreciate the included eyeshade and lens covers. You might think you prefer a duplex reticle to the mil-dot variety this model has, but put a few rounds through with this Barska and its dead-on accuracy will make you change your tune for sure.
The best 1-4x scope should have a durable body, optics with great light transmission, a reticle that has versatility, a forgiving eye box, and intuitive adjustments for windage and elevation. The Vortex Optics Crossfire II 1-4x has all that and more, plus it’s backed up by a lifetime warranty. That’s why we’ve chosen it as our winner for the best 1-4x scope for the money in 2020.
How to Spot a High-Quality Riflescope
Like most other outdoor equipment, a riflescope’s quality can be determined just by holding it in your hand. For durability and longevity, you want a scope that’s made out of a strong metal like aluminum that’s been anodized to better resist wear and corrosion. Adjustment knobs and mounting brackets should also be strong.
Since scopes are essentially just a series of lenses, the glass should be tough too. Manufacturers commonly build their riflescopes to be fogproof and shockproof. Besides being able to weather any conditions, the best scopes should also have brightness settings that will allow you to see your target even in low-light conditions and a fast-focus eyepiece so you can quickly lock on.
There are several lenses inside a riflescope. Light first enters through the objective lens on the opposite end from the shooter’s eye. It then travels to the erector lens which flips the image upside down. The erector lens is in the first focal plane.
The upside-down image from the erector lens is then scaled up by the magnifying lens. From there, it passes through an aperture in the second focal plane where it’s put right-side up again and then finally through the ocular lens and into the user’s eye.
Other Features of Riflescopes
Most riflescope descriptions are going to mention ratings in most or all of the following categories:
- Eye Relief: If you’ve used binoculars before, you probably already know about eye relief. It describes the distance at which your eye can see the entire field of view provided by the scope. The eye relief is defined by a range called the eye box - if your eye is too far away, you’ll only see part of the image, while if you’re too close, the edges of the image will be out of focus. Eye relief distance is measured in inches and it’s important because you might be injured if your eye is too close to the gun when it recoils after a shot.
- Scope Reticle (Crosshair): Basic reticles are simple crosses in the center of the scope’s lens. They might be placed in the first or second focal plane. Reticles in the first focal plane (FFP) are in front of the magnification lens, which means they will increase in size when you zoom, while reticles in the second focal plane (SFP) are in front of the magnification lens so that they maintain the same size. You can also find reticles with Bullet Drop Compensation, commonly called BDC reticles, dot reticles with a small point in the center, or illuminated reticles to make it easier to aim in bad lighting conditions.
- Light Transmission: As light travels through the various lenses of a riflescope, some is inevitably lost. The degree to which a given scope transmits light to your eye without losing brightness and clarity is called light transmission. Generally, you want to have a scope with a light transmission rating of at least 90% and anything above 95% is considered very good. Scopes with a larger objective lens have a higher light transmission. The more you zoom in on your scope, the less light gets through.
- Field of View: Everything you can see through the scope at proper eye relief is called the field of view. Wide-angle riflescopes with larger fields of view are built for people who want to be able to keep their eye on the crosshairs more of the time. In some cases, you can also aim with both eyes open on a wide-angle riflescope, which means you can keep an eye out for anything. If you’re on the move, this is an invaluable benefit, although a wider field of view is always helpful.
- Elevation Adjustment & Windage: It might take some practice to use effectively, but the knob on the top of most riflescopes is used for elevation adjustment. Moving parts inside the scope change the angle at which light hits the lenses and thus makes the reticle appear to move up or down, helping the shooter compensate for uneven terrain. The knob on the side helps adjust for windage, which is simply the effect of wind patterns on the course of a bullet. You can use Minute of Angle to adjust for windage.
- Focus Speed: Old scopes had locking focus rings so the user could determine a focus level with the ring of the viewfinder, lock it in place, and not have to worry about it again. These days, almost all riflescopes feature a fast-lock scope, which doesn’t lock and is therefore easier to use and adjust on the fly. The disadvantage to the fast-lock scope is that it can easily be knocked out of focus if you’re on the move or taking your weapon out of its case.
Bonus tip: Learn more about BDC reticles with this informative video!