A Complete Guide to the Best 3-9×40 Scopes

Game hunting in the wild has always been a popular sport for both beginners and professionals, and the 3-9x40 scope has become a popular piece of gear that many big game hunters cannot go without. 

The large range of magnification is great for game hunting so the hunter can remain safely hidden in the bushes and not scare their target off. No matter how far away the prey is, you can adjust the magnification accordingly to ensure your view is always optimized and accurate.

The majority of these scopes on the market are made to offer the hunter everything that they need when hunting tricky prey. The construction is durable and is built to withstand anything from .243 to .340 calibres, making sure they’re usable and effective no matter what firearm you opt for.

That being said, there are so many 3-9x40 scopes on the market that it can be difficult and sometimes overwhelming to try and find the best one, which is why we’ve created this guide to aid you while you’re looking. 

We’ve included both a buyers guide of what to look out for and the top four 3-9x40 scopes that we’ve chosen as the best. Among these, we’re sure you’ll find your new favorite scope for game hunting. 

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​The Best 3-9x40 Scopes - Comparison Table

​The Best 3-9x40 Scopes - Reviews

More often than not on a long hunting trip you’re going to run into some rough conditions, which makes it very important that your scope is both super durable as well as being lightweight. Many scopes on the market are, although weatherproof and reasonably durable, not designed for this type of hunt and therefore break after a few tough spells. 

However, that’s where the Vortex Optics Crossfire II comes in. It’s basically unbreakable and is certainly the most durable scope on this list, so if you’re looking for a model to use on long trips or in extreme conditions, this is a great option for you.

Standout Features

We may have already mentioned it’s durability is second to none, but it’s so impressive that we had to mention it twice. This scope is excellent for long and treacherous hunting trips thanks to its aircraft grade aluminium alloy construction. This is the perfect material as it’s as durable as it gets without compromising the weight. This also makes it incredibly shockproof to be used with guns with any caliber easily and effortlessly. 

The DEAD-HOLD BDC reticle adopts a customized dot design which minimizes windage and holdover corrections to ensure you get a precise shot every time, no matter the elevation. The zoom lens is also made of premium quality components, giving you a clear image almost instantly. 

Another notable feature is the Precision-Glide Erector System. This, along with the high quality build ensure that the magnification is as smooth as possible even in the worst conditions. 

However, the parallax of this scope is its downfall and there have been a few errors made by Vortex, which are most noticeable when shooting offhand. Small distortions can also be found when the magnification is set to 6x or higher.

Pros

  • ​Great for long and treacherous hunting trips.
  • Aircraft grade aluminium alloy exterior. 

  • DEAD-HOLD BDC reticle keeps both windage and holdover corrections at bay. 

  • The Precision-Glide Erector system ensures that adjusting the magnification is as smooth as possible.

Cons

  • ​Image distortions are possible with magnifications over 6x.
  • There are noticeable parallax errors, magnified when shooting offhand.

The most budget friendly scope in our top four list, the Simmons Truplex Riflescope is a perfect option for beginners and professionals alike. Despite the more affordable price tag, Simmons doesn’t compromise the quality or build. 

Thanks to the durable construction and accurate precision of the scope, this model has quickly become very popular in the hunting world. Aside from the sleek and sturdy exterior, there are also a number of intriguing features to enrich your hunting expedition. 

Standout Features

One of the most notable features of the Simmons Truplex Riflescope is the TrueZero elevation and the adjustable windage system. You can customize these features with the ¼ MOA Suregrip audible-click system, making it as easy as possible to adapt to your needs. 

No need to worry about these coming loose and changing themselves either, as they are both lockable so the scope can hold zero in any tough condition. 

The eyepiece is easily adjustable whenever, even in the middle of the hunt. This enables you to lock onto your target with incredible speed and will improve both your accuracy and your enjoyment as you won’t have to struggle with trying to focus your scope for longer than needed.

The build is very lightweight and very easy to mount to your rifle while being able to withstand extreme conditions, however the light transmission falters slightly as the glass isn’t as high quality as it could be. This compromises the use of this scope for longer hunts and hunting in poor light conditions.

Pros

  • ​Can hold zero well, even in extreme conditions.
  • Truplex reticle is great for finding your target no matter the range.

  • Adjust the elevation and windage easily with the TrueZero adjustment system.

  • ​​Exterior is lightweight, weatherproof and very durable.

Cons

  • ​Not the best light transmission.

Bushnell is a household name for hunters thanks to their over 50 years of experience creating and developing high quality sports optics. They are regarded as the manufacturers who focus most on high quality and reliable scopes which don’t break the bank, unlike many other brands out there on the market. Moreover, Bushnell scopes are considered most user friendly models on the market. 

The Trophy Riflescope enables you to add some fun into your hunting trip, which many other models fail to do, making it an excellent choice for both amateurs and professionals. 

Standout Features

Like we mentioned prior, the ease of use is definitely a standout feature for this 3-9x40 scope. You can adjust both the elevation and windage easily by using the ¼ MOA customization feature. 

However, the adjustments don’t just stop there. You can also adjust the magnification and focus so simply that you can tweak them on the go, so you don’t have to stop and take your eye off your target to adjust the image. 

The lens is multi coated which allows great light transmission to keep the image bright, even in low light conditions, while maintaining minimal reflective glare. This works with the focus and magnification adjustments to ensure you can get a great image throughout your hunting trip, even if it’s your first. 

The scope measures in at 12 inches and is designed as one piece, allowing it to fit into its supporting saddle perfectly. It also only weighs 14 ounces so it’s greatly portable and you’ll hardly feel a difference to your firearm. This allows the hunter to use it on long hunting expeditions without being weighed down by a bulky scope. 

Bushnell also provides the hunter with a scope cover to prevent damages occurring from tough conditions and it also helps the scope to hold zero well. Having said this, the cover does not protect it from environmental factors so if you’re going to be hunting in an overly hot or cold destination, this may not be the best model for you. 

Another gripe we have with this scope is that the eye relief is not as large as it should be, and doesn’t live up to what is advertised so if you wear glasses, you may want to look at other models to prevent nasty accidents occurring thanks to poor eye relief.

Pros

  • ​¼ MOA adjustments make it easy to customize the windage and elevation while moving so you won’t lose your prey while adjusting.
  • Very user friendly and great for beginners.

  • Lightweight design that comes with a saddle. 

  • Multi coated lens lets in a great amount of light while preventing reflective glare.

Cons

  • ​None

Nikon scopes have made a name for themselves amongst hunters, and Nikon’s range of 3-9x40 scopes are considered some of the best. They are both popular and sought after, indicating how great they actually are for big game hunting. 

Each scope in this range of rifle scopes are incredibly durable and designed to withstand the roughest of hunting conditions, and the Buckmasters II model is also waterproof, fogproof and shockproof. 

Standout Features

The two most noticeable features of this scope are the durable and sturdy design and the anti-reflective system which Nikon has developed itself. This technology offers up to 92% anti-reflective capabilities which in turn lets a great amount of light into the scope, allowing very bright images which many 3-9x40 scopes fail to achieve. 

This unique feature allows this scope to be arguably the best option for individuals who like to hunt in low light conditions such as dusk or dawn. 

Another welcomed feature is the great and generous eye relief, keeping you free from eye strains and migraines as well as blackeyes from heavy recoils. This is very beneficial if your firearm of choice is lightweight with a heavy recoil. 

Nikon also offers a lifetime warranty so you don’t have to worry about coddling your scope to ensure it doesn’t break. This also offers peace of mind when considering purchasing it as it indicates that Nikon has faith in their product and it’s unlikely to be easily breakable. 

Having said all this, one not so great feature is that the mounting space may feel quite limited for some bolt action firearms, meaning it might not work the best with all types of gun.

Pros

  • ​Comes with a lifetime warranty.
  • Nikon’s own anti-reflective technology makes this scope perfect for hunting in low light.

  • ​The exterior is both durable and lightweight. 

  • Aiming is quick and very easy thanks to the trajectory-compensating system within the BDC reticle.

Cons

  • ​The mounting space is a little small for some firearms. 

​The Best 3-9x40 Scopes - Buyers Guide

Different 3-9x40 scopes can all be considered ‘the best’, depending on the users needs and wants. Without knowing a few key factors to look out for when perusing the many scopes on the market, you may have a harder than necessary time to find the best one. 

Below we will look at the three most important factors to consider when choosing your new scope.

Focusing Mechanism 

A scope’s comfort and ease of use often comes down to its focusing mechanism, so it’s vital that you choose a model that uses a focusing mechanism to fit your shooting style and individual preferences. This will prevent you purchasing a scope that makes your hunting trip less enjoyable and more of a hassle. 

There are two main focusing mechanisms - the knob style and the collar style. The knob style has a small knob positioned above the eyepiece to adjust the focus, whereas the collar style adopts a focus adjusting collar. 

Neither style is considered better than the other, so it all comes down to your individual preference and what you’re going to be hunting. 3-9x40 scopes are more often used to hunt large animals such as bears, boars and deer, so you may find that one mechanism works better on different prey than the other. 

Construction

The construction of the scope is both important and often overlooked by hunters, as they’re so concerned about the more intricate features that they can forget about the necessity of a sturdy and durable exterior. 

There is no use in choosing a scope which boasts all these impressive features all for it to fall apart at the first sign of harsh conditions. The construction has to be suitable enough to not only withstand your guns recoils, a few accidental drops, and your environment you’ll be hunting in. 

Most scopes on the market will have been purged to ensure they’re weatherproof, however not all of them will be able to take extreme conditions like excessive moisture and heat. Bear this in mind if you’re going to be hunting in extreme environments. Having said this, if you’re likely to be hunting in typical environments, there’s no need to invest in a scope with the toughest construction. 

Moreover, depending on your firearm and its recoil, you’re going to want to find a scope with suitable shock proofing and protection to ensure it doesn’t break prematurely. 

Features

Features of the scope are another important factor to look at. While many 3-9x40 scopes boast other impressive features that could sway your decision, there are four main ones - resolution, reticle, zoom and parallax - that generally indicate how good the scope is. 

For both resolution and zoom, there are two options to choose from in digital and optical. Digital zoom improves the image quality but lessens the resolution, whereas an optical zoom strives to zoom reasonably without compromising the resolution as much. 

The typical parallax for a 3-9x40 scope is about 50 yards, so try to choose a scope that matches this as much as possible. 

Along with a high quality reticle, attempt to choose a scope that adopts both an optical and digital zoom to get the most out of your model. 

Summary

The correct 3-9x40 scope for you will differ from the best one for another hunter because it depends heavily on your hunting style and individual preferences. You’ll need to decide what your main concern is and what you need from your scope before looking for the best to ensure you choose one that is going to aid your hunting trips the best. 

As you can see from our top four list above, there are some 3-9x40 scopes that boast excellent durability while there are some others that were made with precision and accuracy as their main focal point. There are many different models that offer different features, so choose the one which will best suit your expeditions and steer clear of ones that include features that you don’t need. 

We hope you found this guide helpful and maybe even found your new favorite 3-9x40 scope! Enjoy it.

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