Best Scope on a Budget?

Hey all,

I’m not sure which scope to get for target shooting.

I just ordered a new Tikka Super Varmint. I’ll be using it mainly for target shooting.

I’m at a loss with what scope to get. I was hoping to keep the Scope under $1300 abouts and even under $1000 if possible.

I’ve found the Vortex Diamondback for $700 on sale and the Athlon Argos for around $850. There’s so many seemingly decent options. What would you guys say is the best scope under $1300? I just want to make sure I get the best bang for my buck and don’t buy something crappy either.


Is there a specific magnification you’re after or as much as possible?

If it’s as much/as far as possible, on a budget, Vortex and now ZeroTech are really your only two options.

@Supaduke time to spruce up our new love for ZeroTech - begin.

You won’t really go wrong with Vortex (got a few), but I recently picked up ZeroTech and it’s very clear. Mine is 3-9 though, so probably under what you’re after. However, it is VERY clear, feels solid with good build quality. On the chunky heavy side, but for a budget scope I was really impressed. Have not had a chance to test it on a gun yet though. But something to consider, comes with life time warranty so there’s that too (not sure about specific terms though).

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Thanks man,

I’m actually fairly sure they stock ZeroTech at the local store, along with Athlon and MeOpta.

I had heard of ZeroTech, but completely overlooked them because they’re not a widely used Scope. However I will now look into them and sus some reviews etc. Is there a particular model you recommend?

As far as magnification goes, I was thinking something in the 6-24 ballpark though I’m honestly not sure how much magnification I need. The longest range available to me is 900m and local is 500m.

I have a base model of ZT for a rimfire rifle, so not really comparable…

Yeah, if it’s just for the range, more is better probably. I have x16 for 500m it’s could be better. It’s okay… But could be better, so more is better :slight_smile: x24 would be heaps nicer. Not less than 16 though. Although for practical type shooting, slapping steel and what not, anything will do…

For precision shooting for groups at far far away lands, maybe @Gregfiddich or @Gwion or @sungazer could chime in with preferred magnifications.

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I run a 4-12 ZT on a Rimfire, very good scope, nice eye box, as mentioned it’s a bit weighty. Doing some research before purchase and people are generally very happy with their Zerotechs.
I run a 6-18 Meopta Meopro on my long range rig. Excellent scope. Meopta are a bit of a dark horse in scopes, the quiet achiever. Mid range price point with glass equal to many in higher tiers.
Vortex , I can’t comment , don’t own any, but so popular and well liked that my opinion is moot.
I also run some Nikon scopes, very good.
Nikko Stirling, I have a few, they are cheap and honest and do the job, I have a soft spot for Nikko Stirling.
Bushnell AR optics, I have a couple scopes, cheap and cheerful. Get a bit dark at higher mag bit a good entry level scope.
I don’t shoot long enough ranges or low light conditions to justify really expensive scopes.
For decent quality entry level I would agree with Vortex and Zerotech, I would also add Nikon.
If on a budget , look at Nikko Stirling or Bushnell AR.
If you have dollars to spend, good luck, lot of options out there.

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Definitely agree with @Supaduke regarding the Meopta. I run a few myself and reckon they’re better than their price point.

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I’d also be having a look on Used Guns for good second hand scopes as you’ll get much more for your money. If you stick to good brands that have a proper lifetime transferrable warranty (like Leupold & Nightforce for example) even in a worst case scenario & something goes wrong with it you’ll still be covered.

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Magnification matters in target shooting regardless of range. Shooting long range on steel is different and can actually be done with quite low power.

I’ve shot 1km with a 10 power sightron on a win mag when shooting steel no drama. It’s either a hit or miss with larger corrections. Lower mags generally have larger amount of elevation adjustment due to the shorter erector tube.

I would say for starters the low scope budget Chinese made Tactical scope like the zerotech advance, Bushnell forge or athlon btr. It will get you going and the mechanics seem repeatable. I would favour ZT just because the money ends up in Australian hands.

If you’re lucky you might find a used leupold mk4 for around 1200 bucks.


I looked into the MeOpta’s and they all appear to be SFP, are there any in FFP? Sounds like a good scope but as I want to shoot primarily between 100 and 500 I’ll likely change the magnification fairly frequently.

I tried to google for second hand scopes and couldn’t find much. I also sussed the for sale section on here and didn’t come across anything recent at all.

Do you know or any dedicated Aussie sites that sell used scopes?

One guy did offer me a PST Gen 2 for $1250, but it’s only 3-15x44.

What’s the FOV like at 1km on a 10 power? How much of the target can you see?

I don’t know heaps about this stuff and how magnification equats to FOV etc.

But if 15 power is enough, maybe the PST Gen 2 will be enough.

Buy one of these,

27 mag

Just be prepared for the heavy reticle lines for target shooting with a FFP.

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Fov is naturally wider on lower mag.

If your target shooting though 15 power will be lacking.

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I’m a fixed power fan…these are magic, if you can get one!

Alright I guess it comes down to this:

ZeroTech Trace Adv 4.5-27×50 - $1299

MeOpta Optika6 4.5-27×50 - $1125, available at local

Athlon Midas Tac 6-24×50 - $1250 (it says 1299 but I saw it in store for $1250) - also available local

I’m assuming this is miles ahead of the Argos, which is $800 - not sure if it’s worth linking.

Vortex Viper PST Gen 1 6-24×50 - $1100

Vortex Strike Eagle 5-25×55 - $1129

Alrighty, to the ZeroTech does seem quite good. However if I go the Athlon or MeOpta, I can see it properly before I buy it.
With the Vortex, if I were to go with one, which would be better out of the first gen Viper and newer Strike Eagle? With Vortex, I’m a little put off by all the failures I’ve heard about but then I read great things as well. Also as mentioned, they do have the life time warrenty in the worst case scenario.

Alrighty it looks like it comes down to these 5. I guess I can’t go wrong with any of them. Talk about paralysis by analysis😂
At the end of the day I just want to shoot some paper and build some skills, maybe take some shots at the 500m gong. However when time allows for it and I’ve built foundation, I’d like to try some longer ranges down the track without having to replace whichever scope I go with.

Also, with all the phone apps available these days, does it really matter if I go Mils or MOA? All of these scopes are available in both.

Mils or moa doesn’t really matter.

Moa is a finer adjustment for target shooting.
Mil just makes sense in a metric world.

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Scopes are extremely subjective. There is no BEST scope. Ive looked through and used $8000 scopes , yes very nice, is it 8x better than a $1000 scope, certainly not.
I can comfortably hit steel at 500m with a cheapie Howa running a 4-14 Nikko Stirling Panamax.
All the scopes you have listed are more than adequate. Pick the reticle you like, pick the price point you can afford and just dive in.
Scopes won’t make or break your shooting ability.
Flash scopes are more like Leather seats in a car, not necessary, just nice to have.


Alrighty sweet, I think all the Scope hype I’ve seen on YouTube is making me think this is more of a be all end all than it actually is.

Maybe I could even go cheaper with the Argos

Target shooting, you need to be able to see the target = fine reticle, adequate magnification and clear glass. Also need to be reliably make corrections so decent mechanisms are also essential.


Also why are Zero stops such a big deal? I’d understand if you wanted to return to a 100m Zero whilst keepibg your eye through the scope, but I can’t imagine any situations where this would be necessary for weekend plinking.

Would the scopes I mentioned/listed be overkill?

Because I found a strike eagle SFP for $550 second hand - but I’m not keen on SFP being virtually locked into one magnification. I can get a brand new FFP diamondback for $730 or an Athlon Argos for $800. I also found a second hand MeOpta Meopro for around $500 but I think it was 15 power.

Anyhow if I go for an $800, I can put more money into a better bipod and protective case etc. and maybe put an order down on a .22 which I want as a secondary.