Getting a 3-9×40 scope is pretty hype these days. And it’s easy to understand why. They are versatile and can be used for many different shooting and hunting activities. You can take close shots with maximum accuracy and you can also use high-level magnification to take long-distance shots.
Scopes in general will give you a whole new sight of your hunting adventures (pun intended).
Let’s see what 3-9 x 40 scopes have to offer and how to choose the best ones.
What Exactly Does 3-9×40 Mean?
If you’re looking for your first scope, numbers and measures can be confusing. But, it’s not that complicated. 3-9x stands for the magnification range. The lowest magnification of 3x means that your target will appear as if it is 3 times closer.
For example, if your target is 180 yards away, it will appear to be 60 yards away. 9x is the highest magnification level for this scope and the same target will appear to be 20 yards away.
The “40” is the number that denotes the objective lens diameter in mm.
What is a 3-9×40 Scope Good For?
Typically, this type of scope is used on rimfire rifles, such as legendary .22LR, chambered for less powerful rounds. These rifles have less recoil but also a limited range. Therefore, these scopes are great for hunting small animals. Making an ethical big game shot requires close range and outstanding accuracy. It’s possible but not very common.
These scopes are also popular for target shooting, especially “plinking”. If you don’t know, plinking refers to informal shooting outside established target ranges. It is appealing because you can choose any target (bottles, cans, or anything you can think of), any distance, and any angle. This allows you more freedom and it resembles hunting conditions more than established shooting ranges.
As for the range, it is common to use these scopes for distances up to 200 yards. If you’re a sharpshooter, you can extend this range significantly, though. But, you’d probably want some more powerful scopes and a rangefinder for long range hunting.
What to Consider When Buying a 3 9 40 Scope
There are hundreds of options out there and the price range is pretty wide. Whatever your budget and shooting skills, there are a couple of things to consider.
- Construction. Whether you’re an avid hunter or you hunt occasionally, you would want your scope to withstand potentially hard conditions. So, you need a robust and durable scope.
- Weather and shock-proofing. Most of these scopes are fog and waterproof. Hunting can be unforgiving so a shockproof scope will last longer. And it’s not all about withstanding the elements. You also want your scope to work perfectly in harsh conditions.
- Features. A 3-9×40 scope doesn’t really need too many bells and whistles. But, you should always check these basic features before making a choice: zoom, resolution, parallax, and reticle. A standard parallax for these scopes is around 50 yards.
Our Top Picks for 3-9×40 Scopes
1. Leupold VX-R 3-9×40 Riflescope
This is an impressive scope that will live up to anyone’s expectations. It is lightweight but very sturdy and durable. The lens is excellent and it provides a very clear vision. It is also scratch-resistant. This scope is made in the USA.
Windage and elevation adjustments work great even in harsh conditions. Overall, it is a great scope that performs excellently for both close and long ranges.
- 100% shock, fog, and waterproof.
- Illuminated reticle
- Twilight management system
- Punisher tested
- A bit pricey
2. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-9×40 Scope
Vortex Crossfire II series offers great value for money. It is relatively affordable but performs as it was in a higher price grade. It is a lightweight, beginner-friendly model. However, it won’t disappoint seasoned hunters and shooters. It is purged with nitrogen so it’s very sturdy and weatherproof.
With a Dead-Hold BDC reticle, you can forget about holdover concerns. Also, it handles recoil quite well.
- Great value for money
- Dead-Hold BDC reticle
- Shock, fog, and waterproof
- Durable and sturdy
- Image is a little bit blurry at high-level magnifications
3. Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope
If you’re looking for a scope that works well in low light conditions, this is the one. I really love this scope. It excels in early morning and late evening conditions. It is not a unique feature, but it’s typically found in high-end scopes.
Besides low-light capability, it is a pretty simple and effective model. No bells and whistles, but it’s reliable and solid.
- Excellent clarity and sharpness
- Fast-focus eyepiece
- Fast and easy to sight-in
- It can withstand a heavy recoil
- 6 inches eye relief
- Occasional quality control issues
4. Burris 3-9×40 Riflescope
This is another high-quality yet affordable scope. It is lightweight and has a great optic. Bad weather won’t be a problem as it is fog, shock, and waterproof. However, when it gets dirty, it’s a little bit cumbersome to clean it.
A dual spring system is a nice solution to deal with recoil. So, it will hold up hundreds of rounds.
- Dual spring system
- Ballistic Plex reticle
- Easy to mount
- Lightweight and compact
- Lifetime warranty
- Turret adjustment is not very smooth
5. Simmons Truplex Riflescope 3-9×40
Considering the price, Simmons Truplex is an amazing scope. Fully coated optics provide clear vision. I was impressed with the Quick Target Acquisition system that allows easy and fast focusing without too many adjustments. It is also waterproof, fogproof, and recoilproof. So, it’s really a bang for the buck.
- Fully coated optics
- Easy to mount on any rifle
- True Zero Windage Elevation Adjustment System
- Fast-focus eyepiece
- Truplex reticle
- Adjustment knobs require a lot of force and you can barely feel or hear the click when adjusting.
3-9×40 scopes are very versatile. They can satisfy both beginners and experienced hunters and shooters. Choosing the best one can be challenging as there are so many models out there. And the price range is huge.
However, with typical weapons and ranges up to 200 yards, you probably don’t need too many bells and whistles. That’s why we tried to choose models that deliver excellent basic quality at an affordable price. While your choice largely depends on your preferences, hopefully, we have made it easier for you to make the right choice.
So, keep your firearms safe and enjoy your hunting adventures. If you prefer hunting with muzzleloaders, check out this overview of the best muzzleloader scopes!