The best muzzleloader scope won’t make you a better shooter, but it comes with a bunch of benefits. It changes your shooting experience in so many ways. It allows for a longer range, more comfort while locking your target, and it improves accuracy. Overall, you will feel as if you’re a better shooter. However, choosing a muzzleloader scope can be challenging. Especially if you’re new to hunting with a muzzleloader. 

Muzzleloaders are specific and require a couple of extra maintenance accessories. While you don’t need gunsmithing skills, you still need to clean your rifle after each and every shot. If you want it to last, that is.

So, you have to choose a rifle, learn how to maintain it, and then you have to choose a scope. With so many different scopes with all kinds of features, it can be confusing and overwhelming. But, it’s not rocket science. Or, at least, it’s not when it comes to muzzleloaders.

I will share with you some basic guidelines to help your search. Also, I have compiled a list of best muzzleloader scopes to start your new adventure.

What to Look For in the Best Muzzleloader Scope

Don’t be fooled by scopes advertising. Marketers like to focus on new and unique features to draw your attention, but it’s the basic features that count most. So, let’s scope through important features (pun intended).

Magnification

It is the core feature of the scope. However, muzzleloaders aren’t designed for very long ranges, so you don’t need extreme magnification. Depending on your shooting preferences, anything up to 9x is considered okay for muzzleloaders. More than that, it is an overkill.

There’s also a potential question of choosing fixed or variable scopes. Fixed scopes allow you to shoot from a specific range only, while variable scopes can be adjusted for different ranges.

The truth is that fixed scopes are pretty much falling into oblivion, but some people still prefer them. If you typically shoot from the same range, fixed scopes are much cheaper, but they are also brighter and clearer since they use only one lens.

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Eye Relief

Usually, the recoil of a muzzleloader is pretty strong. This shouldn’t be an issue for seasoned muzzleloader shooters, but it’s still a good idea to look for longer eye relief. Generous eye relief is the best way to avoid a “Weatherby eyebrow”. Anything less than 3 inches is quite risky, while 4 to 5 inches is the recommended length.

Reticle

Choosing a reticle is very important for some rifles. It is not a big deal for muzzleloaders, though. You should look for quick and accurate reticles. It is also a good idea to keep it simple. Typical muzzleloader ranges don’t require complicated and advanced features.

Strength and Durability

Muzzleloaders aren’t the easiest guns to handle. A delicate or flimsy scope won’t last long on your black powder rifle. So, you need a rugged and sturdy scope to cope with your muzzleloader.

Top Picks When Choosing the Best Muzzleloader Scope

1. Vortex Optics Crossfire II Muzzle Loader Scope

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This is an exceptional entry-level muzzleloader scope. Vortex is among the youngest scope manufacturers but there’s a good reason why their scopes are so popular. Simply, they are excellent and highly functional. It is worth noticing that they have one of the best customer services and lifetime warranty.

As for Crossfire II, it offers all you need from your first scope. Multi-coated lenses provide excellent clarity. Also, it is fog proof and waterproof. It comes with the Dead-Hold BDC reticle and long eye relief. There are seven different configurations, but for muzzleloader owners, basic 2-7 x 32 mm is more than enough. 

Most Important Features

  • Affordable
  • High quality optic
  • The Dead-Hold BDC reticle
  • Generous eye relief

2. Vortex Optics Diamondback

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Speaking of Vortex scopes, this model is hard to beat. It offers all qualities of the Crossfire II and then some. While it is a little bit more expensive, it is a great value for money. It comes with a modest magnification, but for muzzleloaders, it’s more than enough. Optics are outstanding and it’s a very sturdy and durable scope.

Most Important Features

  • Outstanding quality
  • Bright and clear view
  • Fast focus eyepiece
  • Precision-glide erector system

3. Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9X40mm – The Best Muzzleloader Scope

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If you are looking for top-notch quality, a Leupold will never disappoint you. Their scopes aren’t the most affordable ones, but when it comes to quality they are nothing short of impressive. The Freedom series introduces a couple of advanced features such as improved low-light visibility

This scope is also incredibly durable. Actually all Leupold scopes shine in this department as they have to pass “Punisher” – Leupold’s tough impact testing system.

Most Important Features

  • State-of-the-art optic
  • Low-light visibility
  • Scratch-resistant lenses
  • Durability
  • Water, shock, and fog-proof

4. Bushnell Trophy Muzzle Loader Scope

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Bushnell Trophy is one of the best muzzleloader scopes. Yes, there are more advanced models you can find, but they are much more expensive. You can find some more affordable models, too, but they won’t match Bushnell’s quality. So, it’s an excellent scope that falls somewhere in the middle. It offers reliability and high-quality at a reasonable price.

Most Important Features

  • Excellent light transmission in any weather
  • Fast focus eyepiece
  • 4” eye relief
  • DOA 250 reticle
  • Rugged and durable

5. KONUS 9x 40mm Zoom KONUSpro 275 Muzzle Loading Scope

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You don’t need a sledgehammer to crack a nut. While high-end scopes offer outstanding quality and versatile features, they aren’t a necessity for muzzleloaders.

So, if you’re looking for a budget option, Konus Pro 275 is a pretty decent pick. It offers all the basic features to improve your shooting experience. The scope is water, shock, and fog-proof. It has lateral hash marks to compensate for wind. The eye relief is somewhat short at 3”, though.

Most Important Features

  • Affordable
  • Finger adjustable turrets
  • Lateral hash marks
  • Decent multi-coated lens

Honorary Mentions

These are my top picks but there are several other models that could’ve easily made it to the list.

First of all, Nikon used to manufacture some great scopes, but they have discontinued their rifle scopes production. Nikon Prostaff P3 3-9x40mm Muzzleloader Riflescope and Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9×40 BDC are excellent muzzleloader scopes and you can still find them. 

Traditions Firearms Company produces all you’ll ever need when it comes to muzzleloaders.  Their Traditions 3-9x40mm Black Powder Scope is another excellent budget pick.

You also won’t make a mistake if you go for Burris scopes. Burris 200261 Ballistic Plex 2-7x32mm is a great choice for your muzzleloader.

Conclusion

Modern inline black powder rifles are very accurate. However, their features still limit the range.

Therefore you don’t need to go for an overkill. Many advanced features will be wasted on a muzzleloader. However, a bad scope is a bad scope, whatever the rifle and whatever the range.

So, stick to the basics and look for sturdy and reliable scope. You’ll be enjoying that deep booming sound and the sight of smoke with improved accuracy for greater satisfaction.