Best .300 Win Mag Scopes [2019]

Best .300 Win Mag Scopes

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The .300 Winchester Magnum (or .300 win mag if you like the informal, short hand designation) is a high powered thirty caliber cartridge based off the .375 H&H Magnum. Winchester took the parent case, shortened, blown out and then necked down to take a thirty caliber bullet. Since it’s introduction in 1963, the .300 win mag has proven to be extremely popular with hunters, target shooters, military and police. It has been used in sniper rifles, and fine sporting rifles alike, and it’s hard hitting performance leaves many looking for the best .300 win mag scope.
Built to fit in standard length rifle actions, this belted magnum round can push a bullet over 3000 feet per second, and generate over 4000 foot pounds of energy depending on the bullets used. A popular thousand yard competition round, there is no question that this is a high performance cartridge for high performing users. Because of the long range potential, it is important to have high quality optics on your rifle. Because the punishing recoil can destroy inferior optics with just a couple shots, there is simply no reason to look at the inexpensive entry level scopes that come over by the container load from China. They may work well on a lower powered gun, but they won’t cut it here. For that reason, we are only looking at better quality and even absolute top end optics. Nothing else will suffice as a long range scope for the .300 win mag. Take a look, and see if you’ve found the scope to top your rifle with.

Vortex Crossfire 2

#1 Vortex Crossfire 2

This 4-12 power scope is a great scope for 300 win mag rifles. It has ample magnification for most hunting and target shooting distances, and the larger than normal 44mm objective lens gives you an edge on light transmission and clear sight picture. Built to be waterproof and shockproof, you can be certain the Crossfire 2 can take the .300 win mag, because they are backed by Vortex’s famous replacement policy. Modestly priced, this is a great entry level optic for somebody starting to play with the .300 win mag, or for somebody who simply needs a basic, functional scope.

Vortex Crossfire 2

This would be my choice on a budget rifle build, or for hunting in good conditions. After all, if you aren’t going to be lugging your rifle up to the wilds of Alaska, do you really need to drop the coin on the kind of scope that can take that beating? I’m a big fan of buy what you need, and for many hunters and shooters, this scope is exactly what is needed. One other great thing about the Vortex 2, is that it has a special bullet drop compensation (BDC) reticle that allows you to calculate range and distance with known loads. It’s really a lot of scope for not much money.

  • Affordably priced
  • Suitable for most common hunting and shooting applications
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Not ideal for extreme hunting conditions
  • Not designed for night shooting
  • 4-12x magnification makes it difficult to use at longer than normal ranges

NightForce SHV

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#2 NightForce SHV

Looking for the best NightForce scope for the .300 win mag? Well, you’ve found it right here. NightForce is famous for making high end, military grade rifle scopes, so what better choice to pair with a high end, military grade magnum round like the .300 win mag? With 5-20 power magnification, you know you’ll be able to hit what you are aiming out- regardless of the distance. The enormous 50mm objective lens doesn’t just give you a super clear sight picture, it defines what a clear sight picture means. Built NightForce tough, you could literally take this scope to war, so you know it’s tough enough for whatever you might have in mind.

NF SHV 5-20x scope in action
Photo: NightForce

Now, it is an old adage that you get what you pay for. And while it is true there are exceptions to that rule, they are notable for the fact that they are exceptions. Serious shooters need serious optics, and serious optics cost serious money. This is a case where your optic is an investment in future satisfaction and performance with your professional work or shooting hobby, and should be treated as such. NightForce builds some of the highest quality scopes for the .300 win mag on the planet, and you shouldn’t hesitate to invest in one.

  • It’s a NightForce. You can use it to hunt decommissioned Soviet satellites. In the dark.
  • Proven long range, high performance sniper/match target scope.
  • Built for the most extreme conditions you might put your rifle through.
  • This is an expensive optic for expensive gear. Budget friendly is not a concept that applies to this scope.
  • May be too high powered for some applications. Too much scope is as irritating as too little scope.
  • Extra large objective lens requires special rings.

Leupold VX-1

#3 Leupold VX-1

Picking the best Leupold scope for the .300 win mag is hard. Because like any high performance rifle round, first you have to figure out what you are doing with your rifle, and what it is capable of. There is a radical difference between a custom bench rest rifle, or a dedicated tactical or sniper rifle, and say, an entry level hunting rifle, or even an average hunting rifle. In each case, what you need for optics will vary radically. However, the Leupold VX-1 shines for nearly any sporting you might have for the .300 win mag.

Leupold VX-1 Rimfire Scope
Photo: The Truth About Guns

The 3-9 power magnification with 40mm objective lens is a standard configuration long valued by hunters and sport shooters for being a sort of perfect combination for North American big game hunting. And since the VX-1 is a Leupold product, you know it can handle the power of the .300 win mag with it’s durable shockproof construction. While this is no tactical scope, and if you are engaged in long distance match shooting, you’ll probably want something else, but for those who use the .300 win mag as a hunting rifle, you’d be hard pressed to find a better combination of value, design and reliability.

  • Classic, American made scope
  • Affordable. This is a real “every man’s scope”
  • Perfect configuration for most North American hunting
  • May not be suitable for the most extreme hunting conditions
  • Not suitable for shooting beyond 500 yards or so
  • Not suitable for tactical rifles

Nikon ProStaff

#4 Nikon ProStaff

Another budget entry for the best .300 win mag scope- this little gem is perfect for most any hunting in North America. This 4-12 magnification variable scope gives you some decent reach out and touch, while the 40mm objective is pretty standard and offers an excellent sight picture.

Nikon Prostaff 5 Reticle
Photo: 1800GunsandAmmo

Built to stand up to the recoil of the .300 Winchester Magnum, the Nikon Prostaff is an all around every man’s optic that won’t break the bank. However it won’t stand out much either. But that isn’t a bad thing. Sometimes an expensive scope is a must have, sometimes it’s just a frippery that gets you bragging rights. This isn’t a scope for somebody who’s personal identity is wrapped up in the gear they own. Rather, it’s a scope for people who want something that works, understands the pros and cons of their choice, and can live with them.

Nikon Prostaff 5 in action

This is your meat and potatoes scope, and it will work very well in that role. There are many entry level and mid grade .300 win mag rifles out there, and this is a perfect scope for those roles. It will work for the most common sort of shooting, and really isn’t that enough for most folks anyway?

  • Another highly affordable “blue collar” scope
  • Sufficient magnification for longer than usual shots
  • Famous Nikon quality
  • Another .300 Win Mag optic best suited for common hunting, rather than tactical or match shooting
  • Not built for law enforcement or military duty
  • No frills, no gimmicks design lacks advanced design features

Selecting the Best .300 Win Mag Scope

Sometimes best is subjective, but in the case of rifle scopes, a lot of objective criteria can be applied, especially when dealing with a long range round like the .300 win mag. Selecting the ideal scope therefore is a process of elimination that starts with the kind of shooting you are doing, followed by the type of rifle you are using, and then your budget. While we’d all probably like to have a super high end sniper or match target rifle, those are highly specialized (and fun!) creations that are beyond many budgets. However, because the .300 win mag is so popular, there are rifles for any price tag, ranging from black budgets to “Well, it’s on sale at the local big box store”. And in each case, the scope needs are radically different.

The Perfect Rifle

Imagine for a moment that money isn’t an issue? What kind of rifle would you build? This dream .300 win mag would truly be something amazing to behold. You’d start with the finest action you could find, and pair it with a barrel lovingly handcrafted by skilled craftsmen, and pair it with a custom fitted stock that felt as if it was shaped by angels to fit you as perfectly as possible. And then you’d reach out for the kind of epic grade scope that is the stuff dreams are made of. Your match target rifle would probably sport some sort of NightForce optic, and you’d see how the best .300 win mag scope is one that you didn’t even have to think about price on. You just buy. the most amazing one.

How much should YOU spend?

After considering the heady reality of a fine sniper or match rifle, we start moving about in the world of regular people, and what we desire out of a .300 win mag scope is much different than our elite brethren. Moving down into the real world, there are a number of fine bolt action and even semi automatic rifles. If you’ve chosen to go a bit classy and run with a Browning Automatic Rifle, then you know how critical scope selection is. An overly large scope is ungainly and wasted on the platform, and there is no reason to go too small. There is a sweet spot for such rifles, and that tends to be something like a 3-9×40 scope. After all, there is a reason that combination of magnification and objective lens size is something of a standard in optics.

Of course, if you want some more reach out, but want to stick with that 40mm objective, it is possible to get scopes with greater magnification, and that may be an ideal choice for your .300 win mag rifle. Still, most hunting isn’t done at extreme ranges (there are exceptions of course, but we are looking at common uses) and the .300 win mag is as useful as a “one shot kill” on larger or dangerous game, as it is for a long range cartridge. You’ll need to consider what kind of hunting you are doing, and the realistic ranges you’ll be engaging in.

Most folks are shooting off the shelf rifles of various levels of quality and performance, and that too should be a consideration for your optic. An entry level rifle will be well served by a Leupold (and that scope can be carried over to a nicer rifle if you upgrade later on), but because of the punishing demands of the .300 win mag, I would not try to cheap out with sub $100 scopes unless you like broken optics and missed shots.

Is it Going to be the Best Choice For Me?

While it’s nice to simply point and go “This is the flat out best scope”, there can really be no one ideal scope for your rifle. Rather, there can be a best scope for your particular rifle, shooting habits, and final end use combination. And even that is highly subjective, as some people have an emotional attachment to certain brands, or deeply held beliefs as to what constitutes the best rifle scope for them. We’ve looked at four absolutely amazing optics, ranging from the wildly expensive, to the cost of modest even out. All of these scopes were specifically chosen for their proven compatibility with the .300 win mag.

You’ll find that there are two distinct worlds of the .300 win mag- those who shoot really far, and make really tiny holes in paper, and everyone else. You’ll need a Vortex or NightForce for that kind of hardcore shooting, nothing else will suffice. But if you are out elk hunting, or walking the wilds of Alaska, you’ll find a Leupold to be a fine companion, just as they have been for generations. The .300 win mag is an amazing rifle, with amazing potential, and for the shooters who have mastered it, it is a nearly irreplaceable rifle.

Final Words

Take a long careful look at these scopes, and consider your rifle and your end use. Then look at the ammo you are shooting, and honestly judge your own experience and how much you’ll use your rifle. Then, and only then can you make an honest and informed choice as to your optic. Buying a .300 win mag scope isn’t cheap, so it behooves you to go into the process with both eyes wide opened, and as well informed as possible. Depending on what you use your rifle for, your life, or others may even depend on this choice. Think carefully, choose wisely, and enjoy your shooting!

Updated: 1/31/2019

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