Essential Guide to the Best Mil-Dot Scopes for the Money [2023]

bushnell ers mil-dot scope

If you want to make accurate shots with your rifle, then having a mil-dot scope will be an absolute necessity.

The ‘mil’ in the term ‘mil-dot’ is short for milliradian, which refers to 1/1000th of a circle’s total radius. Mil-dot scopes have a reticle that use dots evenly spaces long both axis’, with the amount of space in between each dot being equivalent to one mil. You use these dots to aim up or down in order to make a far away shot.

There are many different factors to consider when choosing a high quality mil-dot scope, and we’re going to talk about what those factors are in addition to the top five best mil-dot reticle scopes that money can buy you today.

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What You Need To Consider When Purchasing A Mil-Dot Scope

Buying the first mil-dot scope you see without even knowing what to look for will be a huge mistake.

The reason for this is because no two mil-dot scopes are created equally, and some are definitely better than other. Fortunately, knowing what to look for can help you narrow down your choices.

Here are the factors you must consider when purchasing a mil-dot scope:

Build Quality

The first is build quality. Your mil-dot scope should be expected to be put through and still function in a variety of bad conditions. The idea is that your scope should be durable, resilient to weather conditions, and deliver a long lasting performance.

Even if you’re only planning on using your scope for target shooting on the range and aren’t planning on using it for hunting or tactical use, quality and durability are not traits that you want to sacrifice.

The good news here is that almost all mil-dot scopes manufactured by reputable brands have excellent build quality, so as long as you stick to these brands you’ll be on the safe side.


This one should be a no-brainer. If your scope is not adjustable, what point is there to owning one if you want to make long distance shots?

And not only must your scope be adjustable, it needs to be easy to adjust as well. User friendliness is definitely a quality that you will want in any scope.

Additional Features

There are a number of additional features available on scopes these days that would definitely be preferable to have. Only you can decide if these specific features are necessary for you, but some examples of ones that would be nice to have include:

  • Quick focus abilities
  • Zero locking
  • High magnification
  • Multi-coated lens
  • Excellent light transmission


Last but not least, don’t spend money you don’t have! If you’re on a budget, there’s no need to fret. Even though some scopes can cost several thousand dollars, there are several perfectly high quality mil-dot scopes that can be had for less than $500.

The Top 5 Best Mil-Dot Scopes That Money Can Buy

Here are the top five best mil-dot scopes that money can buy you today, presented in alphabetical order:

1. Bushnell Tactical 10×4 Rifle Scope

The Bushnell Tactical 10×4 is an excellent rifle scope for the money. Available for around the $250 mark, this is a very durable mil-dot scope, though it is also fixed magnification. The idea is that this is a scope that any beginner can use with relative ease.

The Bushnell Tactical 10×4 uses a clear lens, with excellent light transmission. You should get about ten to twelve feet of view at one hundred yards. The lens also uses an anti-moisture and anti-fog coating, which is something that you would expect to only be installed on higher priced scopes.

2. Leupold 115389 Mark AR Mod 1 Riflescope

Leupold is definitely one of the most well known brands in the scope and optics industry, to the point that their quality is virtually unquestioned today.

The 115389 Mark AR Mod 1 riflescope is a great option for those who desire a mil-dot scope made by Leupold but don’t want to pay a premium price. Available at around the $300 mark, this is a mil-dot scope that can be used for both long range shooting and closer up targets.

Armed with a 40mm lens, the 115389 Mark AR scope has a magnification of 3-9x, an anodized aluminum housing construction (design to easily withstand the effects of heavy recoil from your rifle), and a waterproof design. The lens are also coated to limit reflections while the light transmission is excellent.

The entire construction for this scope consists of a single piece, which is a major advantage because it improves accuracy at long distance shooting.

3. Nikon ProStaff 4-12×40 Riflescope 

While Nikon is a company more well known for their cameras, in recent years they have established themselves as a solid player in the scopes and optics market as well. The Nikon ProStaff is an excellent example of quality on a budget, being available for around the $100 mark.

It features a fully adjustable zoom with a 4-12x magnification power. The lens has been coated to allow at least ninety eight percent of light to come through, allowing you to view targets at extended distances quite easily. Nikon has also built this scope to last a long time.

As a whole, this is a very basic but also very solid mil-dot reticle scope and is an excellent value for the cash you will spend for it.

4. UTG 3-12×44 30mm Compact Scope

A scope with a price very similar to the Nikon scope we just looked at is the UTG 3-12×44 30mm Compact Scope. In fact, this is one of the most affordable quality mil-dot scopes on the market, being routinely available for between $90 to $100.

Despite the low price, UTG packed a lot of features into this scope. Most notably, it has a 3-12x adjustable zoom with a 30mm lens that is emerald coated with flip open caps for quick deployment.

The reticle has nine dots along the axes, in contrast to many other mil-dot scopes that will utilizes just four dots. The idea behind this is that you will get slightly better accuracy. UTG claims that this scope will deliver highly accurate shots out to two hundred yards or slightly greater.

5. Vortex Optics Viper 6.5-20×50 PA Mil-Dot Reticle

The last mil-dot scope we will take a look at today is also the most expensive one: the Vortex Optics Viper Mil-Dot Reticle Scope.

Available at the $500 price point, it has a 6.5-20x optic with a mil-dot reticle. This is an excellent scope for taking long range shots and even allows you to make quick and easy windage adjustments.

The objective 50mm lens is quite large and allows you to mount low profile or medium profile scope rings. The premium glass is multi-coated with 95% light transmission. Vortex designed this scope to be fully weatherproof and as a result is an excellent choice for use out in the field. The sealed O-rings protect the scope against moisture and also stop fox.

All in all, the Vortex Viper is a high quality scope though one that also fetches a more premium price. Needless to say, you will get what you pay for.


All in all, Mil-Dot scopes are among the most versatile optics that you can possibly get. As this article has hopefully shown you, you can also acquire such scopes for a budget price of anywhere from $100 to $500 without sacrificing quality.

There are so many scopes available in the market today that it can be difficult to choose the right one, but choosing one at random is not the wise move to make. Know what to look for and buy the highest quality scope you can within your budget range, and you’ll be all set.

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Alex Joseph

Alex Joseph is an avid bow hunter and father of two boys. Originally from Tacoma, Washington. Alex now resides in California.

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