The Best 3-9x40 Scopes - Top Scopes for 2020


When it comes to serious game hunting, most of us turn to 3-9x40 rifle scopes. Whether shooting as an amateur or a professional, we all know their benefits. They’re considered among the best game hunting scopes in the world and for good reason.


For starters, their magnification power is ideal for taking down prey at long distances. With flexible zoom functions, they make it easy to hit the target whether you’re aiming at an enormous moose or a spry boar. The variety of 3-9x40 scopes on the market are tough,
resilient and often compatible with even the strongest recoil .340 cartridges.

best 3-9x40 scope and target

The only downside to using 3-9x40 scopes for hunting is it can be tricky to know where to start. There are many different types available. You can, of course, learn through trial and error like a lot of hunters. Or you could read this guide to the best 3-9x40 scopes and guarantee you get the right one first time.

hunter with best 3-9x40 scope and rifle

Advice On Shopping for 3-9x40 Rifle Scopes


The only downside to using 3-9x40 scopes for hunting is it can be tricky to know where to start. There are many different types available. You can, of course, learn through trial and error like a lot of hunters. Or you could read this guide to the best 3-9x40 scopes and guarantee you get the right one first time.

1. ​Design and Construction

For the perfect shot, you need a build style that’s compatible with the type of game, environments and distances you’re accustomed to shooting.


The better fit your rifle scope provides for these preferred conditions, the easier it will be to use.


These days, most 3-9x40 scopes come with fog and rain resistance features as standard. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to check for these features before you buy.


Regardless of whether you prefer to shoot in the rain or avoid it at all costs, moisture resistance is a worthwhile addition.


The exception is if you always shoot in a dry climate and really can’t afford to pay extra for these features. They’re worth having to hand, but only if you can afford them.


Otherwise, you’re not going to miss out much in warmer, mild areas. For rainy, humid climates though, they’re crucial.


Shock absorption is also worth considering especially if you’re shooting with a high recoil weapon such as the .308 Winchester or .340 Weatherby Magnum Bolt.


Tough, powerful hunting rifles like these are going to produce a serious kick. You need a scope that can effortlessly tolerate the blow.

2. ​Focusing System

Focusing is similarly important for a precise, customized big game shot. Don’t assume everybody else’s needs are the same as yours.


Pick a focusing system to match your individual style of shooting. It will result in improved accuracy and more rewarding shooting experiences.


There are two main types of focusing system: the knob and the collar. Collar focus applies a collar shaped marker. Knob style systems use a rounded shape that looks a little like a doorknob.

Aim Accuracy

The knob style mechanism is positioned more centrally above the scope’s eyepiece. Both can provide exceptional results. The right one for you will depend on your personal preference. 


Generally, knob mechanisms are best suited to long-range shots at big targets like moose, buffalo and elk. It’s not a rule though. Plenty of people use collar focusing for this type of hunting too.

3. ​Valuable Features

The four most important aspects to tick off your scope shopping list are resolution, zoom, parallax and reticle capabilities.


Consider all of these before committing to a particular brand or product. As regards parallax, I’d say anywhere around fifty yards for a 3-9x40 scope if preferable.


It’s the default for a lot of these hunting scopes, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding one to match.

gun and scope Safety

As for zoom, the two options are digital and optical. Digital zoom enhances the image but comes with a trade-off for resolution. Optical zoom, on the other hand, amplifies the image with only a negligible impact on resolution.


You can pick between the options but, with so many scopes now offering both, I’d say just have the best of both worlds. 

7 Best scopes for Varmint Quick List


Scope Image

Scope

Price

Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9x40 BDC

Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9x40mm BDC Rifle Scope​

Bushnell Multi-X Trophy Riflescope 3-9X40 Matte

Bushnell Trophy Rifle Scope 3-9x40mm

Vortex Optics Crossfire II Adjustable Objective Second Focal Plane Riflescopes

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-9x40 Second Focal Plane

Simmons Truplex Riflescope 3-9X40 Matte

Simmons Truplex Rifle Scope 3-9x40

Now let’s ​​​​get down to business with the

TOP 4 Scopes List


1. Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9x40mm BDC Rifle Scope

Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9x40 BDC

Nikon’s magnificent 3-9x40mm scopes are regularly referenced in discussions about the best scopes for game hunting. They’re really the gold standard for professional shooting. The Buckmasters line is particularly popular and has long-range veterans from around the world gushing about its excellence.


Nikon Buckmasters rifle scopes are designed to withstand extreme conditions. Expect the most robust fog and moisture resistance. The Buckmasters II 3-9x40mm BDC Scope is completely weatherproof with high-level fog, rain and shock tolerances.


Aside from looking rather stylish, it comes with (92%) anti-reflective capabilities.


According to Nikon, this is what allows the scope to perform flawlessly in almost any environment or condition. I was pretty sceptical at first but, after plinking targets at medium range in the dark, I found it to be very reliable.


The view was extremely clear because the scope enables lots of light to flood in.

 

For game hunters who get up before dawn, performance like this is invaluable. It means accuracy doesn’t dip even in low light scenarios. I love the generous eye relief included with this Buckmasters scope.


I don’t wear spectacles but, for somebody who does, I can only imagine it creates a comfier fit than you’d find on rival products. Certainly, eye relief is important when you’re shooting heavy recoil cartridges.


If you’re not convinced yet, Nikon also offers a lifetime warranty on its Buckmasters II 3-9x40mm BDC Rifle Scope. There is a few policy conditions you might want to read up on before you buy. The only complaint I have about this attachment is the scope’s limited mounting space.


For most weapons, it’s not a problem. Though I tried it with a bolt action sniper and it felt a little awkward.  

Specs:

  • Magnification – 3-9x
  • Eye Relief – 3.6 inches
  • Field of View -11.3- 33.8 ft/100 yds 
  • Weight – 13.1 oz.

PROS

  • Tough, long-lasting build and intuitive design
  • 92% anti-reflective capabilities for low light
  • BDC reticle adjusts trajectory for rapid aiming
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty (some conditions attached)

CONS

  • Lack of mounting space for SOME weapons

2. Bushnell Trophy Rifle Scope 3-9x40mm

Bushnell Multi-X Trophy Riflescope 3-9X40 Matte

Bushnell is another highly respected manufacturer of rifle scopes and other hunting equipment. The brand has long been on a mission to provide the best possible quality at affordable prices. So, you can expect its hunting scopes to focus on performance and, perhaps, offer fewer luxury features than some rivals.


Bushnell describes its Trophy Rifle Scope 3-9x40mm as very easy to use, impressively accurate and suitable for both professionals and amateurs. I get the feeling they want enthusiasts to have fun with this product.


Adjusting for windage and elevation is a really speedy process that can be tailored to the user’s style via the 1/4 MOA.  


Everything about this rifle scope is designed to be easy and simple. This is why it’s a magnificent choice for rookie game hunters. Whether you’re stationary or on the move, it’s never difficult to adjust the scope’s magnification or focus settings.


Even while aiming down the sights, making these changes feels natural and intuitive.


The Bushnell Trophy Rifle Scope 3-9x40mm has a fully coated lens to increase light transmission and reduce surface reflections. Whether the light conditions are optimal or undeniably terrible, it’s always easy to find your target.


I’m fond of the twelve inch tube component as it’s able to carry a saddle. Yet, it weighs a mere fourteen ounces.


It shows Bushnell has considered hunters who travel long distances on foot to reach the perfect scouting spots. This can also be seen in the inclusion of a protective cover for safeguarding against knocks and scrapes.


With the cover, you get the added benefit of a quicker return or hold to true zero as well.


 The gripe I had with this scope was lack of eye relief. It’s disappointing to discover the advertised eye relief isn’t quite accurate. There was a little bit less than promised. 


While it doesn’t take anything away from the scope’s other great features, I personally wouldn’t recommend the product to spectacle wearers.

Specs:

  • Magnification – 3-9x
  • Eye Relief – 4 inches
  • Field of View -38-13 ft/100 yds 
  • Weight – 14.3 oz.

PROS

  • One of the best game hunting scopes for beginners
  • ¼ MOA enables fast windage and elevation adjustments
  • Lens is multi-coated to allow for maximum light
  • Designed to be affordable and non-intimidating

CONS

  • Notable lack of eye relief (unsuitable for specs wearers)

3. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-9x40 Second Focal Plane

Vortex Optics Crossfire II Adjustable Objective Riflescopes

Now, we come to a rifle scope specifically designed for use in very extreme weather conditions. So, for starters, it’s very lightweight. It’s also remarkably durable. These two characteristics are crucial for an all-weather scope. So far, so good.


 I should point out this degree of durability also comes in useful for extended hunting trips in moderately poor conditions. The accessory can withstand a lot of very persistent (if not extreme) rain.  


With the Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-9x40 Second Focal Plane, there’s no chance poor conditions are going to knock out your zero. You’ll save time and a lot of frustration. I risk sounding like a broken record, but it’s awfully resilient.


This scope is probably one of the toughest I’ve ever tested.


It’s primarily down to its one component build design. It also helps that the Vortex Optics Crossfire II is made from aircraft-grade aluminum alloy.


The outcome is an extremely lightweight hunting scope with a mostly unshakeable structure. I experimented with .340 caliber magnum cartridges to really push its limits. The scope barely flinched. You can probably push it as far as your heaviest recoil cartridges allow.  


Another feature that really impressed me is the scope’s dead hold BDC reticle with its customized dot design. It comes in especially handy when switching between distances and trying to account for holdover.


What it does is enable the scope to reduce holdover and windage adjustments to the bare minimum required so you can get that flawless shot off regardless of elevation.


The clever Precision Glide Erector mechanism deserves a mention too. It ensures the rifle scope moves in and out very smoothly during magnification. There’s nothing worse than a jerky, staccato zoom as it can really put a hunter off their shot.


Again, it shows the manufacturer has put a lot of thought into designing a practical all round scope for game hunters who are out there battling real-world conditions. 

 To touch on a small weakness, I didn’t enjoy the scope’s parallax responses at all. 


The problem seems most severe when shooting offhanded. Sometimes, you’ll notice superficial image flaws when zooming beyond 6x magnification.  

Specs:

  • Magnification – 3-9x
  • Eye Relief – 3.8 inches
  • Field of View -12.6 - 34.1 ft/100 yds 
  • Weight – 15 oz.

PROS

  • BDC reticle reduces impact of windage and holdover adjustments
  • One of the toughest rifle scopes on the market
  • Precision Glide Erector mechanism for a smooth zoom
  • Withstands extreme weather and very long, intense sessions

CONS

  • Very obvious parallax distortions

4. Simmons Truplex Rifle Scope 3-9x40

Simmons Truplex Riflescope 3-9X40 Matte

I picked the Simmons Truplex Rifle Scope for this list because it provides a satisfying combination of affordability and simple, straightforward performance. It’s not the least expensive accessory featured but it does offer great value for money.


To its credit, the manufacturer has managed to pack a great deal of quality into a moderately priced scope which is really impressive on its own.


Add to this a superb level of precision and you’ve got a great scope for an amateur or even an experienced hunter looking for something casual. It’s not to say the Truplex can’t outperform its rivals.


Lots of competitive shooters do use this scope at professional levels though it’s fairly simple for a pro accessory.  


The scope is designed to deliver flawless targeting and shooting even in adverse environmental conditions. The TrueZero adjustment mechanism for windage and elevation calculations is a big part of the reason it can do this.


When utilizing the ‘1/4 MOA click functionality, the TrueZero system makes sure adjustments are quick and easy.


One of my favorite features was the scope’s nifty adjustment lock. You can actually lock in your elevation and windage measures so you don’t get knocked out of true zero even in howling wind and rain.


It also works for heavy recoil scenarios. True zero is maintained throughout the turbulence of shots with high recoil cartridges. 


What’s more, the Simmons Truplex Rifle Scope includes a high performing QTA eyepiece to facilitate rapid-fire changes to focus.


There were a couple of moments when I needed to relocate my target unexpectedly and the eyepiece helped me do it in what felt like a split second.


With this scope, the downside was relatively poor light transmission. Yes, it’s satisfyingly lightweight and compact. Yes, it’s very easy to mount.


Unfortunately, it doesn’t perform as well it should in low light. When out hunting at night, I struggled as soon as the moon disappeared behind clouds. 

Specs:

  • Magnification – 6-24x
  • Eye Relief – 3 inches
  • Field of View -13-3.7 ft/100 yds 
  • Weight – 19.6 oz.

PROS

  • Very accurate TrueZero adjustments for windage/elevation
  • Retains true zero even in strong wind and rain
  • TruPlex reticle makes switching ranges fast and simple
  • Exceptionally tough (tolerant of almost all conditions)

CONS

  • Distinctly average light transmission

The Final Word On Choosing a 3-9x40 Rifle Scope

The best place to start when picking a 3-9x40 rifle scope for game hunting is with personal preferences.


Consider crucial factors such as weather resistance and ease of mounting, for sure, but don’t forget to pick according to your shooting style.


Everybody’s needs are a little different. Perhaps you can live without the commanding hand over precision but not without total weather resistance. It’s important to make room for the features you, as an individual hunter, need and appreciate.