There’s no denying it — crossbows are so in right now. And why not? They’re absurdly accurate and can strike downrange every bit as well as compound bows. Pair your crossbow with one of our best crossbow scopes for 2023 and get the stewpot ready.
Taking down game animals — from elk and deer to turkeys and rabbits — is exhilarating with a crossbow. However, a successful harvest doesn’t happen by chance. We’re sure that’s what brought you here; you’re trying to get the skinny on the best scopes to attach to your bow.
Remember: there are different scopes for different folks. What works for one shooter may not work for you. Whether you hunt whitetails in Minnesota or turkeys in Idaho, get something that matches your hunting needs.
Our recommendations are drawn from the elite brands in the glass game, including Burris, Garmin, Ravin, TenPoint, and more. And our buyers’ guide fits all budgets, from high-tech ATN thermal scopes to affordable utility options from Vortex, Hawke, and TRUGLO.
Let’s dive right into the sporting optics world and find the best crossbow scope for you in 2023.
You’re a bonafide crossbow hunter. You want every advantage when harvesting your next animal ethically, and a top-notch crossbow scope may seal the deal on your next hunt.
First, you’ve got to ask yourself these vital questions:
- Where will I be using this scope?
- What size animals will I be targeting?
- At what distance will I make my shots?
- What are my must-have features?
- What’s my budget?
To help you answer these questions, consider the following:
High-Tech Crossbow Scope With Rangefinder
Garmin Xero X1i
Objective Lens: 32 mm
With this Garmin, the future is now. The Xero X1i is the one scope on this list that I’ve been lusting for. I want a scope that’ll give me the absolute best chance at an ethical harvest, and the Xero gets me there with all these high-tech goodies:
- Fixed 3.5x magnification, which is sufficient for almost every hunting application.
- 500-yard range-finding capabilities that can compensate for angles on the fly.
- GPS Laser Locate feature that allows you to drop a precise pin exactly where you shot.
- Crisp edge-to-edge clarity and insanely bright and illuminated aim points. (low light has met its match)
I’m gushing over this scope because of how effortlessly it lets you input custom bolt profiles. It’ll even offer feedback on your shot, such as how much roll-at-shot (leveling) and impulse duration you have. Very much an expert tool, the Xero X1i is for pro shooters who want to take their game to the next level.
- Pros: High-tech wizardry, bright illuminated reticle and aim point, advanced feedback, rangefinding
- Cons: Get your wallet out, pal
- Best for: Serious shooters and hunters that leave nothing to chance and demand the most out of their gear
Best for Long-Range
Burris Oracle X
Objective Lens: 32 mm
The Burris Oracle platform has more than a decade of R&D behind it, and has paved the way for all kinds of range-finding scopes — crossbows, rifles, and muzzleloaders included. The Oracle X scope is a Burris showcase because it has such industry-leading technology as:
- 2x – 7x zoom range with a reticle that automatically adjusts accordingly
- 500-yard laser range-finding, with a button-activated range tool that can be placed anywhere on your crossbow
- Integrated inclinometer that adjusts your range depending on the cant of your shot
- Impressive battery life rated at 3000+ activations.
Compare the Burris Oracle X to the Garmin Xero and you’ll see a lot of similarities. One significant difference is that the Burris scope is longer and bulkier. It’s unmatched as a long-range crossbow scope, but jamming in all that tech makes it a relatively long (11.9″) scope that tips the scales at a hefty 30.8 oz.
- Pros: Burris Forever Warranty, range-finding capabilities, variable zoom
- Cons: Long, bulky, heavy, a bit spendy
- Best for: Professional shooters or those looking to maximize the range of their crossbow scope
Creme De La Creme Option
Trijicon XB Compact ACOG
Objective Lens: 24 mm
Okay, Mr. Seal Team 6, here’s the most tactical, lightweight, and trustworthy scope on this list. The Trijicon XB compact ACOG scope is in a league of its own for electronic-free crossbow scopes. If you’re serious about hunting and need absolute accuracy in the field, you’ll get that and a lot more on this platform. The Trijicon XB features:
- Illuminated fiber optic reticles with built-in stadia lines that give you bolt drop out to 80 yards
- Deer and Elk ranging lines that allow you to be confident with your distance, even without the use of an electronic rangefinder
- MIL-STD drop test rated 6061-T6 aluminum that can take a beating
- Tritium phosphor lamp that glows brightly during low-light conditions, allowing you to make that tough shot as the sky dims to black
I’m a huge fan of lightweight gear and am always looking to shed ounces from my setup. Besides being the best of the best, I’m attracted to this scope mainly because of its ultralight and compact design. At only 8.2 ounces and 4.9″, this Picatinny rail-mounted scope is barely noticeable on your crossbow.
- Pros: Tactical, lightweight, rugged, bright reticle with deer and elk holdover points
- Cons: Expensive, Fixed magnification
- Best for: Hunters, or anyone wanting the lightest and most tactical setup
Best Nightvision/Thermal Scope
Objective Lens: Digital 30 mm
Looking for new ways to smoke ‘yotes and hogs at night? Well, your search is over with the ATN Thor-4. Its hybrid, next-gen thermal capabilities are game changers. You can check animal heat signatures day or night thanks to these features:
- Thermal detection range of 500+ yards
- Identification range of 205 yards
- 60 Hz refresh rate
- A dynamic reticle that maintains its aim point while zooming
- Customizable bolt profiles and ballistics
The THOR-4 also has a built-in GPS transmitter to send the precise impact location to a mobile phone or other GPS device. But my favorite feature might just be that I can film my hunts and instantly transfer the video to any bluetooth device. While pricey, this scope is an awe-inspiring piece of hardware.
- Pros: Thermal image, custom weapon profiles, ability to record your hunt and shot
- Cons: Expensive, with more features than most hunters need
- Best for: Hog and coyote hunters, expert shooters looking for the latest tech
Best Crossbow Scope for the Money
TenPoint EVO-X Marksman Elite
Magnification: 2- 8x
Objective Lens: 30 mm
Calculating bolt profiles are a cinch with the TenPoint EVO-X’s variable speed adjustments. A dial adjusts the reticle to compensate for arrow drop for speeds of 300-500 feet per second (FPS). You simply dial in the speed and then place the appropriate reticle holdover point on your target. That’s about it. Other features we love include:
- Holdover aiming points that allow you to shoot at 10-yard intervals from 20-100 yards
- A second focal plane that keeps your holdover points accurate while switching magnifications
- Multi-coated optics that allow maximum light transmission with minimal glare and reflection
- Micro-adjustable windage and elevation turrets
We’re impressed with the brightness of this scope, as its large objective lens lets in quite a bit of light, giving you crisp edge-to-edge FOV in dim conditions. The TenPoint is one of the most straightforward scopes to install, and simple to zero. That means less time fussing around and more time shooting.
- Pros: Variable speed adjustments, broad magnification, bright sight picture
- Cons: Some users say the reticle markings are a bit faint
- Best for: Those with different FPS bolts and those that prefer to toggle between magnifications frequently
Ravin Adjustable Turret
Objective Lens: 24 mm
Unless you’re new to crossbow hunting, then you’ve likely heard a lot about the Ravin brand. They’re an industry leader in crossbows and accessories, so it’s no surprise they made this list. This powerful 1x – 8x glass offers a lot:
- A wide 24 mm objective lens that works well in low-light conditions
- An adjustable turret that lets you toggle between distances
- An alluminum housing that is durable and shock-proof
Ravin only makes two scopes and the adjustable turret model is the better of the two scopes in my opinion. It’s a bit of an added expense, but the upgrades allow you to get more reliable groups and more accurate shots at longer distances.
- Pros: Shock- and recoil-resistance, bright illuminated reticle, and
- Cons: Elevation adjustments can be difficult on the fly
- Best for: Hunting, and shooting precise shot groups at a distance
Best Vortex Glass for Your X-bow
Vortex Crossfire II
Objective Lens: 32 mm
Low light is no problem with this scope. The Crossfire II has a large objective lens that lets in copious amounts of light, allowing you to get every last minute out of your hunt during dusk and dawn. This no-frills scope is designed for crossbows with a 40-yard zero, and includes holdover points for 20-100 yards. You’ll also get:
- Red or green illuminated reticles that shine brightly in all conditions
- Multi-coated lenses that increase light transmission without creating glare
- A second focal plane reticle, which means your holdover points won’t change during magnification
At just under 10″ and 14 ounces, the Crossfire II is a perfect addition to just about any crossbow on the market today. It’s rugged, lightweight, easy to install, and a plug-and-play option right out of the box. Add in the Vortex Lifetime Warranty and you’ve got one heck of a deal.
- Pros: Warranty, easy to use, great for low light
- Cons: Not much adjustment within the scope for windage and elevation (you’ll mostly be guessing)
- Best for: Beginner shooters, and those who want quality but aren’t yet ready to spend big
Entry Level Under $100
Objective Lens: 32 mm
If you’re looking for an entry-level solution, TRUGLO makes a decent scope that you can often scoop up for $75. Not bad for a scope with a reticle that has reliable holdover points out to 60+ yards. I’ve seen this scope in action, and it’s surprisingly accurate for the price. A few noteworthy features include:
- Multi-coated lenses that provide remarkable contrast to your FOV
- A Bolt drop-calculating reticle that illuminates in red or green
- 4x magnification
TRUGLO is traditionally more of a budget brand when it comes to archery products, but this affordable scope is adequate for most hunting applications. Yeah, it’s not going to be as feature rich as the TENPOINT EVO, but then again, it’s less than ¼ of the price.
- Pros: Inexpensive and practical, good contrast in the lens
- Cons: Marginal build quality, not the best FOV and clarity
Best for: Entry-level shooters that want to get a feel for things before investing a lot of money in glass
Best on a Budget
Hawke Sport Optics XB1
Objective Lens: 32 mm
At the intersection of affordability and quality is the Hawke Sport Optics XB1. When you pop this puppy on your crossbow, you’ll be impressed with how compact and durable it is. We think it’s the best scope for your money because it comes with several features typically only found on scopes 2x or 3x the price, such as:
- 11-layer multi-coated optics that provide stunning clarity and light transmission
- FPS adjustment knob to dial this scope into multiple bolt profiles
- Reliable windage and elevation adjustments via 1/2 MOA turret adjustments
- A rheostat-illuminated reticle that has 10-yard hold-overs up to 100 yards
While this scope is hands-down the most practical option for anyone on a budget, our favorite attribute of the XB1 is how lightweight it is. When you lug a crossbow long distances, ounces become pounds, and pounds become pain.
At around 8.5″ and only 13 oz, you’ll barely notice the XB1 on your rig.
- Pros: Durable, shock-resistant, lightweight and compact, bright multi-setting illuminated reticle for low light
- Cons: I’m not sure there are any
- Best for: Anyone needing a reliable and affordable option for their crossbow
You need to protect your new investment from the harsh conditions that hunting will throw at it. I like this scope cover from Burris because it fits most crossbow scopes 8-11″ and has a waterproof and shock-proof rubber shell.
Vortex Lens Pen
I’ve tried microfiber cloth and all sorts of disposable lens wipes to keep my glass clean. But once I tried this lens cleaning pen from Vortex, I never returned to my old ways. This lens cleaner never leaves my pack.
Generic Picatinny Level
If you are attaching to a Picatinny-style rail system and want the added luxury of an anti-cant level you can quickly reference during your shot, grab one of these bubble levels. It attaches anywhere under your scope and provides a little insurance to help with a steady shot.
We considered dozens of other decent scopes for this list, but didn’t want to overwhelm you. Here are the criteria we used to whittle down our selections:
Durability and Shock Resistance
Don’t put cheaply-made glass on your crossbow. Optics get banged around and need to withstand the many rigors of hunting and shooting. We thinned our selections to show you only the toughest scopes within a category. Regardless of your budget, you can’t afford to have your scope fail you in the field.
Some scopes we considered were solid and reliable but didn’t illuminate their reticle. If you’ve hunted for any amount of time, you know your best opportunity to harvest an animal comes in the dim light of morning or the dusk of evening.
Illuminated reticles are game changers for low-light hunters. They help you take a more ethical and confident shot than etched glass alone.
Note: some states don’t allow illuminated reticles, so be sure to check your local regulations.
When I think of the perfect reticle, I’m looking for something that stays true through various magnifications. That’s why having a second focal plane is so important. It allows your crosshairs to remain in the same place at 1x or 7x.
I’m looking for a reticle with accurate holdover points in 10-yard increments for fixed magnification scopes. I’m only comfortable taking shots on the big game out to about 60 yards, so any scope on this list will allow me to do just that.
Trajectory and Speed Adjustments
It can be a nightmare to dial-in and zero your scope with different bolts. The weather, or your choice of bolts, tips and broadheads can drastically alter arrow speed. Adjusting the reticle according to your FPS speeds can save you a ton of hassle.
That’s why we’ve included several scopes on this list that allow you to adjust the FPS. Instead of having to re-zero your weapon, you spin a dial. Easy-peasy.
Crossbow scopes are typically shorter in length than rifle scopes, and for a good reason. You don’t want a bulky and cumbersome doo-dad getting in the way of your shot process. For this reason, most of the scopes recommended here are shorter than 10 inches.
The length is measured from the front of the objective lens to the back of the eyepiece. Grab something that will work with your specific setup and double-check its compatibility with your bow before purchase.
So, you drank the kool-aid and got yourself a crossbow. Good on you! Now throw one of 2023’s best crossbow scopes on that fine piece of machinery and you, too, will be so in right now. Go ahead, pat yourself on the back.
Maybe you love all things high-end and techy? Well, we’ve shown you such contenders as:
- A range-finding Burris or Garmin
- An ATN Thermal
Or perhaps you want solid quality at a good price? If so, we’ve shown you:
- A reliable Vortex
- An over-performing Hawke Sport Optics
And remember: a Kentucky gobbler hunter may not need the same scope as a Wyoming antelope stalker. Do your homework and find the ideal scope for you. No matter your hunting style, you can confidently choose one of these best crossbow scopes of 2023 and have it mounted in time for your next hunt.
Thanks for stopping by, and please share your comments below. And consider signing up for our email updates, which will also automatically enter you in our gear giveaways. Until next time, good hunting to ya!
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Last Updated on January 17, 2024
Josh Riley lives in Colorado with his wife, Mary, and their three wild and crazy children. He’s an avid hunter, fisherman, backpacker, elk meat connoisseur, and international traveler.