Few scopes can compete with the versatility and value of the 3-9×40, which is why we took the time to hand-pick the best options and review them to guide your purchase decision.
In our search for the best 3-9×40 scope, is the Nikon Buckmasters II. The Buckmaster II is our top choice for overall performance. While the Bushnell Multi-X Trophy Riflescope is our top pick for a value option. We break down the whys for these selections in the full review below.
Most people will spend hours researching the rifle they purchase in hopes of picking the perfect caliber for their target-shooting or hunting needs. Far fewer people spend that kind of time looking at scope options, and can you blame them? Scopes just aren’t as exciting as the guns themselves are.
Though they don’t have the same wow factor, choosing a quality scope is just as important. That means selecting a quality brand and the right range of magnification levels.
What Is a 3-9x 40 Rifle Scope?
A 3-9x 40 riflescope is a scope that offers variable zoom power levels of between 3x and 9x. This means that it allows you to magnify your target by between three times and 9 times its original size. The 40 stands for 40mm and that’s the size of the objective lens or the lens on the far side of the scope.
Our Top Picks
- 1 What Distances are These Scopes Designed for?
- 2 1.Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9×40 – Best Overall
- 3 2.Bushnell Multi-X Trophy Riflescope – A Value Choice
- 4 3. Pinty 3-9×40 Red Green Rangefinder Rifle Scope – The Cheapest
- 5 What Does 3-9 x 40 Stand For?
- 6 What sort of hunting is this scope good for?
- 7 What type of gun should this scope be used on?
- 8 Is a 40mm Objective Lens Good?
- 9 What is Eye Relief For?
What Distances are These Scopes Designed for?
A Three to nine by 40 scope offers reliable performance between distances of 50 yards out to about 450 or 500 yards in the field. When target shooting using a bipod or another support it may be possible to shoot accurately for even longer distances.
Why Would You Use This Scope Type?
The 3-9x 40 scopes are versatile tools good for close-range shooting and long-range distances both. It’s also a good value when compared to more extreme scopes with larger power variations. It’s one of the best ways to spend your money when outfitting a rifle with a scope for target shooting or practical hunting.
1.Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9×40 – Best Overall
The Nikon Buckmasters II scope is the most costly on our list, and it impresses in a few key areas. This scope’s reticle is by far the most enjoyable to use at different distances thanks to the BDC design.
Easy To Use Adjustable Turrets
The scope offers reliable brightness in low-light conditions with light transmission as high as 98% and the glass stays nice and clear with minimal parallax at longer ranges.
The scope adjustment turrets are also finger-adjustable and spring-loaded so you can rotate it to zero in mere moments. This scope is the most enjoyable to adjust and zero in by far. Whether you’re looking for a target practice scope or searching for a reliable hunting tool, this is an all-around winner.
- Multiple layers of anti-reflective compounds
- Bright and vivid pictures
- BDC reticle design for accurate shooting at different ranges
- ¼” at 100 yards adjustments
- Waterproof, fog proof, shockproof
- 3.6″ eye relief
- 80 MOA maximum adjustment
- Up to 98% light transmission
This scope also offers superior accuracy when switching between power levels frequently because of its BDC multi-reticle design. Get comfortable switching between reticles for your zoom power and your aim will improve in variable hunting conditions.
2.Bushnell Multi-X Trophy Riflescope – A Value Choice
The Bushnell Multi-X Trophy Riflescope features a sturdy one-piece housing design for long-term durability. It comes with o-ring seals at either end for protection against fog and water. This scope looks nice when installed, and it adjusts quickly and easily.
Holds Zero Very Well
We were impressed by how well this scope holds a zero after it’s been configured. But what made this scope an obvious choice for one of our top three picks is its brightness and clarity in low-light situations. It offers 91% light transmission and is comfortable in dusk and dawn shooting conditions.
If you’re looking for a value rifle scope for hunting in particular, it’s tough to beat this option for most small to mid-sized rifles(source).
- 4″ eye relief
- 80 MOA windage and elevation adjustments
- ¼ MOA per click shot correction
- 91% light transmission
- Water and fogproof thanks to o-ring sealed housing
- One-piece aluminum main tube
- Corosion and scratch resistant anodized finish
- Nitrogen filled design
- Flip-up scope covers
The specs of the Bushnell scope and the Nikon scope are very similar with only minor differences on paper. The major differences come when used out in the field.
The Bushnell Multi-X Trophy scope is built for reliable performance and accurate aiming throughout its range, but it’s just not as rugged as the Nikon Buckmasters II scope.
I can confidently recommend this scope for smaller rifles such as a .22 or a .223. If you plan on equipping a higher-powered rifle with more shock, you’ll enjoy more reliable performance from the Nikon scope.
3. Pinty 3-9×40 Red Green Rangefinder Rifle Scope – The Cheapest
As the cheapest option that made our list by far, this riflescope is an impressive piece of machinery that you can put on any low-end gun. We like being able to swap the glowing reticle color from green to red but found it to be a bit blurry in some lighting conditions with the glow on.
Decent MOA Adjustments
This scope is sealed and offers decent MOA adjustments, but it lacks the eye relief for use on larger rifles. That’s just as well though because the scope isn’t durable when used on high caliber guns. Users complain about it losing accuracy after a few range sessions when mounted on mid-sized rifles.
This scope is dirt cheap, and highly accurate on .22 and air rifles, but can’t be trusted for heavier rifles. Its a value upgrade to a basic .22, especially when you consider the complementary 1″ scope rings the Pinty is shipped with.
- ¼” MOA at 100 yards
- 3.3″ to 2.7″ eye relief
- Green and red reticle options
- 5 reticle brightness options
- O-ring sealed barrel
- Rangefinder reticle
Frequently Asked Questions
What Does 3-9 x 40 Stand For?
These three numbers stand for the zoom power of the scope and the size of its objective lens. A 3-9 x 40 has a variable zoom from 3x to 9x and a 40mm objective lens.
What sort of hunting is this scope good for?
A 3-9 x 40 scope is a versatile scope good for short-range shooting when doing something like squirrel hunting, and for long-distance shots when firing on a deer across a field. It’s useful for small game and large game hunting.
What type of gun should this scope be used on?
This scope works well on small rifles such as a .22 and .22LR and larger options like a .30-06 or a .243.
Is a 40mm Objective Lens Good?
A 40mm objective lens is a standard size that offers good light levels on mid-range scopes such as a 3x to 9x scope. Scopes are available with objective lenses 50mm, 56mm and up to 75mm in size, but larger sizes are only important for very high magnification levels, such as 14x.
What is Eye Relief For?
Eye relief is the distance you need between your eye and the scope to see the full view.
When working with more powerful rifles, higher eye relief is important to protect your eye from getting battered when your gun recoils. When shopping for a 3-9 x 40 rifle a 3.5″ eye relief should be the minimum amount, and 4″ is a safer number.
While each of these rifle scopes impressed us in their own way, it’s important to get the right scope for your specific use case. If you have a small budget and want to equip a low power rifle, the Pinty is a decent option.
If you’re looking for a mid-range scope that’s durable and dependable, the Bushnell really impresses. And for top-end performance on larger guns, the Nikon model is the obvious choice. In this case, you really do get what you pay for.