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3-9x50 Rifle Scope Roundup

A very popular big game scope, the 3-9x50 riflescope has become common place on many centerfire rifles. It has the popular 3-9x variable magnification range which is versatile enough to hunt game in a wide variety of terrain. So why do some hunters prefer the 3-9x50 over the 3-9x40.



Advantages: Although it has a large objective lens the 3-9x50mm really doesn’t offer much if any gain in field of view compared to it 3-9x40 counterpart. The main benefit of this larger objective is its ability to gather more light.  As many hunters will attest to the first few minutes of light and the last few minutes before shooting light ends is a crucial time for the hunter. The 3-9x50’s larger lens scoop up more light during this these critical times and is the major reason why some outdoorsman choose these models.


Disadvantages: However, like most things in the optics world, there is a tradeoff for this increased light gathering capability, namely size and weight. The 3-9x50 scopes obviously larger, but also heavier that 40mm versions. Furthermore, there is usually a price increase when stepping up to from the 3-9x40mm versions to the 3-9x50mm.


Are They Worth It? So does the increase in low light performance justify the extra size, weight and expense that comes with these models? For many the answer is yes, a lot of hunters harvest the majority of their game at the start or end of the hunting day and are willing to tolerate the larger size, and expense for a brighter sight picture.


3-9x50 Scopes $400 - $650

Model Zeiss
VX 3


Zeiss Conquest

Leupold VX-3 Nikon Monarch Leupold VX-2
Est. Price $625 $549 $469 $399
Mag/Obj 3-9 x 50mm 3.5-10 x 50mm 2.5-10 x 50mm 3-9 x 50mm
F.O.V 37.5' - 12.9' 29.8' - 11' 40.3' - 10.1' 34.1' - 14.1'
Eye Relief 3.5" 4.5" - 3.6" 4" - 3.9" 4.2" - 3.6"
Weight 16.2oz 14.7oz 17.1oz 13.3oz
Length 12.4" 12.3" 13.7" 12.3"


Zeiss Conquest – Like the 3-9x40 version of this scope, the Zeiss 3-9x50 is built on a one inch main tube and features the MC lens coating for optimal brightness and clarity. The Zeiss Conquest 3-9x50 is available with a standard style duplex reticle or the Rapid-Z long range series of reticles. The price of this model with a standard duplex style reticle is averaging about $600 dollars online which is a considerable increase in price for the base model version of this scope in 3-9x40 which can be had for right at $400.


Leupold VX-3 – This high end hunting series scope from Leupold is available in three configurations. First, a standard 3.5-10x50 that is available in gloss black, matte black or silver and can be had with a duplex, heavy duplex, or B&C Big Game reticle. Next, in the available Leupold VX-3 3.5-10x50 series scope is a CDS (Custom Dial System) version is built on a 1” main tube and comes in a matte black finish with a duplex reticle. With this model a custom elevation dial that matches your rifle’s ballistics is provided. The final 3.5-10x50 configuration offered in the VX-3 series is a 3.5-10x50 Illuminated Reticle models. This scope is built on a 30mm tube and comes with a matte black finish. Available illuminated reticles are: Duplex, B&C Big Game, or German #4.


Nikon Monarch – This high end series hunting scope from Nikon is built on a standard 1” tube and comes with a matte black finish. The Nikon Monarch 2.5-10x50 is available with either a duplex style reticle or with Nikon’s BDC reticle which features holdover aiming circles instead of holdover dots commonly found on mil-dot style reticles. This scope features Nikon’s Ultra Clear Coat lens coating for improved brightness and sight picture.


Leupold VX-2 – This Leupold is available in either a gloss of matte finish and is built on a one inch tube. There are three reticle options available on this VX-2: duplex, LR Duplex (a duplex with holdover aiming points), a wide duplex, or a standard duplex.  This Leupold also is available in a CDS (Custom Dial System) model which can used customized elevation dials matched to a specific rifle cartridge and comes with a standard duplex recticle.


3-9x50 Scopes $250 - $400

Model Nikon
Picture Nikon Buckmasters Leupold VX-1 Bushnell Elite

Leupold Rifleman

Est. Price $299 $315 $339 $309
Mag/Obj 3-9 x 50mm 3-9 x 50mm 3-9 x 50mm 3-9 x 50mm
F.O.V 35.7' - 11.9' 34.1' - 14.1' 31.5' - 10.5' 32.9' - 13.1'
Eye Relief 3.6" 4.2" - 3.6" 3" 4.2" - 3.7"
Weight 18.2oz 13.3oz 19oz 14.3oz
Length 13.4" 12.3" 15.7" 12.4"


Nikon Buckmaster – The Buckmaster 3-9x50 can be had in any finish you want, as long as it is matte black. This Nikon 3-9x50 is available in only one model which comes with a matte black finish and features the Nikoplex reticle (Nikon’s version of the standard duplex). Weighing in at over eighteen ounces and measuring just under thirteen and a half inches it is also one of the bigger scopes in its pricing category.


Leupold VX-1 – Unlike the above mentioned Nikon Buckmaster, the VX-I 3-9x50 is offered in matte black or gloss back and is available with three different crosshair options: LR Duplex, wide duplex, and standard duplex although the gloss finish model can only be had with a duplex reticle. Looking at the top chart you will notice that the physical dimensions and other listed specifications of the VX-2 and VX-1 are identical. However, the VX-2 receives a different optics technologies package from within the Leupold Quantum Optical System than the VX-1 series does.


Bushnell Elite – The Elite 3-9x50 comes in three options, all of which come with a black matte finish. First, there is an option with a Multi-X reticle which is Bushnell’s standard duplex reticle. Then there is a version with a Firefly reticle which is charged by shining a light into the scope which causes the Firefly reticle to illuminate, and thus eliminates the need for using batteries to power the reticle. The final version of the Bushnell Elite 3-9x50 comes with the DOA 600 reticle which is a specialized holdover style reticle.


Leupold Rifleman – This scope takes a page from the Nikon Buckmaster 3-9x50 playbook; meaning that it comes in one configuration which is a matte black finish with a wide duplex reticle. Much like the above mentioned Leupold VX-I this Rifleman also utilizes the friction adjustment dials but does so in .5 moa instead of .25 moa. Basically the Rifleman 3-9x50 lets you save a $20 - $30 bucks off a comparable VX-I if your willing to have fewer reticle and finish choices.


3-9x50 Scopes $75 - $250

Model Vortex
Picture Vortex Diamondback Redfield Revolution Nikon Prostaff Simmons ProSport
Est. Price $239 $239 $209 $79
Mag/Obj 3.5-10 x 50mm 3-9 x 50mm 3-9 x 50mm 3-9 x 50mm
F.O.V 35.8' - 13.5' 33' - 13.1' 33.8' - 11.3' 31.4' - 10.5'
Eye Relief 3.6" - 3.3" 4.2" - 3.7" 3.6" 3.8"
Weight 16.2oz 14.5oz 16.6oz 13.2oz
Length 12.5" 12.4" 12.8" 12.1"


Vortex DiamondBack – This scope comes with an anodized matte finish and the choice of either a V-Plex reticle (standard style duplex) or the Vortex Dead Hold BDC reticle which has holdover marks for long range shooting as well as a couple of windage dots for shooting in the wind. The Vortex Diamondback 3.5-10x50 scopes are argon filled for water and fog proofing, and have multi coated lenses for better light transmission.


Redfield Revolution – The Revolution 3-9x50 has nearly identical specifications to the Leupold Rifleman. The Revolution can be had with either a duplex style reticle or Redfield’s Accu-Range reticle which is a unique reticle that has a circle around the intersection of the crosshair and then a hold over dot. The Revolution 3-9x50 features the Accu-Trac adjustment system which makes windage and elevation correction in 1/4 moa with audible clicks. These scopes are make in Oregon, and Redfield is now owned by parent company Leupold.


Nikon Prostaff – The newly update Prostaff series comes with two options for those looking for a 3-9x50 scope. The first option comes with a matte finish and a Nikoplex reticle; the second option also has the matte black finish but features Nikon’s premier BDC reticle for long range shooting. These scopes like the others in the category are also waterproof and have coated optics for improved light transmission.


Simmons Prosport – By far the most inexpensive scope in the category the Simmons Prosport is available in only one model which comes with a matte black finish and a Truplex reticle which is Simmons take on a standard duplex style reticle. This Simmons scope has the SureGrip magnification adjustment ring which is rubberized for a better hold in rainy/wet conditions.

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