Interest in all things shooting–especially long-range target shooting, competition and hunting–continues driving the firearms market. And much of that growth parallels the proliferation of quality optics built to do a wide range of jobs. Here’s our run down of six of the best new riflescopes to hit the market in 2023.
Best New Riflescopes for 2023!
BUSHNELL MATCH PRO ED
The Bushnell Match Pro ED punches way above its weight class. Coming in as the least expensive in this group, arguing against the Bushnell Match Pro ED proves difficult.
The Match Pro ED is a follow-up to the original, but this one features ED glass on the 56mm objective and 34mm main tube. The original featured a 50mm objective and 30mm main tube. Other features include 5-30x magnification, locking turrets, 30 mils of elevation travel and 14.5 mils of windage. The original shined with a short, 15-yard parallax that carries over, along with an excellent tree-style Deploy Mil 2 reticle with a broken crosshair and excellent markings. The reticle is illuminated as well.
Taking things to another level, the Match Pro ED features a rev indicator with three different positions and 10 mils per revolution and an excellent, easy-to-set zero stop. The etchings on the turrets are improved and are easy to see. As if this weren’t enough, the throw lever can be moved to three different positions as well.
The Match Pro ED can be used effectively for .22 LR competition like the original and centerfire rifles as well. You get all this for a mind-blowing $700. (bushnell.com)
ZEISS LRP S3 636-56
Many of us were excited for the release of the LRP S5 line of optics from Zeiss. In short, it turned out to be rather disappointing in my opinion. It was quirky in several ways. During conversations with Zeiss about that optic, I was stoked to get an early reveal of the LRP S3 series and knew immediately that this is the optic that shooters deserve from Zeiss.
The S3 636-56 features 32 MRAD of elevation travel, meaning you’ll have plenty of dial for the long shots. The glass is Zeiss-incredible and provides superior, extra crisp views via its ED glass and coatings.
The LRP S3 optics have excellent turrets, down in size from the S5 and a significant improvement in design, plus you don’t need three different-sized wrenches to zero them out or set the excellent zero stop. The windage knob is locking. True daylight visible illumination is on board and in two different colors, red and green. They can be set to five different intensity levels. The throw lever is excellent as well and can be moved to three positions.
Build quality is excellent and everything feels and functions right. This optic quickly became a favorite–well-executed and well-priced at $2,500. (zeiss.com)
TRACT TORIC ULTRA HD 4-25×50
Tract keeps dropping new optics that impress, and its latest is no different. The Toric HD 4-25×50 may be the Tract optic you have to have. Let’s start off with 47 MRAD of elevation travel. On top of that, it parallaxes down to a true 15 yards. In actuality, it has more revs in it, but you’ll also start approaching the outer edges of its consistency at, let’s say 50 MRAD or so. But I digress.
Schott high transmission glass with an ED lens keeps everything clear. It was easy to watch your .22 LR bullets sail 200 yards to their target. It is first focal plane with a glass-etched ELR-MRAD reticle, which is another excellent tree-type reticle. The Toric also has daylight illumination. This illumination has 11 levels of brightness, so you’ll find the right level for your situation. It also has a zero stop as well.
Tract has always delivered in the fit and finish category as well with an impressive graphite grey finish and build quality. The locking turrets always feel great with an air-cushion type of actuation, further adding to the quality feel. It accepts a throw lever and comes with a 3-inch sunshade as well. Solid optic overall and comes with an MSRP of $1,494. (tractoptics.com)
ELEMENT OPTICS THEOS 6-36×56 FFP
New to the scene is Element Optics and its Theos 6-36×56 first focal plane optic. The main tube is 34mm while well-sized turrets feature 12 MRAD per revolution. The windage knob comes capped or features a thread cover in case you want to leave them exposed. The turrets are tool-free, making it easy to zero out, and it’s intuitive, needing no manual to do so or set the zero stop. Another unique feature about the zero stop is that it automatically stops at .5 MRAD under your zero—a feature that comes in handy if you travel around with your rifle. There is also a revolution indicator flag to let you know when you’ve gone past a full rev. According to Element, the Theos’ parallaxes to 10 yards, and the magnification throw lever is removable.
ED glass delivers solid performance and sits inside a waterproof, fog proof, shockproof, aircraft-grade aluminum, nitrogen-purged body. It also comes with a sunshade and neoprene cover. An aperture ring is included, allowing you to decrease the amount of light to improve the performance in certain areas, like depth of field. The Theos features Element’s APR-2D MRAD reticle—a tree-style reticle that holds its own with a solid layout and markings. The unit sports an MSRP of $2,800. (element-optics.com)
LEUPOLD MK5 HD 2-10×30
We tend to think of higher magnification ranges when we think of precision rifle optics, but there is no doubt in my mind that this 2-10x from Leupold qualifies. Mainly for two reasons. I’ve used it at significant distances in tough shooting conditions and well, it’s not a 1x, which brings it out of LPVO class and places it in precision, especially if you consider platforms such as the MK 12 or similar. If you’ve shot enough in competition, you know how often you can find yourself at a magnification of 10 or even less while engaging targets.
The MK5 HD 2-10x 30 features 30 mils of elevation dial to get you where you need to be. The increments of .10 mils are precision proper, and the glass, is well, Leupold glass. Clean and bright. It features their patented ZeroLock to keep the elevation dial in place, and the numbers are easy to see with excellent tactile and audible feedback.
Like the bigger brothers in higher magnification ranges, it features a throw lever and zero stop. The TMR reticle is easy to use for holdover work, and it’s first focal plane. There is a PR1-MOA reticle as well. This optic will be perfect on a suppressed 300 BLK bolt-action build. Coyotes be warned. The optic features an MSRP of $2,000. (leupold.com)
STEINER T6Xi 5-30×56
At the time of the writing, Steiner has the newest optic on the block. The new T6Xi looks all business. The glass is ultra-bright and crisp, and the SCR2-Mil reticle has the info you need without appearing cluttered. A locking ring diopter ensures that once you have the reticle focus set, it will stay there.
The best and most prominent feature of the T6Xi is the Never-Lost turrets. These turrets feature small windows on the elevation knobs. The windows correspond to your come-ups in mils. Once you go through a complete revolution (12 mils), the windows change to the correct elevation number. So, the “0” mark turns to “12” at a full rev and all the other windows change accordingly. Dialing up to 15 mils means you look for “15” on the turret. It does simplify dialing quite a bit, as there is nothing to memorize. The downside is that it tops out at 22 mils. That will get you out to a mile with 6.5 Creedmoor when dialing.
The T6Xi features a reticle that illuminates the top 3 mils on the elevation stadia and out to 2 mils left and right. It also includes an aluminum throw lever ring with two lever heights. The MSRP is $2,875. (steiner-optics.com)
This article originally appeared in the August-September 2023 issue of Ballistic. Get your print or digital copy or subscription at OutdoorGroupStore.com.
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