The 5 Best Varmint Scopes For 223

So, you’re looking for the best varmint scope for .223 rifle that you own? Well, you’re in the best place to find out. Varmint hunting is an exciting, riveting experience! Getting the right scope for your varmint rifle is a key item to maximizing your potential as a hunter hunting and we get how important it is. So just sit back and enjoy the read while we get you all that you need!

What Else You Might Need:

The Bipod

If you’re varmint hunting then you are definitely wanting to be totally ready to do it, and we want you to have everything that you need to do that! Man, it’s going to be fun.

The first item you may want to consider is a bipod. A bipod is an essential piece of equipment in any experienced hunter’s bag o’ accessories and you’d be ashamed to be caught without one. This goes for any hunter, not just for those pesky varmints!

The bipod is going to ensure that you have a comfortable position to shoot from. If you’re just camping in one spot and your game is coming to you then you can probably get away with some bean bags or something else to rest your gun on. However, most of the time it requires you to be stalking your prey and at least some strategic positioning is involved which makes the bipod an invaluable piece of equipment.


A rangefinder is a device that reads the distance of your target from your person so that you can adjust your shot for the amount your bullet will drop after leaving the barrel of your gun. Depending on your experience as a shooter, this should really only be necessary on shots that are exceeding 200 yards.

A rangefinder will essentially use mirrors to determine the distance from your target and it will use a laser dot that lands on the target to send the information back. Then you can adjust your shot based on the distance! You can even find reticles that have different dots for different ranges today, which is so useful.

What to Consider for your Scope

When it comes to the scope there is obviously different quality across the different types of scopes on the market. We will get into detail on this as we dive into the differences of each individual scope we are reviewing. One other thing to consider is the different types of reticles.

There are tons of different reticles to choose from in today’s era and it’s impossible to cover them all. We will go into details on each reticle of the scopes we review here for you so you can find the one that best suits you and also why it suits you.

The different scopes range from a single dot sight, best for acquiring targets on the run in closer distances, and mil-dot sights that help a lot with those long-range shots with extra dots on the vertical axis for your bullet drop consideration and addressing the issue that wind plays in pushing your bullet one way or the other.

That .223 Caliber

In case your here to get sold on your whim of possibly acquiring a .223 caliber rifle over a different caliber rifle for varmint hunting we want to touch base on why we chose the .223. The .223 Remington cartridge is just friggin’ awesome for varmint hunting. People in Alaska even use this bad boy for moose, but that’s best left to the experts.

The .223 is used most typically in varmint hunting and it’s easy to see why. With its wide range of availability, the price is just impossible to beat. It has a small bore which translates to high velocity and an end result of intense power and accuracy. What more could you ask for?

It’s great for beginning varmint hunters because it’s got a light recoil and an acceptable sound. This lets any adequate shooter learn how to shoot this cartridge with blazing accuracy and with the price being so good, you can go shooting for days.

Ammunition and Twist Rate

The last thing to consider that’s going to make you a top-notch varmint hunter is the weight of the .223 bullet you are using. Essentially, the rifling of the barrel, that makes the bullet shoot out of the barrel straighter improving accuracy, is different in every barrel.

 If you find out the twist rate of your barrel then you can get the best weight of bullet that fits your caliber and gets that much better accuracy. The twist rate is measured by how many full revolutions the bullet will make every pre-measured amount of inches. 

To give an example – one revolution per seven inches is going to be a heavier, longer bullet than one revolution per eight inches. Get it? So if you know how many revolutions per inches your “twist rate” is and how long and heavy your bullet should be. Boom. Now you got it.

Oh, and don’t worry if you don’t know the specifics of a bullet in accordance with your specific gun. They got calculators for that. Hey, so now you know all the things. Let’s scope out some scopes!

5 .223 Scopes We Recommend For Varmint Hunting

best varmint scope for 223

Vortex Optics Strikefire II Red Dot Sights

Vortex Optics Strikefire II Red Dot Sight - 4 MOA...
  • The Strikefire II Red/Green Dot is a rugged, reliable red dot sight that is at home in a variety of shooting applications. It...
  • Fully multi-coated lenses provide a clean and bright, unobscured point of view. Unlimited eye relief allows for rapid target...
  • The single-piece chasis is compact and lightweight but still delivers shockproof performance withstanding both recoil and...
  • An offset cantilever mount is provided; allowing you to move the sight forward to be used in conjunction with a magnifier and...
  • With aesthetics and functionality in mind, the power controls are at the rear of the Strikefire for easy access. The...

The Vortex Strikfire II comes with a red and green dot that has 10 adjustable brightness levels with the lowest two being compatible with night-vision equipment. This will give you the ability to shoot whether it’s super bright or dimly lit in your environment.

It also is shockproof and recoil-proof while the sealing rings it’s designed with ensures waterproof and anti-fogging capabilities. The cantilever that’s included allows you to adjust the scope ranges for use with magnification and iron sights – whatever you need!

It also gives you the ability to use the entirety of your peripheral vision by using both of your eyes wide open so you can acquire your target quickly in situations that demand split-second target acquisition. As long as you can see the dot, you’ll hit your target! It can be difficult for people with astigmatism to use this scope though, in case that applies to you.

It also comes with knobs on either side where you can adjust for wind resistance and bullet drop depending on the range of your target. Each click is ½ of Minute of Angle (MoA) and 1 full minute of angle is equal to 1 inch of difference per 100 yards that you need to account for.

The buttons that adjust the different brightness levels and dot color are located conveniently on the back of the scope for ease of access. The zero holds super well on this scope, too. Customers are stating even after 1000 rounds and “beating the heck” out of the thing their scope is still perfectly zeroed. Less time fumbling with the technicalities of the scope, more time shooting!


  • Red and green dot sight with 10 levels of brightness to adjust for any shooting setting, including night-vision
  • Allows for quick target acquisition by using both eyes open
  • Has easy to access knobs on either side to adjust for range and wind resistance
  • The zeroing of the scope holds well after the first time without needing to constantly re-zero the scope
  • Waterproof, fog proof, and recoil resistant
  • Included cantilever


  • People with astigmatism have a reportedly hard time using this scope as they can’t see the dot with both eyes open

Bushnell Trophy Rifle Scope with Multi-X Reticle

Bushnell Trophy Rifle Scope with Multi-X Reticle,...
  • Fully multi-coated optics and rain guard HD offer 91% light transmission in any weather
  • 100% waterproof, Fog proof and shockproof 1 inch one-piece tube construction with integrated saddle
  • 2-7X magnification with multi-x reticle and 3.9 inch eye relief
  • Fast-focus eyepiece and 1/4 MOA fingertip windage and elevation adjustments
  • Backed by Bushnell no Questions Asked Lifetime Warranty

The Bushnell Trophy Rifle Scope comes in with a Mult-X reticle which means its got those thicker lines that lead to the point where the crosshairs intersect. The thick lines turn into thin lines as it gets to the center point so they don’t obstruct your view of the target. It’s a pretty basic reticule and one downside for this scope in varmint hunting is that it doesn’t come with any hashes or markings that help you account for distance or deal with wind resistance. It does have the knobs to make the adjustments manually for zeroing your scope into any distance, though!

Its design is waterproof and fog proof. This is really a necessity with today’s technology that’s available. A foggy lens is no lens at all and water getting into the aluminum casing where it can’t evaporate spells out disaster. It’s also designed to be shockproof to help it resist the recoil from whatever gun you plan to use it with.

The last thing to assess is the coating of the lens. The lenses are all fully multi-coated to help reduce any reflection from the lighting and enable full utilization of the scope in any situation.


  • Waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof design
  • Fully multi-coated lenses to reduce reflective light
  • Knobs to adjust for range and wind resistance MoA


  • In varmint hunting, it’s useful to have the extra markings to account for distance and wind resistance which this scope is lacking in

Vortex Optics Crossfire II Second Focal Plane – V Plex Reticle

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 Rimfire, Second...
  • The 2-7x32 Crossfire II Rimfire riflescope is one of many configurations in the Crossfire II line. The V-Plex reticle is a...
  • With long eye relief and an ultra-forgiving eye box, you'll be able to quickly get a sight picture and acquire your target....
  • Anti-reflective, fully multi-coated lenses provide bright and clear views for the user.
  • Capped reset turrets are finger adjustable with MOA clicks that can be reset to zero after sighting in.
  • A single piece tube constructed from aircraft grade aluminum ensures strength and shockproof performance. O-ring sealed and...

The Vortex Optics Crossfire II comes with many different configurations. The V Plex reticle is a popular reticle that used for a wide variety of hunting including varmint hunting but even big game hunting as well. This gives you the versatility of buying a scope that’s going to work for you regardless of your hunting situation.

It includes capped MoA adjustments that you adjust with your fingers for optimal field performance. These are resettable to zero after sighting in so you don’t ever have to worry about re-zeroing your scope after adjusting for wind or range.

It’s got long eye-relief and fast-focus scope design so you’re able to acquire your target quickly through the scope and the eye relief is adjustable for longer shots. However, some customer’s have reported issues with having to constantly adjust the eye relief but the majority of reviews are positive. It also comes with all of its lenses multi-coated so that you get bright and clear views of your target through the scope.

It’s a single piece of aluminum made from aircraft-grade aluminum which makes it shock resistance with the popular O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged design to give you the waterproof and fog proof capability we all look for in a scope. Customer’s state that even after long use it’s holding it’s zero which is always a plus!


  • The V-plex reticle is used for big game as well as varmint hunting, giving it versatility
  • It has MoA adjustments that are easy to access for optimal field performance
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum material for shockproof performance
  • Waterproof and fog proof
  • Adjustable eye relief


  • Some customers have experienced issues with having to constantly adjust the eye relief to maintain a clear view through the sight

Leupold VX-1 2-7x33mm Compact Riflescope

Leupold VX-1 2-7x33mm Compact Waterproof Fogproof...
  • 3:1 zoom ratio erector system
  • Crafted from 6061-T6 aircraft quality aluminum
  • Leupold's classic/standard fast focus eyepiece
  • Durable bikini-style lens cover
  • The Multicoat 4 lens system for extreme clarity

The Leupold VS-1 Compact Riflescope comes in with a 3:1 zoom ratio. This is popular among the Leupold series of scopes as it keeps the scope light and affordable while giving you the versatility to adapt to long and short ranges. It has an easy to use power knob to adjust the zoom ratio depending on your shot.

The VX scope is designed for clarity and the optical surfaces are coated to reduce glare and any reflection so you can get a vivid view within the field of vision. This design gives you high visibility even if the lighting of your environment is poor.

It comes with the handy knobs on the sides to make intuitive adjustments for range and wind resistance. It also has the O-ring designed to keep the equipment waterproof and has the perk of being made in the USA, if that’s important to you. With the high-grade airplane quality aluminum, you know that it will hold up against seasons of use.

It comes with a set of reticles to choose from and I would personally go with the FireDot Ballistic reticle on this particular scope. It gives you a 200-300 yard zero and additional marks for 500 and 600-yard shots which makes it highly adaptable to those long range varmints you’re aiming at without having to re-zero your scope or guess at it.


  • 3:1 zoom ratio/magnification keeping the scope lightweight and affordable
  • Designed for vivid clarity and has coatings on all the lenses to reduce glare/reflection
  • Knobs to adjust for wind and bullet drop
  • Power knob to adjust the zoom
  • USA made with airplane grade aluminum
  • Your choice of reticle including the FireDot Ballistic that includes additional marks for further ranges


  • There actually haven’t been any consistent negative findings with this scope

Nikon P223 1.5-4.5X20 Riflescope

Nikon P-223 Riflescope, 1.5-4.5X20, BDC 600
  • Precise hand-turn target-style turrets
  • 98% light transmission
  • Fully multicoated optics

The Nikon P223 is specifically designed for the .223 caliber. It’s got hash marks to cover all your ranges from 100 to 600 yards with the 50-yard intervals included as well. This makes it incredibly versatile when you combine it with the spring-loaded adjustable zero-turrets that let you easily return back to your zero after adjusting for a shot.

One customer has stated to make sure the screws are tight on your adjustable knobs before firing. This could definitely just be a one-off scenario but it’s always safe to double check!

The device is also waterproof and fog proof with the current standard of O-rings. Nikon doesn’t slack on the optics either making sure they are all multicoated to give you a vivid picture through the scope from dawn until dusk.

The scope is excellent for close to mid-range shots, especially with the BDC 600 reticle that includes all the ranges without even having to make an adjustment. It also comes in super lightweight at 13.8 oz giving you the ability to acquire your targets faster without the scope lagging behind. 


  • BDC 600 reticle that gives multiple hash marks to compensate for different ranges
  • Adjustable knobs for specific shot situations that easily return to zero
  • Waterproof and fog proof with multicoated lenses for ultimate brightness
  • Ultra lightweight (13.8 oz) for fast target acquisition


  • The adjustment knobs adjust in ¼ MoA increments which can be considered overkill on a short-range scope by some customers
  • Some customers have had issues with the screws coming loose. Make sure to tighten them down!

Scoped Out

That’s it for the scopes. Now that you have all the details for what scope will work for you and which ones are versatile and fast for your specific hunting situation, you’re ready to buy your scope! Awesome!

You also are more familiar with the different designs of the scopes and how they operate to reduce glare and remain waterproof. You got a widespread understanding of the different reticles of the scopes which is the most important thing to consider when finding one for your type of hunting, in this case, varmint hunting. Enjoy your scope and happy hunting!

If you enjoyed this article you’ll probably like these:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share This Page

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on reddit

Related Posts

Affiliate Disclosure

We occasionally link to products in our posts to help the reader find relevant items they may be looking for. Some of these links may be affiliate in nature and we sometimes earn a small commission if the item is purchased. For full details read our privacy policy.

GunGoals Icon

Let's Find What You're Looking For:

Find What You Needed?