All You Need to Know about Crossbow Scopes

What is a Crossbow Scope?

Crossbow hunting is rapidly rising in popularity, becoming one of the most popular outdoor activities. There have been a lot of technological advancements that have made the sport more enjoyable and most of these are related to the crossbow scope- a piece of equipment that has been constantly evolving.  A scope is a sighting device that is fitted on your bow to enhance accuracy. Scopes generally improve your ability to locate a target and aim accurately to ensure a deadly shot.

There are four main types of scopes, each offering distinct features that help to improve your hunting experience. Let’s examine each of these different type of scopes to establish the differences between them and help you figure out exactly what you need.

  1. Fixed power scope

These are most common on high-end crossbows and are labeled using the level of magnification and aperture size. For instance, a 5x32mm multi reticle scope refers to one that has a 5x magnification capability and a 32mm aperture. Normally, the bigger the aperture, the higher the scope’s capability to gather light but the higher the magnification, the lower the light gathering capability.  This means that if you like to hunt at dawn or dusk, you should primarily try to ensure you have a large enough aperture.  If you’re only worried about the magnification, try getting a larger x denotation. Usually, the best bet is to find a good balance between both. The term multi reticle refers to the different aim points determined by graduations set on the scope for the target point relative to distance.

  1. Fixed power scope with illumination

This crossbow scope category is marked by features similar to the power scope, but in addition has an illumination option to further enhance accuracy. This comes in particularly handy when hunting at night, when the scope may make it possible to see the target but rather difficult to spot the crosshairs.

The illumination option usually uses a red or green color because both because these colors work well with night vision. Scopes that have illumination usually have a dial attached to adjust the brightness in relation to the prevailing lighting conditions.

  1. Variable power scopes

These are also referred to as multi-speed scopes because their magnification capabilities are adjustable to suit your demands. This feature makes it possible to zoom in on the target,  to improve the vision and make up for the normal drop in speed that arrows experience as they move towards their target. It is thus possible to assign each reticle to a specific aim point based on the configurations of the bow in relation to the arrows being used and the expected arrow drop. Variable power scopes are highly configurable and are extremely efficient when it comes to hunting.

  1. Red dot scopes

These ones typically use a red dot as the names suggests to zero in on a specific shooting point. The red dot is not projected on to the target but rather is made visible on the scope for the shooter to see. These are rather basic and do not offer any magnification but offer the advantage of quick target acquisition.

They are battery powered and usually require hunters to carry an extra set of batteries so as not to experience failure midway through the expedition. They come with a variety of options ranging from one to three dots in the reticle. A higher number of dots makes it possible to calibrate the scope for different yardages.

The Importance of Using Crossbow Scopes

The truth is that the accuracy of your shooting depends on a lot of different factors, including your crossbow’s specifications. Having a powerful scope will not automatically make you an accurate shooter at distances beyond 60 yards. So why do you need a scope?

  • Arrow Grouping

A scope makes it possible to group your shots within a specified boundary. This feature is especially useful to pro target shooters who need all the practice they can get to compete in their tournaments. It is also a handy tool they use to confirm that their bow is perfectly balanced because it would otherwise not be able to consistently send bolts to the same spot.

  • Pinpoint Accuracy 

Shooting at any distance requires utmost accuracy for one major reason: you want to kill your target. It’s often said that it’s easier to shoot an animal, but far harder to shoot it exactly well enough so that it dies quickly. For this reason, you want to use a good scope so you can land a precise shot. This eliminates guesswork and the higher the capabilities of the scope, the better the target acquisition and shot placement.

  • Helps account for environmental changes 

Scopes are extremely important when it comes to other environmental variables you have to take account for. A human can easily shoot straight, but what if there’s wind? What if it’s foggy? Even the terrain comes into play. For instance, when hunting in a mountainous area it is important to be able to compensate for additional arrow drops that result from elevation and you can only do this if you have a good scope. If you don’t have a good scope, you will be extremely limited in the type of shots you can take over long ranges.

The Three Top Crossbow Scopes

There are numerous options in the market when it comes to scopes and the following is a summary on some of the current best performers for hunting:


Excalibur Tact Zone 2.5-6x32mm Multi Reticle Scope

Professional hunters love this scope as it offers a magnification range from 2.5 to 6. Before sighting it in to any bow, you enter the speed of your bow (275-410 fps) to calibrate the scope properly. This lets you set the aim points based on the arrow speed and greatly enhances accuracy.

It is possible to hunt any time of day and in any weather using this scope as it features impressive light-gathering ability, great clarity and it is both water and fog proof. It offers red and green illumination options and is rated extremely well by all customers!

Check it out on Amazon here: Excalibur Tact-Zone Illuminated Scope, 2.5-6x32mm


Nikon Bolt XR

This fixed power scope is famed for its impressive light capacity that gives a crisp image every time thanks to the fixed magnification. It can therefore be used to hunt even in relative darkness before dawn and after dusk and also in any weather as it is both fog and waterproof. Its reticle features 5 aim points at 10 yard ranges and can therefore enhance accuracy over a reasonable distance.

The eye relief on this one is excellent at 3.4” and even though it is designed for precision for up to 60 yards, it still delivers top-notch performance beyond this range. However, it has no illumination and only offers dots and not crosshair lines. It is ideal for crossbows that have a velocity of up to about 350 fps, is able to hold zero for months and can withstand a lot of rough handling without getting damaged. If you have an extremely powerful crossbow or want illuminated cross-hairs however, then this isn’t the scope for you.

Check it out on Dick’s Sporting goods here: Nixon Bolt XR


Truglo 4x32mm

This is one of the fastest sellers in the market and for good reason. It offers a highly competitive price point and remarkable value for money. It is a red dot scope which features a wide field of view thanks to the fact that there is no obstruction from magnification. It is a favorite of shooters looking to make quick target acquisition and has three distinct aim points that allow for accurate sighting at different ranges.

Its camouflage non-reflective design sets it apart from most other scopes, making it ideal for hunting from ground blinds. Its lenses are coated to prevent fogging and moisture related issues and also augment clarity. It is easy to use and has an impressive 4” eye relief.

Check it out on Amazon here: Truglo Crossbow Scope 4×32 IR with Rings Black

Crossbow scopes will definitely add significant value to your hunting experience, particularly if you select one that suits your requirements and preferences correctly. With so many options available, it would be important to properly research before settling on any one of them.