Top 5 Mid-Range Hunting Optics: The Happy Medium

The average hunter shoots deer at a distance of 100 yards or closer. It isn’t that mid to long-range shots never happen, only that they tend not to be the rule. However, if you hunt in wide open spaces like those found commonly in Texas or Arizona, you’re going to find yourself far more likely to be making those mid-range shots. Yes, when we talk about mid-range hunting optics, we don’t mean the price, we’re referring to the range at which they’re most capable. We have a few suggestions for mid-range optics to consider using on your next hunt. These are our top 5, in no particular order.

1. Sightmark Presidio 3-18-x50 MR2 FFP

Sightmark Presidio 3-18x50 MR2 FFP
The Sightmark Presidio 3-18×50 MR2 FFP is a fantastic mid-range scope with clear glass and a broad field of view. It is offered in a variety of magnification levels, so there’s one for close, mid, and long-range, too.  (Photo credit: Sightmark)

Not only is the Sightmark Presidio 3-x18x50 MR2 FFP at a great price point, it far out-performs said price point. The Presidio delivers clear glass and a nice, wide field of view. It doesn’t get blurry or hard to ID targets as you move to further out shots, and it gathers light well. Zeroing is straightforward and clicks of the turrets are audible and crisp, not mushy or hard to track. The throw lever makes it easier to manipulate while out in the field and the fact that it’s IP67 waterproof and dustproof is a huge bonus as well.

The Presidio is offered in more than one model. In fact, it’s available in 1-6×24, 3-18×50, and 5-30×56. Features of the 3-18×50 MR2 FFP model include flip-up lens caps, a red, illuminated reticle, and a single-piece 30mm tube. The reticle runs on a CR2032 battery. According to Sightmark, the Presidio is rated for calibers up to 338, so odds are it’ll work just fine on whatever rifle you’re using to hunt. And of course, this one’s built to be used, with its aircraft-grade aluminum housing and hard, anodized finish. The Presidio is built for the deer woods.

2. Burris Fullfield IV 2.5-10x42mm

Burris Fullfield optic
The Burris Fullfield optic is designed for hunters and is offered with 3 different reticle options. (Photo credit: Burris)

The Burris Fullfield IV 2.5-10×42 was specifically made for hunters. It’s designed to be lighter weight, meaning it won’t add unnecessary weight or bulk to your rifle, and it’s built to be rugged. The windage and elevation turrets are easily finger-adjustable. Magnification controls are easier to rotate thanks to rounded-edge ridges in the housing and they’re clearly marked so you can see what it’s set for. This optic gives you a nice field of view and has clear glass.

This optic is available with 3 different reticles: The Plex, the Ballistic E3, and the illuminated Ballistic E3. The Plex is favored by many hunters for its simple, thin center because heavier, cluttered lines tend to obscure the aiming point while hunting. Also, the Plex reticle is easy to see during use; the crosshairs aren’t hard to visualize when held over the target animal. In addition, the 1-inch tube is nitrogen-filled to prevent fogging and the manufacturer states the optic is waterproof. Overall, this is a good option for shooters looking for a basic scope for mid-range use.

3. Swarovski Z8i 2-16×50 P

Swarovski Z8i 2-16x50 P
The Swarovski Z8i 2-16×50 P is beautifully made and performs well in the field. The scope is made so the reticle is adjusted so the impact point matches the aiming point.  (Photo credit: Swarovski)

The Swarovski Z8i 2-16×50 P is meant for hard use and is a nice choice for hunters looking for a scope with excellent light transmission even during the later stages of shooting light. There’s not much more heartbreaking than missing out on taking a shot because your optic can’t gather enough light despite it still being legal shooting light. The scope’s 50mm objective lens helps make this possible and the company states light transmission is 93%. According to the manufacturer, this model’s twilight factor at medium brightness is 1400, and its daylight factor at the same brightness level is 180. The scope is listed as functional between -4 degrees Fahrenheit and +131 degrees Fahrenheit.

Each click of the turrets is crisp so there’s no mistaking how far it’s been moved. This optic is also great at holding zero even when it’s been jostled and carried around on hunts. The housing is durable, the glass is clear, and it is waterproof, fog proof, and dustproof as expected. Swarovski makes high-performing optics, and the Z8i line is simply proof they deliver. If you’re after a higher-end optic for your next deer hunt, this is a well-made model worth considering.

4. Zeiss V8 1.8-14X50

Zeiss V8 1.8-14X50
The Zeiss V8 1.8-14X50 is a nice mid-range optic made for rapid target acquisition and a clear sight picture. (Photo credit: Zeiss)

Perhaps the nicest thing about this Zeiss, aside from its crystal clear glass, is that it maintains a broad field of view even at the lowest magnification settings. The V8 1.8-14×50 was made for the daily rigors and challenges of hunting and designed to work at a variety of distances, but mid-range shots are where it shines. According to the manufacturer, they created this scope for superior versatility, meaning it’s great for stalking, hunting from tree stands, and everything in between. In addition, it has a streamlined, lightweight design to reduce the risk of snagging on trees and bushes and avoid adding excess weight to your setup.

The fantastic thing about Zeiss is that their housings are incredibly tough, so if you have a habit of accidentally bouncing your rifle off trees and side-by-sides, it will survive intact (it probably won’t even get knocked off zero). Like other optics in this list, the turrets have audible clicks, which is an important feature, and it has clear glass and excellent clarity. This particular scope even shows you a nice view even when the light situation is less than ideal, partly thanks to the company’s SCHOTT fluoride glass elements. Zeiss says they shock-tested this optic with g-force equal to that created by 460 Weatherby Magnum. Overall, this is a quality scope for hardcore hunters who tend to beat up their gear a bit.

5. Riton Primal 3-9×40 LB

Riton Primal 3-9x40 LB
The Riton Primal 3-9×40 LB has what the manufacturer states are parallax adjustments from 15-Infinity. (Photo credit: Riton)

The Riton Primal line of riflescopes is, as the name suggests, meant for hunters. The Primal 3-9×40 is a reliable model that is good for mid-range shots but also capable of handling shots a bit further out. This is a scope with more durable housing than one might expect at a moderate price point, and it’s proven itself able to withstand bumps and scrapes on hunts. It has a multi-coated lens, including waterproof and low-light enhancement coatings. Eye relief is 3.9 inches and it has a flip-up lens cover.

Features of the Primal 3-9×40 LB include zero resettable turrets, a removable throw lever, and an eyepiece designed for fast focus. The scope has a 1-inch tube and has a second focal plane focal lens position. The adjustment range is listed as 80 MOA with 1/4 inch click value. It’s a solid option for deer hunting and performs well. In fact, the entire Primal line is worth checking out, so you’re covered whatever magnification you’re looking for.

What’s your preferred mid-range optic? Tell us about it in the comments section.

Kat Ainsworth Stevens is a long-time outdoor writer, official OGC (Original Gun Cognoscenti), and author of Handgun Hunting: a Comprehensive Guide to Choosing and Using the Right Firearms for Big and Small Game. Der Teufel Katze has written for a number of industry publications (print and online) and edited some of the others, so chances are you've seen or read her work before, somewhere. A woman of eclectic background and habits, Kat has been carrying concealed for over two decades, used to be a farrier, and worked for a long time in emergency veterinary medicine. She prefers big bores, enjoys K9 Search & Rescue, and has a Master's Degree in Pitiless Snarkastic Delivery.

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