By Tracy Breen
You’re sky-high. You just purchased your first crossbow package, and it’s complete with bolts, broadheads, a sling and a scope. You are stylin’, big time…until you look through the scope. Nothing brings you closer to your quarry than a crystal-clear scope with up-close-and-personal magnification, but looking through this one is like squinting through the fog on the San Francisco Bay. Can you say upgrade?
Fortunately, there are a nice variety of new scopes on the market that are designed specifically for crossbows. We’ve dialed them in for you, so read carefully to find one that will fit your needs.
1: TenPoint Pro 40 Multi-Dot
Hunters looking for a great red-dot scope without magnification will be happy with the Pro 40 Multi-Dot from TenPoint Crossbow Technologies. This 40mm scope offers ample field of view, and it can gather light when you need it most—just before dark. The Pro 40 has illuminated dots that are calibrated for 20, 30 and 40 yards for crossbows that shoot 300 fps. The three dots can be red or green, and the brightness of the dots can be adjusted by a five-position rheostat so that dots are never too bright or dim. It has an integrated, adjustable 7/8-inch mounting system that doesn’t require rings, so putting the scope on your crossbow is simple and quick. The Pro 40 is small and compact, so it doesn’t add much weight or bulkiness to the crossbow. For more information, visit: www.tenpointcrossbows.com.
2: TenPoint 3X Multi-Line
TenPoint also offers the 3X Multi-Line scope for hunters who prefer a magnified scope with traditional reticle lines. The 3X32 scope has three-line duplex crosshairs that are set up for 20, 30 and 40 yards. The scope features fully coated lenses, which result in a crystal-clear view. Combine that with three times the magnification, and you will clearly be able to view your target and choose a spot. The scope is only 7 inches long and made of durable, lightweight aluminum, so it’s as light as a feather and very durable. For more information, visit: www.tenpointcrossbows.com.
3: Excalibur Lumi-Zone
Excalibur Crossbows offers a great scope called the Lumi-Zone. A 2X4X40 scope, the Excalibur’s adjustable multiplex crosshair system makes it possible to precisely adjust the crosshair spacing at 10-yard increments for the exact trajectory of your crossbow at velocities between 250 and 350 fps. With this system, you don’t have to guess. You can fine-tune your scope from 0 to 50 yards. The Lumi-Zone has an illuminated multi-reticle, so you can easily see your crosshairs in low-light conditions. The 40mm objective lens ensures the scope gathers plenty of light, even in low-light conditions. For more information, visit: www.excaliburcrossbow.com.
4 Hawke Sport Optics Three-Dot Sights
Hawke is quickly becoming one of the top-selling crossbow scope makers in the industry. The company offers a wide variety of reticle and dot-style crossbow scopes. Its dot sights have three extra-bright 5-MOA dots. The red and green dots have five levels of illumination and are set up for 20-, 30- and 40-yard shots. The dot sight also has precision wind and elevation adjustment so you can be confident knowing your sight is dead-on and extremely accurate.
The sight comes with a high-contrast system that makes seeing the dot and what you’re aiming at easy when you only have seconds to aim and make the shot. It also comes with amber, flip-open lens covers that keep the sight protected from the elements when not in use. The sight is available in black or Realtree APG HD (camouflage). For more information, visit: www.hawkeoptics.com.
5: Hawke Sport Optics Crossbow SR Reticle
Hunters looking for sniper-like accuracy should test out the 3X32 Hawke SR Reticle. SR stands for Specialized Reticle, which is what Hawke has: a reticle unlike others being offered for crossbow use. The SR crossbow scope features a red/green, illuminated, glass-etched reticle. The rheostat adjusts the brightness and has five settings per color. The reticle features illuminated hollow circles with a 2-inch kill zone at 20, 30, 40 and 50 yards. At 60 yards, there is a line instead of a circle. These circles make aiming simple and help make the shooter more accurate than ever. The reticle is compatible with Hawke’s BRC (Ballistic Reticle Calculator) Software that can be used to fine-tune your scope and accuracy so you know your bolts will hit dead-on every time. For more information, visit: www.hawkeoptics.com.
6: Truglo Red Dot
Truglo is known for making great archery sights, but it also makes great crossbow scopes. Truglo offers a sight that has a three-dot crossbow reticle and is available in 25 mm or 30 mm. The scope is durable, waterproof and fog-proof. It has multicoated lenses, so when you look through the scope, it’s as sharp as a tack. It has an 11-position rheostat that allows you to adjust the brightness of the dots from extremely bright to almost off, depending on the time of day you are hunting. In addition, it has click wind and elevation adjustments.
The 30mm model includes an integrated lanyard system that prevents loss of screw-down wind/elevation caps and see-through/flip-up lens caps. Hunters looking for a lightweight scope will be pleased to know this scope only weighs 7.9 ounces and is less than 4 inches long. The scope is available in black and Realtree APG HD. For more information, visit: www.truglo.com.
7: HHA Optimizer Speed Dial
Crossbow users looking for extreme accuracy should consider the new Optimizer speed dial from HHA Archery. The speed dial works with almost any type of crossbow scope. At the heart of the speed dial is HHA’s speed-tape system. You sight-in at 20 yards and 60 yards, select a speed tape customized to your bolt velocity and trajectory, and you’ll be able to shoot like a pro from 20 to 80 yards.
Like all HHA products, the Optimizer speed dial is made of CNC-machined aluminum so you don’t have to worry about plastic parts breaking. The unit weighs 7 ounces and works with crossbows exceeding 400 fps. For more information, visit: www.hhasports.com.
Shooting at Dots Doesn’t Really Prepare You for Choosing a Spot on a Whitetail
If you are new to archery hunting, remember that many hunters—whether they use a crossbow or another type of bow—prepare for the hunting season by shooting at a 3-D target. If a 3-D target exceeds your price range, consider purchasing a Master Target target.
Master Target targets are paper-thin sheets of plastic-like material with photos of wild animals that can be pierced with a bolt. The sheets are UV (ultraviolet)-resistant, waterproof, and tear-resistant. Testing reveals that they can be shot 20 times more than traditional paper targets can. They can be pinned down to a block-style target so archers can shoot at actual animals. They are available in deer, turkey, bear and other animals. The vital area is highlighted, so archers choose a spot and shoot. They cost less than $10 and are available at www.hipstargets.com or www.mastertargets.com.
Did You Know?
Scopes range from single red-dot scopes and scopes with three red dots to single-reticle and multiple-reticle scopes. Some scopes even have illuminated reticles and dots that come in handy in low-light conditions.
Before You Upgrade
Not all crossbow scopes are created equally, and just because your friend has a red-dot scope doesn’t mean you should use the same thing. Choosing a crossbow scope is similar to choosing a riflescope or a binocular. The good ones are clear when you look through them, offer plenty of magnification, and give you adequate eye relief.