The Top Ten Best Scopes for .450 Bushmaster

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The .450 Bushmaster is one of the most popular hunting rounds in states with rules about hunting game with straight-walled cartridges and is one of the best hunting rounds that work in the AR-15 platform. 

Of course, no matter how good the cartridge is, you still need a good scope to get anything out of it. Unfortunately, finding the best .450 Bushmaster scope can be challenging because few scopes are specially designed for it.

To help with this, we’ve tested and reviewed a number of the top scope options on the market today to find the ones that work the best with this fantastic caliber, no matter what type of rifle you’re using. 

Whether you’re using the .450 Bushmaster for hunting, home defense, or just for fun at the range, one of these scopes will surely fit the bill and serve you well for years to come. Let’s dive right in with our top overall pick.

Also Read: 17 Best Long Range Scopes in 2022

Here are the best .450 Bushmaster scopes: 

Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9×40 .450 Bushmaster – Best Overall

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Our top pick is the Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9×40 .450 Bushmaster. It’s probably no surprise that Leupold comes in first here, given that they have decades of experience making top-of-the-line hunting scopes, but what sealed the deal is the scope’s .450 Bushmaster-specific features.

As you’d expect from Leupold, the scope is more than durable enough to handle the .450’s recoil without any issues. The main tube is o-ring sealed and purged with an inert gas to keep the entire optic water and fog proof, even in rapidly changing temperatures. 

The dial and reticle are calibrated for .450 Bushmaster, so taking shots at all ranges is quick and easy. Also, the 3-9x magnification range is perfect for those close range (sub-250m) shots that the Bushmaster excels at.

Finally, the lenses use Leupold’s much-beloved Advanced Optic System, which is a series of coatings that, coupled with the way the lenses are ground and polished, makes for an extremely bright optic. 

This is an excellent scope for those low-light shots early in the morning and late afternoon. Legal shooting hours are probably long past if you can’t see your target through this scope. The coatings also reduce glare in direct sunlight, which is great if you’re facing into the sun for a shot.

All in all, the VX-Freedom line is a wonderful choice for any rifle, particularly a hunting rifle, and the .450 Bushmaster version is our number 1 pick for the caliber. 

Pros 

  • .450 Bushmaster reticle and elevation dial
  • Advanced Optic System improves lighting and reduces glare
  • Excellent factory warranty and build-quality

Cons 

  • No 1x zoom level for very close-range shots.

Vortex Optics Strikefire II Red Dot – Best Red Dot

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It’s no secret that I love Vortex Optics for affordable yet high-quality optics, so it makes sense that their Strikefire II red dot is my pick for the best red dot for .450 Bushmaster. 

It’s available in two versions, one that allows you to choose between a red or green dot and another that only has a red dot. Either way, the dot measures 4 MOA and has ten brightness settings. The lenses are fully multi-coated.

The Strikefire II is larger than most red dots, but Vortex did that for a reason. 

It allows the Strikefire II to have a larger field of view than most red dots and also allows it to be mounted with standard 30mm scope rings at virtually any height. It even comes with a lower ⅓ co-witness cantilever ring mount. 

Plus, at 5.6 inches long and 7.2 ounces, it’s still much smaller and lighter than even lightweight scopes while offering unlimited eye relief and being virtually parallax free, like other red dots.

Finally, the Strikefire II is very durable. It’s waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof. It’s also covered by Vortex’s generous VIP Lifetime Warranty that covers not just defects but also accidental damage.

Pros 

  • Large field of view relative to other red dots
  • Smaller and lighter than most scopes
  • Best-in-class warranty

Cons 

  • No intrinsic magnification
  • Larger than other red dots

NightForce SHV 4-14x50mm F1 Illuminated MOAR/Mil-R Reticle – Best High Magnification

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NightForce is known for making some of the most durable optics on the planet and famously has a few scopes that have literally taken a bullet and kept on working, so of course, they have several optics that would work well on a .450 Bushmaster. 

The SHV lineup is Nightforce’s most affordable line, so keep that in mind when you check the price below. Nightforce considers this an “entry-level” scope, but it’s what anyone else would call very, very high-end.

The 4-14x magnification is probably more than you’ll need for hunting, but the extra magnification beyond the standard 9x is excellent, especially if you have less than stellar eyesight. 

The Mil-R reticle is extremely useful and has some handy ranging tools built right in, in addition to the standard mil hashes you can use like a normal mil-dot scope that you might already be familiar with. 

It features a tactile and easily-adjustable elevation turret that is among the best I’ve ever tested (and I’m a colossal optics snob when it comes to long-range optics with target turrets like these). The windage turret is also capped to avoid accidental adjustment. 

This also makes it a good scope to use on various rifles, especially if you’re thinking about just getting the one optic and moving it around if you have a .308 or 6.5CM upper for your AR to go with the Bushmaster one, for example. 

Pros 

  • Insanely Durable
  • More magnification than you’ll ever need

Cons 

  • Magnification might be a bit overkill
  • No 1x on the low end.
  • She’s not cheap

Primary Arms SLx 1-6x24mm SFP Rifle Scope Gen III Illuminated ACSS Predator – Best LPVO

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If you’re looking for an LPVO option, the Primary Arms SLx 1-6x is an excellent choice for the .450 Bushmaster, especially for a more defensive rifle or hunting rifle. 

The 1-6x magnification is perfect for the ranges you’ll be shooting a .450 Bushmaster rifle. It also has an awesome ACSS reticle that can be used as a BDC and as a windage hold compensator, allowing you to shoot moving animals, provided you get the reticle figured out ahead of time.

The ACSS reticle isn’t Bushmaster-specific, but it’s still great for this type of shooting, in my opinion. You just won’t hold right on the line, but a little above or below left or right of it. I promise you’ll have a few rounds of experimentation at the range, and you’ll figure it out. 

And with a big, heavy, but relatively flat-shooting round like the .450, things are dead simple. 

Beyond that, the reticle is illuminated, and the scope gives you a true 1x at the lowest setting, making this a great hog hunting scope. All hunters and even defensive shooters worried about protecting hearth and home will appreciate having a red dot for close encounters.

Then when you need to reach out to the max range of your rifle, just crank the magnification up and go to town. It’s as easy as that, and that’s why we love LPVOs on rifles like this, and the SLx line in particular.

Pros 

  • ACSS Reticle
  • True 1x magnification on the low end

Cons 

  • The reticle isn’t calibrated for the .450 specifically.

Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn 3-9x40mm – Best Budget

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If you’re after a more traditional hunting scope that won’t break the bank, the Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn 3-9x is another go-to recommendation we go with a lot on our rifles. This scope is a highly affordable scope that doesn’t compromise on quality. 

Bushnell nailed the perfect balance of features and materials on this to give us a scope that is extremely stripped down and perfect for the job. They haven’t added too many features or material upgrades that the average shooter may not need.

The “Dusk & Dawn” part is not a reference to a certain George Clooney-lead zombie flick but instead refers to the remarkable lens coatings that Bushnell has developed for hunters. 

The whole optic is designed to draw in as much light as possible to give you the brightest image possible. If you’ve ever watched something big and brown moving in a field but couldn’t take the shot because of poor light, you know exactly how important this is. 

With the Dusk & Dawn edition of the Bushnell Banner, that deer or hog will be much easier to identify so that you can put more meat in the freezer come hunting season.

If you’re after solid, dependable performance in a scope that won’t break the bank, then the Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn is the way to go, in my humble opinion. 

Pros 

  • Very Affordable
  • Dusk & Dawn lens coatings to improve brightness
  • Ideal magnification for most hunting scenarios

Cons 

  • Not a .450 Bushmaster-specific reticle
  • No 1x magnification on the low end.

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-9×50 Straight-Wall BDC

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I love the entire Vortex Optics Crossfire II line, and you’ll see at least one Crossfire II on most of my scope recommendation posts. The line balances cost and quality for a great value with a moderate price point.

For .450 Bushmaster, my preferred Crossfire II model is the Crossfire II 3-9×50 Straight-Wall BDC because it has a BDC reticle specifically optimized for hunting with straight-wall cartridges like .450 Bushmaster. When zeroed at 100 yards, the reticle’s holdover marks are accurate for 150, 200, 250, and 300 yards.

Other than that, it has the same features as any other Crossfire II. These include a fast focus eyepiece, fully multi-coated optics, and capped reset turrets, allowing tool-free indexing. 

As far as durability, Vortex has you well taken care of. The Crossfire II has a single-piece, aircraft-grade aluminum tube with o-ring seals and nitrogen gas purging. This ensures that the scope is waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof. It even has a low glare hard-coat anodized finish. And, like all Vortex products, it’s covered by the company’s VIP Lifetime Warranty.

Pros 

  • Reticle optimized for straight-wall cartridges like .450 Bushmaster
  • Great value
  • Best-in-class warranty
  • Long eye relief

Cons 

  • 3x minimum magnification is on the higher end of what we’d like to see

Vortex Optics Diamondback Riflescope 

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The Diamondback line is another favorite of mine from Vortex. It’s a step up from the Crossfire II in terms of both cost and quality. You spend a bit more but get some features that you don’t with the Crossfire II. 

For .450 Bushmaster, I particularly like the 3-9×40 and 1.75-5×32. The 3-9×40 is available with a Dead-Hold BDC reticle or a V-Plex reticle, while the 1.75-5×32 is only available with the Dead-Hold BDC reticle. 

Regardless of the magnification or reticle, you get the same fully multi-coated optics, fast focus eyepiece, and capped reset turrets that the Crossfire II line offers. You also get the same impressive durability and exceptional warranty. 

The main difference between the Diamondback and Crossfire II lines is that the Diamondback boasts Vortex’s Precision-Glide Erector System, allowing a smoother transition between magnification strengths. 

The Diamondback is also about four ounces lighter and more than an inch shorter when you compare the Diamondback 3-9×40 to the Crossfire II 3-9×50 Straight-Wall BDC. In addition, the Diamondback’s turrets allow for greater elevation and windage adjustment. The Diamondback also has a larger field of view. On the other hand, the Diamondback has about a half-inch less eye relief, though it’s still pretty decent at 3.3 inches.

Pros 

  • Precision-Glide Erector System
  • Large field of view
  • Great value
  • Best-in-class warranty

Cons 

  • Eye relief is a bit shorter than we’d like to see

Burris 3-9x40mm Fullfield II Plex Riflescope

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The Burris 3-9x40mm is another good option for those with a more limited budget, and it was designed with hunters in mind.

It has precision-ground lenses with index-matched, Hi-Lume multicoating to reduce glare and enhance low-light performance. The eyepiece features a no-slip ring, and the scope features positive steel-on-steel adjustments for accuracy.

This scope is also durable, with a nitrogen-filled single-piece tube that uses reinforced quad-seal gas seals. That makes it shockproof, waterproof, and fog proof. 

However, my favorite part of this scope is the Ballistic Plex reticle. This reticle pattern combines the features of BDC and duplex reticles. 

The horizontal and top lines resemble a duplex reticle, with thin centers that thicken away from the center. The bottom line is more like what you’d see on a BDC reticle, with holdover marks for up to 500 yards. 

In theory, anyway. This reticle isn’t optimized for .450 Bushmaster, so you’ll need to figure out how those holdover marks work in the real world.

Pros 

  • Budget-friendly
  • Steel-on-steel adjustments
  • Ballistic Plex reticle

Cons 

  • Eye relief is a little lower than we’d like to see

EOTech Vudu Scope 1-10×28

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If you like the idea of an LPVO but you want something a little more high-end, you almost can’t get a better option than the EOTech Vudu 1-10×28. EOTech is mainly known for their holo sights (which we’ll talk about in the next section), but they also crushed it with this LPVO design.

It’s a first-focal plane scope which is ideal for this kind of optic and long-range shooting, and you have multiple reticle options so you can get the MIL or MOA-style reticle that you’re probably already used to. 

This is one of the better scopes for getting more range out of your .450 Bushmaster rifle because, if you know your ammo, you can calculate the drop out to three or four hundred yards pretty quickly and really get the most out of your rifle. 

The 10x magnification is great for those longer shots, and the 1x is of course perfect for close-in work, making this one of the most versatile optics on this list.

And of course, EOTech nailed the fit and finish, glass quality and coatings, and the feel and adjustability of the turrets. This is one of the best-built optics we’ve tested in recent years, and if I could only have one scope and I had the budget for it, this would be on most of my rifles. 

Pros 

  • It is made of top-notch materials, construction, and design.
  • 1-10x magnification covers the entire range of the .450 Bushmaster
  • Glass coatings draw in a tremendous amount of light for such a small objective lens

Cons 

  • It is a little more expensive than some other options (but you get your money’s worth). 

EOTech EXPS2-0

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If you’re looking for a close-range optic, then a holo sight will be your best option. And there’s no better option on the market than the EOTech EXPS2-0. When you hear someone say they “have an EOTech,” this is generally the optic they mean. 

This is the very near cousin of the EOTech 553 that has been used by the US military (and others) for over a decade, so it’s definitely the most rigorously tested and abused optic on this list. 

And the military keeps buying them. What does that tell you? If Marines can’t break them, I promise you won’t either. 

The sight has a 1 MOA dot in the center and a 50 MOA ring surrounding it that is designed to let you use the sight quickly and efficiently and different ranges. You can use the bottom of the ring to quickly compensate for bullet drop and the left and right edges to compensate for a moving target.

You get 20 brightness settings, including night vision settings, and a battery life that approaches 1000 hours on the 12th setting. The whole optic is also waterproof to 10 feet and comes with EOTech’s premium 10-year limited warranty, so if anything does break, you’re covered. 

Lastly, if something does break, the optic is still usable if the glass is broken or cracked, and you can even use it if the battery dies by flipping up the optional EOTech backup sights that you can get to go with this incredible little holo sight.

Pros 

  • Shoot with both eyes open
  • Holosight is always projected over the target
  • Incredibly lightweight

Cons 

  • No intrinsic magnification.
  • Higher price range

Also Read: 3 MOA vs 6 MOA

Things to Look for in a .450 Bushmaster Scope 

When selecting a scope for your .450 Bushmaster rifle, there are a few things to consider. Let’s take a look at them one by one. 

Magnification

Magnification

.450 Bushmaster is a short-range round, with about 100 to 150 yards being the ideal range, so you don’t need a super powerful scope. 

One with a minimum magnification between 1x and 3x would be great. 4x is the absolute most I’d go for a minimum. A max somewhere around 6x to 9x would suit .450 Bushmaster very well. 

You could even go with a red dot if you’re more interested in a clear, defined sight picture than magnification.

Also Read: 6 Best 1-4x Scope in 2022

Reticle

Reticle

Again, .450 Bushmaster isn’t a long-range round, so you don’t need a complicated reticle. A duplex reticle would work great, but you could also use a simple BDC reticle if you’d like. 

For those not already familiar with the different reticle types, a duplex reticle is very similar to a traditional crosshair. They have thin lines in the center to avoid blocking your view of your target, but the lines thicken a short way from the middle of the reticle so that the reticle is more visible. 

A BDC reticle has marks below the center of the scope to help you compensate for bullet drop over distance. BDC stands for “bullet drop compensation.” There are complicated BDC reticles for precision long-range shooting, but that’s not what you want for .450 Bushmaster. Instead, look for simple ones with holdover marks for ranges up to a few hundred yards.

Depending on what you’re doing with the scope, you may also want an illuminated reticle. Illuminated reticles are much easier to see, especially in darker lighting conditions, like those you are likely to encounter when hunting at dusk or in the early morning.

Optical Quality

The optics’ quality is a massive part of the quality of any scope. Optical quality is generally determined by two things: the quality of the glass used for the lenses and the lens coatings.

Obviously, you want lenses made out of clear, high-quality glass. The primary way to do so is to choose a scope made by a company with a good reputation. Leupold, in particular, is well-known for their glass quality, though they’re far from the only company with high-quality glass. All the scope companies recommended here have good quality glass for the scope’s price point.

But what goes on the lenses is just as important, if not more so. And by that, we mean lens coatings. 

As you probably already know, simply from being a human who has been around glass regularly throughout your life, light reflected on glass can cause a glare. Lens coatings help filter the light before it goes through the lenses, eliminating wavelengths of light that cause glare while allowing as much other light as possible to prevent glare while still allowing for good light transmission.

Beyond this, lens coatings are crucial for image definition and color fidelity. 

Look for scopes that are fully multicoated. This means that they have many layers of coatings that go across the whole surface of the lens for the best performance. 

Generally, you get what you pay for with optical quality. More expensive scopes will typically have lenses made with better quality glass and are more likely to have fully multi-coated lenses and higher quality lens coatings. For budget scopes, you may have to settle for lenses that are fully coated but not multicoated or multicoated but not fully coated.

However, this isn’t a hard and fast rule, and two different scopes at the same price can have very different levels of optical quality. For that reason, it’s essential to read reviews to get a good idea of the scope’s optical quality before you buy. 

Eye Relief

Eye relief is simply the distance between the optical lens and your eye at which you can comfortably view the scope’s entire sight picture. Longer eye relief is good because it allows you to shoot more comfortably without contorting your neck to get close to the scope. Still, it’s also essential for another critical reason: protecting your eye and face.

Recoil is a pretty unavoidable part of shooting, and .450 Bushmaster has fairly heavy recoil, about 45 percent stronger than .308. Recoil pushes your rifle back and your scope goes along with it. 

It can hit you hard if your face is close to your scope. If you’re unlucky, it’ll hit you in the eye and cause severe damage to the sensitive area.

Plenty of eye relief ensures that your scope has enough room to move without hitting anything important. I generally recommend a minimum of 2.5 inches of eye relief, but I really prefer at least 3 inches. 

Parallax

Have you ever looked through a scope and moved your head, causing the reticle to move relative to the sight picture? That’s due to a phenomenon called parallax. 

I won’t get into much detail about why it happens, but it’s because the image projected is too far from the reticle. Most scopes correct for parallax at a certain distance, usually 100 or 150 yards. That’s perfect for .350 Bushmaster, so you shouldn’t worry about parallax with most scopes. 

Still, it’s a good idea to check the scope’s specifications to make sure since some scopes have parallax settings at longer or shorter distances. 

Durability

Finally, you want a durable scope. Your scope should stand up to round after round of shock from recoil. It should also stand up to environmental factors and the drops and bumps that can occur. 

Look for a scope that’s waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof, as well as resistant to high and low temperatures. 

While it may be tempting to go for a cheaper scope that’s not as durable, you’ll typically get better value by going with a more durable scope that’s more expensive. If you buy a cheap and flimsy scope, you’ll have to constantly replace it every few years. However, a more expensive and durable scope will last you decades. 

FAQs 

What is the Best Barrel Length for a 450 Bushmaster?

The ideal barrel length for a .450 Bushmaster rifle is 16 inches. .450 Bushmaster is intended for short range, so you don’t need a particularly long barrel. In addition, the longer the barrel, the less maneuverable the rifle.

What distance should I sight in my 450 Bushmaster?

Since .450 Bushmaster is a short-range round, sighting it in at 100 yards is perfect. That gives you a good buffer on either side, allowing you to take full advantage of .450 Bushmaster’s range.

What is the Best Scope to put on a 450 Bushmaster?

Our pick for the best scope to put on a .450 Bushmaster rifle is the Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9×40 .450 Bushmaster. It’s designed specifically for .450 Bushmaster, with a duplex reticle, fully multicoated optics, and a balanced 3-9x magnification level. 

Also Read: 15 Best Long Range Rifles

Final Thoughts

The .450 Bushmaster is a great round that deserves an equally great scope. Our top pick is the Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9×40 .450 Bushmaster because we think it will work in most situations for the most common use people have for the .450 (hunting).

Whichever scope from this list you go with in the end will have to depend on your personal preferences and the type of shooting you do, but we’ve tested and abused them all to make sure they’ll handle real-world conditions without any issues. All you have to do is decide which one you like the best!

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