With many of my customers buying an air rifle for vermin control I have researched and found 2 very suitable scopes for this exact purpose, they are the Leapers Bug Buster 3-9x32AO and the Hawke Airmax 2-7x32AO. Both these scopes are compact models and rated for spring air rifles with both being guaranteed for life.
The Leapers Bug Buster.
This little Leapers Bug Buster scope (Pt #2505) has grasped my attention like no other scope over the last year as it is full of features. To start with it has an Adjustable Objective to eliminate parallax error with crystal clear focusing. This is done at the front objective bezel rather that the now very common side focus turret. Zoom is a very usable 3-9 with a 32mm objective lens that allows sufficient light entry due to the scope’s short overall length.
The Bug Buster has Mil Dots with a step-less adjustable illuminated reticle in either red or green for low light conditions. However, the best feature of this little scope is the focusing ability from 3 yards (2.74 metres) to infinity. Yup, that is correct, focus down to 2.74 metres that will allow you close up focusing within sheds or around machinery chasing rats. The 10 metre minimum focus on most scopes has always been a contentious issue with guys shooting rats and other vermin within sheds etc., well now you can overcome that hurdle at a price that won’t break the bank.
The construction of this Leapers Bug Buster scope is rugged to put it mildly, it feels every bit a working scope. It comes with 2 piece Leapers UTG mounts that are proving to be very popular with their sharp and effective dovetail claws that limit scope ‘walk-back’ on most springers. The Leapers Bug Buster is manufactured by Leapers UTG who manufacture literally hundreds of shooting accessories and are marketed out of the USA.
The Leapers Bug Buster comes packaged with Picatinny mounts that are swapped out for Leapers UTG 2 piece mounts without price adjustment. The weight of the Leapers Bug Buster is 492 grams with an overall length of 209mm. As far as dedicated scopes go, I give this scope 9.8/10 with negatives being non-etched glass reticle when put alongside the Hawke Airmax.
The Leapers Bug Buster is shown below on a .25 cal AirForce Talon for scalability.
The Hawke Airmax 2-7x32AO.
The smallest of the Hawke Airmax scopes is the 2-7x32AO (Pt#13 100) scope that I thought was really small until I received the Leapers Bug Buster above. Not to detract from the Hawke Airmax, it is a great scope, rugged chassis for heavy recoiling ‘springers’, and top quality optics.
The Hawke Airmax comes with a quality glass etched reticle to withstand sudden recoil redirection with an AMX reticle. The AMX reticle still has Mil Dots but also comes with lower windage bars as below. Focusing is 10 yards (9.14 metres) minimum that is a bit restrictive when shooting small vermin in confined quarters such as sheds.
Unfortunately this little scope does not come with an illuminated reticle or side focus that seems to be on the ‘must have’ list of new scope buyers. That aside, adjusting the objective is no big deal as the scope is very short with a well within reach without having to reposition your hold on the rifle.
The weight of the Airmax is 564 grams with mounts and an overall length of 272mm. As with all Hawke Scopes, these come with a lifetime warranty and are not packaged with mounts. I give this scope 9/10 with the negatives being no illumination, 10 yards minimum focus, weight and length when compared to the Leapers.
Compact Scope Summary.
My ratings are based on the key features of each air rifle scope and a prospective buyer should take this into account. For example, if a non illuminated reticle is what you prefer and if you can work with a 10 yard minimum focus then I say you should buy the Hawke. However, if 3 yards minimal focal distance is what you want then you will need to consider the Leapers Bug Buster.
Overall, both the Hawke Airmax and the Leapers Bug Buster are damn good scopes and that is the reason I carry them.