Can You Use A Rifle Scope On A Shotgun? Find The Answer

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A scope is mostly used for firing specialized slugs. It makes them the equivalent of a large caliber rifle. It also saves you from eye injuries.

A rifle scope is the secret to the success of many experienced hunters & we highly recommend getting one for yourself too. But not everybody owns a rifle, a huge part of them use shotguns for hunting. So the question is, can you use a rifle scope on a shotgun? If you want to know the answer, read on.

Why Do You Need A Rifle Scope?

A rifle scope is a small version of a telescope specially designed for rifles. They are mainly used for their ultra-magnification.

how to zero a scope without firing

Scopes help you aim at your target to the point. You need a focused subject to shoot. So if you choose the wrong scope for your shotgun, it will just make things worse.

Each type of gun has its specific kind of scope. For shotguns, we have shotgun scope. But what happens you want to try out a different scope, such as rifle scope?

Can You Use A Rifle Scope On A Shotgun?

Yes, technically you can! You might be surprised knowing how many people use a rifle scope on their shotgun. Most shooters suggest using a scope in crucial situations. In recent days shotguns are widely used. People keep a shotgun not only for hunting birds & animals but also for security. Also, it is used in shooting competitions.


The type of your scope totally depends on your purpose of using the shotgun. You need a scope that fulfils your requirements properly. Otherwise, it would not be effective.

You need to be certain that your scope suits your shotgun. There are some specific scopes for your shotgun. While buying a rifle scope you need to be careful considering these factors-


Shotgun & rifles vary in their ranges due to their features. As a result, the scope ranges for these are different. Rifle guns can shoot a much longer range than a shotgun. Similarly, the scopes for rifles can cover more range than a shotgun.

A shotgun scope is perfect to shoot within more or less 100 yards. On the other side, rifle scopes can be used out to 700+ yards.

Eye Relief:

Eye relief is the gap from the scope lens to your eyes. Eye relief is a very important factor while using a scope. If the eye relief is huge, you won’t be able to see perfectly. In contrast, if the eye relief is short, then you’ll probably end up hurting your eyes. You should at least have 10 cm eye relief from your scope.


Magnification is the zoom option of your phone camera. It makes you see the subject from a short distance. Rifles can have 9-12X magnification whereas shotguns have about 1-4X magnification. As a matter of fact, you do not need the extra magnification of your scope.

If you are shooting a 5-foot long bag from 40 yards, you can shoot it just aiming correctly. It does not make a difference if you vary some centimetres. In a situation like this, the great magnification of the rifle scope will be of no help.

Field Of View:

Rifle scope provides a larger field of view for sure because of its magnification. But if you are not familiar with rifle scopes on shotgun, this is going to cause trouble for you. You would not know when to magnify or to what extent.


Remember when police shoot the criminal from the helicopter in movies? We all noticed a redpoint chasing the bad guy, right? That red point is the reticle. The reticle is used when you have to shoot something from a farther distance.

The reticles vary from scope to scope. In a shotgun scope, the reticle is not that definite. It can be a cross hair to shoot. But in a rifle scope the reticle is very specific since you need a perfect point to shoot that much distance. So the rifle reticle might be useless or can be a burden while using it on a shotgun.


Rifle scopes are heavier than shotgun scopes. The size & number of the objective lens makes the scope heavier. The objective lens is the outer lens of your scope.

When you put a rifle scope on a shotgun, it makes the gun heavier. This can create a problem during shooting.


Recoil indicates the rebound force of the gun. It is caused by elasticity.

Shooting slugs with shotguns requires extra force than rifles. As you might have experienced, shooting a gun has a back force upon you. When you are shooting continuously with a gun, the extensions might affect you.

Rifle scopes are not familiar with such force. So it can hamper your shooting exactness. Also, can affect the backlash of your weapon.


Most of the rifle scopes are waterproof. This type of lens does not have any gap between the lenses & the housing. It might be great to prevent from water. As a result, you will see it properly during the rain.

Although it has its benefits, waterproof scopes cannot get rid of fogging or condensation. Whenever there is a change in humidity, the scope might get foggy. Each time you move your place, you need to clean your rifle scope.

Using An Optic For Your Rifle Scope

If you want an optic for your rifle scope, you can go for the red dot ones. Surely, they are the most popular one in the market. On a red dot, there is barely any eye relief. It means your eyes will be close to the scope lens. As a result, you get a close-range view of your target.

Using An Optic For Your Rifle Scope

Also, this enables you to get 360 degrees of your surroundings. The interruption that happens in eye relief will be absent here. For this, you can move your shotgun at any angle & will get the perfect point. It may strange you but even this small red dot comes in different features.

Optics can help you shoot in the low light. Even if you are in the dark, you will see the illuminated red dot that will point at your target.

Now, back to the question, can you use rifle scope on a shotgun?

Sure, you can, but you should not. Shotgun & rifles have different manufactures & different usage. Shotguns are usually used for short distance whereas rifles are for longer distance.

Furthermore, it gives pressure to your eyes & creates various risk factors. Shotguns are not what you watch at movies. You actually need to aim to shoot your target. It is best if you use shotgun scopes that are specifically made for your shotgun.

Why Not To Use A Rifle Scope For Your Shotgun?

  • It might not give you exactness of time
  • It can hamper the backlash of your weapon
  • You need previous practice for it
  • It comes with a different viable range
  • It can not cope the force of a shotgun
  • It is heavier
  • Shotgun loses its energy
  • You might not be familiar with it
  • Rifle scopes are expensive than shotgun scope & lastly
  • Rifle scopes are specially made for rifles

When To Use Rifle Scope On A Shotgun?

But if you want to shoot a great distance with our shotgun or you don’t have other scopes, then you can use it. However, there are ranges of rifle scope. If you don’t need to shoot that farther, you can get a low or medium range rifle scope. Also, if you want to use a rifle scope, make sure to do proper research about it.

When To Use Rifle Scope On A Shotgun

Shooting Hacks:

Ask someone which one is the best type of scope for shotgun?

Option A: Shotgun scopes

Option B: Rifle scopes

Option C: Any other scope

Option D: Scopes are unnecessary

I bet you already know the right answer & If anyone chooses option D, just help him to aim better. No scope to hate scopes!

Frequently Asked Questions

Using rifle scopes on shotguns may give rise to a lot of problems. So here’s some questions about rifle scope that our readers have asked us—

What About Recoil When Shot A Rifle Scope On Shotgun?

Recoil is the backward thrust by a rifle scope that occurs as a result of gunshot, and causes an injury to eye or forehead known as scope eyes or scope bite. You can prevent a scope bite by using softer eyepiece and proper positioning.

What You Need To Know About Rifle Scope Vs Shotgun Scope?

A rifle scope has different magnification & mounting mechanism than a shotgun scope and it’s intended to cover more than 300-500 yards where a shotgun scope is perfect to work within 100 yards.

Are There Specific Shotgun Scopes?

Shotgun scopes are totally different from rifle scopes in terms of mechanism & ranging. Shotgun scopes usually have a shorter range between 50-100 yards, and have a suitable mount to fit with a shotgun.

What Makes A Great Shotgun Scope?

A great shotgun scope should have accurate distancing & clear magnification. Also, it should have a proper mount mechanism to fit with the shotgun.

Why A Slug Gun?

A slug gun works like a charm when it comes to shooting slugs accurately. The rifled barrel helps to get better shots just like a rifle, so it can be a great alternative to a shotgun.

Wrapping It Up

Hope you got your answer of “Can you use a rifle scope on a shotgun?”. No matter what scope you use make sure it suits your shotgun & you are familiar with it. Make sure to do a research on your scope before you use it.

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