Best Rifle Scope for Deer Hunting | Tree Stand Hunting

The time is finally here for cleaning your rifles, zeroing your scopes, and getting your clothes ready for the tree stand.

I took these pictures after my last hunt on Halloween. As the leaves fall and the air turns a little colder I know the show has finally arrived for whitetail rifle season in Virginia. 

Forest View fall colors
Forest View fall colors

To say that I’m excited about rifle season would be an understatement. I’ve already been in the tree stands for about a month with archery season. However, As much as I love archery season, there is no season like rifle season for whitetail deer. 

I just recently bought 2 rifle scopes from Crimson Trace for my Muzzleloader and 30-06 Springfield rifle. There is a lot of debate on which scope is the best for hunting deer in a treestand, but I think the best rifle scopes for deer hunting in a tree stand is either the 2.5-10mm or the 3-9mm scope

I’ve decided to mount the scopes to my 30-06 Springfield to figure out which is the best one for hunting in my tree stands across my property. For this blog, I will keep the focus on the 2.5-10x42mm Brushline Pro Plex riflescope

Brushline Pro Riflescope

at Amazon
Prices accurate at time of writing

What is a 2.5-10x42mm Rifle Scope?

There are so many different magnifications of scopes on the market that it can be difficult to understand what you need for your environment. I think it’s important to start from the beginning to better understand the basics of your gear.

A 2.5 magnification means that at the lowest setting, this scope will display a 2.5x magnification from your naked eye. The 10x means that the scope can be adjusted to show the image at 10x your vision with a naked eye

A 2.5-10 riflescope is perfect for close to moderate ranges in the dense forests that blanket our nation from east to west. 42mm is the diameter of the window you’re looking through on the scope.

The average is a 40mm objective lens, but a 42mm window is great for faster target acquisition and allows for longer eye relief. For example, the average eye relief for most scopes is 3.5", but the Brushline Pro Plex provides a 3.8-4" eye relief, which is perfect for hunting in tight quarters (tree stand). 

Brushline Pro Plex

at Crimson Trace
Prices accurate at time of writing

What is a Variable Zoom Scope?

Sometimes it’s best to just define common words and phrases that we use in the industry that not everyone fully understands. It bothers me when beginners are made to feel bad about not knowing all the lingo that hunters and gut nuts use. I think many of us that write and talk about guns all day forget that we had to start from the beginning at some point too.

With that, a variable zoom scope is a scope that doesn’t have fixed magnification. For example, a variable zoom scope is going to have a lens that can move from one magnification level to the next with an adjustment on the scope. Hence, a 2.5-10x42mm riflescope is a variable zoom scope. 

What is the Brushline Pro 2.5-10x42mm Plex Riflescope?

The Brushline Pro Plex Riflescope with a 2.5-10 magnification is built to shoot deer from right below their feet to 250 yards. As you can see from the box below, each one of the Crimson Trace scopes that I’ve bought come packaged like this. They have it secured and protected with 3-layers of packaging to ensure that the scope arrives in mint condition every time.

One thing I’ve always appreciated was how much care Crimson Trace puts into the lowest-priced scopes. To me, it shows that even the products that are not premium are still important to Crimson Trace. It not only shows in their packaging but also in the ease and effectiveness of the scope. 


Crimson Trace Riflescope Plex 2.5-10x42mm top view

The Plex reticle is the star of this scope with the level of clarity and contrast it displays through the lens. You can adjust the strength of the Plex reticle with the front knob (ReticleFocus/DiopterAdjustment). For example, if you’re shooting at the first light or the golden hour, a traditional Mil-dot reticle can be too faint at further distances.

The Plex reticle allows me to adjust the focus of the reticle to adapt to the scope of how the eye takes in light. What you get as you look through the scope is a crystal clear sight picture with a reticle that seems to be especially focused at the center. 



Brushline Pro Plex 2.5-10 Scope 
Focal Plane2nd Focal Plane 
MaterialAerospace Aluminum
Eye Relief3.8-4"
Objective Lens Diameter42mm
Tube Diameter1"
Click Value1/4 MOA
Light Transmittance90%
Weight1.04 lbs (16.6 Oz) 
Lens CoatingMulti-coated (Green)
Rear Mounting Length2.0"
Front Mounting Length2.2"
Windage90 MOA
Elevation90 MOA
Side Parallax100 yards
Max Field of View40.3 ft.
Min Field of View10.1 ft.


  • Affordable
  • Big open objective lens diameter for easier target acquisition
  • Plex reticle is great for low light and close ranges
  • Durable construction with aerospace-grade aluminum
  • Zeroed within 3 shots


  • 100-yard side parallax

Winchester Model 70 30-06 Springfield

Prices accurate at time of writing

Why Did Choose the 2.5-10mm Brushline Pro Scope?

When hunting from a tree stand you have very limited movement and shooting windows available. A 2.5-10mm riflescope gives me a shooting window that is wide enough to focus from 15-25 yards and adjust to see at 80-100 yards

Gatorz Delta Sunglasses
photo courtesy of Arnie Bohanan

As you can see from my pictures in my treestand, I’m not going to get a great shot past 60-80 yards in the dense forest. The 2.5-10 magnification gives me the best chance to get a clear and perfect shot on a deer in the short lanes that I have to shoot.

The 42mm objective view is perfect for when a deer suddenly walks from behind you at 10-25 yards. The Brushline Pro Plex gives me an advantage in target acquisition time and the stability to take an ethical shot as quickly as possible. 

The woodlands and forests across our country are vastly different, but many are just as dense as the others. Anytime we have short and narrow windows to shoot through, the level of magnification needs to come down

Brushline Pro Plex Reticle

My Top 3 Reasons I Chose the Brushline Pro Plex Scope

  1. The Plex reticle- Probably my favorite reticle to use in low-light environments. I have artificial lenses in my eyes and many reticles are difficult for me to see in low lighting. The Plex crosshairs can be adjusted to provide a solid black crosshair that makes it easier to see the contrast. 
  2. Incredibly Priced– When I saw this scope listed on Amazon for $167.99, I thought it was mistyped. I’ve never had a scope of this quality for under $400. The clear level of contrast from the Crimson Trace Plex reticle is worth the MSRP alone. The clean packaging and care they put into shipping show they care about their products. Everything about this scope feels great, from the unboxing to the installation. 
  3. Durability– The durability is unmatched for a riflescope in the $300 price range. I live and hunt in the woodlands of Virginia and I’m always in rain, snow, sleet, hail, or high winds. I must have a scope that can handle the elements and not bust if my rifle drops. 

Where Can I Buy The Brushline Pro Plex Scope?

Brushline Pro 2.5-10x42mm Plex Scope

at Amazon
Prices accurate at time of writing

What is a Second Focal Plane Scope (SFP)?

The main thing to understand about an SFP scope is the reticle will always appear to be the same size, regardless of magnification status. An SFP scope is what most American hunters use, especially out in the midwest and the eastern Appalachian Mountains. 

The SFP scope is perfect for tree stand hunting because we’re not going to be taking far shots anyway. We don’t need the assistance in long-range shooting that the First Focal Plane (FFP) scope offers. As many people as I know that hunt in tree stands, I’ve never heard of anyone I know that has taken above 100 yards shot from a tree stand in the forest.


Second Focal Plane
Photo courtesy of

How Do I Zero a Crimson Trace Brushline Pro Rifle Scope?

Mounting a scope always seemed to be a more difficult task than it is if you have the right tools. I use the Wheeler F.A.T. Wrench and it saves me time, stress, and money when I mount a new scope. 

Professional Scope Mounting Kit

at Wheeler
Prices accurate at time of writing

One of the biggest complaints I get from people is how difficult it is to zero a Crimson Trace scope. I have to agree that it can be difficult to zero, but only if you don’t read the manual.

I’ve mentioned this in my CT Brushline Pro | Best Scope Under $600, but you really need to read the manual before you get started. You have to think about how every company builds its scope a little differently, so the installation and zeroing methods are going to be different. Follow these steps and you’ll be zeroed within 3 shots (Maybe 6, depending on skill level). 

  1. Place the scope on the lower ring slot and loosely place the top ring over the body to help stabilize the scope while you set your eye relief.

F.A.T. Wrench installing Brushline Pro Scope

 2. Set the magnification set to 10x.

Brushline Pro Reticle Focus/Diopter Adjustment

 3. Set your eye relief by taking a firing position and sliding the scope back and forth until you get about 3.5" between your eye and the scope. You know it’s the right position once you have a full field of view through the scope. 

 4. This is the super important part, ALWAYS check to see if your reticle is balanced and in line with the barrel of the rifle. 

 5. Focus the Plex Reticle on whatever brightness setting is most clear and comfortable for you.

 6. Use the F.A.T. Wrench to tighten the screws to exactly 18 lbs-force torque and secure the housing screws.

F.A.T. Wrench installing Brushline Pro Scope

 7. Take 3 shots at a single target and don’t take a break to check each shot. 

 8. After your first 3 shots, adjust the Windage and Elevation turrets to zero in your scope to your rifle. 

 9. Normally, I’d take at least 2 more shots if I had any doubts to be sure I’m on target. 

Brushline Pro 2.5-10x42mm Plex Scope

at Amazon
Prices accurate at time of writing

Federal Power-Shok .308 Ammo

When it comes to commercial ammo, one of the most trusted companies is Federal ammo. I use the Federal Power-Shok ammo chambered in 30-06 and I’ve always done well with my accuracy and stopping power. I try to reload my own ammo and Federal has great brass to do that with and save you a lot of money buying brass. For $28.99 for a box of 20 rounds is a good deal in this economy. 

Federal Power-Shok .308 Ammo

at Kentucky Gun Company
Prices accurate at time of writing

Which Tree Stand Do I Recommend?

Everyone is may look for different features in a tree stand while hunting, but they’re not all created equal, and sure as hell not all of them are worth your money. My favorite ladder tree stand is the Hawk Big Denali 1.5 Man Ladder Tree Stand.  Tree stands are not like ground blinds because if a ground blind tips over, you lose the element of surprise, but if a tree stands tips over, you could lose your life. 

Tree Stand Pic with Crimson Trace Brushline Pro Scope

This is why you’re going to want to spend the extra $100 and get a stand that can hold at least 300 lbs and is made of stainless steel or another strong and flexible metal. I’m only 170 lbs, but with my gear and rifle, I’m probably around 190 (on a cold day). Having a stand that is capable of holding my weight with no issue is the most valuable feature of a tree stand. 

Most tree stands are between 9 ft-20 ft, but you should always go with what works best in your environment. If the trees are too dense at 20′ ft, go with a shorter stand to provide the best view of your terrain. Personally, I always prefer a taller stand because it puts me above the deer enough to avoid my scent from being picked up easily. The higher you are in the trees, the more likely you will get a deer. 

Why Would I get the Hawk Big Denali 1.5 Man Ladder Tree Stand?

I love the 2 ft width on the tree stand platform because it offers better stability as I’m climbing up and down the ladder. A wider base is going to give you better comfort for long hunts in the tree stands. 

The seat is made of Mesh to offer comfort and rigidity so you can sit up comfortably without feeling like you’re falling into the seat. The seat is made to be XXL to provide even the biggest hunters room to sit and lounge out on the trees while animals roam below. 

Attaching a ladder tree stand normally takes 2 people to set up a higher platform in the trees. The Hawk Big Denali 1.5 Man Ladder Tree Stand has rigid and durable teeth that dig into the tree for optimal grip. They also have a great tension system with the straps provided to add more stability in peace of mind while 20′ above the tree.

My favorite feature is the adjustable bar with a foam waterproof pad to rest your rifle or bow while you wait. I use the adjustable padded bar as a shooting rest because I’m able to line up my rifle with any angle in front of me. It also has a full-body safety harness included in the price, which is a great deal considering what you get and how comfortable it is. 

Hawk Big Denali 1.5 Man Ladder Tree Stand

at Sportsmans Warehouse
Prices accurate at time of writing

Stay Tuned to the RE Factor Tactical Blog and be part of this all VETERAN-run website. Be sure to follow us on FacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn for exclusive content and deals.

Visit our Amazon Influencer Page for more products we recommend:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *