Cabela’s Inc. was founded in 1961 and is one of the most well-known and largest outdoor recreation companies within the United States. They specialize in the sale of outdoor products using a number of sales channels, including retail stores, direct mail, and online via their excellent website.
The company offers brand-name products as well as third-party products that are made under the Cabela’s brand. But who makes Cabelas scopes?
Let’s find out…
Cabela’s is operated and owned by Bass Pro Shops who acquired them around the end of 2016. Before that, Cabela’s was publicly traded, with a private investment fund owning a substantial share of Cabela’s stock.
Prior to the sale, Cabela’s was not doing too well financially with a loss of market share and declining sales due to competitors like Bass Pro Shops, Gander Mountain, and Field & Stream. The investment company then gave Cabela’s an ultimatum of either being sold off or going into bankruptcy.
Bass Pro Shops bought Cabela’s Inc. and all the assets for 5.5 billion. And due to many successful product lines and a large customer base, Bass Pro decided to retain the Cabela’s brand and carry on operating it under the Bass Pro ownership.
Now that’s covered, let’s get to the actual subject of who exactly makes Cabela’s Scopes?
Cabela’s Do Not Manufacture Any of Their Range of Optics
As with most other major outdoor brands, for example, Bass Pro Shops and Gander Mountain, Cabela’s uses overseas OEM optical manufacturers to make their range of rifle scopes. However, occasionally they will use US manufacturers.
These makers construct the necessary sporting optics, including riflescopes, spotting scopes, and binoculars to the specifications demanded by Cabela’s and then ship the products in Cabela’s branded packaging. This is not uncommon in the sports optics industry as well as in many other industries. And very few major scope brands actually build their own optics.
However, Very Few People Know Who These OEM Manufacturers Are!
Except for the company’s upper management, most of the staff at Cabela’s staff has no idea who produces these scopes. The only exceptions are the co-branded scope models, which are clearly marked.
If you happen to ask the staff who exactly makes Cabela’s line of scopes, they probably won’t be able to answer you with anything but their own personal theories. This is due to the upper management keeping the details of the specific scope manufacturers close to their chest.
While Cabela’s is not allowed to conceal the country of manufacture (the COO) because it has to be shown on the product and/or the product packaging. However, they can keep the specific optics company within a certain country completely confidential.
That’s enough of the background, so let’s move on to the company’s excellent range of scopes, starting with the…
Cabelas Pine Ridge Scopes
This was introduced in the late 1990s and is the company’s range of entry-level scopes. They all feature a 1-inch tube.
They were offered in three versions:
- Standard Pine Ridge
- Pine Ridge RimfirePine Ridge Muzzleloader & Shotgun
Standard Pine Ridge Series
They were offered in 4x, 6x, 2-7x, 3-9x, and 4-12x magnification ranges, all with a duplex reticle.
Pine Ridge Muzzleloader and Shotgun Scopes
As you would expect, these were designed for use with a muzzleloader or shotgun and included 2.5x and 2-7x magnification ranges. They also featured 4-inches of eye relief and a 50-yard fixed parallax.
Pine Ridge Rimfire Scope
Designed for rimfire rifles, these included 4x and 3-9x power ranges. They expanded this line a few years later, featuring a rimfire-specific BDC turret on the 3-9x.
Cabela’s also introduced the Pine Ridge Tactical series very briefly, as well as some multi-caliber scopes with centerfire caliber-based turrets. These were eventually replaced by Cabela’s Multi-Turret scopes, which I shall cover soon.
The entire range of Pine Ridge riflescopes were manufactured in China, and many believe that they were produced by the same Chinese manufacturer as the one that BSA uses.
The optical quality was what you’d expect for an entry-level scope at this price range. The entire range of Pine Ridge scopes was phased out by the end of 2013.
Cabelas Alaskan Guide Scopes
Moving on with my look at Who Makes Cabelas Scopes, this series of rifle scopes hit the market in the early 2000s and was an upgrade from the Pine Ridge scopes. They were offered in five versions, Standard, Compact, 30mm versions, Range finding models, and Shotgun models.
Standard Alaskan Guide
These were built with a 1-inch tube and featured a 1x, 4x, 6x, 3.5-10x, 4.5-14x, and 6.5-20x magnification range.
All the adjustable power range scopes featured an adjustable objective. The reticle options were mainly duplex, but the 6.5-20 scopes were also available in a target dot version and a mil-dot version.
Compact Alaskan Guide
These scopes appeared to be modeled after the Burris range of compact riflescopes. They were also built on a 1-inch tube with 6x, 2-7x, 3-9x, and 4-12x power magnification ranges.
They were only available with a duplex reticle and had a fixed parallax.
30mm Alaskan Guide
As you can tell from the name, these Alaskan Guide scopes featured a 30mm tube and 3-12x, 4.5-14x, and 6.5-20x power ranges.
Rangefinding Alaskan Guide
These were again built on a 1-inch tube with a “rangefinding” reticle that was very similar to Nikon’s early BDC reticle designed to allow the shooter to push a centerfire rifle to distances of around 500 yards.
They were offered in 3-5-10x and 4.5-14x magnification ranges.
Alaskan Guide Shotgun Models
Again built on a 1-inch tube and specifically designed for shotgun use. These were available in 2.5x and 2-7x power ranges.
The entire range came with Cabela’s Diamond reticle with a fixed 75-yard parallax setting.
But where were they made?
The Guide range of riflescopes has an interesting history because the early models were Japanese made at Kenko Optics, while the later ones were Chinese made by Asia Optical.
The Japan-made models were good for money, especially if you happened to get on at a sale price. The optic quality of the Chinese-made scopes was lower, and they were much less bright, lacking the clarity of the Japan-made models. Regardless, the China-made Alaskan Guide riflescopes were still optically better than the Pine Ridge series.
They are comparable to the Sightron SII series, which was also originally made in Japan. The entire range of Alaskan Guide scopes was phased out in December 2012.
Cabelas Outfitter Series Scopes
These were introduced in the early 2000s and were a step up from the Alaskan Guide standard series. They were phased out when Cabela’s introduced their Alaskan Guide Premium series.
They were built on a 1-inch tube and were available in 3-9x, 4-12x, and 6-20x magnification ranges.
Excellent quality for the price…
The Outfitter series provided good quality glass considering their price point and were made in Japan. It is believed that they were produced at the same facility that Bushnell used for their Elite series because the Outfitter scopes look, perform, and feel very similar to the Bushnell Elite 3200.
2014 saw the re-introduction of the Outfitter series with 30mm and 1-inch versions. However, by the end of 2015, the entire line of Outfitter scopes was phased out.
Cabelas Alaskan Guide Premium Scopes
Introduced in 2005, these replaced the Outfitter scopes as Cabela’s top-of-the-line brand scope. They were built on a 1-inch tube and featured better quality glass than the standard Alaskan Guide.
They were available in 3-9x, 4-12x, and 6-20x magnification ranges. With the 4-12 and the 6-20 models having an adjustable objective that could focus down to 50 yards.
These were also manufactured in Japan and looked and performed optically performed very much like the Sightron SII Big Sky scopes. The Big Sky scopes were always an absolute steal, in my opinion, and I still use them regularly.
The Premium Scopes optical quality was far better than the classic Alaskan range but did come at a higher price point.
Cabela’s Instinct Euro Scopes
2009 saw Cabela’s partner with Meopta Optics in order to produce a higher-end range of scopes, the Instinct Euro series. They already had an existing arrangement for binoculars with Meopta, so it seemed reasonable that they should also offer a co-branded series of riflescopes.
These featured a 1-inch tube and were available in 3-9x, 4-12x, and 6-18x power ranges. All featured a duplex reticle or Meopta’s EXT reticle.
They were incredibly similar to the Conquest range of scopes that Meopta produced for Zeiss. The optical quality was extremely good for the price, especially if you caught them at a discount. They phased out in December 2016.
Cabela’s Instinct Euro HD Scopes (Sometimes Referred To As Instinct HD Scopes)
In 2016, Cabela’s renamed the co-branded range of Instinct Euro scopes, now calling them the Instinct Euro HD series. However, some were also sold as the “Cabela’s Instinct HD” scope.
These were built on a 1-inch tube and again manufactured by Meopta Optics. The glass was manufactured in Europe, but they were assembled in the US at the Meopta facility. They were offered in 3-9x, 4.5-14x, and 6.5-20x magnification ranges.
Not much had changed…
They were basically the same as the earlier Instinct Euro series, except that the 4-12x was now 4.5-14x, and the 6-18 version became 6.5-20x.
In addition to the choice of a duplex or the EXT reticle, they added the option of a long-range reticle, the HTR EXT. This incorporated wind drift markings into the horizontal scope post. The 6.5-20 scope featuring the HTR EXT reticle had exposed turrets, while the rest of the range featured capped turrets.
These scopes are equipped with excellent quality glass and are available at an excellent price, if you can find one.
I personally believe that the Instinct Euro HS scope series and the earlier Instinct Euro scopes were the best overall scopes that Cabela’s has ever produced. So, if you can find one, they are well worth buying.
Cabela’s Lever-Action Scopes
In 2007, they introduced a range of scopes built specifically for use with lever-action rifles using Hornady LEVERevolution ammunition. They were caliber specific for .444 Marlin, .30-30 Winchester, and .45-70 Government.
In 2010, the .444 caliber option was removed from the line-up and replaced with a .44 Mag version. In 2011, they added a .308 Marlin Express caliber model.
They were only available in 3-9x configuration and featured reticles with bullet drop compensation out to 300 yards when used with specific bullet grain Hornady LEVERevolution ammo. For example, the .44 Magnum was exclusively designed to work with 225-grain LEVERevolution ammo.
All the Lever-Action scopes were manufactured in China.
If you need a Lever Action scope, this…
…is an excellent option.
Cabela’s Alpha Series of Scopes
Next, in my article on Who Makes Cabelas Scopes, and introduced to the market in 2010, these were again built on a 1-inch tube and featured the DOA-600 or Cabela’s EXT reticle. They were available in 3-9x, 3-12x, and 4-12x power magnifications.
They were geared as an entry-level scope designed for centerfire rifles featuring limited BDC functionality. And were manufactured in China.
Cabela’s Caliber Specific Scopes
Also, introduced in 2010, these were designed for specific calibers and featured the EXT reticle offering bullet drop compensation capability at particular distances.
Built on a 1-inch tube, they were available for 22LR, 17 HMR, 22 Mag, and .223. They were only available with a 3-9x power configuration.
In 2012, Cabela’s renamed the rimfire versions as the Caliber Specific Rimfire scopes. They also expanded the range to include popular centerfire rifle calibers, including .223, .243 Winchester, .270 Winchester, and .30-06 Springfield.
They are all produced in China and come from the same factory that produces the Tasco line of rifle scopes. These entry-level scopes are popular due to their caliber-specific BDC reticle functionality. However, the optical quality is not that impressive.
If you’re after some of the best budget Cabela’s scopes for specific calibers that you can buy, then check out the…
Cabela’s Caliber Specific Rimfire Scopes
These were initially part of a caliber-specific riflescope range. But, in 2012, Cabela’s made them available as a stand-alone series, the Caliber Specific Rimfire Scopes.
Again featuring a 1-inch tube, they were only available in a 3-9x configuration with 22LR, 22 Mag, and 17 HMR rimfire caliber-specific versions. The reticle has bullet drop compensation functionality that is caliber-specific and based on the caliber, weight, and speed of the bullet.
These are entry-level scopes with entry-level glass that is sourced from China.
Here are a few of the very popular Best Budget Cabela’s Rimfire Scope options…
Cabela’s Multi-Turret Scopes
Initially introduced in 2007, these were offered in three series, the…
- Cabela’s Tactical Rimfire Multi-Turret Scope
- Cabela’s Tactical Big Game Multi-Turret Scope
- Cabela’s Tactical Centerfire Multi-Turret Scope
They featured specific caliber-based turrets that, when configured and zeroed correctly, allow the shooter to dial in the turret for specific target distances with pre-configured bullet drop.
Let’s start by taking a look at the…
Cabela’s Tactical Rimfire Multi-Turret Scope
These featured caliber-based turrets for .17 HMR with 17 grain bullet, .22 Hornet with 35 grain Hornady V-Max bullet, .17 Mach 2 with 17 grain bullet, .22 LR with 40 grain bullet, and .22 Mag with 40 grain HP bullet.
Using a 1-inch tube, they were available in a 3-9x configuration that could dial out to 200 yards.
Cabela’s Tactical Big Game Multi-Turret Scope
This featured caliber-based turrets for .243 with 100-grain bullet, .270 with a 130 or 150-grain bullet, .30-06 with a 165 or 180-grain bullet, and .300 Winchester Mag with 180-grain bullet calibers.
The first generation was offered in 3-9x and 3-12x versions with the ability to dial out to 500 yards. The most recent version is only available in a 3-12x configuration for .223 Remington, .243 Winchester, .270 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, and .300 Winchester Mag. calibers.
Every turret is specifically designed to work with a specific brand of ammunition at a particular bullet weight. For example, the .243 version is calibrated for 100-gr. Rem. Core-Lokt, 100-gr. Winchester Super-X, 80-gr. Winchester Super-X, 80-gr. Federal Power-Shok, 100-gr. Federal Power-Shok, and 100-gr. Herter’s.
Cabela’s Tactical Centerfire Multi-Turret Scope
This scope used caliber-based turrets for .204 with a 32 or 40 grain bullet, .223 with a 50, 55, or 60 grain bullet, or .22-250 with a 50 or 55 grain bullet calibers.
The first generation came in in 3-9 and 3-12 versions with the ability to dial out to 400 yards.
This series was made in China.
Cabela’s Muzzleloader Scope
These are yet again built on a 1-inch tube and are also manufactured in China. A superb affordable Muzzleloader scope option is the…
Cabela’s Slugger Shotgun Scope
Introduced in 2009, these scopes were specifically designed for shotgun use with a rifled barrel and shooting sabot-style slugs. It was only available in a 3-9x magnification and used an EXT reticle that featured bullet drop compensation marks in 100-yard variables.
Built on a 1-inch tube, it features 4 inches of eye relief. It functions and looks very similar to the Nikon’s Slughunter riflescopes. Phased out in December 2013, it was replaced by Cabela’s Slug Shotgun scopes.
Both the Slugger scopes and Cabela’s Slug Shotgun scopes were produced in China.
If you’re after a high quality affordable shotgun scope, go for the…
Cabela’s Covenant Tactical Scopes
Introduced in 2016, the Cabela’s Covenant Tactical scopes came in two series:
- Covenant Tactical FFP Scopes
- Covenant Tactical SFP Scopes
They were built on a 30mm tube and offered many features not available on any of Cabela’s previous scope models.
Covenant Tactical FFP Scopes
These were the first scopes that Cabela’s ever offered with a first focal plane design. They were available in 4-16x and 6-24x magnification ranges.
They also featured a side focus that would go down to 15 yards and Cabela’s FFP reticle option.
Covenant Tactical SFP Scopes
Very similar to the FFP scopes but with a second focal plane (SFP) design coming with 4-16x and 6-24x magnifications ranges. These also featured a side focus design that would go down to 15 yards, as well as a TAC-32 Christmas tree-style reticle.
Both versions were made in China in the same facility that makes the Vortex Diamondback scopes. These scopes, therefore, look very similar to the Vortex Diamondback and Vortex Diamondback Tactical riflescopes.
Here are two excellent examples…
Cabela’s Covenant 5 Scope
Introduced in 2019, this series of 30mm scopes is available in both SFP and FFP versions. They were marketed as an improvement in glass quality over the standard Cabela’s Covenant scopes.
Covenant 5 SFP Scopes
These were available with 3-15x with Cabela’s TAC-10S MIL reticle and 5-25x with Cabela’s TAC-6 MIL reticle.
Covenant 5 FFP Scopes
Available in either 3-15x or 5-25x and both featuring Cabela’s TAC-10 MIL FFP reticle.
All of these are built in China.
Here’s are five excellent Covenant 5 scopes that are currently available:
Cabela’s Covenant 7 Scopes
Introduced a few years ago in 2019, this series of scopes are built on a 34mm tube and feature upgraded optical quality and magnification over the standard Covenant and the Covenant 5 scopes. They also come in SFP and FFP versions.
Covenant 7 SFP Scopes
These are available in 3-21x and 5-35x magnifications, featuring Cabela’s TAC-8 SFP MIL reticle.
Covenant 7 FFP Scopes
These are also available in 3-21x or 5-35x magnifications, but this time feature Cabela’s TAC-10 FFP MIL reticle.
All the scopes in this range are made in China.
Here are a few good quality options that are currently available…
Cabela’s CX PRO HD Scope
Also introduced in 2019, this scope is designed for long-range shooting, precision shooting, and tactical shooting. Built on a 34mm tube, it is only available in an FFP 5-25x56mm configuration with Cabela’s FFP MRAD or FFP MOA reticle.
It’s produced in the Superior Lens facility in China, and the glass is surprisingly good considering that it’s a $600 to $800 Chinese-made scope.
If you’re in the market for a CX Pro HD, check out the…
Let’s now end my look at Cabelas Scopes with some frequently asked questions…
Who Makes Cabelas Scopes FAQ’s
Does Vortex make Cabela’s scopes?
Vortex Optics have only officially manufactured one scope for Cabela’s; the co-branded model named the Cabelas Intrepid HD Scope by Vortex. Vortex Optics was listed as being the manufacturer of this scope.
However, because Vortex Optics do not officially manufacture their own line of scopes, it is possible that some of Cabela’s scopes are manufactured in the same place as the Vortex riflescopes.
Which company makes rifle scopes for Cabela’s?
That’s a very tricky question to answer because Cabela’s has a wide range of branded rifle scopes from several different sources. Some are co-branded models that are made by mainstream brands such as Vortex or Meopta Optics.
Aside from these, most of Cabela’s scopes are manufactured at various optical facilities in China. And a few of the higher-end scopes were manufactured in Japan.
Is the Cabelas EXT reticle any good?
The EXT reticle design is not owned by Cabela’s, and many other riflescope brands offer an EXT reticle version.
It features bullet drop compensation marks positioned on the lower portion of the vertical axis of the reticle. When correctly configured, these are used to compensate for bullet drop when shooting over longer distances.
I personally like the EXT reticle because it’s basically a modified BDC reticle, and is therefore superb for target shooting and hunting. However, if you don’t need the BDC functionality, the EXT reticle will still work as a traditional duplex. The only drawback to the design is that it doesn’t offer any marks on the horizontal reticle axis for wind drift at longer ranges.
Are Cabela’s scopes good?
Some of Cabela’s scopes, such as the ones made by Meopta and Vortex, have good to excellent performance and optical quality. And most of the scopes made in Japan also feature excellent optical quality for the money.
However, most of made in China scopes are middle-of-the-road to lower-end optical quality.
Therefore, depending on which exact scope it is, it could be good, mediocre, below average, or not very good at all. As with most things, the better-quality scopes will cost more than the lower-quality ones on both the new and used market.
Where are Cabelas Covenant scopes made?
These are available in a few different versions, including Covenant Tactical, Covenant 5 FFP, and Covenant 7 FFP. All are made in an optical manufacturing facility in China.
Does Leupold make any scopes for Cabela’s?
Leupold doesn’t and hasn’t ever produced any scopes for Cabela’s. However, in 2017, they introduced the Leupold American Marksman, which was originally only available as a Cabela’s exclusive.
That’s as close as Leupold has ever been to producing a Cabela’s branded rifle scope.
Looking for Some Quality Scope Options?
Then it’s time you checked out our reviews of the Best Deer Hunting Scopes, the Best Scout Scopes, the Best 308 Rifles Scopes, the Best Scopes for AR15 under 100 Dollars, the Best Mil Dot Scopes, and the Best 300 Win Mag Scopes currently on the market.
Finally, coming to the end of my epic journey through the history of Cabela’s scopes, and who and where they were made, you should now have a good insight into what’s what and what you should be spending your money on.
In terms of my personal favorites, if you can get hold of one, any of the…
Cabelas Alaskan Guide Premium Scopes
…are superb quality and an excellent choice for the money.
But in terms of the overall best Cabela’s Scopes of all time, it’s very hard to beat the…
Happy and safe shooting.