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Outdoor Optics Scopes

Best Rifle Scope Under $100 – Top 5 Review with Buying Guide

Air rifles, BB guns, or pellet guns- no matter what you call them, they’re an absolute necessity if you have pests running around your home, garden, or barn.

However, to get rid of the little intruders completely, you’ll have to be accurate with your shots. For this, you need to pair your gun with the best scope.

And today we’re exploring the best rifle scopes under $100 that can get the job done.

Unlike traditional firearms, air rifles have some special requirements that all scopes cannot fulfill.

So, you can’t mount just any riflescope on your air rifle and expect it to produce optimum results.

There are a plethora of options regarding air rifle scopes out there. But there’s no guarantee that all of them will work out for you and your rifle.

Lucky for you, we have brought down the list from thousands to just five. Here, we will review 5 of the best air rifle scopes on the market.

In the reviews, you’ll find a detailed discussion about our experience with those scopes.

Last but not least, there will be a buying guide so you don’t fall for false marketing tricks and can make an informed purchase.

Here Are the Best Rifle Scopes Under $100

01 Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope

Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope

Why It Stands Out to Us

Coming from one of the leading scope manufacturers in the world, the Bushnell Banner comes with all the features and functionalities that make a top air rifle scope.

Designed especially for hunting, this exceptionally well-built scope allows you to magnify the image from 3 to 9 times the actual size.

It features a sleek design and premium build quality that will get you hooked at first sight. With calibrated adjustments, you can make pinpoint changes to the settings.

The Banner mounts on your rifle easily and lets you achieve zero without any hassle. The lens catches even the smallest amount of light, making the scope operate perfectly in low-light situations.

Once you achieve zero, the Banner doesn’t need further adjustments until you want it.

The multi-x reticle does a pretty decent job of keeping you on the target; whether it’s standing still or on the move. Another great fact about the Banner is that it comes at a very low price point.

Overall, this scope is the absolute best rifle scope under $100 you can get for your air rifle.

Our Experience With the Bushnell Banner 3-9X40

Like all Bushnell products, it came with marvelous packaging. The package was properly sealed and the scope inside was completely unharmed.

We loved the simplistic design and the sleek finish of this scope. The matt finish on the one-piece aluminum body gave it an elegant touch.

The weight hinted to us that the Banner was tough enough to withstand quite a few blows.

Attaching the scope to different air rifles was almost effortless. We used the included mounting brackets and screws and they held the scope perfectly with the rifle.

Getting this scope to zero down took less than 20 minutes, which is impressive compared to the other models at this price point.

Once we achieved zero, no adjustments were needed and the scope operated accurately.

Performance with the multi-x reticle was exceptional. Though Bushnell didn’t put lucrative features like dual illumination in the reticle, it did its job perfectly.

The viewpoint was crispy no matter what level of magnification we put it on. The magnification knob was very accurate every time as well.

The lock rings were easily adjustable and the adjustment on them was very accurate. The parallax adjustment was fixed at 100 yards, which seemed perfect for most air rifles.

Though the eye relief was fixed, we found it very forgiving even with glasses on. We loved using the scope in low lights as it attracted light very well and worked great with very little light.

We used the Bushnell Ballistics app to calculate the drop points for different cartridges and the calculations were inch-perfect every time.

After doing several drop tests, we found out that the scope didn’t lose zero. We also conducted different tests to examine the scope’s resistance against water and fog, which showed positive results.

What We Didn’t Like

  • Bushnell didn’t put parallax adjustment or AO in this model.
  • The glass quality wasn’t the best

What Could Be Improved

  • A mil-dot reticle could be included instead of the multi-x reticle
  • Bushnell could have added parallax adjustments


  • Dimensions: 16.3x 2.5x 3.12 inches
  • Weight: 0.81lbs
  • Color: Black
  • Maximum Magnification: 9
  • Minimum Magnification: 3
  • Objective Lens: 40mm
  • Compatible Devices: Rifle


  • Lightweight
  • Amazing matt finish
  • Comfortable eyepiece
  • Pinpoint adjustments
  • Shockproof/weatherproof
  • Exceptional low light capabilities
  • Easily affordable


  • Parallax can’t be adjusted
  • No reticle illumination

02 CVLIFE 3-9×40 Optics R4 Reticle Crosshair Scope with 20mm Free Mounts

CVLIFE 3-9x40 Optics R4 Reticle Crosshair Scope with 20mm Free Mounts

Why It Stands Out to Us

If you want to get the most value for your money, there aren’t a lot of rifle scopes that can compete with the CVLIFE 3-9X40.

It’s so well built that if you put it side by side with another scope that costs 5 times as much, you won’t be able to tell the difference in terms of build quality.

Apart from the build and the design, it features other functionalities that you’d love to have in your scope.

The magnification power on this thing is so sharp that the image looks crispy even on 9x. You’ll find the reticle very user-friendly as it will help you make those inch-perfect shots.

It’s also very easy to mount and to achieve zero with. The included mounting

Most budget-oriented scopes you’ll find on the market will make things worse by trying to cut the corners here and there.

But the CVLIFE 3-9X40 scope is the complete opposite of that as it comes with components like mounting brackets, align keys, and lens covers included in the package.

Overall, it can be a great little addition to your inventory. This is one of the best budget rifle scopes out there.

Our Experience With the CVLIFE 3-9X40

We received the product in perfect condition. For the price, we were surprised by the quality of the packaging.

Two mounting brackets, some paperwork, a pair of lens covers, and an align key were included in the package.

The manufacturers didn’t seem to compromise with the construction at all. It looked like a pretty decent rifle scope and the aluminum body felt very premium as well.

Mounting the scope on any air rifle was child’s play. We also tried mounting it on several heavy firearms and it fit in perfectly with all of them.

It was almost surprising how easily we achieved zero with this thing. It took us less than 15 to get the scope to the perfect measurements that we wanted.

After the scope was zeroed, we didn’t have to make any changes at all.

The magnification power on this scope was exceptionally good. We did notice some blurry images at 12x but that’s common even with the scopes that cost ten times as much as this one.

During our time with the CVLIFE 3-9X40 scope, not even once was it affected by fog.

We dropped it a few times to check if it loses zero but surprisingly it stayed in perfect tuning every time.

Though we noticed a bit of blur in the edges, the center of the viewpoint was crystal clear the entire time. Shots at a 50 yards distance were inch-perfect most of the time.

Considering the fact that most air rifles will be used for hunting within that range, this scope seemed like the perfect choice for any air rifle.

What We Didn’t Like

  • The scope didn’t work great in low lights.
  • The mounting bracket wasn’t top quality and the screws loosened after about 50 shots.

What Could Be Improved

  • The quality of the glass could be enhanced a little.
  • Reticle illumination could be included.

Our Recommendations

  • We suggest you replace the mounting brackets with better ones for optimum performance.


  • Length: 12.2 inches
  • Weight: 0.76lbs
  • Color: Black
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Maximum Magnification: 9x
  • Minimum Magnification: 3x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 40mm


  • Pinpoint adjustments
  • Clear visibility
  • Fog proof
  • Optimum brightness
  • Generous eye box
  • Mounting brackets included
  • Exceptional value for the price


  • Not suitable for low lights

03 UTG 3-9X32 1″ BugBuster Scope, AO, RGB Mil-dot, QD Rings, Black

UTG 3-9X32 1" BugBuster Scope, AO, RGB Mil-dot, QD Rings, Black

Why It Stands Out to Us

Leapers is one of the leading names in the firearm optics industry and the UTG 3-9X32 BugBuster is one of their selling products.

The BugBuster scopes are the absolute best when it comes to close parallax settings. That’s why they’re so popular among air rifle hunters.

This amazing scope does all the things that you can expect from a top-tier rifle scope. For starters, they’re easy to mount on any airguns out there.

Once you’ve achieved zero with them, they become dead accurate on each shot. With the crystal clear viewpoint and pinpoint magnification, we doubt you’ll ever miss the bullseye.

Coming with features like dual illumination and the mil-dot reticle, you wouldn’t miss out on anything with this scope.

Besides, it doesn’t cost you a fortune. So, you won’t have to worry about overpaying as well.

Overall, the UTG 3-9X32 BugBuster can be the best rifle scope under 100 dollars you are looking for!

Our Experience With the UTG 3-9X32 1” BugBuster

The scope came with premium packaging. The glass-clear box was nicely sealed with a clear film, which eliminated any chance of receiving used merchandise.

It’s a great initiative by UTG because the buyer can see the product before opening the box.

In terms of the build quality, we were more than satisfied with the scope. The materials felt solid and the overall design was top-notch as well.

Like all Leapers UTG scopes, mounting this unit on different air rifles was almost child’s play. We made sure that the screws were torqued and tightened and it was all set within minutes.

It took us very little time to adjust and achieve zero with different rifles. We adjusted the vertical axis of the reticle first and then moved on to adjusting the elevation and windage.

The break-in period was shorter than expected. We started with 25 yards and almost 3/4th of the shots went off target. After about 100 rounds, the shots started getting tighter, and at 250 shots, the scope perfectly held zero.

After taking 300 shots, the scope was dead accurate almost every time. We were surprised by the clarity it offered. The reticle was very bright and crystal clear throughout the time.

The BugBuster series has always been the king of close parallax adjustments and the 3-9X32 model was no exception. We could get it as low as 6 yards, which was exceptional.

We noticed that the illumination was a bit too bright and the whole crosshair was illuminated. We would have preferred it better if the center of the reticle was illuminated.

We found the magnification ring to be almost effortless to rotate. The optic was crystal clear from 3x-7x power. However, when we cranked up the magnification to 8x and 9x, the image got a little blurry.

What We Didn’t Like

  • The compact size limited the eye relief.
  • At 8x and 9x magnification, the image looked a little blurry.

What Could Be Improved

  • The illumination could be a little dimmer
  • The manufacturers could have kept the illumination only in the center area.

Our Recommendations

  • Make sure to lock all the screws with Loctite for a better fit.


  • Dimensions: 9.84x 3.35x 3.94
  • Weight: 0.87lbs
  • Color: Black
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 32mm
  • Minimum Magnification: 3
  • Maximum Magnification: 9
  • Material: Aluminium
  • Compatible Devices: Rifle
  • Warranty: Lifetime


  • Great design
  • Excellent build quality
  • Easy mounting
  • Exceptional close parallax adjustments
  • Large FOV
  • Dual illumination
  • Pinpoint magnification
  • One of the best affordable rifle scopes


  • Limited eye relief
  • Gets a bit blurry on 8x and 9x.

04 Pinty 3-9X40 Red Green Rangefinder Illuminated Optical Rifle Scope

Pinty 3-9X40 Red Green Rangefinder Illuminated Optical Rifle Scope

Why It Stands Out to Us

The Pinty 3-9X40 is one of those products that come with a budget price but not a budget quality.

Made from top-shelf aircraft aluminum, this scope is very easy to be mistaken for a flagship rifle scope. It attaches easily to any air rifle you might own and the adjustments on it are very easy as well.

The mil-dot reticle coupled with the dual illumination makes the perfect combo for hunting in low lights.

You can adjust the intensity of the illumination and switch between red or green anytime you want. The clear glass makes it so unlikely for you to miss the sight of your target.

It’s unbelievable how Pinty managed to stack up so many excellent features in this budget-oriented scope.

On top of that, they’ve included so many items in the box that’ll overwhelm any rifle enthusiasts.

Before we head into deeper discussions, all we can say is that this scope can be a great companion to your air rifle any day of the week.

Our Experience With the Pinty 3-9X40

The packaging from Pinty was totally on-spot. We found the scope to be nicely secured with styrofoam in the box.

There were some other tools included in the box like two lens caps, a CR2032 battery, mounting brackets, screws, align key, and a cleaning cloth.

We were very satisfied with the construction and the choice of materials. Everything looked and felt premium as well. Attaching the scope on different air rifles was fairly easy.

However, we noticed that the lens caps touched the rails of some of the firearms when we used the included mounting brackets.

This was by no means a deal-breaker as you’d mostly opt for third-party mounting brackets anyway.

Surprisingly, achieving zero with this model caused us fewer troubles than most of the scopes on this list. It took us 5 rounds to get the scope cited at 25 yards.

After it zeroed in, the scope didn’t need a lot of adjustments and operated perfectly.

In terms of the lens, we cannot say that it was the best we’ve seen but considering the price, it was very good. The glass was crystal clear and we didn’t notice any blur on it.

The mil-dot reticle was one of the best things about this scope. It was very sharp and accurate the entire time. Coupled with the dual illumination, it worked like magic.

Speaking of the illumination, we didn’t expect it to be so good at first.

However, it performed far better than the reticle illumination of most $150 rifle scopes we used. We could cycle through the two colors easily and even change the intensity of the illumination.

It seemed a bit too bright at maximum intensity but you can always lower it or disable it completely.

The Pinty 3-9X40 had an adjustable eye relief that seemed more forgiving than most of the scopes of this range.

What We Didn’t Like

  • Images got a little blurry at 9x magnification
  • The lens caps touched the rails in some rifles.

What Could Be Improved

  • Pinty could have included better mounting brackets
  • The lens caps could be made of better-quality materials

Our Recommendations

  • Make sure to go for better quality mounting brackets because the included ones won’t be able to withstand the bi-directional recoil of air rifles for a long time.


  • Dimensions: 13.8x 3.2x 3 inches
  • Weight: 1.41lbs
  • Material: Aluminum-alloy
  • Color: Black
  • Maximum Magnification: 9
  • Minimum Magnification: 3
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 40mm
  • Available for: Rifles


  • Outstanding build
  • Easy adjustments
  • Dual illumination
  • Crystal clear lenses
  • Lens covers included
  • Great value for the price


  • Mounting brackets need improvement

When You Have a Little More Budget

05 UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope, AO, 36-color Mil-dot, Rings, Black

UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope, AO, 36-color Mil-dot, Rings, Black

Why It Stands Out to Us

The UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope comes loaded with features that all firearm enthusiasts would love.

First off, it’s made of premium materials and the build quality is world-class. You’ll find it very easy to mount a variety of airguns and other firearms.

Once you achieve zero with this scope, you’ll rarely need to adjust it.

The manufacturers have done an exceptional job in sealing the whole thing, making the scope resistant to shocks, fog, dust, and rain.

The scope features a quality mil-dot reticle that will help you stay accurate with each shot.

With adjustments so precise and calibrated, you’ll be able to configure the scope any way you want. You can magnify the viewpoint up to 12x, which will surely be overkill for any air rifles out there.

Last but not least, the UTG 3-12X44 compact scope doesn’t fall too heavy on your wallet. If you’re out there looking for the best cheap rifle scope with a premium spec, this is the one to get.

Our Experience With the UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope

We loved the quality of the packaging. The scope came in a see-through box that was properly sealed. It gave us a great unboxing experience. We were fairly satisfied with the build quality and design of the product. Pretty neat job by UTG.

Though it felt a bit heavy, the scope gave a premium feel to the touch. If you take off the 3” sunshade, it becomes a very compact rifle scope.

Mounting the UTG 3-12X44 was very easy and we could attach it to different air rifles without any hiccups. The scope looked solid while attached to the rifles.

Achieving zero did take some time but when it was zeroed, it rarely needed an adjustment. We shot about 200 rounds before we could zero it completely.

For how low-priced it is, we couldn’t expect a better reticle from the scope. The Hue MOA reticle had dots for measuring the distance. The horizontal lines of the crosshair gave us 20 on each side and the center and the vertical line gave us 40.

The lock rings had very small clicks as the adjustments were extremely precise.

We could return to zero accurately every time we tried configuring the scope. according to one of my colleagues, this is the best scope for air rifle field target practice and hunting.

Where most budget-oriented scopes come with faulty or no illumination, UTG pulled off a decent job in putting excellent dual illumination in the reticle of this model. The illumination wasn’t too bright and worked great in low lights.

We could set the parallax adjustments down to 10 yards, which is often not the case for most rifle scopes out there.

The center point was crystal clear and all the magnification levels worked perfectly all the way up to 12x.

After conducting several drop tests from various heights, we noticed no zero shifts and the scope needed no further adjustments before we could use them again.

What We Didn’t Like

  • The eye box felt a little unforgiving, especially on 12x.
  • Compared to other similar scopes, the FOV seemed a bit low.
  • While testing the dual illumination, we noticed that the red was a bit blurry compared to the green.

What Could Be Improved

  • The field of view could be increased a bit
  • UTG could make the eye box a little more forgiving


  • Dimensions: 10.39x 1.57x 2.09 inches
  • Weight: 1.45lbs
  • Color: Black
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Minimum Magnification: 3
  • Maximum Magnification: 12
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 44mm
  • FOV: 32 feet


  • Holds zero properly
  • Outstanding focus knobs
  • Crispy viewpoint
  • Easy to adjust windage and elevation knobs
  • Quality reticle
  • Highly durable
  • Great pricing


  • Unforgiving eye box
  • A little heavy

Buying Guide to Find the Best Rifle Scope Under $100

best air rifle scope buying guide

1. Airgun Rating

The airgun rating of a scope indicates the compatibility of that scope with an air rifle. This rating is a very important factor and shouldn’t be overlooked while choosing a scope for air rifles.

Whenever you fire an air rifle, the mechanism inside it generates a certain degree of recoil in both the front and back directions.

This bi-directional recoil can damage the quality of any scope that’s not built to withstand such vibrations. Scopes that are tested for such circumstances are rated for air rifles.

Although most scopes you’ll find on today’s market will have the strength to withstand the recoil of an airgun, it’s still important that you check for the airgun rating before making the purchase.

2. Magnification Power

The second thing to consider while buying an air rifle scope is the magnification power.

The magnification power of the scope is usually denoted with descriptions like 4X32, 3-10X44, and so on. But how much power do you really need in your air rifle?

If you look at a deer, which stands 80 feet away through any 4×32 scope, it will appear as if the deer was standing just 20 feet away.

On the flip side, with a 3-10X44 air rifle scope, you can manually adjust the image on the reticle and make it appear anywhere between 8 to 26.6 feet depending on the kind of magnification you’re on.

On an average day, you won’t be going above 200-300 yards with your airgun. So, going for a 3-9X or 12X magnification will be a smart choice.

If you’re looking for the best rifle scope under $100 to use for competitive purposes, we’d recommend purchasing a 5-20X airgun scope.

3. Objective Lens Size

In terms of objective lenses, you’ll have to choose between two options-

i) Large 40-56 millimeter

ii) Small 20-32 millimeter

The size of your objective lens will totally depend on your preferences. However, the size makes a huge difference in the functionality of the scope.

For starters, a bigger lens will attract more light and make the image on the reticle brighter than a smaller lens. Besides, the field of view in bigger lenses will be larger than that of a smaller objective lens.

On the contrary, bigger lenses are heavier and need more space to carry. This can be problematic in the wild, especially when you’re out on your own for days.

Make sure to determine the size that suits you the most before you put your money on an air rifle scope.

4. Parallax Adjustment

Parallax is the most common reason for missing the game. You can’t expect the range of a firearm from an air rifle.

Most experienced and learned airgun hunters get their target within 40 yards. That’s why you’ll see the range of airguns rarely go beyond 50 yards.

However, most air rifle scopes come with parallax adjustments of 50-100 yards. This conflicts with the range of the rifle itself.

That’s why you need to adjust your scope’s parallax settings with the rifle’s range.

Modern airgun scopes feature adjustable objectives- a control knob that allows you to adjust the parallax setting from ten yards to infinity.

5. Reticle

Reticles or crosshairs show the target point in the scope. You’ll find a plethora of options in terms of reticles for air rifles but most of them will merely be an alteration of the two main types-

a) Duplex

Duplex reticles are the most used reticle types for target practice and hunting all over the globe.

These reticles feature a combination of thick and thin crosshairs, which stand out very easily against the target.

The crosshairs appear thick on the sides and as they get closer to the center of the scope and cross each other, they become thin lines. This type makes it easy to take down moving targets.

b) Mil-Dot

The mil-dot reticles work best while shooting long distances. They come with crosshairs that feature .25mm diameter dots on each axis.

These dots can be used to measure the distance and calculate wind drift or bullet drop. Using the mil-dot reticle takes expertise and patience because of the complex mechanics.

However, if you want to make a perfect long-range shot in a windy area, there aren’t many alternatives to the mil-dot reticle.

6. Eye Relief

Despite featuring proper recoil control, most air rifles create a heavy recoil. This calls for certain measurements to protect the eyes from damage.

Besides, powerful scopes with their greater magnification can be harmful to your eyesight.

That’s why manufacturers include eyepieces with their scopes that keep the eye at an optimum distance from the optic.

You can make lateral adjustments while attaching the scope to the gun for the expected amount of eye relief.

Typically 3 to 4 inches is a good distance considering eye relief.

Keep in mind that the more distance you keep between the shooting eye and the scope, the less likely you’ll be to injure yourself.

7. Mounting System

All air rifle scopes need to have a sturdy mounting system for withstanding the bi-directional recoil.

If the mount isn’t strong enough, your scope can lose zero while shooting, which is the last thing any hunter would want.

Our suggestion would be to go for mounts that feature some sort of stop pins that hold the scope tightly and don’t let it move.

Another thing that you need to keep in mind is that one-piece scope mounts are more reliable and stable than two-piece scope rings.

The one-piece mounts might cost you a few extra bucks but the protection they offer cannot be matched with the other types.

8. Price

Air rifle scopes can come in different budget points. Starting from $15, they can cost you up to $4000 if you’re willing to pay that kind of money.

Typically, fixed scopes come cheaper than variable scopes.

Similarly, any scope with more advanced features will cost more than the others available on the market.

Types of Air Rifle Scopes

i) Fixed

The airgun scopes set on a particular magnification level by default are known as fixed scopes.

If the specification of a certain scope contains something like 4X15 or 4X32, that’s definitely a fixed scope.

Here, 4X simply means that any object seen in your viewfinder will be magnified four times bigger than what you’d see with the naked eyes.

The fixed scopes offer some advantages over the other types of scopes.

One of the most notable advantages is that when the fixed scopes are mounted properly, they don’t need a lot of adjusting.

Attach one to your gun and boom! You’re all set.

However, you cannot zoom in or out with these scopes, which is an obvious drawback.

Fixed scopes are perfect for hunting small rodents like mice or rats at a close range.

ii) Variable

These types of air rifle scopes can be manually adjusted and magnified between 3-15 times. Variable scopes are usually denoted with specifications like 3-9X32, 4-16X50, and so on.

If the specification of a variable scope says 4-16X50, then it’ll be able to zoom in or magnify from 4 to 16 times more than the actual image.

Here, the number after the ‘X’ denotes the measurement of the objective lens in millimeters.

Variable scopes are suitable for hunting bigger games at long ranges.

However, there are some disadvantages to these scopes as well. These scopes have a complex mechanism, which needs frequent adjustments.

So, you’ll need more time adjusting them compared to the fixed scopes.


Q. 1: Can air rifle scopes be used on real rifles?

Ans: Though you shouldn’t use firearm scopes on air rifles, you can definitely use an air rifle scope on an actual firearm. Some say that they work even better than firearm scopes because they’re designed to work better with more recoil.

Q. 2: Why does an air rifle need special scopes?

Ans: Air rifles produce heavier bi-directional recoil than actual firearms, which is too much for regular scopes. Manufacturers engineer the air rifle scopes to be strong enough to withstand that two-ways recoil. That’s why air rifles need special scopes.

Q. 3: How far can I shoot with a 4×32 air rifle scope?

Ans: A 4×32 scope should be good for watching targets at a close to mid-range. If your rifle is good at long-range shots, you can hit targets that are 10-300 yards away from you with ease.

About the author

Dan Goldsmith

Hi, this is Dan. We all know firearms are dangerous, but only when one doesn’t know how to use and care for them. I have 30+ years of experience with different types of guns and for the last 10 years, I have taught numerous people how to hold and shoot a gun while staying safe and keeping the surroundings unharmed.

My neighbors are some of my biggest admirers who enjoy talking to me about their guns, firearms safety and maintenance.

Whenever I am able to catch a moment of free time, you will find me enjoying my family or heading to the range on my motorcycle. I have enjoyed shooting sports ever since my dad introduced them to me as a child.

I like to think of myself as an outdoorsman who lives his life to the fullest. I hope you will benefit from my efforts to create valuable resources on this website. Happy reading!

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