Looking for a new scope for your 22 or 22lr rifle? Wondering what the difference is between a scope that retails for $29 and one that costs $1,000 or even $2,000? From a distance, they all look fairly similar, but the performance can vary drastically, even among similarly priced scopes.

In this article, we’ll share our top picks for the best 22 and 22lr scopes. We’ve narrowed down the field from hundreds to a handful that we feel perform well and provide exceptional value for their price you’ll pay.

Before you begin shopping for a scope, it helps to recognize what kind of shooter you are, your skill level, your shooting conditions, and, of course, your budget. Generally speaking, people choose to mount a scope on their rifle for two reasons:

  1. It’s faster (and easier) to look through the scope at your target than lining up the front and rear sights.
  2. Scopes can provide magnification of the target, which increases your ability to shoot accurately.

However, given the performance differences and the variety of feature sets between scopes, a model that fits someone else’s needs might not be the best choice for you. Some hunters in extreme weather conditions need superior glass clarity, while others who hunt early in the morning might want something that performs best in low light conditions. As we evaluate each of the scopes on or list, we’ll also identify what type of person each one will suit best.

PhotoBrandRatingOur ChoiceWhere To Buy
Bushnell 3.5 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
BSA4 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
Vortex 4.5 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
Leupold5 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
Nikon4.5 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
Simmons4 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
Nikon4.5 Star RatingBuy on Amazon

Best Scopes for a Rimfire 22lr Rifle

The key to getting the best scope for your needs is to know what you’re looking for, and we’ll help you determine that, which will allow you to narrow down the field.

The first thing to answer is what your shooting style is. Are you a small game hunter, a big game hunter, a target shooter or a plinker? Then honestly assess your shooting capabilities as some scopes on our list are ideal for novices while others will be best appreciated by intermediate or advanced shooters.

As you go through our list of top picks, we’ll be discussing a variety of specifications. Here’s a list of features and specs you may want to consider as you shop:

Magnification: Also referred to as power, the numbers you see in the model number indicate the level of magnification of the lens. For example, a 3-9X means that the magnification can be set to three to nine times normal size.

In general, the higher the magnification number, the more expensive the piece, though not all brands perform well at high numbers. For this article, we reviewed variable power scopes, which allow you to set a range of power so that you can turn it down for close shots and turn it up for longer shot distances.


Objective Lens: this is the lens at the end of the scope that allows light to pass through. The larger the number in mm, the bigger the lens and the more light that passes through. Usually, the higher the power of the scope, the larger the lens, though there are exceptions.

Adjustment Dials: Also referred to as turrets, these allow you to make adjustments for whether you want your bullet’s impact to land left or right (windage) or up or down (elevation). Each company has different ways of displaying this information, and some controls are more user-friendly than others.

Reticle: Also known as crosshairs, there are several types available, ranging from simple lines to complex dashboards displaying a lot of information. Some have dots that display that bullet drop compensations while others have a single red dot in the middle. And still, others can be illuminated.

Weight: Most people agree that the lighter the weight of your equipment, the better. As you’re lagging gear around or taking aim, being weighed down can affect your comfort, enjoyment, and performance. In recent years, advancements in the industry have been made that have allowed scopes to be lighter than ever.

Eye Relief: This measurement is the distance from your eye to the ocular lens once you’ve properly positioned your eye. You need an ample distance here to prevent the scope from hitting you in the eyebrow or forehead when you aim your gun.

Parallax Error Compensation: As magnification increases, scopes are subject to something called parallax error, which can throw off your accuracy. In the everyday world, we experience this when we sit in the passenger seat of a car, and we view the speedometer. The speed we see will be different (and not accurate) than what the driver sees.

Correcting for parallax gives you the “driver’s seat” view, which is accurate. Without compensation for parallax error at high magnifications, your shots would also be off. However, lower magnifications are usually not subject to this type of error.

Clarity: Most scopes today provide an adequate level of clarity in the glass, but some manufacturers do a much better job here than others. We’ll discuss this feature in each of our product reviews below.

Field of View: the width of the viewing area in feet when you look through the scope from 100 yards. As your magnification increases, your field of view will naturally decrease, but a quality scope will give you a good starting point, and the larger the field of view, the better.

Durability and craftsmanship: All of the scopes on our list earn top marks for providing excellent warranties and replacements. However, this won’t do you much good if you’re in the middle of expedition hundreds of miles from civilization. That’s why we also believe purchasing a scope that’s durable and expertly crafted is key.

This includes not only durability, but also having glass that’s coated properly to avoid view obstruction from water or fog.

Top Scopes for the .22lr Rifle

Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn 4-12x40mm Riflescope

The Bushnell 4-12x40 gets top marks, and it is considered one of the best scopes available for the price point. It has the features and performance of riflescopes that cost twice as much.

It also helps to consider that Bushnell has over 65 years of experience in high-performance sports optics, not only in hunting, but also spectator sports, fishing, stargazing, and nature study. They’ve mastered both the art and science of focus, durability, and usability.

One of the things we appreciate most about this Bushnell scope is its flexibility and versatility. The variable zoom of 4 to 12X makes it suitable for most conditions. Plus, the larger 40mm objective lens allows more light to pass through, providing a brighter and clearer image in low-light conditions. The objective lens also allows for parallax corrections, increasing your shot accuracy for long range attempts.

To ensure good visibility in all light and weather conditions, the Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Riflescope has multi-coated lenses. In addition to improving light visibility, this coating also resists fog and water, which would ordinarily cloud your field of vision.

All in all, this scope is one of the top choices for hunters, especially those looking for a versatile piece of equipment. As the name suggests, the dusk and dawn hours are where this riflescope shines. Though the price point is relatively modest, its performance competes with models that are twice the price.

Specs:

Magnification: Variable zoom 4-12X

Objective lens: 40mm

Reticle: Multi-X

Length: 12 inches

Weight: 15 ounces

Eye relief: 3.3 inches

Field of view: 29 ft at 100 yards (4x) | 11 ft at 100 yards (12x)

Adjustments: 1/4 MOA fingertip windage and elevation adjustments

Parallax Focus: From 100 yard-infinity

Pros:

Cons:

BSA Sweet 22 Rifle Scope

The BSA Sweet Series 22 rifle scopes were originally designed for military sniper applications due to their trajectory compensation, but they are now becoming increasingly popular among hunters and target shooters as well.

This series comes in several magnification options, but for the purpose of this review, we evaluated the 3-9X variable magnification. Other magnifications available include 2-7x, 4-12x, and 6-18x. There are also fixed magnifications available.

Though this item comes at a lower price point, it performs exceptionally well in terms of optics, getting favorable feedback for clarity. BSA as a whole seems to have made recent improvements in this area. It also boasts remarkably accurate turret calibration, and the clicks are audible, which many people find to be helpful. Further, the fast-focus clarity both up close and at a distance works very well as most users can attest.

Bottom line: don’t dismiss this scope as “junk” just because it’s not expensive. Though generally speaking you get what you pay for, we found that the BSA line is underrated and a quality piece of equipment. If you’re a novice or still finding your “sweet spot,” this item from BSA is a great place to start.

Specs:

Magnification: Variable zoom 3-9X

Objective lens: 40mm

Compensation drum: 0.36gr., 0.38gr., and 0.4gr.

Length: 13.7 inches

Weight: 16.2 ounces

Eye relief: 3 inches

Field of view: 40 ft at 100 yards (3x) | 13 ft at 100 yards (9x)

Adjustments: 1/4 MOA fingertip windage and elevation adjustments

Parallax Focus: From 7.5 yard-infinity

Pros:

Cons:

Vortex Crossfire II Rimfire

Boasting aircraft-grade aluminum, the Vortex Crossfire II Rimfire this lightweight apparatus is lightweight, durable and comes with a lifetime guarantee. Though affordable, the Vortex Optics line of gear gives the appearance and experience of a much higher price tag.

We appreciate the universal appeal of the Vortex Crossfire, starting with the V-Plex reticle that’s best for all-purpose hunting to the sturdiness of the design and construction.

The long eye relief and the comfortable and forgiving eye box that allows you to sight quickly and acquire your target faster. This is also thanks in part to a superior fast-focus eyepiece. We also appreciate the anti-reflective, fully multi-coated lenses provide bright and clear views.

The body has capped turrets that are adjustable with smooth, tactile MOA clicks. Naturally, they can also be reset to zero after you sight in.

Bottom line: You get an advanced quality scope at an entry-level price. It’s also compact, lightweight and durable. And, because it comes with a lifetime warranty, you can expect years of enjoyment. Dollar for dollar, the Vortex Crossfire II Rimfire is hard to beat!

Specs:

Magnification: Variable zoom 2-7X

Objective lens: 22mm

Length: 11.3 inches

Weight: 14.3 ounces

Eye relief: 3.9 inches

Field of view: 42 feet at 100 yards (2x) | 12.6 feet at 100 yards (7x)

Adjustments: 1/4 MOA fingertip windage and elevation adjustments

Parallax Focus: From 50 yards

Pros:

Cons:

Leupold VX-II 3-9x33 EFR

The Leupold promise is that your shots will be deadly accurate, regardless of the conditions. This brand is trusted most by US military personnel. When you also consider that the VX-II is their best-selling range of riflescopes, then it’s easy to see why this winner made it onto our list.

The precise controls allow you to act quickly and accurately. As soon as your target is in sight, you’ll be able to quickly dial in your target and be instantly ready to pull the trigger with precision.

The design and engineering teams at Leupold thought of everything, including the exclusive Index Matched Lens System that provides different coatings for each type of glass, providing an enhanced and custom experience. The lens edges are also blackened to provide greater contrast and a brighter image.

The controls are also well-marked and thoughtfully placed at a slant for convenient visibility. The wide duplex reticle allows for quick sighting, though accuracy may be compromised for long distance shooting.

Bottom line: If you’re looking for something more upscale but still reasonably priced, you’ll appreciate the fine detailing and craftsmanship of the Leupold range. This heirloom piece is meant to be cherished for a lifetime or passed down to future generations.

Specs:

Magnification: Variable zoom 3-9X

Objective lens: 33mm

Length: 12.6 inches

Weight: 11.2 ounces

Eye relief: 3.7-4.2 inches

Field of view: 34 feet at 100 yards (3x) | 13.5 feet at 100 yards (9x)

Adjustments: 1/4 MOA fingertip windage and elevation adjustments

Parallax Focus: 50 yards

Pros:

Cons:

Nikon P-RIMFIRE 2-7x32 Nikoplex Rifle Scope

There’s no doubt that Nikon knows optics, but can they make a good rifle scope? The answer to this question is a resounding yes. Whether you’re a casual hobbyist, a sporting enthusiast or a serious sportsman, Nikon provides bright and clear views with precision targeting, all in a ruggedly durable package. Plus, it helps that Nikon’s riflescopes hold true to their reputation for having crystal clear optics. This model is easy to use, accurate, and ideal for a variety of skills. You really can’t wrong with this option. The only caveat is to get the BDC version instead if you want a more tactical item.

Nikon recognizes that your gear is useless if it breaks or malfunctions out in the field. That’s why their items include O-ring seals to lock out moisture and nitrogen purging to ensure fog resistance.

The top-rated features of this item include the positive click when you adjust the turret, the ability to instantly zero-reset, and a favorable price-to-value ratio. If you’re looking for top performance at a moderate price point, then you can’t go wrong with the Nikon P-RIMFIRE. Even people who have chosen this after using models at higher price points are happy with their decision to trust Nikon.

Specs:

Magnification: Variable zoom 2-7X

Objective lens: 32mm

Length: 11.5 inches

Weight: 16.2 ounces

Eye relief: 3.8 inches

Field of view: 22.3 feet at 100 yards (2x) | 6.4 feet at 100 yards (7x)

Adjustments: 1/4 MOA fingertip windage and elevation adjustments

Parallax Focus: 50-yard parallax setting

Pros:

Cons:

Simmons .22 Mag TruPlex Reticle Rimfire 3-9x32mm Riflescope

The Simmons Reticle Rimfire Riflescope is shockingly inexpensive. This item is equipped with the same features that more expensive models have that cheaper scopes lack. When you receive it, you’ll be hardpressed to know that it sells for such a low price.

It has a clean Trueplex Reticle, which provides a high contrast image with heavy lines at the outer edges that become finer at the aiming lines. What we think truly sets this item apart from even the more expensive options is the inclusion of SureGrip adjustments that make the dials easy to maneuver, even with gloves.

The brightness and clarity are above average, especially considering the low price, but this scope isn’t going to provide a stellar experience during low light situations, and you can also expect some distortion and vignettes.

For this price point, Simmons is the best in its class. If you’re on a tight budget or purchasing something for a beginner, this is a top pick. They’ve been dominating the value-priced market since 1983, and they continue to get better and better.

Specs:

Magnification: Variable zoom 3-9X

Objective lens: 32mm

Length: 10.3 inches

Weight: 16.2 ounces

Eye relief: 3.75 inches

Field of view: 31.4 feet at 100 yards (3x) | 10.5 feet at 100 yards (9x)

Adjustments: 1/4 MOA fingertip windage and elevation adjustments

Parallax Focus: 50-yard parallax setting

Pros:

Cons:

Nikon ProStaff Rimfire 3-9x40mm Riflescope (BDC 150)

The Nikon Rimfire is known for its accuracy, and it gets top ratings for being fun to shoot. The high-quality optics translate well for long-range shooting distances. The BDC 150 reticle lets shooters compensate for long-distance bullet drops, but the crosshair style is also suitable for close-range shots, too.

Where this scope performs best is when you consider the glass itself. There’s a fully multicoated optical system that has advanced anti-reflective compounds. So, whether you’re shooting at dawn, dusk or midday, you’ll have a clear view.

Available as an add-on with all BDC Nikon scopes is their proprietary software system called, “Spot-On Optimized” that helps you identify where to hold the BDC reticle for each type of bullet or load that you’re shooting. You’ll need to download an app for it to work.

Bottom line: Everyone seems to love this offering from Nikon. Top commenters mention that it works flawlessly, and they love how it looks and feels. It’s also one of the best we looked at for low light conditions. At this price, you can’t go wrong!

Specs:

Magnification: Variable zoom 3-9X

Objective lens: 40mm

Length: 12.3 inches

Weight: 13.1 ounces

Eye relief: 3.6 to 3.9 inches

Field of view: 33.8 feet at 100 yards (3x) | 11.3 feet at 100 yards (9x)

Adjustments: 1/4 MOA fingertip windage and elevation adjustments

Reticle: BDC (bullet drop compensation)

Parallax Focus: 50-yard fixed parallax setting

Pros:

Cons:

Selecting the Right Scope for Your .22lr Rifle

The scopes we’ve reviewed in this guide are all moderately priced, and some are truly budget friendly. We’ve found that although you tend to get what you pay for, we also agree that less can be more. Why pay more for expensive features that you don’t need and won’t use?

That being said, you should never have to sacrifice quality or the features you need. This is especially true if you’re paying for flights to go on expeditions or you’re up before dawn to begin a weekend excursion. The last thing you want is a scope that’s garbage, breaks or doesn’t perform as expected.

We’ve found that the mid-priced scopes we reviewed provide a high value-to-price ratio. They’re reliable, perform exceptionally well, and should last for years, if not a lifetime.

PhotoBrandRatingOur ChoiceWhere To Buy
Bushnell 3.5 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
BSA4 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
Vortex 4.5 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
Leupold5 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
Nikon4.5 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
Simmons4 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
Nikon4.5 Star RatingBuy on Amazon

There are thousands of options to choose from, so how do you narrow down the field and find the best AR scope? The first place to start is with our list of the 10 best AR scopes that we’ve reviewed from the seemingly infinite array.

In our 2019 review, we compare 10 top models side by side
and let you know if they live up to the hype. We don’t hold anything back, and
we’ll share what we love about each of these AR scopes, and we’ll even let you
in on any of their potential shortcomings.

And finally, we’ll keep this list up to date, so bookmark
this page and keep coming back to find out if the scope you’ve been eyeing made
it onto our list.

Best AR-15 Scopes for
the Money

Though it’s a smaller caliber rifle, because it’s
semi-automatic, shooters are repeating shots in quick succession. Because of
this difference between AR-15 style rifles and other types of rifles, the
priorities of the scopes will shift.

In addition to the quality metrics that we look at when we
compare the scopes for a 22 or a 30-06, we’ll be focusing on eye relief and
shock absorption, which will minimize recoil.

Another important consideration is the reticle or
crosshairs. There’s a lot of debate in this matter, with some shooters
preferring simplicity while others appreciate the extra guides. Because there
are strong opinions, we’ll share our insights into each model. There’s no right
or wrong way to go with the reticle. It mostly depends on what you’re using it
for, and it’s strictly a matter of preference.

For example, hunters might like hash marks that help them
gauge the distance of their target, while target shooters and professional
marksmen like a clean, unobstructed view.

Generally speaking, the higher the magnification and the
larger the objective lens, the higher the price tag.

We also recommend getting a scope that has a parallax
adjustment setting if you plan on shooting at distances longer than 250 yards.
Not every riflescope has this option, but it makes a difference. You’ll have
the choice for an external parallax adjustment knob that’s on the tube, or it
could be part of the rotating ring on your objective bell. Other scopes have a
built-in automatic parallax adjustment set at either 50 or 100 yards.

PhotoBrandRatingOur ChoiceWhere To Buy
UTG4 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
Nikon4.5 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
Nikon4.7 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
BushnellNo Ratings YetNo Ratings YetBuy on Amazon
Simmons4 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
Vortex4.7 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
UTG4.5 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
Nikon4.5 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
BushnellNo Ratings YetNo Ratings YetBuy on Amazon

UTG 30mm SWAT 3-12x44
Compact IE Scope

If you’re new to the AR world and not sure where to start,
the UTG made by Leapers is a top pick. It’s modestly priced, but it still packs
a ton of value. Despite the lower price tag, it still has advanced
functionality that you typically only see on higher priced items. We also
appreciate that all the necessary accessories are included. Often, you’ll have
to get your own mounting rings, sunshade, etc.

The illuminated reticle is a popular feature, and users also
appreciate the zero-reset turrets that allow you to go back to your original
zero if you make any adjustments for a shot. Not only that, but there’s a
locking mechanism so once you do have your settings, you can lock them in
without worrying about accidentally adjusting them.

The UTG scope’s accuracy is spot on at close range shots of
about 300 yards, but it can deteriorate at longer distances. However, that’s to
be expected in lower-priced riflescopes, and it’s not a deal breaker if you
don’t plan on shooting at 500-plus yards.

Bottom line: This scope is value priced. Realistically,
you’re not going to get the performance of a $500 piece of gear, but if you’re
just getting started, then this piece of equipment will adequately do the job.

Specs:

Magnification: Variable 3-12X

Objective lens: 44mm

Length: 8.5 inches

Weight: 23.2 ounces

Eye relief: 3.4 – 3 inches

Field of view: 32 feet at 100 yards (3x) | 10 feet at 100
yards (12x)

Adjustments: 1/4 MOA per click windage/elevation adjustment

Reticle: 36-color mil-dot

Parallax Focus: 10 yards to infinity

Pros:

Cons:

Nikon P-223 3-9x40
Matte BDC 600

If you’re shooting with .223 Rem or 5.56 NATO rounds that
have a 55-grain polymer tip pullet, then the Nikon P-223 was made for you. The
folks at Nikon thought of everything to make every shooting experience one to
remember. From the hash marks at 100 to 600 yards to the zero-reset turret
feature, you’ll love the usability and accuracy of this scope.

As an optics expert, Nikon shines in this category. The
glass boasts up to 98% light transmission, making it a leader in the field,
even against higher priced offerings. The P-series was built specifically for
AR-style rifles, with a reticle that provides compensation for the trajectory
adjustments that come with long-range shooting.

If you love using tech, you’ll also enjoy Nikon’s
proprietary software system called Spot On Optimized that helps you hone in on
your target using their ballistic match technology with additional settings for
climate, distance, and elevation conditions.

Bottom line: Once upon a time, business people use to say
that “nobody gets fired for buying IBM,” and the same adage applies when it
comes to Nikon. The company’s reputation is top-notch, and this particular
scope is one of the best they’ve made. 

Specs:

Magnification: Variable 3-9X

Objective lens: 40mm

Length: 12.4 inches

Weight: 17.1 ounces

Eye relief: 3.6 inches

Field of view: 33.8 feet at 100 yards (3x) | 11.3 feet at
100 yards (9x)

Adjustments: 1/4 MOA fingertip windage and elevation
adjustments

Reticle: BDC 600 (bullet drop compensation)

Parallax Focus: 100 yards

Pros:

Cons:

Nikon M-223 BDC 600
3-12x42SF Riflescope

The Nikon M-223 (short for Monarch) is an upgrade from the
baseline P-223, with five riflescopes offering a wider magnification range and a
larger objective lens. As an expert in the field of optics, we expected
superior quality and clarity from Nikon, and they did not disappoint. The
theoretical maximum of 95% light transmission also means you’ll see clearly
from dawn to dusk.

It comes equipped with the features one would expect from a
quality scope, including zero-reset, side parallax focus (up to infinity), and,
of course, it’s nitrogen filled, making it both waterproof and fog proof. The
scope also comes standard with flip-up lens caps, which is a thoughtful touch
and something that not all manufacturers provide.

If you’re a reticle geek, you’ll love the optional add-on
Spot On Optimized app that allows you to match your bullet caliber to your
distance and climate conditions to ensure better accuracy. Plus, the 3-MOA
center dot in the reticle makes for fast aiming and accurate shooting. The
bullet drop compensator is listed in 50-yard increments, making it more precise
than 100-yard increment reticles.

Overall, this scope feels like an upgrade though it still
comes in at an affordable price. If you’re looking for a trusted name and elite
performance, you’ll love using the Nikon M-223.

Specs:

Magnification: Variable 3-12X

Objective lens: 42mm

Length: 13.1 inches

Weight: 19.93 ounces

Eye relief: 4 inches

Field of view: 33.6 feet at 100 yards (3x) | 8.4 feet at 100
yards (12x)

Adjustments: 1/4 MOA fingertip windage and elevation
adjustments

Reticle: BDC 600 (bullet drop compensation)

Parallax Focus: 50 yards to infinity

Pros:

Cons:

Bushnell AR Optics
Drop Zone-223 BDC Reticle Rifle Scope

Referred to as the “working man’s rifle scope,” the Bushnell
AR Optics functions well for coming in at a lower price point.

The only downside is that this scope carries a lot of bulk
considering that the power magnification is on the low end of the spectrum. If
you’re trying to keep your gear lightweight, then you might find the heft of
this Bushnell scope to be an annoyance.

You find a lot of bells and whistles with this scope. For
example, there’s not an illuminated reticle. Some might see this as a drawback
while others would prefer not to pay for a feature they don’t use.

The turrets are easily adjustable for windage and elevation,
and the company has gone above and beyond in this department, especially
considering it’s a shorter-range scope. However, we appreciate the feature and
option to have this capability. The reticle display also earns top satisfaction
ratings. It has some additional viewing options but isn’t cluttered. We think
it’s an ideal balance of functionality.

Bottom line: If you’re on a budget but still want quality
gear, the Bushnell AR Optics Drop Zone-223 is one to try. The lower power range
keeps the price reasonable, so if you’re not shooting long distances, you’ll
get a great bargain with Bushnell.

Specs:

Magnification: 1-4x

Objective lens: 24mm

Length: 9.299 inches

Weight: 16.90 ounces

Eye relief: 4.0 inches

Field of view: 112 feet at 100 yards (1x) | 26 feet at 100
yards (4x)

Adjustments: 1 click is 0.1 mil for elevation and windage

Reticle: BDC

Pros:

Cons:

Simmons 8-Point
Truplex Reticle, 3-9x50mm

Bargain hunters rejoice. We found the perfect scope for your
AR-15: the Simmons 8-Point 3-9x50mm riflescope. Despite its shockingly low
price tag, it measures up as a quality scope that won’t break the bank.

All Simmons models come equipped with fully coated optics
that provide a bright, crisp and clear view of your target in diverse weather
and lighting conditions. We also appreciated their trademarked SureGrip system
that provides audible clicks for windage and elevation adjustments. Further,
the TrueZero stays at zero, even when put to the test.

Bottom line: While this scope is relatively basic, you get a
long of bang for your buck. You really can’t beat this price, especially if
you’re looking for value for a novice to an intermediate shooter. If you’re an
avid shooter, it might not hold the test of time, so look to Nikon for an
upgrade that’s still reasonably priced.

Specs:

Magnification: Variable 3-9X

Objective lens: 50mm

Reticle: Truplex reticle

Length: 14 inches

Weight: 13.2 ounces

Eye relief: 3.75 inches

Field of view: 31.4 ft @ 3x | 10.5 ft @ 9x

Adjustments: 1/4 inch MOA finger click adjustments

Pros:

Cons:

VORTEX Viper
6.5-20x50 PA Riflescope

If you’re a long-range shooter, then the Vortex Viper
6.5-20x50 should be at the top of your list. It’s superior at dampening recoil,
and excels in all conditions, including darkness and moisture. For serious
shooters who want a premium product, you’ve found your match.

The taller than average turrets are easy to adjust for quick
maneuvers and better accuracy. There’s also a side knob parallax adjustment,
complete with range numbers that you can view when you’re in shooting position.

Like all Vipers, this one also has XD extra-low dispersion
glass and XR fully multi-coated lenses to provide the brightest and sharpest
image available. The fast-focus eyepiece also allows you to quickly focus at
any magnification. We also appreciate the capped reset turrets for lightning
fast indexing.

This scope is especially popular among tactical shooters
especially those with military training as the Mil-Dot reticle used in this
model is the same that originated from the US Marines. Further, the second
focal plane reticle maintains scale for optimum accuracy. When you’re shooting
from longer ranges, the riflescope’s ability to provide distance estimates and
compensation for bullet drop and windage will ensure your accuracy.

Bottom line: The VORTEX Viper is rugged and durable, and it
performs flawlessly. If you’re a discerning shooter who likes to shoot at long
range, then you’ll appreciate the quality, attention-to-detail, and accuracy
provided by this scope. Don’t be surprised if it exceeds your expectations!

Specs:

Magnification: Variable 6.5-20X

Objective lens: 50mm

Length: 14.4 inches

Weight: 21.6 ounces

Eye relief: 3.1 inches

Field of view: 17.4 feet at 100 yards (6.5x) | 6.2 feet at
100 yards (20x)

Adjustments: 1/4 MOA fingertip windage and elevation
adjustments

Reticle: Mil Dot

Parallax Focus: 50 yards to infinity

Pros:

Cons:

UTG 3-9x32 Compact
QCB Bug Buster AO RGB Scope

This UTG scope from Leapers comes in as one of our favorite
riflescopes for under $100. It gives you serious bang for your buck. It’s rare
for equipment in this price range to be so durable, rugged, and hold up to such
diverse conditions, but the UTG Bug Buster holds up.

The adjustable and lockable turrets are one of the most
significant stand-out features. Once you zero in with a particular rifle or
type of ammo, you’re good to go for the foreseeable future. It sticks nice and
tight, performing better than other scopes that are priced much higher.

To maximize the light transfer, the UTGs come with
emerald-coated lenses. There’s also a parallax adjustment ring that works out
to infinity.

For the uninitiated, CQB means close quarter battle. These
are best suited for immediate threats in close proximity. Having crisp quality
optics, a fast-focus reticle and dependable performance aren’t just “nice to
have” features; they’re a must. We particularly like how short this UTG Compact
scope is because it fits perfectly without taking up too much space.

Another incredible feature is the quick detach rings that
allow you to switch out your scope in seconds once you’ve determined your
tightness settings.

This riflescope comes standard with red and green dual
illumination for the reticle. There’s also the option for a black reticle,
hence the style RGB, but the black is not illuminated. Some users have been
lured by the promise of having a broader color palette, but they often express
regret and confusion. Red and green are really all you need for virtually any
lighting condition.

Bottom line: Even elitists will find something to love with
the UTG scope. Don’t be fooled by the low price. This here is a quality
riflescope.

Specs:

Magnification: Variable 3-9X

Objective lens: 32mm

Length: 9.8 inches

Weight: 13.9 ounces

Eye relief: 4 inches

Field of view: 33.8 feet at 100 yards (3x) | 11.3 feet at
100 yards (9x)

Adjustments: 1/4 MOA fingertip windage and elevation
adjustments

Reticle: BDC (bullet drop compensation)

Parallax Focus: From 3 yards to infinity

Pros:

Cons:

Nikon ProStaff 3-9x40
Black Matte Rifle Scope BDC

The Nikon ProStaff is known for its accuracy, and it gets
top ratings for being fun to shoot. The high-quality optics translate well for
long-range shooting distances. The BDC 150 reticle lets shooters compensate for
long-distance bullet drops, but the crosshair style is also suitable for
close-range shots, too.

Where this scope performs best is when you consider the
glass itself. There’s a fully multicoated optical system that has advanced
anti-reflective compounds. So, whether you’re shooting at dawn, dusk or midday,
you’ll have a clear view.

Available as an add-on with all BDC Nikon scopes is their
proprietary software system called, “Spot-On Optimized” that helps you identify
where to hold the BDC reticle for each type of bullet or load that you’re
shooting. You’ll need to download an app for it to work.

Bottom line: Everyone seems to love this offering from
Nikon. Top commenters mention that it works flawlessly, and they like how it
looks and feels. It’s also one of the best we looked at for low light
conditions. At this price, you can’t go wrong!

Specs:

Magnification: Variable zoom 3-9X

Objective lens: 40mm

Length: 12.3 inches

Weight: 13.1 ounces

Eye relief: 3.6 to 3.9 inches

Field of view: 33.8 feet at 100 yards (3x) | 11.3 feet at
100 yards (9x)

Adjustments: 1/4 MOA fingertip windage and elevation
adjustments

Reticle: BDC (bullet drop compensation)

Parallax Focus: 50-yard fixed parallax setting

Pros:

Cons:

Bushnell AR Optics
FFP Illuminated BTR-1 BDC

This first focal plane scope is ideal for a variety of
situations. It works equally close up as well as at long distances. It also has
an illuminated reticle, which is a handy feature. Because Bushnell has been in
the optics field since 1948, they’ve had a long time to optimize their
operations, allowing them to provide enthusiasts with premium quality at
affordable prices.

You’ll hear none of the horror stories that tend to come
with cheaper priced scopes. For example, low-budget riflescopes often have
reticles that practically disintegrate, shifting points of impact, and the
inability of the unit to hold zero. You won’t hear of that with the Bushnell AR
Optics FFP scope, though. They provide a good solid optic, and if anything does
happen to go wrong, your equipment comes with a lifetime warranty.

Bottom line: First focal plane scopes tend to be more
expensive, and this Bushnell remains competitively priced. The thoughtful
details make this worth the money, and we think it’s still a relative bargain.
If you are looking for an even better price, the second focal plane model of
this scope is lower priced.

Specs:

Magnification: 1-4x

Objective lens: 24mm

Length: 9.5 inches

Weight: 18.2 ounces

Eye relief: 4 inches

Field of view: 112 feet at 100 yards (1x) | 26 feet at 100
yards (4x)

Adjustments: 1/4 MOA fingertip windage and elevation
adjustments

Reticle: BTR-1 MIL

Parallax Focus: Fixed

Pros:

Cons:

How to Choose a Rifle
Scope for an AR-15 – Buying Guide

The first question to ask yourself is what type of shooter
you are. Though there has been some overlap and fluidity in the functionality
of modern scopes, there are still differences depending on whether you want to
use your riflescope for hunting, tactical operations or target shooting.

Here are some things to keep in mind depending on your
style:

Hunting

These scopes tend to have a lower magnification range. At the lower end of the range, you’ll see a 2, and they tend to max out at around 12. They tend to have a second focal plane that keeps the crosshairs at the same size, regardless of your magnification level.

Speaking of the reticle, they’re usually plain without any
hash marks or other markings. This allows the shooter to focus on the target
without anything obstructing the view. Ideally, a hunting scope will also have
capped, low-profile turrets. The purpose of this is to only have the turrets
exposed to zero the scope, and then you would put the caps back on. The
explanation behind this practice is that a hunter is typically only taking one
shot at a medium to close range.

That being said, there are some newer models that have
ballistic and BDC turrets for advanced and longer-distance shooters.

To sum up, if your main purpose is hunting, you’re likely to
need a lower magnification scope with intuitive, tactile controls and a
clean-looking reticle. If you plan on hunting during dawn or dusk hours (and
most hunters do), make sure your top choice has high clarity that performs well
in low-light settings.

Tactical

These scopes tend to have uncapped turrets, and most of them are first focal plane reticles. This type of reticle features crosshairs that get larger when you zoom in. The magnification ranges tend to be higher, starting at about 3 and topping out at 25, though some can be as high as 45x.

For these scopes, you’ll want to focus on reliability, and
you’ll probably also want something that’s lightweight and can be handled
easily in situations that pose an immediate threat.

Tactical scopes are designed to be accurate when the shot
distances are unknown, and you have to be accurate in a single attempt. The
advanced reticles in tactical scopes may allow you to estimate distances,
however. If that’s a feature that’s important to you, then seek out reticles
that provide more detail.

Target

Target scopes are meant for precision shooting, and they’re ideal when you’re doing groupings for 10 to 20 shots at a time. The best scopes will assist you in getting the tightest possible grouping. Target riflescopes tend to have the highest magnifications, which also tends to mean the highest price tag.

They also have the finest clicks, often around 1/8 MOA,
which allows you to finely tune the scope for tightknit groupings. These
reticles tend to be in the second focal plane, and they tend to be plain basic
crosshairs. When it comes to the thickness of the crosshairs, the thinner, the
better.  

Within each of these three groups are subgroups of interests
that can also influence what you’d look for in your gear. For example, a
wide-angle hunting scope would be ideal for deer hunts, but that might not be
the best scope for stalking. There are also some riflescopes better suited for
long range or low-light use. Alternatively, someone might prefer something
that’s better for “all around” use.

Once you’ve identified your exact usage, you’ll want to
consider your budget. There are quality choices at every price point, though it
typically helps first to decide if you’d like to spend more than $200 or less
than $200. This demarcation tends to narrow down the field and help you hone in
on the best choice for your needs.

After you figure out your budget, then it’s time to look at
the exact features that are important for your needs. We’ll discuss more of the
fine details below, but here are some things to consider:

Magnification

How much zoom or power do you need?

Lens quality

How important is a clear, bright image?

Zeroing mechanisms

How important is a reliable zero to you? Do you need it to hold?

Weather conditions

Will you be shooting in the rain or fog?

Eye relief

How much recoil can you tolerate? How close do you like to hold your weapon?

Design

Do you want something sleek? Compact? Does it matter?

Usability

How important are the controls? Do you want them to be simple? Do you like complexity? Do you care if they’re easy to manipulate? Will you be wearing gloves or trying to use your scope in the rain or cold (which would necessitate better controls)?

What are the Types of
Rifle Scopes?

Before we go further, it might help to clarify that a rifle
scope is not the same thing as a gun sight. Even though both riflescopes and
gun sights aid the shooter in aiming, a scope provides magnification, and a gun
sight doesn’t.

Keep in mind that there are different scopes for hunting,
target, and tactical operations. Some riflescopes are illuminated, while others
aren’t. There are also both first and second focal plane scopes, and some
manufacturers are even creating a type of hybrid that provides shooters with
the best of both worlds.

4 Main Scopes

  1. Compact: As the name suggests, these scopes are fully functional, but they’re more compact. They come with some other advantages, too, namely a wider field of view and quicker target acquisition. These are ideal if you plan on doing close-range hunting or engaging in tactical operations or combat in confined areas.

    A compact scope is often less expensive as well, and it can be faster and easier to mount and sight.

Advantages of Using a
Rifle Scope

When you consider all of the advantages of using a
riflescope, even the priciest models can pay for themselves within a season or
two. Here are eight benefits that can’t be ignored:

  1. Improved accuracy: Having your target in your
    sights helps improve your accuracy. Over time, your shooting ability even
    without a scope will improve as you get positive reinforcement.

  2. Increased range: Magnification helps to
    dramatically increase how accurately you can shoot at a distance.

  3. More self-confidence: The more targets you hit,
    the better you’ll feel about your ability.

  4. Clearer pictures: You actually get to see
    exactly where you’re pointing.

  5. Takes out the guesswork: Now you get estimates
    of distance so that you know exactly how far away a shot is.

  6. Saves ammunition: When your accuracy improves,
    you don’t need to use as many bullets.

Tips to Choose Top
Rifle Scopes

When you add up all the options there are more than 1,000
scopes to choose from, so how do you narrow down the field? Even among our list
of ten, you still have to figure out the one that works best for you. Here are
our top five tips to help you narrow it down to a top choice that fits your
needs:

  1. Double (or triple) check to make sure your scope
    and rifle are compatible.
  2. Know how much you want to spend. By deciding
    your upper (or lower) spending limit, you can eliminate options that don’t meet
    that criteria.
  3. Consider the warranty. Most companies offer a
    limited lifetime warranty, though some offer a VIP warranty. Check with the
    manufacturer for the terms of the warranty and make sure you feel comfortable
    with any of the limitations.
  4. Decide if there’s a “must have” feature for you
    or if anything is a deal breaker. If you must have a reticle in the first focal
    plane, that will also narrow the field. Similarly, your choices also become
    more limited if you want illumination or a scope that’s a certain size or
    weight.
  5. Look at the cons. Every riflescope is loaded
    with advantages, but each has at least one disadvantage. Look at those first.
    If a brand has something you don’t like, you can immediately cross it off your
    list.

Getting to Know AR 15
Scopes / Buying Guide

If you’ve bought scopes before, you’re likely familiar with
the terminology already, but in case you’re a beginner or need a refresher,
here are the terms you’ll see as you browse a sea of product descriptions.
We’ll define each and discuss why they’re important.

Magnification

A variable scope will have two numbers that represent the
magnification or power. For example, if you see something that says “3-9x50,”
that means that the lens can magnify the target by a factor of three to nine
times or 3-9x. The 50 would be the diameter in millimeters of the objective
lens, which is the lens farther away from you. This lens lets the light in,
and, in general, the bigger this number, the more light you can expect.

Reticle

Commonly known as crosshairs, the reticle allows you to see
precisely where you’re aiming. There are several ways this can be displayed.
How thick or thin a shooter wants the reticle to be will depend highly on the
application. Thicker bars or lines allow the shooter to identify the target
easily, but they can obstruct the view of the finer details of the shot.

A thin reticle lets the shooter see more of the target, but
the lines themselves can be hard to see. In modern scopes, you’ll often see a
duplex reticle in use. 

Duplex Reticle

The duplex reticle is one of the most popular types of
reticle displays. It features thicker lines on the perimeter to help the eye
quickly identify the target, but the lines become thin near the center of the
circle, which helps the shooter aim more precisely.

Mil-Dot Reticle

Also referred to as “range estimating,” a Mil-Dot reticle is
meant for when you don’t know the distance to your target and you don’t have a
way of determining it. The Mil-Dot reticle will help you calculate and
determine the distance for more accurate shooting. It does require you to make
some of your own calculations, though.

However, the manufacturer will give you a card that tells
you what calculations to make to determine the range to your target. You’ll
also need to know the approximate size of your target in order to make the
calculation. Though it can get a bit complicated, it will give you a general
idea of the distance to your target, and you’ll get better the more you
practice.

BDC Reticle

Short for bullet drop compensation, with a BDC reticle, you
zero on 100 yards and then there are dots or hash marks below your zero that
are listed in either 50 or 100-yard increments. This type of reticle is fast
becoming one of the most popular because it’s easy to use. In order to properly
use a BDC reticle you must know your range, so if you don’t know it you might
need to use a laser rangefinder in conjunction with your BDC reticle. Often you
won’t know your range organically unless you’re shooting in an area that has
marked targets.

As the name suggests, bullet drop compensation will alert
you to how far the bullet will drop at a specific range. If there are dots or
hash marks on either side of the center, then these represent windage, and this
calculation is used for windy conditions.

Minute of Angle and MRAD

Your scope may measure in MOA or MRAD. Minute of angle, also
called MOA, is a common scope measurement that baffles many novice and
intermediate shooters alike. In simple terms, a minute is a measure of inches
with one minute meaning one inch. One minute is equal to 1/60th of a
degree. In MOA, the angle is a measure of yards.

So, one minute of angle is equal to one inch at 100 yards. If
someone says that their rifle shoots at 1 MOA, it means that their bullets will
form a 1-inch grouping at 100 yards and a .5-inch grouping at 50 yards.

MRAD, short for milliradian, is an angle of measurement
that’s one-thousandth of a radian. When you look at turret adjustments on a
scope, you would seem them expresses as .1 MRAD. For your reference, .1 MRAD is
equal to .344 MOAs.

The overall concept of these two measurements is the same,
just expressed at a different scale. They are both an angular unit of
measurement, though the MOA adjustments are generally considered more precise
and MRAD adjustments are coarser.  

Focal Plane

A focal plane can be either first or second focal plane, and
this classification will describe how the reticle scales as you zoom in on your
target. The most common focal plane is the rear or second focal plane.
Traditional hunting rifle scopes often have this type of focal plane. What this
means is that the reticle is placed behind the magnification adjustment lens.
When it’s placed there, the size of the reticle remains constant as you up your
power. That’s because the reticle is behind the magnifier, not in front of it.
The benefit of this setup is that your reticle stays visible because it’s a
constant size. The disadvantage is that if you’re using trajectory
compensation, the values will only work at a single magnification setting.

With a first or front focal plane, the reticle is placed in
front of the magnifier, causing the reticle to also increase in size as you
zoom. As you grow or shrink your magnification, the reticle also changes size.
The advantage is that any trajectory marks will always be accurate, but the
disadvantage is the finely detailed reticle marks can be hard to see at lower
magnifications.

Parallax

Parallax refers to the misalignment that occurs between your
eye, the target, the lenses, and the reticle don’t perfectly line up. Usually,
this happens when your eye isn’t directly centered on the eyepiece, but it also
happens at higher magnifications. 

To you, the shooter, it looks like the crosshairs are aimed
perfectly, but they’re actually off, resulting in your bullet landing somewhere
else than you expected it. Many mid to high-range scopes are designed to be
parallax-free at a set distance, or they’ll have a parallax adjustment dial
that will allow you to compensate.

Final Tips to Find
the Best AR 15 Scope

By this point, you’ve figured out what features you need to
best suit your shooting style and skill level. But within each type of scope,
there are varying price points, even among items that seem to stack up
equivalently in terms of features and quality. Now you have to determine how
much you’re willing to spend on this piece of equipment.

The old rule of the thumb was that your scope should cost at
least as much as your rifle. After all, it’s the key to accurate target
acquisition. However, the attitude is beginning to shift as people look for
more decently priced options that allow them to spend more on ammunition.

So, if you’ve narrowed your list down to a couple of scopes
that seem similar but have a different price tag, consider how much you plan on
shooting and how much ammo you’d like to buy. You might decide to skimp on a
superfluous feature so that you can afford more ammunition, or you may prefer
to splurge on an upgrade and then make do with less ammo when you go out
shooting.

Best Rifle Scopes for AR-15 Comparison Chart

Conclusion

Today’s optics are better than ever. Over the last few years,
scopes have become lighter weight and the adjustments can be easily fine-tuned
for unprecedented shot accuracy, even among novice and intermediate shooters.
Discerning customers have been unforgiving when it comes to quality, and
manufacturers have responded by creating better scopes at lower price points.
It’s a win-win.

With hundreds of AR scopes to choose from, we know that
making a choice can be a daunting task. With this guide, we narrowed it down to
our top favorites, and we’ll continue to update our list if we find other gems.

PhotoBrandRatingOur ChoiceWhere To Buy
UTG4 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
Nikon4.5 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
Nikon4.7 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
BushnellNo Ratings YetNo Ratings YetBuy on Amazon
Simmons4 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
Vortex4.7 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
UTG4.5 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
Nikon4.5 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
BushnellNo Ratings YetNo Ratings YetBuy on Amazon

PhotoBrandRatingOur ChoiceWhere To Buy
Nikon4.5 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
Vortex Optics 4.5 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
Vortex Optics 4.5 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
Leupold5 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
Bushnell3.5 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
Burris3.5 Star RatingBuy on Amazon

Best Scopes For the .308

Choosing the right scope for your .308 is more complicated than just picking one off of the shelf and hoping that everything works out according to plan. It would be nice if this were the case, It's a matter of doing your research and making sure that you get one that will meet your needs and provide you with many years of quality shooting. After all, everyone out there shooting today has different requirements that are unique to the person looking through the glass and squeezing the trigger.

More on the nitty gritty details of that later...

Selling yourself short and merely choosing one off of the shelf just because it's there when you need it, or cheap, can result in a scope that is not only unreliable but downright troublesome and will likely require you to purchase another to get the accuracy and dependability that you are looking for.

In this article, we give you a few things that you need to consider when picking out a new scope for your .308, as well as reviewing a few of the scopes that we found to be the better of those out there on the market today.

Doing a little research for yourself and hopefully getting to use a few of them will let you make a smart choice on where to spend your hard earned money to give you the quality and performance that you demand for years to come.

Find a Scope to Fit Your Needs

Choosing the right rifle scope largely depends on what it is that you are using it for. That is because each situation is unique and demands different requirements and attributes to make it as efficient as possible.

Sure, you could use many different scopes in all situations, but is there likely to be a better solution out there? Yes, there most certainly is. But let's face it; the casual shooter is not going to have a bunch of different scopes of the time needed to sight them in as the variables change.

No, the average shooter is going to have one solid, go to option designed to fit their particular needs for that firearm.

While the .308 is traditionally a military round used for long range shooting and sniper applications, its popularity in the hunting world cannot be denied. This is especially true when it comes to big game such as moose, elk, bear, and many other exotic species of animal.

Know your needs, and choose a scope to fit that need the majority of the time. Often a high-quality scope will make up for any shortfalls that it may have when used in other applications such as target shooting or long-range applications.

However, a poorly loaded round will result in trying to pattern bullet dispersion and make accurately zeroing your scope impossible.

With more people than ever becoming involved in the sport, manufacturers are coming out with quality optics to fill the need.

According to the National Hunting Day Organization, “More Americans Hunt and Shoot Than Play Baseball.” That is a significant number of individuals no matter how you look at it.

Understanding the .308 Ballistically

While we are not here to break down the .308  to its barest form and examine every trait that makes a particular scope applicable to this caliber of rifle, having a fundamental understanding of the round is essential to creating a smart choice when shopping for a new scope.

A quick look at the .308 from Pew Pew Tactical examines some of the characteristics of the round and shows you the full range of variables that you are looking at when trying to zero any rifle scope accurately.

These numbers are significant because varying just one can affect the validity of the zero on your scope and make it necessary to re-zero before hunting or shooting competitively again.:

Translating that from the bench to the range, the following charts from http://gundata.org gives you some insight into the ballistics of a typical .308 caliber round; specifically the 150 grain 308 Winchester (7.62mm NATO), American Eagle (Federal) Full Metal Jacket Boat-Tail.

It is important to note that there are several manufacturers, compositions, weights, and other variables that make each round unique. While ballistically similar, it is important to note that these subtle changes will affect trajectory, velocity, and several other variables that must be accounted for when it comes to accurate marksmanship.

.308 Winchester (7.62mm NATO), American Eagle (Federal) Full Metal Jacket Boat-Tail, 150 gr

Range In Yards

Drop (inches)       

Velocity        Energy         

Wind Drift (inches)

Time (milliseconds)
A A A A A
0 -1.4936 2820 2648 0.0000 0
50 -0.1498 2707 2440 0.0000 55
100 0.0075 2598 2248 0.0000 111
150 -1.1241 2491 2066 0.0000 170
200 -3.6576 2387 1897 0.0000 232
250 -7.7183 2285 1739 0.0000 296
300 -13.4456 2185 1590 0.0000 363
350 -20.9951 2088 1452 0.0000 433
400 -30.5401 1993 1323 0.0000 507
450 -42.2743 1901 1203 0.0000 584
500 -56.4146 1812 1093 0.0000 665

There are a couple of key takeaways from these charts when it comes to choosing a scope to fit your needs. The first of these is projected bullet drop based on the top chart.

Looking at the data, it's easy to see that at ranges of over 300 yards, with a drop of -13.4456 inches, predicting follow-on rounds with a traditional scope reticle can be quite problematic due to a substantial decrease in velocity and energy.

Shooting at Distance

When it comes to choosing a scope, knowing the distances that you are likely to be shooting is a major determining factor as to what type of reticle, magnification, and quality you are likely to choose to go with it.

For competitive marksmen, they already know what ranges they are likely to be shooting based off of pre-existing competition format that is unlikely to change at a moment's notice. Hunters, on the other hand, have the disadvantage of changing conditions, animal movement, and habitat. This is especially true if you are the type of person that likes to travel to hunt around the globe.

After All, the typical shot at a deer in Minnesota is likely to be less than 50 yards, as opposed to a pronghorn antelope in Wyoming and ranges often exceeding 300 yards. Again, while it is impossible to know for most people what type of ranges you will be shooting in the absolute, an educated guess based off of your traditional hunting area is likely good enough to get you in the right area when it comes to the distances you can expect to shoot.

Don't Overlook Your Reticle

The reticle, or the “crosshairs” that you see when looking through your scope play a significant part in how efficient and accurate your shot is. After All, the jist of a scope is that where you aim on that reticle, is where you shot should hit.

Poorly made or mounted scopes are notorious for having reticles that are also of poor quality. In some cases, the reticle itself has been known to detach from inside of its mounting and move independently of your gun.

It would be easy to say that a particular type is better than the others, it mostly depends on what you are using it for. Many companies, such as Leupold produce over 70 different styles of reticle based off of use. A few of the more popular types follow:

While the style and thickness of the reticle matter, it is a matter of preference when it comes to choosing which reticle fits your needs. In addition to these few, each manufacturer has produced reticles with their unique spin, to include illuminated as well as un-illuminated options.

Once you find a manufacturer and a model that you are interested in, check out the reticle options and see if they are in line with your needs as well. If not, it may be as simple as switching to a different model to get what you need. Don't overlook the reticle; you may severely regret it down the road.

First Focal Plane(FFP) vs. Second Focal Plane(SFP)

The discussion about reticle design goes much further beyond the available options in a debate about focal planes.

Whether you are hunting or target shooting, knowing the difference between these two can make a significant difference in performance and functionality when mounted on your rifle.

The big difference between the two is that with the FPP optics, the tick marks are valid at any magnification resulting in increased accuracy at extended ranges while shooting. The SFP scopes, by comparison, are only good at a specific magnification.

This chart from the Precision Rifle Blog shows a great example of what this means for those visual learners out there.

Clarity and Quality of Glass

When it comes to the clarity and quality of glass that you get from just any old scope, products, and their abilities vary greatly.

The average person that just likes to spend a day at the range shooting may not care about light harvesting, fog control, and anti-reflective compounds, hunters, and competitive shooters sure do. When choosing the right scope for your particular application, make sure that the one that you have your eye on meets your needs.

A proper quality scope will have ED glass or Extra Low Dispersion, that will harvest the ambient light and give you a good clear image at sunrise and sunset. The majority of the additional attributes come courtesy of glass coatings that reduce glare and amplify the light waves entering the optic.

Quality of Construction

There can not be enough side about the quality of construction when it comes to the scope that you put on your rifle. A good quality scope will withstand weather, bumps, and thumps, and countless rounds being shot before needing a touch up at the range.

Many people tend to err on the side of affordability, the shooter looking to get years of quality life out of his scope will spend the extra money and get something that is likely to last for many years, rather than a single season. In many cases, rifle optics included, you get what you pay for.

There are several good options out there that are affordable; you will have to put in the effort to search them out in many cases.

A quality scope will often be machined out of a single piece of aluminum that will result in fewer areas that are prone to failure from connecting multiple pieces of metal. Waterproofing or resistance will help ensure that no matter how punishing the weather may be, you are always ready to get off that all important shot.

Fixed Versus Variable Power

For some people, having a variable zoom is a luxury; for others, it is a must-have. A fixed magnification, or power, the scope does not afford you the opportunity to adjust the zoom power. Thus, you are stuck with whatever that may be.

Although it is easy to try and right-off these types of scopes, it is essential to know that they have a place in advanced marksmanship. Several significant manufacturers offer fixed power scopes that give you a simple way to get the magnification that you need. Best of all, these scopes are robust, simple, and last for years.

Not all are made for standard rifle construction, however. With the popularity of the AR-10 and the AR-15 platforms, the advent of CCOs and other fixed optics have gained in popularity as well.

By comparison, the advent of the variable power rifle scope in late 1940 offered up the ability to adjust the amount of zoom needed to make an accurate and timely shot.

While there are more moving parts to this optic, the ability only to use the amount of magnification and reduce the size of the reticle when aiming make the variable power scope a trendy choice for hunters and competition shooters alike.

The All Important Run Down

Now that you have a basic understanding of your .308 from a ballistic perspective, and what constitutes a quality rifle scope, now we can get down to it and talk about some of the scopes out there on the market today that are worthy of standing up and taking notice of.

While there are undoubtedly many different manufacturers and models to choose from in various price brackets, these are some of the more popular ones due to their relative affordability and out of the box quality.

While this is a review, it is recommended that you do your research to ensure that you are getting exactly what it is you need out of your optic. Spending a little time and energy can save a lot of headache down the road when it comes to choosing a good quality optic for your .308.

Nikon BUCKMASTERS II 4-12x40 BDC

High quality yet highly affordable scope from a reputable manufacturer that has been producing quality optics for generations.

The Nikon Buckmaster Is an excellent option when it comes to hitting the woods, prairie, or mounting while hunting with your .308. Whether you are making a shot at 30 yards or 300, you can do it with this scope mounted to your rifle.

Vortex Optics Diamondback HP 4-16x42 Riflescope

High-quality optics with a higher than average price tag to go with it. While you are paying more for this rifle scope, you are getting a quality product in return.

The use of XD glass in addition to the external coatings provide you with a quality scope that is sure to hold its value and clarity for years to come. If you are looking for a rifle scope to pass down to your kids someday, this is the one.

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 6 - 18x44mm AO Riflescope

The little brother of the Vortex Optics Diamondback, the Crossfire give you a quality scope at a slightly less than average price. The Crossfire offers up many of the same great features that make the entire line of Vortex optics desireable; the affordable price tag makes good quality optics within anyone's reach. If you are looking to get a great scope for your .308 and not break the bank, this one will provide you with many years of great shooting.

Leupold VX-2 3-9X40Mm Duplex Matte

Leupold has built a reputation for producing quality optics over the years; the VX-2 is no different. This outstanding addition to the Leupold line gives you a plethora of choices when it comes to the reticle that you prefer to shoot with. Whether you are looking to spend time at the range or in the field, the VX-2 will not leave you high and dry when you need it.

While the slightly higher price tag may deter some people, the shooter that knows what they want out of their optics will find that this scope is a great place to invest their money for years of quality shooting.

Bushnell Engage Rifle Scope 3-9x 40mm

A solid contender among affordable rifle scopes. Multiple coatings and Exo Barrier coating makes an excellent option for the budget minded hunter. Regardless of weather conditions, this scope can handle it all. While not as robust as some of the more expensive options, the Bushnell still produces clear sight pictures and reliable performance.

Burris Droptine Riflescope with Ballistic Plex Reticle

With the factory price point being where it is at, it may lead you to think that the Burris Droptine will match up against some of the more reputable brands of scopes, this particular model appears to fall short regarding durability and the consistency at which the zero remains accurate.

Many users reported issues with not only the turrets but the main tube itself. The simplicity and ease of use had many shooters impressed, while an equal number found themselves disappointed over some of the durability issues associated with the scope.

While this is just an observation for this model, some of the higher end Burris scopes fare considerably better when it comes to testing.

What Does It All Mean?

Concerning performance, there are a lot of similarities between different manufacturers regarding performance, but it is in the subtleties where the real leaders differentiate themselves. All of the models tested appeared to have similar quality of site picture and clarity of view in the optics, but it was in price and durability were a few of the more higher performing options stood out.

While this is only a snapshot at a few options out there: as there are certainly plenty out there to choose from, we hope that it will aid you in making an educated decision on what you decide to purchase for your rifle. Everyone has different needs and makes use of their optics in a specific manner.

Whether you choose the Nikon, Burris, Bushnell, or Leupold, you are getting a high-quality optic that is sure to last years. After all, each of these excellent examples would be perfectly at home on your .308 whether you are in the woods or at the range.

Summing it All Up

While there are indeed plenty of options out there to choose from when it comes to what optics you mount on your rifle, selecting the right one is no accident. Invest wisely, and you will see a drastic return in the quality and predictability of the shots that you are sending downrange.

Investment in a good quality scope and quality rounds will go a long way toward giving you the results that you are looking for.  Whether you are a competitive shooter or a casual hunter, noticing the difference that quality optics make it easy.

When it comes to the products available on the marketplace, we hope that this has taken some of the guesswork out of it for you by providing you with some great information and some excellent optics to check out.

Spend some time thinking over your needs, your budget, and the ballistics of not only your rifle but your ammunition as well, and the answer will come to you. Spend some time at the range and get to know your rifle, your particular shooting habits, and some of the scopes that would best fit those needs.

Great optics are out there, find yours and get the return on investment that you are looking for behind the stock of your .308 and perform better at the range or in the field.

PhotoBrandRatingOur ChoiceWhere To Buy
Nikon4.5 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
Vortex Optics 4.5 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
Vortex Optics 4.5 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
Leupold5 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
Bushnell3.5 Star RatingBuy on Amazon
Burris3.5 Star RatingBuy on Amazon

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