Best 308 AR Scopes
Guide – Best 308 AR Scope, Best AR308 Scope, Best 308 Scope Best AR-10 Scope
Look for this page to be updated in early 2021
What is the Best AR-10/AR 308 Scope? Part 1 – The Search
The internet is an interesting thing. People and search engines both often seek absolute answers. Everyone is looking for the “Best” something. The example list below is what shooters are hoping to find on this page.
What are the 5 Best AR 308 Scopes?
- Vortex Optics Viper 6.5-20×50
- Nikon M308 4-16×42 with BDC 800 Reticle
- Leupold Mark 4 LR/T 8.5-25×50 M1 Mil-Dot
- Vortex Viper PST 4-16×50 FFP Riflescope with EBR-1 MOA PST-416F1-A
- Vortex Viper PST 6-24x50mm FFP
Now the truth of the above list those are what we feel are some of the best 308 AR/AR-10 scopes for most shooters visiting this page. Other than the Leupold, that list is “Budget Friendly 308 Scopes“. The problem with any listing like this there is always so much more to the story. Unfortunately, most rifle scope review websites are lists simply put together to drive traffic to Amazon. I understand that as our links also go to several online stores too. It’s how website operating costs are paid. Our goal, though is to go well beyond what other “Best Rifle Scope” pages offer. We aren’t here for the minutia of the technical details. There are other sites that do that much better, and typically, our visitors are not looking for that information. Our visitors are overwhelmed and looking for guidance. We are like most of our visitors. We buy all of our scopes ourselves with our money, and we are not beholding to any company or advertiser. Read on…
What is the Best 308 AR/AR308 Scope? Part 2 – Scope Budget
Without hesitation, I can state one of the most frequently asked questions we get at 308AR.com is one of the following variations of “What is the best 308 AR Scope?” “What is the best AR 308 Scope? “What is the best AR 10 Scope? “What is the best 308 Scope?. I get it though selecting the correct scope can be overwhelming. If I were to respond to those questions at face value, my answer would be “I don’t know.” It’s a simple matter of economics. The best scopes are also the most expensive. Here are a few examples. First up, the Hensoldt ZF 3.5-26×56 H59 at $7300 is at the top of our list, and I’m sure there are more expensive scopes.
The coveted Hensoldt ZF 6-24×72 SAM sniper scope is slightly over $5000. If we move south of $5000 and into the $3000-$4000 range, recognizable brands and models come in to focus like the Nightforce Beast, Steiner 5X-25X-56mm MSR, Schmidt Bender PMII Series of Riflescopes. Once we get into to $2000-$3000 the field becomes very crowded with the high-end entries well know brands such as US Optics, Leupold, Vortex Razor HD II, and more common Nightforce scopes. Moving the rifle scope price point lower, we get into the meat of where probably 80 percent of our visitors want to be. That price point is under $1000. Fortunately, some scope manufacturers recognize this and target scopes for these shooters. If you look at the Top 5 308 AR Scopes from the list above and remove the Leupold, the remainder of scopes fit this description and budget.
Nikon does a great job around the $500 price point. I own a few of these 308 scopes. Their M308 line of rifle scope was designed specifically for the AR308 AR-10 weapon platforms. They have “Bullet Drop Compensation” or “BDC” and low profile exposed turrets for that “Tactical” look. The Nikon M308 has been the most recommended scope for visitors. Our newest favorite, though is from Vortex Optics. Vortex offers AR308, 308 AR scopes for all budgets. The inexpensive models are made in Asia, while more expensive models are made in the USA. These days at equal price points, we typically recommend Vortex Rifle Scopes because their warranty is the best in the business.
How much should you spend on a 308 AR scope? The generally accepted rule of thumb is to spend as much on the scope as you do for the rifle. There is something to be said about that, but it’s unrealistic for most shooters’ budgets. Buy the most scope you can afford but do yourself a favor and avoid the no-name Asian junk with bells, lights, and gizmos. If you must buy a cheap scope buy it from a name brand you recognize from a store that sells guns. Also, understand the things that make scopes better are repeatable adjustments, quality of the glass and coatings, illuminated reticles, and construction. These are the things that separate the different lines of scopes. Will my $500 Nikon M308 look as good downrange on a hot summer day or in low light as my $1800 Leupold, of course not, but it still does a terrific job in my application. Again buy what YOU can afford but don’t buy junk.
Peer Pressure – In the first paragraph I mentioned the internet is interesting with regards to scope reviews. Shooting forums are another peculiarity. It seems with regards to scopes, there’s often this mentality that unless you buy a really expensive “Sniper Scope,” your buying junk. Don’t buy into that unless your target or career requires that kind of hardware. Too many with this snobbish mentality old trusted brands like Leupold are scoffed at. To that, I say hogwash the US Army .300 Win Mag Remington XM2010 Sniper Rifle is furnished with a $1500 Leupold MKIV ERT 6.5-20x. Think about that.
What is the Best 308 AR/AR308 Scope? Part 3 – Scope Use
Tactical Scope, Hunting Scope or Target Scope
How will you be using your 308 AR Scope? This is an important question. So many scope reviews and forum opinions with little mention of rifle scope application. It seems to be implied that everyone is looking for a “Tactical 308 AR Scope,” and of course, that is not the case. A hunter stalking wild boar in the brush does not want the same scope as a benchrest shooter. Be realistic are you hunting deer at 100 yards? Shooting Elk at 800 yards? Sniping Somali pirates? Punching paper? Protecting the President from a rooftop 1000 yards away? or do you simply want the coolest safe queen anyone has ever seen (or never seen)
Understanding how you will primarily be using your AR308 scope will help prevent you from overspending on features you do not need or will guide you through buying as much scope as you need.
Scope Turrets – These days, the tactical look dominates the AR-10 scope market. By tactical, I mean exposed turrets. If you aren’t sure what this means, let me explain. The scope turrets are where the shooter adjusts for windage and elevation. Long-range tactical/sniper shooters and benchrest target shooters need this to facilitate quick adjustments in the field. This is also beneficial to extreme long-range shooters. The exposed turrets are also susceptible to damage and unwanted movement in many hunting scenarios. Traditional scopes have the adjustments covered with caps to prevent accidental damage or movement. If you are always shooting at similar targets at similar distances and never adjust for windage and elevation in the field, ask yourself if you really need exposed turrets.
Scope Magnification – For years .308 and 30-06 sniper rifles were equipped with 10x Leupold scopes. The 10x power is enough to handle some pretty long shots while allowing for pretty fast target acquisition. The original scope for the AR-15 was a 4x fixed scope. It wasn’t until Colt released the flattop Colt Sporters did we begin to see traditional rifle scopes on the AR platform. For decades a 3x9x variable power scope was the scope of choice for hunters. Today with better glass and the desire to shoot the ass off a mosquito at 1000 yards, we see ultra-powerful magnifications on AR308 scopes.
A few things to consider with scope magnification. The higher the magnification, the smaller the field of view. This can translate in taking longer to acquire a target. Too high of magnification can make tracking a moving target very difficult. Higher magnification also results in physically bigger and heavier AR308 scopes. One of my personal favorite scopes for the 308 AR is the Vortex Viper PST 4-16×50 FFP Riflescope with EBR-1 MOA PST-416F1-A, and it’s a pretty big scope at nearly 14 inches long. For comparison, the Vortex Viper PST 2.5-10×44 Rifle Scope measures 12 inches long while the Vortex Viper PST 1-4×24 Rifle Scope comes in at 9.7 inches. The last thing about magnification. This is an area where cost matters. More expensive scopes are usually much brighter and clearer at the highest magnifications compared to less expensive scopes. I have seen high magnification cheap scopes that were practically unusable at full or near full magnification.
What is the Best 308 AR/AR308 Scope? Part 4 – Conclusion
What’s the best 308 AR Scope For You!
To sum up, think about the following when selecting your 308 AR scope:
- How much scope can you afford? (Don’t forget to include the cost of a quality scope mount)
- Where or how will you be using the AR-10?
- What distance will you be shooting at?
- What are the shooting conditions?
- Define your target.
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