The AR10 goes all the way back to the 1950s and if not for the added weight of the ammo, it would have probably been where the AR15 is today. Despite that, it is a well-loved rifle by hunters, long-distance shooters, and outdoorsmen across the country. Lately its popularity has boomed due to its superior performance, range, and power. To capitalize on all it has to offer, its time to consider the best scope for AR10 rifles.
With open sights, you can expect to get decent accuracy out to 300 yards if you are savvy. That is less than half this rifles effective range. If you want to hit that 800-yard mark you need an optic. Not just any optic but a very good one.
What kind of optic would that be? Let’s take a look!
- AR 10 Scope Considerations
- Best AR 10 Scope Comparison Table
- Top 10 Best Scope For Ar 10 on the Market Reviews
AR 10 Scope Considerations
You can take scope selection all the way down to a science and there are plenty of articles that do just that. Generally, you won’t need the full run-down of what goes into a scope so we will keep it a little more brief. These are the primary considerations you need to be concerned with.
Depending on who you talk to, the .308 round ranges from the high end of medium range to the low end of long range. For sake of argument, let’s treat it as a long range cartridge. The max effective range according to military testing is somewhere in the 800-yard range. Accurate and lethal shots have exceeded this but rarely.
800 yards is possible with a 10x scope but probably not at any lower magnification. More realistically, something in the mid-teens would be better but you could go as high as 20x. If you want to nail down a solid figure, let's say between 14 and 20x is the appropriate power.
This could change depending on what you want your rifle to do. For home defense, something with less power may be appropriate. The same for hunting in the dense eastern woodlands. Your purpose for wanting a AR 10 scope should guide your decision.
Since we are likely going with a more powerful scope, we need a reticle that takes advantage of that power. Not a simple crosshair but something with some form of bullet drop compensation. While you could go with something as simple as a duplex reticle, you would be better off going with something a little more capable.
BDC reticles come in either MOA or Mil markings. Which one you go with is really up to you but I prefer an MOA reticle. Whichever you choose, it should match your adjustments to keep everything on a level field. It can get confusing otherwise.
While we are on the topic of reticles, you will likely need to choose between a First Focal Plane or Second Focal Plane Reticle. With FFP reticles, the reticle will zoom with the scope but the distance between the real world markings will stay the same. With an SFP reticle the zoom will not change the size of the reticle so the distance on the ground of the markings will change. There are preferences either way but generally FFP are preferred but are likely to cost far more.
For hunting or other times that you are likely dragging your scope through the brush, having capped adjustments can be a benefit. However, with capped adjustments you will not be able to adjust on the fly to compensate for elevation or windage.
Most people are going to opt for turret adjustments. These allow that quick adjustment to get you right on target in different conditions and various distances. They can be knocked off zero but it is an easy correction. You just have to remember to check your zero before you go to make a shot. This needs to be a part of your shot preparation every time!
Weather Resistance and Durability
Nothing kills optics faster than water and dust. Or rather, nothing kills a poor quality optic faster. At a minimum your scope will need to be waterproof. It should also be fog proof whenever possible. If you can get a scope that is completely sealed and purged, you will have the best chance of making that scope last!
You will also need shock resistance. The .308 out of a AR 10 isn’t a hard recoil but it is semi-auto. Fast follow up shots can put a beating on a scopes internals. Most scopes will be able to easily handle the AR 10. If you opt to get something cheap, do your research!
Best AR 10 Scope Comparison Table
Mil or MOA
Top 10 Best Scope For Ar 10 on the Market Reviews
Nightforce is a company and a legend in the shooting world. If you want the top of the line, this is one of a very select few that can get you there. Among those, they are also the easiest to get your hands on with no wait times or custom builds.
On the power scale, this is a 22x scope which isn’t the most powerful on this list but it right in the same ballpark. You shouldn’t need more. Both the adjustments and reticle are in MOA for ease of use and the reticle is illuminated for low light and faster targeting speeds.
Nightforce scopes are optically perfect or as perfect as a scope can be. They use precision ground and polished glass and one of the best multi-coats on the planet. The end result is glass that looks better than anything through the naked eye. Even at max power, there is no distortion or dimming of the view.
Though Nightforce is known for many things, they are best known for their durability. This is a well-deserved reputation as they can stand up to anything that normally happens in the field and probably more. There are a number of law enforcement agencies and several national militaries that have adopted these scopes. For the AR 10, this is the best you can get!
Vortex Optics Razor HD
A tiny step down the ladder from the Nightforce, you find the highest grade of Vortex optics. Unless you are a perfectionist when it comes to the quality of a scope, you will never notice a difference between this and a Nightforce scope. They are even assembled in the same plant.
You can get the Razor is so many configurations that it can be confusing. There are a variety of powers from a max of 18 to a max of 27 but we are sticking with that 27x. Reticles and adjustments can be either MOA or Mil depending on what you prefer and several different patterns of each. All Razor scopes are first focal plane.
With near perfect extra-low dispersion glass and a top of the line multi-coat process, the Razor is as optically perfect as you can expect from a scope. It costs much less than many with similar and even slightly worse lenses. Once you use one of these, you will never want to use anything else.
Breaking this scope would be a feat. Short of running it over or toppling it out of a deer stand, you probably can’t. If you do, Vortex will cover it with no questions asked. This alone makes the scope worth so much more. Guaranteed for life is a rare thing in today’s market.
At the top of the line for Burris scopes, you get the Veracity. This takes the decades of experience by the folks at Burris and combines it all into an amazing AR 10 scope. They may be less popular on the marking buzz than many other companies but they are just as good as most and better than almost any at this price point.
Maxing out at 20x, this is actually one of the lower powered scopes on this list. It uses both MOA adjustments and reticle on the first focal plane. It doesn’t have the range of adjustment that many of these scopes have but that makes it a good choice for something like .308.
Optically, Burris is a great choice. They started out as a materials company and know a thing or two about how to get the best. Over time, they have managed to make the most of the superior components they use and produce a very fine optic visually.
This isn’t to ignore their durability. This scope was designed more for the varmint hunter and it excels at that but it can stand up to harder use in the deeper woods and rougher terrain. It may not be mil-spec but it isn’t far off either.
Vortex Optics Viper PST
As a second option when it comes to Vortex, the Viper series is their midrange and is still a very high-quality optic. It can easily stand up to any other scope in its price range and will often outperform them. This is why Vortex is such a popular option.
The Viper PST here maxes out at 24x and makes for an absolutely astounding optic for the price. IT uses an MOA reticle and adjustments for easy sighting in. You can get this will MRAD and in a couple of different power options to suit your needs but if we had to choose one, it would be this one.
The glass on Vortex is always amazing, no matter which level of optic you get. There may be a little difference between the Razor and the Viper but they all use essentially the same low-dispersion glass. They also use the same multi-coat. Unless you look through a scope daily, it’s unlikely you will see much of a difference.
This is our choice for best rifle scope under 1000 and it is well under that price tag. You get a lot of scope for your money. The Viper is durable, optically amazing, and comes with about the best warranty on the market. If you choose this scope, you will not be disappointed.
UTG 3-12x44 30mm Compact Scope
Now we’ll focus our attention on the UTG Compact Scope for an AR-10 rifle. With so many scopes available, it’s hard to choose one that will deliver a promising performance (and not take up so much room at the same time). If you are looking for a scope that will be fun to use and not too long in terms of length, then you may want to consider this scope. Given its compact size, it’s a pretty tough cookie that can handle the shock and recoil of an AR-10 rifle. It also comes with a 44mm objective that will make sure that you will be able to see a lot more compared to other hunting scopes. This is also equipped with a fast-focus eyepiece that will ensure that your targets will be on lock and you’ll be able to shoot as quick as possible. If you are hunting varmint or big game this is certainly a must. You can line up the shot, take it, and be done for the day.
While you have the sunshade at the end of the scope, it won’t hinder the scope’s ability to give you an excellent image quality even in low-light conditions. The image picture will still be bright even when you have little sunlight to work with. The sunshade is also designed to prevent any kind of glaring. It eliminates that frustrating and pesky problem that most hunters face with some of the best riflescopes on the market. If you hate the idea of the sun getting into your eyes, then you deserve a scope that will get rid of it in one unique design.
Nikon Black X1000
Nikon scopes are an industry staple and have been for decades. When it comes to a Nikon AR 10 scope, it would be tough to beat the Nikon Black series. This has been their very successful attempt to dive into the deep end with an extremely good optic.
Maxing out at 24x, the black has plenty of power. It is a second focal plane optic with available Mil or MOA reticles. You can also go with something a little less powerful in the black line and save a little money. For our preferences, we will take the high power option.
What can you say about the lenses in a Nikon scope? Even those in the Monarch series were very good. Add in full multi-coating and use a glass with lower dispersion and it only gets better. The word that comes to mind is perfect. It may not be but it is so close!
The Black is also far more durable than previous Nikon optics. It was designed to be tough enough to handle military trials so it should do fine on any hunting, home-defense, or long range rifle. When it comes to the AR 10, this is simply the only chose if you want a Nikon AR 10 scope.
Everyone knows Leupold. They make some great scopes that could do amazing things with the AR 10 platform. Most of those scopes are cost prohibitive or very difficult to get. However, for those more interested in hunting, the VX-2 will satisfy their Leupold cravings.
At a lower 12 power and using a duplex reticle and capped adjustments, this isn’t a tactical scope. This is a tool for the hunter and one that excels at that task. It should be noted that the adjustments are able to be turned without a tool so you can make quicker modifications in the field if necessary.
The one place you will always find Leupold on top is optical quality. The VX-2 is no exception here. It has amazingly clear and high-contrast lenses that work great in the middle of the day or as the light level drops. It's easy to pick out a deer in the woods even on a dim, overcast morning.
Durability has always been a high note for Leupold as is their stellar warranty. They are hard as hell to break and if you do, its probably going to get replaced. All of this combined means you get a great AR 10 hunting scope that will be with you for life and you can hand down to your kids.
Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical
With a third option, Vortex offers the Diamondback on their lower tier of optics. While it is notably less than their Razor series, the difference between this and the Viper are less pronounced. If you spend a lot of time behind a scope, you will be able to tell the difference. If you are more of a weekend shooter, it won’t be as noticeable.
You can get the Diamondback in either a 12 or 16x, using MOA adjustments and either MOA or Mil reticles. This is a second focal plane scope if that is your preference. You can opt to get this scope in a 24x but everything considered, the 16x is probably the best rounded.
Among 308 scopes under 500 bucks, this is the absolute king. For those with a little tighter budget, you won’t do much better. Even though the optical quality is a little lower, it is still very good. Better than anything else in this price range.
The warranty is the exact same as that on the higher models and the construction is very close. It is nearly impossible to break a Vortex scope and they will repair or replace it if you somehow manage to do it. Even if its all your fault, they will probably still make sure you are good to go!
Primary Arms ACSS
Until Vortex hit the market, Primary Arms was all the buzz. They were the company doing what Vortex is now long before Vortex. Quality wise they are very close but could never manage to compete with the dollar for dollar value of Vortex.
Coming in as what I would consider the best rifle scope under 300 bucks, the ACSS is a first focal plane scope with an illuminated mil reticle and matching mil adjustments. This makes a very easy to use scope that really shines for those new to long range shooting.
The quality of the lenses in a Primary Arms scope isn’t really phenomenal. They aren’t bad either. They are perfectly usable and far better than many budget scopes. You can get Nikon, Bushnell, and a number of big name brands in this price range and the ACSS will keep up with all of them.
Where Primary Arms as a company tends to shine is their somewhat over the top construction. This is a very durable scope. They also do amazing with extra features like the illuminated reticle and the fact that this scope is first focal plane. Maybe the cheapest FFP scope you can get!
Nikon Buckmaster II
To round things out, we need another hunting scope and to get one of the best, we will turn back to Nikon. Their Buckmaster series has been a best seller across the country for probably 20 years or more. They can be found on rifles, black powder and just about anything else that goes bang.
The scope is fairly basic with a duplex reticle, standard capped adjustments and a max power of 12x. While this is standard, it is also an amazing setup for the hunter. The power is right here it needs to be for those shots at short to medium range. Everything is simplified so all you have to worry about is your shot.
To make sure you make that shot, the Buckmaster combines optical quality and sheer toughness into one package. Not only can it stand up to the AR 10 but it can do so while providing an amazing scope image. You will find no faults with the Buckmaster here.
This is not a good option for a tactical scope. It leaves a lot of features on the table. It is a perfect example of a good hunting scope. That is why it has topped both reviews and sales charts for as long as it has. If you are a AR 10 hunter, this is a worthy choice for far less than 200 bucks.
The AR 10 is a solid, robust, and accurate platform and any optic you get should complement those features. With any of the best AR 10 scopes, this rifle will perform up there with any standard .308 semi-auto rifle. It has been underrated for years and is finally making a comeback and it is far past time!