If you do not have time for the details, here are our top picks:
- Vortex Crossfire II 2-7X32
- Leupold FX-II 2.5X8
- UTG 2-7X32 Handgun Scope
- Viiko Long Eye Relief 2-7X42
- TACFUN AIM Sports 2-7X32mm Scope with Laser
- Burris Scout Riflescope
- Hi-Lux LER 2-7X32
- Burris Handgun Scope 3-12X32mm
- How to Choose a Scout Scope
- Best Scout Scope Reviews
- Scout Scope Pros and Cons
- Scout Scope vs. Red Dot
- Scout Scope vs. Traditional
Why Do You Need a Scout Scope?
What is a scout scope? A scout scope is mounted further forward on the rifle than a normal scope. So why do you need a scout scope, and not a normal scope?
The most common reason is to mount the scope on a rifle where a normal scope will not normally work. For example, a scout scope for mosin nagant is common because a normal scope will block the bolt and won’t let the shooter use stripper clips.
Are scout scopes better? Some shooters do like them better because they are easier to quickly see when raising your rifle with both eyes open. They also keep your eye away from the rifle on guns with heavy recoil.
How to Choose a Scout Scope
How to choose the best scout scope for you? Consider these features for a buying guide.
Scout scopes for hunting are made for lightweight rifles that are easy to handle. Naturally, weight is an important factor to consider. Of course, weight must be balanced with other features.
For example, scopes with a bigger objective lens (bigger field of view) or higher magnification may be bigger and heavier. Also, more expensive scopes can be more efficient and will weigh less overall.
The reticle is the term for the image used for aiming in a scope. The basic crosshair reticle is known as a “duplex” reticle, and is the simplest and most common variant. Other reticle shapes may be used for different types of shooting, or have reference points for things like target ranging.
A common reticle feature is a scout scope with BDC. BDC stands for “ballistic drop compensation”. Plainly put, a BDC reticle shows you where to aim to compensate for the bullet drop at different target distances.
Some reticles may also have illumination. A scout scope with illuminated reticle is easier to see in different lighting conditions but does require an extra battery. Most illuminated scopes will still function without a battery, but will not illuminate.
You should also decide between a scout scope with first focal plane or second focal plane reticle. A first focal plane reticle will seem to change its size at different magnification, but will stay the same size relative to the target.
A second focal plane reticle will always appear the same size to the shooter, but it changes relative to the target as the magnification is changed. This means that a scout scope with bdc reticle will only have accurate measurements at one level of magnification if it is a second focal plane. But, a second focal plane scout scope will be quicker to aim and pick up more light.
Picking a scout scope fixed vs variable magnification depends on your needs. A fixed magnification is mechanically simpler, more durable, and may be lighter. Variable magnification allows you to select what you need.
A common magnification range for a scout scope for hunting is 2-7X or 3-9X. Fixed magnification scopes are usually in a range between 3X and 6X.
Best Scout Scope Reviews
1. Vortex Crossfire II 2-7X32
Vortex optics makes good quality scopes in America and offers them with a great lifetime warranty. The Vortex Crossfire is a good, basic scout scope for M1A mounting or other similar rifles.
This scope has a standard duplex reticle which Vortex refers to as a “V-Plex”. It is thinner in the middle so you can see smaller targets better. It weighs 12 oz., so it will not add too much unnecessary weight to your rifle.
The Vortex Crossfire is a good scope for a budget that is not too high, but still delivers a basic scope with good performance.
- 9.5 inch eye relief
- Capped adjustment turrets which can be set to zero for constant reference
- Fully multi-coated lenses deliver better light
- O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged to prevent scope from fogging up
- Thin center reticle to see target better
2. Leupold FX-II 2.5X8
Leupold is a classic name in manufacturing scopes for firearms. The Leupold FX-II Scout is a lightweight, capable scout scope for deer hunting and other activities.
The Leupold Twilight Management system helps extend your shooting and hunting time. Special glass manufacturing increases the light transmission in low-light hours, when animals are more active.
This scout scope is also very durable and suited to outdoor uses. It is tested on a recoil simulating machine at 3 times the recoil of a .308 Winchester for over 5,000 cycles. Leupold also tested the scope to work in an extreme temperature range.
This is a good scout scope for hunting in environments where the weather can be harsh and you need gear that will last.
- Lightweight – only 7 and a half ounces
- Matte black finish
- Resistant to adverse weather conditions, water, fog, and shock
- Better light collection during low-light hours
3. UTG 2-7X32 Handgun Scope
You might wonder if you need a scout scope or pistol scope. The answer will depend on what you need to do
A pistol scope like this one from UTG has a longer eye relief. This UTG pistol scout scope with long eye relief has maximum eye relief over 2 feet.
The scope is constructed with smart spherical structure manufacturing which makes the scope durable and keeps the adjustments consistent. The windage and elevation adjustment knobs feature a locking set screw to keep your zero from being accidentally changed.
This UTG pistol scope also has a BDC reticle to calculate for bullet drop. The reticle can be illuminated in both red and green.
- Eye relief up to 25 inches
- Lockable windage and elevation adjustment
- Reticle to compensate for bullet drop
- Illumination in red and green
4. Viiko Long Eye Relief 2-7X42
The Mosin Nagant is one of the most popular military surplus rifles for shooters, especially due to the low cost and powerful ammunition. But, mounting a traditional scope on a Mosin Nagant requires a lot of gunsmithing. That’s why a scout scope for Mosin Nagant is a common modification.
The Viiko 2-7X42 was made to mount on a Mosin Nagant or similar surplus rifles. Using a scout scope vs traditional scope allows the shooter to attach it to their rifle without permanently modifying parts such as the bolt.
This scope has a wide objective lens of 42mm, which will let in more light for a clearer picture. It has a large 30mm body for better stability, and comes with Picatinny ring mounts to match.
Although not illuminated, this scope does have a Mildot reticle which allows the shooter to estimate the target range and compensate aiming holds for windage and elevation.
By just attaching a picatinny rail mount, this scout scope for mosin nagant allows you to solve the problem of putting a scope on your surplus rifle without modifying it forever.
- Eye relief of 9.5 to 10.5 inches
- Mildot reticle for making shooting calculations
- 42mm objective lens
- Comes with Picatinny rings,
5. TACFUN AIM Sports 2-7X32mm Scope with Laser
A scout scope with red dot laser is two aiming devices in one. This scope includes a Class IIIa red laser to allow for quick point shooting when you don’t have time to view through the scope.
The AIM Sports 2-7X32 scope features a basic duplex reticle. In addition to the laser, the reticle itself has dual illumination in both red and green colors.
The body of this scope is machined from one solid piece of aluminum for strength and shock resistance. The scope is sealed and filled with nitrogen to prevent fogging in humid weather conditions.
Included with this scope is a set of rings which will attach to Picatinny or Weaver rails, as well as wrenches for adjustment and mounting of the scope.
- Includes red laser
- Dual illuminated reticle
- Weight 8.5 ounces
- Comes with Picatinny Rail Mount
6. Burris Scout Riflescope
The idea of a scout scope is to provide a light, fast scope to quickly hit targets to medium distance. The Burris Scout excels in a couple of these categories, as it weighs only 7 ounces and has a very low profile 20mm objective lens and 1 inch tube.
The advantage of a small tube is to mount the scope lower on the gun, good for a scout scope for M1A or other similar rifles. Keeping the scope mounted low aligns it easily with the shooter’s eye without adding a cheek rest.
The Burris Scout uses a thick duplex reticle which is easy to quickly put on a target at medium range. It may obscure targets at longer distances, but the design of a scout scope vs regular type of scope means that this is OK, because you won’t be shooting at longer distances.
This particular scope has a fixed magnification of 2.75 power. Fixed magnification makes the scope mechanically simpler, and there is no adjustment. Just pick up the rifle and you will have the same sight picture every time.
- Slim tube and small objective lens for low mounting
- Thick duplex reticle
- Only 7 ounces weight
- 2.75 fixed magnification
7. Hi-Lux LER 2-7X32
This scout scope is a very typical, all-around scout scope that has the most important features. It has the standard 2-7 power magnification with a 32mm objective lens.
One nice feature of the Hi-Lux LER is the included throw lever in the magnification ring. This is easy to grab and allows the shooter to quickly change magnification.
The Hi-Lux LER also has a wide variation of eye relief – from 8.5 to 14 inches, depending on magnification. This allows the shooter a lot of options on where to place the scope for their rifle.
The reticle features a .308 BDC to compensate for bullet drop on longer shots. This would make it a good scope for Ruger Gunsite Scout or other similar .308 scout rifles. The variable eye relief could also make it a good scout scope for Winchester 94 or other lever action rifles which need less eye relief than some tactical rifles.
- Eye relief 8.5 to 14 inches
- Quick throw lever on magnification ring
- Scope weight 1 pound
- Lifetime warranty
8. Burris Handgun Scope 3-12X32mm
Although you may find it hard to believe, there are some handguns available which use full-power rifle rounds. These single shot and bolt action pistols are used by experienced hunters and sportsmen for game hunting and long range target shooting.
Of course, when shooting such powerful rounds, a shooter needs a scope that will handle the recoil. They also need enough eye relief to keep the scope safely away from their face when firing.
The Burris 3-12 handgun scope has plenty of magnification for hunting or target shooting at a distance. It’s built to withstand the recoil of even powerful rifle caliber rounds in a handgun.
Like many scopes, this is a scout scope with bdc to compensate for bullet drop. The Burris Ballistic Plex reticle can be used in combination with a ballistic calculator to match up to any bullet trajectory, so you’re not limited to one caliber for your BDC.
- 3-12 power magnification
- Ballistic Plex Reticle
- Burris Forever Warranty
- Adjustable parallax on objective lens
- Built to handle high recoil
Scout Scope Pros and Cons
Scout scope vs traditional scope is a choice that has to be individually made based on the situation. They each have advantages and disadvantages.
- Easy for the eye to pick up
- Can be mounted on guns where traditional scopes are not an option
- Easier to shoot with both eyes open
- Less light and image clarity
- Fewer options
- Some shooters may not like the difference in sight picture
Scout Scope vs. Red Dot
Red dots are another popular option for hunting in close quarters. Red dot scopes are a great choice for shooting up close because the dot is easy to see and minimizes parallax distortion.
However, scout scopes have some advantages over red dot optics. One of the most important is that red dot scopes require electronics and will not work without a battery. A scout scope will work without a battery, even if its reticle will not illuminate.
Red dot scopes are also limited in range. They do not have adjustable magnification. You can buy magnifier optics for red dot scopes, but these can be expensive and take up even more space on your rail. Even magnified red dot optics will not have the same range as a scout scope.
A scout scope offers more mid-range capability than a red dot. For instance, a scout scope on Mini 14 or other rifle will extend the distance you can aim it farther than a red dot scope.
Scout Scope vs. Traditional
Scout scopes are usually used where traditional scopes cannot be mounted. For instance, some rifles load through the top with stripper clips, which would be blocked by a traditional scope.
Using a scout scope on SKS, for instance, allows the shooter to still load the stripper clips through the top. A traditional scope with an SKS requires the shooter to use bulky detachable magazines.
A scout scope on AK rifles allows the user to get some magnification by placing the scope on a handguard with a Picatinny rail. AK rifles are difficult to use with a traditional scope, especially if they do not already have a scope rail mount riveted to the receiver. Using the scout scope for AK 47 gets around this issue and extends the aiming distance of the rifle.
Even for rifles that can use a traditional scope, some shooters like a scout scope for deer hunting or other activities. The scout scope shows up much more quickly to the eye, and allows the shooter to aim with both eyes open more easily. Keeping both eyes open increases the shooter’s situational awareness.
A scout scope or pistol scope must also be used with most pistols or other hand-held firearms. The eye relief on a traditional scope is too short for these firearms. The shooter will have an uncomfortable shooting position and risk hitting themselves in the eye if they do not use a scout scope or pistol scope.
The scout scope is a niche item that fulfills a role that other traditional scopes and red dot optics can not. If you need one of these scopes, you are probably looking for the best scout scope that fits your needs and your budget.
After reading more about scout scopes and seeing some of the offerings available, you should have a good indication of how to choose your best scout scope.
My name is Dakota Potts. I am a gunsmith and machinist, and I have a firearms dedicated website which I run and write content for.
I love writing about firearms, competition shooting, gunsmithing, the second amendment, and more. I have been writing professionally since I was 14, and I put this experience to use with my love of firearms content.
You can find more of his writings at pottsprecision.com.