Riflescopes are extremely important for those who are interested to practice long-range shooting. If you have a rifle then the best scope for AR-10 is what you need so you can shoot your target in a more precise manner. With the help of the most dependable scope on the market, shooters will have an easier time hitting their targets with a low risk of missing them.
A good scope for the AR platform is what you need to see clearly, giving you the chance to lock down on your targets to ensure a precise shot. This can help in preventing bullet wastage. By ensuring that you have the right accuracy and precision, you can put all your bullets to good use.
Fortunately, it is now easy to find the right scope that fits your budget with the help of this buyer’s guide. It is even possible for you to find the best AR-10 scope under $500 here. First, here are our top 8 products currently available in the market and short yet informative reviews of each one.
Quick Answer: The 8 Best AR-10 Scopes for 2020
- Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12×40 BDC (MOA) Riflescope
- UTG 3-9X32 1″ BugBuster Scope
- UTG 3-12×44 30mm Compact Scope
- Vortex Optics Viper PA 6.5-20×50 Mil Dot Riflescope
- Nikon M-308 SF 4-16x42mm Riflescope
- Trijicon VCOG 1-6×24 Riflescope
- Nikon ProStaff 3-9×40 Black Matte Riflescope
- Leupold VX-2 4-12x40mm Compact Riflescope
First, let’s take a look at the top-rated AR-10 scopes, then we’ll talk about how to choose the right one for you in our buying guide below.
Best Scope for AR-10 Reviews of 2020
#1 Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12×40 BDC (MOA) Riflescope
The first budget AR-10 scope that I would like to introduce is the Diamondback Second Focal Plan Riflescope from Vortex. In my opinion, this deserves a spot in this specific list of the best scopes because aside from being effective, it also takes pride in its sleek design. I am glad to say that it has one of the best optics in the AR-10 scope industry.
One of the primary things I discovered in this scope is its aircraft-grade aluminum build. I noticed how beneficial this build is upon realizing that it makes the scope remain lightweight without compromising its overall durability. This scope for the AR-10 platform is truly durable with its ability to resist heavy recoils.
It is also known for its extreme resistance to all forms of climates and weather conditions. In fact, it is waterproof and fog-proof. The fog-proof nature of this scope is brought to you by its internal argon gas, which prevents you from having a foggy vision when you are using it. You can also avoid dealing with wet mishaps through it.
If you pick this Vortex scope, then I am sure that you will enjoy a clear view up to the lens’ edges. Another strength that it has is its highly protective lens designed to prevent scratches and scrapes. It is also one of those scopes that utilize the BDC reticles. It specifically utilizes the dead-hold BDC reticle, which is distinctive to the Vortex brand.
The good thing about this reticle is that you will not have a hard time familiarizing yourself with it. You can get rid of the guesswork when it comes to using it. You can also enjoy a high level of confidence and accuracy when using it because it frees you from dealing with issues related to windage and hold-over corrections.
It has fully multicoated lenses, guaranteeing clear and bright images. It also promotes easy and quick focusing of the reticle. With its metal-on-metal precision turrets, I am sure that it also makes you capable of zeroing reset after sight-in.
#2 UTG 3-9×32 1″ BugBuster Scope
Another top-rated AR-10 scope that you can get if you are on a budget is the UTG 3-9X32 1″ BugBuster Scope. In fact, it is so affordable that you can actually buy it for less than a hundred dollars. One positive trait of this scope is that it is capable of withstanding shock and the effects of various harsh weather conditions.
In other words, it is a dependable scope if you wish to go hunting during a rainy season or in a place with poor visibility because of fog. I am also pleased with the built-in resettable target turrets included in this scope because aside from being high in quality, I also discovered that they are lockable.
This is a huge help in making precise and crisp windage and elevation adjustments consistently. I am also very happy with the scope rings included in the purchase. I am even more satisfied upon noticing that they are quick to detach rings that promote easy and sure mounting.
I am also satisfied with this scope’s optic as it feels solid in my hand. It makes use of aluminum for its primary body but there is also a use of polymer in its construction. Another benefit is that this scope has an evenly applied fit and finish. It also boasts of its user-friendly and easy to figure out controls.
Apart from that, I am so impressed with the RGB SWAT illumination built into this scope as it provides a wide range of brightness settings designed to enhance low-light and daytime shooting for all your targeted lighting conditions.
As for the reticle, expect it to come as a 9-dot duplex referred to as the TRE (tactical range estimating) mil-dot reticle.
#3 UTG 3-12×44 30mm Compact Scope
A lot of buying guide and review articles for AR-10 scopes will also most likely include the UTG 3-12X44 30-mm Compact Scope in their list of choices. It is definitely one of the most viable suggestions for those searching for a reliable AR-10 scope because it is known not only for its dependability but also in its accuracy when used on tough field situations.
One positive trait that made this scope so popular is its durability. It is durable enough that you have no reason to replace it year after year. Just by properly taking care of it, you will most likely enjoy it for a lifetime. It boasts of its 3x zoom, which is beneficial if you want to zero on 50 yards and nail your preferred portion of the target from a hundred yards.
I love the fantastic zeroing capability of this scope, too. Aside from being totally straightforward and simple when you are zeroing it, you can also expect it to hold the zero in a much better way than other scopes in the market. Target acquisition is also easy with the help of this scope.
It is because it promotes a perfect aim even after you remove and reattach it, making you feel like you are a really excellent shooter. I also love the fact that everything about this scope seems to be very easy to manage.
In fact, you have a hundred percent guarantee that you can easily mount and adjust it. New shooters will also love it because mastering the way it functions is easy. Moreover, I am satisfied with the multicoated optics and multi-emerald coated lenses used in this scope.
#4 Vortex Optics Viper PA 6.5-20×50 Mil Dot Riflescope
The next scope that I would like to suggest using is the Viper PA Second Focal Plane Riflescope from Vortex. I immediately noticed how effective this riflescope is when used for predator/varmint, long-range, as well as target applications. Because it is both argon purged and O-ring sealed, I also instantly sensed its fascinating waterproof and fog-proof features.
I am very impressed with this riflescope mainly because of its fully multicoated and premium optical system. This shows that it belongs to those scopes that have the best optics for AR-10. I am also very satisfied with the built-in lenses as these promote incredible color fidelity and resolution, thanks to the fact that these are completely multicoated and come with extra-low dispersion.
Apart from that, it boasts of an excellent light gathering capability because of its XR coatings. The lens is also fully protected because of its Armortek coating. This scope is also constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum material, which makes it stronger and more rigid.
With its single-piece tube, I also discovered that it has maximum alignment, which is a big help in boosting accuracy and optimizing visual performance. You can even find this tube helpful in improving its waterproofing ability and strength. Another plus point is its shockproof nature.
It has a rugged and shockproof construction, which works effectively in withstanding impact and recoil. It also uses a mil-dot reticle, which works in estimating windage, bullet holdover, and range. The capped reset turrets also promote their rapid re-indexing to zero after you sight them into the riflescope.
I also find its side knob parallax adjustment a great feature because it promotes ease and rapidness in terms of adjusting the parallax using visible range numbers while you are in your present shooting position.
#5 Nikon M-308 SF 4-16x42mm Riflescope
I am also proud to include the Nikon M-308 SF 4-16x42mm Riflescope in this top 8 review. What I find so incredible about this riflescope is that it promotes spot-on and optimized precision to AR-10. It can maximize the accuracy of almost all loads or calibers. This is made possible by its caliber-specific and 4x zoom technology as well as its completely multicoated optical system. (Learn more about the best scope for .308).
It takes pride in its large magnification range, which works together with the brand’s optical system, making it possible for it to deliver highly accurate shots on various conditions and situations. The 4x zoom technology I mentioned earlier is actually helpful in making the riflescope even more versatile. It is because it promotes a better range for low-to-high magnification.
I am also greatly satisfied with its overall construction as I noticed that it is built to be shockproof, fog-proof, and waterproof. In fact, it is known for being O-ring sealed and nitrogen-purged, making it possible to withstand rugged uses and heavy recoil.
Another thing that impresses me about this scope is its 4-inch constant eye relief. This is effective in keeping your eyes and brows safe even when dealing with severe angles for shooting and heavy recoiling cartridges.
I also love the fact that this scope is engineered and built in a way that it can simplify long-range shooting using a specific load and caliber. It is even possible for you to optimize the reticles for almost all loads and cartridges. All it takes is to use the spot-on ballistic reticle match technology.
This product’s multicoated optical system also offers a strong advantage because of its ability to supply maximum brightness and light transmission from day and night, so rest assured that aside from being useful during daytime, it also has a night vision capability.
#6 Trijicon VCOG 1-6×24 Riflescope
Who says that your aging eyes can prevent you from finding and using the perfect AR-10 scope for your case? With the Trijicon VCOG 1-6×24 Riflescope, I can easily suggest the ultimate solution for this specific need. I consider this as the best Trijicon scope for AR-10 due to its rugged and variable-powered nature.
I even find it truly capable of accommodating close quarter battles as well as long-distance marksmanship with the help of its first focal plane reticle with LED illumination. I am also very impressed with its MIL-spec-grade optical system. It is because I noticed how robust it is for all applications.
It even boasts of its incredible glass quality as well as its light gathering capability that promotes zero distortion. The first focal plane used in this scope is a huge advantage as it makes it possible for you to use its ballistic reticle in all magnifications. What I like even more is the fact that it is built with a high level of sophistication, allowing you to use it accurately and rapidly in acquiring targets and putting rounds on each one anytime you want it.
You can even use it to quickly and accurately estimate your range, thereby ensuring that you hit your target successfully even if you are at a distance. The premium quality glass used in the scope also gives you an incredible clarity and brightness no matter what time of day you decide to use the scope.
With this, you always have an assurance that you can take full advantage of the scope even when the atmosphere is not so bright. I also find this scope very suitable for tactical and long-range shooters. It is because of its first focal plane reticle, which supports the subs-tensions and drops and letting them stick at the magnification you decided to use. This also promotes better flexibility if you are planning to use it on various shooting situations and positions.
#7 Nikon ProStaff 3-9×40 Black Matte Riflescope
I would also like to encourage most shooters and rifle owners to invest in the Nikon 6729 ProStaff 4-12×40 Riflescope because its overall quality is totally worth the price. I am so pleased that I came across this product because I discovered how effective it is in providing extremely bright and clear pictures.
It actually provides high-resolution images, which is good if you are hunting even in the most undesirable situations. I am also happy to say that its magnification range is versatile. It is because this versatility gives you the flexibility that you need in case you are in various hunting situations.
Another positive point about this riflescope is its black matte finish, which is not only effective in giving it a leaner and more professional appearance. It also works in reducing the reflection of light when used in field situations. With that, getting close to your target without letting it know your position is possible.
I also like the built-in hand-turn controls because they come with a protective cap. This scope can also handle intensive use and abuse, thanks to its dust-proof and shock-proof casing. I am also glad to say that its O-ring sealed and nitrogen-filled construction promotes complete waterproofing. It even ensures that the scope does not fog up inside.
This gives you the chance to use the product in humid and wet weather without worrying about it getting damaged. Since this scope uses the BDC reticle, I also find it effective in locking at your target even at impossible distances. You can even use this reticle in compensating for the bullet drop with ease in case your target is far.
The 4-12x magnification is also beneficial as it promotes highly accurate shots when used in medium and long ranges.
#8 Leupold VX-2 4-12x40mm Compact Riflescope
There is also what we call as the Leupold VX-2 4-12x40mm Riflescope, which is the last product I would like to suggest to potential users. One remarkable benefit of this riflescope is definitely its light and sturdy aircraft-grade aluminum alloy construction. This material makes the scope lightweight, making it easier to manage while still retaining its sturdiness.
One fascinating benefit of this riflescope is that it is built with optical performance in mind. I even noticed that it is manufactured in a way that it showcases clarity all over the entire field of view in various conditions. The optical surfaces in this scope come with coating, which is a big help in minimizing glare while promoting the authentic transmission of color.
With that, you can get high-contrast and vivid images that you will find useful even when you are in situations and conditions that have poor lighting. I can’t also deny how versatile this scope is. It is flexible and versatile enough that it can support you in various applications and situations.
It even takes pride in its versatile zoom ratio, making it possible for you to switch from big images to fine details by just turning the power selector once. It is even possible for you to retain the intuitiveness of things by compensating for bullet drop and windage with the distinctive finger-clicks in case you are planning to make distant shots.
Another great thing about this scope is that it remains lightweight while still offering you the flexibility needed in handling unexpected hunting situations.
- What Makes a Great AR-10 Scope?
- Factors to Consider When Buying a Scope for AR-10
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Makes a Great AR-10 Scope?
The AR-10 is the predecessor of the widely popular AR-15 and although it is not quite as known as its successor, AR-10 rifles still remain as among the most sought after assault rifles by gun collectors. However, it is also a pretty practical rifle that you can use for both hog hunting and range shooting.
When it is chambered with 7.62/.308 rounds, combined with a good 3.6x telescopic sight, the AR-10 can hit targets as far out as 700m away. However, an AR-10 that has a 21-inch barrel combined with 9x+ scope can destroy targets that are more than 1,100 yards away, which is impressive considering that this is an assault rifle and does not belong under sniper rifles.
Aside from long-range shooting, you can also use the AR-10 in closed quarters and for medium range. Each of these uses requires the use of different scopes. For short-range shots, which means your targets are within 400 yards, you can make do with a smaller AR-10 scope with a 1x-4x zoom.
If you will be taking on medium-range targets, which means the targets are within 400 to 700 yard, then you will need a 4x-9x scope with an objective of 30-40mm. For a long range shot, which means targets that are beyond 700 yards, a scope with at least 9x magnification and a 40mm+ objective lens is what you need.
A larger objective lens allows more light to pass through the aperture, thus giving you a brighter and sharper image of your target. If you are looking for the best scope that you can use somewhat effectively for all ranges so you do not have to swap them out, you can use a scope that is in the 2x-12x range, although you will be making a lot of adjustments on the field.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Scope for AR-10
When buying a new scope for your new AR-10, you also need to take into consideration a couple of factors. There are so many different brands and models of rifle scopes for AR-10, which makes the process of choosing the right one for your particular needs quite tricky. You have to take your personal shooting style into consideration when buying a scope for your AR-10 rifles.
The first, and most important thing that you need to look for when shopping for a good AR-10 rifle scope is the magnification. As mentioned earlier, the magnification power of the scope will correspond to the range that you intend to shoot.
If you are looking for versatility, get a scope that has a wide magnification range, like say 3x-12x. However, you will have to compromise with the scope’s diameter, length, and weight. In addition, you will be adjusting the rifle scope quite often. It would be actually faster if you were to swap out scopes.
The next factor to consider is the diameter of the AR-10 scope. If you want clear sight pictures even when your target is more than a thousand yards away, you should get a scope that has a wide diameter. These scopes let more light in so you can get a clearer target sight.
This means that larger diameter scopes work best when you are shooting in low light or hazy conditions, like when you are out hunting. However, because the scope is much bigger, it will also be much heavier, so keep that in mind when shopping for the best scopes.
Type of optical glass used
Superior quality optical glass will make it easier for you to see the target much easier at any power magnification. The only way to get a feel of which scope uses the better glass is to do a side-by-side comparison. The differences may be minute but you will appreciate the added benefits.
Where you will be using the scope
Another important factor to consider is your intended use of the scope. For instance, if you will be using it as a hunting rifle then you need to avoid getting those complicated and very expensive scopes. Although those scopes tend to be more accurate, they are more prone to weather damage.
It is better for you to get a simpler and weatherproof scope, something that is easy to operate so you can adjust it on the fly. In addition, you should get a scope that does not add too much weight to your rifle. You need to travel light when hunting and every gram of gear counts.
The focal plane
Modern rifle scopes use a second focal plane for more accurate aiming. This means that the size of the scope’s reticle gets bigger or smaller depending on the magnification settings. This feature is quite helpful, especially for long-range shooting.
The reticle refers to the fine lines in the scope that help the shooter gauge distance and aim more accurately. There are different kinds of reticles available. These include mil-dot reticles, BDC (bullet drop compensation), and red dots, among many others. Each type of reticle provides different advantages depending on the shooter, so it is best for you to try out as many of the different types before settling on just one.
This might seem like a minor detail but you will find that it is quite important the more times you use your AR-10. Some AR-10 scopes come with adjustable eye reliefs, making it easier for you to make them comfortable to use.
There are also some scopes with a fixed eye relief that are kind of a hit-or-miss (pardon the pun). Sometimes, they fit you right away. However, there are also instances when they take a bit more time to conform to you.
Each type of scope has different elevation adjustments. For instance, long distance scopes have more elevation adjustment options to compensate for the many variables that come with shooting targets from a long distance away. In most cases, the larger the scope diameter, the more elevation adjustment options are available.
The objective lens allows light to get into the scope to give you a clearer picture of the target. The larger the objective lens, the more light can pass through. However, when the objective lens exceeds 50mm, the image tends to fade quite a bit.
If you will be using the scope mainly for hunting, you will need a scope with a large objective lens as the light conditions in most hunting areas are often less than ideal.
Frequently Asked Questions
Leupold VX-1 Versus VX-2 Versus VX-3I?
Leupold & Stevens is one of the US’ top rifle scope makers and has been in business for more than 50 years. The company’s top selling line of scopes are the VX series, which is their scopes that have variable magnification. The series is composed of the VX-1, VX-2 and the VX-3 model lines.
These are all top-notch Leupold AR-10 scopes and have gotten rave reviews from most of those who bought them. Now the question is what are the differences between the three scope lines? Which is the best of the bunch?
The Leupold VX-1 has lenses that have Multicoat 4 coating technology. This allows 92% light transmission. It has windage and elevation settings that are adjustable using a finger click setting with ¼ MOA increments and can go up to 52 MOA. The main tube is composed of two pieces. The VX-1 scope uses a classic-style focus eyepiece and a clear indicator for tactile power. The scope’s range has price ranges of $210-$300 depending on the model type.
The Leupold VX-2 uses coated optical lenses with index-matched Diamond Coat, and they also have blackened edges to help with focus. The VX-2 has a slightly higher light transmission than the VX-1 at 94%. The main tube is one inch in diameter and adjustments can be made in ¼ MOA increments up to 56 MOA.
VX-2 scopes come with externally threaded fast focus eye pieces and tactile power selectors. The VX-2 also comes with the 2nd generation Argon/Krypton filling, a fog proofing feature that prevents the scope from fogging up during rapid temperature changes. The VX-2 scopes also have rather steep price tags ranging from $300 to $600.
The Leupold VX-3 is the top tier choice of the three rifle scopes. The VX-3 has an Xtended Twilight System and Diamond Coat 2, which lets a massive 98% of light transmission. The Diamond Coat 2 is designed to transmit more light from the blue-violet color spectrum. This is the ideal scope to use if you are going on dawn or dusk hunts, the time when the game animals are most active. It is because those are the times when blue-violet light dominates thus giving you a clearer sight picture.
There are many models of the VX-3. Some models have adjustable objective lenses or side focus. Some models of this scope comes with a CDS feature (or an illuminated reticle with a motion sensor). The VX-3 scopes are the most expensive, ranging in price from $400 to $1,100.
Nikon P308 Versus M308
Aside from being one of the top camera brands in the world, Nikon, the company, also makes great rifle scopes, and their top sellers are the P-308 and the M-308. However, which of the two are actually better?
Although the M-308 has some distinct advantages, like:
- Parallax Settings
- Higher Magnification
- Large Range of FOV
- Large Range Of Eye Relief
The P-308 also offers almost same features as the M-308, but with the added distinction that it is almost half the price.
What mount to get for AR-10 scope?
There are basically two types of mounts that you can use on your AR-10. You go either with the one-piece mounts or the two-piece rings. For the AR-10, it is slightly better to choose a one-piece scope mount. Firstly it is because they are more rigid and stronger than ring mounts, and they also come already aligned. Although you can still choose the two-piece ring mounts if you want, they are lighter and are usually interchangeable between rifles.
How to mount scope on AR-10?
Mounting the scope is actually possible with these important steps:
- Secure the AR-10 on something that will not move, like your workbench vise.
- Level the rifle on the vise.
- Attach your mount of choice on the rifle. After attaching the mount on the rail, re-level everything. Place the level both parallel and perpendicular to the rifle, and place it on all the flat surfaces that you can find.
- Place your scope inside the rings. Be careful and ensure that there is enough clearance between the objective lens and the rail or barrel of the rifle and others like flip-up sights.
- Place the level on a flat portion on the scope, like the adjustment knob, and ensure that it is level both parallel and perpendicular to the rifle.
- Place the top of the mounting rings on the mounting bracket. Be careful not to move the scope. Apply a bit of Loctite and lightly tighten the screws on the mounts a bit at a time.
- Be careful not to strip the threads of the screws. Go around from corner to corner tightening each screw slightly until they are all tight enough.
- Re-check everything with your level then check if the crosshairs in the scope are aligned.
What is the best nightforce scope for AR-10?
If you will be getting a Nightforce scope for your AR-10, the one you should get is the Nightforce 2.5-10x. This is the best Nightforce scope for AR-10 because it is ideal for semi-close shooting, and can accurately fire a man-sized target for up to 800 yards. It also has a ZeroStop and a quick throw lever for easy use. The reticle for this scope might be a bit too busy for some but it does provide all of the information that you will need to hit your targets.
The AR-10 is a beast of a rifle and though it is not quite as popular as its predecessor, it is still a worthwhile gun that you can add to your collection, or even as your first semi-automatic rifle. To make full use of this magnificent firearm, you need to choose the right and the best scope for AR-10.
Sure, you can use the built-in sights for aiming. However, if you want accurate shots even from long ranges, you need a proper rifle scope. If you are going to use your rifle for boar hunting, deer hunting, or if you will just be shooting around in a gun range, a proper scope will ensure that you will always hit your intended target.