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With an effective range of roughly 1000m and a relatively low price tag, it’s no wonder the 308 Winchester is in the American ammunition hall of fame.
The 308 used modern propellants and design to achieve results close to the classic 30-06 but is encompassed in a shorter and lighter cartridge. The shorter cartridge meant that 308 chambered rifles could utilize a smaller action, thus resulting in lower weight and overall significantly smaller rifles.
This particular round became popular among sportsman and was also used in the US Military for several years due to its incredible ballistics in such a small package. No matter if you’re hunting, target practicing, or facing combat, the 308 is an excellent choice.
As a military round, it has a long service as a main battle rifle round, as well as sniper’s best friend and a designated marksman’s heavy hitter.
The 308 round is very versatile and can be used to hunt everything from coyotes to large deer species. Its recoil is stout, but not painful and the number of different load options out there is eye-opening. I mentioned the military using the 308 before, however, they no longer use this round as they have since adopted the 7.62 NATO. On the civilian market, the majority of the rifles you’ll find are 308 Winchester instead of their military variant 7.62 configurations. As a general rule, though, 7.62 NATO can be fired in 308 Winchester guns, but not vice versa.
Related Article: 17 Best Long Range Rifles (Ranked by a Marine Sniper)
Civilian adoption of these calibers has skyrocketed demand for 308 chambered rifles and has thus resulted in a massive aftermarket for such rifles, with scopes being one of the top aftermarket additions sought after. To squeeze out the most in your 308 chambered boomsticks you’ll need to be outfitted with the proper gear.
Vortex Optics Diamondback
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Trijicon 1-6×24 VCOG
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Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II-E
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Nikon P-Tactical .308
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308 Scope Buying Guide
That’s where we come in! In this guide, I’ll be explaining how to choose the best scope for 308 rifles, and just below the guide, I’ll include a list of my favorite scopes. Of course, it’s impossible for me and my team to review each and every scope available and there are many scopes that aren’t specifically designed for the 308 but will get the job done. With that in mind, if I’ve missed something or there’s a new advancement in 308 scopes that I haven’t yet reviewed, feel free to drop it in the comments and I’ll try my best to throw it in this guide with an honest review!
With all this in mind, the 308 is best used as a medium to long range round. There are much better options for close quarter combat (CQB). Any rifle being used at medium to long ranges is most effective when paired with a powerful set of optics, so today we are going to run down the best 308 Scopes currently on the market. This list will include options at all price tiers because not everyone can afford Nightforce or a Trijicon.
Why Use The .308?
Why would someone choose the 308? Well as we said above, it’s a very familiar round that offers friendly versatility. There are tons of differently chambered rifles available in this round from old school 308 battle rifles to single shot budget hunting rifles. The scope is vast, and your choices are significant. You can also choose tuned ammo for different purposes, from hunting loads for various game of various sizes to rounds for plinking, competition and even breaching doors, although if you’re door breaching you probably won’t need a scope!
It’s a dominant round with an impressive, effective range while maintaining a rather friendly level of recoil and handleability. 308 rifles have long been known to be one of the best starting platforms for new and/or young hunters. Due to the commonality of the round and how cheap they can be had for, the rifles are also relatively cheap and easy to find. You can build an AR 10 for under seven hundred dollars these days or pick up a basic hunting rifle chambered in 308 for as little as three hundred bucks. 308 rifles are easily the most affordable full powered rifle round on the market.
Without a doubt it’s far from perfect, and rounds like the 6.5 Creedmoor outperform it, but these are a bit more expensive and have been proven to be of short supply often. In the end, the 308 is a mainstay of the rifleman and will continue to be the best of both budget and performance.
Also Read: Best Scope for 6.5 Creedmoor
What is the Effective Range of a 308?
Effective range is a tricky concept. The effective range of a round like the 308 will depend on the projectile, loading, barrel length, etc. These can all have an effect on how far a round flies. With that in mind, the general accepted effective range of the 308 Winchester is 800 meters. The Marine Corps trains snipers out to 1,000 meters with the round, so take that for what it is.
Hunters will often only take shots at 300 yards max because they want to guarantee an instant and humane kill. You need to be able to hit your target in what is effectively a fist-sized target, so even 300 yards is a real challenge for most shooters.
If you are shooting out to 800 yards or even past 500 yards, the right optic will make a significant difference. Some scopes will allow you to adjust for wind and bullet drop on the fly and others that have a reticle that will enable you to do the same.
Magnification isn’t everything but can be essential to allow you to see your target. Additionally, you’ll want glass good enough to see your targets and capture the light around you to produce a clean and clear sight picture.
So how do we choose the right scope for our beloved 308 rifles? There are primarily six things to consider: Magnification power, weight, turrets, glass, durability and reticle style.
Scope Magnifications – What the Numbers Mean
Higher levels of magnification power typically always sound like a good thing, but if you’re using your rifle to hit moving targets or perhaps hunting, too much magnification may hinder your ability to keep targets in picture. Higher magnification results in a significantly tinier window of sight but much further observable distances. If you’re set up on a shooting range, the high magnification is great as you have all the time in the world to find those targets and you know exactly where they’ll be without the hassle of tracking them down and compensating for movement.
Some high-end scopes will offer variable power, which grants the user the ability to easily cycle through various magnification power levels. These may be especially handy for scouting out targets and then focusing more in depth once you have identified their location and also for hunters as they never really know how far out their targets will be before dialing in their scopes settings.
Something discussed in my red dot optics guide is the ability to use a 1x sight like an EOTech holographic sight co-witnessed with a prism magnification unit to achieve the same results of a scope with the added ability of quickly switching and engaging close up targets with ease. Shooting 40 meters away with a 20x scope isn’t going to be effective, however, if you can switch between 1x and 20x with the flick of your wrist, you’ll have a very versatile and comfortable sight picture despite the scenario.
So, what do the X’s and the MM’s mean?
Example: 2-25 x 60mm
The first numbers are the power of magnification. In our example above, this means targets will appear 2 times larger than normal.
But wait, there are 2 numbers mushed together with a hyphen. These numbers indicate a variable range of power. This example shows us the scope is capable of a minimum magnification power of 2x all the way up to a maximum power of 25x.
Finally, the last number that is given in millimeters tells us the diameter of the objective lens. Keep in mind that this specification will ultimately determine the amount of light that will be used in the creation of sight picture but will also result in a heavier setup, possibly decreasing steadiness.
Something that most people don’t account for when shopping scopes is weight factor. Weight factor is important because the last thing you want is to be extremely fatigued from a long trek because your gear weighs as much as you do. To the untrained, a scope may not appear like a huge contributing factor in weight, especially when holding it unattached to the rifle, however, do not be fooled, the weight of anything added to a rifle quickly adds up and can impact your accuracy as the rifle becomes more cumbersome to handle and hold steady. If you’re used to lightweight optics or simply using the attached iron sights, you will likely need a slight period of adjustment.
It’s no secret that glass is heavy and with scopes primarily being constructed of two things: glass and aluminum, glass is a serious factor to consider. We can negate the effects of the additional weight by choosing a scope that has just enough magnification power and glass size for our uses. Since a 308 is only effective under 1000m, there’s no reason to equip a massive scope capable of 1000m+.
Rifle Scope Turret Types
Speaking of turrets, there are several different kinds. Turrets are the two (sometimes three) knobs on a rifle that adjust the reticle for windage, and elevation IE up and down left and right and also help adjust for the parallax effect. Turrets are rarely ever a deal breaker but can be an important consideration when choosing a rifle. Turrets are generally designed for a specific activity, which we will discuss further, later on.
Adjustments are made in either Minute of Angle or Milliradians. These are two units of measure closely related to shooting.
MOA is essentially a super precise way to measure degrees. For every degree, there are 60 MOA. This precise means to measure and adjust a rifle scope is extremely popular and the long-held standard for most shooting.
MIL adjustments are popular with tactical shooters and are heavily used in the military. These MIL adjustments are constant at all times, regardless of the distance, a MIL is a MIL.
Here are a few different types of scope turrets:
Fingertip turrets are turrets that can be adjusted with just your fingers. No tools required. Just turn the dial, and the reticle adjusts. This is a quick and easy way to make those field adjustments and to get that perfect shot off.
Slotted turrets require some kind of tool to make adjustments. The slot is often the same you see on a flat head screw you can use a coin, a piece of brass, or another similar tool to make adjustments. These are often for short to medium range tactical scopes.
Target Turrets are named for their use by precision target shooters. The adjustments you make are excellent, fractions of an MOA or MIL. Although the vast majority will come in MOA. These turrets allow a shooter to shrink their group and zero their rifle in a way noticeable only to a precision measurement device.
Ballistic turrets are designed to make broader adjustments. Sometimes these are known as tactical, and they are designed for quick and easy changes. When you need to make adjustments quickly and get on target in a hurry ballistic reticles are where it’s at.
This isn’t just advice for 308 Scopes, but for pretty much all scopes in general. High quality glass with the proper glass films and coatings makes a huge difference while low quality glass will greatly reduce the effectiveness of your rifle. A slang term for scopes is often dubbed “glass” for a reason. The type of glass matters, as does the kind of glass coatings. In general, high-quality glass comes from fine sand often from Asian countries with Japan being an excellent example of quality made lenses.
You want glass that is low dispersion or extra-low dispersion. This will give you a brighter image with higher color quality. HD and ED are terms used to describe this kind of glass. Fl or Fluorine glass is another means to create extra-low dispersion glass.
Unfortunately, there isn’t an industry standard when it comes to glass quality and reputation of the company producing the optic is often the best indicator of quality glass. There are many companies that claim their glass is “HD”, however, this seems to be subjective and not an easy indication of how well the glass produces sight pictures.
Lens coating is a means to increase the amount of light that passes through the optic, as well as reduce glare. Fully Multicoated optics are the best bet for maximum clarity and reduced glare. Some scopes also come with coatings that focus on durability, adding resistance to scratching and water repellency.
Construction and Durability
A quality optic is a robust optic. You want an optic that shrugs off recoil and is made for 30 caliber, full powered rifle rounds. This level of durability should leave the optic rated as shock, water, and fog proof. All three are vital for a 308 scope and a quality optic in general.
One of the key features of a strong and well-made optic is single piece tube construction. This means the main tube body is a single piece of aluminum and doesn’t have weld spots or other weak points of marriage. Being crafted in one piece ensures the scope is rigid and robust, reducing failure points and aiding sight picture creation.
Reputation is one way to determine durability, but most companies will publish testing data or stick to strict industry standards regarding the waterproof rating as well as what gas is used to purge the optic for fog.
308 Scope Reticle Selection
When it comes to choosing a reticle, you’ll want to consider the long-range potential of the 308 caliber round. You’ll notice that you have numerous options in design, layout, as well as features like illumination, color, and caliber optimization.
First off, you want a reticle that provides hash marks of some kind in either MOA or MILs that allow you to compensate for both windage and elevation. This means hash marks, dots, half circles, lines, whatever, run along the vertical and horizontal line of the reticle.
An illuminated reticle is an option if you are planning to shoot in lower light conditions and scopes with illumination have increased the versatility but usually also increase the price tag. They also almost always need batteries, so keep that in mind if you take that route.
When you first see Mil-dot you might think these sights are for military use, but the mil in mil-dot has absolutely nothing to do with the military. The Mil stands for milliradian (1/1000 radian) and the mil-dot will have little dots spaced out across your crosshairs that are precisely spaced apart. These offer the shooter advanced information using complex mathematical equations to form estimations of range.
Choosing the right reticle really comes down to personal preference. The difference between a dot and a crosshair won’t change the performance of your rifle but one or the other may be personally preferred.
Some of these reticles come equipped with helpful tools to aid your journey on the path to professional 308 mastery. These are coined as bullet drop compensator reticles (BDC). They include helpful little lines or dots set at multiple levels of range. Typically, you’ll dial in your centerpiece at the range you will most likely shoot at and then use the lines to make adjustments once you’ve found your target. These are best used in hunting or variable target situations where you won’t be privy to range information prior to engaging.
Here Are the Best 308 Rifle Scopes
Now, on to the section of the article where we suggest a few of our favorite 308 caliber scopes. Again, we aimed for all types of scopes, from hunting to tactical, along with all price ranges. Good optics make good shooting, so here are a few of our favorites!
1. Vortex Optics Diamondback (Best Budget Option)
My Review: If you shoot AR platforms, you are likely familiar with Vortex Optics’s affordable and excellent red dot series. They like to name their optics after snakes, I’m assuming they’d also ask you not to tread on them. They make tons of different optics for the sporting community, way more than people give them credit for.
The Diamondback is an outstanding scope at a great price, which is why it is a VERY popular budget scope. One reason I love Vortex is because of their willingness to back their scopes with an exceptional warranty and have good customer service. Vortex has never let me down, and in my opinion, the Diamondback is a step above nearly all budget scopes on the market.
The Diamondback is a simple, variable optic that efficient and effective. If you’re a hunter who needs something strong, but also affordable, I would highly recommend this optic. You can find it in a variety of magnification and reticle options, but I’m a big fan of the 3.5 to 10 power with the Dead-Hold BDC reticle. Its Dead-Hold BDC reticle is intuitive and easy to use.
This optic is designed for rugged outdoor use, making it a perfect scope for hunting. It is water, shock, and fog proof. It’s also a single piece tube meaning its made from one solid piece of aluminum. The lenses are fully multi-coated, and Vortex is well known for their high-quality glass.
Bottom line: Vortex is one of my favorite companies and this is easily one of the best 308 scopes out there.
- Vortex is a long known reputable brand with outstanding customer service
- Simplicity at its finest
- Dead-Hold BDC reticle
2. Trijicon 1-6×24 VCOG (Editor’s Choice)
Buy on Optics Planet
Magnification: 1-6x 24mm
My Review: If you don’t already know, Trijicon optics are standard issue to Marines due to their unbelievable durability and versatility. In the past, Marines were issued a Trijicon ACOG like the one reviewed later on this list, but recently, Trijicon scored a 64 million dollar contract after the VCOG was selected as the USMC’s next Squad Common Optic. That means you’ll be seeing this optic being used more and more by Marines.
I have to admit, I’m pretty stoked about the VCOG. Being equipped with a 1-6x variable magnification range, this optic is viable for CQB and long distance marksmanship. There are two reticles specifically optimized for 308 rifles so you can choose between whichever you prefer. I personally prefer the horseshoe dot crosshair, but the VCOG with the segmented circle crosshair is sometimes cheaper.
Due to its price point, this is one of those optics that’s hard to recommend to casual shooters or hunters. But, for those of you looking for a top of the line “buy once cry once” optic that’s extremely versatile for your AR-10 or other 308 caliber rifle, I think you’ll love the VCOG.
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Like the ACOG the VCOG reticle comes with a built-in bullet drop compensator. This particular model goes out to 1,200 yards. That’s a stretch for the 308, and you’ll have to be one hell of a marksman. On the flip side, the Horseshoe reticle makes a tremendous little semi-red dot reticle. If you use the optic with the magnification dialed down, and both eyes open the reticle is bright and easy to see and functions almost identically to a red dot.
The VCOG does run on batteries unlike the ACOG but will last 700 continuous hours. If the battery dies, the reticle is still usable since its glass etched. The VCOG is waterproof and fully submersible to 66 feet without issue.
Here are is a video produced by Trijicon that gives an overview of this optic.
Here is another good video review that I found that’s worth watching if you’re considering this optic.
- Fully multi-coated lenses on a variable 1-6x magnification range.
- Smooth adjustment turrets
- Unmatched durability and versatility.
- One of the most durable optics ever manufactured for the .308 platform
- Trijicon exclusive BDC VCOG reticle
3. Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II-E
My Review: The significantly more expensive option if you choose to go with a Vortex Optics product is the Razor HD series. These scopes are certainly no joke and are well worth the price tag if you plan on building a premium .308 set up that’s the sole focus isn’t on extremely long ranges. These scopes are specifically designed for short and mid-range applications and pretty much dominate that range in terms of quality and user experience.
This scope is actually quite small compared to the excellent magnification and optical clarity it provides. The single-piece aircraft-grade aluminum tube that is finished with a beautiful and unique hard anodized matte finish is only 30mm and the objective lens is a very moderate 24mm and although that is a bit on the small side for my personal preference, you do still get a great amount of light transmission, even at dawn when light is difficult to capture for optics. I think this scope performs so well inside of such a small package because of the insane attention to the glass.
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The glass found in the Razor HD series are of course fully multi-coated with all the good Vortex anti-scratch and anti-glare technologies and those coatings really amplify the performance here due to the high-density low dispersion glass material.
A major advantage in purchasing and utilizing this particular scope on a .308 blackout set up is the fact that its variable magnification ranges from 1 to 6x. Usually, I nearly ignore 1x settings on scopes like this because let’s be real, they often aren’t very good. That is not the case here, though, and I actually really enjoyed the 1x capability this scope offers. It hosts a very impressive field of view with excellent optical clarity, almost rivaling high tier red dots while still offering that top-end 6x performance as well. This scope is a king from anything up close and personal to way out past 500 yards.
There are three different versions of this specific model all equipped with similar technology with the main differences being the reticles they come with. They all weigh the same, have similar dimensions, similar eye relief, similar hardware, etc. The prices are typically the same however I have seen them vary depending on which models are more available. The RZR-16010 seems to be the most popular and is sometimes tricky to get your hands on.
The RZR-16008 will come equipped with the JM-1 MOA reticle.
The RZR-16010 will come equipped with the VMR-2 MOA reticle.
The RZR-16009 will come equipped with the VMR-2 MRAD reticle.
- Three sets of reticles to choose from including JM-1 MOA, VMR-2 MOA, and VMR-2 MRAD
- 1-6x24mm variable optical configuration with zero reset fingertip turrets and 11 reticle illumination settings
- APO optics with HD XR fully multi-coated glass
4. Nikon P-Tactical .308
My Review: Nikon has really been doing a fantastic job of providing “good enough” glass, magnification, and features for ridiculously low prices. Even just a few years ago, there is no way you could get a scope of this quality for so darn cheap and with that, this is one of the Marine Approved top budget scopes for .308 rifles, let me tell you why.
First off, this thing feels much more expensive than it is. Just unboxing it, taking it out, and getting things set up, it feels like a much more expensive mid to high tier rifle scope. The Reticle you get with this is a .308 specific BDC 800 and that’s paired up with a variable zoom system of 4-12x magnification. Gathering light for you, the 40mm objective lens can seem small compared to some of the other high quality .308 scopes you can get, however, Nikon has thrown on some of their best lens coatings that have really helped this 40mm lens configuration utilize the ambient light, even at dusk and dawn, which is a rarity in scopes that cost the same as this one.
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The scope itself is constructed of some surprisingly high-quality materials and as I said earlier, it feels like a much more expensive optic right out of the box. What you get here is a 1” tube that has roughly 2 inches of eye relief and is constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum. Being constructed of high-quality materials and O-ring sealed, these scopes offer excellent durability as well as being waterproof, fog proof, and somewhat shockproof. Of course, these aren’t as tough as something you’d get from NightForce but for this price, they’re of higher than expected durability and overall finished quality.
I keep raving about how it feels much more expensive and another big factor contributing to that feeling is the incredible attention to detail on the turrets. Usually, cheap scopes with relatively good glass like this one have to cut corners somewhere to bring the price down and they almost always cheap out significantly on the turrets. This is not the case with the Nikon P-Tactical scopes as the turrets are all engraved, offering excellent tactile feedback and readability and the turrets overall just feel so satisfyingly smooth when considering this scope isn’t over two hundred bucks. The quick focus eyepiece is of similar quality, too, offering super-smooth movements and when paired up with the spring-loaded elevation and windage adjustment turrets, you really get the look and feel of a complete package without the feel of corners being cut.
By the way, the Nikon P-Tactical is only compatible with .308 rifles when you choose the 800 BDC version. They have a bunch of variations of this scope for other calibers, too, like .223/5.56, .22LR, 9mm carbines, etc.
- Nikon BDC800 is purpose-built for the ballistics of the .308 caliber
- Consists of a 1” body with a 40mm objective lens and is constructed from waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof aircraft-grade aluminum, all blacked out and tactical in design
- A variable zoom of 4-12x with spring-loaded instant auto zero engraved turrets along with windage and elevation adjustments
5. Nikon M-308
My Review: Nikon is a big company in the optics world. They make way more than just rifle scopes, but you also have spotting scopes, binoculars, camera lenses, microscopes, and so much more. They know a thing or two about a quality piece of glass. The Nikon M-308 is their entry into the purpose built 308 world. The Nikon M-308 is built with a bullet drop compensating reticle that goes out to 800 yards. This reticle is super easy to use and makes shooting your 308 child’s play. You’ll get bored of ringing the bull’s eye with it.
The powerful 4-16x power magnification is potent enough to reach out and touch a target at 800 yards for sure. This level of magnification will make it easy to spot little targets at dangerous ranges. Any novice operator can place precise shots with ease using the Nikon M-308. The M-308 is perfect for hunting rifles, as well as plinking and even some shorter range competition work. The M-308 has some high-quality glass that has fully multicoated lenses that make it easy to see in low light conditions and to keep glare from reducing your ability to look at your target.
The Nikon M-308 has adjustable fingertip turrets that have an excellent feeling when adjusted. You feel each and every click as well as hear every click. These clicks make it easy to know you are making adjustments on a full range with gunfire going off all around you. The M-308 is full of those little details that make it a blast to use. From its quick focus eyepiece to its rugged construction the scope runs.
- Nikon’s lens multi-coating system is among the best in the business
- Turrets are the perfect balance between feedback and smoothness
- M-TAC caliber .308 caliber designated reticle
6. Primary Arms 4-14x FFP
My Review: Primary makes some awesome budget friendly optics, and Primary Arms 4-14X FFP scope is an excellent example of that. You wouldn’t want to take on Fallujah with this optic, but you could go out and have some real fun with this on top of your favorite rifles. It’s perfect for hunting, competitive shooting on a budget, and/or for having some fun plinking targets at the range.
The Primary Arms FFP is one of the cheapest first focal plane scopes on the market and with the powerful 4-14x magnification you can make serious use of the Primary Arms ballistic reticle. FFP scopes allow the ballistic markings on the reticle to be consistent at every range of magnification. These reticles make shooting accurately an almost dull affair. The Primary Arms FFP 4-14x scope is potent, powerful, and has an all-around excellent reticle. The reticle is called the ACSS HUD DMR reticle and is designed for the 308 and features a ballistic drop reticle.
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The scope has six different illumination settings, and it has one of my favorite features when it comes to illumination settings. Between each brightness setting, there is an off switch. So in a flash, you can turn the optic to the illumination setting you love without cycling through every setting to find the right one. The Primary Arms FFP 4-14x is a great optic and in this particular price range, it’s hard to beat regarding precision, quality, and usability.
The bottom line is this scope is a great value, and for the money, it might just be the best scope for 308 rifles out there.
- Primary Arms products are a great medium between cost and quality
- Purpose-built to be easily adjusted in the field
- Primary Arms exclusive ACSS HUD DMR .308 optimized reticle
7. Primary Arms SLx6 Gen III
My Review: If you’re on a budget but you fear disrespecting your hard-earned .308 platform with subpar optics, Primary Arms is a pretty solid contender and the SLx6 not only won’t destroy your bank account but it offers incredible versatility for those of us who like to change things up a bit.
This variable zoom 1-6x24mm is basically the cheaper version of the Vortex Optics Razor HD and really attempts to offer a similar user experience while knocking off roughly a grand from the price tag. Now, don’t get me wrong, this scope is by no means even close to the quality you get by paying that extra grand for the Razor HD, but, if you’re on a budget, this is the scope to consider.
The build quality is actually quite nice and consists of a nice matte black finish covering some pretty standard but tried and true 6063 aluminum. The scope is nitrogen purged, as I’d expect anything to be in and above this price range and it’s even rated for IP67 waterproofing.
The reticle you get here is the second focal plane .308 specific ACSS chevron and is illuminated with your choice of 11 different settings and adjustments in MOA. The glass you get is, of course, multi-coated with some pretty industry-standard stuff including anti-glare and a few reinforcements for lens protection and although it’s not even worth comparing to the Razor HD, what you get here at under three hundred bucks is actually really nice and leaves me with no complaints. Compared to other similar designs in this price range, this actually seems to be the most well-balanced option so long as you’re a fan of that ACSS reticle.
Vortex Optics and some of the other well-known brands at the time of writing do not offer a 1-6x .308 based scope with an ACSS reticle so if this checks the boxes for what you’re looking for, I’d say it an excellent value and surely worth its seat on top of your trusty .308 platforms.
- A rather unique .308 based ACSS Chevron reticle system with 11 illumination settings
- A fully multi-coated lens with a variable magnification range of 1-6x and an objective lens of 24mm
- Constructed of lightweight 6063 aluminum and waterproof rated at IP67 due to being nitrogen purged
8. Trijicon ACOG with 308 Reticle (Best ACOG)
My Review: I’m a Marine, so of course I’m going to choose an ACOG as my favorite tactical scope for 308 rifles. It’s what you’ll find nearly all infantry Marines using on their rifles. The ACOG is a fixed four power optic that is exceptionally durable, precise, and easy to use. This is a tactical optic and is designed for close to medium range shooting. The ACOG can be effectively used at any range, from 5 yards to 500. ACOGs are perfect for engagements with multiple targets at different ranges and allow for rounds to be sent downrange quickly and accurately. I put an image of the reticle below. Just be aware you can buy this scope with the amber crosshair or full line red crosshair (like the one seen below).
- Trijicon ACOG Illuminated .308 BDC Reticle
The ACOG uses the power of the freakin’ sun mixed with a material called tritium to create an illuminated reticle. This reticle will absorb light from the and ambient environment and illuminate the reticle. This means you won’t ever need batteries to run the optic. It comes with a built-in mount for standard Picatinny rails and is customizable to a large degree. You can add iron sights, a miniature red dot sight, and more. The ACOG’s reticle is designed around the 308 caliber round. The reticle is designed and calibrated for this round.
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It features a ballistic drop reticle that is accurately representative of how the 308 round drops as it flies. The BDC is calibrated out to 800 yards. That’s a tough shot with a 4X scope, but it is possible and easy to do with the proper fundamentals and a good shooting position. The ACOG is the perfect companion for any semi-auto battle rifle or carbine. It’s not a long range precision scope, but a plenty capable option for both close quarters use and medium range shooting. It’s even night vision compatible for you big spenders out there.
- Trijicon is simply one of the best
- Coveted Trijicon ACOG 308 optimized BDC reticle
9. Nightforce ATACR
My Review: Nightforce is the company that sets the standard for precision tactical scopes. Their contracts with some of the most elite special operations units in the world are a testament to their quality and dependability. Nightforce recently secured the contract for the Scout Sniper’s newest rifle for a good reason. Nightforce makes optics that range from expensive to holy crap that’s the cost of a car. The ATACR is one that falls between those two.
Quality optics do cost money and you do get what you pay for. The Nightforce ATACR is the optic of choice for Spec Ops guys on their semi-auto and bolt action sniper rifles. The ATACR is designed for long-range precision and is often used in coordination with semi-auto sniper rifles built on the AR system. The ATACR sports fingertip turrets that are capped to prevent mess-ups in the field. The unit also has a built-in integrated throw lever to rapid change the magnification on the fly. Inside the optic, you have one of the most structurally sound designs out there. It’s likely tougher than you are.
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Nightforce offers a multitude of reticles for this optic, but the MOAR reticle is likely the easiest to use and the one best suited for the 308. The MOAR F1 reticle uses 1 MOA windage and elevation markings for quick and easy compensation. The crosshair in the center is floating and makes it easy to see your target and to place the crosshairs right where you need them to be.
- Utilized and long trusted by US Special Forces
- Hand built
- Floating MOAR F1 reticle
10. NightForce SHV – (Best for Long Range Hunting)
My Review: Enjoy NightForce but that $3000 price tag on the ATACR is just way too high for some meat gathering hunting trips? That’s alright, NightForce has a slightly less expensive but almost equally as good scope for you called the SHV that seems to be purpose-built to the exact specs a hunter could wish for.
The 5-20x magnification is the highest level you’ll find on the SHV lineup with a few other options you can look into if you’re interested, however, I’m especially keen on the 5-20x as I feel it truly brings out the best range capabilities for a high quality .308 rifle. That 5-20x magnification range paired up with a rather incredible 56mm objective lens really gives you plenty of light utilization and every tool necessary to get the maximum effectiveness out of a .308 round.
Let’s talk about turrets real quick. These things are awesome and I really wish every scope manufacturer used turret configurations like these have. The locking mechanism is brilliant on these exposed turrets – you just lift to adjust and let go, letting them pop down and lock into place. You get windage, elevation, and adjustable objective turrets that are well machined and etched and quite honestly, some of the most rugged but also user-friendly turrets I’ve come across on expensive long-range .308 scopes.
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The glass here is as tough as it is beautiful. So many people online claim the glass inside NightForce optics isn’t worth the money but I have no idea what those people are talking about, or even if they’ve ever gotten the pleasure to peer through a NightForce optic. One of the best parts about these optics is how much light they manage to capture and use, even at late dusk or early dawn, making these scopes excellent hunting companions.
The 30mm tube is constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum and coated with electro-static black anodization. These scopes were built to withstand abuse and are absolute tanks in the world of optics. These scopes passed tests of submersion in more than 100ft of water for 24 hours. At NightForce, scopes don’t even touch there packaging until they are checked roughly a hundred times for quality and outstanding craftsmanship. The hardware used on the scope all consists of titanium including the springs inside the windage and elevation turrets. The lenses are all protected with special Mil-Spec durability coatings that are hand bonded and laser-measured to ensure quality and evenness.
- Aircraft-grade aluminum constructed 30mm tube with a 56mm Mil-Spec bonded objective lens coated with optimum hunting lens coatings
- Second focal plane scope with several illuminated and non-illuminated reticle options
- Exposed etched and milled adjustment turrets with quick-lock mechanism and titanium hardware
11. EOTech Vudu 3.5-18x50mm (Great Attention to Detail)
My Review: EOTech is much more well known for its coveted and patented Holographic red dot sights, however, if you give them a chance to help sling led past 50 yards or so, I think you’ll be plenty impressed.
EOTech is not well known for being cheap or having great deals on their gear, but that’s probably due in part to the fact they can jack up the prices for the excellent brand name, the fact they’re an American based company and the fact they have government contracts to provide optics for our armed forces. They are widely regarded as some of the best in the optics business and because of that, we have to pay pretty high prices to get our hands on their gear. That’s fine, though, as their gear almost always impresses and typically offers far greater construction, reliability, and quality sight pictures than most of there competitors.
What you get with the long-range variants of the Vudu lineup is a variable 3.5-18x magnification handled by one of the best magnification and quick focus configurations I’ve come across thus far. These rings are not only gorgeous in design but are incredibly comfortable to use and easy to adjust quickly. Aside from that, you get an elevation and windage adjustment turrets that are almost perfect. My only gripe here is that they don’t lock, making them a bit risky to use in combat situations but they’re probably fine for the average target shooter or hunter. The machine-milled turrets do, however, have the EZ Chek Zero Stop system that returns to zero automatically and EOTech has been a doll and thrown in an optional throw lever, making adjustments on the fly quick and easy which I thought was a really neat feature.
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In terms of optical clarity, these rival some of the best brands in the world and it’s no surprise EoTech opted for high-quality XC high-density lenses that are coated to the brim with the leading optical technologies. These are relatively conservative 50mm objective lenses found on the Vudu but man do they know how to utilize the ambient light to create crystal clear sight pictures. Many scopes of lower price tags that have similar magnification ranges do not encompass anywhere near the quality and clarity you can expect to see on this scope at any point in its magnification range. While some scopes of slightly less value lose a lot of clarity the closer you get to there maximum magnification, the Vudu holds its quality all the way through. Reticles are etched into the first focal plane, meaning the reticles will vary in size as you cycle through magnification levels, which is my preferred configuration.
These 34mm tube and turrets are constructed out of T2 Aircraft grade aluminum with a level 3 black anodization. Of course, these are waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof and as with all EOTech stuff, they are certainly designed to survive a beating and keep fighting on. I don’t have solid proof or testing of this, however, these scopes feel like some of the most solid and rugged long-range .308 scopes you can get and at this price, I’d expect nothing less!
- Crystal clear 50mm objective lens consisting of XC high-density glass and multi-coated with all the multi-coating goodies including high light transmission, protective film, and HD glass coatings
- Some of the best turrets I’ve reviewed as they really are surgically precise, are milled and etched, have the EZ Chek Zero Stop feature, and work in tandem with some of the smoothest zoom and focus rings on the market
- Your choice of MD1, MD2, H59, or HC1 reticles that are all illuminated
12. Bushnell Elite Tactical G2DMR
My Review: Bushnell is well known for their affordable and budget based rifle scopes. Too many people aren’t aware they make some very nice tactical scopes that would be perfect for their 308 rifles. This particular model is built to last and made to function on a DMR type rifle, which is any AR-10 with a decent length barrel. The Elite Tactical Scope packs a 6-24 power magnification and a 50mm objective lens. This nice level of magnification will get you on target and allow you to zoom in a hit a small target or watch a big one.
The reticle is extremely versatile and handy. It’s outfitted with stadia on the vertical and horizontal line, but also a pyramid shape at the bottom allows you to make instant wind calls with instant elevation adjustments as well. These stadia are extremely precise and easy to use on the fly. This saves time, which is critical when it comes to tactical shooting, especially at potentially moving targets. The Bushnell is also a first focal plane optic, so this reticle is valid at every possible magnification since it shrinks and grows as the magnification is changed.
The lenses are HD low dispersion glass and are fully multicoated for superior light gathering and glare reduction. The scope uses an ultra wide band coating to really suck up as much light as possible. The Bushnell Elite also packs the always excellent rain guard coating. This coating is quite lovely and allows your optic to work correctly in the rain. The Bushnell Elite is an excellent all-around optic and is perfect for the tactical 308.
- Bushnell has a long positive reputation among professional level hunters
- Rain repelling lens coating
- Mil-Hash G2 Designated Marksman reticle
13. Burris Veracity
My Review: My first experience with Burris was one of their small, but rugged red dot sights. I was a big fan automatically, and since then I’ve dived into their extensive collection of optics. This includes their medium to long range Veracity line. The Veracity line stands apart due to the number of features they can shove into the system and still price it very reasonably. These features include 1 piece outer tube construction that is built to shake off the recoil for more powerful calibers. The Veracity has a multitude of different magnification levels, but the 3-15x really caught my eye.
3 to 15 power settings are a somewhat unusual magnification range, but it’s quite versatile. The 3x makes it perfect for close range precision shots and the ability to go up to 15x makes it easy to take advantage of the ballistic range of the 308 round. The Burris Veracity has hand fitted internals that are precision gauged to ensure you’ll have consistent performance year after year. The system is water, shock, and fogproof so it can take a bit of a beating without much worry.
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The Burris Veracity is an excellent optic, and it’s impressive what they could implement in an optic at this price. This includes the optic being a first focal plane scope, trajectory compensation, as well as dots calibrated for 10 MPH winds. The scope is excellent for a variety of applications from tactical to hunting.
- Built to withstand abuse
- Hand assembled
- E1 FFP Varmint reticle
14. Leupold VX-2
My Review: Leupold is an old school optics company with a long history of producing a variety of optics for military, competition, and hunting. Their optics have been used by the United States Marines as both optics on sniper rifles and the Mark 12 DMR rifle. They’ve also enjoyed a massive following with hunters, and the VX-2 fits right in with the hunting crowd. The 308 is a very popular caliber for hunting, and the Leupold VX-2 is perfect for those rifles. The VX-2 is available in a wide variety of different magnifications, but the classic 3-9x is what I would suggest for hunting with a 308. It’s a diverse magnification range that allows for both easy close-range shooting, and long enough for most hunting ranges.
The VX-2 sports ¼ MOA adjustments on the turrets so it’s quick and easy to zero. The changes are all finger click adjustments, and they are capped to avoid being hit when traversing the field, climbing tree stands and other tasks a hunter may find themselves doing. The VX-2 uses the Leupold Diamondcoat lens coating that serves two purposes. The coating helps transmit light and reduce glare, but additionally, the Diamondcoat protects the lenses from being scratched and suffering from abrasions.
The Index Matched Lens System Leupold uses also helps increase the brightness of the scope. The IMLS creates an extremely sharp resolution across the entire field of view. This is critical for hunters who often take shots just as the sun is rising and as it is setting. This scope captures the light hunters need to take those shots.
- Leupold has been a leader in quality glass for many years
- Incredibly bright sight picture
- Variety of magnification models available
15. Athlon Optics Argo BTR
My Review: Athlon Optics is criminally underrated when it comes to high quality, moderately priced optics. They haven’t gotten the recognition they deserve, so I want to throw them a shout out here. As a 308 scope, the Athlon Optics is a powerful scope, and it comes in various magnification ranges. This includes 4-14x and my personal favorite, the 6-24x. The Argos BTR is decked out with some excellent features that will make target shooting, hunting, and even tactical use an easy goal to accomplish.
The Argos BTR is a first focal plane scope, so the reticle stays easy to use and valid at every magnification rating. The reticle itself shrinks and grows as you change the magnification rating. The lenses are fully multi-coated with an excellent overall coating. This multi-coating gives you the best light transmission possible, and you gather up every extra bit of light. This makes it easier to see as the sun rises and the sunsets. The Argos BTR has an ATMR MOA reticle that offers a massive amount of sub-tensions for compensating for both windage and elevation.
The Argos BTR is made from 6061 T6 aircraft-grade aluminum and it’s a single-piece design and it’s built to be robust and durable. The internal mechanics are also built to last, not just through recoil, but through all kinds of punishment. This kind of stability is often desired in a tactical scope that might be used and abused roughly. The Argos BTR would be well suited on any AR 10 style rifle, or any bolt action precision gun. It’s a versatile scope made for medium to long-range engagements. It’s topped off with precision fingertip turrets, an illuminated reticle, and even comes with medium rings.
- The choice between either 4-14x or 6-24x models
- Single piece first focal plane platform
- ATMR MOA reticle
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The major difference between the first and second focal planes is the position of the reticule. With the second focal plane scope, the crosshairs remain in the same place.
FFP scopes are better for long-range shooting because the cross hairs are easily visible at higher magnifications and the subtension remains constant among various magnification settings.
Snipers usually use magnification in the range of 2x-12x as they need to shoot at longer distances with as much accuracy as possible after taking into account external factors such as wind, weather, etc.
The magnification you need for your AR 15 should be picked as per what you want to do and distance.
There are different scopes for short and long ranges but as a rule of thumb, for every 100 yards, add 1x magnification.
The 308 is a powerful, common, and affordable round. The presence of reliable and affordable semi-auto rifles only makes it better. This round is outstanding for hunting, shooting people, and just blasting away at targets. A gun can be precise and a bullet can have the range but a good scope for 308 rifles connects it all.