As one of the best-selling civilian rifle calibers in history, chances are your rifle is chambered in .308 Winchester. It’s an effective caliber that uses economic power consumption to fire a hefty bullet straight at your target, which can be anything you want it to be since it’s a multi-use round, making it a favorite of military and police across the world.
If you’ve found yourself on this page, you need to find a scope that works best with your rifle. You’re in luck because we’ve found five of the best scopes compatible with .308 rifles and written out their pros and cons. There’s also a small FAQ that details what you should look for in a .308 riflescope, so you can stay on the lookout for the best deals by knowing which features are preferable.
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Best Scope for .308 - Comparison Table
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Best Scope for .308 - Reviews
Our top scope is the Vortex Optics Crossfire II 6-24x50mm, a scope that has some of the features of Vortex’s own higher-end scopes but for a fraction of the price. It’s an ideal medium to long-range scope to fit onto any .308 rifle.
Its magnification range tops out at 24x power, enough to allow you to shoot reliably past 1000 yards and maybe even more depending on your proficiency with your firearm.
Light becomes a non-issue with this scope too, since it has an anti-reflective coating on the lenses that minimizes glare and eye strain whilst also delivering great visuals when scoping in low light environments.
It also has an approximately four inches of eye relief and the eyepiece is a fast-focus one that allows for quick target acquisition. The resettable MOA turrets also add to the agility of these scopes, allowing you to take that all-important shot when only seconds count.
The version we’ve linked is the Vortex Optics Crossfire II that has the infamous Dead-Hold BDC reticle which accurately calculates windage and hold-over, taking the guesswork away. It’s very accurate with these calculations up to about 18x magnification and maintains size through adjustments thanks to the fact it uses the second focal plane.
Coming from the makers of high-quality but affordable binoculars and rifle scopes is the Athlon Optics Argos BTR Riflescope in 6-24x50 with a MIL reticle. It’s a great long-range riflescope that has excellent optics for an affordable price. Their optics are crisp and perform well in dim and foggy conditions thanks to their Advanced Fully Multi-Coated lenses.
They’re made with 6061T6 aircraft grade aluminum that’s durable and constructed to a very high standard, so they can withstand knocks and hits when used out in the field without deteriorating in the quality of visuals they deliver.
As for their range, they have a variable zoom with a minimum of 6x magnification and a maximum of 24x that can perform at shorter and longer ranges. One the best-performing features of the Argos BTR is their illuminated reticles that perform well in dimly lit areas, and still deliver crisp optics in those situations.
The third product we have is the Vortex Optics Diamondback Second Focal Plane Riflescope, another Vortex scope that has a 4x to 12x variable zoom. The lens is also a 40mm objective lens, wide enough to establish a good field of view on every level of magnification.
Those levels of magnification can be transitioned between pretty smoothly thanks to the precision glide erector system that makes jamming a thing of the past. What’s more, it’s a pretty compact scope that doesn’t require any other mounting options, meaning it can more or less be fitted to most rifles that can support a scope without messing too much with the balance of it.
The reticle is another dead-hold BDC one that has hash marks under the vertical line in order to effectively estimate bullet drop during long distance shooting, especially where elevation between you and your target is a factor. There are also similar marks on the horizontal plane to do the same with windage hold-over.
The fact that this scope functions primarily off of its second focal plane reticle, it maintains its reticle accuracy no matter what level of magnification you set this scope to. The lenses are also multicoated to brighten the visuals you get through these scopes, enhancing the color contrast for better optics in low-light conditions.
There are a host of other features tied to this scope too, such as a fast-focus eyepiece and precision adjustment turrets that are also durable and consistent. Most of the durability comes from the fact it’s made with hard-anodized aluminum that stops metallic glare that’d compromise your position when hunting, as well as protecting against rust damage.
The fourth scope we have is from another big name in scope retailers, the Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x40mm riflescope. Though it’s a shorter magnification range than the 4x to 12x and the 6x to 24x scopes above, it’s still a good and capable magnification level that you can hunt with. It does this with the standard 40mm objective lens that works well with the 500-yard effective range of the .308 cartridge when used with a compatible rifle.
The lenses of these scopes are coated for increased light transmission, but the coating also grants supreme abrasion resistance that will make this scope a viable option in snowy and dusty environments where the lenses may be exposed to harsh conditions. This means that it's harder to develop distracting scratches on them through use.
There is also the Twilight Max Light management system built into the scopes, meaning that they present a brighter and more vivid target image no matter the light conditions around you. The body of the scope itself is made with durable aircraft-grade aluminum, as many are, and they’re also stress-tested before being cleared for market so that they are quality assured, even for the feisty kickback of a powerful .308 rifle.
A scope without adjustment features is just an expensive looking glass, so these scopes have turrets that allow you to set the elevation and windage so that they’re appropriate to your shooting circumstances. With that said, the marks aren’t clearly indicated on them, so it may require some experimentation and practice to get to grips with.
Even then, they allow for very precise ¼ MOA adjustments for your usual shooting. The maximum possible eye relief whilst still maintaining a decent visual is 4.4 inches away from the scope, but you can get as close as 3.6.
At the last spot on our list is the Nikon P-Tactical .308 4-12x40mm Riflescope BDC 800, another good .308 optic from a brand you’re sure to recognize. As included in the listing, it has a 40mm objective lens with a 4x to 12x magnification, providing the perfect amount of short, mid, and long range for a .308 rifle.
The turrets on these scopes are very precise and ergonomically designed to be easy and comfortable to turn. This is because they’re spring-loaded and so after getting an adequate sight, you can easily reset them to zero. They’re all clearly marked out, too, so there’s minimal guesswork when zeroing in. With these two turret features, you have a tactical scope that’s great for quick and repeated target acquisition.
It also has multi coated optics that increase light transmission, allowing you to get a decent visual in both dimmer and brighter shooting environments. When the weather turns bad, the scope works well in inclement weather such as fog and rain and is also resistant to being dropped and knocked around too.
The BDC 800 reticle these scopes have is unobtrusive, which can be rare with BDC scopes, so if you enjoy a clear lens with minimal markings to get lost in, then you’ll enjoy this type of reticle. However, the main pull of a BDC reticle scope is the bullet drop compensation it offers, which covers bullet drop up to about 800 yards. This makes distant target sniping a breeze.
Best Scope for .308 - Buyers Guide
How to choose the best scopes for .308 Winchester ammo.
With all the different kinds of sights available for your .308 rifle, it’s good to get one that’s not only compatible but also has features that work well with your hunting style. See what we mean by this in the rest of this buyers’ guide, where we’ll be looking through the properties and components of the usual scope and suggesting which ones work best.
Fixed V Variable Magnification
Let’s just start by saying that, for hunting, we will almost always recommend a variable magnification scope. It’s an extra layer of control you have over your shooting experience anyway, but in the context of hunting we’d say variable scopes are the only option. That’s why the five products above are all adjustable.
Fixed scopes are best when used in a very predictable and regular shooting scenario, like hobbyist target practice. Most of the time these scopes will either be low or high magnification for short- and long-range shooting. Those who prefer fixed scopes either do so because they’re set in their ways and adept at that magnification level, to the point where compensating for certain factors becomes a second nature, or they’re simply on a budget.
We say that because variable scopes tend to cost a bit more, but they’re so prevalent on the market that they’re not just high-end scopes, you can get low-end models which offer variable zoom functions too. Having adaptability counts for a lot when hunting. Even hunters intimately familiar with their hunting ground will have to contend with unpredictable weather and animal patterns, and greener hunters will have to contend with elevation and variations in distance, too.
In those situations, it’s best to have a scope that you can adjust accordingly instead of being stuck with a short-range rifle trying to zero in on a long-range target, or vice versa.
Magnification and Range
Since we’ve been throwing the words around a lot, we should explain the ideal magnification and range you want in a scope. The “best” magnification is subjective since it depends on the needs of the person, the rifle, and the hunt. That said, you have an idea of what you want to get out of your scope, a standard that needs to be met, and so with that in mind you can judge how suitable the magnification may be.
It depends on who you ask, but the effective range of the .308 is said to be 800 to 1,000 meters by the US army and Marine Corps respectively. We should add that a shooter with sufficient training can land a shot from 1k yards out without the appropriate magnification, so you should shop for construction quality and glass longevity too.
This means that hitting a target 1,000 yards out is possible with 10x magnification. Consider this an upper limit as we doubt you may need to go over it, but you’ll find all of our suggestions above cover this range, from 3.5x to 10x, 4x to 12x, and even 6x to 24x. With magnification we suggest a variable scope so that you can nail shots at multiple ranges, and with less guesswork.
As for range, we’ll give you our breakdown of what we have in mind when we write “short range”, “mid-range”, and “long range.” Firstly, we assume the barrel length is at least approximately 28 inches, and then take into account these rough yardage measurements. Close or short range is assumed to be under 150 yards, with medium range being 150 to 349 yards, and then long range is generally 350 yards or higher.
For these categories, we’d suggest a 1x to 6x magnification for close range, 6 to 9x for medium range, and 10x for long range.
Lens Coating and Weatherproofing
Lens multi coating is a popular feature for scope glass and should be something you consider when looking for scopes. You want quality lenses that can show you a proper visual, and lens multi coating allows scopes to deliver brighter and more vivid sights regardless of whether you have illumination features or not. They also have anti-scratch and anti-glare properties so that you can shoot even when it’s too bright outside and keep the lenses undamaged for a long time.
The dials that control for magnification, and elements like elevation and windage if your scope has them, are called turrets. There are all types of turrets but, if you’re hunting, you should go for the tactical style ones if you’re taking our advice. This is because they’re suited to making quick adjustments, perfect for follow-up shots.
They can get very precise with MOA quarter-inch adjustments that help you zero into a higher degree of accuracy. Since you’re packing a .308 rifle that’s likely to create a lot of recoil, it’s also useful to look out for zero-stop functions on your turrets. This means that once they’re set at a certain zero, you won’t get knocked off of those magnifications by the recoil of your firearm.
Minute of Angle
Minute of Angle, often referred to as MOA, is used to describe the system by which experienced snipers will adjust their shots. One MOA is traditionally one sixtieth of a degree, but for scopes it’s known as one inch at one hundred yards. Turrets with ¼ inch MOA are basically boasting of how accurate you can zero in your scope, since it means every turn of the turret is one ¼ inch, and so if your first shot fell an inch short, you can turn it four times to zero in to one inch exactly. Many scopes that have these abilities include clicks for each ¼ so you can audibly hear how much you’ve zeroed in.