Having a .308 isn’t enough on its own. The .308 is effective to somewhere between 800 and 1000 yards so you are going to need some skill. Of course, you will also need the best scope for .308 rifles as well.
So, what makes the best scope? Keep on reading to find out.
Too busy to read? Here are our picks for .308 Scope
What Makes a Great .308 Scope?
There are plenty of articles detailing scope selection down to a science. For the majority of shooters, you will never need to know that much about scopes. I didn’t for years and did just fine.
Instead, here is an overview of what scopes work best in conjunction with a .308 rifle.
What Magnification Do You Need?
Most people consider a .308 to be a moderately long range cartridge. Usually, it is kept to 800 yards or less. You can pull that off with a 10x scope and some skill. A better magnification is somewhere around 14x but even magnification in the 20x range is still worth considering.
If you are looking for distance, you need some form of BDC (Bullet Drop Compensation) reticle. This can be a fully marked MOA or Mil reticle or a simple Duplex style if you aren’t shooting as far. A plain reticle just isn’t as versatile for use shooting past a couple hundred yards. With the power of the .308, go a little further.
You will also have a choice between first and second focal plane. A first focal plane scope will have a reticle that zooms with the scope magnification and can be used to judge distance at any range. Second focal plane is cheaper but you can only use it for ranging at the magnification you sighted in at.
Most scopes intended for long-range shooting have turret adjustments that can be used to dial in your shot so your crosshairs are right on the target. You won’t have to use old-fashioned Kentucky Windage. These are preferable but more expensive and take some time to learn to use.
Standard adjustments are capped to protect them from being thrown off zero. They are great for hunting or those that don’t want to mess around. They will cost much less for the quality of the scope than turrets.
You want the most durable scope you can get, period. Something that is waterproof and shockproof at a minimum. Fog proof is also preferable if you plan on using your scope in the field. Most of these are standard features.
Some scopes may also be sealed to fully prevent moisture, dust, and condensation from getting inside. This is the best bet and the gold standard for durability. A warranty never hurts.
Best Scopes for .308 Rifles – Reviews
1. Vortex Optics Viper PST
If you choose to go with a Vortex scope for .308, you will have made a great choice. If you choose the Viper, you will have made an outstanding choice. For the price, you just can’t beat Vortex on quality or durability.
With an incredible max 24x magnification, this is an amazing scope for .308 long range shooting. Because it is a first focal plane scope, it will function just as well at any magnification so you can dial it down if you don’t need the full power. If you do set it up to the max, any target the bullet can reach is well within your range.
Part of that is pure power but part is the amazing low-dispersion glass used on all Vortex scopes. Combined with a state of the art multicoat treatment, your scope picture will be vibrant, bright, and crisp. On these higher end Vortex optics, the quality is immaculate.
Optical quality is only half the picture. You have to have durability to go with it like being completely shock, water, and fog proof. This is the scope that performs no matter where you are.
Combine this with a great BDC reticle and turret adjustments and you have one of the best combinations around for long distance shooting. If you are a collector looking for a scope for .308 sniper setups, this is a great choice that won’t disappoint.
2. Millet LRS-1 Tactical
It may not be one of those brands you see everywhere but Millet has been around forever. They were producing scopes before the CEOs of these newer companies had fired their first shot. Their scopes, including the LRS-1, have evolved over the past few decades into great quality scopes.
Millet started as a materials production company so they know their stuff. Everything about the LRS series is made to be quality from the ground up. Starting with the best materials leads to the best products.
This is apparent in Millet's glass which is super clear and bright with fully multicoated lenses for the brightest and clearest image possible. Maxing out at 24x, this second focal plane scope can reach the farthest targets you have the skill to hit.
Right at home as a scope for .308 bolt action rifles, the LRS-1 is shock and waterproof foremost. The lens coatings help with fog issues making this a great hunting scope on your Remington 700. It will, of course, work on any rifle you feel the need to put it on and is tough enough to handle anything you can throw at it.
3. Nikon Black X1000
Nikon has been making great scopes for years. A number of their optics made it onto police and civilian rifles and their reputation grew. The Black series takes that a step forward with a scope that was built for those need a tactical tool.
With some of the highest quality glass, you are going to find, the lenses of the X1000 are simply astounding before the multicoat. After, they are mind-blowing. Like the rest of the 24x scopes, you will have no problem maxing out the range on a .308 cartridge.
Sealed and purged for the best water and fog protection and fully shockproof, the Nikon can take a beating in any weather you may have to shoot in. If you are on the fence about a Nikon .308 scope, you need to bite the bullet on this one, you will be nothing but impressed.
As a long range tool, the choice of MRAD or MOA reticles are both amazing choices for BDC. The extra tall turret adjustments help in making those critical fine-tuned changes without pulling away from the scope. This is a scope designed for the shooter and one that performs beyond most people’s expectations.
4. Leupold VX-2
Scopes in the middle of the pack are harder to rate. They have fewer outstanding features than those above them and cost more than those below. There may even be a sacrifice or two but as a Leupold .308 scope, the VX-2 has very little downside.
If you want to call it a downside, this scope does lack turret adjustments. But even this is not a huge negative. Under the caps, you will find finger adjustments that mimic turrets well. Combined with the duplex reticle, this can be enough for longer ranged shots.
Where Leupold doesn’t lack is in optical quality. You would be hard pressed to find any optic out there that has better quality glass with a clearer image. It is fully multicoated for the best performance and that performance is absolutely top notch.
It also has no negatives with durability. The VX-2 is fully water and fog proof and will stand up to the shock of a .308 and even larger rifles. Should something happen to your scope anyway, Leupold has the best in the industry warranty. They stand behind their products, making this an amazing choice for a compact scope for .308 or even larger rifles.
5. Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical
Though this is considered one of Vortex’s budget optics, I would be hard pressed to tell you the difference between this and the Viper. I am sure there is some difference or this wouldn’t be such an affordable scope.
Optically, the Diamondback seems just as good as any scope out there with superb quality multicoating on amazing low-dispersion glass. Maxing out at 24x, this first focal plane scope has all the clarity, brightness and power to take targets at the longest ranges possible.
You can get this scope with a Mil or MOA reticle to augment your turret adjustments. This is a tactical scope after all and is perfectly suitable scope for .308 AR 15s. It will work anywhere but feels perfectly at home on the most tactical rifles out there.
Fully waterproof, fog-free, and able to take the shock of repeated fire, the Diamondback is easily one of the best scopes out there. Dollar for dollar, it is also one of the best values on the scope market today. If you are shopping a little on the cheap, this may be the scope for you.
6. Primary Arms ACSS
If you read the forums several years ago, Primary Arms was all the buzz. They were one of the first companies to start producing quality long range optics on the cheap. Years later, they are still doing the same thing and innovating every year.
If you want a scope that captures all of the best features of true long range optics but need it on a budget, the ACSS is the way to go. It has mil turrets and a matching reticle to get the most out of your shots. It is even first focal plane which is unheard of on an optic at this price.
When it comes to optics, there is little difference between Primary Arms and the more expensive brands. This 14x scope has great lenses that are multicoated and very clear and vibrant. Most users will never notice a difference between this and any other brand shy of those costing over a grand.
The ACSS is quite solid and handles recoil well. It is fully waterproof and has a fog reducing treatment on the lenses. It may not be quite as tough as Vortex or Leupold but it holds up very well and can be trusted to perform when you most need it.
Finding any scope in this price range with these features is nearly impossible.
7. Nikon Buckmaster II
So far, we have focused on rifles more for long range shooting than anything else. They would make good hunting scopes but there are cheaper options. If you don’t need the tactical stuff, you can save a lot of money going with a hunting scope. The Buckmaster II is a fine example.
This still has Nikon’s amazing optical quality and multi-coat for the best images possible. With the more modest 14x, this scope is about the clearest and most crisp you will find. Upping the magnification always impacts quality but for a hunting scope, that extra clarity may be better than sheer power.
Fully sealed against any water or fog intrusion, this shockproof scope can stand up to just about anything. No matter if you hunt in the dusty south-west or the damp north-east, this scope can hack it. You will never find a Nikon lacking in durability.
The Buckmaster doesn’t have turret adjustments but does come with Nikon’s own BDC reticle. It works perfectly at more modest ranges but could get you to 800 with good skill and a good rifle. If you don’t need a sniper style scope, this one will do the job perfectly.
And there you have it. The best scopes you are likely to find for your .308. No matter if you are a hunter or just a recreational shooter, these are the tools of the trade. Some are more popular than others but all are solid performers.