When it comes to buying a scope, there’s tons and tons of options on today’s market, which can make it hard to spot quality over quantity. Today, we’ll be talking about some of the best scopes that you can buy for your .308 rifle. These scopes are going to give you the best chance of landing your shot, as well as make the whole process a lot simpler and smoother.
If you’re here, you’re probably tired of using the old iron sights on your rifle and want a massive upgrade to your hunting game. While you don’t need a scope to make a shot, it sure helps a ton. Having a scope on your rifle can be a game changer no matter what you’re shooting; whether you’re going hunting, doing some target shooting on the range, or even some competitive shooting, a scope is a lifesaver when it comes to improving your aim.
When you’re using an optic, you won’t have to deal with the issues that can arise from having to line up your front sight with the rear sight. Traditional iron sights require you to line up two different sights in order to hone in on your target, which can prove to be frustrating and ultimately inaccurate.
But with a rifle scope, you can completely eliminate that by having a simple crosshair lens. You can look through a device that’s almost like a telescope, see exactly where your point of aim is, and fire your shot. This is much simpler than having to line up your iron sights. If you’re just learning, this is also going to help you learn how to shoot faster because of the sheer simplicity of the design.
Most rifle scopes offer magnification too, which will allow you to see your target closer than normal, ultimately resulting in a cleaner and more accurate shot.
While it may seem to be a daunting task to find the best rifle scope, if you know what to look for, you’ll be just fine. We’ll talk about some key features of a rifle scope that you’ll want to keep an eye out for when you’re on the hunt for a new optic. There’s tons of features that can be offered by a scope; we’ll discuss some key features that can really affect how you shoot, making them pretty important to remember when you’re shopping for a scope.
If you don’t have time, check the list of best scope for 308 rifle:
- NightForce SHV 5-20x56mm Riflescope
- EOTECH Vudu 3.5-18x50mm Precision Riflescope
- Bushnell Optics 4.5-18x40mm Riflescope
- Athlon Optics Argos BTR Riflescope
- Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-12×56 Riflescope
- Why Do I Need a Scope?
- Best Scope for 308 Reviews
- 1. NightForce SHV 5-20x56mm Riflescope
- 2. EOTECH Vudu 3.5-18x50mm Precision Riflescope
- 3. Bushnell Optics 4.5-18x40mm Riflescope
- 4. Athlon Optics Argos BTR Riflescope
- 5. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-12×56 Riflescope
- Other Recommendations
Why Do I Need a Scope?
Well, if you’re here, that means that you own one of the most popular hunting rifles that are available today. The .308 caliber rifle is a very well known multipurpose hunting caliber. This caliber provides a great shot that can kill a wide range of hunting game, as well as serve you for hunting in many different situations. With the right equipment, especially the scope, the .308 caliber will give you one of the best versatile bullets out there.
This all-around cartridge will perform well in both open and crowded environments, as well as short and long range shooting. While, for some specific situations, you might need some specialized bullets or equipment, this caliber will serve you well for anything you need it for.
Not only that, but the .308 caliber of ammunition is available in plenty of styles and bullet options, which grants you even more versatility for the rifle or shot you plan to make. When you add a great rifle scope on top of one of the best hunting cartridges known to man, you’ve got an epic shot calling your name.
Having a scope will greatly increase your accuracy and efficiency when it comes to hunting, especially at a long range. Scopes are offered in tons of styles that range from different reticles and magnifications, to sizes and other features that will be suitable for any gun owner out there.
Let’s talk about some of these features that you need to be aware of when it comes to using a rifle scope. There’s some that are very important to have for hunting purposes, as well as some red flags you need to look out for that might indicate a scope manufacturer that cuts corners in their products.
A rifle scope is made so you can see out of it. Actually, the scope itself is not just merely a piece of glass in a tube. The scope is actually transmitting light to your eye when you look through it, which means that it will lose a lot of it in that process.
The light transmission rating of a scope is important because it measures how well you’ll actually be able to see through it. If you can’t see well enough to make your shot, then what’s the point of even having a scope? Most scopes today average around 90% light transmission, give or take. This means that 90% of the light that is on the other side of your scope will make it to your eyes. High end scopes can hit the 95% mark and over, but you’ll pay pretty heavily for that.
When it comes to this feature, the more magnification you have on your scope, the lower the light transmission it will be. This is because there’s more lenses and thicker glass in the way of the light to accommodate that higher level of magnification, therefore meaning more of the light will be lost compared to normal.
If you have a larger objective lens, then you’ll receive more light transmission, which is something that we’ll talk about next. Basically, the bigger the end of the scope’s glass, the more light that’s going to hit your face. When you think about it logically, it should make sense.
The objective lens is the one that is located on the end of the scope. This is also what’s going to bring in the light transmission factor through your scope. For an objective lens, the typical rifle scope averages around 40mm. This is a common size that isn’t too chunky but also gives you a good enough light transmission rate to see and hit accurate shots.
Now, if you opt for a larger lens, that’s where some problems might start to come in. The scope itself is mounted on rails and uses something called rings, which are what keep the scope from making contact with the barrel of the gun. When the objective lens starts to get into the larger ranges, say something around 70mm, the height of the rings that’s required to keep this scope properly mounted start to become outrageous. It can get to the point where your neck is so far strained trying to see through the scope, that your shooting and rifle handling gets much more difficult.
With these large lenses, they can be extremely heavy, weighing in at nearly 4 pounds, which can be a cause for clumsiness or difficulty controlling the firearm, resulting in inaccurate or missed shots.
If you’re a short range hunter with a low magnification range, an objective lens of 28mm or smaller will do you just fine.
If you’re more in the medium range, go for something between 30mm and 45mm.
If you have a high magnification and are a long distance hunter, then you’ll want to start your search at around 50mm and up.
This is definitely something you want to keep in mind when you look for a scope. Bigger doesn’t always mean better.
This one will primarily rely on what type of hunting you’re doing. Whether it’s short range or long range, there’s magnification recommendations for every type of hunt you can imagine.
Magnification on an optic is what allows you to zoom in on your target and see it more clearly. When you’re dealing with rifle scopes, this is a very important feature, especially for those who shoot long range. Magnification can come in many different ranges as well as qualities. A high quality rifle will offer clear magnification that won’t fuzz out the picture as it zooms in. If your scope is on the lower end, you’ll probably experience some picture resolution issues. It’s best to find a good balance for your budget when it comes to the quality level that you want to achieve.
For short range hunting, around 100 yards, small game or target shooting, or even self defense, then a magnification range of 1x-4x will be best for you.
For medium range, which is about 200 yards, shooting large game, and shooting in a closed environment like trees or mountains, then something between 5x-8x will be a great option.
If you’re a long range hunter, which qualifies as anything above 200 yards, then you should go for a magnification range of 9x-12x.
This is something that can make a huge difference in what you use your scope for. There’s two focal planes when it comes to a rifle scope: the first focal plane and the second focal plane.
A scope reticle that is on the first focal plane (FFP) will move and become larger as you zoom in your scope’s magnification. This means that you might get a more accurate shot, but also at the risk of the reticle blocking or overwhelming your target in your vision.
A reticle in the second focal plane (SFP) will stay the same size no matter how you adjust your scope. This is the option you’ll want to go for if you do a lot of long range shooting. The reticle will never overtake your already small target when you try to zoom in on it from a long distance.
Windage and Elevation Adjustments
These adjustments come on every rifle scope, but that doesn’t mean that they were created equally. A lot of cheaper and unreliable branded scopes will come equipped with adjustment knobs that aren’t exact and will end up zeroing your weapon to an off measurement, which can result in you missing your target by several inches over a distance.
When it comes to these adjustment knobs, make sure the scope you choose has knobs that are proven accurate and make clean distinct clicks when you turn them. That way, you’ll be able to count each adjustment that you make and rely on the fact that your zero will remain deadly.
Lens coatings can provide all kinds of benefits like glass protection and increased light transmission and brightness. They will reduce the glare of your optic and allow you to see clearly at your target. There’s 4 types of lens coating options on the market today:
- Coated: this is the bare minimum option that will come at the cheapest price. Only one layer of coating will be on one surface of your optic glass.
- Fully coated: all exterior glass surfaces of the optic will be coated once.
- Multi coated: one glass surface will have several layers of coating.
- Fully multi coated: all glass surfaces will be coated several times. This is the most expensive option.
Lens coatings have become much more standard in today’s rifle scope market. The majority of scopes out there are now going to be fully multi coated, which means that you won’t have to look too hard for something that’s quality. Even if the scope you choose is only coated, it’s not something that’s going to drastically change your shooting quality. Hey, even one layer is better than nothing. It’s just something to be aware of when you go to purchase a product.
Best 308 Rifle Scope Features
These are just some basic concepts that can change from scope to scope and affect how you use the tool and how it performs. A lot of these features will be based off of your personal preference, as well as your shooting style and intended use.
When it comes to the .308, there’s definitely some scope features that are recommended for this popular hunting calibers. This bullet is effective and available in all rifle types, which makes it great for all your general hunting and shooting needs.
The .308 is a reliable bullet up to 800 yards for a shot. However, with the right equipment, the bullet has the potential to land a shot up to 1000 yards away and still remain accurate. This rifle is also great for mid range of 150-350 yards when it comes to deer hunting or other big game hunting.
So, when you consider the scope that you want, the distance that you will be shooting will play a big part in the kind of features that you want to go for.
Since the .308 is able to shoot from 1000 yards, there’s plenty of options for selecting the magnification range that you want.
If you intend to use a .308 hunting rifle from a short range, which is anywhere up to 150 yards, than you’ll want to go for a magnification power in the 1x-6x range for this caliber. If you’ve got too much magnification at a close quarters distance, than your target can turn into a blurry mess.
Medium range is anything after 150 yards and up to 350 yards. This is where you’ll want to start looking for an increased magnification power option. This is the main distance that you should be hunting big game like deer, elk, or bears. This distance is the one where you’re more likely to land the kill shot rather than just wounding or scaring the target off. For this distance, you’ll want something that’s between 6x and 9x magnification.
Now, long range is where the crazy amounts of magnification power come in. Long range is anything past 350 yards, and for this particular caliber of .308, up to 1000 yards. For starters, you’ll need a minimum of 10x magnification when you start to roll over the 350 mark. But when you really start pushing the limits of your .308 and getting into that 1000 yard mark, that’s where you’ll need to go up to a 24x higher magnification.
Eye relief differs from scope to scope, as well as it should between different rifles. The eye relief you need should be based on if you’ll be able to see out of the particular scope and still use it properly, but also not get hit in the face with a recoil shot.
The .308 has a relatively mild recoil, which means that you won’t need a huge eye relief for this one. This doesn’t mean that you can disregard the eye relief though. Just because the recoil isn’t a huge blast doesn’t mean you want to take it in the face. For the .308, you’ll want to aim for an eye relief that measures between 3.5 inches and 4 inches.
All traditional rifle scopes will suffer from parallax, which is why many of them come equipped with the optional parallax adjustment knob. This is a great thing to have no matter what distance you’re shooting from. If you’re shooting low to mid range with the .308, you’ll probably be fine without it if you must.
However, when you start getting into that long range shooting aspect, you’ll definitely want to have that parallax knob handy. Parallax is known to become a bigger problem when you start using higher powered magnification, which is something you’re bound to run into when you’re shooting from such a long range.
It’s best to have the knob and not end up walking away empty handed, than need it and have to leave without that epic hunt.
Best Scope for 308 Reviews
All these features are something you want to keep in mind when you look for a scope. These key pointers can help you determine what kind of performance you want, what style of scope will suit your needs best, and how to maximize your performance with the features that are needed.
Today, let’s talk about some highly recommended products to pair with your .308 rifle. These products range greatly in price and features, which gives everyone a chance to find something they love. All of these products are from trusted brands and are beloved by the hunting community.
1. NightForce SHV 5-20x56mm Riflescope
This NightForce scope is well known for it’s performance when it comes to landing excellent shots the first time. While it’s a little on the expensive side, you won’t be disappointed for the features that are offered in exchange for a high end scope price tag.
This scope features a reticle that is in the second focal plane, which means that no matter what distance you’re shooting from, you’ll always be able to see your target. The reticle won’t become any bigger when you use your magnification, allowing you to make precise shots without having to struggle to see around your reticle picture.
This scope is meant to be versatile, hence the SHV abbreviation in the name. SHV stands for Shooter, Hunter, and Varminter, which means that this optic has many different applications and intended uses right out of the box. For such a high end scope, the versatility is worth the price.
The reticle is illuminated and features an objective lens that measures 56mm. This size of objective lens gives you great target brightness and a high level of light transmission as well, allowing you to see every detail in perfect clarity. The lens is not too big and not too small, which gives a great balance between added weight and the wanted light transmission that comes with it.
This scope is equipped with a technology called ZeroSet, which allows you to quickly and instantly reset your scope to the factory zero settings. This way, you won’t have to mess around with the adjustments when you’re trying to move the scope to a different rifle or just zero it in for a completely different zone.
However, this scope does not come shipped with the mounting rings that will be required for installation. There’s also caps that are locked onto the windage and elevation knobs, which you will have to remove in order to adjust them. This could cause some inconvenience if you want quick and easy adjustments at your fingertips.
- It has great precision.
- The adjustment knobs are precise.
- It’s made for versatility with the SHV applications.
- It’s durable.
- It doesn’t come with scope mount rings.
- It’s expensive.
- Caps need to be removed in order to use the adjustment knobs.
2. EOTECH Vudu 3.5-18x50mm Precision Riflescope
While this EOTech scope is very expensive, it’s built to last with great quality of features. This scope is made with durability in mind, and is crafted from strong, quality materials that can stand up to any test.
It’s made from aluminum, which gives the scope its ability to be waterproof, shockproof, and fogproof. This will allow you to take this scope on any hunt in any conditions, and know that you can still rely on it to perform at a high end level. You won’t have to worry about trying to struggle and plan your hunts around weather conditions.
The sight range and clarity of the lenses are very impressive. Especially for the price, the light transmission level is unbeatable. You’ll get insane clarity regardless of the magnification that you’re using, without losing any details in the process. You’ll be making quick and clean shots with ease when you can see every strand of fur on your target.
This scope is also equipped with parallax adjustment knobs. When you go to make that shot at a long range, you’ll be able to adjust for the parallax quickly and easily, while not having to struggle with trying to compensate alone. Parallax is essentially eliminated with this adjustment, giving you the focus you need when your target is on the move.
This scope also has an auto power mode, which will turn the scope off automatically and place it into sleep mode. This feature is designed to conserve power and battery life of the scope. When in sleep mode, you can get up to 1500 hours of battery life out of a single charge or battery. This way, you’ll never have to worry about the picture going out right as you’re about to pull the trigger.
However, all these features come with not only a heavy price tag, but also a heavy scope. This scope is on the heavier side, which can add some extra weight to your rifle. If you’re not equipped or used to the weight, this might affect the way you shoot, so it’s definitely something to be aware of before trying out this EOTech optic.
- It has great light transmission.
- The image quality is incredible.
- The turret adjustment knobs are precise.
- It comes with some accessories.
- It’s expensive.
- It’s heavy.
- It won’t perform well for extreme long range shooting.
3. Bushnell Optics 4.5-18x40mm Riflescope
This Bushnell rifle scope is a great medium priced rifle scope that offers plenty of high quality features. While it’s more affordable, that doesn’t mean it lacks in performance or quality. It may not be like an expensive scope, but for the price, you get a serious bang for your buck.
When you consider the price range, this scope performs at an excellent level when hunting or other types of scope shooting. The clarity of the glass and the magnification clarity is impressive, and won’t leave you struggling to try and see your target or your surroundings. However, it has been noted that the image quality decreases when you start employing the higher magnification power.
Despite that, this scope is made precisely for the .308. One of the reticle options is a BDC reticle, which means bullet drop compensating, and it is specifically calibrated for the 308 hunting rifle caliber. This means that you can get extreme accuracy and precision, all while estimating where your bullet will actually hit. Compensating for bullet drop can be difficult to do, even with the BDC reticle, so having a reticle that is made just for your rifle’s caliber is a must.
The magnification power is easily adjustable by using a small lever on the scope. This will allow you to get to the magnification range that you need to focus on the target that you want to hit. This will give you great versatility in the hunting field; you won’t have to struggle with difficult knobs and will just be able to pick your required magnification.
Bushnell, the manufacturer, notes that the power level you want to use is 18. This is the setting that will give you the best performance out of the scope and allow it to live up to its full potential.
- It’s affordable.
- It has many reticle options.
- Its adjustment knobs are easy to use.
- The BDC reticle is made specifically for .308.
- Image quality will decrease at a higher magnification.
- The crosshair reticles are a little thick.
4. Athlon Optics Argos BTR Riflescope
This Athlon scope is an affordable slim design that features an aluminum construction. This mean it’s durable and ready for anything that you might have to throw at it. It weighs in on the lighter side as well, meaning that it’s a compact scope that will serve you well in any situation. Don’t be fooled by the cheap price tag, it lives up to the Athlon name and brings a ton of great quality features.
This scope, while it may seem on the smaller side, is equipped with high quality lenses that are all fully multi coated. This means that your scope will have insane light transmission as well as glass clarity. This scope is very bright, meaning that you’ll be able to see your target no matter what you’re looking at in any environment. This way, you can rely on this scope to give you a crystal clear image to make your dream shot.
Not only that, but it also offers an illuminated reticle to make that brightness in dark environments even more vivid and clear. You’ll be able to see any detail and adjust to any situation with the 11 offered brightness settings for the reticle. The reticle is also etched onto the glass, meaning that you’ll always be able to see it. Combine that with the amazing glass quality, 11 brightness options, and the light transmission, and you’ll be well on your way to landing accurate hunts.
This model is actually equipped with something called argon purging. This process will make your scope extremely durable and provide it greater shock resistance. This scope takes recoil from your rifle like a champ. This way, whether you’re worried about the recoil or just knocking the scope into a tree branch, your scope will be perfectly fine.
However, this scope is known for the turret adjustments. They aren’t exactly precise; the clicks are not crisp and can lead to second guessing yourself or miscounting your measurements. This might lead to inaccuracy and frustration, as well as lots of wasted ammo trying to fix your rifle’s zero.
- It’s durable.
- It has argon purging technology.
- It has illuminated reticles with 11 brightness options.
- It’s affordable.
- It has clear lenses.
- It’s turrets aren’t that precise.
- It doesn’t have zero stop.
5. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-12×56 Riflescope
This Vortex Optics rifle scope is an amazing budget option. It doesn’t sacrifice it’s quality for the price tag and provides a clean shot every time. You won’t be disappointed with what you get for the price; no corners were cut when this scope was designed.
The Crossfire II is a second focal plane scope as well, giving you a great advantage if you are a long range shooter. Not only that, but this means that you’ll be versatile from any distance without having to worry about the risk of obscuring your target with an enlarging reticle. Your reticle will stay solid and the same size no matter what magnification you use, allowing you to always see your target and land a precise shot.
It has a large objective lens that will greatly improve your light transmission of your scope, allowing you to see the target in a brighter light. This way, you won’t miss any details and will still be able to see regardless of the light conditions. Your reticle, known as V-Brite, is a great companion for this large objective lens and will compensate for the brightness and the size of your lens, allowing you to be extremely accurate.
Not only that, but the eye relief is a great plus. This scope features an eye relief of 3.5 inches, which is well within the recommended range for the .308 caliber rifle. You won’t have to worry about taking a scope bash to the face while you fire off your shot because of the generous distance of eye relief.
This scope is nitrogen purged and sealed by an O ring, which is what gives this scope its famous durability. The .308 rifle is bound to be in some tough situations, which is why Vortex Optics designed this scope with the challenges of hunting in mind. You’ll be able to count on this scope when you need it most without it falling apart or taking any damage.
The lenses on this scope are also fully multi coated, which further assists with the light transmission along with the large objective lens. You won’t experience a glare off your lenses, which can make it hard to see, and will just be able to focus on your target with nothing else getting in the way.
However, this scope is a little on the bulkier side. Because of the large objective lens, that can add some weight and clumsiness to your firearm, which can impede your accuracy if you aren’t ready for it. It is also known to decrease in image quality as the magnification goes up, like most mid to low end scopes will.
- It’s affordable.
- It has a large objective lens.
- It offers fast target acquisition in any light conditions.
- It’s bulky.
- The image quality decreases as the magnification increases.
What is the .308 most known for?
The 308 rifle caliber is a powerful bullet that is most popular for hunting, especially large game. This is one of the most popular hunting calibers in the world.
Do I need a scope for my .308?
Yes. Having a scope on any rifle can increase your accuracy and performance. This can be especially helpful when you are hunting, which is what the 308 is most known for.
What should I sight my 308 rifle at?
This question is largely up to personal preference. A common distance for this rifle is 100-150 yards. If you aren’t planning to shoot much further than that, it’s a great option for starters. However, just make sure you check your bullet drop rates to make sure you are sighting correctly to compensate for it.
If none of these scopes are hitting the mark for you, here’s a list of other brands, products, and highly rated scopes that are loved by the firearm community just the same.
- Primary Arms: Primary Arms SLX
- Vortex Optics: Vortex Diamondback, Vortex Viper, Vortex Razor Gen II
- Leupold: Leupold Mark, Leupold VX 3I
- NightForce: NightForce ATACR
- Burris: Burris Veracity
Mike has been shooting, reloading, and bullet casting for over 40 years. He lives in rural Indiana where he has a backyard target range. Married for almost 40 years, Mike and his wife teach adult education in their home county and have four sons with their families, totaling 10 grandkids.