The Best Scopes for AR 10

Last Updated: by Aiden Williams

The AR-10 is the less popular forebearer of the better-known AR-15. First manufactured in 1956, the rifle did not take off as well as the AR-15 after it but it has since become more widely used.

The widespread use of the .308 Winchester cartridge that is mostly used on AR-10 style rifles and its affordability has made it popular with hunters everywhere.

To get the best performance of your AR-10 rifle, you’ll need quality and highly dependable scope to go along with it. We’ve reviewed the top 7 of the best scopes for AR-10 for you to choose from.

The scopes in our list vary in function, features, and price. Hopefully, you’ll find the best one that suits you to a T.

Our top pick for the best scope for AR 10 is the Vortex Diamondback 4-12×40mm SFP Riflescope. The Diamondback has crystal clear glass and is extremely durable. It is also lightweight, withstands heavy recoil, affordable and has a nice sleek design.

The Best Scopes for AR-10 Rifles Are:

ProductDetails
1. Vortex Optics Diamond Black 4-20x40mm SFP Riflescope — Best Scope for AR-10

  • 4-12x Magnification
  • 40mm Objective Lens
  • 1"Tube diameter
  • 3.1" Eye Relief
  • Reticle Dead-Hold BDC (MOA)
  • Weight: 14.6oz
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2. Primary Arms SLx 4-14x44mm FFP Riflescope — Best Scope for AR-10 308

  • 4-14x Magnification
  • 44mm Objective Lens
  • 30mm Tube diameter
  • 3.14-3.22" Eye Relief
  • Mil-Dot reticle
  • Weight: 23.0oz
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3. Nikon M-Tactical .308 4-16x42mm BDC-800 Riflescope

  • 4-16x Magnification
  • 42mm Objective Lens
  • 30mm Tube diameter
  • 4" Eye Relief
  • Reticle: BDC-800
  • Weight: 20.6oz
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4. Leupold VX - Freedom 3-9x40mm Riflescope

  • 3-9x Magnification
  • 40mm Objective Lens
  • 1"Tube diameter
  • 4.17-3.66" Eye Relief
  • Reticle Duplex
  • Weight: 12.2oz
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5. UTG 3-12x44mm Compact Scope

  • 3-12x Magnification
  • 44mm Objective Lens
  • 30mm Tube diameter
  • 3.3-2.83" Eye Relief
  • Reticle EZ TAP IE 36 Colors Mil-Dot
  • Weight: 25.6oz
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6. Nikon ProStaff P3 4-12x40mm Matte BDC Riflescope

  • 4-12x Magnification
  • 40mm Objective Lens
  • 1"Tube diameter
  • 3.7" Eye Relief
  • Reticle Nikon BDC
  • Weight: 15.5oz
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7. Trijicon 1-6x24mm VCOG Riflescope

  • 1-6x Magnification
  • 24mm Objective Lens
  • 1"Tube diameter
  • 4" Eye Relief
  • Reticle FFP BDC
  • Weight: 23.2oz
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1. Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40mm SFP Riflescope — Best Scope for AR-10

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 6-18x44 AO, SFP Riflescope - Dead-Hold BDC Reticle (MOA) with Baseball Hat

The Vortex Diamondback 4-12×40mm SFP Riflescope is ideal for use in mid-range hunting and shooting. It is also our choice for the best scope for an AR10.

The Diamondback features multi-coated lenses that offer bright and clear images. It utilizes a glass etched customized Dead-Hold BDC reticle that allows for shooting in varying ranges where estimating holdover is a challenge.

Although the reticle is not illuminated, it does work well enough in low lighting, considering also that its 40mm objective lens adds extra brightness to the images.

The reticle is in the second focal plane which means there’ll be constant adjustments for windage and elevation. Fortunately, the finger adjustable turrets feature metal on metal precision that allows for a quick return to zero.

The scope is parallax free to 100 yards but doesn’t offer adjustable parallax beyond 100 yards which reduces the accuracy of the scope at greater distances.

Specs

  • 4-12x Magnification
  • 40mm Objective Lens
  • 1″Tube diameter
  • 1″ Eye Relief
  • Reticle Dead-Hold BDC (MOA)
  • Weight: 14.6oz

Pros

  • Metal on metal turrets with positive zero return
  • Sturdy one-piece construction to make it waterproof, fog proof and shockproof
  • The glass is clear up to 700 yards and the scope holds zero through multiple rounds.

Cons

  • Short eye relief and tight eye box
  • Non-illuminated reticle

The Diamondback is designed to deliver performance, durability and top-quality optics at an affordable price.

Rating – 4.6/5

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2. Primary Arms SLx 4-14x44mm FFP Riflescope — Best Scope for AR-10 308

Athlon Optics , Argos BTR, Riflescope, 6-24 x 50 First Focal Plane (FFP) 30 mm Tube, Illuminated APMR MIL Reticle,

The Primary Arms SLx 4-14x44mm FFP Riflescope features a reticle that allows it to be the best scope for AR10 long range and .308 Winchester rounds. The scope works well with AR10 style rifles to improve the accuracy of your shots, especially on moving targets.

This scope features an advanced, glass-etched, first focal plane Mil-Dot reticle that’s suits the .308 Winchester and some .223 Rem loads. It allows for accurate aims for moving targets at 600 yards and has an optical range of up to 1000 yards.

The illuminated reticle allows for easy target acquisition at low light. The scope has open adjustment turrets and side adjustments for parallax and focus that allow the shooter to make quick adjustments while they’re behind the scope.

Specs

  • 4-14x Magnification
  • 44mm Objective Lens
  • 30mm Tube diameter
  • 14-3.22″ Eye Relief
  • Mil-Dot reticle
  • Weight: 23.0oz

Pros

  • Rugged construction
  • FFP reticle allows for more accurate long-range shots
  • Illuminated reticle includes 6 brightness settings to customize for any lighting condition
  • Precise turrets that produce positive clicks
  • Sights in fast and will hold zero settings well with the zero-reset feature
  • Side parallax adjustment

Cons

  • High eye relief especially in high magnification
  • Has some quality control issues

The SLx scope is versatile for medium to long-range tactical shooting. This is the best well-priced scope for .308. The reticle is designed specifically to work with the way .308 rounds work to deliver accuracy in shots on moving targets.

Rating – 4.5/5

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3. Nikon M-Tactical .308 4-16x42mm BDC-800 Riflescope — Best Scope For AR-10 Long Range

Nikon M-Tactical .308 4-16X42SF Matte BDC800

The Nikon M-Tactical .308 4-16x42mm BDC-800 Riflescope is designed for AR10 style rifles that can shoot long range with the .308 round. It is specific for the extreme long-range hunter or competitive shooter but it is also capable of excellent performance at the medium range.

The BDC 800 reticle features aiming points that correlate with the 308 flight path to allow accurate target acquisition and shots without range adjustments. Beyond that, the reticle provides optimization for all loads and cartridges for AR10 by use of the Spot-on Ballistic Reticle Match Technology feature.

The M-308 has crystal clear glass up to 1000 yards. Combined with the 42mm objective lens, the scope delivers excellent resolution to images at high magnification and low light environments. The lenses are fully multicoated to enable up to 98% light transmission for exceptional low light performance even though the reticle is non-illuminated.

Specs

  • 4-16x Magnification
  • 42mm Objective Lens
  • 30mm Tube diameter
  • 4″ Eye Relief
  • Reticle: BDC-800
  • Weight: 20.6oz

Pros

  • Lightweight, rugged and sturdy construction
  • Easy to mount and retains accuracy through multiple rounds of shooting
  • Long and constant eye relief to protect your brow from heavy recoil rounds
  • Variable magnification allows for use in medium to long-range
  • Open turrets with zero-stop technology allow for quick target acquisition

Cons

  • Non-illuminated reticle

The M-308 is designed for extreme long-range shooting but also works well in the medium range. It is versatile and allows for easy adjustments that accommodate various shooting activities. It is an excellent, durable and affordable scope by Nikon.

Rating – 3.9/5

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4. Leupold VX – Freedom 3-9x40mm Riflescope — Best Scope for AR-10 Hunting

Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mm Riflescope, Duplex Reticle, Matte Finish

The Leupold VX – Freedom 3-9x40mm Riflescope is one of the favorite hunting scopes in the market. Leupold is known for their quality in manufacturing durable and crystal clear optics and the VX-Freedom is designed to deliver high performance in short to medium range hunting and competitive shooting.

The VX-Freedom lenses are coated with their proprietary DiamondCoat 3 to optimize light transmission up to 94% for great performance in low light situations. The coating also protects against scratches and enhances image clarity.

The fast-focus eyepiece of this scope allows you to quickly focus the reticle and provide a comfortable eye relief for medium-range shots.

The scope offers a glass etched, non-illuminated duplex reticle that is a favorite for hunters.

The 3-9x variable magnification is the standard for most hunting scope because it allows near-perfect clarity in your typical hunting range of up to 700 yards.

Specs

  • 3-9x Magnification
  • 40mm Objective Lens
  • 1″Tube diameter
  • 17-3.66″ Eye Relief
  • Reticle Duplex
  • Weight: 12.2oz

Pros

  • Lightweight and sturdy construction
  • Custom Dial System to adjust for various cartridges removing the need to adjust for elevation and holdover.
  • Clear, bright images at the highest resolution
  • A simple duplex reticle that allows for precision shooting

Cons

  • Small tube diameter which reduces the availability of some features

The VX-Freedom is a top-quality scope from a brand that is trusted by hunters everywhere. It’s an all-purpose reticle that will provide precision in thick bushes and big game hunting.

Rating – 4.4/5

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5. UTG 3-12x44mm Compact Scope — Best on a Budget

UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope, AO, 36-color Mil-dot, Rings

The UTG 3-12x44mm Compact Scope is a budget entry AR-10 scope that works well for beginners. The scope is built with basic features, is very affordable and works right out of the box.

The scope uses a TRE Mil-Dot reticle that allows for size and distance estimation of the target, especially at long distances. The reticle features 21 aiming points and comes with 36 color options apart from the traditional red/ green combination.

The variable magnification produces clear images at the lowest setting. While at the highest magnification, the scope has noticeable distortion around the edges and it also reduces the eye relief distance.

Specs

  • 3-12x Magnification
  • 44mm Objective Lens
  • 30mm Tube diameter
  • 3-2.83″ Eye Relief
  • Reticle EZ TAP IE 36 Colors Mil-Dot
  • Weight: 25.6oz

Pros

  • 30mm tube built on True Strength Platform
  • The tube allows for uninterrupted reticle illumination under heavy recoil
  • Side wheel adjustable turret for parallax adjustments
  • Zero locking and zero resetting target turrets
  • Provides a consistent and precise 1/4MOA windage and elevation adjustments

Cons

  • Tight eyebox at the highest magnification
  • Heavy

The scope is a great option if you’re on a budget and you don’t need a complex scope. However it is also big and heavy, it can slow you down a bit when hunting.

Rating – 4.3/5

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6. Nikon ProStaff P3 4-12x40mm Matte BDC Riflescope — Best Value for Money

PROSTAFF P3 4-12x40 Matte BDC

The Nikon ProStaff P3 4-12x40mm Matte BDC Riflescope features some of the best lenses in the market. This scope is complete in terms of quality and price making it the best scope for the money on our list.

Nikon is known for its crystal clear lenses and the ProStaff P3 is no exception. They are multicoated and laser aligned to retain up to 98% of light. Combined with the 40mm objective lens, the glass allows for visibility in low light, especially since the reticle is glass etched rather than illuminated.

The BDC reticle and 4-12x variable magnification allow for accurate aiming in the medium to long-range. The scope delivers a bright and clear image even at the highest magnification. The parallax setting is 100 yards but it does not provide for adjustments so the scope will not perform to its optimum at long range.

The ProStaff P3 allows for a consistent 3.7″ eye relief which helps when using high powered cartridges on your AR-10 rifle. The scope is nitrogen purged to be fog proof and utilizes sealed O-rings for waterproofing.

Specs

  • 4-12x Magnification
  • 40mm Objective Lens
  • 1″Tube diameter
  • 7″ Eye Relief
  • Reticle Nikon BDC
  • Weight: 15.5oz

Pros

  • Zero reset turret settings with spring-loaded adjustment knobs
  • Spot On Ballistic Match technology allows for reticle adjustments to your specific cartridge or load
  • Fully multicoated lenses optimize light transmission for bright and clear images
  • Positive click reticle adjustments get you zeroed in quickly

Cons

  • No parallax adjustments
  • Non-illuminated reticle

The ProStaff P3 delivers high optical performance and durability. It offers more value for money and flexibility for all hunting and shooting activities.

Rating – 4.4/5

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7. Trijicon 1-6x24mm VCOG Riflescope — Best High-End

Trijicon VC16-C-1600051 Vcog 1-6x24mm Green Segmented Riflescope, Circle/Crosshair .308/175 Grains Ballistic Reticle with Quick Release Mount, Blk

The Trijicon 1-8x24mm VCOG Riflescope Variable Combat Optical Gunsight is designed for close combat and medium distance marksmanship. The scope is a superior military-grade riflescope and offers the best quality on our best scope for Ar-10 review.

The scope features multicoated lenses to deliver superior glass quality and light transmission with zero distortion. The quick ranging BDC reticle is brilliantly illuminated and has 6 brightness settings with off positions in between. The reticle allows for quick and accurate range estimation, useful in medium distance shooting to compensate for bullet drop.

The first focal plane allows for clear reticle visibility and application in any magnification. This allows for better flexibility in the range for target acquisition. The illuminated reticle is powered by AA lithium batteries that allow for full-time use of its highest magnification settings for up to a continuous 700 hours.

Specs

  • 1-6x Magnification
  • 24mm Objective Lens
  • 1″Tube diameter
  • 4″ Eye Relief
  • Reticle FFP BDC
  • Weight: 23.2oz

Pros

  • MIL-STD-810G strength tested to be robust for any shooting application
  • Integrated dial fin allows for easy magnification settings adjustments
  • Continuous LED reticle illumination for up to 700 hours
  • Easy to set adjusters for windage and elevation
  • Waterproof, shockproof, and submersible to 66 feet

Cons

  • Expensive for the average shooter

This scope features typical military design and construction. It has excellent glass clarity and variable magnification for close range and medium-range to 400 yards.

Rating – 4.8/5

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What to Look for in an AR-10 Scope — Buying Guide

When you’re trying to decide which is the best scope for AR-10, you may want to narrow down the scope options to the basics, that is, the features. Usually, this decision is also determined by other factors such as function and budget but here’s a simple guide that will get you started.

Magnification

You’d most likely want a variable magnification because it allows for flexibility in use. Traditionally, the 3-9x was a favorite for hunters because it was useful up to 700 yards.

The 2-12x is the new all-around magnification. If offers a wider field of view at 2x and can be used for long-range hunting.

The diameter of the objective lens is determined by magnification. For the AR-10, an objective lens of 40mm – 44mm will deliver clear images for up 20x magnification.

Eye Relief

Variable magnification scopes change their eye relief as the magnification zoom adjusts from low to high. However, since the AR10 is a high caliber rifle, an eye relief of at least 3.5″ would guarantee some safety to your eyebrow.

Reticles

The reticle is something else to consider. The AR10 is a mid to long-range rifle so the most relevant reticle would be a BDC or a Mil-Dot. A BDC (Bullet Drop Compensation) is a ballistic reticle that allows the shooter to use the holdover point for long-range shots.

They can be caliber specific, commonly the .233 Rem and .308 Winchester, though some reticles can be customized to any caliber the AR10 rifle is using.

The Mil-Dot is also a ballistic reticle designed as a ranging reticle for the military. It is ideal for snipers and extreme long-range shooters because it allows for precise range measurements.

Focal Planes

The AR-10 scopes can either be in the first focal plane or the second focal plane. In FFP, the reticle is located in front of the objective lens and it changes size as the magnification increases or decreases. This allows for your ballistic reticle to be used at any magnification because the range information remains accurate.

In contrast, the SFP reticle is located behind the objective lens and is more common than the FFP reticle. The reticle remains the same size across the variable magnification adjustments. It improves the accuracy of the target aim so it is more ideal for long-range hunting.

 

Reticle Crosshairs

The size of the reticle crosshairs also affects how the eyes see the image through the scope. Thick crosshairs are easily visible and draw the eye to the center aiming point of the reticle.

They are also better to see in low light situations and busy environments. Fine or thin crosshairs are usually illuminated to improve its visibility and are more accurate than thick crosshairs.

Clarity

Glass etched reticles are more superior and durable than any wired reticles and they cannot be illuminated. That’s something to consider if you’re hunting in low light.

Multicoated lenses also improve the clarity of the glass and reduce light reflection. Glass quality is also a consideration because poor glass presents distortions and chromatic aberration.

Construction

Aircraft-grade aluminum is a high-quality material that is also lightweight. The scope also needs to be strong enough to withstand heavy recoil, fog proofed with nitrogen purging, and waterproofed.

Conclusion

Choosing the best scope for an AR 10 is a personal preference and it’s a balance between performance and functionality of your rifle. We vetted various scopes in the market and came up with a mix to suit the different shooting activities one would have with an AR10 rifle.

Based on this review we can recommend the Vortex Diamondback 4-12×40mm SFP Riflescope for its excellent optics, highly effective BDC reticle, and affordability. The scope comes in a sleek design that’ll mount well on your AR10 rifle.

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