The .308 caliber is one of the most popular calibers manufactured and used in the United States. It has seen action in military, police, and hunting situations a thousand times over and there is no end in sight to its popularity.
The popularity comes from the ballistic characteristics of this round we’ve been covering a few times in our rifle caliber comparisons. It’s a far flying, hard hitting caliber that can be used for a variety of tactical or hunting situations, but to fully utilize such a caliber you need the best scope for 308 that is available.
The .308 came about as the civilian version of the 7.62×51 NATO when it was replaced with the 5.56X45 NATO. The effectiveness and versatility of this round were not overlooked by manufacturers, and the .308 Win was born. The .308 and 7.62X51 calibers are very similar, and because of this, the scopes listed here could also make a fine addition to your tactical firearms as well.
In this article, we are going to look at some of the key components that goes into a .308 scope worth buying as well as look at four of the best scopes for 308 rifles that cover a wide range of shooting applications.
How To Choose A Scope For A .308 Rifle
- Construction: Any rifle optics that you plan on using for hunting or tactical purposes has to be durable and withstand the normal bumps and bruises that come with the territory. Aircraft grade aluminum is the standard for quality rifle scopes, and you shouldn’t opt for anything less.
Another feature to a good hunting scope, are low profile windage and elevation turrets. Low profile turrets tend not to get snagged in brush or get knocked off as easily. You still want to be able to manipulate them easily. Regarding tactical, a higher profile might be more beneficial as they are much easier to reach out and adjust quickly and when on the move.
If you’re taking a scope out in the field, you want it to be water and fog proof. There are few situations as frustrating as raising your firearm to see nothing but fog.
- Holding your Zero: While the .308 caliber does not have the most devastating recoil, it still has a nice kick, especially if you are using a high powder, heavy grain load. Because of this, you need a scope that can withstand the shock of recoil while maintaining its zero.
- Fixed or Variable Power: We can place scopes into two broad categories; fixed and variable powered scopes. Fixed scopes have one magnification settings while variable powered scopes can be adjusted across a range of magnification settings.
Your choice between fixed or variable power is all going to depend on the type of shots you think you will be taking. As we have mentioned, the .308 is a versatile caliber that is used in a multitude of shooting scenarios.
A fixed scope might be the choice for you if you are planning on using your rifle for hunting applications in dense vegetation, where most of your shots will be taken at 150 yards and less. A 2.5X through 5X fixed scope will do the trick. Fixed scopes are more durable and less expensive and are the reason you would opt for a fixed scope in this scenario rather than a variable with lower magnification ranges.
The .308 is more than able to reach out several hundred yards and still maintain the knockdown power. A great all around variable scope is 3-9X, but if you are thinking long range, sniping scenarios there are high magnification variable scopes available as well.
When purchasing a variable scope, you need to focus on the lowest magnification setting. While being able to tap targets at 500+ yards is great what happens when it steps out at 70 yards? Will your scope have a low enough magnification with a wide enough field of view to pick it up quickly? It’s an important and often overlooked component to picking out a variable scope.
- Generous Eye Relief: We briefly touched on the recoil produced by a .308 caliber, and you are going to want a scope that will give you 3 or more inches of eye relief. This is more than enough distance between your eye and the rim of the ocular lens.
The 4 Best Scopes for .308 Firearms
In the following section we will review 4 of the best scopes for .308 rounds and let you know where and how they perform best. We will also tell you what we don’t like about them, so you know what to expect when getting one of them for your rifle.
This .308 scope is a 3-9X variable powered scope with a 40mm objective lens that is great for tactical firearms as well as bolt-action hunting rifles. At the end of the day, this is going to be the best Leupold scope for 308 firearms as well as one of the best tactical 308 scopes.
It is an extremely durable scope, constructed from aircraft grade aluminum, that will stand up to the recoil of a .308 cartridge for thousands of rounds. This scope is also built to perform in poor weather conditions as well as on warm and sunny days.
You won’t have any trouble getting a clear sight on your target even under rough conditions, often encountered when hunting, since it’s O-ring sealed in key places and filled with argon and krypton gas making it fog- and waterproof.
The lenses of this scope use Leupold’s lense coating system for one of the best images optics can provide. Even when in low light settings, you will have no issue picking up your target. It also offers a very generous eye relief for comfortable mounting and shooting and has a great field of view, even at higher magnification settings.
Once this scope is sighted in you should have no problem generating less than 1″ groupings at 100 yards. This scope is extremely easy to zero in, and once you have it in place, it will should hold for a decent amount of rounds.
While in the field, you can easily adjust both, the windage and elevation turrets with simple finger clicks. Once adjusted these settings are difficult to knock off inadvertently.
This scope is parallax free up to 150 yards and can be easily adjusted past this point for more accurate shooting.
The Leupold Mark AR Mod 1 is an all around fantastic 308 rifle scope for not only a .308 chambered firearm but any firearm where the shooter is serious about durability and accuracy shot after shot.
- Highly accurate
- Hold Zero
- Well built
- Weather resistant
- Easy to adjust
- Clear reticle
- Low light level performance
- Generous eye relief
- More costly
This scope is without a doubt, one of the best tactical scopes for .308 firearms. The Nikon M 308 has a 4-16X variable magnification for mid to long range shooting purposes and is made from aircraft grade aluminum. Like mentioned earlier, you shouldn’t go for anything less.
It comes with a bright and fully coated optical lens system that produces a clear image throughout its magnification range. You will not have an issue with fog or water impeding image quality as this scope is treated for these exact scenarios. The lenses really shine in low light settings and have high light transmission. For hunters, this is a great and needed feature.
The Nikoplex reticle is highly visible regardless of the lighting and remains clear throughout the magnification range of the scope. You should never have trouble lining up your target in the crosshairs.
This scope will stand up to higher calibers than the .308, so you should have no issue with the zero being knocked off just from simply firing your rifle. Once the zero is set, you really have to try to knock it off. It is also an extremely accurate cartrdige, and you will have no problem getting tight groupings up to 300+ yards.
The quick focus eyepiece brings the image and reticle into clear focus when you go between low to high magnification settings. While the eye relief is fine at lower magnification settings, you might run into issues when switching to higher magnification as the eye relief greatly diminishes.
The high profile turrets are really useful out in the field where quick adjustments might be needed. They have a very solid and audible click so you can be sure when adjustments have been made.
This 308 rifle scope is going to perform to your standards in any tactical or hunting situation you might find yourself in. While not great for close range distances, this riflescope really shines in mid to long range shooting.
- Rated for .308 caliber
- Very rugged
- Holds zero well
- Quick focus eyepiece
- Easy to handle turrets
- Not a close range rifle scope
If you’re looking for a 308 sniper scope that can reach out and pop targets at 500+ yards this is the scope you are looking for.
Like any scope designed for long range shooting, the FSI SNIPER features a clear mil-dot reticle in the second focal plane, so its size remains consistent. The reticle is also illuminated and available in red, green, or blue color settings.
The windage and elevation adjustments are extremely easy to handle. You do have to lock down these adjustments, or they will get knocked off from firing the rifle. When locked, this scope should be able to withstand even more powerful cartrdiges than the .308.
The lenses work well on this scope, and you get nice, clean images through the ocular lenses. Once you get past the 20X magnification, the image can become a little blurry, even when using the eye focus adjustment, but up until then, the image is crystal clear. This scope also comes with an extended sunshade for the optical bell which helps cut down on glare.
The eye relief on this scope is generous throughout the magnification range and gives you a comfortable shooting position for high distance shots. The field of view is also wide, of course, the width goes down as magnification goes up, but is a common theme for any rifle optics.
While there are some small aspects of this scope that needs to be addressed, it’s an overall sturdy, long range shooting 308 rifle scope that will serve you well when you need a consistently accurate scope for shots at 500 yards or more.
- Illuminate Mil-dot reticle
- Very affordable
- Generous eye relief
- Reduces glare and reflection well
- Blurry picture at high end of magnification
Not every shooting or hunting situation you might encounter with your .308 firearm requires a high powered variable scope. Sometimes all you need is a rugged, fixed scope. Because of this, we include the Leupold FX-II 4X fixed rifle scope.
This 308 scope offers all of Leupold’s scope technology that has made them one the most bought and trusted optics manufacturers in the world. You can feel confident in having a bright and clear image regardless of the weather or lighting situation that you are in.
While this scope features a simple duplex reticle, it is clear and easy to line up shots even in low light settings. The thick posts taper down as you approach the center of the crosshair, and for most hunting situations, is all you need to make a clean kill.
This is a durable scope that will hold its zero round after round. Not only is it durable, but it is extremely lightweight and is perfect for a hunting rifle you might be hauling around for miles in uneven terrain, where you want to cut as much weight as possible.
The windage and elevation turrets are low profile, but still relatively easy to handle and adjust when stomping through the woods.
- Leupold technology
- Rugged scope
- Crisp reticle
- Excellent low light functionality
- Limited in its use
Our Favorite .308 Rifle Scope
Before we close out this article on .308 scopes, we want to pick our top choice from the four options listed. While difficult because all of these scopes can be the best in the field depending on what type of shooting you are doing with your .308, we have to give the edge to the Leupold Mark AR Mod I.
This is more than just a good scope for a .308; it’s a great one. Hands down, when it comes to optics and durability, you’re just not going to get much better than a Leupold. Highly accurate once zeroed, it will maintain this setting round after round. It’s easy to handle while in the field and will perform through any weather conditions.
We hope that this article has outlined several of the best scopes for 308 bolt action to 308 tactical firearms and that it will eventually lead to you being an even better marksman while in the field.