springfield m14 m1a scope

The 7 Best Scopes For M1A and M14

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The M14 and the semi-automatic variant currently sold by Springfield Armory under the name M1A have long had a popular following in the United States. Because of the long-range, hard-hitting potential of this rifle, there has also been a fifty-plus-year quest to find the best scope for the M1A rifle.

Famous Marine sniper Carlos Hathcockcarried a scoped M14 in Vietnam, and specially designated marksman rifles have been built on the M14 platform for the current military. It is clear that the combination of a 7.62 NATO/ .308 semi-auto rifle with a scope is a winning combination.

Of course, the answer ranges from mild to wild, and practical to tactical. While the M14 rifle was initially designed as an infantry rifle, and as an upgrade to the venerable M1 Garand, it didn’t take long for a sniper variant to be developed.

Now, without further ado, here’s our list of the best scopes for M1A and M14. Feel free to skip to the buyer’s guide section if you’re unsure of the scope you’re eyeing on. Let’s begin.

The 7 Best Scopes for M1A and M14

Top Pick
Red Win HD 1-6x24 30 mm Monotube Rifle Scope
  • Body is made from aluminum alloy
  • Has advanced ‘Nous’ optical system
  • 6-level red illumination
  • Can be a bit heavy
$198 Shop NowClick to read my review
Vortex Viper 6.5-20x50mm Rifle Scope
  • Excellent long range optic
  • Reasonably priced
  • High quality, use it nearly anywhere construction
  • Not ideal for casual shooting or common hunting tasks
$500 Shop NowClick to read my review
Nikon P-308
  • Reasonably priced
  • BDC reticle allows for rapid target acquisition and range compensation
  • Built for nearly all common shooting tasks
  • May not be suitable for very long range shooting
$297 Shop NowClick to read my review
Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25x56mm Rifle Scope
  • High-quality construction and excellent image clarity
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Multiple lit and non-illuminated reticle options are available, and the side-to-side parallax adjustment is a nice touch
  • Large objective lens may not suit all shooters
$2099 Shop NowClick to read my review
Burris Scout 2-7x32mm 1in Riflescope with Ballistic Plex Reticle
  • High-quality build
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Excellent scout scope that does its purpose
  • Non-illuminated
$399 Shop NowClick to read my review
Nightforce NXS 5.5-22X56mm Rifle Scopes
  • Very durable construction
  • Quick adjustability
  • Some components made of top-tier glass
  • High investment
  • Not for short range use
$1800 Shop NowClick to read my review
Gun Gear Depot Tactical M-14, M-1A Scope Mount
  • No gunsmithing install
  • Body is made from aluminum alloy
  • Allows use of iron sights too
  • Side screw does not fit
  • Not for short range use
$29 Shop NowClick to read my review

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Red Win HD 1-6×24 30 mm Monotube Rifle Scope

Best Scopes For M1A and M14

An ideal mounting system secures your optical device to your firearm as low as comfortably possible. The Red Win HD 1-6×24 30 mm Monotube Rifle Scope is a perfect example. Why? Well, it is by far the best 1x-6x scopes with its advanced Nous optical system, which was originally designed in the USA. It is accomplished for a super-wide field of view. Its lenses are fully coated with multi-layer broadband anti-reflective coatings. These ensure the greatest light transmission and exceptional clarity.

A bright and sharp image will build your confidence in poor light conditions from dawn to dusk. When it comes to lighting, it has a 6-level red illumination with a continuous power-off function, and the red dot is visible even in sunlight. Its body is made of aluminum alloy sealed with an O-ring. This means it is shockproof, waterproof, and fog proof. It also has a scratch-resistant matte black surface preventing scrapes.

Still having hesitations about buying this one? Then I’ll highlight that it has a turret lock system that will make you have no worries of unexpected movement. It will hold zero.

Pros
  • Body is made from aluminum alloy
  • Has advanced ‘Nous’ optical system
  • 6-level red illumination
Cons
  • Can be a bit heavy

Vortex Viper 6.5-20x50mm Rifle Scope

Best Scopes For M1A and M14

The .308 has some serious reach out and touch something ability, so if you are looking to scope your M1A rifle, you need a scope that can also reach out. The Vortex Viper is just such a scope. With a huge, light gathering 50mm objective lens, the impressive variable 6.5-20 power magnification, and bullet proof construction, this is a long range optic for a long range rifle. There are of course downsides to such an optic. At the extreme end of magnification, the sight picture can grow fuzzy and unstable, while the 50mm objective lens requires extra tall mounting rings.

It’s a bit of an ungainly optic to carry in the woods hunting, so it’s most suitable for bench rest shooting. But within that realm, it is pretty hard to beat without spending two times the price. long-distance brings us to the other fine point about the Vortex Viper- it’s affordable. At a bit under $500, it isn’t cheap, but it is a great way to get a bench rest distance shooting game without spending as much or more as your rifle.

Pros
  • Excellent long range optic
  • Reasonably priced
  • High quality, use it nearly anywhere construction
Cons
  • Not ideal for casual shooting or common hunting tasks
  • Large size could be awkward out in the field
  • 50mm objective lens requires special rings

Nikon P-308

Best Scopes For M1A and M14

Now here is a slick scope for your M14 or M1A. The Nikon P-308 is built around a special ballistic drop compensation reticle that is calibrated for a 168 grain .308 or 7.62 NATO bullet moving at a bit over 2600 feet per second. This BDC reticle allows you to quickly adjust your aim for known distances.

While BDC reticles work best with the ammo and barrel length they were calibrated for, they can be made to work with most any rifle as long as you take the time to figure out where your shots land.

A BDC scope is as much an art as a science. At any rate, BDC reticle aside, this is a great M1A scope, simply because it is a Nikon product. Built to be water, fog, and shockproof, the P-308 features high-quality glass treated with a unique optical coating which allows for increased light transmission and greater image clarity.

The 4-12 power magnification is ideal for anything other than the longest range target shooting, while the 40mm objective lens is a standard size that again, works for almost anything outside of extreme distances. This is a scope built for the most common shooting tasks a person might use their M14/M1A for, and it does a marvelous job at it.

Pros
  • Reasonably priced
  • BDC reticle allows for rapid target acquisition and range compensation
  • Built for nearly all common shooting tasks
Cons
  • May not be suitable for very long range shooting
  • Not built for extreme duty/tactical environments

Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25x56mm Rifle Scope

Best Scopes For M1A and M14

This scope offers the perfect blend of long-range potential, American craftsmanship, and affordable price.

Because it is both watertight and fog proof, you need not worry about using it in inclement weather. This rifle sight is built to withstand the elements and may be used in extreme settings. It’s dependable in that it always delivers and keeps people wanting more. And because it’s a Leupold, you know it is built to hunt or shoot anywhere you might want to go.

Unless I was looking for a strictly benchrest optic, this might be the ideal all-purpose M1A/ M14 optic. It has enough magnification to really work the limits of most .308 rounds while still being suitable for sub-hundred-yard deer hunting.

Pros
  • High-quality construction and excellent image clarity
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Multiple lit and non-illuminated reticle options are available, and the side-to-side parallax adjustment is a nice touch
Cons
  • Large objective lens may not suit all shooters
  • Expensive

Burris Scout 2-7x32mm 1in Riflescope with Ballistic Plex Reticle

Burris Scout 2-7x32mm 1in Riflescope with Ballistic Plex Reticle

Scope out your prey with the Scout 2-7x32mm, a hunting optic built specifically for scout rifles. It can withstand rain and fog without damage, and its compact optic offers low to moderate magnification. Additionally, it may be mounted well forward on the rifle, allowing the user to get and retain both eyes on field targets even while seated or traveling at high speed.

It is multi-coated to reduce reflections and enhance visibility. It’s a sturdy, adaptable accessory for your favorite scout rifle, boasting moderate eye relief, low mounting capabilities, and changeable power. Targeting is a breeze with these optics because they are bright and clean. The 7x magnification will also help you hit your target more accurately.

Pros
  • High-quality build
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Excellent scout scope that does its purpose
  • Allows fast close-range shooting
Cons
  • Non-illuminated

Nightforce NXS 5.5-22X56mm Rifle Scopes

Nightforce NXS 5.5-22X56mm Rifle Scopes

Nightforce pioneered the development of high-quality variable-power optics for use at extreme magnification levels. Each scope displays the company’s years of expertise in developing long-range optics. So, they are well-known for their high-quality build.

The objective lens of the Nightforce NXS Rifle Scope is designed to maintain its high level of clarity and resolution regardless of the zoom level being used. The 5.5-22 series’ high magnification factor ensures pinpoint accuracy even at extreme distances, while the lower end of the range (5.5) remains powerful for up-close photos.

The adjusting and erector tube assemblies are made from hardened bronze. Riflescopes from Nightforce’s NXS range offer all those qualities and more. It has a total length of 15.1, including the mounting length of 6.6 inches, and it weighs 31 ounces. 

Those who truly invested in the long-range shooting will benefit greatly from this optic’s high level of functionality. It enables you to acquire targets quickly, and the resulting images are incredibly clear.

Pros
  • Very durable construction
  • Quick adjustability
  • Some components made of top-tier glass
  • Precise at long distances
Cons
  • High investment
  • Not for short range use

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Gun Gear Depot Tactical M-14, M-1A Scope Mount

Gun Gear Depot Tactical M-14, M-1A Scope Mount

Since the introduction of the M14 rifle, people have tried to find an ideal solution to mounting a scope on it. Since it is based off the M1 Garand design, it is a fact that scope mounting was an afterthought, and various schemes of differing success have been tried throughout the years. Fortunately, that twin genius of capitalism and American ingenuity has given us several fine scope mounts for the M14/M1A. 

The Gun Gear Depot mount draws inspiration from one of the most successful designs, refines it a bit, and then offers it in lightweight aluminum. By their admission, this makes it unsuitable for the most demanding combat uses, but the intended market is everyone else, so that puts it squarely in the realm of best M14/M1A scope mount in my book. If you need a combat-capable steel mount, you probably already know where to find one- or the government will buy it for you anyway. For everyone else, Gun Gear Depot has you covered.

Pros
  • No gunsmithing install
  • Body is made from aluminum alloy
  • Allows use of iron sights too
Cons
  • Side screw does not fit
  • Scope can be a little high

What’s the Difference Between the M14 and M1A?

Well, not much. Properly speaking, the M14 is the military issue, select-fire 7.62 NATO rifle which was used in the early part of the Vietnam War, and remains in use today as Designated Marksman rifles.

Because of the traditional look, and powerful 7.62 NATO round, the M14 has something of a cult following, which has spawned many successful commercial imitators. In some cases, those rifles were also sold or casually referred to as M14’s, but Springfield Armory’s successful semi-auto rifles have made a name for themselves under the trade name M1A. In short, the M1A is Springfield Armory’s line of civilian M14 variants.

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    Magnification

    Scopes come in various magnifications, from 3x up to 25x. As we mentioned before, the type of shooting you’re planning on doing will dictate the magnification you need. If you’re only going to be shooting at mid-range targets, you won’t need a scope with high magnification. On the other hand, if you’re planning on doing a lot of long-range shooting, you’ll need a scope with a higher magnification.

    Features

    You’ll also need to decide which features are important to you. Some scopes come with bells and whistles, while others are pretty basic. Take a look at the different features offered by each scope and decide which ones are the most important to you. It’s up to you to decide which features you need and which ones you can live without.

    Ease of Use

    Another thing to remember is how easy the scope is to use. You don’t want a scope that’s so complicated that you can’t figure out how to use it. At the same time, you also don’t want a scope so simple that it doesn’t offer all the needed features.

    Price

    Of course, you also need to consider your budget when choosing a scope for your M1A or M14. Scopes can range in price from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, so it’s essential to set a budget before you start shopping.

    Remember that you don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money to get a good scope. There are plenty of high-quality scopes available at reasonable prices.

    Conclusion

    The M14 and various civilian derivatives have been popular with American soldiers, hunters, target shooters, and law enforcement since 1959. This venerable design will still be going strong in 2059, and you owe it to your rifle, yourself, and your children and grandchildren to select a scope that will also be going strong then as well.

    Our top pick is the Red Win HD 1-6×24 30 mm Monotube Rifle Scope. It is sturdy, fog-proof and gives you the magnification you need for less than half the price of the Vortex Viper with very few tradeoffs.

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