The most popular rifle sold today is easily the the AR-15 in 5.56x45mm NATO. It’s easy to see why: It’s accurate, ergonomic, has a large magazine capacity with low recoil, and comes with an infinite number of ways to accessorize thanks to millions of aftermarket accessories available on the market. The AR-15 is fundamentally the perfect rifle for the 21st Century. Since the AR-15 has become so common in America today, its bigger brother, the AR-10 has also received more notice recently. Today we will discuss the best scope for AR-10 in 2021.
Short On Time? Here Is The Bullet List
- AR-10 Scope On A Budget: UTG Compact CWB Bug Buster AO RGB Scope
- AR-10 Scope For Hunting: Vortex Diamondback 4-12x40 AR-10 Scope
- Precision AR-10 Scope: Nikon M308 4-16x42 Riflescope
**Below are our more detailed reviews. Click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
The AR-10 is essentially the same weapon as the AR-15 except it is chambered for the larger .308 Winchester round, which gives it greater power and range. This makes the AR-10 a perfect weapon to not only use for long range tactical use, but also for big game hunting. The .308 will kill larger animals such as elk for example, which the 5.56x45mm NATO round is not capable of doing.
In fact, the AR-10 was actually designed and built before the AR-15. ArmaLite was the original manufacturer of the AR-style of rifle and they built the AR-10 as a modern battle rifle for the U.S military. The AR-10 did not become an immediate success because the military desired something lighter that would be easier to shoot and carry. In order to fulfill this request, ArmaLite scaled it down to accept the 5.56x45mm NATO round in the form of the newly born AR-15. The AR-10 subsequently became adopted by the U.S. armed forces as the M16 and the M4 assault rifles.
As the decades wore on, the AR-10 continued to remain in the shadows while the AR-15 became one of the most prolific rifles in the entire world, second only to the AK-47. It’s only been within the last few years that the AR-10 has been revisited, and its qualities truly recognized. Earlier AR-10s had some reliability issues, which hurt its reputation. However the production of the newer models have largely corrected this problem. This, combined with the inherent accuracy of the AR platform and the greater power and longer range of the .308 Winchester round, make the AR-10 a completely viable option for fighting and big game hunting use.
There’s no denying that the AR-10 is a rifle designed for long distance shooting. If you want something smaller for clearing rooms or home defense, the AR-15 is your rifle. If want to tap targets or big game hundreds of yards out, you need a larger caliber rifle like the AR-10. And you don’t just need an AR-10, you specifically need a scoped AR-10.
An AR-10 with a scope will be one of the most effective weapons you can own because it allows you to view and zero in on targets that you wouldn’t have been able to otherwise see with open sights. In other words, your shooting performance as a whole will be greatly increased if you install a scope onto your AR-10. Nonetheless, it’s still important that you don’t slap just any scope on your AR-10. You need the best scope for your AR-10 that you can get, and that’s what the rest of this article is going to be about.
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What is the Best AR-10 Scope?
There’s a problem with this question: it doesn’t take into account price. Sure there are some really nice AR-10 scopes out there that would each be a viable candidate for the title of ‘best AR-10 scope,’ but then again not everyone has thousands of dollars to spend on a rifle scope. If you’re on a serious budget, then you want the best AR-10 scope you can get for the best price.
Something else to take into consideration is the range that you will need to see. The nice, expensive AR-10 scopes are capable of touching up to a thousand or more yards. But if you don’t need to sight in your AR-10 this far, there are plenty of AR-10 scopes that will sight two or three hundred yards. If you don’t need to sight really far out, you will save some money if you buy a more cost-effective scope.
The point is there is no such thing as just one best AR-10 scope on the market. The best AR-10 scope for you is going to be what fits your needs. To find the best AR-10 scope for you, you need to balance your needs with your budget. Determine what the rifle will be used for and how far you need to sight through the scope. Once you know these two factors, you will be better equipped to decide on what the best AR-10 scope is for you.
In addition, you need to make sure that your scope is good quality. There are many budget priced scopes that are durable, so cheaper does not always mean less quality. While the scopes with the best waterproof capabilities or the best quality glass are going to cost more, that doesn’t mean that all cheaper scopes don’t have waterproof capabilities or high quality glass.
Keep this information in mind when looking for an AR-10 scope and while you read the rest of this article. The scopes that we are going to discuss certainly aren’t the only high quality AR-10 scopes available, but they are definitely some of the best the market has to offer and will serve you and your AR-10 well for many years to come.
Qualities to Look for in an AR-10 Rifle Scope
It’s interesting that the AR-10 was not even built with optics or scopes in mind at the beginning. The AR-10 comes from a family of rifles that include the HK G3, FN FAL, and the Springfield M1A, all of which were intended as rugged battle rifles rather than precision rifles. There’s no denying that the AR platform is an inherently more accurate decision than any of these rifles. While you can also easily mount scopes on and sight in any of them, you’re just going to have the best shooting performance with the AR-10.
In fact, things have gotten to the point where many AR-10s are not even sold with iron sights anymore. While it is vitally important that you learn how to shoot with the more traditional iron sights first before you upgrade to scopes, it just goes to show how much the AR platform is trusted with scopes and only scopes.
A scoped AR-10 is fully capable of offering you dead on accuracy, which naturally makes it fill a number of roles. This accuracy will only be possible if you install a scope that is of the utmost quality, which means that there are specific factors that your AR-10 scope needs to meet without question.
One such factor is reticle size and magnification. Without decent reticle size or the ability to zoom in close on a target, it’s virtually impossible for you to reach out and touch a target at long distances. Another factor is overall optical clarity. Not only must your scope be capable of zooming in at specific targets at several hundred, if not a thousand yards, the image you see also has to be crystal clear so that your sight or aim is not obstructed in any way.
A final and huge feature to look for is durability and ruggedness. A rifle scope should be completely fog proof and waterproof, and the actual material that the scope is made out of needs to be durable as well. Keep in mind AR-10s are meant to be used, and they need to be built to withstand certain harsh conditions especially if you’re going to be using it for hunting and tactical use.
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Best AR-10 Scopes on the Market in 2021
Best AR-10 Scope On A Budget:
When you’re on a budget, this is simply the best AR-10 scope that you can get for the money. It can be purchased in the neighborhood of around $75, and is built with the same kind of ruggedness that you would expect from a higher priced scope. Not only is the UTG fully waterproof and fog proof, but it’s also shockproof as well.
The main reason why the UTG is our top recommended budget AR-10 scope is because it is filled with one 100 percent nitrogen, meaning that it can handle the heavier recoil of the .308 Winchester round better than other budget or small AR-1 scopes. A couple of additional features that make the UTG worth looking into is the lens cap that flips open and a reticle that is either green or red.
Best AR-10 Scope For Hunting:
If you’re buying your AR-10 primarily for hunting, the Vortex Diamondback scope is definitely worth checking out. Vortex designed this scope specifically with hunting in mind. The Diamondback is filled with argon, which means that it effortlessly gets rid of any fogging going on internally in the gun. A scope that is completely fog proof and waterproof will always last longer than a scope that doesn’t have those features.
As far as the actual scope is concerned, it is made predominately out of aluminum. The aluminum with the argon fill reduces the weight on this scope to under one pound. This means that when you install it on your AR-10, you’re not going to notice a significant difference weight wise.
With an optical power of 4-12×40, the Diamondback is fully capable of allowing you to tap big game at long distances and to pinpoint your shots. All in all, this is a lightweight and rugged scope that is your best choice for a hunting optic.
Best Precision AR-10 Scope:
Nikon is a company that has invested a lot of time and effort into producing the best rifle scope possible. Nikon’s M308 riflescope is not only their flagship entry when it comes to AR-10 optics, it’s also one of the best precision AR-10 scopes that you can buy period, which is why it makes our Best Rifle Scope list. You can have it at a price of $600 to $700.
Just as Vortex designed and tested their Diamondback AR-10 scope with hunting in mind, Nikon built the M308 scope as a precision tool. Despite being made for precision, this scope is not feeble or weak on the outside. The lenses of this scope are all multi-coated and come equipped with Nikon’s Clear Coat optical system that greatly improves the overall quality of the image you see through the scope. The M308 is also waterproof and fogproof.
The reason why the Nikon M308 is a precision-based scope is because Nikon has tested this scope to be dead on accurate at over 800 yards. The turret has a ¼ MOA adjustment so you can sight in your AR-10 as specifically as possible.
Best Scope for AR-10 Scope Conclusion
When you’re looking for the best scope for your AR-10, determine what your needs are first. Are you looking for the best scope possible on a budget? Do you need something for hunting? Do you need something for precision or competition use? Regardless of your rifle scope needs, we’ve presented the best AR-10 scopes there are for each of these purposes and our reasoning for why we consider them to be the best.
For budget purposes, the UTG Compact CWB Bug Buster scope simply offers you the best durability for the money. For hunting purposes, it’s hard to go wrong with the Vortex Diamondback that was designed and tested by Vortex specifically for that purpose. And when you need an AR-10 scope for the utmost precision, the Nikon M308 scope should be the very first model that you consider.
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