Best AR-10 Scopes – 2020 Buyer’s Guide

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The AR-10 is the forgotten link between the old and the new breed of automatic rifles of the U.S. Army. Designed in 1956, the AR-10 wraps a plethora of stories in itself. The AR-10 platform was later revived. It is the progenitor of the AR-15, but never became as successful as its successor.

Nevertheless, a lot of AR-10s are still in use today. Pertaining to its design, heavy caliber, and length, the AR-10 requires special optic scopes.

Here we’ll be talking about the qualities of a good AR-10 scope and how to choose one. We have also reviewed the best AR-10 scopes on the market to help you make a buying decision. So let’s begin.

Comparison of the Best AR-10 Scopes

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Best mix between long and short-range and quality
  • 3x-12x magnification and 36 color EZ tap mil-dot reticle for comfort
  • Perfect pricing and offers great value for money
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  • Extremely durable scope and holds true at all times
  • Crystal-clear, fully-multicoated lenses for crisp and bright image
  • Precision glide erector system for accurate tracking and repeatibility
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  • Best AR-10 scope for short-range hunting of deer and varmints
  • 3:1 zoom ratio erector system for overall performance and reliability
  • Rugged design and covered by Leupold's lifetime warranty program
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  • Best illuminated AR-10 scope on our list
  • Great for both CQB and mid-range tactical shooting
  • 6 adjustable brightness settings and runtime of about 700 hours on apt brightness
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What Size of AR-10 Scope Do You Need?

The short answer: it depends. It will depend on which scope will fit your mount of choice. So if you have a set of scope rings that can handle scopes up to an inch in diameter, you’ll need to find scopes of that size.

If you use a flat mount, the size may depend on the length of the mount itself. You can also get away with installing a scope that may have a large objective.

What Makes a Great AR-10 Scope?

The AR-10 is a powerful rifle. Chambered with the 7.62/.308 round, the AR-10 has an effective firing range of 700 meters, combined with a 3.6x telescopic sight. 

An AR-10 with a 21-inch barrel, when combined with a 9x+ scope, can shoot accurately up to 1100 yards or more. The AR-10 can be used for short-range, medium-range, or long-range shooting, and each requires a different scope.

If your objective is to take short-range shots (within 400 yards or less), a smaller 1x-4x scope will be good for you. Furthermore, if you are aiming for medium-range targets (400 - 700 yards), a nice 4x-9x scope with an objective of 30-40 mm will prove to be effective.

For taking shots longer than 700 yards, you must employ a larger scope with 9x+ magnification and an objective lens of more than 40 mm.

A large objective lens ensures that more light passes through the aperture, thus producing a brighter image of distant targets.

Finally, the AR-10 is a versatile rifle. You can use it for short, medium, and long-range hunting, thus, you must use scopes with variable magnification, probably in the 3x-12x range, ensuring that your AR-10 is ready to shoot any target at any reasonable distance.

There are a few factors you must consider before buying a new rifle scope. Everybody has their own shooting style and preference which makes buying scope a matter of personal discretion. Let's check out these factors one by one.

Review of the Best AR-10 Scopes

Below is a list of the best scopes for AR-10s. There are five available to look at. Be sure to note the features and characteristics of each one so you can find one that fits the ideal description of your dream AR-10 scope. 

Let’s take a look at some of our top picks for the best scopes for an AR-10. With each model, we’ll be diving into its main features, then discussing some pros and cons. Remember, close enough is better than nothing at all. Let’s begin with the first AR-10 scope on our list:

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

Pros

  • Mil-dot reticle
  • Angled sunshade
  • Illumination memory feature
  • Side wheel adjustable turret for parallax adjustment
  • Illuminated reticle with 36 colors, good for those who are color blind

Cons

  • Weighs around 1.5 lbs
  • Color settings might consume batteries fast

What Recent Buyers Report

New users reported being able to hit targets from a really impressive distance. How impressive are we talking here? Try 900 yards. Many of the new users were long-range hunters or target shooters looking for a scope that would best accommodate their AR-10 rifles, while being able to go the distance. The image quality was quite solid and the colored reticles made shooting a lot easier. The construction of the scope was nice and sturdy and proved itself resistant to weather, shock, and all kinds of elements that would otherwise damage scopes.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This UTG Scope has 36 colors in total for its illuminated mil-dot reticle. On top of that, it’s a scope that is built like a tank and can handle multiple amounts of shock. So if you are looking for a scope for a heavy-hitting rifle like the AR-10, this might be the answer. In case you missed it, this scope has the ability to hit long ranges. So if you hunt or target shoot and want to knock down targets consistently from way out (up to 900 yards), this scope will be sure to take you places you never thought were possible.

This UTG scope from Leapers stands among the most advanced optic scopes on the market. Starting from the basics, the scope has a 3x-12x zoom with a 44 mm objective and 30 mm tube.

The multi emerald-coated lenses offer better light transmission, resulting in clarity. The scope is nitrogen-filled and O-ring sealed making it shockproof, fog-proof, and waterproof.

The zero locking and zero resetting turrets hold zero and allow for quick calibration with their easy controls. The parallax of the scope is adjustable from ten yards to infinity using a side wheel.

The scope has angled integral sunshade in the front to help spot targets in bright sunlight. Apart from all this, the most revolutionary feature of the scope is the EZ-TAP Illumination Enhancing System.

The system allows you to change the color of the mil-dot reticle in 36 different colors, along with the basic red and green modes.

Additionally, the one-click, high-tech illumination memory feature remembers the last color setting. Overall, the scope offers good value for money.

Who Will Use This Most

This scope will be great for hunters and long-range target shooters. You may want to give this a go if you are also in tactical applications on a regular basis. No matter what, it’s perfect for both civilian and law enforcement/tactical use, if and when needed. And since it’s sturdy and durable, it can handle the heavy-duty applications without any issue.

Bottom Line

The UTG Compact Scope can go long (if you allow it). Plus, with easy adjustments for windage and elevation, you’ll be certain to make quick on-the-fly adjustments if the shots appear a little off. It’s a long-range shooter’s scope that will no doubt be a worthy addition to your AR-10 rifle. 

Overall, this scope offers amazing value for its price. The adjustment turrets are amazing and the mil-dot reticle is perfect for sighting long-range targets.

The variable color settings for the illuminated reticle offer comfort and are also good for color blind shooters.

The scope is sturdy with easy controls. The weight is a bit more than its counterparts, but its features make up for it.

Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40 Second Focal Plane Riflescope - Dead-Hold BDC Reticle (MOA)

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Strong and durable
  • Resists heavy recoil
  • Dead-hold BDC reticle

Cons

  • Parallax adjustment only up to 100 yards
  • Some shooters might struggle with sight relief

What Recent Buyers Report

Many users were not wasting time talking about the great things with this scope. Right off the bat, they talked about how durable the scope was and how it was able to resist all kinds of shock and nasty weather. Other than the scope’s superior durability, new users were able to use this scope to their advantage and hit targets from a good 400 to 500 yards out.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Here’s an analogy to keep in mind while you look for a scope: Nikon is to image quality as Vortex Optics is to durability. Yes, the Vortex brand is best known for making some of the most durable scopes on the planet. That’s because the scope’s housing is made from high-quality aluminum and is guaranteed to protect your scope’s zero settings. On top of that, it is designed to be impervious to weather, fog, and yes, even shock. But it doesn’t sacrifice image quality either. You still get a great amount of image quality out of the whole deal.

The Vortex Diamondback is an exceptional scope for hunters. Made up from an aircraft-grade aluminum, it has a durable and lightweight body.

The 4-12x magnification makes it suitable for short, as well as long-range shots. The tube is filled with argon, making it resistant to shock, fog, and water.

The scope has a large objective of 40 mm, which delivers a clear sight picture. The scope is also helpful for hunting big game at longer ranges with your powerful AR-10.

The adjustment graduation of the scope of ¼ MOA with a maximum of 60 MOA, is for both windage and elevation. The scope is super-light too, weighing approximately 0.9 pounds. The Dead-Hold BDC reticle eliminates guesswork and regular turret adjustments for long-range shots.

Who Will Use This Most

This scope will perhaps be one of the best scope choices for AR-10 shooters in search of not just durability, but also affordability. It’s considered to be one of the best scopes on the market for the money. So if you want a long-lasting, reliable scope without your bank account taking a major hit, then you’re in luck.

Bottom Line

The Vortex Optics Diamondback is hardcore in quality and performs like a champ in almost any application that warrants the use of an AR-10. It’s one of the best all-around scopes on the market that is also one of the most affordable. You don’t have to go cheap. You can go for the best quality and performance at a reasonable price. There might be no other scope quite like it available at this price. 

The Vortex Optics Diamondback is a sturdy and lightweight scope perfect for hunting and outdoor trips. The scope can withstand heavy recoil and help you take down big game.

The turret adjustments are easy and the dead-hold BDC reticle helps in taking long-range shots. The only problem is the parallax adjustment available only for up to 100 yards.

Leupold VX-1 3-9x40mm Compact Waterproof Fogproof Riflescope, Matte Black

Pros

  • Low price
  • Lightweight
  • 3:1 zoom ratio
  • Compact and durable
  • Good for medium and short ranges

Cons

  • No parallax adjustment
  • Not for long-range shooting

What Recent Buyers Report

Most new buyers were pretty happy with the scope’s overall quality. They considered this to be one of the most durable scopes they’ve ever used and it worked like a charm, while some of them were out in bad weather. The image quality was clear as day, regardless of how bad the precipitation was. One user said he may have found his favorite hunting scope yet.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This scope may be a rival of the many scopes that Vortex Optics has put out in terms of durability. Over the years, you probably won’t be surprised about the tug of war that may occur between the two brands over the course of the next few years. But Leupold is more of a high-end brand, so it will have excellent durability, superior image quality, and performance to match the Leupold standard. So if you do have some money to play around with and want something that is tough and reliable, this scope can probably be the go-to for you if the thought of hitting targets as far out as 500 yards is appealing.

The Leupold VX-1 compact scope is suitable for short to mid-range shooting, due to its limited magnification power of 3x-9x. The 40 mm objective no doubt provides a clear and bright image under low-light conditions.

This is a SFP (second focal plane) scope with a duplex reticle, so you won’t face any problems when taking mid-range shots with your AR-10.

A ¼ MOA click offers adjustments up to 52 MOA for windage and elevation. The multi-coat lens system delivers a clear image, too.

The fast focus eyepiece makes it easy to acquire and shoot targets. The one-inch main tube is lightweight and fits most mounting rings easily. The scope is super-lightweight at only 0.6 pounds.

Who Will Use This Most

If you are in search of quality, reliability, and sharp, accurate shooting, this is the scope for you. And it might just be what you’ll buy if you have a bit of money to spend. These scopes may not come cheap, but the performance and quality of a Leupold scope are worth every penny. If you agree, this scope might be a no-brainer decision.

Bottom Line

The Leupold VX Compact Riflescope is built to withstand weather and all kinds of damage. It may be one of the best performing scopes on the market for those who hunt or target shoot. Your AR-10 will be able to go pretty far with a scope that has the potential to last you years or even decades down the road. 

The Leupold VX-1 is a good scope in the lower price range. It's compact and durable to withstand the AR-10’s recoil and can hold up against rugged use during hunting trips.

The scope is good for short and medium-range shooting and hunting, too. It doesn’t have parallax adjustment and its limited range makes it not-so-worthy of long-range precision shooting. It is a good product for beginners.

Pros

  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • Strong and durable
  • 4-inch constant eye relief
  • Clear shatterproof glass
  • Waterproof up to 20 meters
  • Used by the military and Special Forces
  • Maximum turret adjustment of 90 MOA

Cons

  • First focal plane
  • Limited magnification
  • Too expensive for the average shooter

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of users say this scope was built solidly and looks intimidating enough to be added onto an AR-10 rifle. And sure enough, they installed this scope in a matter of minutes to not just make it look beefed up but also able to reach targets situated at about 400 yards out. Most new users were hunters and a good chunk of the other users were target shooters who spent time at the range either for fun or honing their shots for competition prep.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This scope is built tough and is made for high-stress applications like tactical and self-defense. But it can also be used for target shooting or hunting. In other words, it’s a multi-purpose scope which can kick some serious butt. So if you want to hit bullseyes on the regular or be successful in every hunting outing with a good, clean kill shot, this scope will definitely be the go-to scope for AR-10 users like you.

There’s been a lot of buzz in the rifle community as to why Trijcon VCOGs are so expensive.

The first and foremost factor is the quality of the VCOG riflescope. These scopes are designed for quick switching between CQB (Close Quarter Battle) and long-range shooting.

The glass of a VCOG rifle scope is crisp, clear, and can withstand a bomb blast. It is waterproof and can be submerged up to a depth of 66 feet. There should be no surprise as to why these scopes are used widely by the military and Special Forces.

Coming to this Trijcon VCOG rifle scope, it has 1x-6x variable magnification, with an objective lens of 24 mm. It features a first focal plane ballistic reticle and has a maximum adjustment of 90 MOA (upon two full rotations).

The reticle is illuminated and powered by a single AA battery and has adjustable brightness settings. The scope has a four-inch constant eye relief through all magnifications.

The scope is available in multiple variants as mentioned below:

6x24 mm FFP Segmented Circle/Crosshair .223/55 Grain
6x24 mm FFP Segmented Circle/Crosshair .223/77 Grain
6x24 mm FFP Horseshoe Dot/Crosshair .223/55 Grain
6x24 mm FFP Horseshoe Dot/Crosshair .223/77 Grain
6x24 mm FFP Segmented Circle/Crosshair .308/175 Grain
6x24 mm FFP Horseshoe Dot/Crosshair .308/175 Grain
6x24 mm FFP Segmented Circle/Crosshair 300 BLK

Who Will Use This Most

This will be used across many applications so it will work for hunters, target shooters, and those who are in tactical situations on a regular basis. If you are looking for a scope that will be the real deal when it comes to ruggedness and performance, the Trijicon VCOG will not disappoint. You can bet that this can make precise and accurate shots from even the most impressive distances possible.

Bottom Line

The Trijicon VCOG Riflescope is hands-down one of the most intimidating scopes on the market. No wonder it belongs on an AR-10. It can definitely go the distance if and when you have the opportunity. Don’t underestimate the power and awesomeness of this scope while using it for any application. 

The Trijcon VCOG is a state-of-the-art riflescope widely used the the U.S. Military and Special Forces. The scope is tough, can be submerged underwater, and is good for both CQB and long to medium-range shooting.

The scope is good enough for your AR-10 to make it suitable for both self-defense and hunting. The price point is on the high end though, so you might have to check your wallet before buying it.

Nikon M-308 4-16X42 Riflescope BDC 800 Reticle, Matte 16463

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • 4-inch eye relief
  • Wide range of magnification
  • Enhanced mount ring spacing
  • Strong, waterproof, shockproof

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not very good for short ranges
  • Requires high mount due to large tube diameter

What Recent Buyers Report

Most new users were excited to see how great this scope worked. The image quality was out of this world, according to one user. The BDC reticle was perfect and allowed for accurate shooting for up to 600 yards. Also, users were happy with how much of the image picture was still visible in low-light conditions. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

If you have no experience with Nikon scopes, here’s what you need to know about them: first, the image quality is superb. The clarity and definition are sharp, crisp, and unbeatable when compared to almost every scope you can find. Not to be outdone, the BDC reticle makes target acquisition quick and easy. Once you get a game target on lock, you can pull the trigger and get your kill shot in as little as one shot. The housing is made from high-quality aluminum and is, simply put, one of the most durable scopes on the market.

Nikon is a renowned brand when it comes to optics. The quality of their optics is unmatched and this scope is no different.

The M-308 Riflescope has a variable magnification range of 4x to 16x, making it suitable for a medium as well as long distance shooting.

The scope has a large objective of 42 mm, which allows more light to enter the scope, thus providing a brighter image.

The optics are multi-coated, providing clear images at dawn and dusk. The one-piece mount has a built-in 20 MOA slope. You can take this scope on field trips and hunting, as the scope is made from a single tube, making it lightweight.

Additionally, the scope tube is nitrogen-filled and O-ring sealed, making it shockproof, waterproof, and fog-proof.

The tactical style turrets offer quick adjustment for elevation and windage with quick zero resets due to the spring-loaded design.

The BDC (Bullet Drop Compensation) reticle has pre-marked dots to prevent you from having to make excessive sight adjustments. This model weighs close to one pound, with a length of 13.5 inches, and 40 MOA max adjustment.

Who Will Use This Most

This is a scope that will benefit AR-10 hunters most, especially those looking to hit big game targets from impressive distances. But not to be outdone, it can certainly stand out as a scope for those who compete in shooting contests. No matter the application, this scope, in all likelihood, will be a hit with many AR-10 users for all the right reasons.

Bottom Line

The Nikon M-308 Riflescope is one of the best of the best, and rightfully so. Superior image quality and durability, plus sharpshooting abilities will allow you to reach out and touch something from impressive ranges. You’d be crazy to pass up the opportunity to give this a closer look. 

Overall, this is a decent and dependable product from the renowned manufacturer Nikon. It has a lifetime warranty attached to it, which covers its cost factor.

The wide range of magnification and light weight make it more versatile. It is good for all types of uses, whether short or long-range.

Aspects to Consider Before Buying

Below are the primary considerations to keep in mind before pulling the trigger:

Magnification

The first and foremost thing to look for in a scope is its magnification. As you already know, the magnification of your scope must correspond the range you intend to shoot.

A versatile solution to this problem is choosing scopes with a wide range of magnification like 3x-12x. But eventually, it will cost you a bit more.

Diameter

The next factor is the objective lens diameter. Scopes with large objectives are clear and provide succinct sight pictures, even at a long distance.

Moreover, such scopes are good for shooting in low-light or hazy conditions. Also, remember that large lenses are bulky.

Use of Scope

Another important factor is your intended use. Especially if you use your AR-10 for activities like hunting, where the scope gets exposed to harsh conditions.

You must generally avoid using very expensive and complicated scopes. Additionally, your scope should be light enough so it doesn’t add much weight to your rifle.

Focal Plane

Furthermore, the focal plane of your scope is also an important addition to the list. The latest scopes generally use a second focal plane, which means the size of the reticle changes with respect to the sight picture, as you increase or decrease magnification. These features are very helpful, especially when you are firing long-range shots.

Reticle

When shooting with a scope, the reticle plays an important role with accuracy. There are numerous types of reticles available on the market, ranging from mil-dots and mars sights to BDC and red dots. 

Each offer advantages, so you must take into consideration your personal discretion, use, shooting tactics, and preference to choose one.

Eye Relief

Finally, the eye relief of the scope also plays an important role. Some scopes have adjustable eye relief while some are fixed. Make sure to check this factor before choosing a scope for your AR-10.

Conclusion

The AR-10 is a powerful, durable, and accurate rifle, which can be used for long-range shooting. It is the precursor of the AR-15 and gives you a similar alternate platform for power-packed shooting.

A good scope for the AR-10 must be durable, able to withstand recoil, and must have variable magnification. Eventually, your individual preferences, intended use, and budget play a crucial role when buying a new scope for your AR-10.

We hope this review has been helpful in outlining some of the top qualities to look for when shopping for a new scope. If you end up choosing a model from our list, be sure to visit us again after you've put it to the test. We'd love to hear how it held up!

About Ankit

Ankit has been a writer for almost a decade now and has developed a diverse portfolio. His love for writing led him to turn down his lavish and lucrative career as a software engineer, twisting the reins of his life towards being a full-time writer. He only does what he loves. His hobbies include gardening, reading, shooting, and most of all - learning new things in every context (hence why he chose to be a writer). His whimsical nature and love for writing fosters creativity in all of his work

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