The .308 Winchester was one of the first cartridges I ever fired from my dad’s old wood barreled hunting rifle. And let me tell you, taking down large prey from 800 yards out using a .308 rifle is awesome.
But taking down large prey from 800 + yards out is not as simple as just aiming and shooting, there is a lot that goes into hitting a target from such a range. Especially if you are using a .308 hunting rifle. Because truth to be told, there is no way you can take down prey using a 308 rifle from 800 yards without the help of a riflescope. And not just any riflescope but the best scope for 308 rifles.
In this article, I have compiled a list of 9 riflescopes that I believe are the best 308 scopes. I have also compiled a list of useful tips to help you on your search for the best 308 scope. So, without further ado, let us get into it. But first here is a comparison chart showing how different 308 scopes compare.
Comparison of Best Scope For 308 Rifles
Best 308 Scopes
Nikon M-308 Tactical Scope
Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical First Focal Plane Riflescopes
Primary Arms FFP Scope
Vortex Optics Crossfire II
Trijicon VCOG Riflescope
Nikon Buckmasters II
Nightforce Optics SHV Riflescope
UTG Compact Scope
Best .308 Scope Buying Guide
The one thing all 308 rifles have in common is that their performance and accuracy is greatly improved with the addition of a scope. Therefore, whether you use a rugged, no-nonsense hunting rifle or an elegantly polished work of art, a scope is a must-have accessory.
But how do you choose the best .308 scope from the almost infinite options available? Well, there are several factors you should consider when searching for the best scope for .308 bolt action rifle. This same factors should influence your selection of the best scope for 308 tactical rifles. So, which factors are this?
The popular notion that the .308 Winchester built for long-range shots is debatable. The reason being that out of the box most 308 rifles are capable of a maximum range of 250 yards. Whether this range qualifies, as long range has been the subject of heated debates among hunters.
In my experience, though, the 300 Winchester Magnum is better for long-range shots. Regardless, the kind of scope you select should match your preferred hunting range. If you want to hit targets beyond the 250 yards mark a 10X magnification will be ideal.
On the other hand, if you will be aiming at targets from 100 to 249 yards, a 9X magnification will do. For short range shooting, I recommend a 6X magnification.
Despite its many pros, the 308 Winchester cartridge is not without its fair share of cons, one of the most common beings that it is vulnerable to windage. This being the case, the best hunting scope for 308 should have a BDC reticle. The Bullet-Drop Compensator feature will help with the bullet drop.
The construction of the best scope for .308 should be top notch. Since most 308 rifles are bolt action rifles, I recommend settling on a scope that is shock resistant. Apart from shock resistance, the scope should be sealed and have scratch resistant lenses. Given that you will be using the scope is harsh weather the inside should also be filled with gas either argon or nitrogen.
You get what you pay for. As such while there are quite a number of cheap scopes for 308 that cost less than $100 they are not always ideal. These scopes are best suited for short range shooting. For medium, to long-range shooting, you will need to invest between $350 and $1000 on a good scope for 308.
9 Best Scope For 308 Reviews
Now let us look at the best scopes for the 308 Winchester that you can buy.
The Nikon M-308 Tactical Scope
There aren’t many rifle scopes that can match up to the optical quality, durability and all-around performance of the Nikon M-308 tactical rifle scope. And as its name suggests, Nikon designed this scope with the Winchester 308 and the NATO 7.26 rounds in mind.
When you want to push your 308 hunting rifle beyond the 250-yard mark, you need a scope that gives you a high and adjustable magnification. And this is what you get from the Nikon M-308, which comes with an adjustable magnification of 4X-16X. And that is not all, unlike other scopes that loose clarity at high magnifications, the scope remains clear at all powers.
Fantastic Optical quality
According to Nikon the fully multicoated optics on this scope and it's 42 mm objective lens offers impressive light transmission of 95%. With this in mind, you can expect near HD quality images at different light conditions. Apart from the fantastic light transmission, the BDC 800 reticle allows for bullet drop compensation and can improve accuracy to 500 yards.
Everything about this scope feels very well made. The inside of the optics chamber is filled with nitrogen while the lenses are O-ring sealed. Meaning that the scope is both waterproof and fog proof by these features. And it gets better; the entire scope is built using aircraft grade aluminum, which is both tough and lightweight.
Ease of use
Using the M-308 is simply a delight thanks to its side focus knob, which allows for quick adjustment. The tactical windage and elevation turrets are easy to adjust and both boast of a zero-reset capability.
- Offers excellent accuracy at medium to long range distances
- Built from a sturdy one-piece aircraft grade aluminum tube for maximum durability
- Excellent light transmission and brightness in different light conditions
- It is a scope that is built for large caliber rifles
- Does not have mounting rings included
- Not easy to adjust eye relief
The AR-10 is quite popular and there are a lot of scopes built specifically for this type of rifles. Of the many, very few come close to matching the performance of the Nikon M-308 Tactical scope. Built specially for the .308 cartridge, you can hit targets from up to 500 yards with this scope attached to your rifle.
Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical First Focal Plane Riflescopes
The Diamondback series of rifles scopes from Vortex has always been a favorite of mine. Thus, it was only a matter of time before I got my hands on one of the latest additions to the series. The Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical First Focal Plane Riflescope for that matter. Marketed as a high-performance scope for both hunting and tactical applications, this scope is also easy on the pocket.
With my Mossberg patriot hunting rifle, I am able to hit targets from 250 yards away max. But when I attached the Vortex Diamondback Tactical, the range increased to 300+ yards. Thanks to its 4-16X magnification. The magnification lets you spot targets from as far away as 300 yards out without compromising on clarity.
First focal plane
The first focal plane glass-etched reticle on this scope is fantastic. With this reticle, there is no guesswork that comes with trying to figure out windage and holdover corrections. As such, it performs excellently when aiming at targets at different ranges.
As with other scopes in the Diamondback series, this high-performance scope has lenses made from extra-low dispersion glass. What this means is that you get enhanced resolution and color when viewing targets. And it gets better, thanks to the lenses being multi-coated you are able to see targets clearly in low lighting.
Hard anodized finish
Apart from constructing the body of the scope using aircraft grade aluminum, Vortex throws in a hard anodized finish to the mix. This guarantees minimal glare ensuring it does not give your position away in sunlight. Additionally, the finish protects the scope from the occasional knocks and bumps.
- Has a fast focus eyepiece
- Has a long eye relief
- The scope has lenses made from ED glass for enhanced resolution and contrast
- Thanks to its construction it a very tough, rugged and durable scope
- Comes with protective lens caps
- The selector ring is a bit bulky
Priced at less than $500, the Vortex Diamondback Tactical is arguably the best vortex 308 scopes as far as performance and price are concerned. It strikes the right balance between price and performance. Needless to say, it will be a great addition to your collection of scopes. And is rated the best 308 scope under 500 by many, myself included
Primary Arms 4-14 X 44 FFP Scope
I have always been a lover of the BDC reticle; however, sometimes I develop the urge to try out new things. And about a month ago, I developed the urge to try out a mil-dot reticle on my 308 caliber hunting rifle. And the mil-dot scope I settled on was the Primary Arms 4-14X 44 FFP scope, and here is what I think about it.
As with most 308 rifle scopes, this Primary Arms creation has a variable magnification of 4 to 14X. Now, this is not as high as that of my beloved Vortex Diamondback, but it still got me beyond the 300-yard mark, which was pretty cool.
The mil-dot reticle
I had not used a mil-dot reticle in a while prior to testing this FFP scope. Nevertheless, I was impressed with the mil-dot reticle on this scope. On paper, there is nothing remarkable about it. But in practice, its awesomeness really shines. The reticle is a first focal plane. This means that regardless of the magnification the distance between the dots remains the same relative to the target downrange. The benefit of this is that it makes adjusting the scope to different ranges easier.
This scope is designed to withstand harsh weather conditions. It features a hard anodized finish which adds an extra layer of protection to its body. In addition to this, it is waterproof, shockproof and fog resistant.
Now, this is not a Swarovski so do not expect to be in the same league. All the same, I did not find any major issues with its optical performance. The images looked sharp and clear even from a long way out. And with its illumination, it works great even in low lighting.
- Offered at a considerably low price given its features
- It looks and feels very well made
- It is easy to adjust the eyepiece as well as the zoom
- Does not have any distortions even in maximum magnification
- It is great for long-range viewing, and some users have used it to hit targets from 1000 yards
- The illuminated reticle was a bit disappointing
- The clicks on the adjustment knobs need improving
What we have here is a scope that lives up to expectations. And priced at below $300, the scope beyond excels. And while I would not recommend it on any rifle beyond a 308 caliber rifle, it is still a great scope. If you are looking for a long range scope to attach to your .308 rifle that will not cost you a fortune, this is one of the best mil-dot scopes for 308.
Vortex Optics Crossfire II 6-18x44
The second Vortex scope on my list, the Vortex Optics Crossfire II is an advanced and better version of the Vortex Optics Crossfire rifle scope. As such, you can expect new features, improved mechanics and overall improvement in the performance of this scope.
Compared to the previous model, the new Crossfire features a more compact design courtesy of a one-inch tube. The tube is constructed from aircraft grade aluminum, which means it is tough, solid and durable.
Fully multicoated optics
Despite its considerably low price tag, the Vortex Crossfire boasts of fully multicoated optics. The latter help reduces errors caused by the refraction of light inside the tube. This translates to a better light transmission and clarity even in low lighting.
Adjustable objective lens
The objective lens on this rifle scope is adjustable, which allows for fine-tuning. With this adjustable objective lens, the scope has a great zoom capability. As well as improved reticle focus.
With a 6-18X magnification and fully multicoated optics, this scope gives you the ability to sight targets from long range. Images appear clear and crisp at all magnifications.
- Nitrogen filled tube makes it shockproof
- It is constructed from aircraft grade aluminum making it rugged and durable
- Offers fully multi-coated optics for clear and sharp images
- It is easy to install on your rifle and use
- It is not illuminated
- Has a limited practical range of about 200 yards
At its price point, there are not many scopes that can offer you the kind of features you get with this scope. Thus, it is one scope I recommend for anyone looking for an affordable and quality scope. It is best suited for a wide array of hunting applications. Thus, it might not be the best scope for 308 long range, but it is still an impressive piece of optical hardware.
Trijicon VCOG 1-6x24 Riflescope Ballistic Reticle
A $1000 price tag is not what you would expect from a scope that has a variable magnification of between 1 and 6X and an objective lens of 24 mm. However, this is exactly what you get with the Trijicon VCOG scope. Now before you start thinking of looking elsewhere for your 308 rifle scope, let us see why this scope is so damn expensive.
Now, as is already evident from previous reviews, mot 308 rifle scopes have a magnification of 4X and above, which does not allow for close quarter shooting. Therefore, the Trijicon’s minimum magnification of 1X is actually a huge plus. Not only can you put rounds on far away targets but also on close targets. This allows for flexibility that other scopes cannot offer.
A rotating ocular
I asked a former Marine Corps buddy of mine what he thought about the Trijicon VCOG, and he said it was the easiest and fastest variable power scope to adjust. And the reason for his sentiments is quite simple. You see unlike most other scopes; this Trijicon masterpiece comes with a fluted ocular housing for a secure grip when adjusting. In addition, it features a fin that runs its entire length and provides additional leverage for fast adjustments.
When you come to the reticle, it is as much a masterpiece as all other components of this scope. Being on a first focal plane means the dot does not change irrespective of the magnification. The problem with this is that at 1X magnification the dots can seem too thick. To remedy this Trijicon adopted a fine ballistic circle with a thick, segmented circle.
Therefore, at higher magnification, you use the fine ballistic circle. At lower magnification the segmented circle becomes visible. In a nutshell, in the 1x magnification the reticle looks like a red dot optic and has a precision arrangement at 6x magnification.
The optics you get here are of the same quality as those found on the pricier TARS 3-15X optic. Therefore, you can expect unrivaled clarity, contrast, and resolution even in low lighting.
- It is a flexible scope that can be used for close range and long range shooting
- It remains crystal clear across all magnification levels
- It is very easy to set up and zero in the scope
- It comes with a limited lifetime warranty
- It is a pricey rifle scope
- It does not have lens caps or covers
There is no denying the quality of the Trijicon. This scope is designed for flexible shooting and has features you are unlikely to find in other 308 scopes. That being said, despite it lacking lens caps and covers it is well worth its price tag. And I consider it the best deer hunting scope for 308 and the best scope for .308 are on this list.
Nikon Buckmasters II 4-12x40mm Scope
The Nikon Buckmaster II is the successor to the Nikon Buckmaster. And as such, it features a lot of improvements to the previous model. But, is it the best Nikon 308 scope, time to find out.
Unlike its predecessor, the Buckmaster II comes with fully multicoated optics. This means it gathers a decent amount of light. Also, the picture quality is also greatly improved thanks to the fully multicoated optics.
Another improvement over the previous model is the resettable turrets. These new resettable turrets are easy to adjust as all you have to do is pull up on the turrets. To make things even better the turrets do not require any tools to adjust.
The 4 to 12X magnification is also an improvement from the 3 to 9X magnification of the Buckmaster I. The new 12X magnification lets you sight targets from long range without compromising on clarity. Additionally adjusting the magnification is easy thanks to the little tub that tops the adjustment knob.
True to Nikon’s tradition, the reticle has a bullet drop compensator. Unlike other BDC reticles that are reserved for specific bullet types, this one is universal. And if you take time to learn how to use it, it works well with different bullet types.
- Comes at an incredibly affordable price tag
- Has easy to use resettable turrets
- Comes with fully multicoated optics for clear, crisp image quality
- Has a decent eye relief of 3.7 inches
- It is 100% waterproof and fog proof
- Lacks a parallax adjustment
- The optics are rather basic
The Buckmaster II might not be in the same league as other pricier Nikon models but it the best scope for 308 bolt action from Nikon priced at less than $500. It is an excellent hunting optic for those who use bolt action rifles in particular.
Nikon P-308 4-12x40 Riflescope
One of the newest optics from Nikon is the Nikon P-308 Riflescope. The scope is marketed for AR 10 rifles that use the popular 308 Winchester cartridge. With its BDC 800 reticle let us find out if this scope lives up to its billing.
Everything about this scope feels rugged and very well made. The entire tube is made from hard anodized aluminum meaning that it can withstand harsh weather conditions. Apart from being rugged, it is also built to be easy to use. The adjustment knob located forward of the ocular lens is easy to use.
The BDC 800 reticle was specifically built for bullet drop compensation with the 308 Winchester. As such, this reticle allows you to sight and hit targets from ranges of beyond 500 yards.
Fully multicoated lenses characterize the optical system on this scope. With the layers of anti-refractive compounds, the optical system delivers clear and bright images. As such, the scope is able to sight targets even in low lighting.
The 4 to 12X magnification combined with the 40 mm objective lens offers a decent field of view. At 4X magnification, you get a field of view of 23.6 feet at 100 yards. At maximum magnification, you get a field of view of 7.9 feet at 100 yards.
- It has an affordable price tag attached
- Comes with a limited lifetime warranty
- The BDC 800 reticle works as advertised
- Has a decent field of view
- Does not have sunshade covers or lens caps
- The reticle is not illuminated
Granted the P-3078 does not have the high-end features found in high-end models but for the price you are paying for this, you are getting quite the package. It is thus right up there with the best Nikon scope for 308. Also, since it is designed to be used with the AR 10 platform, it can be said to be one of the best scopes for ar 10 308.
Nightforce Optics 5-20x56 SHV Riflescope
I had heard and read a lot about the Nightforce Optics SHV Riflescope. But I always wanted to test it and judge it for myself. In particular, I wanted to know if it’s better than the Nightforce Optics 4-14x56 SHV Riflescope, which I found to be one of the best 308 scopes under 1000. The opportunity to test this high-end optical instrument from Nightforce presented itself some few weeks back, and I took it. Here is what I thought about the scope.
I am not a big fan of big riflescopes, so I was curious to know whether the 56 mm objective lens of this scope had any impact on its overall weight. Weighing 30.05 ounces, it is definitely not the lightest scope out there. However, it more than makes up for this with an impressive light transmission. The huge 56 mm objective lens sucks up huge amounts of light delivering bright and clear images.
MOAR second plane reticle
This Nightforce scope comes in two main reticle choices, IHR or International Hunting Reticle and a MOAR second plane reticle. The scope I tested had the more popular MOAR second plane reticle. What I loved about this reticle was the o.125 MOA lines, which are right on the reticle. These lines make it easy to spot small targets from long range.
To make it worth its price tag, Nightforce includes a zero reset feature in this scope. What this feature does is allow you to quickly set the scope back to zero. This feature comes in handy when you want to make elevation changes quickly.
Just like the objective lens, the magnification of this scope is above average. The variable magnification ranges from 5 to 20X. Thus, there is no shortage of magnification power, and you will be able to view targets from a far way out.
- It offers exceptional clarity and precision for long range shooting
- Has an illuminated reticle for clear low light viewing
- Has a parallax adjustment
- Has a decent eye relief of 3.15 to 3.45 inches
- Has great light transmission thanks to a big objective lens
- It is an expensive riflescope
- It is not ideal for close to medium range shooting
Is this Nightforce scope worth its hefty price tag? Well, in my opinion, it is despite its few drawbacks. This rifle scope is designed for long-range shooters. Thus if you want a riflescope that excels at long range shooting, I recommend choosing the Nightforce Optics riflescope. It is one of it not the best 308 scope for the money.
UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope
Not all scopes cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Some scopes cost less than $100 but still deliver a fantastic viewing experience, one worth writing about in fact. One such scope is the UTG 3 Compact scope.
Zero resetting and locking turrets
One of the first things you will love about this compact scope is the zero resetting and locking turrets. These turrets make adjusting your target quick and accurate. A side wheel adjustable turret is also included for adjusting the parallax to up to 10 yards.
Illuminated Enhanced Reticle
The reticle of this scope is illuminated to provide clarity and brightness in low visibility. The reticle also has a 36 color spectrum that makes it easy to use in different lighting conditions.
Given its price tag, the optics are not fully multi-coated. Nonetheless, they are still multi-coated and featured angled sunshades for minimal glare. UTG also throws in flip-open lens caps for added protection against glare.
To ensure the illumination is not interrupted even by heavy recoil, the scope has a special circuit and housing. These are designed to withstand illumination interruptions ensuring you get continuous illumination at all time.
- Has a pocket-friendly price tag
- It is a lightweight and compact rifle scope
- It is both shockproof and fog proof
- It is easy to use
- The magnification is great for short to medium range shooting
- It is not suited for long range shooting
- The side focus knob can be a bit tight
This is not the scope you carry with you when you want to shoot at far away targets. Nevertheless, it is the scope you buy when you want an inexpensive option to use for every day short to medium range shooting. It is easy to use and is affordable and qualifies to be on the list of the best 308 scope under 100.
Searching for the best scope mount for ar 308 can be a lot of work, especially if you do not know where to start. With this guide, you have something to help you as you embark on your search for the best scope for .308. That being said, the scopes on this list have all been tested and proven as the best scopes for 308 rifles.