Finding a hunting scope that matches your ability and needs is crucial even if you consider yourself skilled in using a hunting rifle. Since the market offers countless scopes for 308 with differing optical quality and performance, let’s find out which is the best scope for 308 rifles.
OUR #1 RATED
NightForce SHV 5-20x56mm Riflescope
OUR #2 RATED
EOTECH Vudu 3.5-18x50mm Precision Rifle Scope
OUR #3 RATED
Bushnell Optics Riflescope
Table of Contents
- 1 Top 10 Scopes for 308 Hunting Rifles
- 1.1 1. NightForce SHV 5-20x56mm Riflescope
- 1.2 2. EOTECH Vudu 3.5-18x50mm Precision Rifle Scope
- 1.3 3. Bushnell Optics Riflescope
- 1.4 4. Athlon Optics, Argos BTR, Riflescope
- 1.5 5. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-12x56 Riflescope
- 1.6 6. UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope
- 1.7 7. Primary Arms SLX 4-14x44mm FFP Rifle Scope
- 1.8 8. Vortex Optics Diamondback HP 4-16x42 Second Focal Plane Riflescope
- 1.9 9. Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x40mm Riflescope
- 1.10 10. FSI Sniper 6-24x50mm Scope
- 2 Buying Guide
- 3 What Makes A Good 308 Scope?
- 4 What Magnification Do You Need?
- 5 FAQs
- 6 And the #1 Scope for a 308 Rifle is...
Top 10 Scopes for 308 Hunting Rifles
1. NightForce SHV 5-20x56mm Riflescope
NightForce SHV is a second plane 308 scope known to provide excellent performance from close to extended ranges. The SHV in its name stands for Shooter, Hunter, and Varminter, so users refer to this established high-end Nightforce scope as a triple duty optics.
Besides this, it features a MOAR center illuminated reticle and a 56mm objective lens that can provide you maximum light transmission and precise aiming. You also don’t have to worry about quickly returning your scope to the initial zero settings, thanks to its ZeroSet technology. However, the price is not for those on a tight budget, plus the package does not include mounting rings.
2. EOTECH Vudu 3.5-18x50mm Precision Rifle Scope
EOTech built this 33.6oz scope for 308 rifles to be extremely durable. The aircraft-grade aluminum construction contributes to the scope’s ability to be water-, shock-, and fog-resistant. Upon testing it on the range, sight clarity and light transmission are impressive, and the colors also appear to be very vivid. A rapid reticle focus is likewise possible due to its side-mounted adjustment parallax knobs.
Meanwhile, if you need to stay long hunting, it’s a bonus that the scope has an auto power down to sleep mode feature. According to EOTech, battery life can last up to 1,500 hours when in sleep mode.
3. Bushnell Optics Riflescope
Considering its price, this 4.5-18x40mm model can be an excellent mid-range budget scope to start with. Like several user feedback, we noticed that it might not be apparent at the highest magnification, but its performance when hunting or plinking is still commendable.
One of the various reticle options is the BDC reticle, drop zone 308 ballistic precisely calibrated for 308. But Bushnell noted that you should set the scope at 18 power to achieve the best ballistic performance. It also features a throw down lever for fast and easy magnification changes.
4. Athlon Optics, Argos BTR, Riflescope
For those looking for a compact scope, this 29.6oz 6-24x50mm aircraft-grade aluminum 308 rifle scope is worth a try. The advanced fully multi-coated lenses ensure that you’ll receive optimum brightness and vivid color even in dark environments.
Additionally, the illuminated reticle of this riflescope features 11 brightness settings for greater visibility. Unlike most models in the list, Argos BTR also uses argon purging, thus offering scope durability and higher recoil shock resistance.
5. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-12x56 Riflescope
Vortex Optics markets their Crossfire II not just for shooters but also for hard-core hog hunters. As another second focal plane 308 scope, Crossfire II features a V-Brite reticle that complements its over-sized but the adjustable objective for performing in challenging light conditions. The 3.5 long eye relief allowed quick target acquisitions while the fast focus eyepiece enabled easy reticle focus.
It is nitrogen purged and O ring sealed since durability is a crucial consideration for people finding a scope for 308 rifles. Whereas, for a brighter and clearer sight view, it has anti-reflective and fully multi-coated lenses.
6. UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope
If you want to have a scope customized to your needs, this UTG 308 rifle compact scope gives you that option through Illumination Enhancing Technology. It allows you to custom-build the color as it comes with 36 different color/brightness settings. Don’t worry because your precision won’t be affected; instead, it solely helps you adjust the setting based on lighting conditions.
What’s even more remarkable is it comes with a front sunshade, and flip-open lens caps in addition to the fixed 30mm Picatinny rails that many scopes for 308 don’t have.
7. Primary Arms SLX 4-14x44mm FFP Rifle Scope
Primary Arms specifically tuned their SLX 4-14x44mm as a scope for 308 rifles. It is famous as a moving target reticle set to move at a full 600 yards and a bullet drop of up to 1000 yards. But Primary Arms reminds their customers that your rifle should have at least a 22-inch barrel so it can generate the velocity needed to match BDC graduations.
Regardless, the scope has a partial six red illumination settings that you can adjust based on preference, plus we think it has a tank-like durable construction.
8. Vortex Optics Diamondback HP 4-16x42 Second Focal Plane Riflescope
Besides having 4 inches of eye relief, one of the Vortex Optics Diamondback HP riflescope’s best features is the XR fully multi-coated lenses and the extra-low dispersion glass. As a result, our team observed crisp and sharp images.
Like Athlon Optics Argos scope, Diamondback HP also utilizes argon purging, preventing internal fogging when subjected to different temperatures. Vortex also received several positive feedback on their dead-hold BDC reticle that helps eliminate guessing on holdovers and windage corrections on long shots. The BDC reticle is large enough to see your target but small enough not to interfere with your normal ranges.
9. Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x40mm Riflescope
The Leupold VX-3i riflescope features a relatively wide selection of available magnification settings for more precise shot placement. It also features emerald coated lenses with an angled front sunshade, an integrated, and a flip-open lens cap, maintaining accuracy even at high noon.
With this scope, shooters can choose between its red or green illumination settings depending on the environment or the shooter’s preference. It provides at least 36 different luminosity settings to choose from while maintaining consistent illumination using special circuit housing that a red dot sight doesn’t offer.
10. FSI Sniper 6-24x50mm Scope
FSI Sniper is an excellent long-range scope because of its various magnification levels, although some say that the brightness slightly fades at 24x. Still, it can perform dead-on even when mounted on a heavy recoil rifle because, according to the manufacturer, they made sure the rifle scope is recoil tested.
It has zero turrets with knobs that you can easily loosen and adjust using the Allen wrench provided in the package. For parallax adjustments, the setting is 15 yards to infinity, allowing you a more accurate shooting over long distances.
The best budget-priced scope doesn’t always mean that the brand built it with a lower quality. Even the affordable Vortex Diamondback HP, for instance, shows outstanding optical performance and even comes with an unlimited warranty.
Although the cost could also affect quality, it is not always a wise decision to go for the most expensive rifle scope you could find. It will also be a great deal if you find a model that already includes accessories like sunshades and mounting rails/rings to save a few more bucks.
A varied magnification range could be advantageous, but it depends on what you need. If you are mostly shooting in a long-range, get a higher magnification scope. Even up to 18x power would satisfy your needs. Additionally, the smaller your target, the more likely we recommend using a second focal plane.
If you like hunting in the close to medium range, up to 9x magnification would be great. Besides, you might not need a greater magnification as the .308 cartridge isn’t really for extra long-distance shooting.
Most rifle scope manufacturers use nitrogen gas when sealing and making their products resistant to any weather conditions. Some lines, though, like Athlon Optics Argos and Vortex Diamondback, use argon-purged gas chambers instead that is said to be a more luxurious feature.
Another factor is that the best scopes for 308 features aircraft-grade aluminum for increased durability. Generally, you might want to check if your scope is fog proof, shockproof, and waterproof before buying one because the best ones could provide your needs even in the harshest environments.
Remember that a more massive range of distance is available at lower-powered ones. Around 2 inches of eye relief would be a reasonable distance. But most shooters tend to prefer it at the most massive eye relief available in a standard rifle scope measuring at 4 inches. For safety purposes, having a generous length can help prevent injuries, especially if you’re using a heavy recoil rifle.
If you noticed that your reticle seems to change its position concerning the target once you tilt or move your head a bit, that’s a parallax. Some rifle scopes come with parallax correction knobs so it won’t lead to bad groupings. For instance, Athlon Optics Argos has a side focus parallax adjustment needed for changing elevation and windage.
According to our research, your rifle scope must have a Bullet Drop Compensator (BDC) when dealing with various elevation levels. As a result, you don’t have to make constant adjustments because several aiming points are readily available for different target distances.
For convenience, the best scope for 308 has finger-adjustable turrets rather than the tool-based ones. Another factor would be the availability of turret caps, often O ring sealed to protect your rifle scope from moisture and dust. Most also have MOA clicks resettable to zero after sighting-in.
Everyone wants a smooth zooming in and out, as well as quick and easy changing of the windage and elevation, right? Thus, check how the magnification ring, found near the objective lens, feels, and performs.
Not to mention that based on our observations and research, turret adjustment seems to be one of the critical interest points of hunters and shooters. So, if you don’t want constant re-adjustments, find a rifle scope that’s somewhat sturdy yet having easily operated turrets.
Some model packages include mounting accessories, which is a great way to save money, like Leaper UTG having max strength heavy-duty rings in the bundle. Yet, whether you’ll get one for your 308 rifle straight from the manufacturer or the aftermarket, check the compatibility and buy the correct height rings.
If your 308 rifle is already massive and weight is a big deal, aluminum rings and bases will work fine. Still, for long-term durability and the best possible consistency and precision, go ahead and get steel components.
FFP vs. SFP
A second focal plane reticle doesn’t change its size visually even as you change the magnification. As mentioned before, long-range shooters might enjoy using a second focal plane because it provides an easily seen reticle at the lowest magnification. However, your holdover and wind drift correction can only be accurate at a particular optical strength.
With a First Focal Plane (FFP), your reticle appears to change together with the scope’s magnification. The spacing for the holdover may be correct regardless of the optical power. But it can also cover too much of the target at the highest setting.
Having a large objective lens diameter provides an advantage for achieving better light and clearer target vision. In numbers, when you see a 6-24×50, 50 refers to the lens objective. But, take note that the diameter of the rifle scopes tubes measures and functions differently as well. The tube diameter determines your ring size, and larger size means more elevation adjustment range.
Traditionally, 308 scopes have a 1-inch main tube, although many owners prefer the 30mm. But, remember that your primary tube diameter has nothing to do with brightness; it’s in your lens objective.
It’s pretty apparent that image clarity is highly dependent on your glass quality, and of course, you would want to see as clearly as possible when out hunting. So, to maximize light transmission and reduce glare, finding a great coated lens is the way to go.
The best 308 scope would feature at least a multi-coated or fully multi-coated lens to create clear and contrasting images. Coatings also help protect against scratching. Some models also feature anti-reflective paint to complement the coatings like the one applied in Vortex Diamondback HP.
If you mount only the best scope for 308 in your rifle chambered explicitly in this caliber, you’ll enjoy shooting from close to the long-range. Long-range shooters could target up to a thousand yards with the right magnification and training.
However, you have to be careful if you plan on getting a long-range rifle scope and you’ll be using it mainly for hunting. Your goal is to hit your target accurately, not to miss it or ruin the meat. So, for a wider field of vision, get a lower-powered one and shoot nothing past 500 yards. You may check out our recommended scopes for 500 yards here.
Even the best scope for 308 reflects a fair trade between having great features and being on the heavy and bulky side. For example, large objective lenses and tube diameter may be advantageous, but it makes your scope heavier.
Always consider where you’ll be using your scopes for the 308 rifle, how long you plan on staying on the range, and the scope’s functionality and reliability. As a general rule, consider getting a lighter model if you plan on hunting, but for bench rest and shooting, weight might not be much of a consideration. Other accessories like the 308 muzzle brakes may also add to the rifle’s weight.
What Makes A Good 308 Scope?
What makes a good 308 scope is finding the perfect balance between a particular model’s various features and your individual needs. The best 308 scopes generally consider several factors like weight, clarity, durability, turret adjustability, and magnification properties.
When choosing 308 scopes, find the ones where you could experience the most outstanding value out of the product you’ll purchase. Additionally, keep in mind that as you determine your scope for hunting, a good scope should highlight your rifle’s strength better. At the same time, it utilizes the potentials of the powerful cartridge.
What Magnification Do You Need?
You need a magnification that complements your shooting style, especially regarding range. As mentioned in the optical strength feature, your needs should be your deciding factor when choosing the best magnification range for you. If you are a medium-range shooter, then get a 6-9x. If your style is close-range shooting, go for a lower powered one. For long distances, up to 18x or 24x power will provide you with your needs. The downside is you’ll work with a small field of vision.
Yes. You should put a scope on your 308 rifles, especially if you are fond of long-range shooting because it helps you achieve accuracy. Additionally, it prevents you from shooting too close that it may ruin the meat or too far away that you might miss your target. Also, wouldn’t you want to explore pushing the boundaries of your rifles?
And the #1 Scope for a 308 Rifle is...
After testing these optics out on the range, we think the best 308 scope is Nightforce SHV. This high-end 308 scope offers the most significant compromise between price and functionality. It is excellent for close-range to long-distance shooting, all while providing clear and bright pictures even in extremely dark conditions.
If you’ve been working around with scopes for quite some time, its high power and large lenses, alongside other features, may be a good consideration.