Last Updated on

The AR-10 shoots a higher powered round than an AR-15. But the round isn’t just more powerful. It also has a longer range. An AR-10 is good for shots out to 700 yards, and it’s possible (but challenging) to get hits at distances as long as 1000 yards.

There’s simply no way to achieve any accuracy at those ranges with the naked eye. Having a good optic for your AR-10 is important for getting the most out of the .308 round.

So, we’ll give you a rundown on the best AR-10 scopes, so you can get your long range game going.

First, a cheat sheet for those who are in a hurry:

Our Best Choice

Nikon Prostaff 4-12x40, Black Matte

  • Incredible light transmission
  • Excellent reticle utility
  • Ballistic software for fast zero calculations

The Nikon Prostaff 4-12x40 is the best all around scope in this article. If you want to hit the “Buy Now” button, this is the scope to get.

Top AR-10 Scopes on the Market

6 Best AR-10 Scopes for Your Money (Updated 2019)

1. Nikon 6729 ProStaff 4-12 x 40 Black Matte Riflescope (BDC) - Best for The Money

The Nikon Prostaff 4-12x40 might be the most complete package in this article, in terms of what you get for the money.

Nikon produces legendary lenses. The Prostaff is fitted with Nikon’s fully multi-coated and laser aligned lens system that transmits up to 98% of collected light to the shooter’s eye.

This means excellent image clarity and target identification in poor light.

The reticle is etched, but not illuminated. However, the 40mm objective lens collects enough light for good performance at dawn and dusk, or in overcast conditions.

The reticle itself is Nikon’s BDC reticle

that features aiming circles below the crosshair that work as aiming points for overholds. This makes it easy to take shots at varying ranges without making adjustments.

4-12x magnification is plenty for hunting and most competition applications. The parallax setting is 100 yards. The Prostaff won’t be optimal for very short or extremely long ranges. However, the reticle will make it easier to operate outside the ideal range for this scope.

The thing that really makes this scope stand out is the included Spot On Ballistic Match software that calculates the exact aiming point for any yardage with your specific ammunition. This takes much of the work out of zeroing your scope.

The versatility and included tools make the Prostaff a complete setup that will be the fastest way to get shots on target for hunters and competitive shooters.

Pros

  • Incredible light transmission
  • Excellent reticle utility
  • Full-auto capable.
  • Ballistic software for fast zero calculations

Cons

  • No Reticle Illumination

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

UTG produces well designed optics at incredible prices. The UTG 3-12x44 Compact Scope fits this bill with solid performance at a surprising price point.

The primary feature of this scope is the reticle. The illuminated mil-dot reticle comes with 36 color options. You’ll be able to see your scope in almost any environment, and use it to make accurate windage and elevation estimations.

UTG coated the lenses with their proprietary Emerald Lens Coating which enhances light transmission and color fidelity for improved target identification in poor light. A 44mm objective lens collects enough light for dawn and dusk shooting.

The UTG is parallax free from 10 yards to infinity. So it’s a good option for those who do both long range and short range tactical shooting.

UTG produces well designed optics at incredible prices. The UTG 3-12x44 Compact Scope fits this bill with solid performance at a surprising price point.

The primary feature of this scope is the reticle. The illuminated mil-dot reticle comes with 36 color options. You’ll be able to see your scope in almost any environment, and use it to make accurate windage and elevation estimations.

UTG coated the lenses with their proprietary Emerald Lens Coating which enhances light transmission and color fidelity for improved target identification in poor light. A 44mm objective lens collects enough light for dawn and dusk shooting.

The UTG is parallax free from 10 yards to infinity. So it’s a good option for those who do both long range and short range tactical shooting.

Pros

  • Extremely versatile reticle
  • Good low light performance
  • Parallax and magnification range are good for a wide range of applications

Cons

  • Known quality control issues

3. Vortex Optics Diamondback Second Focal Plane - Best Value

Vortex Optics is one of the most respected optics manufacturers in the business. The Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40 is one of their flagship scopes.

The Diamondback is fitted with ultra-clear glass that’s coated with Vortex’s proprietary multi-coating for incredible image clarity.

The reticle is etched and paired with a 40mm objective lens for excellent performance at dawn and dusk. The reticle is not illuminated, so shooting in total darkness with the Diamondback isn’t ideal.

The reticle pattern is Vortex’s proprietary

Dead-Hold BDC reticle, with windage and elevation hash marks in the center of the reticle for range and elevation estimation with minimal target obstruction.

4-12x magnification coupled with a 100 yard parallax setting make the Diamondback ideal for hunters and competition shooters who operate mostly between 200 and 700 yardsTactical and extreme long range shooters may find that the optic isn’t quite perfect for their context.

The one downside to the Diamondback is that it’s a second focal plane scope. So the reticle doesn’t retain it’s proportions when you change the magnification. This means that you’ll need to make new windage and elevation adjustments when you adjust the magnification.

Overall, the Diamondback is an excellent scope for the price. The Diamondback will work best for hunters and competition shooters who work at intermediate to long ranges and have time to make adjustments between shots.

Pros

  • Excellent lens quality
  • Reticle is minimal and useful
  • Great quality for the price
  • Excellent quality for the price.

Cons

  • No reticle illumination
  • Second focal plane

4. Primary Arms 4-14x44 FFP Rifle Scope with Illuminated ACSS HUD DMR .308 - Best Tactical

Primary Arms designed the Primary Arms 4-14x44 Scope specifically for the ballistics of the .308 round, which makes it an ideal AR-10 scope.

The two things they tailored most for .308 ballistics are the magnification range and the reticle.

The magnification is 4-14x. It’s low enough at the lowest setting to use for short, tactical shots.

The high end is enough to push your shots out beyond 700 yards.

Additionally, the parallax is adjustable to keep your reticle parallax free at all ranges.

The ACSS HUD DMR Reticle is designed with hash marks for elevation and windage that correspond to the .308 flight path for easier and more accurate range and windage estimations.

Primary Arms equipped the reticle with 6 brightness settings so you can see your reticle even in total darkness. However, the 44mm objective lens collects enough light for dawn and dusk shooting without using the reticle illumination.

Lastly, the reticle is on the first focal plane, so it retains its proportions between magnification settings.

The only trouble with this scope is that Primary Arms outsourced some of their production a while back, which has resulted in some quality control cases that required warranty replacement.

But, in the end, the Primary Arms 4-14x44 scope is an excellent option for shooters who want a .308 specific optic that’s versatile enough for long range and short range tactical shots.

Pros

  • .308 specific reticle and magnification
  • Reticle illumination
  • First focal plane scope

Cons

  • Some quality control issues

5. Leupold VX-2 4-12x40mm Compact Waterproof Fogproof Riflescope, Duplex Reticle, Matte Finish, Black - Best for Hunting

Leupold is known for outstanding lenses and incredibly durable scopes. The Leupold VX-2 4-12x40 is one of their most popular hunting scopes.

Leupold coated the VX-2 lenses with their Diamond Coating to enhance light transmission and lens scratch resistance. The lenses are indexed matched and blackened at the edges to enhance image clarity. All this makes the VX-2 an exceptional scope for dawn and dusk hunting

The reticle is a no frills, Leupold duplex reticle that’s designed to give you the most unobstructed view of your target. The reticle is not illuminated.

But it’s etched and paired with a 40mm objective lens to provide good clarity in poor light. 

The reticle is a no frills, Leupold duplex reticle that’s designed to give you the most unobstructed view of your target. The reticle is not illuminated. But it’s etched and paired with a 40mm objective lens to provide good clarity in poor light.

4-12x magnification is perfect for typical hunting ranges and is powerful enough to get hits at 700 yards or maybe more.

Overall, the VX-2 is designed with hunters in mind. Competitive shooters will find that it’s an adequate scope, but may want something with a more robust reticle for range and windage estimation.

Pros

  • .308 specific reticle and magnification
  • Reticle illumination
  • First focal plane scope

Cons

  • Some quality control issues

6. Nikon M-308 4-16X42 Riflescope BDC 800 Reticle, Matte 16463 - Best Long Range

The Nikon M-308 4-16x42 is designed specifically for long range shooting with the .308 round.

Nikon fitted the M-308 with their proprietary BDC 800 reticle. The reticle has aiming points below the crosshair that correlate with the flight path of a .308 round for easy shooting at varying ranges without making adjustments.

4-16x magnification range delivers performance at all ranges.5 4x is light enough for short ranges16x is powerful enough to get hits at the very edge of the .308 capabilities.

The M-308 comes with Nikon’s fully multi-coated optical system that transmits up to 98% of collected light to the shooter’s eye.

This couples with the 42mm objective lens to deliver exceptional low light performance for dawn and dusk shooting.

However, the reticle is etched rather than illuminated. So the M-308 is less than ideal for shooting in extreme darkness.

Lastly, the M-308 comes with Nikon’s Spot On Ballistic Match software for quickly calculating exact aiming points at different ranges with your specific ammunition.

Ultimately, the M-308 is aimed at extreme long range shooters. However, hunters and competitive shooters who compete at more modest ranges will find that the M-308 is incredibly capable and elevates their shooting.

Pros

  • Incredible light transmission and low light image quality
  • .308 specific reticle
  • Ballistic match software for fast calculations

Cons

  • No reticle illumination

Last Round

To get the most out of your AR-10, you really do need a decent scope. The .308 round isn’t designed to be used exclusively for CQB and short range shooting.

Nikon Prostaff 4-12x40

However, it’s still a fairly versatile round. So, unless you’re working only at very long ranges, a versatile scope will give you the most bang for your buck.

The Nikon Prostaff 4-12x40 fits this bill better than any other scope on this list. It’s versatile and affordable. And it comes with software to help you get the most from your rifle and your ammunition.

So, now that you’ve got a bead on which scopes are best, get yourself an optic and step up to the bench!