Last Updated on
When it comes to bolt guns, it’s easy to get caught up in putting all the best hardware on the rifle, really dialing in the trigger, and perfectly balancing the whole chassis. Then it comes time to put an optic on it, and you’re left feeling a bit overwhelmed trying to find the perfect optic for your perfect long gun.
Our Best Choice
Vortex Optics Diamondback HP 4-16x42 Deadhold BDC
Top Rifle Scope Purchases on the Market
The Best Rifle Scopes for Your Money
To quickly jump to optics from a particular category, check the links below:
If you want to learn more about choosing the right one for you, click here.
Top .308 Rifle Scopes
The .308 Winchester is a solid all-around rifle cartridge for hunting medium to large game, and has been a favorite for military and hunters alike for a few decades now. Here’s why this round is so popular:
Good long range capabilities
For a reticle, the Diamondback employs a BDC reticle. Vortex uses hash marks instead of circles for their BDC reticle, which is nice because it’s less obstructing to the field of view. The BDC reticle is excellent for shooters who use overholds to shoot at multiple ranges quickly, without making range adjustments.
The .308 isn’t quite as high performance as the .300 Win Mag or the 7mm Rem Mag, so a good one is a wise investment if you plan on shooting .
The eye relief is 4 inches, which is comfortable for any type of stock, and long enough that this unit could be mounted on a high-recoil rifle. The Diamondback is sturdy, and holds its zero well, which is just another thing that makes this optic a good fit for larger calibers.
Something else that’s nice is the adjustment options the Vortex offers.
In addition to the standard adjustments, the Vortex also offers adjustable parallax, which is a nice perk for it in the Vortex’s price range.
One drawback of this is that it’s pretty heavy. For hunting and competition shooting, this isn’t too much of an issue, but if you’re going to be running around with your rifle a lot, you may want to look into a lighter option.
The last thing to note is that Vortex uses very durable and thick lens coatings, which is good. However, the multicoating does give the lenses a very slight green hue. Most of the time, this is a non-factor. However, in low contrast, brushy environments, it can be a bit tricky to focus your aim.
The Vortex comes with an unbeatable warranty, and is definitely the most bang for your buck when it comes to optics for a .308 rifle.
2. Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9x40 BDC - Best Value Choice
The eye relief and zeroing system are more than adequate for a .308 rifle. With the long eye relief, this scope could easily be mounted on a rifle with heavier recoil and is tough enough to hold a zero even if you’re the type who’s rough with their gear.
The Buckmasters II is also completely waterproof and nitrogen purged. This means the lenses won’t fog, and water won’t get inside it even if you frequently hunt in bad weather or wet climates.
The only drawback of the Nikon is that it’s difficult to focus at ranges under 30 yards. Even at 3x magnification, the image isn’t very clear at short ranges, sothis is probably not the right one for shooters looking for versatile, tactical performance.
Nikon prices this one far below half of what any .308 rifle costs, but the Buckmasters II is perfectly capable for hunting the medium game that the .308 round is perfect for, and hitting targets at the far end of the .308 performance curve.
Top 30-06 Scopes
The 30-06 round was the standard U.S. military rifle round for several decades before the .308 replaced it. However, the military didn’t drop the 30-06 because it lacks power or performance. The 30-06 round is still one of the most popular hunting and sporting rounds. The long Here’s why this round has persisted since the early 1900’s:
- Good ballistics and long range trajectory
- Powerful enough to hunt most species of game.
- Manageable recoil for most shooters.
The 30-06 is capable of reaching out to pretty long ranges, and it’s unlikely that you’d be able to really capitalize on the capabilities of this round without decent optics, so mounting a quality model on your 30-06 rifle should be a priority.
The Vortex Optics Diamondback HP 4-16x42 is a good choice for a 30-06 rifle as well, but here are a couple other options to broaden your horizons:
3. Leupold VX-2 3-9x40 Compact Duplex - Best Overall Choice for 30-06
Top 300 Win Mag Scopes
30 caliber is kind of the sweet spot for long range rifle rounds, and there are a number of options to choose from, but very few have the range and power of the 300 Winchester Magnum.
Winchester introduced this round in 1963 as a more powerful alternative to the venerable .
- Excellent ballistic performance
- Long maximum range
- Powerful enough for long range big game hunting
Here are the top models for a 300 Win Mag rifle:
Top 300 Blackout Rifle Scopes
Here’s why the 300 Blackout is gaining popularity:
- Can be used with almost all standard AR 15 parts (except barrels)
- Excellent performance in both supersonic and subsonic applications
- Increase power over the .
Since the 300 Blackout is more of a tactical round than a long range round, it requires less powerful optics, and some shooters might prefer an unmagnified sight. standard AR 15 scope
The 300 Blackout was designed to improve on the performance of the ever popular .
Top 22LR Rimfire Scopes
The 22 Long Rifle rimfire cartridge is one of the oldest rounds still in use. The 22LR was developed in 1887, and is still wildly popular, despite the hundreds of other rounds that have come and gone since the 22LR was born.
Some find the fact that the 22LR persists a bit baffling because it’s viewed as underpowered for most shooting contexts.However, the 22LR has a few characteristics that make it hard to give up.Here’s why the 22LR has been around for over 100 years:
- Really cheap.
- Incredibly manageable recoil that’s great for competitors and beginners.
- Excellent versatility as a training round.
The people who shoot 22LR the most tend to be beginners and competitors. 22LR is super easy to shoot, and not intimidating for new shooters. Competition shooters love the 22LR for the price and controllability.
Some competitors use conversion kits on their 9mm or .45 competition pistols so they can use 22LR as a cheap training round to save money. Then, for certain types of pistol competitions, 22LR is a good choice because it’s accurate enough for pistol ranges and easy to control.
One of the most popular rifles in the U.S. is the Ruger 10-22. This is the most common 22LR long gun, and it’s a great sporting rifle if you’ve got the right optics. Here are some great options if you want to get the most out of a 22LR firearm:
Here are the top options for 6.
While the 17 HMR has several performance advantages over the 22LR, it’s more expensive, and louder than the 22LR.
The Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9x40 BDC is an excellent option for 17 HMR rifles, but it’s already been mentioned, so here are the opticsthat will help you get the most from your 17 HMR rifle:
If you’re concerned about the price of an optic, keep in mind that most models can be mounted to any rifle, as long as they are zeroed correctly. The only exception to this rule is some models that are designed for specific rounds.
So, as you evaluate rifle optics and look for the perfect one for your particular setup, it’s often a good idea to get a one that you can put on more than one rifle, which will save you a bit of money.
In the end, even the best hardware can’t overcome poor shooting. If you’re on the fence about which one to buy, buy based on your budget, and use the extra cash to buy more ammo for training to maintain your balance between skill and equipment.
How to Choose the Perfect Model for You
Choosing the right optic can be a bit of a conundrum, but there’s a good method for choosing a scope that will match your rifle and meet your needs.
Here’s how you do it:
Choose based on your shooting context:
Chances are, you bought a rifle that has some sort of specialty. The goal of adding an optic to your rifle is to enhance the characteristics that make your rifle specialized. Look at the main things you want your bolt gun to do, and attach a scope that makes it do those things better.
A good place to start when selecting a scope is with the round that your rifle fires. Some rounds have longer maximum ranges than others, and flight paths vary from round to round.
This way, you’ll get one that does all the things you want, without paying for features you won’t use. Another guideline that will help you in this area is to spend up to half as much on your optic as you did on your rifle.
With that all dialed in, let’s check out which scopes are right for each of the most common rifle rounds!