With my years of experience combing through the woods, aiming for the best kill, I have been able to figure out the best scopes for 308 for hunting. You know how hunting and target shooting can be, one wrong move and you lose your mark.
Like I always tell people, the secret to my success especially in the hunting scenario is my age long acquisition of 308 rifles.
A piece with a glorious past, so versatile, the military loves it, the hunters love it, one shot at the prancing bear and its dead, no question asked.
The 308 or 7.62x51mm is the result of NATO standardization following World War II. It was favored because of political deals, logistical conventions, and the idea that the next big war would be fought in the open terrain of Europe and Russia.
Instead, what followed was a proxy war in the dense jungle against guerilla tactics, so NATO switched to a smaller caliber and made changes in fighting doctrine and logistics.
However, it has been a mainstay of military actions, hunting, and competition shooting since it was introduced. It is still the preferred round for many shooters.
Alright, enough with the fan talk.
Here is a quick comparison table for the best scopes for 308, or you can directly view all scope reviews here.
Comparison Table for Best Rifle Scopes for 308:
The 308 is Jack of All Trades and Master of Some
Here’s the deal, with so many capabilities the 308 has its limitations. The effective distance for the 308 is anywhere up to 800 yards, targeting further distances with the 308 becomes questionable.
The bullet’s projectile drops like a rainbow past 350-400 yards. Of course, I am not denying the fact that you can hit targets at 2000 yards too!
Now to get that 1 shot kill you need 3 things: A good load, skills and a damn good scope.
Choosing a Scope for Your 308
If you give me 6 hours to cut down a tree, I will spend the first 4 sharpening the axe. – Abe Lincoln
Cut with a sharp axe; no matter what scope you choose, take the time and money to mount and level it to your rifle as true as possible.
Spend the money once, and you won’t be chasing the dragon for accuracy; you will be spending the money on rounds to improve your shooting.
Most 308 rifles cost between $800 for a lower-end bolt action and $2300 for a higher-end semi-automatic. The rule of thumb is that you spend as much on your glass as you will on your rifle.
If you are mounting one scope on several rifles, you can and should spend more on your glass and your rings or scope mount.
If you can’t trust your scope, you will always be chasing the performance out of your rifle that you want, and you will slowly buy more and more expensive glass and accessories until you either run out of money or find a point where you can stop chasing small groups.
Don’t fall into the trap.
Buy once cry once.
You should consider three things before even looking at scopes:
I already know what your need/want your firearm to do; I’ve been at this a long time.
You want a rifle that will shoot great groups at 100 yards and your maximum range, usually less than 500 yards.
If you are using a semi-auto, you will start out shooting at one target, and when ammunition drops in price, you may try some drills but unless you are shooting competition, you won’t practice multiple targets at different ranges.
Few ranges are set up for that kind of shooting.
If you are shooting a bolt action, you want the tightest groups and the ability to see a target from your shooting position without switching to a spotting scope.
You may also hunt with your rifle, so you will prefer a scope that is lightweight.
- Pass the Box Test
- Feel or Look Quality
- Eye Relief Greater Than 3 Inches
- Hold Zero
- Pass a Durability Test on an M14
- Aren’t Reasonable Alternatives to My Top Pick
And the top pick is….
Best Scopes for 308
Vortex PST GEN II (Best Scope Series for Most Shooters):
It is what you are looking for in a scope: Solid turrets that have accurate clicks without being too stiff. Quality glass. Great reticle and features for the price.
Backed by a ridiculously good customer service team even now when the supply chain is recovering from Covid 19.
It is difficult to find much wrong with the Vortex Viper PST because of its place as the standard for scopes. You can find better but not at the price.
Check out the Vortex PST GEN II3-15×44 on Amazon.
Vortex Razor HD Gen II [the Upgrade]:
- The Razor HD Gen II 3-18x50 was designed for long range. The L-TEC Turret System has a locking...
- EBR-7C is made for long-range. A windage tree in the lower quadrants is for fast wind/elevation...
- 6x zoom range offers magnification versatility while the fast focus eyepiece adjusts the reticle...
The Vortex Razor Gen II is everything you want from the Viper with better components. Better glass, higher quality turrets, nicer finish.
The problem is that it is a significant amount of money to upgrade to a Razor. The other issue with the Razor is that it has a significant weight problem. The heaviest scope on the list.
The Viper PST Gen II and Razor HD come in several magnifications. 1-6x, 2-10x, 3-15x, 6-24x. I preferred the 2-10x for anything less than 200 yards and the 6-24x for over 300. It will depend on you.
Check out the Vortex Razor HD Gen II on Amazon.
Nightforce ATACR [The Dream Scope]:
- EXCEPTIONAL OPTICAL PERFORMANCE - The Nightforce ATACR - 5-25x56mm F1 hunting scope features...
- FIRST FOCAL PLANE RETICLE - Equipped with a first focal plane reticle, the ATACR F1 maintains...
- RUGGED AND DURABLE CONSTRUCTION - Built to withstand the demands of hunting and tactical...
In March, this scope made a record 2.35-mile shot; they didn’t choose the ATACR because they thought they didn’t need the best.
The ATACR is bright even in low light with a 34mm tube and a 56mm objective lens. The turrets click right in the sweet spot between solid and smooth. One of the best features is a capped windage turret that can be quickly removed for a standard target turret if you choose to dial your wind.
The reticle is one of if not the best for PRS matches and long range shooting. The Nightforce features an illuminated reticle in green or red, a feature that isn’t a high priority but great for night and low light shooting.
The ATACR hits every category, and it hits them well. But the price tag is going to stop all but the most diehard shooters from obtaining this scope.
Think of it in terms of rounds, what will make you a better shooter 2000 more rounds down range or the ATACR’s minor increase in performance.
For 99% of shooters, more rounds down range equals better performance, but if you can shoot over 2000 rounds a year, this might be the scope for you. Though if you are mounting one scope to multiple rifles, this is a great choice.
Check out the Nightforce ATACR on Amazon.
Leupold VX3i LRP 4.5-14x50mm
- Twilight Max Light Management System provides maximum brightness in all colors and intensified...
- Dual Spring Precision Adjustments perform with match grade precision
- Easy turn power selector can be quickly turned, even with gloves on while watertight seals ensure...
Though it has a non-illuminated Boone and Crocket reticle, you still will have little troubleshooting in low light conditions.
Turrets, of course, are accurate and solid; a great feature from Leopold is that they will customize the turrets for a minor fee to exactly the ranges of your preferred ammunition.
This is perfect if you have found the load you want to use for your gun and don’t want to memorize your elevation and windage settings; just dial right to the range on the turrets, and you will be dead on.
The VX3i isn’t the best Leupold scope for 308, that they have to offer. If you are willing to spend a bit more, you can find the Mark 6.
Check out the Leupold VX3i LRP 4.5-14x50mm on Amazon.
Leupold Mark 6 3-18x44mm
- Leupold Model #120721 - Mark 6 3-18x44mm with Front Focal H59 reticle and Matte finish
- 100% Waterproof, fog proof, & shockproof
- M5C2 Turrets - Automatically locks at the zero position and provides 20 Mils of elevation travel in...
Illuminated reticle, higher quality turrets than the VX3i, but the standout of the Mark 6 is the quality that went into the production.
The most obvious difference is the 6:1 Zoom ratio, allowing a 3x-18x sight picture. 5:1 is quickly becoming an industry standard, but a 6:1 zoom without distortion is something else.
Hunting or Long Range quickly and easily finding a target and then crank the magnification is worth the price difference, especially if you are quickly swapping between targets at different distances.
Check out the Leupold Mark 6 3-18x44mm on Amazon.
US Optics TS-12x 3-12x52mm
- Product Type: Sporting Goods
- Package Height: 29.489 Centimeters
- Package Length: 9.296 Centimeters
US Optics is FFP but uses a hybrid reticle that acts like an SFP with the benefits of an FFP.
The US Optics turrets are slightly below the Vortex Viper, but they are accurate and have solid clicks, so you never need to wonder if your lenses have moved or not.
Unfortunately, the lower price does come with some minor issues. The Turrets though solid, don’t have great markings, so I always seemed to be counting and referring to my shooting log if anything went wrong.
Whether it was the scope or the shooter (hint it is always the shooter) is anyone’s guess.
The glass is less clear than I would like, and the reticle, while great for some, is not my favorite.
Check out the US Optics TS-12x 3-12x52mm on Amazon.
Burris Veracity 2-10x42mm
- Smallest member of the Veracity family; Small enough for driven hunts and stalking in timber, but...
- Compactness and low weight make it very popular for lightweight rigs
- Uses the Burris M.A.D. Knob System, which allows for custom etched knobs or quickly switching to...
It’s a great scope with a single turn elevation knob, it works great for long range shooting or hunting, but BDC reticles never work as well as people believe they should.
The problem was that on the AR-308, the stars aligned, and the BDC worked perfectly when zeroed to 200 yards. Making it a fantastic tactical scope.
The 2x-10x glass made running AR drills simple and fast with a wide field of view, if the stars line up for you; the BDC takes so much work out of shooting, especially when you don’t need to be perfectly accurate; you just need hits.
Shooting steel from 200 to 600 with the Burris Veracity was like a video game, just point and shoot.
Burris Veracity comes with customizable turrets, just input your ranges and load and Burris will send you a turret marked for your ranges, between the wide field of view and the quick target acquisition; the Veracity makes a great 308 hunting scope.
If you can handle the BDC, it’s a great scope.
Check out the Burris Veracity 2-10x42mm on Amazon.
Each of these scopes is great, most scopes from these manufactures are also good, but they didn’t warrant special mention. If you are struggling with the decision, just pick the Vortex Viper PST Gen II in 3-15x44mm, and use it as a standard.
Everyone is different, but if you come on the range with an airsoft scope on your 308, don’t be surprised when you are booted off the range.