Best Scopes for AR 10 – Buying Guide and Reviews
The AR 10 doesn’t just shoot a more powerful round than the AR 15, but it also shoots a much longer range. While the AR 15 would shoot at a maximum range of about 450 to 500 yards, an AR 10 is able to reach up to anywhere between 800 to 1,000 yards. With the right setup, you can even shoot confidently beyond 1,000 yards.
At these ranges, you do need high-quality optics to let you target consistently and successfully. High-quality scopes does not automatically have to translate to expensive ones. To make your choice easier, we compiled a list of the best scopes for an AR10. Have a look at the following overview and reviews to find the right hunting optic for your rifle!
- 1 What Are the Basics of a Rifle Scope for the AR 10?
- 2 What Magnification Do You Need for the Typical Use of a Rifle Scope for the AR 10?
- 3 What Are the Best Rifle Scopes for a AR 10?
- 3.1 Primary Arms SLX 3-18x50mm – Best Short to Medium Range
- 3.2 Vortex Strike Eagle 5-25×56 – Best Medium to Long Range First Focal Plane
- 3.3 UTG 4-16×44 30mm Scope – Best Affordable Short to Medium Range
- 3.4 Nikon Black FX1000 4-16×50 – Best Short to Medium First Focal Plane
- 3.5 Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 4-16x44mm SFP Scope – Best for Hunting
- 3.6 Leupold VX-Freedom 6-18×40 – Best Medium Range
- 3.7 Monstrum G3 6-24×50 – Best Affordable Long Range
- 3.8 Vortex Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50 – Best Clarity for Medium to Long Range
- 4 Conclusion
As you can predict, it’s beyond the average human’s physical limitations to shooting accurately with consistency at ranges above a few hundred feet with our naked eyes. That’s why finding the best optic for your AR 10 is critical if you want to make the most out of your rifle.
Riflescopes are your bread and butter if you’re a long-range shooting enthusiast. Using a reliable scope that suits your needs will give you the chance to hit your shots precisely while making it a lot easier to maintain your consistency.
In the following article, we’ll join you on your journey to find everything you need to know before buying the ideal riflescope for your trusty AR 10. So without further ado, let’s dive in!
What Are the Basics of a Rifle Scope for the AR 10?
While looking for scopes for your AR 10 rifle, you’ll find various variation aspects and basic points at which these scoops differ. To find the ideal one for your needs, you should know about the basics of a rifle scope for the AR 10.
Here are some of the fundamental points that’ll help you pinpoint your perfect fit.
Ideally, riflescope ranges are classified into short-range, medium-range, and long-range. The short or close range is usually at about less than 200 yards.
This close range is ideal for hunting. A lot of hunters use short-range AR 10 scopes to hunt down small game like hare, fowl, and coyotes.
The medium-range scopes are the ones that you use to aim targets at a distance of about 200 to 400 yards. The range is a favorite for hunters. However, it’s only reserved for targets with larger bodies, such as deer, elk, etc.
Anything higher than 400 yards and up to 1,200 or even more requires a long-range riflescope. This is usually ideal for the most seasoned hunters, competitive long-distance target shooters, or those who are looking for a real challenge.
An AR 10 has a shooting range that tops at about 800 to 1,000 yards. However, it’s also commonly used for medium-range shots of 500 yards as it’s the sweet spot of the rifle range.
This means that based on the scope you’re using, you can shoot all three ranges with your AR 10 rifle.
The glass quality has a lot to do with the clarity of the scope and eliminating the distortion effects of the scope edge at long distances.
Ideally, you should look for coated glass that resists fogging. Also, the tube should be nitrogen or argon purged with tight sealing around the O rings.
This prevents the moisture from leaking into the tube and forming glass droplets inside the scope.
Additionally, you should make sure that the scope has decent shock resistance, which helps in keeping the reticle stable with the intense recoil of the AR10.
The light transmission is controlled by the objective lens and the tube diameter. The wider the lens, the more light it takes it. Similarly, the larger the tube the more light can transition through it to your eye to paint a sight image.
This allows you to see clearly even in the low light conditions, which is why light transmission is essential for anyone who uses their AR 10 in the woods.
The Field of View
The field of view refers to the area (in feet) that you can see through the scope at a distance of 100 yards. The larger the field of view, the more you’ll be able to see at higher zooming power.
Elevation and Windage
The knobs on a scope are used to adjust elevation and windage. Windage determines how far a bullet can hit to the left or right of the center point. The elevation is the same for the vertical axis of the bullet.
What Magnification Do You Need for the Typical Use of a Rifle Scope for the AR 10?
Magnification is one of the most important assets of a rifle scope in general. With a long-range rifle like a AR 10, the magnification powers become even more critical if you want to make the most out of your gun.
Ideally, an AR 10 would let you hit targets precisely within a distance under 200 yards without a scope. However, adding the right scope can help you hit targets at about 1,000 yards and even more.
The magnification of the scope is measured in “powers”. For instance, a 5x scope means that your target will appear 5 times closer than its actual position.
Since most AR 10 scopes are classified according to their magnification abilities, let’s have a brief overview of these classes, so you can determine the ideal one for you.
Magnification for Short-Range Scopes
Using AR 10 with a small range scope would be quite an overkill, as you can already hit these targets without a scope.
However, if your target is ultra-small or requires extra precision, such as hunting with a dog, you might need them.
Small range AR scopes are those who have a magnifying power of 1x to 4x or 5x. They’re the most affordable ones and are good enough for targets under 300 yards max.
In such a close range, many hunters either shoot without a scope or use a red dot sight with a magnifier.
Magnification for Medium-Range Scopes
The medium-range scopes shoot targets between 300 to 500 yards, which is where the sweet spot of a AR 10 lies. That’s why they’re the most commonly used scopes for AR 10s.
These scopes have a magnification power of about 5x to 12x. They’re usually good for hunting large game easily.
They vary in price significantly according to the quality of their glass and reticle details. Some of them can even be more expensive than long-range scopes. Yet, there are many affordable options as well.
Magnification for Long-Range Scopes
A long-range scope usually hunts at a distance that starts from 500 yards and surpasses 1,000 yards. That’s why they need a magnification range of 12x and up to 25x.
This is the range where a lot of people have it wrong about the AR 10. 1000+ yards is a range where AR 10s show their true capabilities.
However, a lot of hunters buy scopes with exaggerated magnification power without ever shooting a target within that distance.
It’s ideal for sharpshooting and sniper contests, expert target shooting, and hunting at great distances. Keep in mind that some of these scopes can set you back a few thousand bucks!
The magnification power of any scope is determined from its name. On the market, fixed and variable scopes are both available.
However, unless you always hit the same target within the same distance, a variable scope is the wiser investment to make.
What Are the Best Rifle Scopes for a AR 10?
As you can see, finding the best rifle scope for your AR 10 depends on many factors that you need to consider carefully. However, even if you know what you’re looking for, there are tons of options out there to choose from.
To save you the time and hassle of checking every single one of them yourself, we’ve scoured the market to find the best options in every category. Let’s have a brief overview of each one of these scopes and see what it has got to offer.
Primary Arms SLX 3-18x50mm – Best Short to Medium Range
Kicking off the list with one of the most popular scopes for short-range and medium-range shooting. Primary Arms is a reputable brand that has a large arsenal of rifle accessories.
Their products are characterized by their excellent overall quality as well as affordability, and the Primary Arms SLX 3-18x50mm scope is worthy of living up to the name of Primary Arms quality.
The reticle is also illuminated in the middle portion with a bright red color. However, you can adjust the brightness of the illuminated reticle up to 6 different levels to suit your needs.
The illumination is powered by the widely available CR2032 lithium coin battery. Luckily, the scope comes with one that is included in the package!
The 50 mm objective lens diameter is excellent for letting a lot of light in, which helps you see clearly in obstructed light settings.
The scope has a wide-range eye relief of 3.9 inches to 3.5 inches. This helps you to adjust the AR scope to your vision, compensating for any vision problems.
The scope has a wide field of view that extends up to 36.7 feet at 3x magnification of 100 yards and 6.10 feet at 18x magnification at 100 yards.
The lenses are multi-coated for fog-resistance and have a great waterproof rating of IP67. This means that it can last up to 30 minutes under 1-meter deep water.
The turret adjustment on this scope is highly improved. It has a tactical and audible click at 0.1 mm variation. Using the turrets you can adjust multiple settings of the scope.
Primary Arms trust in the quality of their products. That’s why they’re backing up this riflescope with a lifetime warranty for everything from normal wear and tear to manufacturing defects.
- High-quality glass with a precise reticle
- Excellent quality for its price
- Considerably lightweight for its abilities
- Back with a lifetime warranty for a worry-free purchase
- The scope flip caps are a bit flimsy in extremely cold weather
Vortex Strike Eagle 5-25×56 – Best Medium to Long Range First Focal Plane
Vortex is a huge name in the rifle accessories industry, so it’s no surprise that some of its fine products will grace the list.
This one is the Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 5-25×56 riflescope, which is an excellent option if you’re considering a long-range riflescope with high-end features yet a relatively affordable price.
The scope has an extremely wide range of magnification power that spans from 5x to 25x. This means that this scope has one of the highest magnification ranges in its category.
The clarity of the glass is also an awesome feature in this scope. You’ll be able to rock a crisp image with no distortions throughout its range of magnification.
However, in the highest magnifications settings of 24x and 25x, you might notice some slight distortions around the edge of the view lens.
The reticle of the scope is on the first focal plane, which allows its reticle to adjust to the distance you’re using. In other words, the reticle will become larger as you zoom in and smaller as you zoom out. This can help you fine-tune your shot at maximum distances.
You’ll also be able to utilize the bullet drop compensator because it’ll stay the same on different levels of magnification.
Similar to the Primary Arms SLX, the Vortex Strike Eagle also features an illuminated reticle. You can adjust its brightness, so you can use it on both dark and light backgrounds comfortably.
The scope also has 5 holdover dots, which allow you to use it precisely with fast wind and elevations holdovers.
This takes us to the next point, which is the turret adjustments. This scope comes with RevStop Zero System that allows you to modify the scope and set its zeros comfortably.
It also has a tactical locking feature to prevent accidental change in your scope adjustments. All in all, this scope is an excellent addition to your rifle if you’re all about shooting long-range targets precisely without costing you an arm and a leg.
- Has a superb magnification range of 5 to 25x
- Durable and precise RevStop Zero System turret adjustments
- The Large 34 mm tube diameter allows for huge adjustment to windage and elevation
- The edges get slightly distorted on the maximum magnification power
UTG 4-16×44 30mm Scope – Best Affordable Short to Medium Range
As you already know, some scopes can get quite expensive and set you back hundreds or even thousands of dollars. This can be a problem for hunters and hobbyists who are on a strict budget.
While looking for a scope, it’s critical that you don’t compromise on its quality, as it can be quite useless if you get an unreliable AR 10 scope. The good news here is that you can always settle for UTG scopes.
The UTG 4-16×44 scope has some outstanding features despite costing a fraction of what some other scopes might cost.
It has a wide range of magnification powers that range from 4 to 16x. This makes this scope great enough for short and medium-range targets. The scope has a field of view of 24.4 to 6.8 at 100 feet.
Moreover, the scobe has a tube diameter of 30 mm. This gives you the ability to adjust the scope to elevations and windage comfortably.
The scope comes with a sublime Emerald lens coating that guarantees that the glass maintains a lot of its qualities through time.
It also gives it an astonishing level of clarity as well as generous light transmission. This allows you to take your shots in both high and low light conditions. The lens is fully sealed and nitrogen purged, so it’s also resistant to shocks, rain, and fog.
The reticle on this scope is one of its unique highlights. Besides brightness, you can also choose its color from 36 different colors.
The turrets adjust everything zero recalibration to parallax adjustment. It also comes with locking feature to prevent accidental adjustments
- Ideal for buyers on a budget
- The reticle is available in 36 different color and various brightness settings
- The Mil-Dot reticle allows for easy range estimation
- Features lifetime warranty
- The reticle starts to become unstable after long-term usage
Nikon Black FX1000 4-16×50 – Best Short to Medium First Focal Plane
Nikon optics have been a fan-favorite for years thanks to their experience in making some of the best scoping instruments in the world.
The Black FX1000 from Nikon is a specialized short to medium range rifle scope that’ll take your AR 10 short-range aiming game to the next level!
The riflescope has a magnifying power range of about 4 to 16x. While it’s not much for its premium price tag, it compensates this with unmatched lens quality.
The shockproof construction of the Nikon Black FX1000 will also ensure that the scope stays stable even after the hard recoil of the AR 10, which is a remarkably powerful rifle.
The scope comes with Nikon’s proprietary FX-MOA glass etched reticle. The reticle is located in the first focal plane. This helps it stay optimized to your shot on different ranges.
The reticle is also illuminated for additional contrast and clarity with 10 intensity settings. The light is designed to turn off after 1 hour of inactivity to save the battery.
The main body tube has a diameter of 30 mm, which is good enough to adjust the scope within its magnifying power range.
This reticle gives you a perfect estimation of the target range and size as well as the windage and the elevation holdover at the designated power.
The aluminum rings also come with a smooth-turn rubberized eye guard that conforms to the shape of your face.
This means that you’ll be able to focus your reticle and adjust the parallax effect without having to change your shooting position.
- Excellent quality glass at long distances
- Good value for money
- High-contrast reticle
- The turrets click fades with time
Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 4-16x44mm SFP Scope – Best for Hunting
Another product from Vortex Optics, which shows the level of quality they have in their scopes. This one is the Vortex Viper HS-T 4-16×44. It’s a mid-range rifle scope that has a magnifying power range that starts from 4x and up to 16x.
This magnifying range makes it ideal for hunters, as they usually approach their game closer, so they’d benefit from the extra features of the AR 10 scope.
This riflescope has an objective lens diameter of 44mm, which is quite large for a mid-range scope. This means that it’ll be able to take in as much light as possible, which is great for hunting in low light conditions, such as dark forests.
The glass lens is coated, so it resists heavy fog, rain, and even shocks. The lens is also argon purged to prevent it from cracking under thermal shocks.
Not only that, but the scope’s O ring is also sealed to prevent the moisture from leaking into the body of the lens.
The Viper HS-T has unique exposed style turrets. These ones are designed for easy adjustment while maintaining a precise and reproducible click. This way you’ll ensure that you get the same adjustment every time you use the scope.
Additionally, the turrets have a CRS Zero Stop that gives you the ability to recalibrate the zero for the maximum level of precision while using the scope at its maximum ranges.
The scope also has a side focus that allows you to adjust the parallax effects to get the optimum image focus and eliminate the effect in long distances. You’ll also be able to adjust the reticle to your eye comfort using the focusing eyepiece.
- Ideal for hunting medium-range targets
- The MAG-View Fiber Optic ensures a highly visible reference for targeting
- Highly durable construction from aircraft-grade aluminum
- The parallax adjustment focus might start to stray a bit with time.
Leupold VX-Freedom 6-18×40 – Best Medium Range
If you’re looking for a medium-range AR 10 scope that gets the job done nicely, you should consider the Leupold VX-Freedom 6-18×40. The scope has a lot of improved features and precision that qualify it to be one of the best medium-range rifle scopes on the market.
This mid-level scope has a wide magnification range that allows you to shoot at both short and medium ranges comfortably. You can adjust it from 6x to 18x power.
The scope is noticeably lightweight for its class, so you won’t have to put extra weight in your considerations.
Moreover, it has a secure locking feature, so you prevent it from messing your settings if you flick it by mistake.
Additionally, the objective lens has a diameter of 40 mm. This helps it to maximize light transmission and help you clear everything clear as day through the lens even in low light settings.
In addition to the nice range magnification power, it also has a quick ergonomic power selector feature.
This one enables you to zoom in on your target significantly quickly, so you don’t miss your perfect opportunity for shooting.
The Twilight Management system also contributes in adjusting the brightness of the lens to help you see with high clarity and contrast.
The lens is also scratch-resistant, fog proof, and also waterproof. This means that it can stand the test of time like a champ!
- Affordable price when compared to its competitors
- The large objective lens and Twilight Management system for high brightness adjustment
- Ergonomic and sleek design with locking eyepiece
- Relatively small tube diameter for its magnifying power
Monstrum G3 6-24×50 – Best Affordable Long Range
As you already know, long-range rifle scopes can easily cost you thousands of dollars. If you want a scope that grants you an excellent range without poking a hole in your wallet, the tactical Monstrum G3 6-24×50 scope should be in your shortlist.
This scope has a wide magnification power range of 6x to 24x. This allows you to reach targets that are far beyond the 1,500-yard mark with relative ease.
The scope is designed with a first focal plane MOA reticle. This makes it ideal for adjusting the reticle within its large magnification range with ease while keeping the range information correct.
Additionally, the reticle’s ranging information is easy to read, which gives you a huge edge while estimating the range and holdover correction.
The reticle is also illuminated and comes with an inline dial control with various brightness settings for you to choose from.
The scope comes with a great objective lens with a diameter of 50 mm. This helps it to adjust the brightness in dark conditions, making your hunts a lot easier in the dark.
The turrets and flips up on the scope are durable and lockable. This makes the turrets easy to adjust and prevent unwanted accidents.
The lens is treated to repel fog and moisture and the scope has a rugged anodized finish for athletics and durability.
The Monstrum G3 scope is also available in black and flat dark earth color variations. This can help you match the scope with your AR 10 color, which gives you a sleek looking combination that’s worth bragging!
The riflescope package includes an instructions manual that shows you everything you need to know about the scope.
It also comes with two high profile Picatinny scope rings, which helps you to install the scope on your rifle easily and keep it secure.
Moreover, it also comes with a detachable honeycomb kill flash filter, which provides sunshade and protects you from glares while hunting.
- Highly affordable for a large range scope
- Available in two different colors
- Comes with Picatinny rings and honeycomb filter
- A lot of users found the illuminating knob a bit flimsy
Vortex Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50 – Best Clarity for Medium to Long Range
Last but not least. If you’re looking for a luxurious option that combines all the riflescope features you might need in one place, the Vortex Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50 is your way to go!
This one takes Viper’s performance and quality to a new level with a first focal plane reticle that stays accurate whether you’re using it on low or high magnification power.
It has a wide range of magnification powers spanning from 5x all the way up to 25x. This means that you’ll be able to hit nearby and far targets all with the same scope and a flick of a knob!
The versatility also includes its objective lens and tube. The lens is also protected from dirt, scratches, and oils with advanced Armortek coating. The shockproof nature of the scope also keeps its stability and sturdiness with time
The Viper PST Gen II comes with a 50 mm diameter objective lens, which gives you a wide range of view as well as generous light absorption for high resolution and clarity even in dark conditions.
The objective lens is also highly adjustable, which helps you eliminate parallax and any medical eyesight problems for the maximum visualization, clarity, and range estimation!
The scope is protected with a hard-anodized matte finish that gives it an aesthetically pleasing look that also prevents sun glares and reflections into your eyes.
- Unrivaled level of lens clarity with ultra-low dispersion glass and high resolution
- Excellent wide range of magnifying powers
- Argon-purged and tight-sealed O rings for fog and moisture resistance
- Premium price tag
There you have it. A complete guide with everything you need to know before buying the best rifle scope for AR 10. As you can see, there are many rifle scopes on the market with various impressive features. However, it’s crucial that you make your decision based on your own needs.
When you’re looking for a good rifle scope for your AR 10, it needs to accommodate the immense shooting power and long-range capabilities of the rifle. Also, it needs to give you a nice clarity with a quality glass lens and an adjustable reticle to have a consistent shot every time you use the rifle.
Such qualities are present in the short to medium range Primary Arms SLX 3-18x50mm and the medium to long-range Vortex Strike Eagle 5-25×56. While they’re both relatively affordable, they pack a lot of quality that qualify both of them for being the best rifle scope for your AR 10 depending on your favorite range.
However, you might want to splurge for a rifle scope that gives you everything you might need in one package. In that case, the Vortex Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50 is an excellent choice for you. This brilliant AR 10 scope has one of the widest range of magnification power as well as tons of adjustable features.
Despite being quite pricey, it’s an excellent choice for an expert rifleman who’ll settle for nothing but the best!