Ar-10 rifles are like the ugly big brother of the Ar15. They shoot a full-sized cartridge on a design that really works better for intermediate rounds.
Never the less, there’s plenty of horsepower in these guns and they can be harnessed and used better with the addition of a magnified optic.
The classic Ar10 is a .308 chambered rifle that offers the in between of a light semi-automatic carbine and a bolt action rifle. They are heavier than a bolt gun but shoot much faster while delivering more power than the Ar-15 pattern rifles.
That more power means more range and you need a scope to take advantage of that extra power. That also means you may need the best scope for AR 10 that you can get your hands on.
Best Scope for AR 10 - Comparison Table
Why a Scope?
Scope do a lot for a shooter, mainly they allow to see targets at a distance better and simplify the aiming process by replacing two movable sights with one. A scope usually meaning a magnified optic is a way to incorporate a telescopic lens to let you see target up to literally miles away.
It’s important to remember that magnified optics do not make you shoot better, they let you see better. This small difference accounts for missed game every year. They do simplify the aiming process because you no longer have to align a front sight, rear sight and a target.
All you need do is align the reticle with the target. You still have to deliver your fundamentals though, otherwise you’re going to miss the shot, the most expensive scope in the world won’t help the unexperienced or untrained shooter hit the target.
What to Look For?
Ar 10 rifles are a special breed. They’re trying to be like Ar-15s but they’re chambered in a full sized cartridge and weight too much to be a carbine. They don’t do anything well except put big rounds down range in a hurry.
Try and capitalize on this and get a lightweight scope with a fast focus reticle and turrets to take advantage of the range potential of the .308 cartridge.
These qualities should be easy to look for except…
Buying a riflescope today is hard. Despite the internet making every option and all the information needed available, there’s still a mountain of decisions to overcome. There’s literally over 50 brands of scopes to choose from as well as dozens of other no-name Chinese import scope available for pennies.
We’ve sifted through the market and based on reviews and professional experience have picked five of the best Ar10 riflescope money can buy.
Top 5 Best Scopes for AR 10
The ACOG is one of the most famous and widely used optics in history. ACOG stands for Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight. Used widely by the military and law enforcement this is an excellent scope.
The big 4 reasons to use the ACOG is the ruggedness, the simplicity, the fiber optics and the included mount. These four factors make it do its job extremely well, you can literally just pop it onto your rifle out of the box and zero it.
Even if the battery dies the fiber optic will illuminate the reticle. You won’t break it, and you don’t have to worry about the magnification because it’s fixed.
This is the grandfather of BDC designs, Trijicon didn’t invent it but they were the first to get it right. Simply put, the tip of the chevron goes on the head of the silhouette at 100 yards, and you’re set out to as far as the reticle is calibrated to.
Plain and simple, just like everything else on his optic.
If you need a bombproof and dead nuts reliable scope for a rifle that is going to be abused, this is an excellent option. You may do a double take on the price but if you can afford it you’ll never give it up.
- Literally Bombproof
- Integrated mount
- Excellent BDC reticle
- Simple design
Primary Arms is an up and comer in the optics world, without a ton of experience their initial impression are very good, and so are their pieces. They’re scopes have a ton of features and do a ton of things to help you out including small things like battery storage in the turret caps and built in scope caps.
Speaking of batteries, this is one of the most inexpensive illuminated reticle designs you can have for a .308 rifle. It has 11 brightness settings and decent battery life.
This is the third generation of this scope and is lighter, shorter and has more features than ever before. The second focal place reticle maintains its size regardless of magnification to allow you to accurately use their patented BDC for hold overs no matter what setting you have it on.
The magnification maxes out at 6x power so this is ideal out to 400-500 yards maximum but you may have trouble seeing the target out to that distance with the 24mm objective bell not sourcing enough light.
Everything considered this is an excellent choice for a rifle that is designed to be light and fast, a heavy carbine type of rifle. That is where this sort of scope would excel.
- Light weight
- Illuminated Reticle
- Low Price
- Built in Scope Caps
- Small Objective Bell
For people who are going to be using the .308 for hunting they’re far better off using a riflescope designed for hunting. Hunting scopes generally have fewer features, simpler designs and just an overall easier interface that is made for just putting rounds into an animal.
Nikon makes excellent sporting optics and this is an excellent example of one of their rifle scopes purpose made for the .308 cartridge that can be at home on an Ar-10. This model has plenty of magnification with 4-12x power and a massive 40mm objective bell.
This is perfect for hunting because you’ll most likely be out at dawn or dusk when light is at a premium and there’s plenty of magnification should you need to range out.
One of the best features of the scope is the BDC reticle that provides holdovers out to 800 yards. It’s simple and easy to use unlike other models on the market. It is calibrated for a 168gr bullet traveling at 2680fps.
If you practice with 150gr ball ammo or have a short barrel you’re going to be off with the reticle.
- Awesome optical quality
- Great Price
- Very Bright
- A little large for an Ar-10
Leupold is one of the greatest of the American optics manufacturers. They make excellent optics for military and law enforcement worldwide and by far some of the best sporting optics money can buy. This is their idea to marry the best qualities a red dot and a magnified optic have to offer in one single package.
The FireDot reticle is a way to add a red dot to a magnified optic. The optic is limited to it’s 4x power range but the scope was designed from the ground up to be for an Ar pattern rifle.
From its light weight construction, fast focus eye piece and huge adjustment turrets this was designed for use with Ar pattern rifles.
This is a high quality simple to use optic for an Ar-10 that is purpose made for an Ar pattern rifle and what you would need when you take a rifle into the field.
- Magnified Optic
- Illuminated Red Dot
- Limited light transmission
- Battery Operated
The Trijicon ACOG is one of the most successful optic designs to ever be built. The evolution of that is to remedy one of its main features, or limitations depending on how you see it, the fixed magnification.
The VCOG is the Variable Combat Optical Gunsight and is just as tough but it combines a battery-operated reticle and 1-6x power scope. It still includes a one piece rugged mount, a BDC reticle good for 1000 yards, and is still bulky, heavy and bomb proof.
The main problem with this scope is the cost. The premium features and design costs a lot especially for the level of brightness and magnification you get.
The cost alone makes it prohibitive for most shooters but none the less, it might be one of the best scopes for an Ar-10 that has ever been made.
- Rugged as All Get-Out
- Easy to Use Reticle
Rifle Scopes for Ar-10 Buying Tips
Quality is King
When you shop around for a rifle scope you’ll notice that they get expensive very quickly. Don’t buy a brand just because it’s a brand name. In some circumstances a brand name is important for proprietary features and warranty but you can almost always get the same in field benefits for less with an off brand. Quality trumps brands, every time.
Coatings on lenses are what make the light traveling through the scope clear. Some companies have proprietary coatings that filter colors and make the targets stand out better. Other companies use the cheapest coating tings they can. Pay more for a fully multicoated lens with good light transmission, otherwise it’ll be dim at noon and unusable at dawn and dusk.
Dial it Down
More is not always better when it comes to magnification. Try and get in the habit of always dialing the magnification down to it’s lowest power whenever you stop shooting. This means once you’re done sighting in your rifle, dial down the magnification before you pack it up and head to the field. You never know when you might make a snap shot while hunting and you’ll regret it if you miss it because your magnification was up to high.
Make sure if you purchase a BDC reticle you know how to use it. They’re getting better than they use to be but they can be difficult to use under stress and aren’t very intuitive. Practice is the key word and activity here, make sure you know how to use the reticle at all magnifications and ranges. The field is not the place to find out if it works or not!
Rings & Mounts
Make sureyou leave room in the budget for quality rings and mounts. The Ar market is flooded with awesome products but you can never go wrong with a manufacturer’s in house brand for rings and mounts, especially if you bought a quality scope. Quick detach mounts are nice, and sometimes necessary, but add weight, bulk and cost.
Turrets & Dials
Turrets and dials have their place in the optics world but you should really look for low profile and easy to use dials and turrets. Huge turrets can be useful for precision rifles but for a light weight carbine or hunting rifle they’re largely unnecessary and will hurt you in the field.
The American optics industry is one of the best in the world and should you need any support for your product most any company will take care of you. Especially the giants like Leupold Bushnell, you’d be hard pressed to find any negative remarks about their customer service or warranty problems.
Scope are highly technical, expensive, and hard to understand. They’re wizardry and cost makes them hard to experiment with. If you stick to a major brand and outfit yourself with one of the options here, you won’t be disappointed. By no means is this an exhaustive list, but you can certainly begin to understand what to look for by the offerings outlined here.
If you’ve got a flattop Ar10 that’s begging for an optic, get to it! There’s no reason for people to be shooting iron sights these days with so many good options coming in at all budgets and styles on the market. Look for quality scope, one designed to be the best scope for AR 10, and get into the field and use it!