The Scout Rifle concept has been steadily gaining popularity in recent years. A light weight bolt action rifle, chambered in a short action round like .308 is an excellent choice for hunting, and target shooting. The idea behind the forward mounted scope is to allow the shooter to hit targets with maximum situational awareness and ultra-quick snap shots.
Sometime people say they need a “scout rifle” set up for something like an M1a or M1 carbine or other rifle that ejects upward, making is impractical to mount an optic. This is an area where a forward mounted Scout Rifle style optic set up would be ideal.
The best scout scope has generous eye relief, light weight and small size but are still ultra-rugged so they can stand up to the demands of the rifle will face. Here are the best fie you can get your hands on.
5 Best Scout Scopes - Comparison Table
Size, Weight & Shape
The key here is to have as little for these qualities as possible. More so than with a traditional scope, Scout Rifle optics need to weight less and take up less space because they’re mounted further forward.
The reason is that as you move weight further away from your shoulder, the heavier it’s going to feel while you’re carrying it. That combined with the fact you’re much more likely to bang a Scout Rifle optic into obstacle while using means you need a smaller scope to lessen those chances.
Avoid extra big objective bell, huge target turrets or overly adjustment screw or long bodies. They just aren’t necessary and will hurt your performance.
Ruggedness & Durability
This key here is to have as much ruggedness as you can possibly have without weighing too much. A scout optic is going to be swinging around more, making it more prone to banging around in use.
Basic components like finishes, turret caps, or adjustment knobs need to be able to take the abuse without failing.
It also needs a sturdier mount and rings because the increased vibrations from the rifle’s barrel is going to hammer traditional set ups. Take some time and get this area right or you’ll be needing back up iron sights while in the field.
Our Top 5 Best Scout Scopes Reviews
Of the major American optic manufacturers Leupold is one of the finest. By far the largest, they make the largest catalog of tactical and defense scopes and supply many police agencies and militaries around the world as well as having some of the finest sporting optics you can buy.
This is one of their Scout Rifle scopes, a light weight 1.5-4x power scope that is small in size with a 28mm objective bell and short overall length but the right mix of size, weight and features for a scout scope.
It’s long eye relief meets the requirement for use on a Scout Rifle but unlike many other Scout Rifle scopes this scope is smaller, and doesn’t lack any features. Leupold didn’t leave out variable magnification, use inferior coatings or unusable turrets.
They simply designed a scope with everything you absolutely need, and left out everything you absolutely don’t need for a Scout Rifle. Look no further than the fact they made a 28mm objective plenty bright for even brush hunting as dusk and down.
Paired with the correct rifle this is an excellent option more because of what it doesn’t have, rather than what it does. It’s a simple variable powered scope, with long eye relief and bare bones, but high quality, features. In other words, this is a Scout Rifle scope.
- High quality construction
- Very small size
- Excellent optical quality
- Least amount of variable magnification
This scope comes from a sleeper of a company that puts out optics that have really great uses in the field. Known lately for their electronic sights, this is one of their most popular scopes, a purpose made Scout Rifle scope with long eye relief, simple construction, and small overall size.
That simple construction includes a dead simple fixed magnification at 2.75x power. A sweet spot between the close-range snap shooting and the long-distance accuracy the Scout Rifle was designed for. That simple, fixed power design makes the scope much lighter and smaller than other scopes in the same price range and quality bracket.
The scope is fully water proof, and shockproof with doubled up quad seals that make the scope a good choice for a Scout Rifle. Especially if you plan to take shooting classes or use your rifle for hunting where you’ll be swinging around your barrel and scope, putting it danger.
This is the best scout rifle scope for someone looking for a dead simple optic to set up and forget about. It will excel as a defensive rifle, a hunting optic, or just a plinking rifle set up with a forward mounted scope.
- Dead simple design
- Lightweight design
- Excellent durability
- Fixed magnification
Nikon makes excellent scopes, they make tons of excellent optical equipment for all different industries like eye glasses and telescopes. They do medium priced optics the best and have superior optical quality compare to many manufacturers in their price range.
Partially because they’re a foreign company but mostly because they take lower quality glass and use proprietary coatings to make them perform better than others. Their coating processes include am emphasis not just on light transmission but also color filtering to give contrast for hunters and shooters.
Despite a tiny, tiny, 28mm objective bell this little scopes boasts 95% light transmission that is brighter than many other scopes with much larger objective bells. One of the best all-around the scopes this scope also has many features you wouldn’t expect a scout scope to have.
The brightness of the scope is one features, but so are the full-size turrets, the fast focus eye piece and huge magnification range of 2.5-8. You can call on this scope if you need a medium-priced scope that delivers high end optical quality and plenty of features.
It is slightly bigger though thanks to its large turrets and overall long construction so be prepared for the size when you mount it.
- Plenty of magnification
- Excellent brightness
- Bulky turrets
The great thing about this scope is that is optimized for low light performance, yes that includes a full size objective bell, a feature left off most scout scopes for the sake of weight. The magnification range is 2-7x power and is clear through the entire magnification range.
In many ways, this is the Scour Rifle equivalent to the classic 3-9x30 style scope used by hunters for decades. This scope also has the benefit of being quite cheaper than most other scope on the market made for Scout Rifle uses.
The main selling point of this optic is that for the price you won’t get a better purpose made Scout Optic for the money. It’s lightweight, low profile, and will do well in a forward mounted position.
Bushnell makes dozens of different product lines including some of the best “cheap” optics options you can get, they even have products sold in Wal-Mart that are fully serviceable for basic hunting.
Don’t be deterred by the price if all you need is a basic plinking or a backup rifle for deer hunting, this is a decent optic for casual uses.
- Most inexpensive small form factor option
- Excellent performance for the price
- Bulkier than other options
Bushnell’s lineup of inexpensive optics is varied and this is one of their best scout rifle offering that is excellent for hunting.
The reason this scope is such an excellent choice for anyone chasing medium sized game with a forward mounted scope is this is a classic scope specification with long eye relief. A perfect match.
If you grew up on 3-9x power scopes and are used to what your game looks like through those levels of magnification, then you’re in luck because this is an almost, one-of-a-kind scope. Most every Scout Rifle scope is going to be much smaller with less magnification.
The simple fact that you’ll be hard pressed to find more 3-9x40mm offerings with long eye relief, you won’t find it at this price. Especially with this feature package. The decisive advantage of this scope is obviously the size of its objective bell, but also its fully multi coated lenses and fogproof, and shatter resistant construction.
This is just a classic scope with long eye relief. If you shoot other scopes of similar type you’ll appreciate this design, overall though for a Scout Rifle, this is a rather large scope. It’s a bit heavy and bulkier than other offerings so unless you absolutely want this form factor, opt for a smaller scope.
If you like this one though, go for it! It’ll certainly serve you well, especially for the price.
- Large objective bell
- Familiar specifications
- Bulkier and heavier than other options
Choosing the Scope for Your Scout Rifle - Buying Tips
Keep Weight to a Minimum
The further away from your shoulder you move your scope, the more you’re going to feel it. Choose a lightweight scope at all costs. Even if that means having less magnification or a smaller objective bell. Most scopes marked for Scout Rifles will have these features anyway so you won’t have a problem including one that offers this package.
Don’t Buy for Just a Brand
Optics and scopes are made in with fine equipment and get extremely expensive, extremely fast! Don’t fall into the trap of assuming that the most expensive scope on the market is the best.
You don’t need to drop a ton of money to have a basic scope to take hunting. Don’t fall into the trap of worshiping a brand, buy for purpose and function not for a sticker or logo!
Practice, Practice, Practice
Shooting through a forward mounted optic takes some time and experience to do well. It has a pretty stiff learning curve so stay with it and make sure you know what you’re doing before you need to do it!
There’s nothing more shameful than wounding a game animal because you wouldn’t practice! Get out there and use your set up and get good at it!
Consider a Handgun Scope
The old way of outfitting a forward scope was to have a handgun scope mounted above your barrel. A great idea, it can still be done. You won’t gain anything above a purpose made scope like the ones above buy you’ll definitely get a good scope if none of the ones above meet your specifications.
Get a Warranty
A Scout Rifle is going to take more abuse than other rifles just be definition. Hunting, shooting competitions, and hundreds of rounds are going to eventually take their toll. Make sure you have an option if your scope doesn’t hold up like it should. Look for a goof warranty from a reputable manufacturer, otherwise you’ll be up a creek.
Scout scopes are getting more and more popular with prepping and tactical rifles becoming more prevalent. The scout rifle concept certainly has some very distinct advantages with being versatile but to get any of them, you have to be very specific in how you set your rifle up.
A little weight up front is going to make a difference to how the rifle feels in hand. Look online and make sure you get your set up right before you need to use your rifle in the field or in competition.
Just make sure you get out and use it! Too much gear languishes as safe queen equipment, get into the field and shoot your gun!