In order for the .308 rifle to get near perfect results, there's a rifle accessory that you just can't do without:
The correct and best .308 rifle scope... especially if shooting long range.
Unfortunately, finding that 'best' scope for a .308 isn't easy to do.
That is why I have created this list for you to find the Best Scope for a .308 Hunting Rifle.
Top 4 Best .308 Scopes
- Vortex Diamondback HP 4-16x42mm
- Leupold VX-2 3-9x40mm
- Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9x40mm
- Vortex Crossfire II AO 6-18-44mm
I've spent a lot of time researching and testing a lot of different optics for a .308 carbine and have been able to narrow down the list to the top 4 best 308 scopes which you can buy right now.
Best Rifle Scopes for .308 in 2018 - Top 4
These scopes may not be for everyone as some of them carry a higher price tag.
With that said, these rifle scopes are good enough to make our list of the Top 4 best rifle scopes for a .308 to buy in 2018, and for good reason. Below are my .308 scope recommendations:
Why didn’t I include other Popular .308 rifle scopes on my top 4 list?
Lots of people are wondering why I didn’t include some of the other .308 rifle scopes like the Nikon M-308 4-16×42 or the Trijicon ACOG 3×32 on my Top 4 list? After reviewing them, the answer is simple.
- These .308 optics are very expensive.
- Honestly, they don’t really deliver any better experience compared to the less expensive .308 optics on the market.
- There are some extra features added on that aren’t necessary unless you’re in the military (ie. military grade materials).
So, in simple words, you are paying for unnecessary features that drive up the price. Some of you may not mind the extra features and don’t mind the higher price tag, but for most, we want to find the best .308 rifle scope for the money.
For now, these rifle optics are a little expensive, especially if you are just looking for something to get the job done or are on a budget.
However, we believe that these rifle scopes are ok if you are the type of person who is not on a budget and wants the extra features as these scopes and other high tier scopes are definitely high quality.
.308 Rifle Quick Overview
The .308 Winchester has always been a popular choice for shooters and hunters because it is relatively economical, manageable recoil, and its ability to hunt medium to large sized game.
That being said, it doesn’t offer the same performance as larger calibre rifle such as the .300 Win Mag or 7mm Rem Mag, so your choice of scope is that much more important. The .308 replaced the 30-06 rifle for military use in the 1980s.
A 308 cartridge is great all round hunting rifle for medium to large sized animals, depending on what grain ammunition you are loading, your accuracy, and distance.
I personally don’t like shooting large game at long distances with a 308 for ethical reasons but it sure does take down deer or hogs at almost any distance.
In terms of deciding which scope you should mount on your .308 hunting rifle, I recommend spending about half as much as you spent on the rifle.
Technology has improved far enough that you can definitely get away with a $200 scope if you choose – it just may not be quite as accurate or last quite as long.
Considerations for the Best .308 Rifle Scope
Before buying a rifle scope for your .308, talk to your hunting and shooting buddies to get their advice. There is no substitute for doing your homework!
Decide how far you plan on shooting. What is your ideal or most likely shot?
For me, I want a scope that can provide the accuracy for at least a 300 yard shot. I find that is at the high end for most of the hunting I do and to be honest, if you are worrying about making a 600 yard shot, you probably aren’t giving yourself the best chance for hunting success.
If you are looking for the best rifle scope for a .308, consider buying a good quality spotting scope.
These will allow you to see greater distances to spot wildlife and are often used on the shooting range so you can see exactly where your bullet is hitting the target. This way you can really fine tune your scope!
Price range is important when deciding what scope will work on your rifle. Although you don’t need to buy a $1500 Schmidt & Bender I do recommend spending between $150 and $500.
If that isn’t in your price range today, do yourself a favor and save some more money before “pulling the trigger” on buying a new scope.
There are a lot of brands out there making quality and affordable scopes for a 308. See "A Complete List of the Best Rifle Scope Brands (Including Most Affordable Rifle Scope Brands)" for a listing of the most popular brands.
For a quality scope in this category, I trust Leupold, Nikon, and Vortex.
Best Rifle Scopes for a 308 Reviewed
The Vortex Diamondback High Performance offers clear glass throughout the magnification range in front of its durable and rugged design.
The scope has the side parallax adjustment which is a bonus at the price range.
It comes with a healthy 4” eye relief which is very comfortable and relatively easy to sight in.
Vortex is known for building quality scopes at various price ranges and this is no exception. This is really the best vortex scope for a 308.
Another bonus with buying a Vortex optic is that it comes with one of the best warranties included.
- Unlimited Lifetime Warranty
- Fully Transferable
- No warranty card to fill out
- No receipt needed to hang on to
While reviewing this scope I looked to see if it would let me shoot at a long distance and would not break the bank so I mounted this scope on my .308, went out to the range to test the scope there and then headed out on a 4 day hunting excursion in the back country with a buddy.
Happy to report that between all the rounds I put through it at the range before hand and during the hunt, it held perfectly zero. I also noticed that the scope never fogged up at all, which has been the case for me sometimes with other more expensive brands.
I shot about 60 rounds at the range and was really happy as it was very clear and lets in a lot of light, something that I always look for in my scopes. even in the shade it did a great job.
I also really liked the side AO and zooming from 4 to 16 was very very smooth.
A draw back to this scope is that it is pretty heavy (2 lbs) when compared to other rifle scopes for mobility. It’s not something I would ever want to mount for a tactical use.
It also isn’t the best scope to take in the brush, sometimes it would have a hard time focusing.
Overall I was pleasantly surprised by this scope. It comes with BDC reticle, something that is a must for me when hunting because I don't have time to mess with the elevation adjustments in the field.
And I especially like this scope's BDC reticle because I like the hash marks instead of circles that sometimes come on other BDC reticles (such as with Nikon).
The glass was my favorite feature and a rifle is only as good as the piece of glass it's wearing (referring to its rifle scope).
This Vortex is currently selling with a sunshade and lens cover, however it doesn’t come with scope rings. Make sure you don’t cheap out – buy quality scope rings.
In short, the Vortex Diamondback HP is the perfect and best .308 rifle scope for the money. It is a clear high quality scope that is worth every penny when you only get one shot.
- Unconditional Lifetime Warranty
- Super high quality for the price.
- Very clear glass and sometimes more clear than other scopes from quality brands.
- Be aware of the heavy weight.
- Has a hard time focusing in certain environments, such as the brush.
Objective Lens: 42mm
Tube Diameter: 1”
Windage/elevation: 1/4 MOA
One of my favorite rifle scopes built by one of the industry's most trusted brands is Leupold's VX-2 Scope.
If you want a quality scope and one of the best .308 scopes that will withstand all the abuse that you can throw at it while maintaining zero, this is my recommendation.
With solid reviews from hunters and shooters alike, Leupold continues to impress with this product.
The VX-2 is light, exceptionally clear, and does not fog up easily. It comes with finger click adjustable turrets which are convenient.
You can't beat Leupold for the price. With this scope and after sighting it in using the proper techniques, I was consistently shooting sub-MOA out to 300 yards and MOA at 400 yards. Although I typically don't shoot above 400 yards (my average deer shot is 200-250 yards), it sure is nice knowing that this scope allows me to have that extra reach.
It has a sleek design and low profile and the clarity is really really great.
At the range, sighting in the scope was pretty easy and took me only a few round to get a 1" grouping.
I always love using these scope reviews to get me out there to hunt, and so of course, that's what I did.
I found an 8 point buck at around 150 yards at dusk, 10 min to sundown and the picture was still very bright. Needless to say, I got him. For the money, it did the job.
When comparing this to the Vortex Diamondback HP, this Leupold almost won. There were a few things that almost made me choose the Leupold over the Vortex as the best .308 rifle scope:
- Weight is much lighter than the Diamondback HP, weighing in at a little under 1 lb!
- Seemed to be a little more crisp around the edges
- Eye relief felt a little more forgiving than the Vortex Diamondback HP
The only downside is that the adjustments may not hold up to continued use. Many shooters like to dial-in adjustments for varying reasons instead of holding over or under.
Overall the Leupold is a great optic and is particularly a great rifle scope for a .308 if you are a hunter.
It was close on my list to take the top spot, but in the end, the Vortex Diamondback HP took the lead as I felt the glass was just slightly better (barely) and Ifavor the Vortex BDC reticles.
Regardless, the Leupold is one of the best scopes for a .308 hunting rifle and really one of the best Leupold scopes for a 308.
In short, the Leupold VX-2 is the perfect and best .308 rifle scope for hunters. You will hit your target at most long ranges and the glass is extremely clear. Your investment in this scope will stand the test of time as its durability is one of its top features..
- Lifetime Warranty
- Extremely durable and will last years.
- Very clear picture and great quality glass.
- Considered the standard in hunting and for good reason.
- Adjustments won’t be able to handle continued use over a long period of time
Objective Lens: 40mm
Tube Diameter: 1”
Windage/elevation: 1/4 MOA
Nikon, an optics industry leader, teamed up with Buck Masters to produce this high quality and extremely durable riflescope.
If you are looking for a tough, all water-proof scope for your 308, this is a great option.
It features Nikon’s brighter anti-reflective system of multi coated lenses which provides ample light transmission and optical clarity.
The quality image and consistent viewing throughout the magnification range is standard with all Nikon scopes.
The Nikon Buckmasters is the perfect rifle scope for someone who is looking for the best .308 scope for $100.
It used to be its midline between the Prostaff and Monarch, but now the Buckmaster is now considered an entry level line for Nikon.
I tested it out on my 30-06 first and loved it. So I had to try it for the .308.
As I was testing the Nikon Buckmaster the first thing I noticed was how bright the glass was. It seems ultra bright when compared to glass from other optics.
And I have to admit, I dropped my rifle a 3 times pretty hard off of the shooting bench, (I was clumsy that day) and it didn't move zero at all. That was definitely impressive since most scopes closer to $100 will lose zero in these cases.
And to be honest, this would be a great scope if it was closer to $200, but even better value considering that it is closer to $100!
The scope was very easy to install and zero at the range.
Overall, for a .308 rifle scope under $200, this Nikon Buckmaster is a great scope. It is not a high dollar scope, but it does not need to be for a rifle that goes in the woods.
If you are a low maintenance hunter, all your scope needs to be is accurate and able to stay on zero. Both of which this scope does!
It gets decent enough light collection at dusk, but it is not a night vision scope. It got blurry for me 5 min before sunset.
The Vortex Crossfire 2 is known for featuring a higher standard as compared to other riflescopes in its class.
With an exceptional magnification range, this scope is perfect on a .308 for long range shots and at the range.
I was particularly impressed with how clear the image was at 18x magnification.
If you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg but looking for a quality long distance scope, the Vortex Crossfire is right for you. My son was amazed with how accurate he could group at 150 yards on his 308.
And for a .308 scope under $200, you can't go wrong with this one.
Again, another rifle scope from Vortex means that you get their amazing lifetime warranty. Really this warranty is awesome.
As I tested the scope out at the range I was blown away by how well it's built! I usually feel this way about Vortex optics but for some reason the Crossfire felt strong and durable.
After I got it zero'd I was very happy with my shot groupings. At 100 yards I had no problem finding the bullseye and it looked like I was standing 10 ft away! I even convinced another shooter at the range to get one as well as he was super impressed.
So, I decided to go take it deer hunting. Looking through the BDC reticle was great. I spotted a dear pretty just under 200 yards. That's usually farther than i like as I'm not the most accurate shooter (which is why I love a good rifle scope). The crosshairs were very fine so it was easy to see the deer.
And I dropped it on the first shot!
I knew I would have success as this scope truly made me look like a better shooter than I really am.
Overall, the Crossfire is made very well. It's shockproof construction withstands recoil and impact. It's also made of a one-piece aircraft-grade aluminum alloy.
I was very happy with what I found and for under $200, this is one of the best rifle scopes for a .308. You can't go wrong..
Final Thoughts - Best .308 Rifle Scope
The 308 rifle is one of the most popular rifles in the United States because it is relatively inexpensive and economical to shoot or hunt with.
That being said, if you are an avid hunter and looking to bring home meat for your family, you need to pair your .308 with a quality scope. What I have learned over the years is hunting is an enjoyable investment and it makes sense to buy quality products and accessories that will last for years to come.
If you are looking for my information and advice with choosing a rifle scope, check out this guide.
My recommendation for the best scope for a 308 is the Vortex Diamondback HP (though the Leupold VX-2 comes in close 2nd).
It offers the clearest, most consistent image at all ranges of the magnification and is backed by one of the top manufacturers of quality hunting scopes. And for the money, its jam packed with value.