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Best Rifle Scopes
for an AR-10

By Patrick Long |
Leupold AR10 Rifle Scope

The AR-10 is a semi-automatic rifle platform that is similar in design to the popular AR-15, but is chambered for larger cartridges such as the .308 Winchester and 7.62x51mm NATO. The rifle is known for its accuracy, power, and modular design, which allows for easy customization and the ability to add accessories such as scopes, bipods, and muzzle brakes.

The key attachment we will be looking at today is the scope. Depending on how you use your AR-10, you could need a very different scope. Seeing as you can outfit an AR-10 for just about anything, there are way too many options out there for your optics, but Sportsmans has your back.

Common Uses For an AR-10

One of the most popular uses for the AR-10 is as a hunting rifle. The .308 Winchester cartridge is well-suited for taking down medium-sized game such as deer and hogs, and the rifle's accuracy and power make it a viable option for longer-range shots. If you are hunting under 300 yards, you will be fine with a 3-9x scope. If you are a western hunter, you may want a 16x scope to reach out over 500 yards.

Another common use for the AR-10 is in competitive shooting. The rifle's accuracy and modular design make it a popular choice for both long-range and tactical shooting competitions. Some competitions can reach out to 1000 yards, and if that is the case for you, you will want a scope that has around 30x magnification.

The AR-10 is also used by some law enforcement and military units as a designated marksman rifle (DMR). The rifle's accuracy and power make it well-suited for long-range engagements, and it can be used to engage targets at distances beyond the capabilities of a standard issue assault rifle. To stay versatile, these kinds of rifles will be well off with a 3-12x magnification.

Is a Red Dot, Variable, or Fixed Scope Best?

The choice between a red dot, variable, or fixed scope for an AR-10 rifle depends on the intended use and personal preference of the shooter. Realistically, you can have a variable scope mounted to your rifle and canted iron sights or a red dot attached on a picatinny rail. This would give you the right magnification at nearly every range.

A red dot sight, also known as a reflex sight, is a popular choice for close- to medium-range shooting. They offer a wide field of view, fast target acquisition, and are easy to use. They do not have magnification, so they are best for close-range shooting.

Variable scopes, on the other hand, offer adjustable magnification, which allows the shooter to engage targets at a variety of ranges. They are a good option for long-range shooting and hunting. They are more complex than red dot sights, but they offer more versatility.

A fixed scope has a set magnification and they are less complex than variable scopes. They are simple to use and are usually made specifically for AR’s, so they are worth looking at. Although, if you want your AR-10 to be a versatile rifle, restricting it to a single magnification isn’t the best idea.

Common Cartridges for an AR-10

The AR-10 is a semi-automatic rifle designed to chamber a variety of cartridges. Some of the most common cartridges (and their Sportsmans Recoil Score) that an AR-10 can be chambered in include:

  • .308 Winchester (2.97 SRS): This is the most popular cartridge for the AR-10. It offers good accuracy, power, and range, making it suitable for a wide range of shooting applications, including hunting and long-range target shooting.
  • .243 Winchester (2.16 SRS): This is a smaller cartridge than the .308, but it still offers good accuracy and range. It is a popular choice for hunting and target shooting with lighter recoil.
  • 6.5 Creedmoor: This cartridge offers excellent accuracy and long-range performance, making it a popular choice for long-range target shooting and hunting.
  • .338 Federal (3.33 SRS): This is a more powerful cartridge than the .308 and .243. It offers good accuracy and range, but it is more suited for hunting larger game and long-range target shooting.
  • .260 Remington (2.5 SRS): Another cartridge that provides good accuracy and range. It is used for long-range target shooting and hunting.
  • .224 Valkyrie (1.5 SRS): This is a cartridge that is designed to provide long-range accuracy and flat trajectory. It is suitable for long-range target shooting and varmint hunting.

It's important to note that these are only some of the cartridges available on an AR-10 platform and the AR-10 is not a standardized platform and different manufacturers may have different options for chambering, so it's always best to check with the manufacturer to see what cartridges are compatible with a particular model of AR-10.

To play it safe, you should get a scope with at least 3.5 inches of eye relief for your AR-10. This isn’t a hard thing to do, there are plenty of these scopes on the market. You just want to make sure that you have enough room to handle the larger cartridges your AR-10 could offer without looking like a coon for a few days after the shot. You will also want a well-made scope that can hold up to the recoil of a large caliber.

Best for Close to Mid-Range AR’s: Sig Sauer Tango-MSR LPVO 1-6x24mm

Sig Sauer Tango-MSR LPVO 1-6x24mm Rifle Scope - BDC6
Sig Sauer Tango-MSR LPVO 1-6x24mm Rifle Scope - BDC6
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The Sig Sauer Tango-MSR LPVO 1-6x24mm scope is an excellent choice for an AR-10 rifle for several reasons. First, the magnification range of 1-6x is ideal for a rifle like the AR-10, which is commonly designed for both close and mid-range engagements. The 1x magnification allows for quick and easy target acquisition at close range, while the 6x magnification provides the precision needed for longer-range shots.

The objective lens size of 24mm is also large enough to provide a wide field of view, which is essential for quick target acquisition. The Ultra Low Dispersion (ULD) Glass Coating is also specially designed to provide excellent light transmission and clarity, which is vital for accurate shooting.

Overall, the Sig Sauer Tango-MSR LPVO 1-6x24mm scope is an excellent choice for use with an AR-10 rifle due to its versatile magnification range, large objective lens size, high-quality lens coating, and second focal plane MOA reticle. It offers the perfect balance of precision, quick target acquisition, and versatility making it a go-to option for many shooters.

Key Features

  • 1-6x Magnification
  • 24mm Objective Lens
  • Ultra Low Dispersion (ULD) Glass Coating
  • MOA System
  • Second Focal Plane

Best for Versatile DMR’s: Hawke Frontier 3-18x 50mm

Hawke Frontier 3-18x 50mm Rife Scope - MOA Pro Ext Reticle
Hawke Frontier 3-18x 50mm Rife Scope - MOA Pro Ext Reticle
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If you are looking for an excellent scope to use with your AR-10 rifle, then the Hawke Frontier 3-18x 50mm scope is definitely worth a peak. This quality scope comes with an impressive range of features that make it one of the best options on the market today.

The Hawke Frontier 3-18x 50mm provides up to 18 times magnification power, which makes it perfect for long distance shooting without sacrificing accuracy and precision at other ranges. The generous objective lens size (50mm) allows more light transmission, which results in brighter images with improved clarity and resolution even in low light conditions. Its fully multi-coated lenses ensure maximum image brightness and contrast while reducing glare and minimizing chromatic aberration or “color fringing” around objects at high magnifications.

Another important factor when selecting a scope is its reticle placement in relation to the focal plane – first or second? With its First Focal Plane MOA design, the Hawke Frontier 3-18x 50mm offers excellent accuracy over a wide range of magnifications as well as precise ranging capabilities no matter what power setting you’re using.

Key Features

  • 3-18x Magnification
  • 50mm Objective Lens
  • Fully Multi-Coated Lenses
  • MOA System
  • First Focal Plane

Best All Around: Bushnell Nitro 3-12x44mm

Bushnell Nitro 3-12x44mm Rifle Scope - Multi-X
Bushnell Nitro 3-12x44mm Rifle Scope - Multi-X
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If you’re looking for a reliable scope to pair with your AR-10 rifle, the Bushnell Nitro 3-12x44mm scope is a good bet. This scope offers features that can help you get the most out of your rifle. The Bushnell Nitro 3-12x44mm has an impressive 12x magnification range, which is more than enough to reach out to 400 yards.

The 44mm objective lens on this scope gives you plenty of light transmission and gives you a wide field of view, which helps with finding targets in the scope at longer distances. Thanks to its fully multi-coated lenses, this optic provides maximum light transmission and improved clarity when looking down range. This ensures that everything appears brighter without distortion or blurriness so you can stay focused on making accurate shots even in low light conditions.

The MOA second focal plane reticle on this Bushnell Nitro 3-12x44mm also looks great from a tree stand. If you're looking for a scope that can do it all with your AR-10 rifle then the Bushnell Nitro 3-12x44mm is the one; offering incredible magnifying capabilities along with top notch lens coatings and precision reticles all packed into one small package - what more could anyone ask?

Key Features

  • 3-12x Magnification
  • 44mm Objective Lens
  • Fully Multi-Coated Lenses
  • MOA System
  • Second Focal Plane