AR-10 is the civilian version of M16, only bigger in size and shoots bigger rounds. Powerful, accurate and economical, are some of the words you can use to describe this popular rifle in the US. Its popularity has made it mandatory for us to see the best scopes for this rifle.
If you already have the AR-10 or are planning to add this weapon to your arsenal, you’ll want to know the best scopes of the hundreds available. Even though the AR-10 is a precise weapon, it can get even better with the right scope.
The ease of using the rifle improves, your accuracy gets a boost, everything about your shooting experience becomes enjoyable. The AR-10 can shoot a farther distance than similar weapons like the AR-15. This means it needs specialized optics to produce clear and crisp images at that range. Optics that can provide a good field of view even at a range of 800 yards.
In this guide, you’ll see everything you need to know about choosing the right scope for your AR-10; you’ll see some of the best AR-10 scopes plus our top pick. That’s not all, you’ll also get to see their pros, cons, and even factors to consider when choosing a scope for your AR-10.
5 Best AR-10 Scope
To save you time and resources, we’ve compiled a list of the best AR-10 scopes that have been tested and trusted. These scopes have been able to stand out from the others in the market as the best fit for your AR-10 rifle. Bear in mind that they all come at varying prices. You’ll find both budget and high-end scopes for you to choose from.
At a Glance: Our top pics for the best AR-10 Rifle Scopes
- Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 4-24×50 Second Focal Plane Rifle Scope – Our top pick
- Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40mm Dead-Hold BDC Rifle Scope
- UTG 3-12×44 Compact Scope – Our budget pick
- Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 4-16×44 SFP Scope
- Primary Arms SLX 3-18x50mm
In case you want to know about the scopes, in brief, this comparison table below is tailor-made for you.
|Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 4-24×50 Second Focal Plane Rifle Scope||• Magnification of 4-24x|
• EBR-4 MOA reticle
• Available parallax adjustment knob
|Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40mm Dead-Hold BDC Rifle Scope||• Magnification of 4-12x|
• Dead hold BDC reticle
|UTG 3-12x44 Compact Scope||• Magnification of 3-12x|
|Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 4-16x44 SFP Scope||• Magnification of 4-16x|
• VMR-1 MOA reticle
• Good eye relief
|Primary Arms SLX 3-18x50mm||• Magnification of 3-18x|
• Lifetime warranty
• Illuminated reticle
#1. Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 4-24×50 Second Focal Plane Rifle Scope
You may be surprised to find out that even though the scope is our top pick for AR-10 rifles, it is quite affordable; at below $500, it stands tall above most of the scopes in a similar price range.
It is made by the popular Vortex optics brand. This scope embodies the virtues of the vortex brand, durability, and great optics. Vortex strike eagle rifle scope comes with an amazing magnification range of 4 to 24x. It will comfortably serve you short to long-range needs especially given that the AR-10 shoots a farther distance than regular rifles. This scope allows you to attain optimum precision at those long ranges.
The range of this scope makes it ideal for both tactical shooting and hunting, even at long distances.
It has a 50mm objective lens, which is very important if you must get clear images at higher magnification. It allows light to enter the scope and deliver better image quality. The lens is multi-coated for better light transmission through the tube. The multi-coated lens also helps to protect the lens from dust, scratches, and damage—all these help to produce clear images up to 20x magnification. You’ll begin to notice little distortions along the edges of the image as you approach 24x magnification.
The images are set on the second focal plane, which allows for consistency in the reticle size irrespective of zoom. It uses an advanced reticle specially designed to cater for long-range shooting – EBR-4 MOA reticle. This reticle makes the calculation of windage, elevation, and range so much easier. With its 11 different illumination settings available to choose from, all light conditions are covered, and you no longer have to worry about using this scope in poor light conditions.
Like most vortex scopes, this scope is super durable as it is made from aircraft-grade aluminum. It is also O-ring sealed and nitrogen-purged to keep moisture out of the scope and prolong its life. It can withstand the recoil pressure from the rifle; it will not break if it falls and can be used in carrying weather conditions.
It comes with windage, elevation, and parallax knobs which gives you a lot of control and increases its accuracy. The turrets are zero resettable, which means you can quickly get your zero settings back after adjustments.
The dials on this scope are stiff and would require usage over a long time to loosen up. The scope is also heavy, weighing 25.6 ounces.
- Wide magnification range of 4-24x
- The wide objective lens of 50mm
- Highly durable
- Shockproof, waterproof and fog proof
- Parallax adjustment is available
- EBR-4 MOA reticle
- Multi-coated lens
- Heavy and bulky
- Distorted edges at higher magnification
- Stiff turrets
#2. Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40mm Dead-Hold BDC Rifle Scope
Another Vortex optics scope making our list of top scopes for AR-10 rifles is no surprise. The brand prides itself in producing quality rifle scopes, and the Diamondback dead hold BDC scope is no different. This scope may not have several additional features, but what it does give are reliability and simplicity. It fits the AR-10 rifle perfectly and would be a good addition to your arsenal.
With a decent magnification range of 4-12x covering short to long-range shooting, although not as long as the above-listed vortex scope, this the 40mm objective lens size. Wide enough for good amounts of light to enter and produce wood image quality even at the higher magnification ranges. Even at higher magnifications, the images it produces will be crisp and clear, with no distorted edges on the image.
Simple yet durable as it is made from aircraft-grade aluminum materials, which keep it in one piece even if it falls. It is also able to withstand the high recoil of the AR-10 rifle. The tube is argon-purged, which helps to keep fog from forming inside the scope and blocking the lens. It is also waterproof.
It uses the popular Vortex dead hold bullet drop compensator reticle. The lens is multi-coated, which helps the transmission of light through the scope to produce clear images. It also helps to focus the reticle quickly.
Its simplicity means you do not have to spend time trying to learn how to use this scope. It is easy to understand and use. It has finger-adjustable turrets with audible clicks to guide you. A drawback to using this scope is the lack of parallax adjustment. You may struggle with the parallax above 50 yards.
- Magnification range of 4-12x
- Good objective lens size of 40mm
- Dead hold BDC reticle
- Shockproof, waterproof and fog proof
- Finger adjustable turrets
- Easy to use
- Lack of parallax adjustments
#3. UTG 3-12×44 Compact Scope
This is our top budget pick. The UTG optics brands may not be as popular as Bushnell and Vortex, but it is constantly producing exceptional optics for weapons. The UTG 3-12×44 compact scope will fit your AR-10 rifle like a second arm.
It is affordable and durable. Its magnification range starts from 3 to 12x. It was covering short distances through to the lower end of long distances. With an objective lens of 44mm, clear images will not be a problem as the lens is wide enough for light to enter and work its magic on the image. A real compact design with a unique front-end design makes it aesthetically pleasing.
Its glass quality may not be the best but it is decent enough to serve its purpose. Simple yet effective is the best way to describe this scope. It uses a mil-dot reticle which is great for beginners. The reticle helps in accurately estimating long-range distances for your shooting. Its illumination is uninterrupted as it is protected in a special unit.
Its eye relief of 3.3 inches is enough for the AR-10 rifle, and you wouldn’t have any recoil injury using this scope. The eye box, on the other hand, is rather too tight at higher magnifications.
One thing I particularly like in this scope is its zeroing capabilities. It holds zero well, and calibrating this scope and adjusting for accuracy is so easy. This way, you can remove and reattach it without losing your set zero. You do not need special training to be able to use the scope effectively.
It has multi-coated optics and multi emerald lenses, which helps its image quality and durability of the scope as it prevents scratches. Its simplicity makes it the perfect beginner scope for your AR-10 rifle.
It has windage, elevation, and parallax adjustment knobs to help you attain optimum accuracy. The turrets are finger adjustable but maybe tight initially. The LED light may also struggle to hold under recoil.
- Wide magnification range of 3-12x
- The wide objective lens of 44mm
- Parallax adjustment available
- Multi-coated optics and multi emerald lenses
- Good eye relief
- LED light may struggle to hold recoil
- Turrets may be tight initially
#4. Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 4-16×44 SFP Scope
Here’s another scope you can use on your AR-10 rifle and be guaranteed awesome results. Vortex optics viper HS-T scope with a wide magnification range of 4 to 16x is just perfect for medium to long-distance shooting. It can be tactical shooting or hunting. This scope, however, provides certain advantages that make it a popular hunting scope.
An objective lens size of 44mm ensures clear and crisp images are formed even at higher magnifications. It uses a VMR-1 MOA style reticle, and because it is on the second plane, its side will not change even as you change the magnification. This is an awesome feature to have when aiming at moving targets. This is another reason hunters love this scope. It can also be used for quick targeting during tactical shooting when the target is not stationary.
This is a highly durable scope that can withstand shock, as it has fully multi-coated lenses which will not crack or damage under recoil or when it falls. Its body is also made from durable materials that allow you to use it for a long time without damage. The tube is argon-purged to keep fog from forming inside and causing blurry vision, while the body is O-ring sealed to prevent moisture from getting into the scope when used in wet conditions.
This scope has a wide eye relief of 4 inches which is not only perfect for AR-10 but also ideal for other high recoil rifles. The turrets come with a CRS zero stop that helps you to adjust the scope for maximum accuracy even at higher magnifications. It has windage, elevation, and parallax knob that are all easy to calibrate for zero.
- Wide magnification range of 4-16x
- Good eye relief of 4 inches
- CRS zero stop turret adjustable knobs
- VMR-1 MOA reticle
- Shockproof, waterproof and fog proof
- Parallax adjustment available
- Wide objective lens
- Parallax adjustment may weaken over time
#5. Primary Arms SLX 3-18x50mm
If your shooting is in the range of short to medium distances, then this may just be the scope for your AR-10 rifle. This is a popular scope among rifle users, and the reason for this popularity is not far-fetched, seeing its obvious peculiarities. Here, we’ll see both the obvious and hidden reasons why this scope is perfect for your AR-10 rifle.
This primary Arms SLX scope has a magnification range of 3-18x, which covers your short distances shooting through to medium distances and even some long distances. And with a wide objective lens of 50mm, you shouldn’t have a problem with getting clear images even in low light conditions.
There’s also an illuminated reticle for low-light shooting. The brightness settings can be adjusted to any of the 6 available brightness settings depending on the light available. All these are powered by a CR2032 battery which is a common scope battery.
At 100 yards and the lowest magnification, you get a field of view of 36.7 feet, while at the highest magnification at 100 yards, you get a field of view of 8.1 feet which is wide enough for you to see the surroundings of your target. The eye relief of 3.9 to 3.5 inches depending on magnification is perfect for the AR-10 rifle.
There are windage, elevation, and parallax adjustment knobs on this scope. There is also a lifetime warranty that covers even normal wear and tears.
Primary Arms SLX 3-18×50 is a durable scope made from strong materials and sealed perfectly to keep moisture out. Its flip-up covers protecting the two lenses from damage will also ensure you enjoy this scope for a long time.
- Wide magnification range of 3-18x
- Flip-up covers covering its lenses
- Wide objective lens
- Lifetime warranty
- Available parallax adjustment
- Good eye relief
- Illuminated reticle
- Fogproof, waterproof, and shockproof
- Flip-up covers become weak, especially in cold weather
Factors to Consider when Choosing a Scope for AR-10
If you want to make the best decision when it comes to choosing a good scope for your AR-10 rifle, here are factors you should consider. These factors will make your decision easier and help you make the best choice.
One of the first things you should consider when choosing the scope for your AR-10. The magnification of the scope should match your needs. You should also remember that AR-10 is a long-range rifle, so having a scope with higher magnification ranges may be ideal.
Nevertheless, the ultimate decision lies in the distance you intend to be shooting from. For short-range shooting, you may not even need a scope except for tiny targets. In this case, magnification ranges below 5 are recommended.
For medium-range shooting, you need scopes with ranges between 5x to 12x. For long-distance shooting, you need scopes with ranges covering 12x and up to 25x.
- Glass Quality
The glass quality, among other things, is responsible for the image quality the scope can produce.
The lens should be multi-coated to ensure adequate light transmission through the tube and also prevent cracking and scratches which will affect the quality of the image it can produce.
The need for a durable scope cannot be overemphasized. Even though the AR-10 does not have a heavy recoil, it is still important to have a scope that can withstand impact from fall and can be used in varying weather conditions.
Gas-purged tubes, durable materials, and a completely sealed body are some of the things you should be looking for.
How much have you budgeted for a scope? Consider the price of the scopes in question before you commit to purchasing them. Is it something you can afford?
Bear in mind price does not always mean quality. You can get good enough scope at budget-friendly prices if you look well.
Choosing any of the listed AR-10 scopes will immediately make you a better shooter as the accuracy, speed, and effectiveness of your shooting will improve.