If you are going to hunt coyotes, deers, or need to protect yourself from something as large as a bear, the Ruger AR 556 is great but guns alone don’t always cut it.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could scope and aim at your targets from hundreds of yards? That’s where a scope comes in.
But not any scope. Your scope should be durable, easy to mount/detach, have the adjustments needed for a precise aim, and weather-resistant.
And to help you find the right scope whether you have a small budget or not, I have put together a list of the best Ruger AR 556 scopes for the money in 2022
If you’d like to skip the details and make a quick purchase, here’s a summary of my top picks.
And below is a comparison of the picks (just in case you need that little bit of details).
- Bushnell TRS-25 AR – Our Top Pick
- Nikon P-223
- Vortex Optics Crossfire II
- UTG 3-9X32 1″ BugBuster Scope
- Trijicon ACOG 4 X 32 Scope
Best Ruger AR 556 Scopes
|Bushnell TRS-25 AR||• Great scope for budget buyers as it costs less than $100|
• 11 brightness settings give you a decent view in low light
• Very versatile, can also be used on shotguns, etc.
|Nikon P-223||• Excellent image quality in low light and highest magnification|
• BDC reticle takes into account bullet drop off up to 150 yards
• Equipped with Spot On Ballistic Match Technology for 100% precision
|Vortex Optics Crossfire II||• SFP reticle doesn’t zoom in/out and remains large for precision|
• Smooth turrets with capping for protection and precision
• Comes with a lifetime warranty
|UTG 3-9X32||• Nitrogen purging prevents the lens from fogging up|
• The locking system guarantees turrets never change position
• Special mil-dot reticle for precise aiming
|Trijicon ACOG||• The reticle is illuminated without a battery for hassle-free usage|
• Reticle automatically adjusts the brightness
• Trijicon scopes are used by the Army, Air Force, and Special Forces
But if you are a nerd and love to go over details, here are the nitty-gritty details for you.
1. Bushnell TRS-25 AR (Best Budget Ruger AR 556 Scope)
Maybe you are on a tight budget and don’t have thousands of dollars to spend or maybe, you are just a hobbyist that needs a scope for occasional use, either way, Bushnell TRS-25 AR is the way to go as it costs less than $100.
While the optics of the TRS-25 AR isn’t exactly HD quality, it outdoes most others in the price range. One of the reasons being, it comes with 11 brightness settings that can be adjusted in seconds thanks to the conveniently placed dials.
Similarly, the dials to adjust the windage and elevation have also been ergonomically placed ensuring quick adjustments while the knobs are smooth to turn.
I also love how well it holds zero. Whether it is through numerous water splashes or thousands of shots from high recoil guns, the TRS-25 AR knows how to hold its own.
Yup, you heard it right, it is water-resistant and making it so are the sealed o-rings, and its strong aluminum build while the nitrogen purging means the lens never becomes foggy irrespective of the weather.
And that strong metal build doesn’t make it heavy either as it weighs a mere 3.7g so you can carry it around with ease.
It is also easy to mount and detach, so even if you have never used scopes before, it should take you less than 3 minutes to get the scope up and ready.
Plus, since it is compatible with almost any Picatinny rail, you can also mount it on pistols, shotguns, and other rifles, thus eliminating the need to buy multiple scopes and, in turn, saving you a few bucks.
Another thing you’ll love about the scope is its battery life. For low-cost scope, the long battery life was a pleasant surprise. There’s also a rubber scope to protect the lens from dust, dirt, and damage.
On the downsides, the riser isn’t very durable (may not even last you a couple of months) and thus I’d suggest you get one separately. Also, the optics aren’t suitable for low light. So if you plan to go hunting on a cloudy day, think again.
Lastly, it has low magnification so if that’s important to you, I’d suggest you check out the picks below.
- It is water and fog-resistant
- Good durability for the price
- Takes less than 3 minutes to install or detach
- It can also be used with other rifles, shotguns, etc.
- Weighs a mere 0.3 lbs
- Holds zero really well irrespective of your movements
- Costs less than $100
- 11 brightness settings improve the view
- Good battery life
- All dials are smooth and conveniently placed
- Poor display in low light conditions
- Riser durability is poor
- Low magnification
Yes, the Bushnell has its flaws but considering it costs less than $100, these aren’t dealbreakers, especially if you are looking for a low-budget purchase.
#2: Nikon P-223
You may know them for the cameras, but did you know Nikon also manufactures binoculars and scopes? Maybe not, but considering their amazing lens quality, that comes as no surprise, and the P-223 scope lives up to the reputation of the brand.
You want crystal clear pictures irrespective of whether you are hunting in low-light or at 12x magnification and Nikon ensures just that and here’s how.
First and foremost, they use premium quality lenses. Furthermore, these lenses have numerous layers of anti-reflective coating throughout that improve light transmission for a brighter, sharper display
Then there is the nitrogen purging as well that keeps the lens from fogging up, ensuring even the weather doesn’t hinder your view.
Another standout feature of this scope is its BDC reticle that comes with special hash marks that allow you to compensate for bullet drops to about 150 yards ensuring a more precise aim.
Read more: 5 Best 1000 Yard Scope – Review for Your Range Shooters
That’s not all.
Almost all Nikon scopes are equipped with the Spot On Ballistic Match Technology that further improves accuracy. How?
Well, it takes into account important factors like wind speed, direction, ammunition used, etc. and gives you the exact aiming point for the BDC reticle (with this one, you’d be the baddest predator in town).
You’ll also love the spring-loaded turrets that rest to zero almost instantly. Plus, they are smooth and placed perfectly so you can make adjustments within seconds.
The durability and reliability of the lens extend to the body as well, which is waterproof. This means even if you were to submerge in water for a few seconds, it coming out spic and span would be the only thing to happen to it.
Shock-resistance is also pretty good, which comes down to its one-tube build.
To top it all, even if you do have an issue with your Nikon scope, these are backed by a lifetime warranty which means replacements and repairs cost you nothing (that’s confidence, not every brand can boast of).
The only drawback here is that you will have to buy rings separately as they do not come with the scope. Plus, it is on the expensive side, but for the quality it delivers, I’d still call it a steal.
- Great image clarity even in low light
- BDC reticle accounts for bullet drop up to 150 yards
- Spot On Ballistic Match Technology improves aim
- Turrets are smooth and rest to zero instantly
- Backed by Nikon’s lifetime warranty
- It is waterproof and can even be submerged
- The lens is fog-resistant thanks to nitrogen purging
- It can take a beating
- Comes with a 12x magnification
- Expensive but worth the money
- Rings need to be purchased separately
#3: Vortex Optics Crossfire II
No list of scopes and sights is ever complete without a Vortex Optics product mentioned in it and rightly so. They have been producing mid-range scopes that combine both functionality and durability for years now, and the Crossfire II is just the perfect example of it.
Just like Nikon, even Vortex Optics back their scopes with a lifetime warranty. Considering these cost way less than Nikon, that’s amazing as it makes it a risk-free purchase.
Even the quality of the optics is better than most in the price range, so you can expect sharp and clear images even when the weather is cloudy or dusky. This is because Vortex also uses quality lenses with multiple layers of anti-reflective material.
In case you are wondering, this material reduces glare and reflections for a better view. Plus, it also keeps away dust and dirt from the lens while ensuring it doesn’t scratch easily. Also, adding to the clarity is the inbuilt sunshade that further restricts glare.
The V-Plex reticle is an all-purpose reticle ideal for both hunting and target practice. And one of the reasons it works so well for long-range shots when hunting is because the reticle is an SFP reticle. That means it doesn’t zoom in and out with the magnification ensuring you get a big reticle even at 1x magnification.
But a good reticle alone isn’t enough for accurate and quick aiming and Vortex knows that. This is why the Crossfire II is armed with a fast-focus eyepiece. And playing a supporting role for the cause is the long eye relief and the ultra-forgiving eye box.
The turrets are capped and thus hold position well even if you constantly mount and detach the scope. Plus, their design and placement are similar to the Nikon so you should have no trouble adjusting the windage and elevation on the go.
Though cheaper, the Vortex Crossfire II can also take a beating as it has been constructed with aircraft-grade aluminum. This also makes it shock-resistant while the nitrogen purging keeps the lens protected from fog and moisture, further adding to the durability.
The only drawback with the Crossfire II is that at 7x magnification the image has slight blurriness.
- Affordable as it costs less than $150
- Image quality is good in low light
- Comes with a quick focus eyepiece and long eye relief
- Backed by a lifetime warranty
- Turrets are capped and thus hold position well
- Capping also protects them from damage
- SFP reticle is ideal for long-distance shooting
- Integrated sunshade keeps out glare
- Nitrogen purging prevents the lens from fogging up
- Good durability
- The image gets blurry at full magnification
If you aren’t too particular about high magnification, this is a great scope for your Ruger AR 556 at an affordable price.
#4: UTG 3-9X32 1″ BugBuster Scope
UTG may not be as popular as any of the 3 brands mentioned above, and truthfully, not all their scopes are good but the BugBuster is definitely worth the consideration, especially if you need a high magnification at a lower cost.
The BugBuster scope costs less than $100 but gives you a 9x magnification through clarity is good only at 5x. While that’s a bummer, there were a few likable features that come in handy while hunting.
For example, the locking system is good and is pretty much a guarantee that the turrets will hold position whether you are running, have the scope in the back of the car on a bumpy ride, fall, etc. Plus, the turrets are smooth and tailor-made for finger adjustments.
It also comes with an illuminated reticle, which is great for aiming in low light as you never lose the reticle in the dark. You can also switch between red and green reticles based on your preference.
Unlike the Nikon scope, this one comes with detachable rings. Plus, mounting the scope is a breeze, which essentially makes it a plug n play kind of scope.
Yes, the view is bad at full magnification, but at low magnification, it leaves little room to complain irrespective of the lighting condition. And that’s not just down to the lens coating but also the 2” sunshade that prevents glare from obstructing your view.
The lens is also well protected when the scope isn’t in use, thanks to the lens cap that prevents scratches and dust. Oh, and it is a flip-open lens cap flip-open cap so you won’t lose it or forget to put it either.
Another great feature that is a huge plus for newbies is the Tactical Range Estimating(TRE) mil-dot reticle. This is a special mil-dot reticle that features 9 dots on all the sides of the crosshair, in turn, giving you 19 aiming points for better precision.
It also comes with a mount though the quality of the mount is poor. The durability of the scope itself is average, so you do not want to drop this or submerge it in water.
- Special Mil-dot reticle makes aiming easier
- A flip-up lens cover keeps the lens protected
- 2” sunshade prevents glare from interfering
- Image quality is good at low magnification even in low light
- Nitrogen purging to prevent fog-build up
- Costs less than $100
- Higher magnification than the Bushnell
- A special locking system keeps turrets firmly in position
- Poor image quality at full magnification
- The mount and body aren’t very durable
I wouldn’t choose this over the Bushnell unless you wanted something with a higher magnification that costs less than $100.
#5: Trijicon ACOG 4 X 32 Scope
Last but not least on the list is the Trijicon ACOG 4 X 32 Scope and here’s what I like and hate about this one.
Right off the bat, I am not a big fan of the design. It looks bulky and even weighs 2.2lbs, which is way higher than others on the list. But if that isn’t something that bothers you, here are its perks.
With illuminated reticles, you get better precision in low light but what stands out is that the illumination is without batteries and is completely automatic.
Yes, say goodbye to the hassle of charging and having to adjust the brightness manually using dials. This scope is equipped with a tritium/fiber optic illuminated reticle that adjusts the brightness automatically based on the surrounding light for hassle-free usage.
Another good thing about the reticle is that it accounts for bullet drop up to 800m for better accuracy.
That’s not all. It also features a special CQB sight that allows you to aim with both eyes open with almost 100% accuracy even at a distance. It also has a long 8mm exit pupil that adds to the comfort of using the scope.
All that added weight thankfully translates to better durability. The use of 7075-T6 aircraft-aluminum means the scope will stand strong even if you were to drop it or submerge it in water. Helping with that are the tight o-rings that also keep dust and dirt out.
Lastly, optics remain good at even the available 4x magnification and support the reticle well in low light.
Another reason I like this scope is the brand itself. Trijicon is a brand that has been trusted by the US Army, Air Force, and even the special forces (if it is good enough for them, it is definitely a brand you can trust).
Yes, Trijicon has better-designed and more feature-rich scopes in the offering but the ACOG 4 X 32 Scope remains a good buy for AR 556 users.
Read more: Best Shotgun Scope Reviews – Our Top 6 Choice
- Illuminated reticle for easy aiming in low light
- Battery-free illumination means no charging is required
- Brightness of the reticle is adjusted automatically
- CQB sight allows for aiming with both eyes open
- Solidly built and is waterproof
- Nitrogen purging to keep fog away
- Trijicon is a brand trusted by US Army, Air Force, and Special Forces
- Comes with a 4x magnification
- Bulky and heavy
- I don’t find the design attractive
That’s it, there’s my list of the best Ruger AR 556 scopes in 2022. These scopes have been picked based on various factors such as ease of use, functionality, price, and durability to suit both your needs and budget.
I would recommend you stick to Nikon or Vortex scopes as they are two of the most trusted brands. Bushnell is a good budget pick while UTG is the measure of last resort and you can go with the Trijicon in case you like the design.
If you have been using any of these scopes or a different model for your AR 556, write to us your experience with it and help others make a better buying decision.
Also, feel free to send in any questions you have regarding scopes for AR 556 via email or in the comments section below.