The .308 Winchester is one of the most versatile rifle cartridges available to modern shooters. It has impressive long-range abilities, beautiful ballistics, and produces relatively mild recoil. You can also easily find a rifle chambered for this functional cartridge in virtually any action type, including lever action, bolt action, and semi-automatic.
The .308 is perfectly capable of reaching long ranges. However, to hit those targets consistently and accurately, you’ll need a quality optic.
Luckily there are plenty of high-quality riflescopes to choose from. If you’ve been searching for the best scope for 308 shooting, you’ve come to the right place. Even if you aren’t sure what to look for, we’ll walk you through the specs. We’ll even share a few of our favorite models and explain what they do best. Before we’re finished, you’ll have plenty of information to help you find just the right optic for your shooting endeavors.
Choosing a Rifle Scope for Your .308
The .308 Winchester is a great all-around cartridge. This thing can do it all, and is regularly used for big game hunting, competition shooting, and tactical applications.
Because .308 is so insanely versatile, there is no one-size-fits-all optic. The type of scope you may need for hunting elk in the Colorado backcountry will be pretty different from the type you’d want mounted on a military sniper rifle.
Which scope will work best for you, mostly depends on how you plan to use your rifle. Here are a few key things to consider when shopping for a new optic for your .308.
If you need pinpoint accuracy on long-range targets, a scope with powerful magnification is certainly an asset. However, few shooters will ever even attempt a 1000-yard shot.
The .308 Winchester is considered a sweetheart cartridge by many big game hunters. Since humane kills on elk, bear, and whitetails typically take place within 300 yards, a 3-9x optic works well for most hunting scenarios.
For tactical applications or fast-paced 3 Gun courses, an LPVO (low power variable optic) or fixed power optic in the 1-8x range is versatile enough to work for both CQB and precision mid-range shots. These scopes also make a smart addition to a DMR (designated marksman rifle).
If you want to ping steel or punch paper at greater ranges, the .308 Winchester is plenty capable. If you want to milk your rifle for every ounce of long-range accuracy it has, you’ll need a pretty powerful optic to do it. Think 20x or more.
The objective lens on a riflescope works like a window in a room. Its job is to let light inside the optic so you can see. Although other factors (like glass quality, lens coatings, and tube diameter) come into play, a scope with a large objective lens will generally provide a brighter sight picture, especially in low light.
Being able to see clearly when light is fading is a major advantage for hunters and tactical shooters alike. However, a vivid, low-light sight picture comes at a cost.
Large objectives add weight and bulk to your rig, which can negatively affect maneuverability. That’s one reason you almost never see a scope with a massive objective mounted on an AR-style rifle.
Depending on your style of hunting, a big objective can be an asset or a handicap. If you need to hike long distances or maneuver a rifle in thick woods, a scope with a hefty objective probably isn’t your best bet. However, if you hunt predators or varmints near the truck or from a box blind, a sizable light-gathering objective could be the key to success.
In the world of riflescopes, the old adage “you get what you pay for” generally rings true. Usually, the more you spend on a riflescope, the better image quality, durability, and features you can expect.
Many experienced shooters recommend the 2 to 1 rule. This “rule” advocates taking the amount of money you spent on your rifle and investing half that amount in a scope. In other words, if you spent $500 on a Remington Model 700 ADL Varmint bolt-action, you would budget $250 for an optic to go with it.
This is pretty sound advice. However, even a straight-from-the-factory Remington 700 is capable of impressive feats of accuracy when held in capable hands. A $250 optic may not do the rifle justice.
I would amend the “rule” to say “spend at least ½ the cost of your firearm on a scope”. Nothing says you can’t spend more. In fact, you should probably invest as much as you can responsibly spend on a high-quality scope for your .308.
Best Scope for 308 on the Market Review
1. Trijicon ACOG TA55A 5.5×50 Riflescope
Trijicon’s ACOG (Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight) tactical riflescopes are some of the most dependable optics on the face of the planet. The United States Army and Marine Corps have used ACOGs to top their rifles for most of the Global War on Terror.
The Trijicon ACOG is built for rough use in harsh environments. Built like a tank, and virtually indestructible, the ACOG is literally bombproof.
The 5.5x fixed magnification allows you to take full advantage of the .308’s long-range abilities. The scope also features an ample 50mm objective lens which provides a bright sight picture and wide field of view, even at extended ranges. In skilled hands, this scope is perfectly capable of driving tacks in 500-yard targets.
Perhaps the best tactical feature on this high-performance scope is the battery-free illumination. Instead of requiring a power source, the optic utilizes cutting-edge fiber optics that automatically adjust reticle brightness to match ambient light. The optic also uses a tritium phosphor lamp that glows in even the dimmest lighting conditions.
This model is designed specifically for use with .308 rifles. It features an easy-to-read reticle with BDC marks calibrated for popular .308 loads. The reticle also features a highly visible red chevron which helps the shooter quickly estimate the range of silhouette targets. This scope partners perfectly with an AR-10 or other modern sporting rifle chambered in .308.
Is It Worth It?
The Trijicon Acog has some incredible features that make it ideal for tactical applications, including:
- Bombproof construction
- 5.5x magnification
- Simple BDC ranging reticle calibrated specifically for .308 loads.
- Reliable, battery-free illumination
The only drawback to this optic is the price tag. It’s expensive, but we promise it is worth every penny.
The Trijicon ACOG TA55A comes with a flattop mount that is fully compatible with military-standard rails. However, there are adapters available if you need to mount your scope on a Weaver rail.
2. NightForce SHV 5-20×56 Riflescope
NightForce is definitely one of the top names in rifle optics, and the SHV is one of their top offerings. This precision long-range optic is trusted by Navy SEALS, so you know it is a rugged, trustworthy scope.
The 5-20x magnification range is perfect for engaging targets at a variety of distances. The scope also has a massive 56mm objective that maximizes light transmission for crisp, bright images, even in low light.
The scope also features a helpful ZeroSet function that allows you to instantly return to your set zero after adjusting for elevation.
Is It Worth It?
The NightForce SHV is a versatile option for hunting everything from varmints to big game at a variety of ranges. It pairs particularly well with bolt action rifles like the Remington 700 or Ruger Precision.
Here is what the SHV has to offer:
- ZeroSet function.
- Generous 56mm objective lens.
- Excellent light transmission.
- Fully multi-coated lenses for a crisp, clear sight picture.
If we could change anything about this optic, it would be the SFP (second focal plane) reticle. With its broad magnification range, an FFP (first focal plane) would definitely be an asset, especially when engaging targets at extreme ranges.
We highly recommend the NightForce UltraLight Unimount. This is a sturdy, military-standard mount that works with flat top receivers. It also features a built-in 20 MOA taper to help maximize long-range precision.
3. Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9×40 Riflescope
Leupold builds solid, practical hunting optics that also provide incredible image quality. Their VX-Freedom does not disappoint. It is rugged, reliable, and offers a bright, clear sight picture, even in low light. And with a price tag well under $500, this is one of the most practical optics on our list.
Hunters will absolutely love Leupold’s patented Twilight Light Management System. By using quality glass and lens coatings designed to cut glare, enhance contrast, and transmit the full spectrum of visible light, the system allows for maximum visibility. This scope is definitely an asset when shooting in twilight dimness when game animals are most active.
Is It Worth It?
This is a practical and effective scope for budget-conscious deer hunters. Here are just a few features we love:
- Affordable price.
- Twilight Light Management System.
- Sturdy design
The Leupold VX-Freedom mounts easily to a traditional rifle with Leupold PRW2 Scope Rings.
4. Vortex Crossfire II 6-24X50 Riflescope
The Vortex Crossfire II is another affordable optic that works well on any .308 rifle, from bolt action to semi-auto. The scope has generous eye relief, a convenient fast-focus eyepiece, resettable turrets, and a Dead-Hold BDC reticle for accurate holdover and windage corrections.
Built for rugged durability, the Crossfire II features a one-piece, aircraft-grade aluminum housing with a hard anodized finish. The housing is nitrogen purged and o-ring sealed to prevent internal fogging.
The Crossfire II also offers impressive image clarity, especially for an optic in this price range. The lenses are fully multi-coated to reduce glare and maximize light transmission.
Is It Worth It?
The Vortex Crossfire II works just as well for tactical shooting applications as it does for hunting. This is a near perfect dual-use optic.
- Fast focus eyepiece.
- Durable construction.
- Fully multi-coated lenses.
- Dead-Hold BDC reticle.
If you’re looking for scope mounts, rings, or a scope cover, here is what we recommend:
- Vortex Viper Extended Cantilever Mount
- Vortex Viper Riflescope Rings
- Vortex Sure Fit Riflescope Cover
5. EOTech Vudu 1-8×24 SFP Riflescope
Eotech optics are designed for the battlefield. However, this LPVO (low power variable optic) feels just as much at home on the competition field. The 1-8x magnification range and Triplex BDC reticle work together to boost your acquisition speed and provide surgical precision on mid range targets. The scope even features a throw lever for on-the-fly magnification adjustments.
Although this is one rugged scope, it doesn’t sacrifice image clarity for durability. The Vudu is made with ultra-clear, high-definition glass and fully multi-coated lenses.
The EOTech Vudu has a smooth, slim design and low-profile capped turrets that won’t snag when you’re maneuvering around cover. The turrets allow for fine windage and elevation adjustments for precision shooting on difficult long-range targets.
Is It Worth It?
The EOTech Vudu is a relatively expensive optic. However, this is a high-performance scope worth the investment. Here are a few key features that make the Vudu particularly well-suited for 3 Gun and other shooting applications that require rapid, close-quarters shooting as well as pinpoint precision on targets at distance.
- Durable construction.
- Daylight-visible illuminated BDC reticle.
- Low-profile capped turrets.
- Throw lever.
- Crisp, clear image quality.
Mounting the EOTech Vudu requires high-quality 30mm scope rings. If you are mounting the Vudu on an AR-10 or other AR-style rifle, you’ll probably need a cantilever mount with some extra ring height. We highly recommend the EOTech PRS 2.
Summing It Up
Whether you’re a hunter, competitor, or tactical shooter, if you want to realize the full potential of your .308 rifle, an optic is an absolute necessity. Although there is no one-size-fits-all best scope for 308 rifles, we’ve tried to provide a variety of optics that will suit a range of disciplines.
No matter which scope you buy, be sure to spend some time practicing with your new set-up. Sending lead downrange is the best way to improve your shooting skills, no matter which optic you decide to pair with your .308 rifle.