Without question, the .223 Remington has been built in more variations than any cartridge. When the subject turns to a hunting scope for this cartridge, the gate is wide open. The .223 is a flexible and widely applied round of ammunition.
Having used this cartridge for 40 or more years, I have seen glass sights used on both ARs and turn bolts that cover most shooting applications. The following are some rifle scope sights to consider when installing glass on a .223 Remington caliber rifle.
We will give you our top picks for the best scope for the .223 caliber rifle to help you select the right scope for your needs.
Nikon P-223 3-9X40
Bushnell AR Optics
Vortex Optics Crossfire II
GPO Rifle Scope
Primary Arms ACSS
Nikon Prostaff P3
1. Nikon P-223 3-9X40
Nikon is one manufacturer that offers a wide range of great scope options when it comes to putting glass sights on a .223 Remington rifle. The Nikon 0223 BDC 600 provides a positive, workable offering.
This scope features a polymer aluminum housing and is an imported product. The scope features the BDC reticle system that uses open circle aiming points set at 100-yard through 600-yard intervals.
Turret adjustments are ¼ MOA clicks and are fast when making changes in elevation or windage. The turret is called “Rapid Action” by the manufacturer. The scope's optical system glass is multicoated for maximum brightness and quality light transmission.
This turret system in the Nikon makes use of the “zero stop style reset system." Never lose the correct zero even with multiple spins of the turret settings.
This scope is nitrogen-filled and o-ring sealed making it waterproof and fogproof for excellent performance in all weather conditions.
2. Bushnell AR Optics 1-4X24 Drop Zone
The .223 Remington (556 MATO) is known for its adaptation to the M-16 military-style assault rifle. This AR-style weapon has a short receiver unit that requires a less than super long housing scope. A scope such as the Drop Zone by Bushnell Optics is perfect.
These scopes are forward bell eliminated. The 34mm tube does not need them as the scope is a combat style versus the longer deer hunting scope or target style glass.
This scope has a multicoated lens with layers of anti-reflective material to control light through the scope. This o-ring sealed scope is waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof and built to withstand tough field conditions or when used in competition on the range.
Rain guard protection is also applied to this scope. The open-style target turrets provide for fast elevation and windage adjustment. The focus ring features a hand knob. This scope is an entry-level scope for competitive target shooting (combat style).
3. Vortex Optics Crossfire II
Vortex offers a good selection of AR-style glass and other glass that presses the performance of the .223 Remington to higher levels than back yard plinking or close-range targets.
Here, at a modest price range, Vortex offers the CrossFire II as a second focal plane optical solution. This company is well-known among shooters. The systems are set into a main one-piece aircraft aluminum tube housing that is rock solid.
The scope has a fully adjustable objective lens system and an eyepiece offering long eye relief for higher recoiling firearms. The large “eye box" in this scope allows for fast target acquisition when required.
Capped turrets are finger tightened and easy to remove when making elevation or windage changes. The BDC 600 reticle assists the shooter in aiming correctly.
When DOPE is corrected for the reticle subtensions, a shooter can be right on to 600 yards simply by looking downrange through the scope's reticle system.
While this scope could be considered a bit large for the AR-style rifle, it is not when used on bolt action models like the Remington Model 700 Short action or the Ruger M-77 as chambered in the .223 Remington.
Remember there are far more action types than just the AR-15 platforms that handle the .223 Remington round.
4. GPO Rifle Scope
The .223 is offered in several barrel twist rates. The fast twist pipes can handle heavy bullets in the 70-grain category.
GPO is a new German company being carried by Amazon. I have been range testing this scope for the past several months. This scope and the whole GPO line are a class act.
Like with many German products, attention has been paid to detail at every level. The price of the product is on the light side of the equation.
Housed with a 50mm objective lens, this scope pulls light very well. I used this on assignment with national publications for 300 PRC (Hornady) reviews against 300 Win Mag.
After testing two rifles back to back, the GPO stood out in fine fashion. It delivered high-quality performance and excellent results when aiming your shooting ranges to over 1500 yards.
The glass offers brightness and lacks distortion or faded edges of the subject when participating in long-range shooting. With this great scope, you will get the clear image you need and want at long distances.
The main tube is 30 mm. It houses a robust turret system that is set in MOA and is spot on for repeatability. This scope features hash marks that use MOA subtension lines useful for making wind adjustments, holdover and ranging.
There is a lifetime warranty covering this company's products.
5. GPOTAC 1-8X24i
For the shooter that is in competition on a grand level and wants the very best in AR .223 scopes for combat-style shooting, the GPO TAC is the clear ticket, However, it won’t come cheap.
This cut down style scope lacks the forward large bell. It is lighter and faster to use than full-length large body systems. This scope features a 34mm main tube for its “guts." It is built by German Primary Arms and is tank tough for field applications.
Military and law enforcement use this optical system.
The turrets have MRAD graduations (military). The turret height is massive to carry a high degree of elevation adjustment. The system uses a “horseshoe reticle" in the first focal plane. Control illumination and GPO brightness are company trademarks.
This great scope has low light gathering ability even with a small bell scope design.
The lenses are coated. The scope uses the company's 8X zoom technology.
The lens covers are designed as see-through and run out to 104 inches of elevation control.
6. Primary Arms ACSS
Getting back to the budget-based scopes, Primary Arms offers this ACSS reticle system calibrated to the .556 NATO cartridge. The shooter knows where they are after a proper zero has been completed.
The military-style chevron center subtension produces great target control. When looking through the scope, the shooter knows where the bullet is going to an exact degree. (small aiming points)
The scope features a red illuminated reticle with brightness control settings powered by a CR2032 battery.
The scope's tube body is manufactured from aluminum alloy for field toughness. This scope has a lifetime warranty for normal field use.
7. Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mm
The Leupold VX-Freedom is a 3-9X40 gold ring scope that does the job on about 95% of the AR and turn bolt platforms in today's civilian market. This scope has a smooth matte finish and carries the look of its big brothers.
The scope is built in America with American parts. Service is provided in the USA if required. Leupold backs its products.
Made with 6061-T6 aircraft grade aluminum and punisher tested under the worst possible conditions, I know this is one of the best scopes. My oldest functioning scope is a Leupold mounted on a Winchester Model 70 Featherweight 30-06.
The scope features the Leupold Twilight Management System. This system gives the shooter an additional 10 minutes of light for shooting in the morning or evening.
This can be a day saver because big game animals move right at first light and at the end of the day. If you sit all day without a shot, you want to be able to see the target in low light conditions. As the old saying goes, "Live and Learn"
When you have your target .75 yards in front of you, lacking a good look at your target is no fun. Believe me, as I have been there from time to time with the wrong glass on the correct rifle.
The turret adjustments are set in MOA ¼ inch clicks, solid to the touch and hold their position well. The zoom rate on this scope is a 3:1 ratio. This ratio is well suited for any shooting situation.
8. Nikon Prostaff P3
This Nikon scope is a budget glass system that hangs in there for average shooting needs. Prostaff is a series of scopes for rimfire and lighter rifles such as the .223 Remington. I shoot this scope on a .224 Valkyrie.
Developed off the .223 platform for the AR-15, it is a close cousin to the .223 Rem., but much faster and available with varied light and heavy bullets.
I have found my Prostaff open turret long-range model to be a solid performance system with a 1000 yard or more field of view.
Nikon offers a BDC reticle riflescope that can be DOPED to set exact bullet impact points out to 600 or more yards. (Ammunition dependent)
Fully multi-coated optics with anti-reflective coating control light and carry a clear sharp image. The spring-loaded instant zero-reset turrets make for easy return zero settings after turning up clicks of elevation or windage.
The scope can be bought in a bundle including lens caps, brush, and cleaning cloth.