Just after the AR-15 rifles reached its developmental apex, a new breed of AR emerged into the market place. That new breed of AR was dubbed the AR 10 or M-10 in military terms. The receiver was longer to accommodate much larger cartridges.
With size comes increased performance abilities, which also means bigger, better optical systems that drive accuracy forward.
Here, Now we will review the 8 best scopes for AR-10 rifles.
Leupold VX Series
Leupold VX Series
Nikon FX 1000
Nikon FX 1000
1. Nikon M-308 SF 4-16X42mm
Nikon M-308 is designed expressly for the AR-10 platform and for rounds like the 308 Winchester or 7,62 NATO. This scope is large and returns strong magnification at full 16 power on the high end.
Nikon uses the “Nikoplex“ reticle on this scope. This means that the turret settings for elevation are up to 40 MOA and that also says that the scope will produce extended range calculations (MOA clicks) in bullet drop to 100 yards.
Nikon also offers this scope in a BDC reticle. This reticle gives the shooter a number of options in the ranging and sighting area of this glass optic design.
With a four-inch eye relief, the scope is built to handle excessive recoil. I shoot this basic model on a 300 Win Mag turn bolt sniper rifle with great results.
When you add on the “Second Zero' system by TACOMHQ, the whole system becomes a deadly accurate ultra-long-range system to more than 1500 yards.
This scope features fully multicoated optical systems. This coating provides outstanding light transmission and returns maximum brightness in lower light situations as well as bright sunny days.
The scope retains 4X zoom technology that allows the shooter to obtain a wider low to high magnification range in the field.
Built for the AR-10 rifle, this scope is caliber specific. The Nikon M-Series riflescopes integrate reticles and adjustment systems for specific cartridges. This scope is engineered for use with the 168 grain 7.62x51 NATO (308 Winchester) boat tail match bullets right out of the box.
Waterproof and fog proof these are proven field tools for tough backcountry big game hunting or other specialty shooting requirements.
The scope's open turret adjustment with zero stop technology ensures a dead-on zero without any correction when taking a fast shot on a suddenly emerging target.
The turret adjustment is ¼ MOA. The bell size forward lens is 49.33 mm.
2. Nikon Prostaff 4-12X40
If you are searching for a scope that is a perfect fit for the AR-10, this glass provides a good balance when the targets are whitetail in cover or in open country. We shoot three different variations of AR-10 in our little group of deer hunters each fall.
This scope is among them because it secures its covered turret with threaded caps. It is a tough unit in the rough Dakota winter weather conditions that can hit 20 below zero with 40 mph winds at times.
The scope is not upper crust in pricing. Its construction features a poly aluminum main tube. The fully multicoated lens offers 98% light retention. The turret settings have a zero reset with spring-loaded adjustment knobs.
This scope maintains 3.7 inches of eye relief. It is set up for high power centerfire cartridges on the AR-10 platform.
This scope is nitrogen-filled, makes use of sealed O rings, and is waterproof and fog proof as well. The reticle design in the main tube (sub tensions) is the Nikon BDC system.
3. Leupold VX Series
The Leupold VX series includes scopes designed primarily for hunting. The illustrated scope is on the upper end of this line. I have used VX on several rifles and have two mounted currently on turn bolt models.
These are effective, high-quality glass sights that gather light well, and stay on zero even when tested using the “box” method of repeatable elevation and windage adjustment.
Built from 6061-T6 aircraft-grade aluminum, the main tubes are strong and durable in the field. The scope color is black. The lenses are treated with DiamondCoat 3. The focus eyepiece is lockable and fast adjusting.
The 1" tube diameter is serviceable for a whitetail deer hunting model. The scope is also available with a 30 mm tube in a slightly different model.
The objective lens bell housing is 50 mm in size that will pull in light during use toward the early morning hours or end of the day. (Just about the time whitetail move.)
When used on an AR-10's longer receiver, the scope is a good fit. It is very workable for all normal big game range limits.
4. Vortex Optics 6-24X50
The Vortex 6-24X50 first focal plane (FFP) riflescope is a move toward better optics for long distance shooting that can also serve well on the steel target range or even as a police sniper's equipment. The first focal plane scope means that the image will get larger as will the sub-tensions when power is increased.
Target shooters and snipers like this because it enhances their ability to verify target ID and increases target acquisition. At the same time, they have an increased crosshair size to match the magnification level.
I have shot this scope and others. I liked it very much when I shot some high mountain long-range steel events offered by Hornady and Smith & Wesson firearms.
Shooting up to 1000 yards on elk targets across the water, ridgelines, and straight down cuts, I was able to illustrate the effectiveness of these glass sight systems on an AR-10 (M&P 10).
The Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical houses a large 50mm bell that pulls light well in all shooting conditions. This effect is developed with Vortex's extra-low dispersion glass and fully multicoated lenses.
The optical quality of this product is very good. Vortex has been on the march toward achieving notoriety as one of the better grade scope sight suppliers in the U.S.
Subtensions on this scope as well as target turret adjustments are spot on due to the way it is designed to respring within the turret housing. This is a 30mm tube design making it workable for the AR-10 platform on all models of the rifle.
5. Trijicon VCOG
Trijicon VCOG 1-6X24 rifle scope is a tube version of the renowned ACOG in many ways. This optical system is designed for the 175 grain 308 round because this is the "go to" round used by Mother Army for U.S. military forces around the globe.
When using the 168 grain Sierra in the 308 Win/7.62 NATO, it did some strange things in flight past 800 yards. Thus, the decision was made by the ballistics type shooters to turn to a heavier bullet.
Enter the 175 grain Sierra MK. The Trijicon VCOG is a match for this round and retains the correct elevation and windage needed to get bullets on target when used on the U.S. Army M-10 platform.
The scope features the red segmented circle reticle with a centered crosshair that calibrates exactly with the 175 grain Sierra bullet. Built in the first focal plane (FFP), the target size increases as does the subtensions viewed by the shooter. This scope also features a larger target field of view and larger crosshair size. This is a typical military design.
You would likely see medium range snipers deploying this weapons system in combat. During the writing of my second book for Gun Digest, I interviewed U.S. Army Rangers that used this system with night vision assist in the sniper role with very positive results.
The power system on this scope is good for a 700-hour run even when left on full time. This generates power for full-time use of 4 to 6 power settings. The lithium AA batteries are used in the scope's power system.
The scope is waterproof, shockproof, and submersible to 66 feet. All of the electronics on this sight are fully Mil-Spec grade in design and construction. This is a war fighter's scope...period, end of story.
Special operators, police, and civilian shooters can use this system whether in the gunfighter field or among three gun and steel target challenge shooters.
The scope includes a full 90 MOA of windage and elevation and is built in ½ MOA clicks at 100 yards.
This is not a budget model scope. However, ask yourself, what is the price of your life worth? Surely, you want a NO fail option when in combat.
6. TRACT TORIC 2-10X42
This is another scope that I have indicated will get the job done for the hunter. I have this scope mounted on some long-range equipment.
I have it on a 22 Creedmoor (Wildcat) by Satterlee Arms in Dead Wood, South Dakota and also on Montana Rifles using the 1999 338 Lapua cartridge.
Both of these riles are dead serious shooting systems and are in the commercial custom class of both hunting and military application long-range rifles. Remember, the AR-10 now has cartridge development all the way to the 300 Win Mag with a few Wildcat rounds also in the mix.
With rifles that cost more than I even want to list here, the glass needs to be good. TRACT has hit the mark dead center in this case. This scope makes use of the TRACT UHD technology and features superior quality SCHOTT HT glass offered for gun sights. Low light dispersion, ED objective lens, and etched glass lens (sub-tensions) which is standard with this company make this one of the best AR-10 scopes.
The turret design includes zero stop, 4” eye relief through the total magnification range, and a high profile turret kit. This scope makes use of the TRACT “Impact Ballistics Program.”
Sub-tensions can be traced back to the company through that program. Custom ballistic solutions (DOPE ) can be generated for the bullet you select to use in the field.
The scope has about 44 inches of MOA adjustment. When you tack on a Second Zero and put the scope on a 20-40 MOA rail, you're talking about a system that can send the 300 Win Mag several miles with pinpoint accuracy. Now that's flexible no matter how you cut it.
7. Nikon FX 1000
This scope is my last selection in terms of serviceable scopes that can send the mail to 100 yards or one mile if required. Today, many shooters are taking on steel targets to 1000 plus yards and also hunting varmints and big game with the very same rifle.
Enter the Nikon FX 1000. This is a budget priced scope that has been doing very well among high power rifle shooters. A bit large, but it is still workable on the AR-10 platform. This scope makes use of the 4-16X MOA through 6-24X50 reticle FX MRAD or MOA. I shoot MRAD sub-tensions because my scope is used for both hunting ranges and long-range steel targets (over one mile).
With glass etched sub-tensions based on the first focal plane (FFP), this scope is pre-designed for both ultra-long-range target work and general hunting assignments. This scope retains side mounted elimination controls and parallax adjustments for 50 yards through infinity.
The main body tube is 30mm with turrets that carry some solid elevation and windage clicks when needed for that ultra-long-range steel target down range.
There is a return zero stop feature on the turrets. These turret systems have a high-speed design and click into each setting with a solid snap.
I have been shooting this scope for a year. I've used it for one-mile steel target courses, military based targets as in cardboard bad guys installed in vehicles (junk cars) 3/4 mile away, and hunting Dakota prairie grass rats. The results have been nothing but outstanding.
When designed by Nikon I was on a waiting list for almost a year prior to getting the scope in here at Ballistics Research & Development for testing. That is the level of the detailed review made by Nikon before releasing this very effective long-range glass sight.
8. TRACT TEKOA 4-15X44
This TRACT scope can be considered about twice the value it shows in terms of retail pricing. This is quite an optical masterpiece to my way of thinking. It is my top choice for everyday guys that get everyday paychecks.
This scope is in an affordable price range and has all that a deer hunter, hog killer, or even coyote hunter requires.
The TRACT HD optical system is next to none. It features fully coated optics with high transmission light gathering ability. The scope is crystal clear when conditions are not the best for making long-range shots.
The glass in this scope utilizes the etched glass system instead of set crosshairs. This etched glass system is as tough as you're ever going to find in any subtension used in scope sighting designs.
The subtension design in this scope is special in that TRACT used the T-Plex reticle that is cleaned up for the game hunter but still offers very positive and fast alignment of both standing long-range targets and closer range running game as well.
You can find the dead center of your crosshairs quickly when pulling up on a running mule or whitetail deer.
The scope makes use of the basic 1” tube, includes a sealed O-ring and is purged with Argon gas that makes it totally waterproof and fog proof. The windage and elevation clicks are ¼ MOA with a sharp clear audible sound return.
Why is this important? When you need to turn sight adjustments in low light conditions, just count the clicks while keeping an eye on your target.
This scope can be customized with zero stop as well as high or low profile custom turrets. Just ask TRACT and you will get a straightforward answer.
This scope offers a full lifetime warranty. There are no time limits and no paperwork. You have a good, reliable company providing awesome customer service to their buyers.
Largely due to the military based information covering the past 19 years of constant war the AR-10/M-10 has advanced significantly. Even while other weapons systems are being considered for the future, this workhorse is still sending the deadly mail centered around the 308 Winchester round (7.62 NATO).
By turning to big glass and any number of fine weapons system, you will make a wise decision when you go with the AR-15 and the modern glass of the day attached.