Best Scope for CMP Service Rifle [Top 6 Choices]

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CMP service rifle matches are what many consider to be the most boiled-down contests of rifle marksmanship that exist. The CMP, which stands for Civilian Marksmanship Program, hosts and sponsors hundreds of national matches each year across the country. The CMP is a 501(c)(3) organization with a federal charter that receives federal funding.

A law passed in 1996 provided funding and mandated the creation of the CMP with the purpose of promoting gun safety and marksmanship to citizens and especially youth. Conducting competitions is central to that mission and one of the best tools that CMP has in its arsenal to perform its mission. The CMP is not affiliated directly with the NRA.

The biggest service rifle competition each year is at Camp Perry. They publish an updated rule book each year and as of 2016, magnified optics are allowed. You can learn more about the CMP on their website.

PRODUCT

DETAILS

Products

BEST FOR ACCURACY

Trijicon TR24-C-200071 AccuPoint 1-4x24mm

Trijicon TR24-C-200071 AccuPoint 1-4x24mm 

  • Diameter: 24mm
  • Magnification: 1-4x
  • Length: 10.31
BEST FOR CLARITY

Leupold VX-R 1-4x Patrol Riflescope

Leupold VX-R 1-4x Patrol Riflescope

  • Diameter: 20mm
  • Magnification: 1-4x
  • Length: 9.67 in
BEST FOR BLASTIC RETICLE

Burris 200437 MTAC 1-4x24 

Burris 200437 MTAC 1-4x24

  • Diameter: 24mm
  • Magnification: 1-4x
  • Length: 11.3 in
BEST FOR BRIGHT REICLE

Mueller Speed Shot Riflescope 1-4x24mm

Mueller Speed Shot Riflescope 1-4x24mm

  • Diameter: 24mm
  • Magnification: 1-4x
  • Length: 10.25 in
BEST FOR STRENGTH

Vortex PST 1-4x24mm Scope

Vortex PST 1-4x24mm Scope

  • Diameter: 24mm
  • Magnification: 1-4x
  • Length: 9.7 in
BEST FOR MID RANGE

Nightforce Competition SR ½ Fixed 4.5x24

Nightforce Competition SR ½ Fixed 4.5x24

  • Diameter: 24mm
  • Magnification: 4.5x
  • Length: 9.9 in

A Primer On Service Rifle Matches

Stages

Service rifle matches are conducted in four stages. Each stage presents a different marksmanship challenge to the shooter and has a different time limit.

Stage 1 - Standing

In the first stage the shooter takes his or her shots at 200 yards while in a standing position. The shooter takes 10 shots and has 10 minutes to do so. Shooting accurately at 200 yards while standing is not exactly easy, and the longer time limit allows you to take it slow and really focus on your shooting form and shot placement.

Stage 2 - Sitting

This is a much faster stage, where you are expected to shoot 10 rounds in only one minute. You start standing, and when given the command to begin, you drop down to a seated position and begin shooting. Your target is still 200 yards out, and is usually the same target you shot at while standing.

Stage 3 - Prone 1

Stage 3 and 4 are both in the prone position (laying on your stomach). Stage 3 is another fast-fire stage and you have 70 seconds to fire 10 rounds. The target may still be 200 yards away or it may be bumped to 300 yards for this stage. It’s easier to hold the rifle steady when your elbows are propped up on the ground, so distance usually increases.

Stage 4 - Prone 2

In this stage, the target is all the way out at 600 yards, and you have 20 minutes to take 20 shots at it. Many shooters will bring a spotting scope and have it set up to quickly check their placement after each shot. At 600 yards, the effects of wind can significantly divert the projectile.

Rules And Requirements On Optics

There are two types of CMP service rifle matches: smallbore rifle, and highpower rifle. The CMP rules define smallbore as specifically .22 LR only, and highpower as 5.56 NATO or .223 ammo. It’s easy to quibble about the terminology but those are the rules and so most competitions will be done as highpower rifle matches.

In the smallbore matches, there really is no limit to what optics you can place on your rifle, but in the highpower matches, you are limited to a maximum 4.5x magnification and a 34mm objective lens diameter. You are not allowed to switch optics or sights during the match, but you should be allowed to adjust the magnification if you want.

You can always stick with iron sights, but the long range makes magnification helpful.

Choosing The Best Scope For CMP Service Rifles

The rules place some pretty strict limitations on what you’re allowed to use, so you need to take those limitations into consideration when choosing a riflescope (or multiple riflescopes). A maximum of 4.5x puts you squarely in the realm of LPVOs, which provide a lot of flexibility and can often be used in other competitions where magnification isn’t allowed thanks to the one power.

You can also get a prism scope or other scope that’s fixed at 4.5x or 4x if you know that you won’t be changing magnification and you’re not planning on using the scope for anything besides competing in CMP service rifle matches.

Types and Options

Red dots are considered optics by the CMP and are allowed. Considering the distances being shot, we did not include any red dots in our list here, but if that’s what you’re interested in I would recommend taking a look at the Holosun 510c, the Sig Sauer Romeo5, or an EOTECH.

Most LPVOs that fit within the rules will cap out at 4x, so if you really want to squeeze in that last .5x, you’re probably looking at a scope that was specifically designed for CMP service rifles. We have included a couple of scopes that were designed with service rifles in mind as well as plenty that are more versatile.

7 Best CMP Service Rifle Scopes

1. Trijicon AccuPoint 1-4x24mm 

service rifle scope

The main selling point of a Trijicon in a service rifle match is the clear and sharp image quality. It’s also going to be tough and rugged with battery-free illumination, but a CMP service rifle will always take place in controlled conditions during the day, so while those are nice, they’re not as critical when only dealing with the recoil of a .223 load and not in harsh conditions.

The field of view is nice and wide and you have your choice of reticles for whatever suits your preference. The parallax is fixed at 100 yards, so at 600 yards the parallax will certainly be noticeable and may throw off your shot if you’re not careful.

The reticle is Second Focal Plane, which is perfectly fine for an LPVO and the adjustment clicks are .25 MOA, which should be precise enough.

The illuminated reticle isn’t as well-done on the AccuPoint as it is on some other Trijicon scopes, though, so if that’s important to you then you’ll want to keep that in mind.

Trijicon TR24-C-200071 AccuPoint

The price of Trijicon TR24-C-200071 AccuPoint varies, so check the latest price at

2. Leupold VX-R 1-4x Patrol Riflescope

best scope for cmp service rifle

The Leupold VX-R is another great option with fantastic image quality, wide field of view, and high durability. One of the differences here is that it has an illuminated “firedot” in the center of a crosshairs with hashmarks and an inner circle. You don’t get your choice of reticle like on the Trijicon, but the SPR reticle is great for maximizing the distance you can shoot at.

Only the center dot is illuminated and not the entire duplex reticle, so that will mostly be helpful if you are also using your VX-R for home defense or something else at one-power in low light conditions. The objective lens diameter is a bit smaller at 20mm but the eye relief is longer and the light transmission is still fantastic.

Adjustment turrets are 1/10 MIL instead of .25 MOA, so they aren’t technically as precise but the difference is minute and many competitive shooters prefer MIL.

Leupold VX-R 1-4x Patrol Riflescope

The price of Leupold VX-R 1-4x Patrol Riflescope varies, so check the latest price at

3. Burris 200437 MTAC 1-4x24 Illuminated Scope

scopes services

The Burris MTAC kinda flies under the radar sometimes, but it’s a phenomenal scope that is well-designed for competitive shooting, including service rifle matches. You don’t have to get it with the Ballistic CQ reticle, but that would be my recommendation since it provides a BDC that is calibrated to get most 5.56 loads out to 600 yards.

It’s difficult to overstate just how helpful that is when the adrenaline is pumping and the pressure is on during a match. On the other hand, the center dot in the middle is huge. So huge, in fact, that the “aiming point” for 200 yards out (assuming a 100-yard zero) is just the bottom edge of the center dot.

That’s great...except for the fact that the entire top half of your target isn’t visible because the massive dot is blocking it from view. The windage and elevation turret adjustment clicks are .5 MOA, which will be noticeably less helpful at 600 yards.

The field of view is wonderfully wide, eye relief is in the perfect spot, and the image is clear, sharp and bright.

Burris 200437 MTAC 1-4x24

The price of Burris 200437 MTAC 1-4x24 varies, so check the latest price at

4. Mueller Speed Shot Riflescope 1-4x24mm

competition scopes

This is on the more affordable end, and while it’s a great scope, it’s not my personal preference for service rifles because the reticle is just a red dot in the center. Every shooter has their own preferences, and if the red dot is all you want or need to make your shots then more power to you.

If you’re willing to get past the dot reticle, you get a lot of scope for the price. The field of view is wide, image quality is good, and it’s a solid, durable scope that is easy on the wallet. Mueller’s limited lifetime warranty is good, and the lenses are multi-coated for fantastic image clarity. It also has a fast-focus eyepiece.

Mueller Speed 1-4x24mm

The price of Mueller Speed 1-4x24mm varies, so check the latest price at

5. Vortex PST 1-4x24mm Scope

competition scope

The Viper PST line has a lot of different magnifications, but the 1-4x24 is a great scope with a wide field of view that is tough enough for just about everything you may want to use it for. It’s well-designed for service rifle matches and if you’ve used Vortex scopes like the Crossfire II, the Viper line is like the big brother and they feel very similar.

The image quality on the Viper is a step above, though, and the reticle TMCQ MOA reticle is good, but it’s a bit too compact and busy for my personal preference. I believe the PST is available with other reticle choices, but the TMCQ MOA is the only one I’ve seen. Adjustment clicks are .5 MOA and the parallax is fixed at 100 yards.

Vortex PST 1-4x24mm Scope

The price of Vortex PST 1-4x24mm Scope varies, so check the latest price at

6. Nightforce Competition SR ½ Fixed 4.5x24

service rifle

Here is your option if you really want to squeeze every last drop of magnification that is allowed on service rifles. The magnification is fixed at 4.5x, because let’s be honest, you’ll be maximizing the magnification even at 200 yards, so you probably don’t need something that goes down to one-power.

The reticle choices are simple and straightforward, you get .25 MOA adjustment clicks, and the parallax is actually fixed at 200 yards instead of 100, which gives you parallax-free shooting for most of the match, and less parallax at 600 yards than it would be if it were fixed at 100. It’s not illuminated, but you get resettable turrets and the incredible image quality Nightforce is known for.

Field of view is great considering the extra magnification, and the Nightforce is a treat to shoot with.

Nightforce Competition SR 4.5x24

The price of Nightforce Competition SR 4.5x24 varies, so check the latest price at

Closing Thoughts

There are really so many options that we could have a list of 20 scopes and still not cover all the optics that will work well in a service rifle match. We didn’t cover any prism scopes, but they are great options and you can look into those if that is of interest, and there are so many other LPVOs from Vortex, Athlon, Primary Arms, and even budget brands like UTG that could work great.

Reference:

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