Best Scopes for the M1A Rifle

Best-Scopes-for-the-M1A-Rifle-Review

Of the many rifles I shoot, few if any give me the sense of satisfaction and adventure that I get when I have a Springfield M1A in my hands. The M1A rifle is the civilian version of the iconic M14 military battle rifle designed and manufactured by Springfield Armory.

This manufacturer offers over a dozen variants to fit a wide range of uses. Whether your needs include a handy truck gun, a competent hunting rifle, or a match grade shooter, Springfield has an M1A model for you. 

PRODUCT

DETAILS

Products

BEST FOR LONG RANGE

Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 5-25x50

Vortex-Optics-Viper-PST-Gen-II-5-25x50-Review

Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 5-25x50

  • Diameter: 50mm
  • Magnification: 5-25x
  • Length: 16 in
BEST AFFORDABLE SCOPE

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-16x50

Vortex-Optics-Crossfire-II-4-16x50-Review

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-16x50

  • Diameter: 50mm
  • Magnification: 4-16x
  • Length: 14.2 in
BEST CLEAR IMAGE SCOPE

Burris 200261 Ballistic Plex 2-7x32mm

Burris-200261-Ballistic-Plex-2-7x32mm-Review

Burris 200261 Ballistic Plex 2-7x32mm

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 2-7x
  • Length: 9.7 in
BEST AFFORDABLE SCOPE

UTG SWAT 3-12×44

UTG-SWAT-3-12×44-Review

UTG SWAT 3-12×44

  • Diameter: 30mm
  • Magnification: 3X-12X
  • Length: 14 in
BEST FOR HARSH WEATHER

Athlon Optics, Argos BTR, Rifle Scope, 6-24x50mm

Athlon-Optics- Argos-BTR,-Rifle-Scope,-6-24x50mm-Review

Athlon Optics, Argos BTR, Rifle Scope, 6-24x50mm

  • Diameter: 50mm
  • Magnification: 6-24x
  • Length: 14.1 in
BEST FOR LONG RANGE

Primary Arms 4-16×44 SFP Rifle Scope

Primary-Arms-4-16×44-SFP-Rifle-Scope-Review

Primary Arms 4-16×44 SFP Rifle Scope

  • Diameter: 44mm
  • Magnification: 4-16x
  • Length: 14.75 in
BEST FOR HUNTING

Leupold VX-3i LRP 6.5-20x50mm

Leupold-VX-3i-LRP-6.5-20x50mm-Review

Leupold VX-3i LRP 6.5-20x50mm

  • Diameter: 50mm
  • Magnification: 6.5-20x
  • Length: 3.78 in
BEST FOR WIDE RANGE

NightForce SHV 4-14x50mm F1 Rifle Scope

NightForce-SHV-4-14x50mm-F1-Rifle-Scope-Review

NightForce SHV 4-14x50mm F1 Rifle Scope

  • Diameter: 50mm
  • Magnification: 4-14x
  • Length: 14.8 in

With premium ammo, loaded models routinely produce 1 - 1.5 MOA groups. Accurized and finely tuned models do better. The shorter models display good accuracy as well.

In the field, the M1A is a good stable platform for shooting big game out to 500 yards and steel out to 800 yards and beyond. The SOCOM 16” and the Scout Squad 18” models feature lower weight and better portability in the field.

9 Best Scopes For M1A Rifle

1. Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 5-25x50

m1a scoped

Our Viper PST Gen II 5-25x50 MRAD scope lives on a precision rifle chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. In terms of optical clarity and price point, this optic is in the second-highest tier from this manufacturer's lineup, the highest tier being their Razor Gen II and Gen III scopes.

Does it belong in the class of elite scopes at a price point below $1,000? Our answer is yes. This scope is available with the FFP (First Focal Plane) Vortex EBR (Enhanced Battle Rifle) – 2C reticle with either MOA or MRAD sub-tensions.

The reticle facilitates fast windage and elevation corrections on stationary and moving targets at any range and magnification. The illuminated reticle has 11 brightness levels for any lighting condition. Large, positive click zero-stop turrets provide easy adjustment with gloves or in wet weather.

The image clarity on this line of scopes is simply amazing. Compared to other high-end scopes, any difference is simply splitting hairs. The scope has a 50mm objective that really pulls in the light for dusk or lower lighting conditions.

If you are a long-range hunter, target shooter, competitor or shooting enthusiast, this scope is for you. If you have an entry-level optic and want a long-range scope that has all the pro-level features without breaking the bank, this scope is a solid choice.

The Vortex fully transferable, no receipt needed, unlimited lifetime VIP warranty simply can’t be beaten. The PST Gen II 5-25 on an M1A rifle gives you a no compromises bullet delivery system.

m1a scout scope

Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 5-25x50

The price of Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 5-25x50 varies, so check the latest price at

2. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-16x50

m1a optics

We tested this scope on several rifles. After we dialed it in, we decided to make it a permanent fixture in our gun cabinet. The Crossfire line made in China is the entry-level scope from this manufacturer. 

The sub $300 price point makes it a popular choice for shooters on a budget who still want a decent scope with magnification range for long-range shooting and hunting

The glass quality is better on Vortex higher end scopes, but you really have to compare them side-by-side to tell the difference. Edge-to-edge clarity at higher magnifications suffers a little but is good for a scope at this price point.

The dead hold BDC makes longer-range shots a snap when calibrated with ammo of your choice. Eye relief is a generous 3.7 in. The front objective parallax adjustment is less convenient than a side focus knob, but is expected on an entry-level scope. Our box test resulted in a good return to zero throughout the adjustment range.

Overall, we have a favorable opinion of this Crossfire scope. Would we put this scope on an M1A? Sure, if we were looking for a reliable, well-made scope at an affordable price while giving the zoom and clarity needed for shooting and hunting. It gives the M1A owner an opportunity to break into the world of scoped shooting with room to grow.

m1a optic

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-16x50

The price of Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-16x50 varies, so check the latest price at

Want to know more about vortex scopes? Check out our complete guide.

3. Burris 200261 Ballistic Plex 2-7x32mm

m1a scope

The scout rifle concept was developed by the legendary Col. Jeff Cooper. The Burris Scout 2-7x32mm rifle scope was designed from the ground up for scout rifles.

This light 13oz scope provides a magnification range suited to a grab-and-go “truck gun” or fighting carbine. The eye relief of 9.2-12 " gives a generous “eye box” and allows for placement well forward on the rifle.

The ballistic plex reticle provides precise holdover in the field. The Burris steel-on-steel, internal turret system means no worries about shock and vibration affecting your zero. These features and more make it the perfect compliment for your M1A SOCOM or Scout Squad rifle.

m1a scout scopes

Burris 200261 Ballistic Plex 2-7x32mm

The price of Burris 200261 Ballistic Plex 2-7x32mm varies, so check the latest price at

4. UTG SWAT 3-12×44

best scope for m1a

This Chinese-made UTG SWAT-style scope is a favorite of the AR-15 crowd. We picked it because it makes a good receiver-mounted choice on SOCOM and Scout Squad versions of the M1A.

Available for less than 150 bucks on sale, it allows any shooter to enhance their rifle with some nifty features at a bargain price.

I viewed this scope at length at a local outlet and was impressed with its features. The optical clarity is good for a variety of daytime shooting tasks. It comes with an innovative “tap control” illuminated Mil-dot reticle, which can be set to any of 36 colors.

The zero resettable turrets are not as crisp as more expensive scopes but they provide positive repeatable adjustments. The multi Emerald Coated lenses aid light transmission and reduce edge distortion at higher zooms. 

Our range buddies tell us it’s durable, shock-proof, rain-proof, fog-proof. It's also wallet-proof and looks cool too. If you are looking for a quality unit for not much cash, this scope is definitely worth a try.

best scope for m1a

UTG SWAT 3-12×44

The price of UTG SWAT 3-12×44 varies, so check the latest price at

5. Athlon Optics, Argos BTR, Rifle Scope, 6-24x50mm

best m1a scope

This scope is another mid-level optic with surprisingly good glass and features. For those just getting into long-range shooting with their M1A, this scope is a solid pick. Many say that the Athalon BTR compares with $1,000 optics, and in some ways that is true. I think it is one of the best sub-$300 optics out there.

The ambitious 6-24 magnification range suffers some blurriness above 20x, but for a $300 scope, it’s hard to complain. The FFP reticle is illuminated, bright and easy to read with the BTR elevation and windage tree. MOA and MRAD models are available. Holdovers are constant on all magnifications.

Side focus parallax and an easy to adjust ocular bring targets into sharp focus. Athalon XOL coatings shed water, dust and dirt. That along with anti-fog and waterproof construction make it an all-weather performer. The turret clicks are reportedly a bit soft but still usable and repeatable.

Users report good durability and ruggedness in rough conditions. For hunting and shooting at less than extreme long-range, This Athlon scope tops the M1A with a versatile affordable solution. 

best m1a scopes

Athlon Optics Rifle Scope, 6-24x50mm

The price of Athlon Optics, Argos BTR, Rifle Scope, 6-24x50mm varies, so check the latest price at

Click here to get detailed information about Athlon Optics 6-24x50mm.

6. Primary Arms 4-16×44 SFP Rifle Scope

primary arms scout scope

Primary Arms was started in 2006 with the mission of providing affordable, quality optics for the shooting market. I own several Primary Arms scopes and I can tell you that they have met those goals.

This scope is part of the “classic” line and is still available at rock bottom prices. This sub $200 scope features lockable zero set turrets, illuminated mil-dot crosshairs, side-mounted parallax adjustment, and quick-adjust ocular control.

Some users report slight internal glare. Glass quality is not stellar but the fully coated lenses provide a better than average image at all magnifications. Primary Arms gets high marks for its customer service and the scope carries a limited lifetime warranty. 

Review after review says this is a good scope for the money. Budget-conscious M1A owners will find this a scope worth considering.

primary arms scout scope

Primary Arms 4-16×44 SFP Rifle Scope

The price of Primary Arms 4-16×44 SFP Rifle Scope varies, so check the latest price at

7. Leupold VX-3i LRP 6.5-20x50mm

m1a scopes

When Leupold gives a scope the LRP (Long Range Precision) moniker, they mean business. This scope is designed for the long-range target shooter or hunter.

Inside the 30 mm tube, an 80 MOA internal adjustment range allows shooting well past 1000 yards on a standard rail. A 20 base gets you shooting into the next county. This makes it an ideal candidate for a spot on the top of your M1A.

The first and foremost feature on this line of scopes is Leupold’s proprietary Twilight Light Management System. Their special multi-coatings enhance brightness, clarity, color in low light conditions by balancing available light across the entire visible spectrum. The result is an outstanding low light image tuned for the human eye.

The Leupold match-grade dual spring-adjustment system provides pinpoint crosshair modification. The power ring has an integral throw lever for quick easy adjustments.

Let’s talk about clarity. 

The high-end glass, special coatings and Leupold’s superb optical engineering give this scope one of the clearest, brightest images available on rifle scopes in the $1000 price range. The zero stop turrets have large easy to read markings with positive clicks that stay where you put them.

All of my Leupold VX-3i scopes perform well at all magnifications with little in the way of distortion all the way to maximum power. You can rest assured that you won’t go wrong if you pick this scope as your M1A optic.

m1a scopes

Leupold VX-3i LRP 6.5-20x50mm

The price of Leupold VX-3i LRP 6.5-20x50mm varies, so check the latest price at

Want to know more about best leupold scopes? Check out or guide.

8. NightForce SHV 4-14x50mm F1 Rifle Scope

m1a scopes

You plopped down a sizable stack of cash for your M1A and you want a premium optic that offers unparalleled performance without a stratospheric price. Look no further than the NightForce SHV 4-14x50 rifle scope. Don’t worry, you won’t be disappointed.

Every Nightforce scope that I have ever used blew me away with edge-to-edge clarity and optical brilliance. This scope is no exception. In 2014 NightForce introduced the SHV “Shooter Hunter Varminter” line of scopes designed as an affordable, versatile option for shooters and hunters.

Many worried about NightForce producing a “budget, entry-level” scope that might degrade the NightForce reputation as a producer of some of the world’s finest scopes. I have never considered this to be the case with the SHV NightForce line. Inevitably, comparisons were made to their legendary NXS line of premium scopes. 

With carefully designed manufacturing simplifications and careful cost control, NightForce hit a home run with the SHV lineup. SHV scopes use the same glass as the NXS line and have the same legendary optical clarity.

springfield m1a scope

The SHV turrets can be rotated to show a “zero set” position, but it is possible to lose track of the number of wraps and dial past zero. My solution is a carefully toothpick-applied white nail polish mark on the scope vernier to indicate my zero set wrap. It can be removed with a cotton swab and polish remover at any time. Problem solved. 

The 4-14 magnification range allows for precise shooting at any distance. The zoom ring is firm without being stiff and has a good tactile feel. An available clamp-on power zoom lever makes on-the-fly adjustments quick and easy. The fast-focus eyepiece sets up the scope quickly for the individual shooter.

Parallax is adjustable from 25 yards to infinity with a dial that has zero backlash. The turret click stops don't seem quite as firm as those on the NXS scopes, but they are positive and audible and suit me fine. 

The reticle is FFP-mounted to give accurate come up at all magnifications. The reticle sub-tensions are crisp and the 3-post design makes for fast target-centering. 90 MOA of internal adjustment will get you dialed out past 1000 yards on a standard rail.

For almost any shooting purpose, this scope may be the last scope you will ever need for your M1A.

springfield m1a scopes

NightForce SHV 4-14x50mm Rifle Scope

The price of NightForce SHV 4-14x50mm F1 Rifle Scope varies, so check the latest price at

M1A Scope Mounts & Cheek Risers – Setting Up Your M1A For A Scope

After we give you quick specs on the most popular M1A offerings, we”ll dive into setting up your M1A rifle for optics and topping it with the best scope for the job.

The M1A lends itself well to wearing a variety of optics depending on your model and shooting needs. Here, we will show you how to get your M1A set up for scope mounting and give you a roundup of scopes that will bring the best performance out of your M1A

The full-size M1A requires a specialized scope mount that aligns with an integral rail on the left side of the receiver. There are several to choose from. The short-barreled SOCOM and SCOUT SQUAD models can accept these but are also available with pre-mounted forward rails for use with long eye relief scout scopes.

For those who want to keep their rifle “Springfield branded”, this is a good choice for a permanent mount on your M1A. It fixes to the side rail and the stripper clip dovetail. Features:

  • Aluminum, one-piece construction
  • Provides a Picatinny-style rail above the receiver
  • Mounting hardware and detailed installation instructions included
  • Will not fit SOCOM II
springfield m1a scope

Springfield MA4GENAM M1A Scope Mount

The price of Springfield MA4GENAM M1A Scope Mount varies, so check the latest price at

The Sadlak M14 Aluminum mount is a favorite aftermarket mount for many M1A owners, and for good reasons. Features:

  • The aluminum mount weighs 4.3 oz (122.3 g)
  • The precision milled using USA-made 6061 heat-treat aerospace aluminum alloy
  • A receiver inspection kit is included to insure the mating receiver

By virtue of the fact that the M1A scope mount floats well above the receiver, it is essential that a good cheek riser is fitted to the stock. This ensures a good cheek weld and proper sight alignment for shooting. There are many to choose from but our pick might surprise you. Here it is:

Sadlak M14 Aluminum Scope Mount

The price of Sadlak M14 Aluminum Scope Mount varies, so check the latest price at

This cheek riser is affordable, stylish and well made. The cheek rest is firm and comfortable. We found that it provides the right cheek rise for almost any scope. Features:

  • Tourbon leather cheek rest made of high-quality genuine leather
  • Designed to hold up to 8 rifle shells, cheek pad will help keep you on target
  • Adjustable elastic straps with bottom press closure
  • Comfortable and easy to use, great for long-distance shooters and hunters
  • Size: Approx 6.69" x 2.17" x 5.31" Weight: 0.35 lbs

TOURBON M1A Leather Buttstock Cheek Rest

The price of TOURBON M1A Leather Buttstock Cheek Rest varies, so check the latest price at

Conclusion

The M1A is a classic firearm that deserves a place in any gun lover's cabinet. Reliable, accurate and fun to shoot, the M1A is a multi-use gun in its many forms. Coupled with the right optic, you can increase the accuracy, range and repeatability of your shooting.

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