Hands-On: Nikon M-308 Review (2024)

ar 10 scope

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Are you looking for a purpose built scope for your .308 AR? Choosing the best scope for your rifle can be difficult, but don't worry, I got you covered. I am going to discuss everything you need to know when choosing the best .308 scope, and offer opinions to best fit your needs.

Nikon has been a strong name in the United States rifle optic market since the 1950s. After 70 years of creating excellent rifle scopes, Nikon decided to stop producing rifle scopes. Nikon will continue to make rangefinders, spotting scopes, and binoculars but have removed their name from the rifle optic game.

The Nikon M series of scopes are caliber specific optics built for the field. The Nikon M-308 can still be found online from various sites, and is a great 4-16x42mm rifle scope purpose built for the .308 caliber rifle. The Nikon M-308 has been discontinued but the alternative options below offer a great comparison to the lost M-308.

Alternative Scope Options:





Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x40mm

Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x40mm

  • Diameter: 40mm
  • Magnification: 3.5-10x
  • Length 12.7 in

Vortex Viper HST

Vortex Viper HST

  • Diameter: 50mm
  • Magnification: 6-24x
  • Length 15.41 in

1. Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x40mm

Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x40mm

The Leupold VX-3i is a great alternative to the Nikon M-308, and could become your new brand of choice if you were a diehard Nikon fan in the past. The VX-3i is equipped with a magnification range of 3.5-10x, and has an objective lens diameter of 40mm. The VX-3i lends itself well to .308 applications through long-range capability and recreational aptitude.

The Leupold VX-3i is equipped with a duplex reticle that utilizes a second focal plane design and is recognized by its heavy “posts” or lines within the reticle. With a weight of 12.6 ounces and a length of 12.7 inches, the VX-3i will fit directly onto your already installed rail system.

Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x40mm

The price of Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x40mm varies, so check the latest price at

2. Vortex Viper HST

vortex viper hst 6-24x50

The Vortex Viper HST is one of Vortex Optics premier hunting scopes. Offered in either 6-24x50 or 4-16x44 magnification, this is a great alternative to the Nikon M-308 for your .308 rifle needs. The Viper HST is great for long-range shooting, hunting, and offers a zero stop feature similar to the Nikon M-308.

With a weight of 22.6 ounces, and a length of 15.41 inches, the Vortex Viper HST is the biggest scope of the three. With an application of hunting in mind, every ounce and inch of space taken adds to your overall carrying weight and space used.

Vortex Viper HST

The price of Vortex Viper HST varies, so check the latest price at

Nikon M-308:

nikon m-308 review

The Nikon M-308 is an .308 AR calibrated machine. The M-308 represents Nikon’s precision AR optic technology for long-range accuracy. With a magnification range of 4-16x, and an objective lens diameter of 42mm the M-308 produces accurate shots in any condition.

Weighing in at 19 ounces, and with a length of 13.5 inches, the M-308 will mount easily to the majority of .308 platforms. In some cases, however, you may need to purchase a longer weaver or picatinny rail mounting system, depending on the size of rail system you currently have mounted on your desired rifle.

Eye relief with the M-308 sits at four inches, and the exit pupil diameter is 10.5-2.3 Millimeters. The parallax adjustment is found on the side of the scope, and both the elevation turret and windage turret are maxed out at 40 MOA.

The Nikon M-308 was sold with an M-308 mount in some cases, but is harder to find with the mount included now that the scope has been discontinued. The M-308 is equipped with a quick focus eyepiece allowing for faster shooter acquisition of the reticle.


What’s In The Package:

nikon m308 reviews

With the purchase of a Nikon M-308 you receive the M-308 rifle scope, and Nikon’s limited lifetime warranty which Nikon will still honor even after discontinuing their manufacturing of rifle optics.

When mounting the M-308 to your .308 AR or other long-range rifle you plan on mounting this scope too, you will need to purchase scope rings and ensure the scope fits to the rail system currently installed on your rifle. Scope rings and mounts can be found on Amazon for a great price.

Scope rings attach your scope to your chosen rifle. If you choose to try and save money by purchasing cheaper scope rings, you may experience your optic becoming loose often or even becoming unsecured from your rifle.

The same mistake can be experienced if you do not tighten your scope rings enough when securing the scope rings to the scope. Ensure you tighten your scope rings, and the scope to the rail system. A loose scope sets you up for missed shots and opportunities.

Nikon M-308

The price of Nikon M-308 varies, so check the latest price at

Key Features:

The Nikon M-308 is a unique scope due to its ballistic matched design. The M-308 was made to the .308 ammunition specification and delivers spot on shots when used in conjunction with the correct ammunition. The features don't end there, however, and below I have provided a list of the key features the M-308 offers.

BDC 800 Reticle

The Nikon M-308 is offered with a bullet drop compensating (BDC) reticle, or a patented NikoPlex reticle. For the purposes of using this scope in conjunction with a .308, the BDC 800 reticle is the better choice.

The BDC 800 reticle was specifically designed for the trajectory of a .308 Win or 7.62 NATO round. Purchasing a scope and reticle pair that is designed based on the bullet drop of a specific caliber of ammunition is the best way to achieve better shots.

m-308 4-16x42 bdc 800

The BDC 800 reticle is designed for a 100 yard zero, with the crosshair hash marks representing 200-800 yards. The BDC 800 is also equipped with dots and circles that indicate holdover points out to 800 yards. The BDC 800 reticle is finely tuned to 168 grain Hollow Point Boat Tail (HPBT) ammunition.

The Nikon M-308 has an ultra clear coat optical system that provides a clear and bright sight picture, allowing for great light collection through its 42mm objective lens. Nikon claims that the M-308 allows for 95% light transmission, allowing for great clarity from dawn to dusk.

Unfortunately, the two alternative options mentioned above do not offer a dedicated .308 reticle as we find on the Nikon M-308.

Instant Zero Reset Turrets

The Nikon M-308 is equipped with spring-loaded instant zero-reset turrets. Once you get your M-308 sighted in, you lift the spring-loaded adjustment knob, rotate to your newly found zero then rengage the spring-loaded adjustment knob at zero.

The spring-loaded zero reset allows for quick zero reference points, shortening the amount of time required for you to make adjustments. This system makes field adjustments a breeze, and I genuinely enjoyed how responsive the spring-load was.

The turrets on the M-308 have been specifically marked with the .308 bullet at the forefront of design. The turrets are ¼ MOA tactical style turrets and are all equipped with the zero reset technology. 

m 308 scope

The parallax can be adjusted on this scope through a side-focus adjustment knob.

Similar to the Nikon M-308, the Vortex Viper HST is equipped with zero stop tactical style turret technology. The Viper HST also offers a side-focus adjustable parallax and utilizes a second focal plane design like the M-308.

I found the adjustments on the M-308 to be smooth and precise. The turrets were easy to use, and the turrets stayed secured when not adjusting, helping maintain my zero.


The M-308 achieves durability through nitrogen purging and o-ring seals. Making the M-308 waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof. Constructed of a single piece tube made of aircraft-grade aluminum, the M-308 is built for any adventure you take.

nikon m308 scope review

Even though the turrets are exposed on the M-308 due to their tactical style, you don't need to worry about it holding onto its zero. The spring zero reset keeps the turrets securely fastened while not being adjusted.

The Nikon M-308 is built similarly to the Leupold and Vortex alternative option scopes which are well known for their durability as well and are waterproof, shockproof, and fog-proof. All three scope options have great warranties to back them up, Vortex VIP warranty being the best of the bunch.



  • Choice of reticles (BDC 800 or NikoPlex)
  • Instant zero reset turrets (spring assisted)
  • Ballistic matching design (.308 168 HPBT ammo)


  • Discontinued by manufacturer

Nikon M-308

The price of Nikon M-308 varies, so check the latest price at

Final Thoughts:

When searching for a scope for your .308 AR gun build, consider finding a Nikon M-308 if compromising isn't something you like to do. If you can compromise a little I suggest looking at either the Leupold VX-3i or the Vortex Viper HST.

After reading this article you have learned what the Nikon M-308 has to offer, and options to consider now that Nikon has discontinued making rifle scopes. It is hard to beat, however, having a scope that is specifically designed for your caliber of rifle.

The Nikon M-308 is a durable, high quality, .308 scope offered by a reputable and now historic name in the optic world. If you were a Nikon rifle scope fan, you will be pleased to hear that there are many other rifle scope manufacturers that have ballistic specific lines of scopes.

Are you looking for a high-quality scope for your .308 AR? If you are, let us know in the comment section below what you think of the Nikon M-308 or our two alternative options. Let us know any personal experiences you have with the Nikon M-308, or any of the alternative sights mentioned in the comments below!

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