As you might already know, the Scout rifle’s history dates back to the 1980s when Jeff Cooper promoted them heavily. Although scout rifles and scopes are not as popular as traditional tactical and hunting rifles and scopes, they have been growing in popularity in recent years because of the benefits they have other their traditional counterparts.
Finding the right scout scope to fit your rifle can be a daunting task, as it is vital that the scope adheres to a strict set of criteria to ensure it compliments your scout rifle’s performance. Therefore, we tested a wide range of scout scopes with the intention of creating this guide outlining the best scout scopes you can buy.
Table of Contents
Best Scout Scopes
After putting these optics to the test, the following are the best scout scopes on the market today.
- Vortex Optics Crossfire II
- Primary Arms Classic
- UTG Illuminated
- Burris Scout Riflescope 2-7x32mm
- Bushnell Banner
- Leupold VX-Freedom Scout 1.5-4x28mm
- Lightweight & Portable
- Crystal Clear Glass Quality
- Very Good Reticle Design
1) Vortex Optics Crossfire II
I’ve had the privilege of testing a lot of scopes, and I rarely come across one that ticks all my “scope boxes” – the Crossfire, more particularly, the OPMOD Crossfire II is one of them. In fact, I rated it one of the Best Scopes for Crossbows that I’ve used.
The Crossfire II features a sleek design and only weighs 16 ounces – complimenting your scout rifle’s agility. This scope is also incredibly durable thanks to its nitrogen purging and aircraft-grade aluminum housing. The scope is waterproof, dustproof, and fog proof.
The objective lens is 24 mm, and the lenses feature Vortex’s advanced multi-coatings to ensure optimal light transmission and minimal reflection.
Something I want to highlight is the illuminated V-Brite reticle. This is one of the best reticles I’ve seen, making target acquisition faster without compromising accuracy. The scope’s battery life is rated to last 150 hours, but mine lasts around 125 hours.
My Experience With Crossfire
The Vortex scout scope, or Crossfire OPMOD, is one of my go-to scout scopes for my scout rifles. The reason I love it so much is because of its overall quality design. The combination of advanced lens coatings, lightweight and compact design, and excellent reticle make it a really nice aiming platform.
2) Primary Arms Classic
The Classic Series is Primary Arms’ entry-level scope, but make no mistake, this scope is one of the best value-for-money scopes you can buy. That’s why I rated them one of the Top Shotgun Scopes as well!
Like the Crossfire, the Primary Arms Classic series is also purged with nitrogen and constructed with a 6063 Aluminum material, meaning it is incredibly durable. However, I find the Crossfire’s durability to be a notch higher than the Classic’s.
The Classic weighs 17.21 ounces and has a 24mm objective lens diameter. It has a 1-6x magnification range with 3.5 – 3.9 inches of eye relief.
This scope has a duplex reticle, which is quite nice, but I think the Crossfire’s reticle is better.
My Experience With Primary Arms
I’ve used the Classic series a couple of times on the range. It performed really well, especially in lower ambient light conditions. However, I had trouble when the light was at its brightest – one thing to consider before you choose this as your scout rifle scope.
Overall, the Classic series is a great scout scope, and you won’t go wrong by buying it. But I prefer the Crossfire.
3) UTG Illuminated
The Leapers UTG is another great scout scope. It features a 44 mm objective lens diameter – allowing great light transmission.
The UTG is probably the most durable of the scout rifle scopes on this list. It is built on Leapers’ True Strength Platform and is enhanced with nitrogen purging – enabling it to be shockproof, fog proof, and waterproof. The UTG is loaded with an impressive amount of reticle colors – 36 colors, to be exact. This allows you to toggle between reticles a multitude of colors to match almost any light condition.
The scope is equipped with a 2-7x magnification range with a field of 10 – 32 ft at 100 yards – you don’t really need more for a scout rifle, in my opinion. This is why I also rated UTG as one of the Top 6.5 Creedmoor scopes as well!
Unfortunately, all these features come at the expense of weight. The UTG weighs 25.4 ounces; it might seem light, but after handling the Crossfire or Classic Series and then handling the UTG, you might reconsider.
My Experience With UTG
I used the UTG predominantly on the range because of its weight. I was very impressed by how adaptable it is to changing light conditions. Plus, the huge objective lens diameter prioritizes light transmission – allowing for a crisp view.
If you are someone who wants a scope that is highly adaptable and you are going to stick to range shooting and a bulky design doesn’t bother you, then the UTG is perfect for you.
4) Burris Scout Riflescope 2-7x32mm
The experts over at Burris really outdid themselves with this scope – the thought that went into designing and building this scope really shows!
The Burris has been purged with nitrogen 24 times to ensure it is really fog proof. Its durability is also beefed up in the areas where it matters, ensuring that it can withstand the elements and the recoil of your scout rifle. The scope has an objective lens diameter of 32 mm with an eye relief of 9.2 – 12 inches. It has a magnification range of 2 – 7 x and a field of view of 7 -21 ft at 100 yards.
The scope features a ballistic plex reticle – which really prioritizes quick target acquisition thanks to the thin crosshair design. One thing you should know is that the reticle is not illuminated. However, the sight picture is so clear that this only becomes a problem in extremely bright or dim ambient light conditions. The sight picture is why I also rated them as one of the Best Scopes for AR-15 that I’ve tested as well!
The Burris has an impressively lightweight design – weighing only 13 ounces. Like the Crossfire, it also has a sleek design, promoting agility.
My Experience With Burris
The Burris scout scope is one of the best scout scopes I’ve tested. I really like a lightweight true scout scope that doesn’t compromise the rifle’s maneuverability, which is why I enjoy the Burris so much. I’ve used the Burris on many hunting expeditions that involved hiking and enduring severe environmental conditions, and I can confidently say that the Burris lives up to its reputation.
If the Burris wasn’t priced so high, it would feature a lot higher on this list.
5) Bushnell Banner
Although Bushnell’s Trophy Scout has been discontinued, the Banner makes for a great replacement. This scope is definitely our most affordable scope on the list. It weighs only 10.5 ounces and features a durable design, allowing it to be waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof.
Additionally, the scope has a magnification range of 1.5-4.5x with a field of view of 67 – 23 ft. The standout feature of the Banner is its lens coatings. Bushnell’s Dusk and Dawn brightness (DDB) really helps minimize reflection while still ensuring optimal light transmission.
My Experience With Bushnell
Although Bushnell is generally seen as a company that supplies entry-level scopes, my experience with their scopes has made me contradict that statement. This is because some of my Bushnell scopes have outlasted scopes that are generally seen as “top-of-the-line” scopes.
This Bushnell scope is excellent for hunting that involves a lot of hiking. Its lightweight design will make you feel as if you don’t even have a scope mounted.
If you are on a very tight budget, then the Bushnell might be the scope for you.
6) Leupold VX-Freedom Scout 1.5-4x28mm
Leupold is one of my favorite sporting and hunting optic manufacturers, and it really shows in the number of times I include them in scope articles. However, it’s not necessarily, because I like them but because they excel at what they do – making extremely high-quality scopes.
The Leupold Scout scope is the perfect example of a lightweight and durable scope for hunting. The scope weighs an impressive 9.3 ounces, which is nothing. It is waterproof and fog proof, allowing you to take it on your most epic hunting adventures.
It is equipped with a 28mm objective lens and a 1.5 – 4x – perfect for close to medium-range hunting scenarios. The twilight management system coatings ensure high light transmission and a crisp view in various lighting conditions.
The scope has a field of view of 41.7 – 17.3 ft at 100 yards and a comfortable eye relief of 6.9 – 6 inches. Like the Burris, the Leupold also doesn’t come with an illuminated reticle. The reticle is a duplex design in the second focal plane position.
My Experience With VX-Freedom
Lightweight, agile, and incredibly clear are the three things I experience when using my VX-Freedom. The VX-Freedom is the perfect forward-mounted scope to complement your scout rifle. Whenever I have a hunt involving my scout rifle and dense brush, the VX-Freedom is my go-to scout scope. Its compact and light design makes it perfect for navigating through dense vegetation.
What Makes A Good Scout Scope
Well, learning to choose a rifle scope really comes down to one thing: How much easier it can make your job as a hunter. However, finding the perfect balance between performance and versatility is not quite as simple.
Therefore, a good scout scope should provide the hunter with an easy aiming platform while still being lightweight, durable, and adept at providing a clear view in changing lighting conditions. We compiled a list of guidelines you can use to determine whether a scout scope fits the criteria to make it a good one.
- Magnification: A good scout scope will typically have a magnification range between 1x and 6x. Perfect for both short and medium-range scenarios.
- Weight: The scope should weigh less than 20 ounces, preferably below 15 ounces.
- Durability: It should be nitrogen purged and be fog proof, waterproof, and shockproof.
- Lens coatings: The last thing you want when aiming at a massive trophy deer is light reflecting into your eyes just as you are about to take your shot. That’s why lens coatings are pertinent to a good scout scope. A good scout scope will have lens coatings that minimize light reflection while ensuring optimal light transmission.
- Eye relief: Eye relief is important, especially for scout scopes, because they are forward mounted. An eye relief distance we find good is above 4 inches – the higher, the better.
- Reticle: The reticle system is an important aspect of how good a scope is. We typically want an illuminated reticle for hunting in dense brush, but it’s not crucial. We just want a reticle system that won’t compromise the target acquisition rate. Therefore, we like seeing a thin crosshair design.
Benefits Of Using A Scout Scope
Here is a list of the main benefits of using a scout scope.
- Target acquisition rate and Versatility: Scout scopes are designed with high eye relief and medium magnification, specifically with the aim of promoting target acquisition rate.
- Compact and lightweight: By now, you know how pertinent the weight and design of the scope are to a scout scope. These scopes are very compact and lightweight as opposed to normal rifle scopes – allowing them to be very agile.
- Peripheral vision: The forward-mounted configuration of scout scopes allows you to have better peripheral vision – elevating situational and environmental awareness.
- Durability – Most scout scopes have a beefed-up design over normal rifle scopes. This is because they are nitrogen purged – making them more fog proof.
Difference Between Affordable & Premium Scopes
Make no mistake, both affordable and premium scopes get the job done. But premium scopes just make getting the job done easier and faster. Here are some noteworthy differences between them:
- Durability and construction quality: Premium scopes typically feature characteristics to enhance their durability, like nitrogen purging and mitigating the effects of recoil. This allows premium scopes to have a lifespan that is typically longer than their affordable counterparts.
- Lens and optic quality: Premium scopes usually have better lens coatings than affordable scopes. These lens coatings increase light transmission, reduce light reflection and increase scratch resistance. Additionally, premium scopes are typically built from higher-quality glass to increase light transmission, sharpen image quality and minimize distortion.
- Reticle and Adjustments: Premium scopes will usually have better reticle systems that promote target acquisition rate and accuracy. Premium scopes will have better illuminated reticles. They are more evenly lit and have better brightness controls. The windage and elevation adjustment turrets on premium scopes will also be easier to use, make finer adjustments and maintain their settings more consistently.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a scout scope and a regular scope?
Why are scout scopes so far forward?
Can you put a regular scope on a scout rifle?
How far do scout snipers shoot?
Although there is a wide range of scout scopes on the market, there are only a select few that truly offer value for money. The Crossfire II reigns supreme as the best scout scope. But any of these scopes on the list will provide you with an excellent aiming platform and help make your next hunt memorable. Just remember to check the eye relief, optical clarity, and reticle design before buying your next scout scope, as these three components have a great deal of influence on the scope’s performance. Happy hunting!