The .308 is a classic all-around hunting cartridge. It can be fired from lots of different rifles, from ARs to military tactical rifles, to your old fashioned wood-barreled hunting rifle!
Its advantages include low recoil, low powder consumption, and extended barrel life. We love it because it’s easy to reload, doesn’t produce a lot of recoil, and is generally very accurate within 250-300 yards.
Since .308 caliber rifles are so varied, it can be hard to find the right scope for both your cartridge and your gun. There are hundreds of scopes available online, and only a few have been designed for the .308. They’re hard to find, and between shopping and comparing, you’ll be wasting a lot of time online when you could be out on the range!
We’ve got you covered. We did research specifically to find the best scopes for the .308 cartridge, so you can spend more time shooting!
We looked for .308-specific features and adjustments, strong build quality, and solid warranty coverage.
Below, you can read our full, in-depth reviews of our 3 favorite scopes for the .308. We’ve also put together a list of pointers to think about while you’re comparing scopes.
Before you get started, here’s a glance at our choices:
Best Scope for 308 Reviews
1. Burris Eliminator
The latest version of the Eliminator has a really wide range of power, from 3X-12X. Burris rates it for up to 1200-yard shots, and Guns and Ammo listed it as a top pick for long range shooting this year! It also comes with a custom tactical reticle, and a laser target. Previous buyers said it’s insanely accurate with the combined reticle/laser system, and very durable. It’s covered by a lifetime warranty. We’d recommend it to serious, technical hunters who use a .308 for most shooting (and for whom money isn’t an obstacle).
With a wide range of 3X-12X, you’ll have all the magnification power you need for your .308! The scope is set to be parallax-free at 50 yards, but has a separate adjustment dial for scaling that up as far as you need.
The reticle is proprietary, and combines some of the best aspects of mil-dot, BDC and other technical sights. (Read more on the latest gun specs!) There’s a special marking system for windage adjustments, and the black mil-dot crosshairs are visible in even low lighting.
All the tactical aspects are backed up by programmable adjustment knobs, which take a lot of the math out of long-range shooting. You simply program the scope to the caliber of your rifle, and it scales adjustments accordingly.
Both windage and bullet drop are scaled to your specific caliber, so it’s unbelievably precise! The scope gives you an illuminated target point that’s adjusted for windage and drop.
Even better, there’s a built-in inclinometer, which accounts for any speed and drop variations due to the slope of your shots. That data also feeds into the reticle grid.
It all sounds really technical, and we all know that added gizmos are generally asking to be broken. However, all the parts on the Eliminator are shielded, with low-profile knobs and fully multi-coated lenses for scratch protection. Spring tension systems in the adjustment turrets maintain true accuracy for better repeatability.
Best of all, unlike some cheaper Burris scopes, this one is covered by a lifetime warranty.
While it’s not a cheap scope, it’s great value for money. Considering how much a good laser rangefinder is, combined with the price of a 3-12X scope, Burris’s combination of the two is pretty price-effective.
The Eliminator really is easy to use, even for non-expert hunters. Previous buyers said they liked that they wouldn’t need to purchase or carry an additional rangefinder. They said that having the unit integrated made it a snap to take game without having to range, even past 750+ yards! That convenience can mean the difference between a narrow miss and a freezer-filling shot!
It’s not quite as long-range as advertised. Reviewers said that for shots over 1,000 yds, they’d rather have gone with the 16X option (also available from Burris, at a bit higher price).
Burris uses a proprietary reticle, so it looks a bit different from other technical sights. It still works on a mil-dot/MOA system, but it’ll take some getting used to if you’re switching from another brand.
Burris also doesn’t provide much info on the weatherproofing specs for this scope. While we’d assume it’s waterproof and fog-proof, we couldn’t find any details online or in the product manual.
2. Nikon M-308
This scope is specifically calibrated for the .308 cartridge (one of very few that are) and it’s recommended by several magazines for .308 rifles. It has a similar range to the Burris, at 4-16X magnification, but is much less elaborate and expensive. Previous buyers say it’s unexpectedly crisp and bright, with very good technical accuracy. It’s a good choice for people who want the wider range and technical quality of the Burris without paying top dollar!
At 4-16X magnification, it provides the wide field of vision you want from a lower power scope, with the long-distance abilities of a high-power model. The objective lens is slightly oversized, at 42mm. That makes it perfect for heavy caliber shooting like a .308.
The quick-focus eyepiece makes it easy to get sighted on your target at any zoom level.
Both lenses are fully multi-coated, with scratch resistance and glare reduction. Many previous buyers agreed that Nikon’s glass was particularly bright and clear.
The 1” body tube is sealed for shock-, water-, and fog-proofing. It’s made from high-grade aluminum, and is engineered in one piece for better durability. Inside, there’s pressurized nitrogen gas, kept in by rubber O-rings.
The turrets have a tactical design, with 1/4MOA adjustments. Previous buyers said they provide nice, solid clicks, and feel very reassuring. They also have a quick-reset feature, so you can return to zero between shots.
The Nikon turrets also have built-in spring resistance for better repeat shots. The springs cushion the knobs from recoil as well as drops and bumps. We love these spring systems, especially for hunting in the woods or in scrub. It really makes a difference between shots, since you don’t have to worry about constantly re-focusing.
Because it’s designed specifically for .308s, the Nikon has a few nice design touches that make it better-suited than other mid-range scopes. The M-308 has specially spaced-out mount ring points, for better fit on .308 rifles. There’s also a 4” eye relief, which is better than most other scopes (which are about 3.5”). That’s particularly important when shooting high-caliber ammo.
Nikon covers this scope with a lifetime warranty, and previous buyers had only glowing feedback with regard to durability.
The reticle is a simple duplex, which isn’t ideal for long-range shooting. You won’t be able to calculate long-range bullet drop with the reticle itself. However, .308 guns aren’t generally effective at long ranges anyway.
While the side focus knob locks, the quick-focus eyepiece doesn’t. That’s not a deal-breaker for us, but that does mean it could be knocked out of focus by accident.
3. Vortex Viper
This scope has a lot better low-end power options than the Nikon or the Burris, with a 1-4X magnification range. It’s designed for hunting at closer quarters, and provides a wider field of vision and a brighter image. It’s very highly rated on Amazon, and recommended by Guns and Ammo magazine as a top scope for low range hunting. Plus, it’s very reasonably priced (half as much as the Burris). If you’re looking for some low-end versatility, go for this one!
The Viper uses a lower power range to achieve better precision when hunting within 500 yards. The lenses provide a nice, wide field of vision, and let in lots of flight, even at top power. Unlike many other low power scopes, this one has a true 1X setting. That’s a big plus for old-school hunters, who like to have the option of shooting without any zoom.
The lenses are computer engineered to be free of any flaws or imperfections. They’re optically indexed, which means that they deliver better light transmission and color according to their specific makeup.
Vortex has also used “low-dispersion” glass in both lenses. This material increases both resolution and color depth. The lenses are also fully multi-coated for lower reflectivity and glare.
There’s a special Tactical Milling Close Quarter reticle in this scope, which uses hash marks to outline mil-dot measures. The glass is actually etched in for better performance between the crosshairs and lens itself.
Previous buyers loved the reticle. They enjoyed the minimal mil-dot layout, which allows for technical shots without cluttering or impeding your field of vision. Plus, you can use the illumination feature to light up the reticle. The levels are fully adjustable, and the crosshairs are visible on their own in full daylight.
The canister is fully sealed, and filled with argon gas for shock and waterproofing, as well as fog-prevention inside the scope itself.
With a 30mm diameter, the tube is stronger than 1” models, and provides better latitude of adjustment. The whole thing is milled from one piece of aluminum for better durability and accuracy. It’s all sealed and filled with argon for fog and waterproofing.
The adjustment turrets are uncapped tactical knobs with a massive 220 MOA range. That’s twice the total latitude of most capped models!
The tactical turrets are exposed, which means they’re vulnerable to being knocked out of place.
While it’s very precise, it has a relatively low range. You won’t be able to make long shots much over 500 yards with this scope.
Which .308 scope is right for you?
If you primarily hunt at close range, in the woods or scrub, we strongly recommend the Viper for you. It’s also extremely precise at close range, with a tactical reticle and adjustment turrets. You’ll be able to make all the adjustments you could want within 500 yards. It’s ideally suited for the .308’s range, and is very reasonably priced.
The Nikon is a good choice for all-around shooters who want a bit more range than the Viper without spending $1,000. It’s priced similarly to the Viper, but adds some upper range power. You’ll be able to maintain a wide field of vision, while making shots out to 600+ yards.
For the most technical and demanding shooters, the Burris Eliminator combines a laser rangefinder with an extra high-powered scope. You’ll be able to shoot up to twice as far as the Viper or M-308, with even greater accuracy. While it’s almost certainly overkill for the average hunter, it’s an ideal scope for .308 owners who want the best of the best.
How to Shop for a Scope for a .308 Rifle
Look for low end magnification power, for the 100-300 yard range.
The .308 cartridge really isn’t ideal for a long range weapon. People have misconceptions about that from its military/uniformed services use, but it’s really a low-to-midrange cartridge. We recommend you find a scope that accepts and complements its functional parameters.
It’s a poor choice for long shots for several reasons:
It’s a shorter, less aerodynamic cartridge than the .300 Winchester Magnum or other .30 caliber cartridges. It has a very poor wind bucking ability, and is very susceptible to windage at longer distances. A rainbow-shaped trajectory means there’s a fair amount of bullet drop over 300 yards. It also has relatively low energy and velocity.
That all means that you really don’t need magnification power over 9X, or the 600 yard line. Your scope will outstrip your cartridge in terms of accuracy.
Look for specific, positive adjustment turrets:
Since the .308 is susceptible to windage, you’ll want specific adjustments for that. The more latitude, the better. Likewise, you’ll want BDC or other technical reticles to account for bullet drop. You don’t need a lot of spring-padding, since there’s much less kickback.
Check out our other recommendations for the best rifle scopes. Find out which are the best .22 scopes, the best night vision scopes. and more.