The scout scope tends to either be loved or hated by shooters and hunters. There isn’t much middle ground to be had. For the hunters and shooters who love them, they appreciate the rapid target acquisition, improved balance, and preservation of peripheral vision during shooting situations. Those that hate them find that shooting with both eyes open isn’t as comfortable as the one eye open method used with traditional scopes. If you love scout scopes, or just want to learn more about them, use the list below to find the best scout scope for you!
The scout rifle was originally conceived as a rifle that would fill a variety of roles ranging from hunting to defense. This type of rifle needed a scope that was markedly different from the traditional rifle scopes most shooters are familiar with. A scout rifle needed a scope that would allow the shooter, or “scout”, to acquire targets quickly while retaining their peripheral vision and, in turn, their awareness of their immediate surroundings.
It also needed to be lightweight, compact, and feature a low profile. The answer was the scout scope. Retaining mobility, quickness, and snap shooting capability have become hallmarks of the scout rifle and the scout scope allowed for that to happen.
A scout scope is a scope with generous eye relief that is mounted forward of the receiver on a rifle and is typically of a lightweight, compact, and low profile design with low magnification.
Now, it is important to note that not every rifle with a scout scope on it can be considered an actual scout rifle. The original creator of the scout rifle concept had a strict list of requirements for a rifle to be considered a scout rifle. Since this article is about scout scopes, we won’t talk about that here, but if you are interested in learning more, the man’s name was Col. Jeff Cooper.
Scout scopes allow shooters to fire with both eyes open and allow for faster recovery from recoil for quicker follow-up shots.
Whether or not your rifle fits all of Col. Cooper’s scout rifle requirements has no bearing on the benefits that a scout scope offers to compatible rifles. It is fair to say that scout scopes don’t make sense for every shooting situation, but for the situations they make sense in, they excel. If you prefer to stalk game while hunting, hunt fast moving game such as wild hogs, compete in timed shooting competitions, or just want a maneuverable, lightweight rifle, then a scout scope fits the bill nicely.
At this point, you may be asking yourself what exactly to look for when shopping for a scout scope. Well, do not fear. Let’s take a look at some of the major considerations to take into account.
If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time for the details, here are our best picks for scout scopes:
- UTG 2-7X44 30mm Long Eye Relief Scout Scope
- Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 Scout
- Aim Sports 2-7x42mm Scout Scope
- Leupold FX-II Scout 2.5x28mm
- Burris Scout Riflescope 2.75x20mm
- Vortex Optics Razor Red Dot Scout Scope
- Sightmark 2-7×32 Scout Scope
- NcStar 2.5×30 Pistol Scope
- BSA 2-7×32 Edge Series
- Burris Handgun 3-12x32mm
Table of Contents
- Things to Consider When Choosing Scout Scope
- What Type of Rifles Are Ideal for Scout Scopes?
- Best Scout Scope on the Market Reviews
- 1 UTG 2-7X44 30mm Long Eye Relief Scout Scope
- 2 Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 Scout
- 3 Aim Sports 2-7x42mm Scout Scope
- 4 Leupold FX-II Scout 2.5x28mm
- 5 Burris Scout Riflescope 2.75x20mm
- 6 Vortex Optics Razor Red Dot Scout Scope
- 7 Sightmark 2-7×32 Scout Scope
- 8 NcStar 2.5×30 Pistol Scope
- 9 BSA 2-7×32 Edge Series
- 10 Burris Handgun 3-12x32mm
- Wrapping It Up
Things to Consider When Choosing Scout Scope
Originally, scout rifles were outfitted with fixed power 2x magnification scopes because they offered a wide field of view. Today, scout scopes can be found in both fixed power and variable power configurations.
If you want to use a fixed power magnification scout scope, you’ll want to stick with a 2x power scope for the most part. If you tend to consistently take shots at a little further distance, a 4x power scope can suffice, but just keep in mind that the field of view will be smaller and target acquisition might be a little slower because of that. Anything higher than 4x magnification in a fixed power scope greatly decreases their usefulness.
Variable power magnification scopes offer a lot more versatility for changing shooting situations. Having the ability to dial back to 2x magnification for closer ranges and heads up shooting situations is very important for a scout scope and scout rifle. However, some shooting scenarios, such as longer range shots or shots where shooting from a solid rest is possible, might require or benefit from a little extra magnification. A variable power magnification range of 2-7x is an ideal sweet spot to settle on.
You can’t have a scout scope without a generous amount of eye relief. Scout scopes are, by definition, mounted ahead of the receiver. If the scope doesn’t have enough eye relief, it will be next to impossible to use.
Eye relief is a measurement of how far away your eyes must be from the rear (ocular) lens of the scope in order to obtain the full sight picture.
Traditional scopes typically have eye relief in the range of 3.5 inches to 4 inches. This varies depending on magnification levels and scope design, but that amount is close to the average. That amount of eye relief is simply not enough for a scout scope. You’ll want at least 9 inches of eye relief on the low end for a scope to function well as a scout scope.
Scout rifles were meant to be used on the move without hindering the shooter. A heavy scope can begin to burden a shooter or hunter who is covering large distances in the field. Look for a scope that is on the lighter side in order to avoid fatigue.
Compact and Low Profile
Both of these features also add to the functionality of a scout rifle. A scope with a bulky size inhibits the performance of a scout rifle. A bulky scope simply won’t look as good on a scout rifle either. That might not be important to every shooter or hunter, but it is something to consider for some.
A simple reticle design with a high degree of visibility is key when choosing a scout scope. While illumination isn’t absolutely necessary, it can make the reticle a lot easier to see in varying light conditions as well as improving contrast when picking up targets.
What Type of Rifles Are Ideal for Scout Scopes?
Traditionally, rifles had to be bolt-action in order to be considered scout rifles. Luckily, there is no penalty for mounting a scout scope on a semi-automatic rifle. If that is what works best for your needs, then go for it!
That being said, there are some rifles that work really well with scout scopes.
- Springfield M1A Scout – quick handling, reliable, semi-automatic
- SKS – military surplus, reliable, semi-automatic
- Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle – powerful, scout scope ready, semi-automatic
- Mosin Nagant – military surplus, powerful, bolt-action
- Ruger Mini-14 – classic design, versatile, semi-automatic
- Ruger 10/22 – affordable, fun to shoot, semi-automatic
That is certainly not a complete list by any means, but it provides a good idea of the type of rifle that does best with a scout scope attached.
Now that you know a lot more about scout rifles and what to look for in a scout rifle scope, check out the list below to help you find the best scout scope for your shooting needs.
Best Scout Scope on the Market Reviews
1 UTG 2-7X44 30mm Long Eye Relief Scout Scope
The UTG 2-7×44 30mm Long Eye Relief Scout Scope has a generous amount of eye relief to serve well as a scout scope. Although a little on the heavier side, this scout scope is extremely durable and completely waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof. The 30mm main tube diameter allows a high degree of light transmission for a clear sight picture.
The UTG Scout Scope features an illuminated, glass-etched reticle that can be set to one of 36 different colors. A one touch memory mode returns you to your previous setting even after you turn the scope off. This scope also ships with a pair of medium profile Picatinny rings and a set of flip-up lens covers.
2 Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 Scout
The Vortex Crossfire II 2-7×32 Scout Scope is an excellent scout scope on the market today for under $200. Despite the budget friendly price, this scope stands out as an excellent performer in the field. It is full of features found on higher priced scopes. These include fully multi-coated optics, capped turrets that can be reset to zero, and an O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged single piece aluminum body.
The fast focus eyepiece, V-Plex reticle, forgiving eye box, and ample eye relief make the Crossfire II ideal for all aspects of scout rifle performance.
3 Aim Sports 2-7x42mm Scout Scope
For the budget minded shooter or hunter, the Aim Sports 2-7x42mm Scout Scope is a great option. This scope is built from a single piece of aircraft grade aluminum and has a fogproof and shock resistant housing that can withstand even harsh recoil. With capped turrets and a knurled magnification adjustment ring, the Aim Sports Scout Scope is packed with features for under $100.
The classic Mil-Dot reticle fits into the idea of a scout scope and is right at home on any rifle, especially military surplus Mosin Nagant and SKS rifles. This scope ships with a pair of Weaver / Picatinny mounting rings for out of the box action.
4 Leupold FX-II Scout 2.5x28mm
The Leupold FX-II Scout 2.5x28mm is a great option for anyone who wants a fixed power magnification scout scope. This lightweight and low profile scope is 100% waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof and is backed up by Leupold’s lifetime warranty. This scope’s size makes it ideal for scout style mounting. It won’t affect the balance of your rifle at all.
The Duplex reticle is ideal for a scout scope. It makes the fast target acquisition of a scout scope even faster and won’t interfere with target identification. The FX-II Scout was built to perform in tough conditions and makes a perfect match for any scout rifle. With Leupold’s Twilight Max Light Management System, the FX-II is excellent for low light conditions.
5 Burris Scout Riflescope 2.75x20mm
The fixed power Burris Scout Riflescope is a great option for hunters who find themselves mostly taking close to medium range shots. The 2.75x magnification is ideal for quickly picking up game animals whether they are standing still or on the move. With some of the most generous eye relief of all the scopes on this list, the Burris Scout Riflescope works well with many different rifles.
The matte finish reduces glare and the one inch main tube keeps this scout scope sleek and compact. With a Heavy Plex that is ideal for hunting applications, the Burris Scout Riflescope will perform well in most conditions thanks to fully multi-coated lenses.
6 Vortex Optics Razor Red Dot Scout Scope
The Razor Red Dot scout scope from Vortex Optics is an excellent choice for M1A Scout owners and anyone else who wants a tactical look to their scout rifle. The 1x magnification allows point blank and close range targets to be engaged quickly and accurately.
With a wide field lens, unlimited eye relief, and 6 MOA dot reticle, the Razor is also equipped with an anti-reflective coating on the lens for maximum light transmission. Built on a one piece chassis, this red dot sight is O-ring sealed making it waterproof and shockproof. Read here for more red dot options.
7 Sightmark 2-7×32 Scout Scope
The Sightmark 2-7×32 Scout Scope is a durable and rugged option that works well with both military surplus rifles and modern rifles such as the Ruger Mini 14. The low profile and capped turrets contribute to the sleek design of this scope.
An illuminated reticle provides superior visibility in a variety of lighting conditions while the power rotation eyepiece allows shooters to grab it anywhere for on the fly magnification adjustments. That sort of versatility combines perfectly with the scout scope concept.
8 NcStar 2.5×30 Pistol Scope
Don’t let the word pistol in the name scare you away from the NcStar 2.5×30 scope. It makes for a decent scout scope option especially if you are on a tight budget. The 30mm main tube allows in plenty of light for bright images and the plex reticle performs well in the field.
9 BSA 2-7×32 Edge Series
The BSA 2-7×32 Edge Series scope is another pistol scope that functions well as a scout scope. With extremely generous eye relief and a fixed parallax set at 50 yards, the Edge is ideal for mid-range shots. Completely waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof, this scope has knurled turrets and a knurled magnification adjustment ring for a tactical look.
10 Burris Handgun 3-12x32mm
If your scout rifle is of a high caliber, such as .308, the Burris Handgun 3-12x32mm scope might be a great option for you. Designed to be tough enough to stand up to even the harshest recoil, this Burris scope features a Ballistic Plex reticle that is ideal for hunting. While the magnification is on the higher end for a scout scope, it is still a robust platform to mount on any scout rifle.
Wrapping It Up
Shooting with both eyes open, a hallmark of using a scout rifle, isn’t for everyone. However, it can be an effective, accurate, and fast way of shooting if you can get used to it. Scout scopes are mounted forward of the receiver and require long eye relief. If you want to build a scout rifle, use the list above to help you choose the best scout scope for the scout rifle of your dreams.