The Best Scout Scope For The Money

Choosing a quality Scout scope can be an extremely frustrating endeavor. I had my first series of scout scope frustrations when trying to mount a sks scope

Normal sks mounts either interfered with stripper clips or cost way to much money.   The forward mounted scope was going to require an extremely long eye relief that you’re not going to find in a traditional scope. 

I decided this was the perfect time to go with a scout scope setup.  Luckily my budget sks setup was all I needed to jump into the world of scout rifles.  A few weeks later I bought my first real scout rifle and I quickly fell in love with this versatile setup.

What are The Best Scout Rifle Scopes?

Scout rifles are typically bolt action, chambered in 308 and come with a forward mounted rail. The forward mounted rail requires a intermediate eye relief scope.

Designed to be fired with both eyes open, allowing for super fast target acquisition.  Made famous by Jeff Cooper, scout rifles became the “multi-tool” of the rifle world. They tend to be light weight quick handling rifles.  Perfectly sized to work as a hunting rifle.

1. Burris Scout 2-7 x 32 Ballistic Plex Scope

Notable Features:

  • Very Durable Waterproof Design
  • Extremely Clear Sight Picture
  • Long Eye Relief Range
  • Premium Features
  • 2-7x32mm Magnification

Check Price: Amazon

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a great scout scope. Low magnification scopes are typically cheaper than other options. Burris designed this scope to be the perfect blend of price and function. 

Burris has long been known for designing quality optics at every price range. As the first company to design a scout setup they’ve set the bar high. Perfecting their design throughout the years, you won’t go wrong with a Burris scope.

The Burris 2-7×32 scope is easily one of the most expensive options on the market. It’s actually not that bad compared to other top of the line scopes. 

With its 2-7x magnification it’s perfect for most hunting applications. Increasing magnification on a forward mounted scope causes all kinds trouble with mirage and sun glare.

You’ll be able to stretch out your 308 round to 300-500 yards which is more than enough for most hunters. What sets Burris apart from the competition is its long eye relief.

With an eye relief of 9.2-12 inches, it gives you a lot of wiggle room. You won’t have to lean in uncomfortably to get a perfect shot. It also includes a completely waterproof and fogproof frame, backed by the Burris Forever Warranty.

Scout setups tend to have a lot of issues with glare and horrible low light efficiency. Somehow Burris managed to solve both of these problems with this scope. The crystal clear glass does reflect some sunlight, but it’s easily dealt with.  You’ll wonder how you ever managed without this Burris Scout Rifle Scope.

2. Leupold Scout 1.5-5x33mm FireDot Scope

Notable Features:

  • Crystal Clear Sight Picture
  • 1.5-5x33mm Firedot Reticle
  • Durable Waterproof Design
  • Easy to Use
  • 9.5-13″ Eye Relief

Check Price: Amazon

Leupold Scout 1.5-5x33mm Firedot scope is another excellent option.  Known for making some of the best optics, you can’t go wrong with a Leupold scope. Combining a scout setup with a red dot gives you both short and long range accuracy.

Leupold’s Firedot scope is more than just a traditional scout setup.  The illuminated reticle features a bright red dot on the main aiming point.  You get both long range accuracy with the 5x magnification and close up red dot like accuracy. 

The bright illuminated reticle allows you to quickly switch between long and short range shooting.  You can also save a little money buying the affordable 2.5x Fixed Magnification or 1.5-4x scopes without the Firedot.

With the perfect amount of magnification for hunting and a durable design.  You’ll be able to stretch the 308 round a few hundred yards which is much farther than most hunters will ever need. Like all Leupold optics it uses extremely clear glass.

The crystal clear lens has extremely long eye relief. Unless you have gorilla arms you shouldn’t have an issue finding a comfortable shooting position.  With a lifetime warranty, you should never have to worry about damaging a Leupold scope.  Completely waterproof shockproof and fogproof it will handle just about anything you throw at it.

3. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 Scout Scope

Notable Features:

  • Value Priced
  • 2-7x32mm Magnification
  • Waterproof
  • Durable Design
  • Lots of Features

Check Price: Amazon

It’s no surprise that Vortex also has an affordable scout setup.  Vortex seems to throw their hat in the ring every chance they get. Like every other Vortex product I’ve seen, this Crossfire scope is top notch.

While it’s not as clear as the above Burris and Leupold it’s still very impressive. At a fraction of the cost it’s well worth a look.

Vortex products all seem to perfectly balance price with function. With its 2-7x magnification, it’s an excellent choice. You don’t have to be an expert to see why Vortex Optics are so popular.

Using a 9.45 inch eye relief it’s perfect for my 6ft frame. The viewing angle is slightly narrower than I’d like, but it’s perfectly acceptable. With a few minor rail adjustments, you should be able to see perfectly through this scope.

Vortex uses a low glare finish which reduces its overall brightness, but significantly cuts back glare. With a lifetime warranty and durable design, you should never damage this scope.  Nitrogen purged and O-ring seals provide a completely shockproof and waterproof housing.

4. Bushnell Trophy 2-7x36mm Scope

Notable Features:

  • Value Priced
  • 2-7x36mm Magnification
  • Waterproof Design
  • Easy to Use
  • 8-13″ Eye Relief

Check Price: Amazon

Bushnell’s Trophy 2-7x36mm Rifle Scope is easily the cheapest option I would recommend. I really like the Bushnell Trophy lineup of products. Their trophy series all seem to be extremely high quality products for the price.

You can’t beat the durability of this scope in this price range. Bushnell’s been around for a very long time and they seem to know what they’re doing.

If you want to spend the absolute bare minimum, the Bushnell Trophy scope is the way to go.  Cheaper alternatives tend to be absolutely worthless in both bright and dim light.

The extreme glare during the morning hours and low light conditions make cheaper scopes awful for hunting. Bushnell’s Trophy on the other hand works well in just about all weather conditions.

Not quite as good as more expensive options, but that’s to be expected. What I really love about this scope is it’s extremely long eye relief. It works well from 8 inches all the way out to the 13 inch range.

With one of the widest ranges available it will work on most setups. The entire trophy lineup is entirely waterproof fogproof and shockproof. You aren’t going to find a better option at this price.

Scout Scope Considerations

Choosing a good scope normally isn’t difficult, but scout setups tend to throw people a curveball.  When you can’t use a traditional scope decisions become a little bit harder.  These versatile hunting scopes need to handle it all.  Pushing through brush and inclimate weather pushes optics to their limits.  The following recommendations should help push you in the right direction.

  • Eye Relief:  With most rifles you don’t have to worry about eye relief, but that’s not the case with scout rifles.  With their forward mounted rails you’re going to need a long eye relief scope.  Mounting traditional optics will result in a completely unusable sight picture.  Try and find a scope with an eye relief between 7 and 14 inches.  The wider the margin the easier it will be to mount.
  • Design:  Normally design is the last thing you should consider when buying a scope.  Scout Rifles on the other hand need compact and lightweight optics.  You don’t want to throw off your rifles balance due to its forward mount.  Make sure you choose a lightweight design that won’t throw off your rifles balance.
  • Durability:  Most often you’ll be pairing your scope with a hunting rifle.  You never know what your going to encounter on a hunt.  You should always look for completely shockproof and waterproof designs.  Nobody plans to accidentally drop their rifle from a tree stand, but it happens everyday.  With a cheap scope you’re day would most likely be over.  All of the scopes listed above also come with lifetime warranties.
  • Multi-Coating:  Due to their forward mounts scout setups are even more susceptible to glare.  Quality multi-coatings should significantly reduce glare without affecting image quality.  Most premium manufacturers claim to transmit up to 95% of light.  Multi-coatings should also protect the lens from scratches and abrasions.  Companies like Leupold further protect their lens with diamond and emerald coatings.
  • Illumination:  Illumination is often seen in both the cheapest and most expensive scopes on the market.  Manufacturers throw illumination into cheap scopes to make up for dim sight pictures.  Quality glass paired with illuminated reticles result in extremely bright sight pictures.  I really like Leupold’s Firedot Illuminated rifle scope listed above.  It improves both long and short range target acquisition.
  • Price:  Price is going to be all over the map, but usually more expensive than similar traditional scopes.  You can expect to pay about a 30% premium over traditional rifle setups.
Shooting With Both Eyes Open

The coolest thing about Scout rifles is that they allow you to shoot with both eyes open.  With extremely long eye reliefs you’re able to focus clearly on the reticle.  Shooting with both eyes open has a lot of advantages.  You’ll have a much better sight picture which is crucial for hunting.  With a wider field of view you can spot game that you’d otherwise miss.  Who wants to shoot a doe when they could have shot a trophy buck.

You’ll be able to better track moving targets.  It can be difficult to track moving targets while waiting for a shot.  Lift your head up for a second and you could miss the shot.  With a scout setup you can quickly reaquire your target in a matter of seconds.  There’s no screwing around searching after you adjust the magnification.  You’ll also be able to quickly switch between short and long range targets.

Added Versatility

Scout rifles are meant to be extremely versatile.  You’ll be able to quickly adapt to a number of different shooting conditions.  So you’re going to want to find a scope that’s adaptable to all of your needs.  It needs to be able to withstand harsh shooting conditions.  From the extreme cold of winter, spring rain and the summer sun.  It’s easy to find waterproofing, but forward mounted scopes are also extremely susceptible to glare.  Without a decent multicoating you’ll have difficulties shooting in the sun.

Scout Rifle Disadvantages

While scout rifles are extremely versatile, it’s not possible to please everybody.  Shifting the scopes placement forward changes your rifles feel.  While I like the central balance some shooters can’t properly adjust.  Due to its long eye relief it’s not possible to get high magnifications.  You’re going to be limited to about 7x maximum magnification.  That will easily reach out to my maximum hunting range, but some people need a little more magnification.  I’ve also heard complaints that poor eyesight limits some shooters options.

Which Scout Scope is Right For Your Rifle

Burris easily makes the best all around scout rifle scope. The long eye relief and crystal clear glass makes it perfect for any hunting rifle. Leupold’s Firedot is another great option combining short and long range magnification. You can even save a little money buying the Vortex or Bushnell Trophy Scope.

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