To get the best performance out of your scout rifle, you need a quality, low powered optic with plenty of eye relief. However, with so many optics on the market, finding the best scout scope for your shooting needs can seem like an impossible task.
We are here to help you better understand what a Scout rifle is and how it should be used. More importantly, we’ll tell you what to look for in a good scout scope, and reveal a few of our favorite models to help get you started.
If you don’t have time for the details, check out the list below for the best rated scout scopes:
- Vortex Crossfire II 2-7×32 Scout Scope
- Aim Sports 2-7×32 Scout Scope
- UTG 2-7×44 30mm Long Eye Relief Scout Scope
- Leupold FX-II Scout 2.5x20mm
- Burris 200261 Ballistic Plex 2-7x32mm
- Leupold Freedom RDS
- Trijicon TR24 AccuPoint 1-4×24 Dual-Illuminated Riflescope
- Bushnell Trophy Scout Rifle Scope with Multi-X Reticle
- Sig Sauer SOR52001 Romeo5
Table of Contents
- What is a Scout Rifle?
- Cooper’s Scout Rifle Criteria
- The Scout Rifle Scope
- Best Scout Scope on the Market Review
- 1 Vortex Crossfire II 2-7×32 Scout Scope
- 2 Aim Sports 2-7×32 Scout Scope
- 3 UTG 2-7×44 30mm Long Eye Relief Scout Scope
- 4 Leupold FX-II Scout 2.5x20mm
- 5 Burris 200261 Ballistic Plex 2-7x32mm
- 6 Leupold Freedom RDS
- 7 Trijicon TR24 AccuPoint 1-4×24 Dual-Illuminated Riflescope
- 8 Bushnell Trophy Scout Rifle Scope with Multi-X Reticle
- 9 Sig Sauer SOR52001 Romeo5
- Final Thoughts
What is a Scout Rifle?
The concept of the “scout rifle” was developed by the late Colonel Jeff Cooper. Cooper was one of the most influential people in the shooting world.
He founded the American Pistol Institute (now known as the Gunsite Academy) in 1976. We also have him to thank for the Combat Mindset (laid out in his book, Principles of Personal Defense), the Cooper Color Code (indicating different levels of alertness), and the four basic rules of gun safety.
Cooper is also responsible for pioneering the idea of a general purpose, do-everything rifle. He wanted a single rifle that could be used for hunting, self-defense, and survival. He dubbed this type of rifle the “scout rifle” and defined it as a” short, light, handy, versatile, utility rifle.”
The scout rifle was developed around Cooper’s concept of the “Scout,” a man who “acted alone, not as a member of a team.” A “scout” was the master of the hit-and-run art of single combat. He fired quickly, and carefully, and then vanished back into the woodwork.
To accomplish this, the “Scout” needed a very specific type of weapon.
Cooper’s Scout Rifle Criteria
When Jeff Cooper first introduced the concept of a scout rifle in the 1980s, the only way to get one was to build it yourself. Modern shooters have it much easier. Most gun manufacturers offer factory-built weapons branded with the “scout rifle” name (like the Ruger Gunsite Scout). While few of these meet all of Cooper’s exacting standards, most work well as a multi-purpose firearm.
Here are just a few of the characteristics Cooper required of the ideal “scout rifle.”
- A bolt action rifle with a smooth and reliable action.
- Lightweight, weighing no more than seven pounds, including the sling and optic.
- An overall length of not more than 39 inches (with a 19-inch barrel). While this seems pretty standard in the modern world of AR-15 carbines, a few decades ago, shorter weapons were considered inferior.
- Chambered for .308 Winchester. Cooper chose this specific cartridge because the Scout rifle had to be able to drop a threat with a single shot. Not only is .308 capable of this feat, it is widely available. He did acknowledge that .243 Winchester would work better for smaller shooters. Cooper also admitted the larger .350 Remington was better for places where encounters with large, dangerous game was possible. Today, you’ll find “scout rifles” chambered in just about everything, even though these rifles aren’t quite true to Cooper’s vision.
The Scout Rifle Scope
Jeff Cooper also had specific criteria for the type of scope a “scout” should mount on his rifle. To complete the set-up, a scout rifle needed a low power, lightweight optic mounted forward of the action. This forward mount allows for fast, single-round loading.
Even more important, the forward-mounted scope provides plenty of eye relief, allowing the “scout” to keep both eyes open. By shooting this way, the “scout” could keep precious peripheral vision and situational awareness.
While Cooper considered a bolt action a requisite of a basic scout rifle, a forward-mounted optic works well for lever action rifles. Lever actions also have typically short barrels, which fit other scout rifle qualifications. For this reason, some shooters choose the “scout rifle” title for Marlin 336, Winchester 94, and other cowboy action rifles.
Cooper made exceptions for conventionally mounted optics, but only for those with fixed power and no more than 4x magnification.
The scope should also be mounted high enough to accommodate backup iron sights. Cooper preferred ghost ring iron sights, which allow the shooter to pull off quick shots. These highly visible sights also work well in low light shooting situations.
Best Scout Scope on the Market Review
Because a scout rifle is a firearm optimized for long treks and run-and-gun shooting, it requires a specific type of scope. Look for a low-powered scope that increases precision without inhibiting target acquisition. Stay away from the bulky monsters designed for long-distance shooting. Stick to compact models with generous eye relief.
Not sure where to start? Here are our favorites.
1 Vortex Crossfire II 2-7×32 Scout Scope
Vortex scopes are known for their durability, an important characteristic in a scout scope. This scope is plenty durable and may offer the best value of any optic on our list. Priced under $200, the Crossfire II Scout Scope is about as rugged as they come. It’s made from a single piece of hard anodized aircraft grade aluminum. The housing is nitrogen purged and o-ring sealed, making it waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof. Perfect for hunting or tough survival situations, this scope is ready to handle anything Mother Nature throws your way.
The Crossfire II also offers an ample 9.45 inches of eye relief, an ultra-forgiving eye box, and a fast focus eyepiece, all of which help you get on target quickly. Meanwhile, the anti-reflective, fully multi-coated lenses provide bright and clear views of your target, even in the dimly lit hours just after dawn and right before dusk.
2 Aim Sports 2-7×32 Scout Scope
Perfect for those on a budget, this scout scope from Aim Sports is priced well under $100. Don’t be fooled by the price tag, however. This is a quality scope that offers tons of performance for the money. If you are trying to outfit an older rifle (like a Mosin Nagant) on the cheap, this is the perfect optic for the job.
The Aim Sports Scout Scope offers variable magnification ranging from 2x to 7x. Although a tad on the bulky side for a scout scope, the 42mm objective lens provides plenty of light transmission for low light shooting. It also features an easy-to-use mil-dot reticle, which is perfect for making those long-distance precision shots.
3 UTG 2-7×44 30mm Long Eye Relief Scout Scope
This high-performance scout scope from UTG is packed with features, yet comes with a surprisingly affordable price tag. It has a generous 44mm objective lens, special Emerald-coated lenses, and an innovative EZ-TAP Illumination Enhancing (IE) System. These features maximize light transmission and improve image quality, even in low light shooting conditions. The illuminated reticle also adds a nice touch, especially when you’re trying to line up crosshairs on a dark-colored target.
The UTG Scout Scope has adjustable turrets that are seriously user-friendly. They adjust quickly, are lockable, and quickly reset to zero. This scope also features a Side Wheel Adjustable Turret (SWAT) for parallax adjustment from “True 10 Yards” and up.
This awesome optic offers plenty of eye relief and comes with a set of Picatinny/Weaver 30mm quad-mount scope mounts. These are robust mounts that can be used to mount it on your Ruger Scout .308 for a near perfect scout rifle/scope combo.
4 Leupold FX-II Scout 2.5x20mm
Leupold is one of the most respected names in the world of optics. Well-known for their quality glass and high-performance binoculars, and gun scopes, Leupold brings an awful lot to the table, so it should come as no surprise that Leupold has designed one of the finest Scout scopes on the market.
This fixed power scope features an easy-to-use wide duplex reticle. This simple reticle makes this optic particularly fitting for a Scout rifle. It makes for rapid target acquisition, which is one of the key aspects of a good scout scope.
Leupold’s high-quality illuminated scout scope is crafted from 6061-T6 aircraft quality aluminum, plus it is nitrogen purged, and completely waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof. The glass quality is seriously in a class of its own. With razor-sharp, edge-to-edge clarity, a bright image, and true colors, the images viewed through this optic are better than anything you’ll ever see with the naked eye.
5 Burris 200261 Ballistic Plex 2-7x32mm
In our opinion, Burris optics don’t get nearly the attention they deserve, especially when it comes to scout scopes. The company practically invented them, and their Ballistic Plex Scope is a fine example of everything a Scout scope should be.
With a super slim diameter, this scope provides a low profile for easy maneuverability. It also features high-quality, index-matched, multi-coated glass for some of the crispest, clearest images you’ll ever view through a scope. Burris fills and purges their scout scopes with laboratory grade nitrogen at least 24 times to prevent fogging, even when the scope is subjected to extreme temperature changes.
One of the best features of this Burris Scout Scope is the simple, trajectory-compensating Ballistic Plex reticle. The basic, uncluttered design makes it quick and easy to use. However, it also provides trajectory compensation for precision long-range shooting out to 500 yards.
6 Leupold Freedom RDS
Although a bit unconventional for a scout scope, we think theLeupold Freedom RDS (Red Dot Sight) works well on a scout rifle for several reasons. It is lightweight, compact, and is perfect when you need fast point-and-shoot action.
The Freedom RDS has 1x magnification, allowing you to keep both eyes open for rapid engagement and improved situational awareness.
It is also incredibly durable, with all the internal components housed within a shockproof, waterproof, aircraft-grade aluminum main tube. This thing is built to take rough use.
The Freedom RDS features Leupold’s exclusive Twilight Light Max Management System. This system provides unprecedented low light performance, increased contrast, and glare reduction.
7 Trijicon TR24 AccuPoint 1-4×24 Dual-Illuminated Riflescope
If you’re looking for a high-end scout scope for a high-end scout rifle, look no further than the Trijicon AccuPoint. This thing is packed with features, including a battery-free, fiber optic, “always on” reticle. The reticle also automatically adjusts to your lighting condition. You can take this 1-4x scope well off-grid without worry.
The crisp, precise, windage/elevation knobs provide quick, easy adjustments. To help you get on target fast, the AccuPoint features an easy focus eyepiece and a simple, proven reticle design that facilitates fast ranging and holdovers. With the Trijicon AccuPoint, you can make rapid, accurate shots when seconds count.
Trijicon also took great pains to make their AccuPoint scope one of the most durable on the market. Not only is it rugged enough to withstand extreme weather and rough handling, it’s also tested and proven to meet military standards and protocols.
8 Bushnell Trophy Scout Rifle Scope with Multi-X Reticle
Bushnell’s optics are some of the best-selling optics in the world. Although the company has several Scout scopes in their line-up, we love the Trophy Scout Rifle Scope for a plethora of reasons.
First, it is super rugged and 100 percent waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof. It is lightweight and has a low profile, two things you definitely want in a backcountry scout rifle. This scope was made for off-grid hunting and survival.
Second, it has a generous eye box, plenty of eye relief, and a fast focus eyepiece. These features combine to enable you to get on target quickly for effective run-and-gun shooting. It also has a crystal clear image thanks to its fully multi-coated glass and rain guard HD (which offers incredible light transmission, even in stormy weather), so once you’re on target, you’ll be viewing it in bright, crisp detail.
Finally, it’s backed by Bushnell’s No Questions Asked Lifetime Warranty. That’s a major selling point all by itself.
9 Sig Sauer SOR52001 Romeo5
This one is another unconventional optic choice for a scout scope. However, if you’re looking for a high-tech option for an unconventional scout rifle, this is one sweet option.
This probably isn’t quite what Jeff Cooper had in mind when he pioneered the Scout rifle concept. However, if you’re topping something that will be used more for plinking than surviving, a red dot scout scope may be just what you need to enhance your shooting fun.
The Romeo5 from Sig Sauer has unlimited eye relief, so you can easily find the aiming point and the target, no matter where your eye sits behind the optic. This red dot sight is dependable, waterproof, and fogproof. Plus, the MOTAC (Motion Activated Illumination) powers up when it senses motion, then automatically shuts off when you’re done, saving you precious battery life.
Choosing the best scout scope for your scout rifle is a very personal decision. No matter which model you choose, be sure to spend some time becoming familiar with how it performs in conjunction with your rifle. Sending lead downrange is the absolute best way to gain proficiency with your new set-up. Ultimately, accuracy and proficiency will be your most effective weapons, no matter which scope you have mounted on your Scout rifle.