As defined by Jeff Cooper, the best scout scope is one that offers low magnification, preserves the peripheral vision of the shooter, eradicates any chance of the scope hitting the brow during recoil and retains the ejection port open to reload the rifle via stripper clips. And while technology has changed since it was first defined in the 1980’s, the concept remains the same. With that being said, I’ve pitted up 4 of the best scout scopes currently out so you can find the one that is best for you.
Table of Contents
- The Variable Zoom Conundrum
- What Price Should I Look For?
- Best Scout Scope Reviews
- Final Words
The Variable Zoom Conundrum
There is a frequent debate whether variable zoom scopes work well as scout scopes and whether Cooper would have approved them to be so. First things first, a fixed magnification scope is going to be lighter which can help with acquiring your target faster. There’s also no chance of accidentally leaving the scope to high magnification and finding out too late when you quickly try to aim. However, this point can be mitigated by using smaller zoom level scopes like 1-4x or 1.5-4x.
However, back in the 1980’s, when Cooper coined the rules for what is considered a scout scope, there weren’t many quality variable magnification scopes. That, in addition to his open ended definition of what is a scout scope, means that current variable magnification scopes can also be interpreted to fit the description.
As Jeff Cooper said in his book, The Art of the Rifle, “The object of the practical rifleman is the achievement of first-round hits, on appropriate targets, at unknown ranges, from improvised firing positions, against the clock”. Meaning, at the end of the day, if you can at any point quickly point and shoot at a target without your scope hindering you then you can choose whichever scout scope you want. Also if you are going to be aiming at targets farther out than 200-250 yards, a 2 or 2.5x magnification scope might not be the best solution.
What Price Should I Look For?
Scout scopes come in at all price ranges. Some are cheaper and others are more expensive. And while I have scout scope reviews of different price ranges, I usually recommend always going for a more premium scope if you can. Let me explain why.
For me, it doesn’t make a difference what scope you choose, as you’ll be the one using it. But while you might be saving money when you are purchasing a cheaper scope, you will be wasting ammo that you otherwise wouldn’t have. And with ammo costing as much as it does, in the end you don’t really end up saving much. Additionally, build quality and customer service also tends to be of lower quality in cheaper scopes.
However, there are some great scopes at lower price ranges like the Vortex [INSERT LINK HERE] which match up pretty well to scopes like Leupold and Burris. In the end, just choose one that will fit you best.
Best Scout Scope Reviews
Leupold FX-II Scout 2.5x28mm Duplex – Best Long Eye Relief Scout Scope
Arguably one of the best scout scopes out there, you have probably heard about the Leupold FX-II as you were looking around at different scout scopes. But is it really all that, or is it just an overhyped decent scope? Let’s find out.
Firstly, this scope is marketed as an (IER) intermediate eye relief scope with its eye relief measuring in at 9-17”. But judging by that eye relief length, this also qualifies to be an LER scope which also makes it one of the best long eye relief scout scopes. This also allows you to forward mount the scope and be able to use your scope without any issues. When you do use it, you will have no problems seeing through it as the lenses are clear and thanks to the included fog and water proof abilities, will stay that way throughout its usage. Additionally, when looking through it, you get an FOV of 22 at 100 yards.
The scope itself is made out of aluminum and feels durable. Knowing that you have a lifetime guarantee backed behind the scope, even if you’re not the original owner, I would assume that they trust their product build quality enough as otherwise, they would constantly be repairing their gear. Some other specs of this scope include a ¼ MOA, 2.5x fixed magnification, 28 mm objective lens diameter, 1” main tube and a length of 10.1”. The scope also comes in at 7.5 oz.
So overall, this is a solid scout scope which should give you no problems in attempting to track down your target quickly.
Featuring a lifetime warranty and made here in the USA, the Burris Scout is another great choice to consider. Just like the Leupold, it has a fixed magnification however you also get an additional .25x magnification which helps with targets over 250 yards away. But the tradeoff you get is a diminished FOV of 15 at 100 yards.
The lens is nitrogen filled to prevent internal fogging, and is also waterproof. There is also a double internal spring-tension system which allows the scope to maintain zero through recoil, vibration and shock.
It is also pretty lightweight and compact weighing in at 7 oz. and sporting a length of 9.2”. However, it’s size also comes with a smaller profile 20 mm objective which, while looks nice, gives you a smaller picture and is less bright. This might be an issue if you have poorer eyesight and if you’re using it during sunrise and sunset.
Additionally, the adjustment system marketed as a steel-on-steel click system but in reality feels a little mushy which might cause you to misadjust it a bit while fine tuning. The final con is that it is a little pricey, but it has quality and features to back it up.
True to a scout scope style, you can forward mount it as it has an eye relief range of 8.5 – 14”. Other features include a 15 mm exit pupil, 1” tube diameter, 9.2” overall length and a 35 mm ocular lens diameter.
If you’re looking for the best scout scope but want something that magnifies a bit more than the Leupold, this you should seriously consider the Burris Scout.
Now if you are looking for a good scout scope but don’t want to spend a lot of money, then Aim Sports is a good contender. This scope comes with adjustable zoom levels ranging from 2x – 7x. As mentioned above, having higher magnification options tends to go against Cooper’s recommendations, but seeing as this scope is one of the only ones suitable to be called a scout scope within its price bracket, it’s worth looking at. Plus, as long as you don’t set it too high and forget to set it back, you should be good.
This scope features an aluminum body and can be adjusted precisely with its ¼ MOA adjustments. The adjustment also feels tactile which is good to have. Furthermore, the scope doesn’t lose zero after a couple hundred shots, which is pretty impressive given its price. The eye relief range is 8.5 – 10.5” which is pretty decent although not as long as something like Bushnell.
Now onto the cons. Firstly, this scope is large and bulky thanks to its length of 11.25” and its weight of 14.5 oz. There are only 2 screws on each scope ring, and the scope itself has a bluish tint. Then comes the reticle. The reticle has little hash marks that somewhat resemble mil-dots but aren’t in actuality so you have to find the bullet drop for the marks yourself. Additionally, the range finding portion of the reticle is intrusive and large which also makes the image overall darker. However, there’s a nice manual provided by Aim Sports that explains the range finder reticle in case you want to use it.
You can also get this cope with a mil-dot reticle style as well, but do note that the mil-dots on it are far too small to be useful, and it is better used like a duplex reticle.
And that’s about it for this scope. If you don’t mind the reticle and the bulkiness, then this scope is a great value for its price considering it costs only a fraction of other premium scout scopes.
Last, but not least, comes the Vortex. Vortex is known to manufacture great scopes at good prices, and this scope is no different. Made from aircraft grade aluminum, this scope is, like most others, waterproof, fog proof and shockproof. It also comes with a fast focus eyepiece which is always nice to have.
The eye relief on it is 9.45” which allows you to forward mount it. You can also adjust it pretty accurately since it has ¼ MOA adjustment. The whole thing itself is a little heavy as it weighs 12 oz., but you can’t really complain at its price range. Do note that there is no ring included which means you have to purchase a separate one for yourself.
There have been a few people who had quality issues with the build but since vortex offers a lifetime warranty, you have nothing to worry about. Additionally, you get lens covers and a lens cloth included with this scope, which is a nice touch and something that I would have liked other manufacturers to do as well.
One thing to note about this scope is that it has a fair amount of parallax and when it is magnified to 6x and above, there is noticeable distortion.
Some other specs of this scope include: 1” tube size, 2-7x magnification, and 32 mm objective lens diameter.
In the end, the Vortex Optics Crossfire II is a really good scope and fits well in the bracket of being budget friendly while still maintaining build quality and features.
So there you have it, the best scout scope reviews all compared against each other so you can find which one suits you the best. These are the current leaders in the scout scope market as of now and I will update the list if needed. Thanks for reading.