Best Scope for 223 – My Top 5 Optics in 2023

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Even the best of marksmen will falter when the accuracy of their riflescope doesn’t match up to their shooting skills. So, if you take your shooting seriously and you want to do your skills justice, you need the best of the best.

In this guide, I will tell you how to select the best scope for your .223 caliber rifle to ensure that your prey never again slips out of your crosshairs. I’ve also compiled a list of 5 scopes that I believe are more than up to the task.

The now-iconic .223 Remington was first brought to the market by Remington back in 1964.

It entered the mainstream through widespread use in the M16s by the Army and has since, solidified its position as one of the most popular cartridges out there, helped in large part by its availability and affordable pricing.

It is now one of the best choices of cartridge for varmint hunting. Because it’s not that powerful of a round, it’s mostly used for shooting coyotes, groundhogs, etc. Some patrons, however, swear by the .223 for all of their game hunting needs, including deer and moose.

My Top Pick is the Bushnell AR Optics 1-4X24mm

I’ve made this article as comprehensive as possible, leaving no stone unturned in finding the best scope for .223. Since each shooter has their own preferences, there’s no single scope that could be deemed perfect for everyone. 

I’ve spent many hours researching and testing to find the best scope for my needs, but it might not necessarily match yours. That is why I suggest reading the whole guide to the best .224 scopes as one of my other picks might suit your purposes better.

After much trial and error, I’m pleased to say that I have found a winner in the Bushnell AR Optics 1-4X24mm riflescope.

This is an extremely versatile and reliable scope that can easily support any recreational or professional shooting activities you might have in mind. 

The lenses on this baby are fully multi-coated with anti-glare technology, which means that your view of your target will be crystal clear and sharp every time. I’ve used it in a variety of different lighting conditions, and I can attest that the optics provide incredibly vivid images even when looking through heavy brush or tall grasses—which is a huge plus in my book when it comes to hunting trips.

But that’s not all, the Bushnell AR Optics 1-4X24mm is also incredibly durable. It’s been designed to handle heavy recoil without sacrificing accuracy or precision. The scope is also waterproof, fog proof, shockproof, and nitrogen purged, so you can be sure that it won’t let you down when you need it most.

And the best part? The affordability. For a fraction of what you would pay for other high-end scopes, you can get all of the features included in this model from Bushnell. And let me tell you, it does not compromise on quality despite its more budget-friendly price tag.

Bushnell Optics, Drop Zone Reticle Riflescope with Target Turrets, Matte Black, 1-4x/24mm

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My 5 Best Scopes for .223

Here’s a quick rundown of each of my 5 top picks, this again is for those who are in a hurry. I’ve put a lot of work into this guide, so I’d really hope you read the rest as I’m going to share with you a lot of valuable information. 

  1. Bushnell AR Optics 1-4X24mm –  My top pick. Great optics and durable construction make this an ideal scope.
  2. Bushnell 3-9×40 Riflescope with DZ 223 Reticle – An incredibly durable optic that will withstand heavy recoil.
  3. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12×44 – Dead-Hold BDC MOA – A rugged, reliable scope with tactical features like an illuminated reticle and windage/elevation turrets.
  4. Nikon P-Tactical .223 3-9×40 Riflescope – Another great option from Nikon, this one is known for its excellent light transmission and is great for hunting in challenging light conditions.
  5. Monstrum Alpha Series 1-4×24 First Focal Plane FFP Rifle Scope – An affordable yet feature-packed scope that comes with an illuminated reticle, locking turrets, and much more.

What You Need to Know Before Buying the Best Scope for .223

We’re sure you have your favorite rifle close at hand. But how do you go about finding a scope for the .223, which will be the perfect tool to add to your arsenal?

Before you start window shopping, there are a few basic terminologies that I think you should be aware of.


You need to first decide upon your desired shooting range. If you want to do close-range shooting (up to 200 yards), a magnification of 4X will do just fine. However, if you’re intent on hunkering down and hitting those long-distance targets, you must get yourself a scope with a magnification of at least 9X. In long distances, the picture often gets fuzzy because of parallax. So it’s best to get a scope with adjustable parallax.

Light Transmission

You need your scope to produce bright, clear, crisp images with perfect contrast from dawn to dusk. There’s no guarantee you’ll be able to land your prey in the light of day, so best be prepared. Multicoated lenses which have high degrees of light transmission (90% and above) are the best. They’ll have you shooting on target even in extremely low-light conditions


This one’s a no-brainer. You would want a scope that would last you a long time, especially since you’re spending big bucks on them. If you put in a cheap one, you know it’s gonna get utterly demolished after just a few shots.

You need one made out of aircraft-grade aluminum or something just as sturdy. You also need lenses that will hold their own in all weather conditions. Nitrogen-purged lenses are usually waterproof, dust and fog-proof, and also shock resistant to a high degree.

Of course, in my mind having a lifetime replacement warranty helps as well!

Eye Relief

Eye relief is absolutely crucial with every scope. You do not want it to hit your eyes (something that’s happened to me a few times!). If you’re going to keep your eyes free of injury when using heavy recoiling rounds or shooting from unconventional angles, you would want a good amount of buffer space between your eyes and the scope.

I recommend that 3 to 4 inches of eye relief should be a bare minimum when you’re looking to buy a scope.

You might also be interested in what is the best scope for .450 Bushmaster.

The 5 Best .223 Scopes

There are a ton of great scopes out there, but each one is still different. You need to choose the most suitable one for your needs. Here are our top picks!

But I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the key features that make them stand out and the pros and cons for each scope. So grab your rifle, and let’s get started!

1. Bushnell AR Optics 1-4X24mmBushnell AR Optics, Drop Zone Reticle Riflescope with Target Turrets, Matte Black, 1-4x/24mm

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Bushnell took the benchmarks of every scope – optical precision, rugged reliability, uncompromising performance and pushed them to the limit.

My Feelings After Using the Bushnell AR Optics 1-4X24mm

I found this scope particularly well suited for close-quarters shooting (about 100 yards). It also has a drop zone with aiming points up to 500 yards.

When it comes to accuracy, I really think it would be hard to find a scope that beats this one. The target turrets pretty much guaranteed that I got pinpoint accuracy and the caliber-specific reticles made sure I was on point with every single shot.

Product Highlights

The fast-focus eyepiece and multi-coated optics let you get your target in your sight from dawn to dusk, no matter how fast it tries to run away.

The optics themselves are nitrogenpurged to remove any remnants of internal moisture. And I’m pleased to report they are also O-ring sealed to prevent the entry of dust or moisture.  

The outside, made of aircraft-grade aluminum alloy, is just as sturdy, with an anodized exterior to back it up. This makes the rifle rustproof and virtually scratchproof, and the matte finish makes it a sleek and sophisticated complement to my firearm.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

The reticle is a little too thick in my opinion. But that shouldn’t be a problem in the closequarters shooting.

The scope’s erector cap (located at the bottom) may limit the possibility of using lowscope rings, should you be so inclined. I found that medium-height rings, however, will work just fine and provide the necessary clearance between the cap and the scope base.

Key Features

  • Fast-focus eyepiece and multi-coated optics
  • Nitrogen purged optics, also O-ring sealed
  • Throw Down PCL power change lever, which has two height settings


Pros Cons
  • High accuracy, even for fast-moving targets
  • Sleek aesthetic design
  • Rugged and sturdy; highly durable
  • Inability to use low scope rings

Basic Parameters 

Manufacturer  Bushnell
Weight 18oz
Eye Relief 3.5 inches
Magnification 1 – 4x
Field of View 90 – 23 feet at 100 yards

My Verdict

Bushnell exceeded my expectations as usual and came up with a scope which looks like it’s straight out of one of my favorite movies! Made out of the stuff airplanes are made of, it’s immensely sturdy too. I’d recommend it best suited for close-quarters shooting (about 100-200 yards), the target turrets do a great job in accounting for small, minute changes in the crosshairs while shooting.

My rating: 4.8/5

2. Bushnell 3-9×40 Riflescope with DZ 223 Reticle

Bushnell 3-9x40 Riflescope with DZ 223 Reticle , Black Check Price on Amazon Check Price on OpticsPlanet

Need a versatile hunting scope that won’t break the bank? Bushnell has you covered with this 3-9×40 riflescope. It offers great magnification settings for short to mid-range shooting engagements, plus multicoated lenses. The coatings boost light transmission and durability, ensuring that the scope will provide excellent benefits for a long time to come.

My Feelings After Using the Bushnell 3-9×40 Riflescope with DZ 223 Reticle

I have found this optic to be worth my while for several reasons. Like the .223 Remington cartridge, it is a workhorse scope featuring a durable and aluminum-based construction. I know that if I were to drop it, it wouldn’t be the end of the world, and it’s totally waterproof. So, it’s perfect for taking in inclement weather when I need to go hunting.

Furthermore, it comes with an adjustable length throw lever so that I can use it to swap between magnification settings quickly and easily, even when I was wearing gloves when it got really cold out. It features side-mounted parallax, windage, and elevation turrets, helping me to take close and long-distance shots alike.

I liked that the turrets clicked audibly when I used them and were clearly marked, making it difficult to lose your position.

Product Highlights

However, one of the main reasons I can highly recommend this scope is thanks to its BDC or bullet drop compensating reticle, which includes specialized hash marks on the bottom vertex to help me estimate bullet drop at farther distances. 

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

I can honestly say I struggled to find any issues with this Bushnell .223 scope, the only thing I could really come up with is that it was a little heavier than some of the other opticals reviewed, but this is still negligible.

Key Features

  • Features side-mounted parallax, windage, and elevation turrets
  • Waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof
  • Fast magnification changes with adjustable length throw lever
Pros Cons
  • Has good windage and elevation adjustment turrets
  • Can compensate for parallax
  • Has multicoated lenses
  • Includes a BDC reticle
  • Made with weatherproof and durable construction
  • A little heavier than average as it weighs one point pounds

Basic Parameters 

Manufacturer  Bushnell
Weight 13 oz
Eye Relief 3.3 inches
Magnification 3 – 9x
Field of View 40 – 14 feet at 100 yards

My Verdict

All in all, this quality rifle scope that I believe has a lot to like and doesn’t have many major downsides. It’s a scope that can work both for your .223 Remington rifle and for other firearms in your collection in almost any circumstance. 

My rating: 4.8/5

3. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12×44 – Dead-Hold BDC MOAVortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12x44 SFP Riflescope Dead-Hold BDC MOA

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The Crossfire II line of scopes by Vortex has a tremendous amount of variety with something for everyone. If you take your shooting seriously, the Crossfire II series is guaranteed to put a smile on your face (it did mine!). Vortex has left no stone unturned when it comes to performance and reliability.

My Feelings After Using the Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12×44 – Dead-Hold BDC MOA

I was impressed with the huge zoom range of 4 to 12X is perfect for both medium and long-range shooting. The large 44mm objective lens makes for a very large, clear image.

With an eye relief of 3.9 inches, I know my eyes will never be in any danger, and I can concentrate my efforts solely on bettering my marksmanship.

The picture is clear and bright, with perfect contrast. So, no matter how grassy my environment is, I can scope out my target with absolute ease. The lens is multicoated and anti-reflective, allowing for maximum light transmission.

And the capped reset turrets are easily adjustable with MOA clicks that I can reset to zero after sighting in.

The single-piece construction with aircraft-grade aluminum ensures strength and shockproof performance. The lenses are O-ring sealed, and the nitrogen purge makes the eyepiece resistant to water, fog, and dust. Sturdy, rugged, and robust, this scope is sure to serve me for a good number of years. On top of that, I was pleased to see there’s a lifetime warranty.

Moreover, the fast-focus eyepiece and the field of view are going to make sighting my targets a lot easier, even highly mobile ones. The field of view stretches from 8.4 feet to 24.7 feet at 100 yards.

Whether it’s dusk or dawn, rainy or foggy, the red dot will pierce through it all. For shooting and tactical hunting, it would be a crime to let this scope pass you by.

Product Highlights

The dead-hold BDC reticle was a stand-out feature for me. It’s perfect when estimating holdover is a concern. It takes all the guesswork out of the picture when it comes to holdover and windage corrections. The reticle, being in the second focal plane, always keeps your prey in the same ideally sized appearance. With resettable MOA turrets, the dead-hold reticle makes no compromises whatsoever.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

As you’ve probably guessed, I like this scope a lot. If I had to point out one negative, it would be that on high zoom there can be distortion. There’s not much you can do about this, and this minor downside is more than compensated by all the other great features of this scope.

Key Features

  • Dead-hold BDC reticle eliminates holdover and windage corrections guesswork
  • Good-sized eye relief
  • MOA clicks easily adjusts Capped reset turrets

Pros Cons
  • Rugged craftsmanship
  • Image quality and a large objective lens
  • Long-range zoom
  • Slight parallax
  • Distortion with high zoom

Basic Parameters 

Manufacturer  Vortex
Weight 17.2 oz
Eye Relief 3.9 – 4.4 inches
Magnification 4 – 12x
Field of View 24.7 – 8.4 feet at 100 yards

My Verdict

I found that the huge 12X zoom range and 44 mm objective lens is perfect for long-range shooting. No matter how small or big my prey was, whether it was stationary or on the move, I got a clear image of it on the anti-reflective, multicoated lens. Moreover, the dead-hold reticle with all its estimated trajectories eliminated all guesswork.

My rating: 4.7/5

4. Nikon P-Tactical .223 3-9×40 RiflescopeNikon P-Tactical .223 3-9x40 Matte BDC600

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You’ll easily be able to tackle any varmint hunting or target practice with your .223 rifle using this quality scope. Let’s dive into what it can offer, including an excellent body to construction, a fantastic reticle, and generous and consistent eye relief.

My Feelings After Using the Nikon P-Tactical .223 3-9×40 Riflescope

Let’s start with the magnification settings, which range from between 3x and 9x and work with a 40 mm objective lens. All of these aspects combined mean that this optic will be a perfect combination scope with a .223 rifle used for hitting targets between 100 and 600 yards away. This was even a bit high for what I would normally use this type of rifle for; it’s more than accurate enough for most varmint hunting and target shooting.

I can report that the rest of the scope is similarly high quality. It features spring-loaded instant zero-reset windage and elevation turrets that are well-marked for easy reference. They offered me tactile feedback and allowed me to reset them back to zero after making quick adjustments. The scope is also made with a 1-inch body tube, so it didn’t take up too much space on my rifle, and it only weighs 16.9 ounces.

The optics are fully multicoated for added light transmission and durability. And I also benefited from a quick focus eyepiece that allowed me to acquire my target snappily. I can confirm that eye relief is also great, ranging between 3 and 4 inches depending on the magnification settings I set. All in all, I can safely say it’s an agile and effective scope for most .223 target shooting needs.

Product Highlights

The scope comes with a BDC 600 reticle. Not only did this allow me to calculate bullet drop trajectory over long distances, but the hash marks are also open circles, so they didn’t prevent me from seeing smaller targets. Thus, I found it far superior to more cluttered reticles that can make your aiming efforts less successful overall.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

One thing I have noticed while using this scope is that the reticle can be a bit hard to see among darker backgrounds. At first, I was a bit disappointed with this, as it seemed like it would be a major drawback. However, after using the scope more, I’ve realized that it’s not as big of an issue as I initially thought. 

The reticle is still visible in darker environments, it just requires a bit more concentration to pick it out. While the reticle being hard to see among darker backgrounds is not ideal, it’s not a deal breaker for me.

Key Features

  • Comes with a BDC 600 reticle
  • Features spring-loaded instant zero-reset windage and elevation turrets
  • 1-inch body tube, and weighs only 16.9 oz
Pros Cons
  • Made with excellent materials
  • Allows you to hit targets up to 600 yards away
  • Turrets are well made and easy to adjust
  • Eye relief is great
  • Lenses provide excellent light transmission
  • Reticle can be a bit hard to see among darker backgrounds

Basic Parameters 

Manufacturer  Nikon
Weight 16.9 oz
Eye Relief 3.8 inches
Magnification 3 – 9x
Field of View 11.3 – 3.8 feet at 100 yards

My Verdict

This scope is an excellent choice if you want a top-tier .223 rifle scope for both target shooting and hunting varmints at farther than average distances. I can also pair this optic with other rifles thanks to this versatility.

My rating: 4.7/5

5. Monstrum Alpha Series 1-4×24 First Focal Plane FFP Rifle Scope Monstrum Alpha Series 1-4x24 First Focal Plane FFP Rifle Scope with MOA Reticle | Black

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Fans of the .223 Remington should also heavily consider the Monstrum Alpha 1-4×24 scope seen here. It’s a first focal plane variety that’s compact and affordable, making it a great choice for a variety of standard civilian rifles.

My Feelings After Using Monstrum Alpha Series 1-4×24 First Focal Plane FFP Rifle Scope

I really like the construction of this scope. It’s made of aircraft-grade aluminum and has been weather-sealed to prevent damage from water or fog. As a result, I can use this optic under any weather conditions without worrying about its performance suffering. 

I appreciated that this scope also comes with high-quality and durable lenses that benefit from special coatings to boost durability and light transmission. The scope is designed primarily for relatively close-range shots since it can magnify between 1-4x and features a 24 mm objective lens. Interestingly, the optic offers about 4 inches of eye relief, making it a good pick for me if I ever decide to pair it with a higher recoil rifle and cartridge.

As a more tactically oriented scope, I found the FFP reticle is great for hitting precise shots. The holdover points adjust with the magnification power I choose. The optic comes with a pair of windage and elevation adjustment turrets that are easy to adjust; they swap between values smoothly, making it a great option for me.

Product Highlights

Probably not a big deal for everyone, but I liked that the optic comes with accessory flip-open lens caps. These can help to keep the optic in prime condition when I’m in the field by preventing dirt and water from collecting on the lenses and scratching them over time.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

If you are in the market for a scope that you want for long-term engagements, then this probably isn’t the best choice. You have another four picks of mine to choose from, so if it is important check them out!

Key Features

  • Aircraft-grade aluminum and weather-sealed
  • First focal plane MOA reticle
  • Protect lenses while not in use with spring-loaded flip-up lens covers
Pros Cons
  • Has good windage and elevation turrets
  • Lenses are multicoated for durability
  • Compact design makes it easy to mount on your rifle
  • Includes flip-open lens caps
  • Designed for operation in any weather
  • Has great eye relief
  • Not the best for relatively long-range engagements

Basic Parameters 

Manufacturer  Monstrum
Weight 14 oz
Eye Relief 4.0 – 4.5 inches
Magnification 1 – 4x
Field of View 103.2 – 26.4 feet at 100 yards

My Verdict

All in all, this scope is affordable and quite valuable for short-range .223 Remington engagements. I’d consider it if you frequently take your rifle target shooting or take down small game at relatively close distances.

My rating: 4.5/5

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the history of .223 Remington?

The now-famous Remington introduced the .223 Remington rifle to the market in 1964.

It became popular after the Army began using it in M16s, and it has since cemented its position as one of the most popular cartridges on the market, thanks in large part to its widespread availability and low cost.

It is now one of the most popular varmint hunting cartridges. It’s usually used to shoot coyotes, groundhogs, and other small animals because it’s not a particularly powerful bullet. Some customers, on the other hand, swear by the.223 for all of their deer and moose hunting demands.

Where do you shoot a deer with a .223?

When using a .223 for deer hunting, aim for the heart and lungs, or the base of the neck, where a bullet will shatter the spine and swiftly kill the animal. Anything except a standing, broadside shot will suffice.

Is the .223 Remington a good cartridge?

While many classic cup-and-core bullets hit deer and other animals and things, the .223 Remington is a high-velocity cartridge, and high-velocity cartridges cause traditional cup-and-core bullets to fall apart.

Is .223 good for deer?

When the right bullets are utilized, the .223 is a viable deer cartridge. When shots aren’t too long and a broadside shot presents itself, it’s excellent enough. However, it isn’t a foolproof cartridge. If you decide to use it for hunting, be prepared to pass on an animal if the angle or distance isn’t ideal.

Is .223 good for coyotes?

Coyotes are easily taken down by the.223 Remington cartridge in any gun. It has a flat trajectory that can carry coyotes out to 400 yards and a hard enough strike to anchor them. Some hunters choose FMJ ammo because it preserves the hide the best, while others prefer frangible hollowpoint ammunition because of the shock factor.

Can .223 go through walls?

While .223 rounds have a lot more energy when they first fire, they lose it rapidly when they hit the boundaries in most tests. You must always be aware of what is lurking behind your goal. Almost all of the rounds tested went through at least four walls, though some clearly had a lot less energy at the end than others.

What caliber is bigger: .223 or .22-250?

When comparing the .22-250 cartridges and .223 cartridges, the .22-250 is noticeably wider and longer. Although both cartridges have the same bullet diameter, the .22-250 has a bigger casing.

Will a .223 take down a hog?

Yes a .223 will typically kill a hog. However, in order to land a clean, humane kill, the shot placement is crucial. Hogs are hardy and reliable. 223 bullets are a small number. A stronger bullet, as well as accurate shot placement, is preferable.

How far will a .223 bullet travel?

The most highly specialized 5.56x45mm NATO ammunition have a theoretical limit of 900 yards, while.223 Remington rounds can theoretically reach 850 yards.

Concluding My Best .223 Scope Guide

Well, that concludes my buyer’s guide. It’s important to remember that you need to buy a scope that is especially suited to your needs. Take a look at my guide above, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what you need to keep in mind before you set out to buy a scope.

If you are a fan of long-range shooting, check which are the best scopes for 1000 yards and best scopes for 6.5 Grendel.

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