Best Ruger AR 556 Scope – Top 4 Optics in 2020

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Looking for the perfect scope for your Ruger AR556 can be tough but is also heaps of fun. The Ruger AR556 was first introduced in 2009 as the SR556 by U.S Arms manufacturer Sturm, Ruger & Co.

Sturm, Ruger & Co has been producing some of America’s favorite firearms since 1949, originally operating from Southport, Connecticut.

Ruger produces some of the finest, and most fun, firearms in the world and are one of America’s leading manufacturers.

The AR556 was their offering which was intended to compete with entry levels AR-15s and does it. Since it first came onto the scene in 2014 the 556 has gone from strength to strength. 

Choosing the right optic depends on a few things like, what type of shooting you will be doing, what distance you shoot, weight and more. Read on to see what we advise you take into consideration when buying the best scope for your Ruger AR556.

Ruger AR556 Scope Buying Guide


The Ruger 556 is no joke when it comes to power and fun but that doesn’t mean any scope will do. Remember this is an AR-style rifle and isn’t really designed for long-range shooting. Ideally, you want the lightest and most compact scope for your requirements.

The 556 is a powerful, quick acquisition carbine and you do not want a big heavy scope to weigh it down and throw it off balance. These guns are meant to be comfortable to use, not a chore to carry.

Let us not forget, you will be shooting a .223 cartridge so anything over 6x magnification is a waste of money as power drops significantly over 300 yards. 

Red-Dot vs Magnification

Depending on how you shoot you may prefer a red-dot scope over a scope which offers magnification. Red-Dots are much more suited to quick acquisition style shooting or hunting and with the ones on this list you get ample light transmission and a great field of view.

If you do go for a scope with magnification then it is best to remember anything over 6x will likely be a waste of money.


You will want to make sure your new scope is made from strong, robust material which can withstand the elements. If you regularly hunt outside in the rain then make sure your scope won’t rust.

If you shoot in humid conditions then you will want to make sure your scope has been nitrogen purged to prevent any fog build up. 

The Ruger AR556 is an all-out assault rifle which will be getting used and possibly abused to its maximum operating capacity. It is, after all, what it was designed for. 

If it is made from a premium metal casing it will have less chance of getting damaged if you drop it or damage it in transit.

The 4 Best Scopes For Ruger AR 556

Following is a list of scopes that we believe mate best with the Ruger Ar 556.

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

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Unless you live in a cave, then you have more than likely heard the name ‘Bushell’ being branded about. They have been supporting hunters, outdoors people, and outdoor sports enthusiast for over 65 years. 

Not only do they produce great quality scopes, but they also have a wide range of products for your every need. From range finders to spotting scopes, and night vision to trail cameras. Whatever you need to enhance the enjoyment of your outdoor activities, Bushnell will have something to make it more enjoyable.

Now we are going through some of the best scopes for the AR556 so there is more emphasis on close-range shooting. With that in mind, we love the tactical look involved with assault rifles and the Bushnell AR Optical Riflescope lives up to that hype.

It is finished in Matte Black and is a single-piece design. The turrets have a cool tactical look to them and they are mounted in an easy to reach way.

This scope is really solid and will take the heavy recoil from a Semi-Auto without any issues. It has been nitrogen purged so you do not have to worry about moisture or debris ruining your fun. It also means you can use this scope in more testing conditions. Whether that be on the hunt or competition. 

Bushnell’s have fitted this scope with a 1-4x magnification so you couldn’t use it for long-range hunting or shooting. It does, however, work perfectly for Varmint or range days.

You get plenty of light transmission through the lenses and they are coated for optimum target acquisition and clarity. The reticle is clutter-free and consists of your standard crosshairs plus a drop zone.

What that basically means is the scope has aiming points on the lower post of the reticle. The points allow you to shoot up to 500yds when sighted properly. Allowing you to shoot further, more accurately.

Bushnell recommends you sight the scope at 100yds for it to work best, at any magnification this will give you the most accurate sights and the most reliable set up.

Overall Bushnell has crafted a great, high-quality, rugged and ready scope for the avid shooter.

What we like;

  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight
  • Looks great
  • Dropzone reticle
  • Water, shock, dust-proof

2. Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope, 1x25mm, Black

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Yes, we are sticking with Bushnells! Although this time we are going a little lighter, tactical, and compact. We are talking about the Bushnell Trophy TRS 25 which is one of the smallest ‘scopes’ on the market.

I am sure we can all agree that red dots are the most exciting scope choice for any assault rifle enthusiast. We don’t all shoot distance and sometimes you just want to squeeze the trigger and make holes in things, what could make this easier or more fun than a red dot?

As far as size goes this thing is tiny, but don’t worry it packs a punch. It weighs in at a very light 4 Oz and is a grand total of 63mm long. If you are planning a hunt or need a lightweight strong scope to use on any rifle than this is a premium choice. It is protected by a premium metal casing which can really take a knock and keep ongoing.

It doesn’t have any magnification with it being 1x25x but with this sight, you will likely be as upfront to the action as you can be, after all, that is where all the fun is. The Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 has an illuminated reticle which has eleven brightness settings.

It has been nitrogen purged, which means it is water, shock, and dustproof. With the fantastic multi-coated optics this lens is perfect for shooting where quick acquisition is needed. The lens allows maximum light transmission in while keeping any glare at bay.

You will have no problem shooting in the woods and seeing the difference between a brown critter and a brown tree. As far as eye relief goes it allows for 2.4” and fitting this scope is quite simple.

Overall if you’re looking for a red-dot scope to have some serious fun with your SKS then you will not go wrong this offering from Bushnells. 

What we like;

  • Red-dot fun
  • Small and lightweight
  • 11 illumination levels
  • Waterproof

You can also check our guide on the best prism scopes.

3. Nikon P-223 3×32 M BDC Clamshell Nikon P-223 3x32 M BDC Clamshell

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If you weren’t aware Nikon create more than just some of the worlds most renowned cameras. They are also responsible for some of the best sporting optics around the world.

When it comes to sports optics you can always trust Nikon. They are one of the longest-standing companies around who have done nothing but innovate and lead the way when it comes to the sports optics market.

They paved the way for modern optics and hold some responsibility for the fact that in today’s world, many scopes allow for up to 95% light transmission which makes our shooting as accurate as it ever has been.

The Nikon P-223 3 x 32M BDC Clamshell lives up to the Nikon name, and then some. It is a single-piece design finished in matte black. It features two tactical looking turrets and simply looks field ready. 

It has been crafted for AR-style rifles so sitting it on top of your AR556 it will feel, and look like home. It is nitrogen purged and O-ring sealed so there are no worries when it comes to shooting in testing conditions. This scope is water, shock, and fog proof.

It has a BDC Carbine reticle which was crafted to work perfectly with the trajectory of the .223REM/5.56 NATO rounds. It has a two hundred – yard crosshair with marks at four/six hundred yards.

The lenses have been treated and multicoated to reduce glare and Nikon also claim this scope allows up to 98% light transmission through. Shooting from dawn until dusk will hardly be an issue with the view this scope gives. 

When shooting you will notice it offers decent eye relief, no missing eyebrows. At 3.4” there is no excuse to come away with black eyes. The 3-x magnification is more than enough for mid-range shooting.

It does weigh in at 12.2Oz making it around a medium-weight scope but it does offer ample value in the field to make up for it. 

The coolest thing about this scope though is the zero-reset turrets. Nikon has added this feature to all their new rifle scopes and it does make a world of difference. Once you have sighted in you can lift the spring-loaded turret knobs, rotate to zero and re-engage. 

Nikon also offer a lifetime repair/replacement warranty but it is best to check they cover this rifle scope before purchasing as there are some limitations. 

What we like;

  • 3-x magnifications
  • Zero turret feature
  • Lifetime repair/replacement
  • 98% Light transmission

You can also see which are the best scopes for shotguns and .450 Bushmaster.

4. Vortex Optics Strikefire II Red Dot Sight Vortex Optics Strikefire II Red Dot Sight - 4 MOA Red/Green Dot with Vortex Hat

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Not just another red-dot scope, the daddy red-dot scope. Vortex Optics have done it again. Crafted a superior looking scope which operates at maximum capacity and caters for the needs of avid shooters and hunters the world over.

The Vortex Optics StrikeFire 2 was built with AR style rifles and will fit the majority. It is one of the highest red-dot scopes around and for good reason. It looks great, it is reliable, and it works.

This isn’t a big in your face type scope, but it is one of the largest red-dot scopes around. It measures in at 5.6” full length and weighs 7.2Oz which is what we would expect for a scope of its kind. 

It is crafted from premium metal and it has been finished in matte black which looks great. It is rugged, durable, and robust and has been designed to take the recoil from AR’s, Shotguns and more. 

Being a red-dot scope, it doesn’t have much in the way of magnification 1x. However, this rifle scope is all about quick acquisition and all out fun. It has fully multicoated lenses, with optimum light transmission and all air to glass lenses have been treated with multiple anti-glare coats.

Vortex Optics has this listed as unlimited eye relief, which makes sense with it being a quick acquisition scope. The red-dot 4 MOA reticle is daylight bright red and has ten illumination settings, with the two lowest settings being night-vision compatible.

Although we haven’t tested it, Vortex claim the battery life is 400 hours on the highest setting and up to 7000 hours on the lowest. The reticle can be changed from red to green, if you so prefer.

The Vortex StrikeFire 2 has a very wide field of view, ensuring you can shoot no matter what the conditions, or time of day.

Fitting the StrikeFire 2 isn’t difficult but we suggest you check out the included instructions just to make it quick and easy. It comes with what you need to fit it to your AR556 including the cantilever arm. It will fit on a Picatinny and Weaver style rail.

What we like;

  • Lightweight and Robust
  • Larger field of view than other red-dots
  • 10 illumination settings
  • Quick acquisition

You may also be interested in what are the best scopes for Ruger 10/22 and 22-250.

If you are interested in a fixed scope, check 1-4x scopes.

For something more powerful, check our long-range optics article.