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 Reticle
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
- Looks great
- Dropzone reticle
- Water, shock, dust-proof
2. BARSKA Varmint Mil-Dot Riflescope
As mentioned, the Ruger AR 556 is a rifle mostly designed for fun for target shooting or hunting small varmints. With this in mind, a lightweight and easy to use scope like the Barska Varmint Riflescope seems like just the ticket.
It features magnification settings between 6.5 and 20x magnification, plus a 50 mm objective lens. Granted, this is a bit of a bigger lens than you might be used to combining with your Ruger AR 556, but this ensures that it can collect enough light for the high end of its magnification range.
More importantly, the scope comes with high quality and multicoated optics that offer consistent and high-quality viewing clarity. Furthermore, it’s built with a target dot reticle that makes for easy target acquisition, especially for smaller and fast-moving animals.
Durability isn’t discounted, either, despite the scope’s middling weight of 22.3 ounces. It’s built with weatherproof design decisions from the ground up, allowing you to use this in any inclement weather. Considering that the scope is among the most affordable on the market, that’s a big bonus!
Other factors cement this overall value, including finger adjustable 1/8 MOA windage and elevation turrets. These offer extremely precise holdover adjustments for both variables, meaning you can hit distant or small targets even when the environment or elements are fighting against you.
Even eye relief is considered, as it’s set to 3.6 inches at the maximum magnification setting of 20x. This ensures your eye won’t be hurt from recoil and you mount this scope to your Ruger AR 556.
Lastly, be aware that instead of offering a separate turret, you can adjust for parallax using the adjustable objective at the end of the scope’s tube. All in all, this scope surprisingly has everything you might need in a well-rounded and versatile rifle scope despite being so affordable.
What We Like:
- Very variable magnification settings
- Has a big objective lens to allow for adequate light collection
- Has good eye relief even at high magnification power
- Can compensate for parallax, windage, and elevation
- Very affordable overall
You can also check our guide on the best prism scopes.
3. Nikon P-Tactical .223 3×32 Matte BDC Carbine
This Nikon Tactical scope can also offer a really good time – at least, if you’re in the market for a fixed magnification scope. This optic won’t allow you to change magnification powers, but that may not be a dealbreaker if you only use your Ruger AR 556 at particular ranges of sub 250 yards or so (i.e. backyard plinking and for hunting certain critters on your property).
If that suits you, read on because there’s a lot to like here. First and foremost is the BDC or bullet drop compensating reticle that comes built-in by default. This will allow you to compensate for bullet drop even at distances up to 600 yards (though it is calibrated for 200 yards in general). It’s an excellent reticle and particularly good for hitting smaller targets at a distance.
But this scope has other benefits, like elevated and easy to reach windage and elevation adjustment turrets. These are finger adjustable and are spring-loaded, so they click audibly each time you use them. Even better, you can set them to zero after sighting-in to your target, so you don’t have to take your eye off the target at any point.
The scope also provides benefits in the form of a quick focus eyepiece, a rubberized eye guard to protect your orbital bone from recoil, and pretty good eye relief overall. The lenses are fully multicoated to ensure optimal light transmission and to make sure you can see your target even in low light environments.
It’s also a durable scope through and through since it’s made of aircraft-grade aluminum. Like most scopes on the market, this model is also waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof.
While it’s not as totally cheap as some of the other Ruger 556 scopes on the market, this is still affordable for most and should serve as a consistent, high quality fixed rifle scope for shooters who know exactly what they need and who don’t plan on altering their Ruger 556 for ancillary uses later down the road.
What We Like:
- Offers excellent lenses and light transmission capabilities
- Protects your eyes with good eye relief and a rubberized eye guard
- Only weighs a little over 1 pound
- Features a high-quality BDC reticle
- Comes with easy to use and zero resettable windage and elevation turrets
4. Vortex Optics Strikefire II Red Dot Sight
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
If you are interested in a fixed scope, check 1-4x scopes.
For something more powerful, check our long-range optics article.