Best Scope for AR-10 – the Top 6 Optics in 2023

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As an avid hunter and gun owner, I like to keep up with the latest in rifle optics. And when it comes to the best scope for AR-10, there are a lot of great choices on the market right now. In this guide, I’ll give you my top six picks for the best AR-10 optics in 2023. So if you’re in the market for a new scope for your AR-10, read on.

Who wouldn’t want a rifle that the US Army found efficient enough to replace their old issues? Me, for one!

Although they look almost exactly the same, there is one small difference between the Army’s M16 and the civilian AR-10.

Your AR-10 is bigger and shoots larger rounds. When you’re stocking up on guns, why would you opt for anything but the most powerful? Even compared to its cousin, the AR-15, in my opinion, the higher standards of accuracy, precision, and power are undeniable.

At the time of its creation, the gas-operated, magazine-fed prototype was genius. That’s only one of the many reasons why it remains popular with the public today.

What makes it so great?

  • Lightweight (about 6.5lbs empty)
  • Most economic rifle on the market
  • Easy to customize and build your own
  • Dependable and powerful
  • Versatile in build, use, and types of ammo

When you imagine your dream rifle, you’re probably envisioning a custom build of an AR-10 and don’t even know it. They are the most versatile due to endless stocks, grips, and magazine options. Finding a variety of parts to build your own is affordable, but out-of-the-box can have reasonable prices too. This is what makes it the most economical rifle on the market.

Although I’ve found that the AR-10 has a steeper learning curve than an AK-47, AR-7, and other infamous rifles, I believe it’s well worth the extra effort. If its respectable innate traits aren’t convincing enough, let’s look at what it’s capable of.

Going the Distance: Maximize Your Shooting Range

Out-of-the-box, an AR-10 can shoot accurately roughly up to 200 yards with less than 1 MOA in the right hands.

With the best scope for AR-10, you can shoot up to 1000 yards. That kind of distance might be hard to imagine, but with the right scope, it’s not as crazy as it sounds. And I can attest, it gets even better the more you practice and get to know your rifle and scope.

A scope with the perfect, personal fit will make you feel like a pro in no time! However, before you get carried away, let’s put your typical hunt or target practice into perspective – literally.

A Quick Guide to Distance: How Far Will Your Bullet Go?

For an out-of-the-box AR10 with a 21-inch barrel, keep these rough measurements in mind:

  • Long Range: about 400 yards and above
  • Medium Range: about 200 – 400 yards
  • Close Range: Under 200 yards

Since AR10s are easy to build and customize, these ranges will change with respect to barrel length. The longer the barrel length, the further your range will reach.

Now let’s look at magnification as choosing too weak or too powerful of a scope will be counterintuitive to your end goal.

What Magnification Do You Need?

Long-range shooting takes some practice since factors like wind make it more difficult. However, you’ve already chosen one of the best long-range rifles on the market. If you want to improve your shot or push your personal best, you’ll want a suitable AR10 scope to get you there.

In general, you’ll want higher magnification for longer shots. If you are new to rifle scopes and want to find out the answers to questions like what is magnification and what does it mean, you can check out my guide here.

Now let’s figure out which one is best for your typical shooting distance:

  • Long Range (400 yards and above)
    • Long-range can be tricky, depending on the size of your target. Smaller targets require better clarity and higher magnification, while larger targets do not. However, the best magnification for AR-10 at long range is about 9x and up. For long-range shooting, you would want a lens diameter of 40mm or more as well. Higher magnifications need more light, and a bigger lens absorbs more light. My suggested scopes for long-range shooting all feature a 40mm lens or a larger one, so you shouldn’t worry about it too much.
  • Medium Range (200 – 400 yards)
    • For most AR10 users, the medium range is the most comfortable. With the heavy-duty power behind an AR10, you can easily obliterate anything in this range or lower. However, you’ll want at least 5 – 9x magnification to see your target well enough.
  • Close Range (Up to 200 yards)
    • Close range for the AR10 is often the same as long-range for other rifles. You will have no problem hitting anything at this distance. However, since your target is closer, you’ll want lower magnification. I’d suggest 1 – 4x power.

The best scope for AR-10 will be one that suits your typical shooting distances. If you don’t often hunt or target practice in large, open areas, trust me, you don’t need to buy a scope with high power.

On the other hand, if your environments are as versatile as your favorite rifle, choose one with a wide variable. Some days you might only use 4x power while other days, you’ll have to crank it up to 16x or more! It’s all up to you.

You should be taking proper care of your AR-10, check how to clean an AR-10.

The 6 Best Scopes for AR-10 Rifles

Here is a quick list. Read on to see my more comprehensive reviews of each scope.

  1. Athlon Optics, Argos BTR, 6-24x50mm FFP Scope ( The Best for Long Ranges)
  2. Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12×40 Dead-Hold BDC
  3. UTG 3-12×44 30mm Compact Scope  (The Best Budget Scope)
  4. Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9X40mm Riflescope (The Best Leupold AR-10 Scope)
  5. Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 4-16x44mm SFP Scope
  6. Steiner T5Xi 1-5x24mm Riflescope (The Best for Close Ranges)

A quick note: why do some scopes say “BDC” and others don’t? BDC stands for “bullet drop compensation.”

Simply, this means that you will not have to adjust the elevation for longer range shots. All you have to do is use the reticle that matches the distance you are shooting and pull the trigger.

Finding Your Next Scope

Let’s get right to it! Which one of these do you think will serve your needs best? I’ve tried to include scopes with different magnifications in different price ranges, so there is something for everybody.

Here are the main features of each scope in a handy table before going on to the individual reviews.

1. Athlon Optics, Argos BTR, Riflescope, 6-24x50mm FFP Athlon Optics , Argos BTR, Riflescope, 6-24 x 50 First Focal Plane (FFP) 30 mm Tube, Illuminated APMR MIL Reticle,

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This Athlon riflescope gives you various magnification settings between 6x and 24x power. These settings are combined with a 50 mm objective lens. This provided me with a great field of view and collect plenty of light for an optimal sight picture and lots of color contrast.

My Feelings after Using the Athlon Optics, Argos BTR Riflescope

The reticle of the scope is on the first focal plane. This meant that I could change sizes between the magnification powers to keep its holdover hash marks the same relative to my target, no matter how far I zoomed in. The advantage of this is that I was able to  make precise shots at further magnification levels but make snappy shots at longer zooms.

Product Highlights

To make things even better, the reticle is illuminated, making it  an optimal scope for me to use at dusk or dawn or in other low light conditions. I was really pleased to see it was etched straight onto the glass to prevent it from shaking or shuddering even under heavy recoil.

The lenses of the scope are multicoated to improve light transmission even further. The color contrast is truly superb, it was really easy to pick out my targets from backgrounds that are somewhat uniform in color. While observing a group of deer in a wooded area, I was amazed at how the scope’s color contrast allowed me to easily distinguish the animals from the surrounding foliage.

The riflescope is made with aircraft-grade aluminum. When combined with the durable reticle itself, I’m of the option that I’ve got an extremely long-lasting piece of equipment that can withstand punishment from a variety of sources. It’s also waterproof, so I’m free to take this in the rain or cross a river without having to worry about my scope failing when I need it most.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

I didn’t find much to complain about with this scope. But I noticed the reticle does get a bit small at the farther magnification settings, so be careful.

Key Features

  • Completely Multi-Coated
  • Illuminated Reticle
  • Made of Aircraft Grade Aluminium
Manufacturer Athlon Optics
Weight 30.3 oz
Eye Relief 3.5 – 4.3 inches
Magnification 6 – 24x
Field of View 21 – 108 ft at 100 yards
  • Great Field of View
  • Optimal scope for usage in low light situations, due to an Illuminated reticle
  • Very durable
  • Reticle gets a bit small at farther magnification settings

The Bottom Line

Since it has such a wide range of magnification, this scope is suitable for any use, especially for longer ranges. While it’s good enough for hunting, target, benchrest, or tactical shooting, it doesn’t excel in one or the other.

In other words, it’s the Renaissance Man’s (and Woman’s) scope. I’d rate this product as an excellent choice for all-around use.

This scope would also be one of the best scopes for .308.

My Rating: 4.8/5

2. Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40mm Dead-Hold BDCVortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40 Second Focal Plane Riflescope - Dead-Hold BDC Reticle (MOA)

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I’ve been shooting rifles for a while now, and I have to say that I never really bothered looking into different scope brands. I just assumed that the ones I was used to were the best ones. But after doing some research, I realized that there are a lot of other scope brands out there that might work better for me.

You don’t realize what you could be missing when you stick with the same rifle scope brands. Although Vortex isn’t as popular as Nikon or Bushnell, they are quickly rising, and for a good reason.

My Feelings after Using the Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40mm Dead-Hold BDC

This scope, in particular, is a simple one, void of excessive gadgets. Instead of attempting to impress you with a novel-length list of common features, Vortex put its focus on performance and reliability. This scope doesn’t hold your hand through the hunt – it just excels at what it’s designed to do.

The first thing I noticed is an aircraft-grade aluminum build. This keeps it lightweight without sacrificing durability. How durable, you ask? It’s extremely resistant to heavy recoils and all types of weather conditions and climates.

A foggy vision or otherwise wet mishaps are going to be a thing of the past for me, thanks to the internal argon gas. I’m always guaranteed a clear view all the way out to the edges of the lens! I was happy to see it even comes with a protective lens to prevent scrapes and scratches.

Product Highlights

I’m thoroughly impressed with the Dead-Hold BDC reticle, which is unique to Vortex. Not only does it utilize a reticle you’re probably familiar with already, but it also takes away all the guesswork. Holdover corrections and windage will never be an issue, allowing you greater accuracy and confidence.

It gets even better with windage and elevation pop-up dials. I found them easy to use and have precise, audible clicks to eliminate what little worry the Dead-Hold did not smash.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

One of the only common complaints about this scope is that the parallax is not significant after 50 yards. That means that occasionally you’ll use some extra time to adjust your shot. However, Vortex put their genius to work to counteract this slight downfall with the Dead-Hold BDC reticle.

Key Features

  • Dead-Hold BDC Reticle
  • Easy to Use Windage and Elevation Pop-Up Dials
  • Comes with a protective lens
Manufacturer Vortex Optics
Weight 14.6 oz
Eye Relief 3.1 – 3.4 inches
Magnification 4 – 12 x
Field of View 11.3 – 32.4 ft at 100 yards
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum build. This keeps it lightweight without sacrificing durability
  • The Dead-Hold BDC reticle allows greater accuracy
  • The parallax is not significant after 50 yards

The Bottom Line

Are you a first-time scope user, on a budget, or sometimes too rough with your equipment? If you said “yes”, this is your best scope for AR-10 training, competition, and fun. Just because it’s a more simple scope does not make it less valuable.

It’s built with integrity, is long-lasting, and is easy to install and use to get you out on the hunt quickly. For me, the wide magnification range also made it useful in a number of situations. There’s no going wrong with this one. In my opinion, It would also be a great scope for 30-06.

My Rating: 4.7/5

3. UTG 3-12×44 30mm Compact ScopeUTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope, AO, 36-color Mil-dot, Rings

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What do you think of when you hear the word “innovation”? Whatever it is, forget it! This UTG scope takes it to a whole new level.

My Feelings after Using the UTG 3-12×44 30mm Compact Scope

My target aiming has never been more accurate with the zero locking target turrets and zero resetting. As I’ll never lose any settings, it allows me to focus on my target fully. For even further aid, I had the option to use the Side Wheel Adjustable Turret (SWAT) that gives parallax range of 10 yards and way above!

The only slight complaint I had is that the side focus knob is kind of tight, making it challenging to tune sometimes. Despite this tiny inconvenience, I was impressed that I was getting such high-tech features at a very reasonable price.

Product Highlights

One of the most impressive features, by far, is the Illumination Enhancing (IE) reticle.

What is an illumination enhancing reticle? The crosshair reticle in your scope will light up for nighttime or otherwise low-light usage. Although basic IE reticles are just red, this UTG scope has 36 color modes for all environments and personal preferences. This blew me away!

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

Overall, I did find this luminous addition and other high-tech features made it slightly heavier than some of the other scopes I’ve reviewed here. If anything, that extra weight is a testimony to its reliability and durability. I can assure you, once you get a feel for it and use the several color modes, you won’t want another scope!

Key Features

  • Illumination Enhancing Reticle
  • Zero Locking Targets, Plus Zero Resetting
  • Side Wheel Adjustable Turret (SWAT)
Manufacturer Leapers UTG
Weight 23.2 oz
Eye Relief 2.83 – 3.31 inches
Magnification 3 – 12 x
Field of View 8.4 – 34 ft at 100 yards
  • Great accuracy with zero locking target turrets
  • Great scope for use in low-light conditions
  • No settings will be lost with the zero resetting feature
  • Side focus knob is kind of tight
  • slightly heavier than other scopes due to high-tech features

The Bottom Line

If you are an avid outdoor hunter or work in law enforcement, this is your lifesaver! Despite your environment and situation, the IE reticle allows you to catch your target quicker and more precisely. If you are serious about your shots, mount this on your AR-10 and try it out for size!

My Rating: 4.8/5

4. Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9X40mm RiflescopeLeupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mm Riflescope, Duplex CDS (174182) (174182)

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The AR-10 platform is a more focused, long-distance counterpart to the classic AR-15. For that reason, I believe the Leupold VX-Freedom rifle scope is a great choice. It offers good range magnification settings for midrange combat distances (3-9x) and a 40 mm objective lens that features scratch-resistant coatings to ensure long-term durability.

My Feelings after Using the Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9X40mm Riflescope

I found the scope to be excellent for a variety of further reasons, including its low overall weight (1.2 pounds), waterproof and fogproof construction, and high durability all around. It’s made with aircraft-grade aluminum to ensure that it will last for years to come, even when used with a potentially high recoil weapon like an AR-10.

The scope is, of course, manufactured right in the USA, and it is so-called “punisher-tested” at the manufacturer’s factory to ensure that it’ll withstand plenty of wear and tear before being shipped out to any customers. I’m expecting to be able to use my AR-10 with this optic for years to come.

The scope also comes with a pair of windage and elevation adjustment turrets. These click audibly with every adjustment, which is nice.

Product Highlights

I think the most interesting feature of the Leupold VX-Freedom by far is the Twilight Max Light Management System. It’s a phenomenal system overall that allows me to benefit from about 10 minutes of extra shooting light at the beginning and end of each day (those minutes soon add up). I’m going to use this extra light to extend my hunting sessions even further. If you don’t hunt, I’m sure it will help make sure you hit your targets in a tactical situation.

Regardless, it’s an advanced and high-value benefit that shouldn’t be underestimated.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

I did notice that the windage and elevation adjustment turrets lack markings indicating my current position for any adjustments I made. Keep this in mind if you decide to go with the scope.

Key Features

  • Twilight Max Light Management System
  • Scratch Resistant Lenses
  • Low Overall Weight
Manufacturer Leupold
Weight 12.2 oz
Eye Relief 4.2 – 3.7 inches
Magnification 3 – 9 x
Field of View 33.1 – 13.6 ft at 100 yards
  • lightweight but durable
  • waterproof and fog proof construction
  • Manufactured in the USA
  • windage and elevation adjustment turrets lack markings

The Bottom Line

Leupold is well known for making high-quality scopes at every price range, and the VX-Freedom demonstrates this better than most others. I’d suggest you heavily consider this if you want a versatile and long-lasting scope for your AR-10.

It would also be one of the best scopes for 6.5 Creedmoor.

My Rating: 4.8/5

5. Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 4-16x44mm SFP Scope

Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 4-16X44 VMR-1 MOA

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Vortex Optics joins the AR 10 optic fray with this fantastic second focal plane rifle scope.

My Feelings after Using the Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 4-16x44mm SFP Scope

It can zoom between 4x and 16x magnification with a 40 mm objective lens, but the reticle (a VMR-1 MOA style) won’t change size as you swap zoom settings. I found this great for quickly adjusting for targets that move closer or further away. As an AR 10 user, I found it an agile, tactical-oriented scope.

The scope uses premium and multicoated lenses that provide excellent resolution and color fidelity. In addition, this scope has some of the most durable lenses I’ve seen on the market, thanks to special Armortek coatings that prevent scratch damage from accruing over time due to dust or debris.

The scope as a whole is constructed with aircraft-grade aluminum and is argon purged and o-ring sealed. These additions mean that it works in any kind of inclement weather and is one of the more durable optics around, even though it only weighs around 2 pounds. I haven’t come across that many scopes that are both lightweight and durable.

Product Highlights

This scope also boasts a fantastic set of target style turrets. These allowed me to make repeated finger adjustable clicks without the use of fiddly tools. But I also had the option to adjust them with a zero-stop function that allowed me to return them to zero after dialing to temporary corrections or adjustments with windage and elevation. It’s easy to account for long-distance shots, thanks to these phenomenal and tactile-feedback turrets.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

I had no issues with this scope, so I was hard-pressed to find any downsides. I searched to see what other reviewers were saying, but the only negative I found was that one reviewer complained it didn’t come with a lens cap. Which of course, is easily fixed by purchasing one separately.

Key Features

  • Precise Turrets
  • Premium, Multi-Coated Lenses
  • Side focus parallax adjustment
  • Argon Purged and O-Ring Sealed
Manufacturer Vortex Optics
Weight 20.8 oz
Eye Relief 4 inches
Magnification 4 – 16x
Field of View 7.4 – 27.4 ft at 100 yards
  • Durable Lenses
  • Target-style turrets are finger-adjustable for precise clicks.
  • O-ring sealed, argon-purged one-piece tube is waterproof and fogproof.
  • Lacks a lens cap

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, I feel this is a great scope for tactical AR-10 users that need to make the most of their rifles’ versatility and variable effective ranges. It has an excellent range of magnification settings, so you can hit targets close up and further away. It’s very close to a “one-scope-does-it-all” optic, so it’s great value for money!

My Rating 4.9/5

6. Steiner T5Xi 1-5x24mm Riflescope

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I found a good alternative choice for an optic to pair with my AR-10, the Steiner T5Xi, which is a compact rifle scope designed for hunting more than anything else. It’s a great pick for firearm enthusiasts like myself who have built a perfect hunting platform out of their AR-10.

My Feelings after Using the Steiner T5Xi 1-5x24mm Riflescope

The scope is designed for relatively short-range shots and is capable of magnifying between 1-5x. It also comes with a small 24 mm objective lens, marking it as a decidedly close range or tactical optic more than a long-range hunting scope.

However, don’t discount its overall value. It comes with a special competition reticle that’s explicitly designed for hitting targets accurately at a distance. Even better, this reticle comes with an extended illumination area, as well as additional windage and holdover lines.

Plus, you can quickly swap between magnification powers thanks to the throw lever control mounted on the optic. I was pleased to note that the scope comes with a lifetime warranty, ensuring that you’ll get your money’s worth if you get a defective scope shipped to your door.

Product Highlights

The most notable feature of this scope, for me, is the quality turret system and special rotation indicator. The optic comes with windage and elevation adjustment turrets that click audibly with every movement. But more importantly, the mil numbers on the scale shifted automatically, which stopped me from losing my adjustment position.

In other words, the windage and elevation adjustment dials are quite easy to use and beginner-friendly.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

I didn’t encounter any issues with this optic. Its only downside is that it is pretty pricey compared to others on the market. If your budget is tight, consider some of the other scopes on this list.

Key Features

  • Designed for Short Range Shots
  • Throw Level Control to Quickly Swap Between Magnifications
  • Turret system and Special Rotation Indicator
Manufacturer Steiner
Weight 19.4 oz
Eye Relief 3.5 – 4.3 in
Magnification 1 – 5 x
Field of View 21 – 108 ft at 100 yards
  • Fantastic short range scope
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty
  • Special Competiton Reticle offers an extended illumination area, windage and holdover lines
  • A little on the expensive side

The Bottom Line

All in all, the Steiner T5Xi is a perfect choice for AR-10 owners who want a compact and tactical scope to mount on their customized rifle platforms. Consider it heavily if you mostly use your AR-10 for short-range hunting or for target shooting with your friends or in competitions.

My Rating 4.6/5

Frequently Asked Questions

Are The AR-10 and LR-308 Lower Part Kits Interchangeable?

Yes, although the fit will be less than ideal, and the pins may need to be polished down to size with emory cloth. Depending on which kit is used with which lower, the pivot pin and takedown pin will be too short or too long. It’s hardly the ideal setup, but it’ll suffice in a pinch. The bolt stop may or may not work, but it is unimportant for the gun’s bang function.

Do All AR-10s and .308 ARs Use The Same Parts?

No! RRA uses a different thread for their upper receivers (so you can’t use standard barrel nuts or free float systems). There are several different upper receiver styles, three different magazine formats, and RRA even uses a different thread for their upper receivers (so you can’t use standard barrel nuts or free float systems).

How Much Does an AR-10 Cost?

The AR-10 is a very expensive gun, and it varies in pricing, from as little as $800 to as high as $2,500 depending on where you buy it.

How Much Does an AR-10 Weigh?

With a scope included, an AR-10 is about 11 pounds on average.

Going by NATO measurements, you’re looking for parts for a 7.62×51 caliber AR-10, which would run you about $700 for a cheap build using parts from Daytona Tactical’s AR-10 308 80 Lowers and Parts catalog. With the parts kit, including everything but the lower receiver, you’ll pay about $600.

Did the Military Use the AR-10?

Yes, the Army and Air Force use it as the M110 sass (semi automatic sniper system) and the Navy designation for the AR-10 is the SR-25. Both are squad designated marksman rifles.

What Made the AR-10 So Special When It Was First Made?

With elevated iron sights, a recoil compensator, and the unique gas system, the AR-10 caught the eye of many gun owners when it was first introduced. Through a small gas hole in the barrel, gas from a fired cartridge would leak into a gas block — in this case, the front sight assembly.

The gas would then go back to the receiver through a metal tube and into a gas key on the bolt carrier, pushing the bolt backward and releasing it from the barrel extension. The bolt group would extract and eject the used casing from the chamber, then begin to travel forward again as it pushed against mounting pressure on a buffer and spring within the stock, picking up a new round from the box magazine and chambering it, cycling the action and re-readying the gun to fire.

When Was the AR-10 First Made?

The first AR-10 was introduced in 1956.

What’s The Difference Between an AR-10 and AR-15?

The AR-10 is slightly bigger (and also slightly more powerful) while the AR-15 is a great deal lighter and also allows most shooters to carry more rounds of ammunition.

The most significant difference between these two rifles is the caliber. The AR-10 was originally chambered in 7.62×51 NATO, while the AR-15 was originally designed for 5.56mm cartridges.

Wrapping Up My Best Ar-10 Scope Guide

If you think you’re a great shot on your favorite rifle, wait until you mount one of these sleek scopes on!

Shoot further, win that competition, and bring home that 12-point buck. Mark my words, there isn’t anything you can’t do when one of the greatest rifles pairs together with the perfect scope. If you are a fan of powerful guns, you can check my m1a optics and scar 17 scopes guides.

8 thoughts on “Best Scope for AR-10 – the Top 6 Optics in 2023”

  1. Thank u so much, u r a life saver on trying to figure out what to put my AR10 at the last min for hunting season..If u have anything on night vision and thermal scopes email me a link or something.

  2. Great review, I took your advice and purchased the Vortex Diamondback 4X12X40BDC, for my build. Wow!! Excellent, actually so good I purchased the HP 4X16X44BDC, for my 300 Weatherby which is also, Wow!! Vortex product quality is first rate and the best warranty in the business. Whats not to like?

  3. Are these scopes really that good? I’ve learned over the years, especially with scopes, you get what you pay for. You buy a $300 scope, you’ll have $300 quality. So i don’t scrimp on a scope..but i also don’t care to give away money. Are they comparable to mord expensive scopes?


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