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5 Best Scout Scopes [Hands-On]

We love the AR-15…but for a rifle that’s effective in almost every situation, you can’t go wrong with a trusty scout rifle.  

M1A Crouched Shooting

These lightweight rifles are designed to be easy to carry and maneuver, and are still strong enough to pack a powerful wallop.

Some 7.62x51mm Rounds
7.62×51 or .308 are the most common calibers

I got my hands on a couple Springfield M1As (full review here)…

Springfield Armory M1As
Springfield Armory M1As

Plus some of the most popular scout scopes.

Triple Scout Scopes
Triple Scout Scopes

I’ll cover some of the most important things such as weight and price…but what it comes down to in the end is eye relief and optic clarity.

And I’ve got tons of view-through pics and videos.

By the end you’ll have a firm grasp of what makes a great scout scope…and which one might be perfect for you.

Table of Contents


What’s a Scout Scope?

Super quick…the scout rifle was the brainchild of firearms badass Col. Jeff Cooper.

Colonel Jeff Cooper
Colonel Jeff Cooper

Cooper envisioned a type of gun optimized for carrying on long treks and designed to work well in a run-and-gun situation.  We go over our favorites in Best Scout Rifles.

An integral part of the scout rifle is the scout scope…a low-powered scope designed to increase precision and accuracy without inhibiting target acquisition.  

Scout scopes aren’t bulky and heavy like the high-powered scopes you see long-distance marksmen using.  

9 Tested Long Range Scopes
Tested Long Distance Scopes

These scopes have a long eye relief (how far your eye can be to see the entire view) and are designed to be used with both eyes open, so that the shooter is aware of their surroundings at all times.  

The average scout scope tends to have a magnification strength somewhere between 1.5 and 5X, although there are some that get go up to 7 or 8x.

Now without further ado…

Best Scout Scopes

1. Vortex Crossfire II 2-7×32

Vortex Crossfire II 2-7x Scout Scope
Vortex Crossfire II 2-7x Scout Scope

First up is the most affordable of the bunch…the Vortex Crossfire II 2-7x.

Your scout scope and rifle are built to be rugged so this is the lowest we’d actually go.  However…we’ll still have some ultra-budget picks in the end.

Some quick important stats:

  • Magnification: 2-7x
  • Eye Relief: 3.9 inches
  • Weight: 14.3 oz

Here’s the view-through at 2x.

Vortex Crossfire II Scout Scope, 2x
Vortex Crossfire II Scout Scope, 2x

And maxed out at 7x.

Vortex Crossfire II Scout Scope, 7x
Vortex Crossfire II Scout Scope, 7x

Compared to the ones coming up…the Crossfire II has a smaller viewbox but easier to see/use reticle because it’s pretty thick.

Here is a video of it in action:

Glass is decent for the price but near the upper 7x magnification it becomes difficult to get a good image and it almost appears to fog over in real life.

Plus…the magnification ring is very hard.  However overall build quality is nice.

What about eye relief?

In this comparison image I lined up all three scout scopes at the same magnification and put my head at the head of the bench rest to truly test eye relief.

Scout Scopes, Lowest Magnification
Scout Scopes, Lowest Magnification (L to R: Leupold, Burris, Vortex)

At the lowest magnification the Vortex at the right does better than the next up in price (Burris).

At 4x it also manages to stay in the middle of the pack ahead of Burris again.

Scout Scopes, 4x Magnification
Scout Scopes, 4x Magnification

I’m not sure where Vortex’s number (3.9 in) on eye relief comes from…since it was way longer for my eyes at least.

All in all…it’s a good starter scout scope and very usable from 2x to around 4x.

Best Scout Scope
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

2. Burris 2-7×32 Scout

We bump up the price quite a bit.  But you also get more with the Burris 2-7×32 Scout.

Burris 2-7x Scout Scope
Burris 2-7x Scout Scope

Quick Stats:

  • Magnification: 2-7x
  • Eye Relief: 9.2-12 in
  • Weight: 13

It’s the same magnification range as the Vortex but it’s tons more usable at the high-end with clearer glass.  Although there’s a barely perceptible green tint to it.

Here it is at 2x.

Burris Scout Scope, 2x
Burris Scout Scope, 2x

Finer reticle so there’s more precision…but also good for snap shots.

And here it is at 7x:

Burris Scout Scope, 7x
Burris Scout Scope, 7x

Easier to get pic and video which roughly translates to easier acquisition and use through your actual eyeballs.

It sits squarely in the middle with eye relief but the distances are very similar so you don’t have to move your head back and forth between magnifications.

Scout Scopes, Lowest Magnification
Scout Scopes, Lowest Magnification (L to R: Leupold, Burris, Vortex)
Scout Scopes, 4x Magnification
Scout Scopes, 4x Magnification

If you want more (usable) magnification up to 7x, decent eye relief through the mag range, and clear glass..check out the Burris.

3. Leupold VX Freedom Scout 1.5-4×28

Leupold VX Freedom 1.5-4x Scout Scope
Leupold VX Freedom 1.5-4x Scout Scope

The Leupold 1.5-4x is my favorite scout scope out of the three.  It’s about the same price as the Burris but has a smaller range of magnification.

Since it’s a scout scope I think 4x is perfectly serviceable for the range and speed a scout rifle brings.

Quick Stats:

  • Magnification: 1.5-4x
  • Eye Relief: 6-6.9 in
  • Weight: 9.3 oz

You can see it shaves off quite some weight from the others around 13-14 oz.  And you know ounces equals pounds…

But how does it stack up in the optics department?

Here it is at 1.5x:

Leupold VX Freedom Scout Scope, 1.5x
Leupold VX Freedom Scout Scope, 1.5x

Very clear glass that has less of a green hue.

Here it is at 4x.

Leupold VX Freedom Scout Scope, 4x
Leupold VX Freedom Scout Scope, 4x

Fine but very usable reticle for both precision and quick shots.

Again I’m not sure of the eye relief numbers since I got the (way) best eye relief for my eyeballs with the Leupold at the lowest magnification.

Scout Scopes, Lowest Magnification
Scout Scopes, Lowest Magnification (L to R: Leupold, Burris, Vortex)

And it’s still relatively close to the others at 4x.

Scout Scopes, 4x Magnification
Scout Scopes, 4x Magnification

Here’s a video compiling all the scopes at their lowest magnification (L to R: Leupold, Burris, Vortex):

If I had to choose only one scout scope, and didn’t need the 7x magnification of the Burris, I’d go with the Leupold.

What’s your take on the Leupold?

Readers' Ratings

4.99/5 (559)

Your Rating?

Honorable Mentions

4. UTG 2-7X44

Decent reviews with the UTG but at the price point you might as well go with something more proven like the Vortex.

5. Burris 2.75x20mm 

If you’d rather go with something fixed magnification…you can’t go wrong with Burris especially at its 7 oz weight.

Scope Ring Recommendations

That about covers it for scout scopes.  

And since we’ve got one for every price range, you shouldn’t have any problems slapping some optics on that rifle of yours.

Socom 16 with Leupold Scout Scope
Socom 16 with Leupold Scout Scope

Just remember, scout rifles are meant to be versatile.  

It’s a kind of rifle that’s adaptable to a number of different shooting conditions, and that means that you want to find a scope that’s adaptable as well. 

Here’s our favorite scout scope rings in ascending price order.

My recommendation is to go up in scope mount price along with your scope.

1. Warne 1″ Scope Rings

Great price for the reputation of Warne.

at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

2. Vortex Optics Pro 1″ Rings

The Goldilocks of everything!

at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

3. Leupold Mark 4 1″ Scope Rings

What we used with our .308 M1As and are really nice.

at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing


There you have it…our hands-on test with a couple of the most popular scout scopes.

Tested Scout Scopes
Tested Scout Scopes

For the most affordable scope (but still robust enough for scout rifle tasks)…we like the Vortex Crossfire II 2-7x that’s very usable from around 2-4x.

Best Scout Scope
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

If you want something with nice glass that spans the entire 2-7x magnification…go with the Burris 2-7x.

And our overall favorite is the Leupold VX Freedom 1.5-4x scope for the clearest glass and longest eye relief at its mininum magnification.

Need a scout rifle to pair with your new scope?  Check out our Best Scout Rifles article.  Or need some glass with a little more oomph?  Check out Best Long Range Scopes and our all encompassing Best Rifle Scopes articles.

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18 Leave a Reply

  • Cliff

    I think your 3.9" relief value for the Crossfire comes from the specs for the wrong scope. You probably physically have the scout scope that you tested, if you found a much longer eye relief in practice. But you did not link to a scout scope, you linked to the crossfire rimfire model (CF-31001R). The Crossfire II Scout (CF-31002) is $149, see https://amzn.to/2YtuPSK. Both contain specs for various models, but the Scout has a 9.45" relief. Oddly it doesn't list it as a range, just a fixed value, which is what I was looking for and ended up on this page in the first place. This would have made the UTG a little more competitive except now it's apparently discontinued, and costs more than the Vortex, I have no idea why people would pay more for a UTG than a Vortex...

    August 24, 2020 1:20 pm
  • Connor

    You got the burris 2x and 7x messed up i think..just sayin

    August 16, 2020 7:55 pm
  • jay steiner

    just quiorious i have a chance to buy a weaver super slam 3x15x50 still nib for less than $500 how is this scope?

    April 29, 2020 4:45 pm
  • Jesse

    I wouldn't recommend the Vortex 2-7x, the reticle busted loose in mine after 40 rounds. I wouldn't trust it on anything larger than a 5.56mm. IMO Go with a Burris or Leupold for the larger calibers.

    April 4, 2020 7:20 am
  • James Wilson

    I have seen these Osprey Global guys at all the Georgia gun shows with a big booth. I assumed it was Chinese junk. But after talking to them, they say it has Japanese glass. I looked within the gun show building the eye relief was nice.

    Does anyone know of Osprey Global?
    Is their warranty any good?
    I'll mostly bang it around in my safe and drop it at the range and bump it a little while hunting.

    March 20, 2020 10:22 am
    • David, PPT Editor

      I have never heard of them, personally I would choose to spend money with more established brands.

      March 20, 2020 10:58 am
  • D. O. Abbott

    Thank you. Excellent article. I have used several of the Hi-Lux 2x7 and been quite satisfied for what they are. I just worked on one of the rifles I had put a Vortex 2x7 on and agree that at top magnification, there are problems. Will have to revisit whether same problem with the HI-Lux. I had tried the UTG but it really isn't a real scout scope IMHO. Thanks again for your comments.

    February 6, 2020 8:26 pm
  • Anthony Patelunas

    I have a question; Does spending 3k on a scope vs 300 make that much of difference? I get their uses or intended uses, but a lifetime warranty is a lifetime warranty. Or am I wrong in that assumption?
    what makes spending 3k on the scope so important? I have seen(no pun) good glass on scopes that cost sub 500usd and been able to shoot fine with them at the intended range I was trying to hit the target at. any thoughts?

    November 12, 2019 8:53 am
    • David, PPT Editor

      It depends on what you need from the scope. Scout scopes are generally intended for fairly close shooting, such as under 400 yards, and aren't focused on hyper precision. In that case a cheaper scope, say sub $500, is likely going to do everything you need it to do. If you're looking at a scope to shoot high precision at very long range, such as 1,000+ yards shooting half MOA, then a scope with better glass will definitely help.

      There are also a lot of features that are in high end scopes that most lower tier scopes won't have. Zero stop, tracking, advanced reticles, FFP Vs. SFP, coated glass, etc. These all add cost but they make shooting very long distances easier.

      It needs to match your goals, my hunting scope is $300 and it does everything I need. However, my long range scope is north of $2,000. Both are wonderful and both do everything I need them to do, for their roles.

      November 12, 2019 2:56 pm

    What about Leupold 1.5x5x33m scout scope? Costs more but is it worth it over leupold 1.5x4x28m?

    November 8, 2019 1:41 pm
  • Craig Childre

    Vortex eye relief is off. Should be 9.45"

    November 8, 2019 9:33 am
  • ray

    Vortex has 2-2x7 crossfire ll scopes one is 14 oz and 3.9 in eye relief the scout is 10 oz 9.4 in eye relief. They are only one digit difference so the scout ends with a 1 the regular scope ends with a 2. Great scope

    November 8, 2019 8:21 am
  • DerYetti

    I'm working on a Winchester 30-30 Scout right now using the Vortex Scout. I very quickly found that the low rings are just a bit too low with the Crossfire II Scout and the rail I'm using. The magnification adjustment knob is too large and impacts the rails. I'm hoping the medium rings will help but I want that scope as low as possible. It seems the other scopes would have been a better choice for that.

    November 7, 2019 10:38 pm
  • elbert jones

    your Burris 2x and 7x pics appear to be the same.

    November 7, 2019 9:44 pm
    • David, PPT Editor

      You are correct! Picture has been fixed now, thanks for letting us know.

      November 8, 2019 1:08 am
  • Geoff Kuper

    Wouldn’t a fixed eye relief distance be of ultimate advantage in a scout rifle application? Will you be moving your head up and down the stock to accommodate various distances of focus upon magnification?

    November 7, 2019 7:29 pm
  • William Knight

    I'm carrying a socom 16 with the vortex crossfire II scout.

    October 27, 2019 12:54 am
  • Bobo

    Haven't had a chance to shoot it yet, but the Ruger GSR w/Burris 2-7x32 scout scope is my set up

    November 30, 2017 8:48 am