8 Best Scout Scopes in 2021

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In the early 1980s, legendary firearms expert Jeff Cooper proposed a new class of rifles with relatively short and lightweight dimensions, emphasizing carrying comfort over long periods while still being practical enough for hunting and self-defense.

The center point of that concept is the scout scope: a small, lightweight optic, forward-mounted, with as much simplicity as possible to make it as suitable for daily field use as possible.

Traditionally, a scout scope is fixed-power, forward-mounted (producing a long eye relief), features a simple and intuitive reticle (e.g., duplex), has as few external controls as possible, no electronics or illumination, and no more than 4x magnification (preferably 2x to 3x).

Although some modern examples may be variable-power scopes or feature illumination, technological advancements allow these scopes to remain lightweight and durable, staying true to the scout scope principles.

Best Scout Scopes

If you’re looking to build a scout rifle or simply need a light and compact optic for the platform of your choice, discover the best scout scopes you can buy now.

1. Leupold VX-Freedom IER Scout 1.5-4x28mm

leupold vx-freedom ier scout 1.5-4x28mm

First, there was the Leupold M8, a fixed-power 2.5x scout scope famous for being the standard forward-mounted optic on the Steyr Scout rifle. Then, there was the FX-II Scout 2.5×28, a modernized version of the old M8 made with the build quality you’d expect from Leupold today. Unfortunately, Leupold has since discontinued both optics.

Fortunately, Leupold recognized that today’s shooters still demand a high-quality scout scope, so they released the VX-Freedom IER Scout 1.5-4x28mm. This new scope is viewed by many as the spiritual successor to the original M8 and the FX-II.

Like the original M8 and the FX-II, the VX-Freedom comes with a simple and intuitive duplex reticle and a 28mm objective lens, but the similarities effectively stop there. Unlike its predecessors, the VX-Freedom is a variable-power optic, starting at 1.5x magnification and going up to 4x, keeping the spirit of the scout scope concept, if not the exact specifications.

As a modern Leupold scope, the VX-Freedom IER Scout features the extreme build quality you’d expect; scratch-resistant multi-coated lenses, fully sealed from the environment and the elements, making it 100% waterproof, fog-proof, and shock-proof.

Specifications:

  • Type: Variable-power scout scope
  • Tube diameter: 1”
  • Magnification: 1.5x to 4x
  • Objective lens diameter: 28mm
  • Adjustment per click: 0.25 MOA
  • Reticle type: Leupold Duplex
  • Focal plane: Second
  • Eye relief: 6” – 6.9”
  • Length: 11.2”
  • Weight: 9.6 oz.
  • MSRP: $349.99

2. Burris Scout 2.75x20mm

burris scout 2.75x20mm

The Burris Scout 2.75x20mm is not only one of the rare few fixed-power scopes on Burris’s catalog, but it is also one of the most competent scout riflescopes you’ll find on the market.

At just 7 ounces, this optic is one of the lightest in its class, mainly due to its simple construction; a 1-inch scope tube employing aircraft-grade aluminum materials, no illumination system, fixed magnification, and a relatively small 20mm objective lens. The only controls you will find on this optic are windage and elevation adjustment knobs for zeroing.

Despite the reduced dimensions and the unusual 2.75x magnification, this Burris scope uses the Heavy Plex reticle, which remains visible and easy to read in any daytime environment. Keep in mind that the eye relief is about 14”; the recommended way to use this scope is in the traditional forward-mounted position.

In addition, the Burris Scout is also a very rugged scope, capable of withstanding the recoil impulses of a full-power cartridge (e.g., .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, etc.) without losing zero, even from a lightweight rifle.

Specifications:

  • Type: Fixed-power scout scope
  • Tube diameter: 1”
  • Magnification: 2.75x
  • Objective lens diameter: 20mm
  • Adjustment per click: 0.5 MOA
  • Reticle type: Heavy Plex
  • Focal plane: Second
  • Eye relief: 14”
  • Length: 9.2”
  • Weight: 7 oz.
  • MSRP: $299

3. Vortex Crossfire II 2-7x32mm Scout

vortex crossfire ii 2-7x32mm scout

Not to be confused with the standard Crossfire II, the Vortex Crossfire II Scout is a rifle scope bringing together the benefits of a traditional variable-power optic and the advantages of a scout scope.

The Scout version of the Crossfire II features identical overall dimensions as the original, with an overall length of 11.52 inches. It also features nearly the same performance; 2x to 7x magnification, 32mm objective lens diameter, and identical adjustment ranges (1/4 MOA per click, up to 60 MOA of windage and elevation).

Where the Crossfire II Scout differs from the original is in the eye relief distance. The original optic is intended mainly for traditional mounting positions, featuring an eye relief of just 3.9”.

In contrast, the Scout model has an eye relief of about 9.5” ideally suited for forward-mounted applications. The Scout is also lighter than its original counterpart, at 12 oz. instead of 14.3. Best of all, with a recommended price of less than $200, its impact on your wallet is just as lightweight.

Specifications:

  • Type: Variable-power scout scope
  • Tube diameter: 1”
  • Magnification: 2x to 7x
  • Objective lens diameter: 32mm
  • Adjustment per click: 0.25 MOA
  • Reticle type: Vortex V-Plex
  • Focal plane: Second
  • Eye relief: 9.5”
  • Length: 11.52”
  • Weight: 12 oz.
  • MSRP: $199.99

4. Leapers UTG 2-7x44mm Scout Riflescope

leapers utg 2-7x44mm scout riflescope

Shooters on a budget may already be familiar with the Leapers UTG brand, well-known for offering a wide range of affordable optics and gun accessories.

The Leapers UTG 2-7x44mm Scout Riflescope is Leapers’s take on the modern scout scope concept, featuring variable magnification ranging from 2x to 7x, an integrated sunshade, and compatibility with standard 30mm scope rings.

What separates this scope from others in the same category is the large objective lens diameter: a substantial 44mm, far wider than most other scout scopes. As a result, the UTG Scout not only offers a wide field of view but also captures and transmits plenty of light, letting you see and engage targets with ease.

The UTG Scout also features a unique LED illumination system for use at dawn, dusk, and in other low-light environments. In addition, the illumination color is fully customizable with 36 different options, more than any other on the market.

Specifications:

  • Type: Variable-power scout scope
  • Tube diameter: 30mm
  • Magnification: 2x to 7x
  • Objective lens diameter: 44mm
  • Adjustment per click: 0.25 MOA
  • Reticle type: Mil-dot
  • Focal plane: Second
  • Eye relief: 9.5” – 11”
  • Length: 11.5”
  • Weight: 25.4 oz.
  • MSRP: $219.97

5. Sightmark Rapid M1A 2.5x20mm

sightmark rapid m1a 2.5x20mm

The Sightmark Rapid M1A 2.5x20mm is a thoroughly modern take on the scout scope, taking full advantage of features and technology seen in other optics to offer shooters the best possible package.

As a fixed-power scope, this optic is compact and reasonably light. As such, it will not add unnecessary weight to your scout rifle build.

Magnification is 2.5x – the same as the original M8 scope found on classic Steyr Scout rifles, giving you the authentic scout rifle experience.

The top-quality Japanese-made lenses feature a finely-etched reticle system inspired by classic duplex models. However, unlike scout scopes of yesterday, the Sightmark Rapid M1A is LED-illuminated, turning the center crosshair red when turned on.

The illumination system has 10 different brightness settings, letting you make full use of your scope even under low-light conditions, potentially giving you an advantage for hunting or self-defense scenarios.

Specifications:

  • Type: Fixed-power scout scope
  • Tube diameter: 1”
  • Magnification: 2.5x
  • Objective lens diameter: 20mm
  • Adjustment per click: 0.5 MOA
  • Reticle type: Sightmark M1A
  • Focal plane: Second
  • Eye relief: 8”
  • Length: 7.6”
  • Weight: 11.8 oz.
  • MSRP: $119.99

6. AIM Sports Scout Scope 2-7x42mm

aim sports scout scope 2-7x42mm

AIM Sports is a California-based distributor and manufacturer of firearm accessories, including optics and riflescopes.

The AIM Sports Scout Scope is a variable-power scout optic with an array of desirable features for a very affordable price, making it an ideal choice for first-time users or shooters in need of an inexpensive scout optic.

The scope body is constructed out of aircraft-grade aluminum, milled from a single piece for added ruggedness, then nitrogen-purged to make it 100% fog-proof. The scope features an average eye relief of 8.5” to 10.5”, ideal for forward mounting.

Two reticle options are available; a standard mil-dot model and Rangefinder, with windage and elevation compensation marks.

Both reticle options are available with or without illumination, and the illuminated models feature dual red/green LED modes, letting you select the color of your choosing.

Also included in the box are a pair of 30mm scope rings, compatible with Weaver and Picatinny rails, making it ready for immediate installation on the scout rifle platform of your choice.

Specifications:

  • Type: Variable-power scout scope
  • Tube diameter: 30mm
  • Magnification: 2x to 7x
  • Objective lens diameter: 42mm
  • Adjustment per click: 0.25 MOA
  • Reticle type: Mil-dot or Rangefinder
  • Focal plane: Second (both reticles)
  • Eye relief: 8.5” – 10.5”
  • Length: 11.25”
  • Weight: 13.1 oz.
  • MSRP: $80.95 to $92.99 depending on options

7. Bushnell Banner 1.5-4.5x32mm

bushnell banner 1.5-4.5x32mm

Bushnell scopes are well-known for their durability and practicality, and the Banner 1.5-4.5×32 is no exception.

This non-illuminated scout riflescope offers variable magnification with a 3:1 zoom ratio, ranging from 1.5x to 4.5x. This magnification range grants you versatility without being impractical on a scout rifle, ideal for any targets situated between 0 and 300 yards.

Featuring a fast-focus eyepiece, an etched Bushnell Multi-X reticle system, multi-coated lenses, and a highly durable aircraft-grade aluminum scope body, the Bushnell Banner is ready for rough daily use.

Whether you use it under sunny, rainy, or foggy conditions, from dawn until dusk, the Banner’s image quality remains sharp and clear, thanks to its dry nitrogen-filled scope tube and 100% waterproof and fog-proof properties.

Specifications:

  • Type: Variable-power scout scope
  • Tube diameter: 1”
  • Magnification: 1.5x to 4.5x
  • Objective lens diameter: 42mm
  • Adjustment per click: 0.25 MOA
  • Reticle type: Bushnell Multi-X
  • Focal plane: Second
  • Eye relief: 4”
  • Length: 10.5”
  • Weight: 10.5 oz.
  • MSRP: $84.99 depending on options

8. Barska Contour 30/30 Scope 2x20mm

barska contour 30/30 scope 2x20mm

Barska has over 25 years of experience bringing American shooters high-quality rifle scopes for close to medium-range applications.

The Barska Contour 30/30 is a rugged, compact, fixed-power scout optic, offering a 2x magnification, a very long eye relief (11.8”) for rifles supporting forward-mounting, and fully multi-coated lenses housed in a durable, single-piece aluminum scope tube.

This scope features the intuitive Barska 30/30 reticle, inspired by classic duplex reticles with an instantly recognizable crosshair and four-post design. This reticle design naturally guides the eye towards the center, improving the shooter’s reaction times and facilitating fast target engagement.

To keep the scope’s design as rugged and straightforward as possible, the only controls it features are the windage and elevation knobs. Once zeroed to your favorite rifle and cartridge combination, the Barska Contour requires no further adjustments, making it one of the simplest and worry-free scout scopes you can buy today.

Specifications:

  • Type: Fixed-power scout scope
  • Tube diameter: 1”
  • Magnification: 2x
  • Objective lens diameter: 20mm
  • Adjustment per click: 0.5 MOA
  • Reticle type: Barska 30/30
  • Focal plane: Second
  • Eye relief: 11.8”
  • Length: 8.66”
  • Weight: 9.35 oz.
  • MSRP: $59.99

In Summary

Scout scopes fill a niche that no other type of riflescope on the market can. They are simple, compact riflescopes emphasizing ease of use and comfort without needlessly impacting the weight of your rifle platform.

Whether you need an optic that is as close as possible to Jeff Cooper’s original vision, or a more modern take on the concept, there is a scout riflescope for you.

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