The terms “Scout Rifle” and “Scout Scope” were born during the early 1980s when their father, a firearms expert, Col. Jeff Cooper, pioneered the new concept of firearm shooting. In keeping with his tagline, “one man-one gun,” Jeff Cooper set the requirements for firearms and accessories to satisfy a rifleman who needs only one rifle for all possible shooting scenarios.
First, here is some information about platforms designed to carry scout optics.
- A bit of “Scout Rifle” history
- Scout Rifle Scope
- Things To Look Out For Before Buying A Scout Scope
- Our Recommendations for Scout Scope
A bit of “Scout Rifle” history
The main role holder in Cooper’s project is a scout rifle that military scouts (hence the name) or mountain hunters can carry into the wilderness or on extended patrols for days.
Original scout rifles were bolt action designs fed with detachable box magazines and chambered in some all-purpose rounds, such as the .308 Winchester, 7mm-08, .350 Remington, or .243 Winchester. These rifles should be short, less than 40 inches long and weigh under 6.6 pounds.
Cooper teamed up with Austrian Steyr Mannlicher and soon announced the first multi-purpose, “do-it-all” gun, Scout Rifle. The Steyr compact and portable .308 Win rifle has a maximum weight of 7.7 pounds with all accessories and can serve various roles.
In general, these short, handy carbines were designed to hit a human-size target out to 500 yards using iron sights. With a scope, the scout rifles might be used even to 1,000 yards.
The differences between contemporary scout guns and originals are mainly in using newer machining technology, wider caliber choices and introducing reliable semi-auto carbines in a Scout rifle concept.
Scout Rifle Scope
Cooper’s standard for scout rifles implies using iron sights, but it also proposed using specific scopes to turn this firearm into both short-range and long-range shooting solutions.
While the basic scout rifle provides the rifleman with various tactical benefits, like the accuracy of a four-M.O.A. group at 200 yards, the scope-mounted scout rifle became a sniper tool that delivers pinpoint accuracy at targets between 500 to 600 yards.
As an easily maneuverable and easy-to-carry weapon, the scout rifles are best accompanied by short, lightweight scopes that aren’t bulky and heavy like traditional optics.
In fact, the trademark feature of scout rifles is low-powered scope featuring an extended eye relief designed to be mounted in front of the action.
This forward-mounted optic usually has a very narrow field of view. Still, it provides the shooter with a clear image and makes target acquisition quicker (peripheral vision) at close-medium ranges.
To make a story short, the Scout scopes are niche-specific optics with quality, lightweight construction, low magnification, and acceptably long eye relief.
Things To Look Out For Before Buying A Scout Scope
Whereas conventional scopes usually have an eye relief range of 3.5-4 inches, the eye distance on scout scopes is similar to handgun scopes and should be between 9 and 16 inches.
It means that scout scops will allow shooters to take shots with both eyes open and faster follow-up shots. Not only rapid shooting but a true 1x scope combined with extended eye relief will also allow you to search the target with two eyes open quickly.
Designed with a military influence, the scout scopes can be successfully used for close-quarter tactical situations. Still, they are also extremely useful for civilian applications such as dynamic shooting competitions, close-range shooting on driven hunts or while stalking.
By the rule, these lightly constructed but robust optics are based on 1-inch tubes and have a small size/mass. Since they do not weigh the gun down too much, the scout optics can be described as an integral part of the rifle.
In addition, look for a scout riflescope that is shockproof, nitrogen-purged, and O-ring sealed for water and fog protection.
Unlike LPVO, plenty of scout scopes come with fixed magnification, but also you can find modern iterations of these scopes having variable magnification with 4, 5, 6, 8 or 10 zoom factor. The most popular magnification level for hunters who use scout-style weapons is a 2x-7x magnification due to its versatility. The lowest 2X magnification level offers you the same advantages as a red dot, whereas the 7X magnification level will give you an accurate image at 200 or 300 yards.
Reticle selection for scout scopes is easy and logical because you want a simple reticle design with high visibility. That choice is natural since the scout rifles and scopes are designed for situations where getting on target rapidly with less effort is key to success.
While the reticle’s illumination is unnecessary, an illuminated reticle can be very beneficial in low-light conditions.
Though purchasing a scope with a larger objective bell can be quite tempting, don’t forget the primary intention of these niche optics – they are designed to enhance precision and accuracy without the unnecessary bulkiness and weight. It translates that the best scopes for scout rifles are those with small to medium objective lens diameters (28mm-44mm).
As with all riflescopes, you should buy scout scopes from the best brands and with the best glass quality, you can afford. You want multi-coated lenses and an illuminated reticle that will be beneficial in low-light situations. Similar to other scopes, you should look for a scout scope with multi-coated lenses.
Finding the best scout rifle scope might be challenging and confusing because the choice of scopes is wide and varied, but using guides like ours can be beneficial as it shortens the time you’ll spend researching.
In the next chapter, we’ll present several more popular models designed for mounting on scout rifles.
Our Recommendations for Scout Scope
1. Leupold VX-Freedom Scout 1.5-4x28mm Riflescope
The VX-Freedom Scout 1.5-4×28) is one of the dozens of scopes from the VX-Freedom line of optics built to support muzzleloader, rimfire and centerfire options.
As its name says, the VX-Freedom Scout 1.5-4x28mm is a dedicated optic for mounting on scout-style rifles. It means that this Leupold forward mounting scope features a lengthy eye relief and compact 1-inch one-piece main tube constructed from aircraft quality aluminum.
The Scout scope boasts generous eye relief of 6.9 to 6.0 inches, enabling you to engage your target while keeping both eyes open. With a length of 9.35 inches and weight of only 9.6 ounces due to the lightweight 6061-T6 aluminum, you will hardly notice this Leupold scope atop the rifle.
This low-magnification scope features a relatively smaller objective lens. Still, Leupold’s Advanced Optical System, coupled with a proprietary Twilight Light Management System, multi-coated lenses and Scratch Resistant Lenses, delivers superb resolution and clarity even in harsh light while also managing glare on bright and sunny days.
Along with a versatile 3:1 zoom ratio ideal for virtually any situation, this top-quality compact optic from Leupold sports a duplex reticle located in the second focal plane.
This adjustable power scope is 100% waterproof, fogproof and shockproof, making it a highly reliable all-weather and all-terrain scope.
Although an entry-level scope, this Leupold VX-Freedom Scout 1.5-4×28 rifle scope delivers a tried-and-true light transmission that will stretch your Scout rifle’s limits.
2. Vector Optics Continental 1-6x28mm Tactical
Our following proposal comes from the family of more versatile rifle scopes known as LPVO (Low Power Variable Optics). Today these low-powered scopes are very popular for hunting, tactical or competition applications because they can shift one’s rifle into short-range or long-range shooting solutions.
Vector Optics’ premium line Continental 1-6x28mm Tactical is a typical China higher-class scope that can compete with many much more expensive brand optics.
Vector Continental 1-6x28mm Tactical is based on a 34mm aluminum monotube and an objective lens diameter of 28mm to offer a much larger sight picture This Continental riflescope features a 6x zoom factor with a magnification range of 1 to 6x and comes packed with numerous features.
All Continental riflescopes sport clear and bright glass with minimal edge distortion and light transmission rated to more than 90%, making them excellent for dawn or dusk shooting.
Another essential element of Vector Continental 1-6×28 Tactical scope is the first focal plane reticle with an illuminated horseshoe and center dot. This reticle type is perfect for rapid and precise shooting, but you may use it at any magnification for bullet drop compensation for factory .223 Remington ammunition with a 62-grain bullet.
Unlike standard scout scopes, the Continental 1-6x doesn’t offer extended eye relief, but its eye relief is approximately 4 inches long. However, the Vector Optics Continental’s crucial feature is its 112.5 feet field of view at 100 yards at the lowest magnification and 20.4 feet at 100 yards at the highest zoom, which is comparable to many much more expensive rifle scopes.
Along with solid overall build quality, this Vector LPVO boasts outstanding German Schott HD glass that, matched by the perfect magnification range, delivers excellent optical performance for a” no name scope.”
3. Vortex Optics Crossfire II SCOUT 2-7x32mm
Obviously, this Vortex scope is made for scout rifles, not only by its name but also by its long eye relief of 9.45 inches and an ideal overall length of 11.52 inches. Actually, Vortex Optics Crossfire II comes in three different configurations with different reticles, parallax settings and mounting positions.
As you already guessed, you can mount this compact scope with generous eye relief at the front of the Scout rifle. With 9. 45″ of eye relief, you’ll be able to get a sight picture and acquire your target quickly.
All Crossfire 2-7x models feature reliable mechanics in a one-piece housing and have 32mm objective lenses. Like the others, the Crossfire II Scout is built of a 1-inch aircraft-grade aluminum tube for both durability and increased accuracy Along with a shockproof and waterproof performance, the Crossfire II is O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged for fog-proof use at low temperatures.
This Vortex Crossfire II Scout rifle scope sports anti-reflective, fully multi-coated lenses for better image brightness and clear views.
The low-profile knobs are capped to prevent accidental adjustment. The turrets are also finger-adjustable with 1/4 MOA clicks.
This budget-friendly Scout scope is equipped with a popular Vortex reticle called V-Plex This all-purpose hunting reticle is similar to the standard Duplex reticle and is an excellent option for a wide variety of hunting applications.
As an entry-level scout scope, the Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 Scout offers the highest levels of performance and reliability for this price range.
4. Burris Scout 2-7x32mm Rifle Scope
Another dedicated scout scope comes from Burris Company, Colorado, USA, a well-known optics company.
The Burris Scout 2-7x32mm forward mounting scope is designed for quick target acquisition that can be achieved with either one eye or both eyes open. As a typical scout scope, the Burris 2-7×32 scope offers a variable 9.2- to 12 inches of eye relief and a good field of view of 23-8 feet/100 yards. Utilizing extended eye relief and generous eyebox, you’ll be fully aware of your surroundings without the tunnel vision effect, which is amazing.
This compact scope (only 9.7 inches) consists of a solid aluminum one-piece 1-inch outer tube, which is nitrogen filled to prevent internal fogging during cold days. In addition, being waterproof and shockproof, the Burris Scout scope is perfectly designed for use in bad weather conditions and various hunting applications.
The Burris Scout 2-7x scope is equipped with low-profile turrets and a 32mm diameter objective lens, which are larger than those of other similar scopes, but it only weighs 13 ounces.
This Burris scope is built with a 2-7x zoom range, which may be the preferable magnification for scout rifles. Using this multi-purpose scout rifle scope, you can hunt in the woods or hunt up to 600 yards.
The scope features precision-ground lenses with Hi-Lume multicoating to provide excellent brightness levels even in low-light conditions. The Burris scout scope is available with a standard Duplex or a Ballistic Plex compensating reticle. Beyond a high-grade optical glass, the Burris model 200261 is coupled with a simple but effective SFP Ballistic Plex reticle that offers trajectory compensation out to an impressive 500 yards.
The Burris Scout 2-7x32mm is a reliable and simple riflescope purpose-built for hunting in all types of environments, including woodland and prairie or up to mountains.
Scout scopes are the perfect choice for hunters or shooters who want close-up, fast-action shooting but also want to hit targets at mid-range distances.
Considering the initial design requirements for the scout scope, modern wide-angle riflescopes and LPVO（Low Power Variable Optics) have many overlapping features with scout scopes offering both rapid and precise shooting.
In this guide, we proposed several reasonably priced and solidly built scout scopes that will provide you with years of service and offer significant experience with dedicated scout rifles.
As always, the choice depends on your preferences and hunting environments.
Travis Mike is a firearm enthusiast and author passionate about all things guns. With 10 years of experience in the industry, Travis Mike has gained a wealth of knowledge on the subject. He is skilled in gunsmithing and tactical training. In addition to professional experience, Travis Mike is an avid hunter and shooter, regularly participating in local shooting ranges and hunting trips.