The 4 Best Scopes for AR 15 Hunting – AR15 Optic Reviews 2022

best scope for ar 15 hunting

Photo by Daniel Rodriguez / CC BY

The AR 15, the black rifle, ten years of ago would’ve been a foreign concept in the hunting world. These days, however, America’s most popular rifle is becoming more and more accepted in the field. An optic on a hunting weapon is just common sense, and a good optic on an AR can make you unstoppable. A good AR scope will be lightweight and relatively compact. The AR, after all, is a lightweight rifle, and an accessory shouldn’t weigh it down.

An optic should also be clear and provide a sight picture that allows users to determine necessary environment information, like the wind moving grass. The optics should also allow match what the hunter is hunting, and what range they are hunting at.

Here are the 4 best scopes for AR 15 hunting:

Bushnell AR optics Drop Zone

The Bushnell AR optics Drop Zone rifle scope is specifically made for the AR 15 rifle and provides shooters with an excellent, affordable optic. The Bushnell AR comes with a 3 to 9 variable power magnification and a 40 mm objective lens. This magnification is more than suitable for most hunting environments and is perfect for the AR platforms medium range capabilities.

The glass is fully multi coated and provides a crisp and clear sight picture of your target and the area surrounding it. The clear sight picture allows the hunter to see the small movements of grass and dust to aid in wind compensation. The optic features a side focus parallax adjustment for fast focusing on target and long range accuracy. The turrets are finger tip adjustable for easy and quick adjustments in the field.

The Drop Zone features a ballistic bullet drop compensator specifically designed for rounds weigh between fifty-five and sixty-two grains, in both .223, and 5.56. The bullet drop compensator offers holdover points for out to 500 yards, which is right around the max an AR hunter can take humane killing shots from. With this scope, Bushnell continues its classic heritage as a hunter optic by stepping with the new generation into the AR platform.

Bushnell AR Optics 3-9x40mm Scope Overview *New Model*

Nikon M223

The Nikon M223 riflescope is designed specifically to be used with the .223 round commonly used by the AR 15 rifle. The Nikon M223 scope comes from a premium company that produces some of the world’s best optics, for everything from rifle scopes to top movie cameras; Nikon optics are quality pieces of glass. The Nikon M223 scope is a 1 to 4 power optic that is an effective close range for the 5.56mm/.223 round.

The M223 (see full specs) uses a 20 mm objective lens to transmit a high percentage of light while remaining small and low enough to the bore to utilize low profile scope rings. The M223 uses a bullet drop compensator for the .223 round that provides accurate holdover information. This removes the guesswork and necessary holdover information to compensate for bullet drop at extreme distances. The M223 uses fully multi-coated lenses to give a clear, high definition sight picture. This clear picture will allow you to choose the biggest trophy in the field.

The M223 uses fingertip adjustable target turrets with the value of click being a quarter minute of angle. These small adjustments allow users to make incredibly precise shots. The turrets are easy to use in the field and make adjustments very simple. The Nikon M223 is a premium optic that includes a variety of features not typically found on lower cost optics. The M223 is one of the best scopes for AR 15 hunting period.

Nikon M-223 Scope Review

Leupold VX-Hog Hunter

Hog hunting is something the AR platform excels at. The European hog that is plaguing the southern United States is an animal that is breeding faster than most people can hunt them so it’s not common to take multiple animals in a hunt. The AR platform’s rapid fire capability is perfect for taking multiple hogs in a short period of time. The Leupold Hog Hunter is here to aid making sure your rapid fire is precision rapid fire.

The Hog Hunter (see full specs) is a 1.25 to 4 powered optic that allows for short to medium engagements with ease. The 20 mm objective lens keeps the scope small and lightweight, which aids in keeping the rifle fast and agile. The VX Hog rifle scope is what Leupold users come to expect in terms of glass quality and clarity.

The VX Hog is equipped with the Pig-plex optic that provides windage and elevation holdovers necessary to make longer shots. The center crosshair is very thin and precise, and easy to find on a distant target. The VX Hog is nitrogen purged to prevent fog from building up inside the optics. The optic itself is completely waterproof and sealed against debris, so the scope can survive in the marshes of Florida, or in the dusty environment of west Texas. The scope is also shockproof and it can take a beating, and should be on anyone’s list of the best scope for AR 15 hunting. - Leupold VX-R Riflescope with Pig Plex Reticle

Simmons 8 Point

The Simmons 8 point rifle scope is perfect for those looking to hunt with their AR and maintain a budget. The 8 Point hunting scope packs a lot of punch into its affordable frame. The Simmons provides a surprisingly clear sight picture for the price, more than sufficient for picking a trophy buck out with your AR.

The Simmons 8 point doesn’t use a bullet drop compensator so it isn’t tied to a particular caliber. This makes it a good pick for those using an AR in an alternative caliber like the .300 Blackout, the 7.62mm x 39, or even rounds like the .243. The Simmons 8 point uses ¼ iMOA adjustments for the utmost precision possible. Although the Simmons is a budget optic, the unique TrueZero windage and elevation adjustment system that holds zero regardless of the conditions outside and the amount of shots fired.

The Simmons 8 point is a 3 to 9 variable power optic with a standard 50 mm objective lens. This lens provides a lot of light transmission, which aids in the high quality, high definition sight picture possible with the scope. For the AR hunter on a budget the Simmon 8 Point will serve them well, and provide a high level of precision.

Simmons 8 Point Rifle Scope

America’s Rifle

The AR is growing as a hunting weapon every year, and companies like Leupold, Bushnell and Nikon have recognized the potential of the platform, and built scopes around the idea of the hunting AR. Hunting requires patience, precision, and power, and the AR platform is more than capable of providing all three of those. And with the best scope for AR 15 hunting, you’re ready to bag a lot of prey for meat and/or your trophy wall.

  • Owner of, Boyd Smith is a major handgun enthusiast, and although he owns Glocks, he prefers the revolving wheel type. His go-to guns are a Smith & Wesson 642 Performance Center for carry and a Ruger GP100 in the nightstand biometric safe (he has kids). He loads both revolvers with old-school 148-grain Federal Gold Medal .38 wadcutters. It’s OK if you think he’s a wimp. Email him.

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