The 5 Best Scopes for Mini 14 Ranch Rifles – Reviews 2023

best scope for mini 14 ranch rifle

Photo by Nathan Johansen / CC BY

Since 1974, the Ruger Mini 14 has been a popular rifle with sportsmen, law enforcement and private citizens desiring a reliable rifle. Based off the highly successful M-14 rifle, which inturn was born from the famous M-1 Garand, the Mini 14 is a go to gun for sport shooting, and as a knock about ranch rifle. Where a cowboy might have once carried a lever action in his saddle boot, now a rancher keeps a Mini 14 in his jeep. Indeed, the very name “Ranch Rifle” which Ruger has applied to many of the Mini 14’s show where perhaps its greatest utility lies. As a classic American ranch rifle, this firearm has few modern day competitors, and if you want precise targeting, you’d also need the best scope for Mini 14 ranch rifles.

Leupold Mark AR

The Leupold Mark AR (see full specs) is built for modern sporting rifles, and is ideal for your Mini 14. Built from the ground up with Leupold’s precise engineering, this 6-18 power scope with it’s 40mm objective lens is idea for everything from target shooting to varmint hunting. Built with a standard 1” tube, and backed by a lifetime warranty, this scope is at home on any flavor of the Mini 14, ranging from a standard ranch rifle to a decked out tactical carbine to an accurized target rifle. If you want to spend top dollar for a top notch scope, this is the one for your Mini 14. Just watch the video below; it’s for the 4-12 model but the build quality is the same.

Leupold Mark AR MOD 1 4-12x40 MM Riflescope

A Light in the Darkness

Of course, this is 2015. You might carry your grandfather’s ranch rifle, but there is no need to use your grandfather’s optics. The best scopes for Mini 14 ranch rifles nowadays might be illuminated reticle scopes, which provide a powerful advantage in acquiring a target and using your scope in lower light conditions or poor weather. Sometimes it can be hard to see a black crosshair over a target in low light conditions, but a scope like the Crosman CenterPoint solves that problem. With its dual illuminated reticles, the CenterPoint makes the difference between not being able to hunt in low light conditions, and being able to successfully hunt. Using a traditional non illuminated scope leaves you at the mercy of daylight and good weather, which is why I’ve always used an illuminated scope on my rifle.

Centerpoint Scope TÖRTURE TEST... WATCH THIS!!!

Long Range Shooting

Sometimes though, you really just want to sit down at a bench, and punch holes in paper, or engage in long range varmint hunting. The Mini 14 is chambered in one of the most popular varmint cartridges out there, and can really benefit from a high powered target scope like this Nikon P-Tactical scope. Like the Bushnell mentioned earlier, the P-Tactical is especially calibrated and ranged for the popular .223/5.56mm cartridges. Calibrated out to 600 yards, and featuring a generous 3-9x magnification with a big 40mm light gathering objective lens, this scope will really let you reach out and touch something while elevating your Mini 14 to higher levels of precision and accuracy.  Hence, our recommendation.

NEW FOR 2018 Nikon P Tactical

Inexpensive, Not Cheap

And of course, there are times when you just want a nice, lightweight and compact scope to sit on top of your rifle, and finding the best scopes for Mini 14’s would need to consider the drain on your wallet too. Modern manufacturing methods have given shooters a wide array of compact scopes and at a surprisingly low cost. Thanks to precision computer controlled manufacturing methods, scopes like Sniper’s 4×32 Compact Scope can be bought for a song, and yet still provide top quality reliability. Compact scopes are lighter than traditional scopes, can make a rifle a bit easier to handle, and in this case, give the budget shooter an opportunity to get out and enjoy their rifle without breaking the bank. An affordable, yet reliable scope means more money to spend on ammo, which means more quality time at the range!

crossbow scope.....sniper compact scope 4x32 rangefinder review

Classic Rifle, Modern Optics

In its role as a utility and sport rifle, one of the first thing an owner of a Mini 14 does is look for a quality rifle scope to place on it. While the iron sights are sufficient for most shooting, the addition of optics greatly enhances the utilitarian aspect of the rifle, and allows a shooter to more accurately hit targets further away. The crisp, classic lines of the Mini 14 almost beg for using a equally classic looking scope. The Bushnell AR Optics Drop Zone scope gives you classic styling with a highly modernized twist. Instead of being a simple traditional scope, the Drop Zone is calibrated for the .223 Remington/5.56mm round the Mini 14 is chambered in, and features aiming points out to 500 yards. When used with the correct ammunition, this scope takes a lot of the guesswork out of shooting your Mini 14, and we highly recommend it.


Tactical Rifles

Some Mini 14 rifles have been built as tactical rifles. Popular with police, and military the world over, the Mini 14 has seen its fair share of actual combat. When used outside of its more common ranch rifle role, a tactical Mini 14 calls for a proper tactical scope. Any of the scopes already mentioned could serve well in that roll, and with the growing popularity of folding or collapsible stocks for the Mini 14, many people have chosen to use a quality compact or even full size scope to compliment the greater versatility of their rifle, instead of going with holographic or red dot sights. Certainly a tactical rifle deserves optics every bit as useful as the gun itself.

You Really Want to Scope it, Don’t You?

The Mini 14 has been on the market for over 40 years, and in that time has established itself as one of the most popular and affordable ranch rifles on the market. A descendant of the venerable M1 Garand that helped win WWII, the Mini 14 has been a multi generational choice for shooters the world over. Popular with hunters, sport shooters, law enforcement and military, the Mini 14 offers quality and reliability at a fair price, and that fair price extends to its .223-caliber bullets, which are always cheap to buy or reload. It is no wonder then, that the most common way of modifying this fine rifle is by use of a rifle scope.

A quality scope can turn your ranch rifle into a hard hitting varmint gun, or extend your afternoon target shooting session past the 100 yard mark. Iron sights are nice, but modern shooters who want the most out of their rifles demand optics. When used in its most common job as a ranch rifle, you want a good scope to engage predators or put down injured livestock. When used for hunting, you almost need a scope unless you expect to hunt at very close quarters. Illuminated reticle scopes let you hunt earlier and later than usual, and can make the difference between a successful hunt and coming home empty handed.

Be it for home defense or law enforcement applications, the Mini 14 benefits from any number of different compact, yet powerful and lightweight scopes. When a shot may be the one that saves your life or a family member’s, it only makes sense to rely on quality optics to get the best possible sight picture. No matter what you are doing with your Mini 14, there is no doubt that a good rifle scope will make a great rifle, an awesome rifle.

Well, we hope you’ve found the best scope for Mini 14 ranch rifles in this article. If not, well, there are plenty more on Amazon and other on-line vendors, and if you’d care to find out more about guns and gun accessories, just scroll on up to the menus and find what you’re looking for. Thanks for visiting!

  • 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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6 responses

  1. My father, who was a big game hunter of note in Africa, had a saying……Your scope should cost double what your rifle cost. He did most of his hunting in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, and optics on rifles when hunting plains game, (kudu, gemsbok, Springbok etc.) was not all that common. I know optics have come a long way since then, but I feel the sentiment holds true. Buy the best scope you can afford. There is a reason why some scopes are more expensive than others.

  2. If your optics should double the price of your rifle, the average person would be buying cheap rifles…

    • Yep. It is hard enough to squirrel money for a new rifle, as hard as it is to find .22 LR ammo where I live.

  3. What about eye relief on the “conventional” scopes like the 3-9 x4 2 Nikon or the Bushnell?

    • Well, on the Nikon and Bushnell listed here, users have stated the eye relief is around 3.5 inches (definitely under 6 inches). On other models, you just got to check the manufacturers’ specs.

  4. That’s why we didn’t recommend the Simmons. Get the Leupold. It’s pricey but remember: the cheap man always buys twice. You’ll be happy.

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