Home » Scopes and Optics » Best Scout Scope: Fixed Power & Illuminated [Review]

Best Scout Scope: Fixed Power & Illuminated [Review]

Dakota Potts | Updated February 26, 2024 | Why You Should Trust Us | How We Earn Money
Cover photo of Best Scout Scope showing a man peeking through a scope mounted on a rifle

If you’re looking for a versatile firearm, you can’t go wrong with a scout rifle. Top it off with a scope, and you’re in business. 

But choosing the wrong glass could mean the difference between a bullseye and going home empty-handed.

Here are my picks for the best scout scopes money can buy in 2024. 

Leapers UTG 2-7x44mm Scout Rifle Scope – Best Overall Scout Scope

Leapers UTG scope mounted on a rifle and brown vest on the background

Pros

  • Excellent light transmission
  • Dual-color illumination for better visibility
  • Extended magnification range of 2-7x
  • Illumination memory feature to switch between settings as necessary
  • Mil-dot reticle for expert precision
  • Integrated sunshade

Cons

  • May be too large and heavy for some shooters

I’m kicking things off with one of the best scout scopes I’ve seen. While every scope on this list has something to offer, this model from Leapers UTG has some incredible features that I love. 

With over a decade of field testing scopes, the UTG continues to impress. I had the good fortune of testing it on a two-week hunting trip in Colorado a few years ago. This is what I found. 

First, this is one of the largest scout scopes available, with a diameter of 44mm. While the size can be a little cumbersome, it also allows more light to enter the lens, making your image clearer. 

Second, I appreciate the ability to illuminate my reticle, making it easier to see my target in different lighting conditions. It even comes with dual-color mode to make the visibility even better. The feature was noticeable when I had contrasting backgrounds as well. Even at 500 yards out or more. 

Basically, this means an accurate shot is easier as you can see the reticle clearer.

Finally, this scope has one of the most forgiving eye reliefs in its class, ranging from 9 to 11 inches. Virtually everyone can make that range work, no matter the type of scout rifle they’re using. 

Hunting rifle with a mounted scope on top of a wooden table

Glass Clarity & Reticle

Although a standard crosshair is suitable for scout rifle shooting, I can also appreciate the accuracy and precision possible with a mil-dot reticle. If you zoom out to 7x, these markings on the glass can help you pinpoint your shot far more easily, particularly when adjusting the knobs. 

The glass clarity is also excellent, thanks to the size and coating of the lens. This is one of the largest scout scopes on the market, so it lets in a lot of light that you can use to help pinpoint your target better.

In the field, I tested a 90%-95% light transmission, which I can only attribute to the huge 44mm objective lens and top-notch glass quality. 

Eye Relief & Eye Box

I love the eye relief of this scope, which has a range of 9 to 11 inches. So, no matter which rifle you’re using, you should be able to use this scope perfectly. 

The eye box is very forgiving and allows me to acquire targets almost immediately. Coupled with the illuminated reticle, the visibility of this scope is almost unmatched. 

What this means for you is more accuracy, as you can see what you’re shooting at better.

Durability

Waterproof test for the Leapers UTG scope

When holding this scope in your hands, you’ll notice that it feels very rugged and solid. At 25 ounces, it’s the heaviest scope on this list, which may affect your shot at first. However, I was able to compensate for the weight pretty easily, so just make sure to take a few practice shots before deploying the scope in the field. 

I tested out the durability by replicating a few field shocks and impacts, then inspected the scope to see if anything had shifted. I saw no changes in the zero whatsoever. 

That said, the main drawback of this scope is that it’s going to be too heavy for some shooters. For comparison, the next scope on this list weighs 7 ounces. If you’re looking for lightweight, skip on ahead. 

Elevation & Windage Knobs

Elevation and windage knobs of the Leapers UTG scope

The UTG scope uses ¼ MOA adjustments, which pair perfectly with the mil-dot reticle. Best of all, they’re lockable and come with a zero reset, so you don’t have to fiddle with them every time you want to shoot. 

Having experienced many scopes, I have really come to appreciate turrets that can be adjusted quickly without the use of tools. The UTG is one of those. 

I also like that the turrets are lockable and can be set to my zeroed distance. 

Parallax & Magnification

This scope comes with a parallax that starts at 10 yards and goes out to infinity. So, it’s very easy to adjust your target as you see fit. The magnification range is also very good, with a maximum zoom of 7x

I find that that works well for most shooting situations since I can see my target more clearly, even when it’s close. 

Most of my shooting takes place at an indoor range, and I find, in some instances, the scopes will not focus when operated at short distances. This happens even with some expensive scopes. But that isn’t an issue here. 

Mounting & Rings

Rings attached to the Accushot scope

With a 44mm objective lens, you need higher mounting rings to accommodate this scope. However, it has the common 30mm tube size, and it does mount to a Picatinny rail automatically, so if you have one on your scout rifle, you’re in good shape. 

Is It Worth It? 

Although the features of the Leapers UTG Scout Scope are incredible, I also understand that its size and weight may be a dealbreaker for some shooters. Also, it’s on the pricier end of the scale, so it may seem like a luxury item. 

However, if you’re serious about getting the most from your scout rifle, this scope is definitely worth the investment. 

Update: The UTG scope is currently on sale through our certified retailer until April 25, 2024. Use the link below to get this all-time low price automatically:

Product review Leapers UTG 2-7x44mm

Burris Scout 2.75x20mm – Best Fixed Power Scout Scope

Burris Scout 2.75x20mm mounted on a rifle

Pros

  • Excellent glass clarity
  • Perfect eye relief for a scout rifle
  • Multi-coated lens for better visibility
  • Durable aircraft-grade aluminum housing
  • Fully waterproof, shockproof, and fogproof
  • Extremely light 

Cons

  • Sits a little low for a scout scope, making iron sights difficult to use
  • Fixed zoom, less flexible, not ideal for long-range shots
  • Less durable than others on the list, being an issue if dropped

I’m already a fan of Burris scopes, so it made sense to try out the Burris Scout Scope to see how well it would do on my rifle. 

I was able to get my hands on one and field test it in various light conditions. It performed well and has a very crisp image. Perfect for quick target finding. 

As a fixed-magnification scout scope, it doesn’t have quite as much flexibility as other models, but it’s ideal for mid-range hunting and target practice. The only complaint I would lobby against this scope is that it sits a bit too low for my liking. 

Since a true scout scope is mounted in front of the action, it needs to sit relatively high. This way, the shooter can use iron sights or the scope when using a scout rifle. Since this model is low to the gun, it can be tricky to use in both situations. 

Glass Clarity & Reticle

Lens and reticle of a Burris Scout scope

The primary reason I selected the Burris Scout Rifle Scope as the best fixed magnification model is the glass it uses. Not only is the glass itself high-quality, but it comes with a multi-coated, hi-lume lens. 

I can use the scope in virtually all lighting conditions without obscuring my target. The clarity is so crisp that it’s easy to zero in on a fast-moving target. It’s exactly what you’d want from a scout rifle scope. 

I was happy to see that despite the small 20mm lens diameter, I was still measuring 90% light transmission. 

This scope also uses a heavy plex reticle, which offers a thin center crosshair with thick bolded edges. Simple and clean and easy to use in any situation. 

Eye Relief & Eye Box

Because scout scopes are mounted at the front of the rifle, you can’t get too close to the eye box. Fortunately, companies like Burris understand this limitation, which is why the Burris Scout Scope has a generous eye relief of 8.5 to 14 inches

Rifle with mounted scope in an outdoor setting

Having such a wide range is helpful because you can scan for your target more easily. When you’re struggling to see through the scope, you’re far more likely to miss. Also, such an extended eye relief means you can use both eyes when shooting. 

I also appreciated the comfortable 15 feet field of view at 100 yards. Considering the 20mm diameter, that’s impressive. 

Durability

After over a decade of testing scopes and working as a gunsmith, Burris has always impressed me with their durability. This one is no different. 

It’s hard to find any scout scope that’s not made from aircraft-grade aluminum. Not only is this material lightweight but it’s also built to take a beating. I weighed it at a super light 7 ounces, the lightest on the list. 

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend slamming your scout rifle against a tree, but if you accidentally drop it, the scope should still be in good condition. 

Elevation & Windage Knobs

Elevation knob of a Burris Scout 2.75x20mm scope

The knobs on this scout rifle scope use ½ minute of adjustment (MOA). I tend to prefer MOA knobs because that’s what I’m used to, although you don’t need super precision with this model. Since the scope only magnifies 2.75 times, you’ll be relatively close to your target. 

That said, if you’re aiming at smaller prey (like rabbits or squirrels), having extra precision helps, particularly when working on fast target acquisition. I found the turrets crisp and easy to handle, even with gloves on. 

Parallax & Magnification

The Burris scout scope is parallax-free and has a fixed magnification of 2.75x. I typically prefer variable range scout scopes, but if I were to choose a fixed model, this would be the top pick. 

Also, keep in mind that the magnification limitations are the same for any fixed scope, regardless of the make or model of the weapon. Some shooters have a preference, while others don’t.  

Mounting & Rings

The Burris Scout Rifle Scope does not come with any mounting hardware. The diameter of the tube is the common 1 inch, so make sure the rings you buy can fit that size. 

Is It Worth It? 

Hand holding a Burris Scout scope

If you like shooting scout rifles with a fixed scope, this one is pretty much the gold standard. The glass clarity and reliability of the manufacturing are excellent, and the price point is about what you would expect. 

For more on the Vortex see our article on the best 6.5 Creedmoor scope.

Vortex Crossfire II 2-7x32mm – Top Budget Long Eye Relief Scout Scope 

Vortex Crossfire II scope on top of a rifle and its box

Pros

  • Long eye relief at 9.45 inches
  • Very affordable model
  • Wide magnification range
  • Lightweight design, only 12 ounces
  • Excellent precision with ¼ MOA adjustments
  • Limited lifetime warranty on the product

Cons

  • Glass can seem a bit darker than other scout scopes

I first decided to get a scout rifle because I wanted a multi-purpose gun that would be good to carry whenever I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do on a hunting trip. Over the years, I kept having customers bring them into the shop to make modifications, so it caught my interest. 

Usually, I like having specialized guns to take on a specific job (i.e., deer hunting), but a scout rifle can work well against small and big game as long as you know how to use it. 

That said, because this rifle isn’t my go-to gun for hunting or everyday carry, I didn’t want to invest a ton of money into accessories. Fortunately, Vortex has my back. The Vortex Optics Crossfire II is a very affordable scope that doesn’t skimp on the details. 

What I like most about this scope is the long eye relief, which is 9.45 inches. However, don’t worry about positioning your head exactly that distance from the scope. It’s forgiving and lets you pinpoint your target quickly and accurately. 

I also appreciate the relatively wide magnification range, making this a true all-purpose scope. This way, whether my target is near or far, I can locate them with ease. Also, having higher magnification means I can pinpoint my shot better on closer targets, such as small game and varmints. 

Vortex Crossfire II mounted on a rifle in an outdoor setting

Glass Clarity & Reticle

Although this is technically a budget scope, it comes with some pretty decent glass. The lens is fully multi-coated and nitrogen-purged. 

This also gives it great resistance to fogging and helps filter out a lot of light refraction and “noise” that may interfere with your shot. I measured around 88% light transmission – not too shabby for a budget optic. 

Lens and reticle of a Vortex Crossfire II

That said, one thing I did notice is that the coating can make the image a bit darker than other scopes. While it’s not a problem during the day, the scope can be harder to use at dusk or if it’s really overcast outside, especially past 200 yards. 

The Vortex Crossfire II uses a V-plex reticle, which is thicker at the edges and narrower in the center. I find that a standard crosshair design works best for a scout rifle. Since you never know exactly how you will use it, you don’t want to rely on a specialized reticle. Crosshairs are fast and accurate at any distance. 

Eye Relief & Eye Box

On the one hand, I love the long eye relief on this scope, but I wish that it had more of a range. Although I haven’t had any problems with it, I know that not all shooters have the same build. So, for some individuals, the distance may be more of a challenge. 

Hand holding the scope mounted on a hunting rifle

Again, the eye relief is relatively forgiving, so you don’t have to mark off 9.45 inches on your rifle to ensure you’re in the right zone. However, I have to imagine that the type of scout rifle you use can also make a difference. 

At 7x zoom, I found the eye relief shortened a fair amount, and the eye box tightened up, making accurate shots more difficult. 

Durability

As with all the best scout rifle scopes, this model is made from aircraft-grade aluminum. However, Vortex goes a step further by insulating the lenses with sealed O-rings. This way, dust and moisture can’t get inside. 

I weighted it in at 12 ounces, making it a middle-of-the-road scope compared to the others on this list. 

I appreciate the attention to detail because a scout rifle needs to work in virtually any condition and any environment. For example, if I’m scouting in a dense jungle, I need a proper scout scope that won’t fog up. Similarly, if I’m moving through a desert, I don’t want sand to scratch or damage the glass. 

I’ve been testing the Crossfire II for over a year with various rifles, even up to a high caliber .308. I’ve put over 1000 rounds with it on and it has held up great and kept zero the whole time. 

Elevation & Windage Knobs

Fingers turning the elevation knob of a scope

Since this scope has a higher magnification range than the Burris scope, it uses more precise adjustments. So, instead of ½ MOA, the Vortex Crossfire uses ¼ MOA. This way, you can pinpoint your shot more accurately, particularly if your target is a bit further away. 

The turrets also come with caps to protect your settings when you’re not using the scope. I find that they hold zero pretty well, although I’m not moving quickly through dense foliage, so I’m not sure how the knobs can withstand real field action.

The turrets are slightly spongey with less tactical response than I like. But it’s not the end of the world, especially considering this scope’s price. 

Parallax & Magnification

The parallax for this scope is 100 yards, which is pretty standard for variable zoom optics. The Vortex Scout Scope also has a range of 2x to 7x, which is handy for virtually any encounter you may have in the field. 

This is perfect for scout scopes or rimfire rifles. 

Mounting & Rings

Mounts and rings attached to a Vortex scope

The Vortex Scout Scope doesn’t come with mounting rings, but it uses standard mounting equipment to attach it to a rifle. This model is a bit wider than other scout scopes, so you need to use larger rings to accommodate it. 

Is It Worth It? 

I believe that the Vortex Optics Crossfire II is one of the best scout rifle scopes as it’s easy to use yet delivers excellent results. Plus, thanks to its low price point and having one of the best warranties in the industry, you get more bang for your buck overall. 

If you want something decent for your scout rifle but don’t want to shell out hundreds of dollars, this is a fantastic option. 

Leupold VX-Freedom Scout 1.5-4x28mm – Best Scout Scope for Lever Action Rifles

Leupold VX-Freedom Scout scope held in both hands

Pros

  • Excellent glass clarity
  • Low-light management system for better accuracy
  • Precise ¼ MOA adjustments
  • RFP reticle for better distance shooting
  • Ultra-lightweight at just 9.3 ounces
  • Scratch resistant lenses
  • Fog proof housing

Cons

  • Eye relief is a bit short for a scope of this size

Although Vortex makes an affordable scout scope, Leupold is more of a high-end brand. So, if you’re interested in getting the Leupold Scout Scope for your rifle, you’ll be paying more than twice as much for the privilege. 

That said, I like the quality and versatility of this scope. It’s obvious that Leupold put a lot of thought and attention to detail into this product. I like that it has a rear focal plane (RFP) reticle, making it easier to target your prey at a distance, particularly for a forward-mounted scope like this. 

Another unique element of this scope is the Twilight Light Management System. Although the feature sounds complex, it just means you can shoot in low-light conditions and still maintain clarity and accuracy. So, if you like to shoot at dusk or when the sky is cloudy, this is the scope for you. 

Glass Clarity & Reticle

Target view seen through the lens of a scope

If you’re going to spend extra money on a scout scope, you want to make sure it’s worthwhile. The glass alone almost justifies the price tag, as this product uses some of the clearest glass I’ve seen in this class, especially near the edge. It’s razor-sharp, even at 500 yards out. 

I was consistently measuring the light transmission well over 90%, which is just insane. I shot around 300 rounds with the scope at various light conditions and ranges and was very impressed. 

While I wouldn’t necessarily call this the “best scout rifle scope” in the world, it certainly makes target acquisition far easier. The rear focal plane reticle works best when the scope is at maximum magnification (4x). However, it also delivers pinpoint accuracy if your target is much closer. 

The Twilight Light Management System helps capture and distribute more light throughout the scope. It really excels in low-contrast environments. 

What’s more, the reticle stays clear. 

So, even if you’re not shooting in low-light conditions, you can still see better than you could with other similar models.

Eye Relief & Eye Box

Here is where the Leupold Scout Scope falls a bit short. The eye relief is only 6 to 6.9 inches. All of the other scopes on this list have at least 9 inches of eye relief for comparison. 

Leupold VX-Freedom Scout scope with lens cap held in both hands

While you can make this work on many scout rifles, it’s a bit too limited for all situations and shooters.

However, I felt the eye box was open, especially at lower zooms. Many similar 1-inch tube scopes struggle with this. I also love how thin the scope’s wall casting is – you barely feel it there. 

Overall, the build quality and glass clarity make this scope well worth the investment, but you do have to accommodate a shorter eye relief when mounting. So, knowing what to expect beforehand should help alleviate any potential issues. 

Durability

As far as durability, I’m surprised with how rugged this scope is, considering its weight. At just 9.3 ounces, this is the lightest variable scout scope on this list, but it doesn’t feel cheap or shoddy. Instead, you’ll barely notice that it’s on the front of your rifle. 

This scope also comes with scratch-resistant and fog-proof lenses. I appreciate the scratch resistance since I don’t always remember to cap the front of my scope when moving from one position to the next. 

Elevation & Windage Knobs

Fingers turning the knob of a scope

The Leupold Scope uses ¼ MOA knobs, so you can get pretty accurate when pinpointing your target. They’re tight and make a nice audible click too. 

That said, these knobs don’t lock into place, so you may have to worry about resetting them if they get knocked around as you move in the field. 

Parallax & Magnification

This scope has a fixed parallax, making it easier to adjust your reticle as you see fit. The magnification range is also pretty small at 1.5 to 4x zoom. However, this range should be sufficient for most scout rifle shooting. 

I particularly love that when you switch from 1.5 to 4x zoom, it’s a very tight and smooth sweep.

Mounting & Rings

Scope held by both hands and a white background

At 28mm, the diameter of this scope is pretty easy to accommodate with standard mounting rings. However, it does not come with its own hardware.

Is It Worth It? 

Although this scope has a relatively short eye relief, you can compensate for that pretty easily, especially given its forgiving eye box. Overall, if you want excellent glass clarity and something ultra-lightweight, this scope is absolutely worth it. 

Best Scout Scope Comparison Table

NameEye ReliefMagnificationFocal PlaneReticle
Leapers UTG Scout Rifle Scope9.5-11 in2-7xSecond Focal PlaneMil-Dot
Burris Scout Scope8.5-14 in2.75x (fixed)Second Focal PlaneHeavy Plex
Vortex Optics Crossfire II9.45 in2-7xSecond Focal PlaneV-Plex
Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5 Scout Scope6-6.9 in1.5-4xSecond Focal PlaneDuplex

What Is a Scout Scope?

A scout scope is an optical device designed to be used with a scout rifle. Scout rifle scopes are unique because they are mounted at the front of the gun, not the back. So, they come with specific features like a long eye relief and a high mounting station

Typically, scout rifle scopes are also meant to be used in addition to iron sights rather than replace them. 

History of the Scout Rifle

Scout rifles are actually a lot more modern than you may realize. The concept and term were developed in the late 1980s by an American military man, Colonel Jeff Cooper. Cooper was an avid gun enthusiast who came up with the idea. 

The purpose of a scout rifle is to be “a gun for all reasons.” Basically, this weapon is the Jack of all trades and master of none. It’s not necessarily the most accurate or the most powerful, but it can handle virtually any situation a scout may encounter in the field.

The first scout rifles came out in the 90s, and the gun class and the scopes used for it have steadily grown since. (Reference: Scout Rife)

What Defines a Scout Scope?

Rifle with mounted scope and wooden background

As I’ve mentioned, scout scopes have a few unique identifying features that separate them from other optic types.

Magnification

As a rule, scout rifle scopes are designed to have a short magnification range, or they come with a fixed magnification setting. The goal of scout scopes is not to stalk and target your prey from a distance but to take it down quickly once you encounter it. 

Most scout scopes will have a magnification range of 2x to 7x, although some may max out at 4x or 5x. Also, most scout rifles are not designed to be effective at longer distances.

Eye Relief

Here’s where scout scopes really differentiate themselves. The typical eye relief is much longer than a traditional scope because of where the product is mounted. 

Man peeking through the lens of a scope

The best scout scopes will have a decent range, such as 6 to 11 inches. This way, you don’t have to struggle to find your target quickly.

The other benefit of having such a long eye relief is that you can shoot with a scout scope with both eyes open. Again, speed and agility are primary concerns, so you don’t want a scope that takes time to position accurately. 

Lens Quality

As a rule, scout scopes don’t have the best lenses, but they do have excellent clarity and visibility for their class.

Target view seen through the lens of a scope

These scopes are designed to be very versatile scopes and useful in a wide array of environments and lighting conditions. So, whether it’s a bright, sunny day or overcast, you should be able to see clearly through the glass. 

Durability

As you may have noticed, the best scout scopes are generally made of high-quality aluminum. This material is durable, naturally rust-resistant, and super lightweight. 

What I like about most scout scopes (and scout rifles) is that they’re built to be tough and dependable. While they’re not immune to damage in the field, they should be able to get through most scrapes unfazed. 

Another way that scout scopes are durable is that they’re often sealed to prevent dust and water from getting inside. This way, you can use the scope in multiple environments, and it will still work properly. 

Weight

Scope with lens cap held by both hands

Scout rifles are designed to be highly portable and easy to carry, so scout scopes are typically very lightweight. Also, because they’re mounted to the front of the gun, they can’t be too heavy, or they’d throw off your shot. 

That said, the weights for scout scopes can vary widely. For example, on this list, they can range from 9 to 25 ounces, depending on the brand and materials. So, it’s up to you to determine how much weight will affect your shooting capabilities. (Reference: Scopes)

Conflict of Interest Disclosure

All products reviewed in this article were chosen due to their merits determined from field testing and first-hand reviews. We did not accept any free products or payment in exchange for any item to be listed here.

For more reading, see our guide to long-distance shooting rifle scopes.

FAQs

Are scout scopes accurate?

Scout scopes are accurate, although their accuracy depends on their magnification range. As a rule, a higher magnification lets you see your target more clearly, ensuring better accuracy.

What kind of scope do you need for a scout rifle?

You need scout rifle scopes for scout rifles. Traditional optics are designed to be mounted close to the face, so they have a relatively small eye relief. Scout scopes, however, are mounted in front of the action, so they have a longer relief.

What is a good scout scope?

A good scout scope allows you to shoot the way you want with your scout rifle. The Burris Scout Rifle Scope is the best for fixed magnification, and the Vortex Optics Crossfire II is ideal for longer-range shooting.

Our Top Pick

Leapers UTG scope mounted on a rifle and brown vest on the background

References

(1) Jeff Cooper, Throwback Thursday: The Scout Rifle. Retrieved from https://www.americanrifleman.org/articles/2014/10/2/throwback-thursday-the-scout-rifle/

(2) Jeff Wood, Why Upgrade Your Old Riflescope? Retrieved from https://www.guns.com/news/why-upgrade-riflescope-optic


1 thought on “Best Scout Scope: Fixed Power & Illuminated [Review]”

  1. What distance can you shoot a deer using a scout scope is it 100 yards 200 yards 300 yards I really don’t know where you tell me

    Reply

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