The .223-caliber Remington rifle was introduced in the 1960s by Remington, and it quickly took hold of avid riflemen all over the U.S. There’s little wonder to that, since this rifle packs a lot of power and versatility.
However, the .223 is best paired with the right scope to get the best results. This mainly has to do with the FPS (feet per second) which a .223-caliber gun shoots at, and knowing what scope is needed and which to get for your gun can add to bullet accuracy.
- Best Scope for .223 Rifles - Comparison Table
- 1 Nikon 8496 P-223 3x32 Hunting Scope, Matte BDC
- Common FAQs About the Nikon 8496 P-223 3x32 Hunting Scope
- 2 Bushnell AR Optics, Drop Zone BDC Reticle Riflescope
- Common FAQs About the Bushnell AR Optics, Drop Zone BDC Reticle Riflescope
- 3 UTG 3-9X32 1" BugBuster Scope, AO, RGB Mil-dot, QD Rings
- Common FAQs About the UTG 3-9X32 1" BugBuster Scope
- 4 Vortex Optics Crossfire II Second Focal Plane, 1-inch Tube Riflescopes
- Common FAQs About the Vortex Optics Crossfire II
- 5 Primary Arms 1-6x24 SFP Tactical Rifle Scope (Gen III)
- Common FAQs About the Primary Arms 1-6x24 SFP Tactical Rifle Scope (Gen III)
- Buyer’s Guide
- How to Clean a 0.223 Scope
- Best Scope for .233s Overall
- Best Value Scope
- Best 0.223 Scope for Hunting
Best Scope for .223 Rifles - Comparison Table
Our Top 5 Scope for .223 recommendations:
Nikon 8496 P-223 3x32 Hunting Scope, Matte BDC
The Nikon 8496 P-223 is a fantastic scope which was built specifically for .223s. Besides being waterproof and lightweight, this scope has a lifetime repair guarantee so long as it hasn’t been intentionally damaged or stolen.
Besides being heavily reviewed on many gun advocate websites and reviews, this scope is on its way to being one of the most versatile out there. It’s compatible with lots of mounts and attachments and guns, and while it favors certain 0.223s, it’s an excellent buy overall.
Here are some features you should know:
- 100-yard parallax setting
- Nitrogen-filled scope for water and fog-proof sight
- Up to 98% light transmission
- Lifetime repair and replacement policy
- Generous eye relief
- Open-circle aiming point
- Fantastic reviews
- 1.4 lb
- Zero-reset turret factor
- 200 yard crosshair
This scope is best when paired with .223 Rem/5.56 NATO round with 55-grain polymer tip bullets, and it’s also a hugely reviewed product among riflemen who prefer .223s.
- Crisp and bright
- Easy to use
- Perfect for 100 yards or less shooting ranges
- Sturdy and compact
- Good price
- Great quality
- Not great for shooting over 100 or so yards
- Pricier than other scopes
Common FAQs About the Nikon 8496 P-223 3x32 Hunting Scope
What size of scope rings are recommended?
1-inch rings are best.
Where do the batteries go for this scope?
This scope does not require batteries.
How long is the actual scope?
The scope is 8 ¼ in.
Overall, this .223 scope is great for those who are seeking clear views, high quality, and long-lasting durability in a great product.
Bushnell AR Optics, Drop Zone BDC Reticle Riflescope
If you’re looking to get into long-distance shooting with a .223 rifle, this scope is going to be your best friend. If comes with a 3-9x40mm scope and 3-9x magnification, all without sacrificing image quality and shooting accuracy.
It’s also made of highly-durable aluminum alloy, and it’s meant for distance shooting for rifles. If you’re interested to learn more about this bad boy’s features, here they are:
- 3-9x40 scope
- Fully multi-coated optics
- 3-9x magnification
- Side-focus adjustable parallax
- Target turrets
- Incredible brightness
- Durable design
- Great reviews
- 1.5 lb
This one is calibrated for 55-62 grain, 223 REM/5.556 loads.
- Good price
- Long range sight
- Handles recoil great
- Great for general shooting
- Crystal clear and works well in low lighting
- Holds a good zero
- Unbelievably clear
- BDC is dead on
- Great eye relief for an AR-15
- Turret marks aren’t very useful
- Occasional malfunctions
- Adjusting turrets occasionally don’t work
- May fog up
Common FAQs About the Bushnell AR Optics, Drop Zone BDC Reticle Riflescope
What size of scope mount does this require?
This needs a 1-inch mount for its 1-inch tube.
What is the length of the scope?
This scope is just over one foot long.
What size of flip up caps fit on the ends of this scope?
Go for 40 mm for the front end (not sure about the rear).
While it’s not as budget-friendly as our next listed option, the highlight of this Bushnell AR product is the fact that it can be used for long-distance shooting for rifles.
That quality makes this one the perfect companion for hunting, if you’re looking at going for larger game such as deer with a 0.223 rifle in your hands. If that’s your goal, this scope is a fantastic investment and it will last a long time.
UTG 3-9X32 1" BugBuster Scope, AO, RGB Mil-dot, QD Rings
This budget-friendly option is perfect for anyone looking for a highly-reviewed, well-made scope which is geared towards a 0.223 rifle. Besides having plenty of positive feedback for this design, this product has some fantastic features for the cost-effective price.
Here are some of its features:
- Maximum light transmission
- Premium lockable turrets with ¼ MOA per click
- 1-inch tube
- Adjustable Objective (3+ Yards)
- Accommodating eye relief
- Flip-open lense caps
- Nitrogen-filled, shock- and water/fog-proof scope
- Perfect scope at 50 yards
- Eye relief at 3 power is awesome
- Exceeded expectations for low price range
- Excellent battery life
- With the right mount, this is excellent
- Great for casual shooters
- Best bang for your buck
- Can’t go wrong with this
- Crosshairs sometimes get fuzzy
- Doesn’t hold zero well
- Turrets don’t work great
Common FAQs About the UTG 3-9X32 1" BugBuster Scope
What does the “CQB” stand for on this UTZ3-9 COMPACT CQB model?
The CQB stands for Close Quarter Combat. It’s designed for quick target-hitting.
Can you see the crosshairs when the power is off?
The "crosshairs" or reticle is Mil-Dot. It can be seen with or without illumination. There are 3 modes: red or green (illuminated), or black (non-illuminated).
How do I get a replacement lens cover?
Contact the manufacturer.
Something to note about this particular scope is the fact that sellers often warn against buying this one from somewhat-shady buyers directly out of China which are making counterfeits and have affected this great products real reviews.
For the most part, this item works well and has a great scope and range for the price. However, occasional dysfunctional products may happen here or there, or a product purchased from an incorrect seller may be a counterfeit and thus hardly work.
If you take the time to make sure you buy from UTG and not an adverse company, you could end up with a fantastic low-cost scope for every casual shooter’s weekend of fun.
Vortex Optics Crossfire II Second Focal Plane, 1-inch Tube Riflescopes
While some reviewers have mentioned that this particular length of scope is not suitable for a scout rifle, others have loved it and called it a big upgrade from the regular ones. Whether you’re shooting with a 0.223-caliber AR-15 or a Remington, this great scope has multiple versions to suit different needs.
This one is also fantastic for shooting at long distances, and it comes with plenty of positive feedback from past customers who are pleased with both the price range and the scope range. Looking for the features? Here they are:
Long eye relief
Ultra-forgiving eye box
Anti-reflective lense for clear, bright sight
Finger adjustable turrets
Water and fog proof
Made from aircraft-grade steel
- Dead center at 100 yards
- Adjustability works great
- Fantastic customer service
- Clear in fog and rain
- Great for a Ruger 10/22
- Great product for price
- Outstanding performance and value
- Fantastic value scope for price
- Get the CF2-31002 style Vortex for a scout rifle, not this one
- Made in China
- Detached reticle in scope
- Occasionally won’t hold sight
Common FAQs About the Vortex Optics Crossfire II
Does this scope come with lense caps?
It comes with clear and amber caps connected by elastic bands.
Does this scope come with the sunshade?
Unfortunately, it does not.
What does “second focal plane” mean?
Here is the definition from the Vortex website: "Scale of reticle maintains the same ideally-sized appearance. Listed reticle subtensions used for estimating range, holdover and wind drift correction are accurate at the highest magnification."
While these are manufactured in China and there are occasional malfunctions or shipping issues, these scopes are fantastic for any 0.223-caliber rifle and they’re compatible with a lot of options. Customers who have given this one a shot have been very pleased with the overall quality for the price.
Primary Arms 1-6x24 SFP Tactical Rifle Scope (Gen III)
If price isn’t an issue and you’re willing to spend a bit more to ensure high-quality construction and overall function of your 0.223-savvy scope, this option falls in the higher price range but it can certainly deliver.
Primary Arms Optics have been impressing gun enthusiasts for quite some time, and this scope is proof that they know what they’re doing. In their opinion, “power is nothing without precision”, and we agree.
With that in mind, this excellent scope can provide precise aim and firing for multiple guns, and it comes with power, too. Here are some key features:
Second focal plane design for consistent magnification
ACSS Reticle illuminated with 11 brightness settings (included CR2032 battery)
6063-aluminum scope body
IP67 waterproof, fogproof
Lifetime warranty from manufacturer
Click value ½ MOA
Scratch resistant optics
Sight is partially illuminated in red
- Good BDC reticle
- ACSS reticle is the money maker aspect of this scope
- Clear glass
- Great scope, awesome price
- Great for price
- Fit and finish are on par with optics
- Covered turrets
- Limited eye relief
- Decent on a budget
- A little blurry
Common FAQs About the Primary Arms 1-6x24 SFP Tactical Rifle Scope (Gen III)
How much does the scope weigh?
This scope weighs just under 1 lb.
What is the max distance recommended for this scope?
The reticle has markings for out to 800 yards, and the documentation appears to indicate that is the range.
How long does the battery last?
The battery should last from 200 to 250 hours on this scope on a medium setting.
This five-star product has the quality of even higher-end scopes with the adjustability you need for multiple firearms. If quality is your aim, Primary Arms has created this scope as an excellent option to meet sight needs for hunting and shooting for all 0.223s.
There are several things that go into the decision to buy a .223-caliber scope for your cartridge. Here are some general guidelines during this process:
Some mounts are made a little more cheaply than others. Often, these mounts are paired with rimfire rifles and shotguns, which makes sense if you’re just practicing on a shooting range somewhere for fun.
However, if you’re looking for a scope that will help you in the long run for hunting and other things, it’s best to get one made with high-quality materials and which have multiple reviews highlighting its durability in excessive usage.
Scopes do little for .223s if mounting it is a pain. Make sure the .223 of your choice can be paired with a mounted scope, and read through details and instructions on the process before trying it out and actually firing. This protects you, the cartridge, and the scope.
Scopes come with different magnification capacities. Some can magnify shooting range targets anywhere under 200 yards away, and others are built to magnify prey at a farther distance. If you’re looking for a long-distance scope, make sure it has an adjustable parallax so images don’t get fuzzy.
Great light transmission is important whether you’re shooting at midday or at dusk. Whatever your target, you’ll want to make sure the light transmission of your scope can work well with multiple lightings.
Also referred to as eye relief, this important aspect of scopes comes into play when you pull a trigger and feel the firearm kick back just a little bit. A scope without protection might ram into your face, but if you have a generous few inches there to absorb the kick, your scope is offering you protection.
How to Clean a 0.223 Scope
While you’re looking at which scope would be the best purchase for your chosen firearm, you should also take a peek at what it’s like taking care of these instruments, including the best ways to clean them and keep them working well and clear.
Before we get down to the nitty gritty, here are some brief Do’s and Don’t for general care:
- Clean the scope with regular use.
- Use a lense cap.
- Get the best cleaners.
- Store them properly.
- Wipe lense with shirts, paper towels, handkerchiefs, etc.
- Use a sleeve to remove condensation from the lense in fog.
- Spray cleaner directly on a lense.
- Forget to polish the entire scope body.
Here are seven steps you can follow to clean most 0.223-specific scopes for rifles:
1. Take off caps, remove from the mount, and disassemble (if applicable).
If you can disassemble your scope, try taking it apart just enough to get into the nooks and crannies where dust and grime are wedging themselves. Some scopes are a one-metal design and can’t be taken apart, and that’s perfectly fine.
Disconnect the scope from the mount or remove caps you may have over the lenses before beginning the cleaning process.
2. Pick the right cleaners.
While this is more of a Step 0, it’s important to check and make sure you’re not using everyday household cleaners to care for these firearm investments. Here’s a great option made by Vortex, one of the scope manufacturers who have created one of our top 5 options.
Also use the right towel. Paper towels and other fabrics aren’t always suitable for even the highest-grade scopes, and the last thing you want to do is accidentally scratch the lense of your nice hunting rifle scope.
3. Dust the lense first.
Using a task-specific mini duster or blowing carefully on the lense, try to blow off any dust or dirt which may have settled on it. This prevents the small particles from scratching the surface when you go to clean it, which in turn helps with the overall life of your lense.
4. Clean the lense.
Using the cleaner, spray the cloth and then wipe the glass. Don’t spray the cleaner directly on the lense, even it it’s specifically for scope optics. Gently clean away any smudges using circular motions.
5. Clean the body of the scope.
Using the same cleaner or another one suited for guns, clean off the rest of the scope using a different cloth than the one you use on the lense. You should also make sure the cleanser you’re using is appropriate for the nice metals of the scopes you own and not something which will slowly take off needed layers.
6. Polish and dry.
Preferably using a microfiber towel, dry off the lense gently and then dry off the scope. Microfiber towels are gentle and great for protecting metal gear. Just make sure it’s a clean towel and that you use it on the glass before moving to the metal, so you don’t transfer any remaining particles of dust caught in miniscule metal grooves.
7. Store carefully.Keep your scope lense cleaner and your other gun and barrel cleaners separate so you don’t use the wrong cleanser on your scope glass in the future. Make sure you’re storing your scope in a place where it won’t roll or be scraped up, and keep a lense cap over the glass so nothing can ever wear or scratch it.
Best Scope for .233s Overall
Curious which scope won our top spot? The Nikon 8496 P-223 3x32 Hunting Scope has our vote. It has the features, the durability, and the sight capacity to help shooters who are wishing for clarity and overall quality when they’re at a shooting range or when they’re shooting small varmint on their properties.
If you’re unsure about this fantastic scope, we recommend you give it a try. Not only will the sight quality stay on point for a long time, but it also comes with a promise that any breaks or issues with the product will be fixed and repaired for life.
Best Value Scope
All of these scopes might look pretty great, but maybe you’re eyeballing those nigh-$300 price ranges and wondering if you’ll get your money’s worth out of your use of them. Fortunately, there’s one option here under $100 that will keep your bank account happy without sacrificing your desire to experiment with new firearm scopes.
The best value scope listed here is the UTG 3-9X32 1" BugBuster Scope, which comes with many bells, whistles, and reviews but without a hefty price tag. If you’re just giving .223s a try and you’re not so sure you want to invest in a scope over $100, this option is the most friendly on the wallet without sacrificing quality and overall design.
Best 0.223 Scope for Hunting
If you’re looking into these scopes as a way to magnify your 0.223-caliber cartridge for an upcoming hunting trip, you’re probably looking for the best scope to help with that.
The best hunting-oriented scope on the list is the Vortex Optics Crossfire II (Option #4). It has long range sights and does particularly well in fog and in rain, which is perfect for hunting trips. Furthermore, it’s built with high-quality, durable materials that can withstand general wear which takes place over hunting trips.
Some scopes are built for .223 Remington rifles and some are best paired with another shotgun or firearm completely. It’s important to take into account the mergability of the attachments which you’re trying to connect to any gun.
If you’ve been on the hunt for the next best scope for your .223, any one of these scopes can give you fantastic sight and you can find the one that suits your needs and your budget. However, the Nikon 8496 P-233 is our highest recommendation to date.