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8 Best Scopes for M1A: Ultimate Buying Guide

8 Best Scopes for M1A Ultimate Buying Guide

The M1A rifle is a descendant of the legendary M14 battle rifle from Springfield Armory. It stands as an iconic symbol and successor design showcasing American firearm engineering.

Revered for its robustness, accuracy, and versatility, the M1A Scout Squad has found its place in the hands of hunters, competitive shooters, and firearm enthusiasts alike.

However, harnessing the full potential of this rifle requires more than just its well-built mechanics. It demands choosing the proper rifle scope to complement its capabilities.

Have you ever wondered how the right rifle scopes can elevate your experience with the M1A rifle? Are you curious about the top contenders on the market that are tailored to unlock the M1A’s full potential?

In this article, I tell you all about the best scopes for M1A and how the perfect optic can transform this great rifle into an exceptional one.

  • Best Overall: Vortex Crossfire II AO 4-16×50
  • Best Budget Scope: Leapers UTG 3-12×44
  • Best Scout Scope: Leupold VX-Freedom Scout 1.5-4×28
  • Best Hunting Scope: Burris Scout 2-7×32
  • Best Long-Range Scope: Vortex Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50
  • Most Versatile Scope: Primary Arms SLx Series 4-14×44
  • Most Durable Scope: NightForce SHV 4-14×50
  • Best Premium Scope: Athlon Optics Ares BTR Gen II HD 4.5-27×50
Best Overall
Vortex Crossfire II AO 4-16x50

Vortex Crossfire II AO 4-16x50

  • Magnification Range: 4-16x
  • Objective Diameter: 50 mm
  • Reticle Options: Dead-Hold BDC
  • Field of View: 7 - 25.3 feet at 100 yards
  • Length: 14.2 in
  • Weight: 23.6 oz (669 g)
  • Eye Relief: 3.7 in
Best Budget Scope
Leapers UTG 3-12x44

Leapers UTG 3-12x44

  • Magnification Range: 3-12x
  • Objective Diameter: 44 mm
  • Length: 14 in
  • Weight: 23.2 oz (657.7 g)
  • FFP/SFP: SFP
  • Reticle: Illuminated Enhancing Mil-Dot
Best Scout Scope
Leupold VX-Freedom Scout 1.5-4x28

Leupold VX-Freedom Scout 1.5-4x28

  • Magnification Range: 1.5-4x
  • Objective Diameter: 28 mm
  • Reticle Options: Duplex
  • Length: 11.1 in
  • Weight: 9.6 oz (272.2 g)
  • Eye Relief: 6 - 6.9 in

1. Vortex Crossfire II AO 4-16×50 (Best Overall)

Vortex Crossfire II AO 4-16x50 (Best Overall)

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Key Features

  • Magnification Range: 4-16x
  • Objective Diameter: 50 mm
  • Tube Diameter: 30 mm
  • Reticle Options: Dead-Hold BDC
  • Field of View: 7 – 25.3 feet at 100 yards
  • FFP/SFP: Second focal plane
  • Adjustment Click Value: 0.25 MOA adjustment per turret click
  • Windage and Elevation Turrets: Capped
  • Length: 14.2 in
  • Weight: 23.6 oz (669 g)
  • Eye Relief: 3.7 in
  • Other Special Features: Aircraft-grade aluminum build, fully multi-coated lenses

The Vortex Crossfire II AO 4-16×50 stands out as the best rifle scope for an M1A rifle. It is renowned for its high-quality glass and large objective lens that combine to provide a pristine sight picture.

Its dead-hold BDC reticle also enhances long-range shooting accuracy beyond the ammo and barrel length they were calibrated for, making it a favorite among gun enthusiasts.

The scope’s parallax adjustment sharpens the focus on targets, which is critical for maintaining a clear sight picture. This feature is especially valuable for shooters striving for consistent precision.

Its resettable turrets facilitate meticulous MOA adjustments compared to alternative scopes, further enhancing shooting performance, particularly when utilizing higher magnification.

Crafted from aircraft-grade aluminum, this scope is robust and reliable, boasting fogproof, waterproof, and shockproof capabilities. This resilience is crucial for enduring the rigors of shooting in diverse conditions.

That said, the scope is notably heavy and lacks an illuminated reticle. However, its design ensures adequate visibility in low-light conditions, a key consideration for most guns.

The Vortex Crossfire II AO 4-16×50 secures its place as the overall best scope on this list. Its optical clarity, robustness, and features position it above other high-quality scopes, making it an exceptional addition to the M1A rifle.

Pros

  • Parallax adjustment with AO for image focus
  • Long eye relief
  • Bright, clear images from lenses
  • Rugged, durable build with aircraft-grade aluminum
  • Turrets resettable to zero

Cons

  • Heavy and bulky
  • Possibly complex for new users
  • No illuminated reticle

2. Leapers UTG 3-12×44 (Best Budget Scope)

Leapers UTG 3-12x44 (Best Budget Scope)

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Key Features

  • Magnification Range: 3-12x
  • Objective Diameter: 44 mm
  • Tube Diameter: 30 mm
  • Reticle Options: Mil-Dot
  • Field of View: 8.5 – 34 feet at 100 yards
  • FFP/SFP: Second focal plane
  • Adjustment Click Value: 0.25 MOA adjustment per turret click
  • Windage and Elevation Turrets: Exposed
  • Length: 14 in
  • Weight: 22.7 oz (643.5 g)
  • Eye Relief: 3 – 3.3 in
  • Other Special Features: Best-in-class multi emerald coated lenses, TRUE STRENGTH platform, EZ-TAP Illumination Enhancing System, Low Profile Illumination Control, SWAT (Side Wheel Adjustable Turret), TactEdge Angled Integral Sunshade

The Leapers UTG 3-12×44 stands as the best budget rifle scope for M1A rifles, offering a commendable target image at an affordable price.

Featuring the EZ-TAP® Illumination Enhancing System and TactEdge® Angled Integral Sunshade, this scope is engineered to improve target acquisition even in challenging light conditions.

The high-quality glass and Low Profile Illumination Control not only sharpen the target image but also facilitate swift adjustments during shooting, enhancing the shooter’s overall performance.

Despite its attractive price point, this scope boasts remarkable durability and includes accessories that ensure shooters can rely on its performance in the field.

However, some shooters find the scope larger than necessary, which might hinder its utility in specific hunting scenarios.

The reticle thickness could also be an issue for those requiring pinpoint precision, and adjusting the illumination of these scopes is said to be tedious.

Overall, the Leapers UTG 3-12×44 emerges as the best budget scope for M1A rifles, striking an excellent balance between value for money and the quality required to hit targets effectively.

Pros

  • Affordable pricing
  • Clear, solid optics
  • Includes accessories
  • Accurate, holds zero
  • Effective side adjustment

Cons

  • Possible quality control issues
  • Potentially oversized for hunting
  • Thick reticle affects the precision
  • Cumbersome illumination adjustment

3. Leupold VX-Freedom Scout 1.5-4×28 (Best Scout Scope)

Leupold VX-Freedom Scout 1.5-4x28 (Best Scout Scope)

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Key Features

  • Magnification Range: 1.5-4x
  • Objective Diameter: 28 mm
  • Tube Diameter: 25.4 mm (1 in)
  • Reticle Options: Duplex
  • Field of View: 17.3 – 41.7 feet at 100 yards
  • FFP/SFP: Second focal plane
  • Adjustment Click Value: 0.25 MOA adjustment per turret click
  • Windage and Elevation Turrets: Capped
  • Length: 11.1 in
  • Weight: 9.6 oz (272.2 g)
  • Eye Relief: 6 – 6.9 in
  • Other Special Features: Variable magnification, fixed parallax-free distance, finger click adjustments for elevation and windage

The Leupold VX-Freedom Scout 1.5-4×28 carries the Leupold mark of quality, positioning it as the premier scout scope for M1A rifles.

Its affordability compared to other Leupold scopes does not compromise the high standard typically associated with the Leupold brand, making it an excellent choice for discerning shooters.

The scope’s variable magnification and finger-click adjustments are pivotal for scout scopes, ensuring ease of zeroing on targets—a must-have for scout rifles’ dynamic shooting requirements.

Its fixed parallax-free design and ample eye relief underscore its suitability as a scout mount, promising durability and consistent performance when the rifle is in action.

The rifle scope’s robust build also makes it waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof, allowing it to thrive in the unpredictability of outdoor shooting environments.

However, the lack of built-in illumination and adjustment for its parallax are potential downsides, especially when engaging long-distance targets or during low-light conditions.

The Leupold VX-Freedom Scout 1.5-4×28 is the best scout scope, merging Leupold excellence with practical features at an accessible price, making it an unrivaled addition within the scout squad category.

Pros

  • Rugged, weather-resistant construction
  • Abrasion-resistant and water-wicking lens coatings
  • Twilight Light Management System for enhanced low-light performance
  • Capped turrets with finger-click adjustments
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • No adjustment for parallax
  • No illuminated reticle

4. Burris Scout 2-7×32 (Best Hunting Scope)

Burris Scout 2-7x32 (Best Hunting Scope)

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Key Features

  • Magnification Range: 2-7x
  • Objective Diameter: 32 mm
  • Tube Diameter: 25.4 mm (1 in)
  • Reticle Options: Ballistic Plex
  • Field of View: 8 – 23 feet at 100 yards
  • FFP/SFP: Second focal plane
  • Adjustment Click Value: 0.25 MOA adjustment per turret click
  • Windage and Elevation Turrets: Capped
  • Length: 9.7 in
  • Weight: 13 oz (368.5 g)
  • Eye Relief: 9.2 – 12 in
  • Other Special Features: Fixed parallax at 100 yards, Hi-Lume multi-coated optics

The Burris Scout 2-7×32 is acclaimed as the best hunting scope for M1A rifles. With lenses that make target identification crisp across short to long distances, Its reputation for versatility and clarity is solidified.

The fixed parallax setting of the Burris Scout scope enhances its use with long-range rifles, ensuring the target remains in focus without the need for complex adjustments.

The lack of illumination in this scout rifle scope is offset by its superior glass, which maintains clear visibility across various times of day compared to other scout scopes.

Its robust construction ensures the rifle scope mount remains secure, and the scope’s waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof design enhances its durability.

While this scout rifle scope is a formidable tool, it is not without cons; potential glare and a narrow eye box at full magnification may challenge hunters in the field.

This Burris Scout Scope is a frontrunner in the scout scope category, offering the best glass and functionality needed for effective hunting with a scout rifle.

Pros

  • Bright, clear glass quality
  • Large 32mm objective lens
  • Generous, forgiving relief
  • Highly durable and robust
  • Precise .25 MOA adjustments

Cons

  • Possible light reflection issue
  • Narrow eye box at 7x
  • No included lens caps

5. Vortex Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50 (Best Long-Range Scope)

Vortex Viper PST Gen II 5-25x50 (Best Long-Range Scope)

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Key Features

  • Magnification Range: 5-25x
  • Objective Diameter: 50 mm
  • Tube Diameter: 30 mm
  • Reticle Options: EBR-4 (MOA)
  • Field of View: 4.8 – 24.1 feet at 100 yards
  • FFP/SFP: First focal plane
  • Adjustment Click Value: 0.25 MOA adjustment per turret click
  • Windage and Elevation Turrets: Exposed
  • Length: 15.8 in
  • Weight: 31.2 oz (884.5 g)
  • Eye Relief: 3.4 in
  • Other Special Features: LED illumination, aircraft-grade aluminum construction, fully multi-coated lenses, fixed parallax from 25 yards to infinity

The Vortex Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50 is a premier long-range rifle scope for M1A rifles, delivering unparalleled clarity and precision for long-range shooting. Its high magnification and superior glass quality offer clear views of distant targets.

The scope’s brightness settings and built-in illumination aid in zeroing in on targets, enhancing visibility across long distances. While optimized for long-range, its versatility also extends to short and mid-range shooting.

The fixed parallax setting and exceptional glass quality of the Vortex Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50 enhance long-range shooting accuracy. Good glass allows for a clearer view of long-distance targets, ensuring precise shot placement.

It boasts impressive durability, covering all the basics: waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof. The rifle scope easily attaches to scope mounts and capably withstands the rigors of field use.

Despite its many strengths, the scope could do better with more intuitive brightness settings for daytime use and a more straightforward zero-stop feature.

As a long-range rifle scope, the Vortex Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50 stands out, offering the precision long-range shooters need, with robust construction and reliable performance that makes it one of the better scopes on the market.

Pros

  • Superb glass clarity
  • Extra-low dispersion glass
  • All-weather waterproof and fog-proof
  • Durable aircraft-grade aluminum
  • Tactical style turrets

Cons

  • Zero stop feature can be challenging to install
  • Limited reticle selection
  • Illumination is not suitable for daytime

6. Primary Arms SLx Series 4-14×44 (Most Versatile Scope)

Primary Arms SLx Series 4-14x44 (Most Versatile Scope)

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Key Features

  • Magnification Range: 4-14x
  • Objective Diameter: 44 mm
  • Tube Diameter: 30 mm
  • Reticle Options: MIL-Dot
  • Field of View: 27.2 – 7.85 feet at 100 yards
  • FFP/SFP: First focal plane
  • Adjustment Click Value: 0.1 MRAD adjustment per turret click
  • Windage and Elevation Turrets: Exposed
  • Length: 12.9 in
  • Weight: 23.9 oz (678 g)
  • Eye Relief: 3.1 – 3.2 in
  • Other Special Features: Side-adjustable parallax, aircraft-grade aluminum body, non-illuminated reticle

The Primary Arms SLx Series 4-14×44 is the most versatile rifle scope on this list. It is an ideal companion for M1A rifles across various shooting disciplines, from target shooting to hunting.

The reach of its magnification allows for rapid target acquisition, suitable for both short-range and higher magnification scenarios, enhancing its utility among target shooters.

The easy-to-operate side-adjustable parallax and quality glass ensure clear visibility for shooting-size targets. Most shooters would appreciate how it improves rapid target acquisition.

Durability is a hallmark of this rifle scope, with its waterproof, fog-resistant, and shockproof build perfect for most gun calibers and all weather conditions. It is also designed to allow quick and durable attachment to scope mounts.

The adaptability of this scope to various rifles and sighting systems makes it a reliable choice for those needing to switch ammo types or shooting styles.

While the scope is robust, the limited warranty, specific calibration for .308 Winchester, and its non-fogproof nature could affect its performance or value for money in certain conditions.

The Primary Arms SLx Series 4-14×44 is one of the best scopes today, offering the flexibility needed in changing scenarios. It is an ideal companion for those who shoot different disciplines and want to use multiple guns with one scope.

Pros

  • High magnification up to 14x
  • Vivid glass quality and light transmission
  • Durable, heavy-duty aluminum build
  • Waterproof, fog-resistant, and shock-resistant
  • ACSS HUD DMR reticle for long-range accuracy

Cons

  • Not suited for mid or short-range
  • No night vision support
  • Heavy and cumbersome
  • Glass not scratch-proof

7. NightForce SHV 4-14×50 (Most Durable Scope)

NightForce SHV 4-14x50 (Most Durable Scope)

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Key Features

  • Magnification Range: 4-14x
  • Objective Diameter: 50 mm
  • Tube Diameter: 30 mm
  • Reticle Options: MIL-XT, MIL-R SHV F1, MOAR F1 – 30 MOA
  • Field of View: 7.4 – 25.1 feet at 100 yards
  • FFP/SFP: First focal plane
  • Adjustment Click Value: 0.25 MOA/0.1 MRAD adjustment per turret click
  • Windage and Elevation Turrets: Exposed
  • Length: 14.8 in
  • Weight: 30 oz (850 g)
  • Eye Relief: 3.1 in
  • Other Special Features: Parallax adjustment, ZeroSet elevation feature, analog illumination, aircraft-grade aluminum

The NightForce SHV 4-14×50 scope is the most durable choice for M1A rifles, renowned for its robustness and adaptability. It is an excellent option for those looking for scopes that can weather any challenge.

NightForce scopes are known for boasting some of the most durable builds, making them ideal for outdoor environments. The SHV’s design helps it withstand the elements and rough handling often associated with outdoor shooting activities.

This scope is waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof, making its durability apparent no matter the scope mount it is paired with. It ensures consistent performance, standing out as a rugged companion for your rifle and ammo.

The ease of use is another standout feature of this scope, with user-friendly adjustments and the ZeroSet elevation feature that allows shooters to achieve pinpoint accuracy with ease.

Its reliable performance and versatile magnification make it one of the best scopes to take outdoors. It does the job of both tracking and tactical target shooting scopes, and I highly recommend it for use in the field.

However, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. The rifle scope’s weight can be a drawback for those who prefer lighter gun setups, and the absence of illumination in some models may affect visibility in low-light conditions.

Overall, the NightForce SHV 4-14×50 combines a robust build with user-friendly features, making it an outstanding choice for shooters who need a reliable rifle scope that can perform in harsh conditions and thrive.

Pros

  • Easy and comfortable to use
  • Excellent glass clarity
  • Sturdy build
  • ZeroSet technology
  • Versatile magnification

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Higher cost
  • No illumination

8. Athlon Optics Ares BTR Gen II HD 4.5-27×50 (Best Premium Scope)

Athlon Optics Ares BTR Gen II HD 4.5-27x50 (Best Premium Scope)

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Key Features

  • Magnification Range: 4.5-27x
  • Objective Diameter: 50 mm
  • Tube Diameter: 30 mm
  • Reticle Options: APRS5 IR MIL
  • Field of View: 3.8 – 22.7 feet at 100 yards
  • FFP/SFP: First focal plane
  • Adjustment Click Value: 0.1 MRAD adjustment per turret click
  • Windage and Elevation Turrets: Exposed
  • Length: 13.8 in
  • Weight: 27.3 oz (774.2 g)
  • Eye Relief: 3.9 in
  • Other Special Features: HD Glass, fully multi-coated optics, LED illumination, 24 Mil Rad windage/elevation travel, Zero stop system

The Athlon Optics Ares BTR Gen II HD 4.5-27×50 stands out as one of the best premium scopes for M1A rifles. Its exceptional performance on any gun and laundry list of features justify its price.

Compared to other scopes on this list, the Ares lenses stand out by providing outstanding image quality, comfortable eye relief, and glass clarity that is perfect for challenging light conditions, giving users the edge needed for accurate targeting.

The scope’s illumination feature and zero-stop system offer user-friendly versatility across different environments. The illumination ensures the reticle remains visible, while the zero-stop system allows for quick adjustments and consistent accuracy.

In terms of durability, this rifle scope excels with its robust construction. It is waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof for the rigors of the field. It can easily be mounted onto a scope mount without the fear of losing zero.

However, its weight may be a burden for those who prefer a lighter gun setup, and a stiff magnification ring could hinder smooth adjustments in the heat of the moment. Additionally, the price point might stretch the budget for some.

Overall, the Ares is one of the best scopes for those seeking a versatile, good scope that will perform reliably in various shooting scenarios, giving you exceptional value for money.

Its features make it a top contender for the title of best versatile rifle scope, AND it is well worth the money for dedicated shooters looking for scopes that perfectly complement their M1A scout squad gun.

Pros

  • Excellent clarity
  • Reliable True Zero Stop
  • Versatile magnification
  • Precision Zero Stop adjustments
  • Durable, hard-anodized construction

Cons

  • Relatively heavy
  • Stiff magnification ring
  • Pricier option compared to other scopes

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

You may have more questions about M1A rifles and what makes a good scope for them. I have gathered the most common ones to help you with your research.

How Accurate Is an M1A With Scope?

Some shooters achieve about 1 MOA accuracy with their M1A scopes, but it is more common to see performance in the 2-4 MOA range.

As one progresses to higher-end models of the M1A, there is typically an improvement in accuracy, which also corresponds with an increase in price.

When outfitted with a quality scope and when shooting fundamentals are applied consistently, the M1A can attain a high degree of precision.

Should You Put a Scope on an M1A?

Equipping an M1A with a scope is standard practice, though the process differs from mounting iron sights or a red dot on a typical AR15.

This is because the M1A usually accommodates traditional scope mounts. However, if it comes with a forward mounting rail, typically of the Picatinny style, it is possible to attach scout scopes for enhanced versatility.

With the M1A’s capability to accurately reach targets up to 1,000 yards—while shining within 600 yards—it is beneficial to pair it with a scope.

The extra visibility a scope provides is essential for realizing the full potential of the M1A’s long-range capabilities. It also ensures you can make the most of the rifle’s range and accuracy.

What Is the Maximum Effective Range of an M1A Loaded?

The M1A Loaded rifle is highly accurate at mid-range, with an optimal performance at 600 yards.

While it can reach approximately 1,093 yards with a .308 cartridge, accuracy and ballistic effectiveness at that extreme range may diminish. The U.S. Army’s effective range specification for the M1A is 300 yards.

When tailored for long-range, the M1A Loaded approaches the accuracy of specialized rifles, especially with National Match components, which show their value at 800 to 1,200 yards.

The average accuracy for the M1A Loaded ranges between 1.5 to 3.8 MOA. At nearly 1,000 yards, factors such as bullet stability can affect precision, with performance becoming less predictable as the bullet goes subsonic.

Can You Shoot 6.5 Creedmoor in an M1A?

Yes, you can shoot 6.5 Creedmoor rounds through an M1A rifle. Springfield Armory offers several versions of the M1A specifically chambered in this caliber.

The rifle’s magazine is designed to accommodate the size of the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridges, which are well-regarded for their long-range accuracy.

With the proper setup, including a National Match-grade barrel and a tuned trigger, an M1A chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor can serve as an effective rifle for shooting at distances up to 1,000 yards.

This makes it a versatile choice for both competitive shooting and general long-range marksmanship, especially when combined with the best scope for a 6.5 Creedmoor.

Final Thoughts on the Best Scopes for M1A

Finding an appropriate rifle scope for an M1A rifle from Springfield Armory is essential for leveraging the full capabilities of this iconic gun. The correct scope enhances its precision for effective shooting performance.

The top of my recommendations for scopes for the M1A is the Vortex Crossfire II AO 4-16×50, which offers users a smooth shooting experience and the ability to fully utilize the M1A’s power and precision.

That said, what works best for me may not be ideal for your needs. When choosing a scope from this list, you must consider factors such as budget, shooting style/engagement distance, magnification range, and more.

When using the M1A rifle, the best rifle scope is instrumental in unlocking its full potential. It not only enhances the shooter’s vision but also extends the rifle’s reach, becoming essential for achieving the highest level of accuracy and enjoyment with the M1A rifle.

Whichever scope you choose, you must ensure it complements your shooting style and makes your M1A an extension of your will wherever you choose to hit targets.

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