Best Scope for .223 Rem./5.56 NATO – 2022 Buyer’s Guide

While you may think more about matching your scope to your gun, have you ever thought about matching it to your ammunition? This approach helps you get the best performance from your ammunition.

With this in mind, we’ve tackled finding the best scope for .223. You’ll learn some distinct qualities to look for and why you should care to find the right pick.

  • Best overall
  • Holds up well in extreme temps, specifically cold. It won’t fog and is waterproof
  • Functional with excellent design
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  • Best Varmint scope for 223
  • Very lightweight at 22 ounces
  • Lens has excellent clarity and works well in low light
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  • Lightweight aluminum
  • Excellent design with full protection against weather and other damage
  • Bright images even in extreme low or high light conditions
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  • Clear glass produces sharp images
  • No battery required for enhanced usability
  • Includes a mount that is well-made
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  • Best value for the money
  • Non-obtrusive but highly useful and adjustable 1-MOA dot
  • Highly useable controls that quickly become intuitive
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What Makes a Scope for .223 Great for Hunting?

The .223 Remington is a popular ammo choice for hunting or target shoot. It also has a rich history of military use, which shows how versatile it is.

Since you can use the .223 in various situations, you want to learn how to match your scope to the use. When hunting, you need to consider how the .223 acts to understand what type of scope would work the best.

Distance and speed

According to The Meat Eater, the .223 is a fast bullet because it is lighter weight. It holds up well even traveling long distances, which is a common situation when hunting. Since you will likely shoot at long distances, and the .223 will travel effectively as these distances, means you want an excellent long-distance scope.


Accuracy is always important in hunting to get a good kill shot. The shot must be clean and sharp, which you can accomplish with a .223, but you need a scope with clarity to allow you to do so.


The durability of a scope doesn’t relate much to the ammo you are using, but you must have a scope that will stand up under any weather conditions unless you always hunt in warm, dry environments. You need to know the scope will work in rain, high humidity, snow, freezing temperatures, and any other thing the weather can throw at you.

What to Look for When Buying a Scope for .223

You need to consider a few things when buying a scope for .223. One thing to think about is the type of hunting you will do. We have broken it down by hunting types to highlight the specific characteristics you want to see in your scope.

Hunting in the Woods

When you hunt in a wooded environment, Shooting Times explains you need a scope that works well for moving targets at a close range. You want low magnification and a large field of view. This type of scope will allow you to shoot quickly when the game moves by you and within a couple of hundred yards.

Open-Country Hunting

Hunting in an open country means you will often have to aim at targets far away from you. For this type of hunting, you need to be able to see accurately at long distances. Look for a scope that is at least 9X but be careful of going too high as it will limit your field of view.

Low-Light Hunting

If you find yourself hunting in areas where there isn’t much light, and shadows loom large, you need to find a scope that will enhance the light while also ensuring a crisp view. The suggestion is a scope with a 7mm diameter, but you also need to stick with the highest quality lens you can get to avoid loss of intensity and light.

Review of the Best Scope for .223

Considering all the different factors you will want in a scope with the .223, we put together a list of the top picks. The products on our best scope for the .223 list will tick off all the boxes and make for a great choice for varying hunting situations.

Top Pick

Primary Arms 4-14x44mm FFP Riflescope



What Recent Buyers Report

Our top pick is the Primary Arms 4-14x44mm FFP Riflescope. Buyers are thrilled with the high quality and design of this scope at this price point. They love that it is adjustable for the wind and perfect for long-range shooting. Consumers also feel the overall design is user-friendly and incredibly functional.

Why It Stands Out to Us

We make this our number one scope because of the many high-end features. At this lower price point, you can often expect to see knock-off features. However, this scope only gives high-end features. 

It has an exceptionally clear glass with minimal distortion. It holds up well in various weather situations as it is fog-proof and waterproof. You also get full use of the 14X maximum magnification. Above all else, it is highly accurate and has a highly usable Advanced Combined Sighting System (ACSS) reticle.

Bottom Line

The Primary Arms 4-14x44mm FFP Riflescope provides you with everything you want at an affordable price point. It is durable and functional for even the toughest of situations. Plus, it has great features, such as an ACSS reticle, wind adjustments, and good light transmission. You can easily estimate the range without a rangefinder, and the scope is spot-on accurate.

Best Varmint Scope for 223

Bushnell AR Optics 4.5-18x40mm Riflescope



What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers love that this scope is incredibly lightweight, weighing in at only 22 ounces. They also enjoy the BDC reticle because it is easy to learn to use. Plus, it holds magnification steady whether you zoom in or out.

They did have concerns about the controls being a bit sloppy, which reduces the accuracy and function of the scope. Buyers noted that at long distances in hot temperatures, there was a lot of distortion. 

Why It Stands Out to Us

We chose the Bushnell AR Optics 4.5-18x40mm Riflescope as the best varmint scope for .223. What we like the most about this product is its excellent optical quality. It provides clarity and good performance in low-light conditions. It remains steady as long as you don’t go to maximum magnification.

It does have a lot of nice features that may take time to adjust to meet your needs. However, you can adjust the turrets and get this scope exactly where you want it for an accurate shot, which you don’t get with other products at this price point.

Bottom Line

The issues with the adjustments do take away from the accuracy of this scope, but you can’t beat the clarity it provides. If your biggest issue is seeing your target, this product won’t disappoint. In addition, the reticle is easy to use without a lot of complex things you must learn.

Primary Arms 5X 5.45×39 Prism Scope



What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers appreciate that this is a durable scope. It is usable in a variety of weather situations because it is waterproof and fog proof. Plus, they like the front and rear flip-up caps that protect from adverse weather conditions. Not to mention the lens is scratch resistant.

Beyond the excellent build, consumers also value the optics. The multi-coated lens allows for maximum light transmission so that images are bright even in low light situations. In addition, the red and green illumination allows for adjustment for the perfect focus.

Why It Stands Out to Us

We like the Primary Arms 5X 5.45×39 Prism Scope for many of the same reasons as buyers. It is durable and will hold up under all types of weather conditions. The optics are top-notch as well. It provides an accurate view no matter the lighting, which is something we can get behind.

We also appreciate the features. The turrets give an audible click, making it easy to adjust them out in the field. The ACSS reticle is clear and sharp. It is fairly easy for beginners to use and to adjust to for seasoned users.

Bottom Line

The bottom line on this scope is it is excellent if you hunt or shoot in varying weather conditions. Primary Arms did a great job making sure it will stand up to anything and everything you can throw at it. Plus, you can’t beat the optics that are incredibly high quality, crisp, and sharp no matter the lighting.

Trijicon ACOG 3.5×35 Scope




What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers greatly appreciate the overall durability of this scope. They say no matter how much punishment you put it through, you can expect it to come out just fine. It is ideal for those who may not be the best at taking care of their gear.

Consumers also thought the overall performance was outstanding. They enjoyed the auto-adjusting brightness and the easy-to-use built-in BDC. Plus, they felt the lens provided an incredibly clear view that helped reduce eye fatigue. 

Why It Stands Out to Us

Being that the Trijicon ACOG 3.5×35 Scope is an Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight, we had high expectations. Typically, anything the military uses will be extremely durable and accurate. The scope did not let us down on either front, which is why we had to include it on this list.

It is aircraft aluminum with a multi-coated lens that is waterproof and shockproof. The finish also adds to the durability. The low fixed magnification helps with close-range targets, ensuring clarity regardless of where you need to aim. It also auto-adjusts to the light and always provides a crisp image.

Bottom Line

This is a high-caliber scope that impresses at every turn. The design is specifically for some of the roughest conditions you can imagine, so expect this to last a long time without any risk of damage. It has an excellent track record for military use, so it will impress you with its performance and accuracy.

Best Budget Option

Leupold Freedom 1×34 Red Dot Sight



What Recent Buyers Report

Consumers were a little taken back by the heftiness of this scope. It is more substantial than similar offerings, which can add to fatigue while out on a long hunt. However, the build does make it more durable and able to withstand a lot more than lighter scopes. Plus, they raved about how accurate this product is and easy to use due to the many high-end features.

Why It Stands Out to Us

The Leupold Freedom 1×34 Red Dot Sight is our choice for the best budget option. You’ll quickly see why because it offers you high-end features without the failures you would expect from something at this price point. It is an excellent balance between function and cost.

We appreciated the small red dot within the view as it doesn’t block what you need to see while offering assistance with accuracy. It’s adjustable to the lighting or illumination you need without losing its usefulness. The point of this is that it makes this a highly accurate scope.

Bottom Line

The overall design of this scope is outstanding. It is easy to use all the adjustments and features without taking a long time to learn. Plus, all these features are highly usable and functional to create a scope that works exceptionally in many different situations. It is exactly what you want in a scope in that it acts seamlessly as an extension to your rifle without being intrusive.

Advantages a Quality .223 Scope

You certainly can hunt without a scope. The .223 is a reliable ammo that will drop game nicely and make shooting simple. However, even when using high-quality ammunition, you still need the benefits a scope can offer to elevate your skills.

Let’s take a look at a few of the advantages you get by adding a scope to your gear.

Better Results

A scope will allow you to aim properly and track game well, which amounts to better shots taken. You can see better distances, which gives you the chance to set your shot perfectly. It also allows you to focus on your target to get the best possible shot. 

Save Ammunition

When you shoot better and more accurately, you won’t be wasting ammo. In today’s environment, you really cannot afford to waste a single shot. A scope increases the chances exponentially that every shot will hit its target.

Skill Improvement

This ties in with better results because when every shot counts and makes something happen every time you pull the trigger, it leads to overall more success on every hunt. A scope helps you refine your skills and improve your overall abilities so much that you become a better marksman. 


Hopefully, this has been a helpful review that enables you to find the perfect scope to meet your needs. You really can’t go wrong with any of the best scopes for .223 on our list.

Take this time to consider what you need and how they match up with what we’ve presented to you.

People Also Ask

Now that you have read our review, you may have more questions. Here’s a look at a couple of things people frequently ask about the best scopes for .223.

What kind of scope do I need to shoot 1000 yards?

Shooting from 1000 yards requires a scope with a 100 yard zero. Go for magnification of 18X to 25X. Choose whatever you feel most comfortable with based on your own visual needs. The combination of the 100-yard zero and the right magnification will give you the sharpness and clarity you need for accuracy at this distance.

What does .223 mean in ammo?

This ammunition is known as 223 Remington. It’s a rifle bullet that originated for hunting varmint. It’s been on the market since 1957. At the same time, there is a “.223 version” known as 5.56 used by the NATO military, specifically the Army. It has a spear shape and travels at a high velocity, making it ideal for shooting at short distances. It is also a heavier bullet that moves well, even at longer distances.

Joseph Fox

Joseph Fox

Joseph Fox writes on a variety of topics ranging from reloading ammunition to gun cleaning. He has been featured on various publications like thetruthaboutguns, Sofrep & many more. Joseph is also the founder of Gunloading, where he reviews different types of reloading & firearm products available on the market.