Pistol Scopes for Scout Rifle?


January 11, 2008, 02:34 PM
Hi All -

I just picked up a Ruger Frontier in .308, and I'd like some advice on a scope. I intend to use the forward 'scout' mounts. The Leupold Scout scope seems like a good choice, but is a 2.5x fixed power. Ideally I'd like a variable, in the range of 1-4x or 2-6x. Pistol scopes seem to be the only option.

Is there a problem with mounting them to close vs. the longer distance of a typical pistol?

Any makers to look to or avoid? Ideally I'd like to stay close to $200, with $300 as the upper limit.



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January 11, 2008, 05:45 PM
The exit pupil shrinks dramatically for the higher magnifications and most have too much eye relief at the higher magnifications for comfortable shooting.

January 11, 2008, 07:31 PM
Ditto... the only pistol scopes I am aware of that the eye relief does not change dramatically are Burris - and not every model. For all the hassle it will be simply adjusting the power, I would say stick with a fixed power.

I have two lever guns set up that way with the Leo and they are just fine. Fast handling, fast sighting and unless I want to shoot at 100yds+, it is plenty of magnification for offhand shooting. If I want to shoot further, I simply make sure I have a good rest first.

January 11, 2008, 08:10 PM
I've had a Leupold 4x fixed power handgun scope on my M1A Scout for years without any problems:

On a great day (wish it were everyday) it's been 1-2" accurate out to at least 100 yards. It seems to have handled 308 just fine.

Add in some detachable rings and you can alternate between iron sights, Leupold or red dot.


January 11, 2008, 08:10 PM
Stick with the fixed power Leupold scope. A scout rifle by definition is meant to be a quick-to-sight, quick-to-fire rifle. Having to mess with adustable sights goes against the application.

January 11, 2008, 08:11 PM
You will have to dig for the details of the eye relief specs. I was looking at some and found that some vendors sales brochures claimed the eye relief on their 2-7x pistol scope is from 9" to 18" or whatever. When I dug into the details I found that they meant is that on 2x it is 12" to 18" and on 7x it is 9" to 14" or something like that. What this means is that you will have to mount it with the eyepiece lens between 12" and 14" from your eye when you hold the rifle in firing position. I made up all of those numbers and probably exaggerated them but you get the idea. You could do it but as noted above it is a hassle and you may not have a long enough rail to do it. Also, as noted the field of view gets smaller at higher powers. At 7x it would be difficult to keep both eyes open I would think.

I use 2.5x Leupolds. I have one rifle with a 2x Simmons ProHunter pistol scope and the eye relief is good for rifles. I picked up the ProHunter on sale for about $70 or $80. I don't know about the long-term ruggedness of it, though. I've heard good things about the Burris 2.75x but haven't used it.

One possible reason to use a pistol scope is if you can find one with a light-up reticle. Even if it is a variable you could just leave it at 2x or 3x and not worry about adjusting it.

January 11, 2008, 08:38 PM
To echo Bitmap's statements. I set up a Marlin 336 this way and scoured all the scope info I could find to locate a scope with truly "intermediate" eye relief that was variable.

I ended up using Thompson/Center's 1.5-4x28 variable "Recoil Proof" handgun scope. It was advertised as needing between 9" and (IIRC) 24" of eye relief. Most handgun scopes want at least 15" of eye relief, so I figured the 9" tolerance would allow me to mount the ocular bell about 1/2 way forward over the receiver.

As it turns out that scope is in NO way usable at 9" of eye relief! It needs 14"+.

I kept it, though, as the price wasn't bad and I could use it with the XSSights Scout mount I'd bought if I placed it in the most forward mounting location.

I do like the set-up, though. Good luck!


January 11, 2008, 09:31 PM
What others have said: Most pistol scopes have too much eye relief. But, I have found some very nice intermediate eye relief, variable power, Burris pistol scopes on eBay for around $200. Burris makes very good scopes and they have a lifetime guarantee, so even though I bought them used Burris will still service them.

January 14, 2008, 12:58 PM
+1 for the 2X Simmons Prohunter Pistol Scope

I dunno how well it survives magnum handgun use, but it's eye relief is perfect for scout rifles, and the optical quality is good for the price.

Go to a dealer with a wide selection or a place like Cabelas or Basspro and do some comparing.

January 14, 2008, 01:06 PM
Hell, the Leupold scope that is essentially designed as a companion to that rifle is about $250 brand new. It works perfectly for the application.

A variable is a poor choice, as it will add more weight to a rifle where you don't want to, and it won't increase your ability to see the target at all. Furthermore, the point of the rifle is to offer quick, both-eyes-open point-and-shoot capability in a modern centerfire with a quicker, more precise scope replacing irons. Sort of a replacement for a lever carbine that will work well past 300 yards. If you want a long-range rifle to shoot from a rest, sell it.

2.5X vs. 4X doesn't change much. 6X is too much, given how you use the scope. FOV will get too small.

There's a reason for the 2.5X scope.

January 14, 2008, 01:17 PM
I have a Ruger Frontier. The Luepold and Burris scopes work well on it.

I have tried several pistol scopes; the only variable that I found that works is the Nikon 2.5x-8x. I mount it on the Picatinny rail (not using the Ruger rings) to move it as far forward as possible, and the eye relief is good from 3x-8x. At 2.5x, it really wants me to scoot my head back a bit.

January 14, 2008, 01:24 PM
I had a pair of fixed 2.5x M8 Leupold scout scopes and they were very nice.
I replaced them with a Burris 2-7x32 Handgun Scope (http://www.swfa.com/pc-4546-194-burris-2-7x32-handgun-scope.aspx) that has a Ballistic Plex reticle.
The Burris gives me more flexibility and a BDC reticle. I like it :)


January 14, 2008, 01:31 PM
Note, however, that the M1A above, with the big metal stock on it is a much heavier rifle than the Ruger. It's actually pretty shockingly heavy, if you're used to hunting rifles or AR's. And it has a bipod on it. It's a multi-purpose rifle; the Frontier is more of a specific-mission field gun.

The rail mount on the M1A allows you to adjust the scope forward and back several inches each way, until you find the "sweet spot" for the eye relief.

The Ruger is relatively light, for a Ruger anyway, the rifle is very short, and the Ruger forward mount allows for only minimal adjustment of eye relief by sliding the scope back and forth in the rings.


January 14, 2008, 01:57 PM
...that the M1A above, with the big metal stock on it is a much heavier rifle than the Ruger. It's actually pretty shockingly heavy...

:) The "Mini" Pig

My MK14 SEI Mod 0 tactical scout weighs 14 lbs. 05.8 oz. as pictured without the mag and ammo.

January 14, 2008, 03:34 PM
I put the Weaver 1.5-4 X 20 849427 (http://www.weaveroptics.com/pg8_9/pg8_9.html) on my '94 Winchester with the XS scout scope mount. Works very nicely. No eye relief issues.

January 15, 2008, 03:32 PM
Holy Smokes, I only thought my AR10(T) was a pig... that M1 makes it look like a lightweight!!! :eek:

Wes Janson
January 15, 2008, 11:40 PM
I'm running the same scope as H20, but with a standard stock...and I think the total package is 12-13 lbs unloaded.

The 2-7 really works out pretty well. I've found that the proper eye relief distance for it is almost exactly 12 inches; set at that position one can see fairly well at either 2x or 7x without needing to shift cheekweld much, if at all.

January 16, 2008, 06:31 PM
I like the leupold fixed 2x power for my 358 win in Mark X Mauser scout that I built. This last weekend I picked up a 6.5 carcano someone had made a scout rifle with a 2X BSA pistol scope. That silly little gun shoots a lot better then I expected. So far it is shooting minute of 2 liter Coke bottle. The scope is not up to my Leupold but it is certainly a great deal of scope for little cash.

January 16, 2008, 11:03 PM
Just took my M48BO out for its first time with a Leupold 2.5x IER Scout scope on the S&K style mount.

It cut my groups in half, using factory fresh (well, 55 year old "fresh") ammo, as well as a little of the sniper stuff from AIM. In the past I would spray all over the 8MOA target bull, but now I'm grouping a nice 4MOA or less with the 50s Yugo, which is what they are supposed to do, no?

I have one target from the sniper with 4 holes marching in a straight line, but one flyer. I need to work on my technique a bit, but the scope is great! I know people complain about scout scopes, but compared to iron sights there is no comparison.

January 17, 2008, 12:19 PM
Wes, which 2-7x scope are you using?

Wes Janson
January 17, 2008, 12:24 PM
Burris 2-7x32mm Handgun with BDC reticle and Posi-Lock.

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