At a Glance: Best AR-15 Rifle Scopes for Hunting Coyotes
Comparison of the Best AR-15 Rifle Scopes for Hunting Coyotes
Our Top Pick
|Leupold Mark MOD 1 Riflescope||View Latest Price|
Best Long-Range Scope
|Bushnell AR Optics 4.5-18x40mm Riflescope||View Latest Price|
|Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12×40||View Latest Price|
Best Scope for AR-15 Coyote Hunting
Coyote Hunting is a challenging activity practiced both for recreation and pest control. Hunters often prefer going after coyotes in the winter, when they can harvest the dogs’ lush coat. Coyotes live in pretty much all geographical regions of North America, so hunting conditions vary widely.
Coyotes are highly intelligent animals, which means they offer a challenging hunting experience. You are not likely to get near them. A scope is practically a must for the long-range shots you almost always needed to make to bag a ‘yote. Becoming adept at hunting coyotes takes years of practice. There is a lot to learn and a lot of techniques to hone in the process.
Coyotes are referred to as Destructive pests by farmers and ranchers because they attack and kill livestock or other domestic mammals. A USDA report from 2014 states that 28 percent of adult sheep deaths were caused by coyotes.
Equipment used when hunting coyotes is diverse and depends a lot on your local hunting environment. You’ll probably need a lot of camo, calls, some binoculars, a good varmint rifle and the right scope.
The Best Scopes for AR-15 Coyote Hunting
Here we’ll review some of the best models of AR-15 scopes covering the features, pros, and cons of each one. Scopes are so important that you should generally spend around the same amount on one as you spent on your gun. For making the kind of long shots usually needed to hit a coyote, you need a scope that you can rely on.
Leupold Mark MOD 1 Riflescope
This is one of the best rifle scopes on the market.
- Fog, shock, and waterproof
- Lightweight (weighs less than 13oz and 1-inch maintube)
- Second Focal Plane Reticle
- Measures about 12.6in for Length and Width and 1.6in for Height
- Multi-coat 4 lens system
This is the perfect riflescope, suitable for almost all AR users. It can withstand harsh weather conditions.
- Contains hash marks on reticle for easy use
- Fog-proof, water and shockproof
- Clear images because of the zoom ratio
- Includes battery conserving motion sensor
- Reticle has an illuminated firedot
- Can be easily customized
- Covered by a comprehensive lifetime warranty
- Lens coating system gives bright a sight pictures and the maximum utilization of available light in low light conditions
- Maximum eye relief at 3.80 inches is short for some users
- The objective lens size is not the enough for the lowest light shootings
Nikon P-Tactical .223 3-9×40 Matte BDC 600
Nikon is a company that, in past times, focused on photography by producing cameras. Due to their experience with working and producing lenses, they now engage in production of riflescopes with some of the clearest and sharpest images. This model is best used for hunters shooting at medium or long range. It is recommended for its top-quality performance; it’s also great for military use. The Nikon P-Tactical is ideally suited to the capabilities of a .223 AR-15. If you have some other rifles lying around, this scope is compatible with various other rifles like the Remington 700 SPS Tactical, the Stag Model 6 AR, the Winchester model 70, AR-15, and Mossberg MVP .223.
- 12.4 ″ in length and 16.9oz in weight
- BDC 600 reticle
- Second Focal Plane Reticle
- Has a minimum magnification of 4x and maximum magnification of 9x
- Zero reset
- Adjustable finger feature, exposed and precise turrets
This scope is great value for money. It is packed with advanced technological features. It is an outstanding option for your AR15.
- Able to perform speedy hand turn
- Precision shooting offer available
- Improved quality zoom feature
- Spring-Equipped turrets that allow instant zero-resetting
- Multi-coated optics for clearer vision and picture quality at any time in a day.
- Compatible with Nikon’s Spot-On Ballistic Software, which helps align the scope with data points and avoids wastage of bullets.
- Cheaper when compared to alternative brands
- Lacks audible clicks for turrets
Vortex Crossfire II 3-9×40
Vortex Optics, founded in 2002, is a family-owned company. They offer one of the best lifetime warranties in the business. Vortex produces optical instruments for hunting and other shooting activities. Some of their products include scopes and binoculars. This scope is very affordable and is a great match for any AR15. It has features that would benefit hunters who regularly take shots at game even out to 300-800 yards.
- Affordable and budget-friendly
- Turrets reset to zero
- Suitable for rugged conditions
- Multicoated, anti-reflective lenses
- 3-9x magnification range
- 12″ in length and 15 ounces in weight
- Second Focal Plane Reticle
- Constructed with aircraft-grade aluminum
- Tube size of 1″ diameter
- Bullet Drop Compensator (BDC) Reticule
This riflescope is great for shooters and hunters who do a lot of medium to long-range shooting and also comes at an affordable price. In addition, it can be used in any weather conditions.
- The hard-anodized matte finish is anti-glare
- Fast focus eyepiece enables quick and easy focus target acquisition
- Suitable for all environmental conditions; waterproof, shockproof and fog-proof
- Fully multi-coated optics allow an increase in light transmission and are anti-reflective
- Turrets don’t track well
- The parallax is noticeable and needs manual adjustment
- The image is sometimes distorted after magnification in excess of 6x
- Focus rings on the riflescope need a relatively high amount of pressure to be applied
Best for Long Range Shooting: Bushnell AR Optics 4.5-18x40mm Riflescope
Bushnell has been active in the production of binoculars, trail cameras, riflescopes and so on. Due to the quality in the production of their equipment and popularity of their night vision products, the company won an OpticsPlanet Brilliance Award in 2017.
This scope is a great choice for long-range hunting or shooting excursions. Featuring side parallax adjustment allows you to adjust without breaking your stance.
Constructed of a single-piece aluminum tube with throwdown levers for quick magnification changes, exposed MIL turrets, adjustable parallax
- Second Focal Plane (SFP)
- Weight: 19.04oz
- Parallax: Side Focus
- Five elevation turrets
The Bushnell Optics AR 4.5-18×40 multi turret scope is a durable and attractive riflescope that will make your hunting experience enjoyable and pleasurable.
- Great budget scope for AR
- Very easy to adjust and mount
- Clear picture even at high magnification
- Holds zero well
- Eye releif is a little short
- Little heavy
Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12×40
This is another product by the Vortex Optics Company founded by David C. Hamilton. The company has grown very popular as a result of the high-quality optic products and affordablity of their products. This scope is compact and offers excellent optic properties. Besides, Vortex is known for their outstanding warranty.
- 12.8 inches long with an eye relief of 3.1 inches.
- Second focal plane reticle
- Magnification ranges between 4-12x
- Constructed with aircraft grade aluminum
- Fast-focus eyepiece
- Hard-anodized matte finish
- Single-Piece tube
Despite the cons, these riflescopes are perfect for hunters and AR-15 shooters in general. It has durable and versatile features, suitable for all weather conditions, and it is also great for AR-15s chambered in rounds with heavy recoil.
- Lifetime warranty, no questions asked
- Shockproof, waterproof and fog-proof
- Dead-hold bullet drop compensating reticle is very good for shooting at widely differing ranges
- This scope is suitable for hunting large game and varmints.
- Eye relief level that ranges between 4.5″ – 3.8″ makes the scope great for heavy recoil rifles without fear of eye injury
- Has a magnification range suitable for traditional hunting below 1000 yards
- The features are rather entry-level
- The included accessories are not the best quality
- The price is a little high
- Not the clearest at max magnification
Primary Arms 4-16x44mm Riflescope Illuminated Mil Dot
Primary Arms is a relatively new company in the production of affordable and quality optics. Marshal Learner founded the company. Its mission is to provide firearms enthusiasts, professional shooters, and service members the highest quality optics at affordable prices.
This riflescope is good for competitive and long-distance shooting with features to allow fine-tuning in the field.
- Magnification range between 4-16x
- Illuminated mil-dot reticle
- Second focal plane reticle
- Constructed with aluminum
- 30mm tube diameter and 44mm objective lens diameter
- Anodized matte finish
- Exposed turrets
- Finger adjustable with zero-reset feature
- Side parallax adjustment knob
- Audible and tactile clicks
- Water-resistant, fog-proof, and shockproof
- Very affordable
- Great illumination for lower light conditions
- Second focal plane reticle suitable for long-range shots
- Side-mounted focus aids easy adjustment
- Easy to operate and maneuver
- Not the cheapest option
- Limited lifetime warranty
Leupold VX Freedom 1 1.5-4x20mm P5 Dial Riflescope
This is another product of Leupold, founded 1907, and one of America’s most beloved optics manufacturers. This scope is a great addition to any AR-15. It has ballistic matched tactical turrets calibrated to the famous .223 Remington 55gr FMJ which travels around 3100 feet per second. It has an attractive body shape and also features a fast-focus eyepiece, power selection ring and so forth. It is tough and suitable for hunting in harsh weather conditions with absolute reliability.
- Weighs about 9.6 ounces and has an overall length of 9.2″
- Has adjustable turrets which reset to zero
- 1″ tube diameter and 20mm objective diameter
- Matte finish
- Medium turret height
- Second Focal Reticle Plane
- Fixed parallax adjustment
- Eyepiece length is 3.2″ and eye relief measures between 4.1 – 3.7″
- Maximum windage adjustment and elevation adjustment is 125 MOA
- Proudly made in the United States of America
- Waterproof, fog-proof and shockproof
- Suitable for long-range shooting
- Lifetime warranty
- Bright firedot reticle
- Tactile power selector
- Adjustment ring position can make it difficult to handle
Primary Arms 4-14x44mm Riflescope Mildot
This scope offers a first focal plane reticle, and it remains one of the most cost-effective products on the market. It is widely used by hunters, marksmen, and competition shooters across the country. It allows shooters to find their holdove without theuse of a bullet drop compensation (BDC) system. Suitable for shooters who want a military style reticule.
This riflescope is a popular choice among new and seasoned hunters as well as professionals who want an effective, accurate scope. This model is reliable and durable and also provides a clear sighting picture. First focal plane reticle best for short-distance shooting. Constructed with high-strength aircraft-grade aluminum making it resistant to water, fog, and shock.
- Side adjustable parallax knobs
- Eye relief between “3.2” – “3.14”
- Mildot Reticle
- Not illuminated
- Exposed turrets, zero resets
- Tactical and audible 1/10ML
- 30mm tube diameter
- 0.1MIL click value
- Side adjustable parallax
- Quick focus eyepiece
- Fog resistant, waterproof and shockproof
- Supports elevation and windage adjustments
- Affordable optical system option.
- Non-illuminated Reticle
- First focal plane reticle
- Does not have a lifetime warranty
- Slightly expensive
How to Choose the Best Scope for Coyote Hunting
Choosing a good scope for your rifle will make a huge difference because coyotes are difficult targets to acquire, especially at night. Since Coyote hunting is best during the dawn or late night time, you’re going to want a great night vision scope for your AR-15.
First, you’ll need to consider the magnification range. There is no generally accepted magnification range for hunting coyotes. If you hunt out on the wide open prairie, you probably need a high magnification range. If you are confined to dense brush, you can make do with the average or low magnification power. The best magnification range for you depends on your shooting environment.
For example, if your shooting will be in the deep woods, your farthest shot will not exceed 200 yards. Therefore, a scope like 1.5-5x might be the most suitable. For open plains, the shooting range can extend out to 500 yards. Thus, you may want to buy a scope with up to 20x zoom.
Second, get a scope with a wide objective lens. This will admit more light and give you a clearer sight picture. Many coyote hunters suggest an objective with a minimum of 50mm.
Weight may also be a consideration when choosing a scope for your AR-15. If you will be lugging your weapon around the backcountry, you likely want to get a lightweight scope that won’t affect or weigh down your rifle.
Durability is a major consideration with scopes, as with all firearm products. Coyote hunting can take you into rugged conditions, so you need a scope that will be able to withstand some harsh conditions, and will be water-resistant and shockproof. A good warranty is generally a clear sign of a scope’s durability.
Buy a scope with a reticle that suits you and that is compatible with your rifle. This is largely a matter of taste. Maybe you want a complicated reticle for your AR-15 like a BDC, however, you’ll need to memorize your drop ranges, so many shooters prefer a simpler crosshair reticle. Check out our guide on the best AR-15 Scope mounts to make sure you have the proper mounts
First Focal Plane VS Second Focal Plane Reticles
You can identify a first focal plane reticle if the thickness of the crosshairs appears to increase as you raise the magnification. A second focal plane reticle remains the same size as your raise the magnification.
Many shooters prefer to use first focal plane (FFP) reticles.
That’s because depending on the design, FFP reticles can help you calculate range. The relative size of the reticle and target will remain the same across the magnification range. Caylen Wojcik, a former marine sniper, stated that “First Focal Planes are the best for long-range shooting because the reticle subtensions remain the same regardless of magnification.”
Unlike a FFP reticle, a second focal plane (SFP) reticle will not appear larger and thicker the higher the magnification. They are great for taking long-range shots at varmints like coyotes. If they have range calculating abilities, they are usually designed to work only at the highest magnification level.
My Personal Preference
I’d pick the Vortex Optics Crossfire II as the best value for money in an AR-15 coyote hunting scope. It gives you great illumination and an outstanding sight picture in various light conditions. Since scopes are absolutely essential to long-range shooting, they can make or break your hunting season.
Coyotes are ingenious animals, it’s next to impossible to sneak up on them, so long-range shots are the norm. The AR-15 is the closest thing to the ideal coyote hunting gun there is, but a great scope is essential. Magnification range, reticle design and placement, illumination, and durability are some of the top things to think about when choosing an AR15 coyote hunting scope. We’ve laid out some of the best models out there, but ultimately, it is a matter of personal preference. No matter which one you choose, practice as much as you can, stay safe and have fun.