If you are like me, you have grown to love your AR platform chambered for the 5.56×45 round. I like mine so much that I don’t just have one. I have different configurations, from the standard 16-inch barrel to an extra-long 24-inch barrel.
However, there are times when the 5.56×45 round can’t what I want to do with a rifle. I wanted more bullet weight, more delivered energy, and a caliber that I could easily suppress but still run supersonic ammo if I wished. Enter the .300 Blackout.
The result is an easy to deploy AR platform chambered for .300 Blackout, configured with a 10” barrel, a suppressor, and, of course, the necessary tax stamps to make it legal. We will talk about loads and bullet weights and range performance in another article. Today’s topic of interest is scope selection and what I eventually picked as my choice for my rifle.
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Factors I Considered in a Scope for the .300 Blackout
The .300 Blackout can be a challenge when choosing a scope. The choice is often more about personal preference than performance. Most modern scope manufacturers produce scopes with excellent performance features and optics. Understanding what you want from your rifle and scope combination is the key to finding the right scope.
Fitting the scope to the caliber is another factor to consider. In looking at the .300 Blackout, I found several dominating characteristics and performance factors that influenced my decision.
- Intended Uses – I built my .300 Blackout for the express purpose of hunting feral hogs. The scope needed to be smaller and lightweight. I wasn’t too interested in a lot of long-distance calibrations or MOA.
- Rifle Configuration – Since my rifle is built and licensed as an SBR (short barrel rifle), the ranges involved in my hunting tend to be no longer than 150 yards. The action occurs at ranges from 75 to 100 yards most of the time, so big magnification is not an issue.
- Suppression – The rifle also sports a 6-inch suppressor. A suppressed .300 Blackout rifle needs to run subsonic ammunition to get the full benefit. The limited ranges at which I hunt with subsonic ammunition don’t justify magnification and telescopic scopes.
Scopes I Considered for My .300 Blackout Rifle
In the end, I narrowed my list down to five scopes. Each of these scopes offered features and performance that were a fit for my needs and expectations. The five scoped that made my final list are:
- Trijicon ACOG
- Nikon P Tactical
- Primary Arms Compact Prism Scope
- Vortex Optics Strikefire II
- Aimpoint PRO
Any of these scopes fit well with the .300 Blackout cartridge. They all perform well and come with a list of impressive features. However, each of these scopes came with some downsides that influenced my decision. Here is what I discovered about the five scopes on my list of the best scopes for a .300 blackout rifle.
Ultimate .300 Blackout Rifle Scope – Trijicon ACOG BAC 3×30 Rifle Scope – 300 BLK 115/220 Grain
Trijicon is, for many people, the standard by which they measure all other AR scopes. Trijicon didn’t gain this reputation without good reason. The Trijicon ACOG is a combat-proven piece of equipment and one of the few military-grade optical pieces of equipment a civilian can legally purchase.
Take that reputation and wrap it around a designed scope specifically for the .300 Blackout cartridge, and you have an impressive piece of kit. There is not much that not to like about the Trijicon ACOG. Considering the features and performance, I found:
- Trijicon’s Always On, Always Ready Battery Free Illuminated Reticle. The tritium/fiber optic illuminated reticle provides constant illumination of the reticle under any conditions and any light. There are no batteries to change, nothing to wear out or fail.
- Rugged and Durable Construction meant of the harshest and most extreme conditions.
- Bullet Drop Compensating reticle matched to the .300 Blackout ballistics for a range of bullet weights
- Shock-resistant and waterproof construction
- Magnification – 3X
- Reticle – BDC Crosshair
- Field of View – 19.3 feet at 100 yards
- Weight – 7.7 ounces
- Length overall – 6.1 inches
- Eye relief – 1.9 inches
I am fond of fixed magnification for rifles intended for extreme uses. The telescopic sight mechanisms tend to be a failure point in scopes that may suffer any shocks such as falls or hard bumps. The Trijicon ACOG also offers illumination without batteries.
There are many Trijicon ACOG clones on the market, but to get the benefits and features that set the Trijicon ACOG apart, you must purchase a true Trijicon scope. Users of Trijicon ACOG scopes are almost 100% in praise of these optics.
- Rugged, durable, and almost indestructible
- Light and compact
- Bullet Drop Compensating Reticle
- Can be used to shoot with both eyes open
- No batteries
- The price
In the end, the only con that most people put on the Trijicon ACOG .300 BLK scope is the one that put this scope out of the running for me. The price was just too steep for me to justify for a rifle that goes to the field only a couple of times a year.
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Best Variable Magnification .300 Blackout Scope – Nikon P-Tactical 2-7×32 BDC Supersub
If you plan to shoot your .300 Blackout rifle out past 200 yards, a variable magnification scope is a good option. When I started looking for a scope for my.300 Blackout rifle, the Nikon line of scopes was one of my first thoughts.
I have a standard configuration AR equipped with a Nikon bullet drop compensating scope for the 5.56×45 cartridge. This scope is an over-achiever for the price and has been one of my favorites. The Nikon P-Tactical BDC scope for .300 Blackout was on my list quickly.
The Nikon scope is another piece of equipment that rarely gets a bad review from users about the features, optics, or performance. The unique design of the Nikon Supersub reticle is another plus working for this Nikon optic, but it isn’t the only feature.
- BDC reticle with open dot aiming points make target acquisition quick and precise
- Spring-loaded instant zero turrets make on the fly adjustments easy and accurate
- Elevated turrets with crisp and clear markings
- Quick focus eyepiece with rubberized eye guard
- Magnification – 2-7X
- Weight 16.2 ounces
- Length 11.5 inches
- Eye-relief – 3.8 inches
- Field of View at 100 yards – 14.9 – 4.2 feet
The Nikon P-Tactical for the .300 Blackout is an impressive piece of optical equipment for the price. If you consider hunting where your target ranges are beyond the 200-yard mark, you won’t go wrong with the Nikon P-Tactical 2-7X32 BDC Supersub scope on your rifle. The pros and cons tell the tale about this Nikon optic.
- A durable scope able to withstand field and hunting conditions
- Accurate and reliable turrets with positive clicks and no tracking problems
- Great clarity at higher magnifications
- Fit and finish are some of the best in the industry
- Nikon is no longer in the scope business
Unfortunately, about the time I was considering which scope to mount on my .300 Blackout, Nikon made the official announcement that they were no longer going to produce rifle optics. This announcement came as a huge surprise to almost everyone.
I may very well have chosen the Nikon P-Tactical scope for my .300 blackout rifle but for two issues. I prefer a fixed magnification scope and I was not anticipating shooting at ranges more than 20 yards. The second was the Nikon announcement. I simply didn’t want to purchase another scope that would be a manufacturing orphan
A side note. There are still many retailers who have stocks of the Nikon scopes. The price and the features of these scopes make them a good choice for many situations. Doing a little careful shopping could score you a nice scope at a very reasonable price.
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Best Prism Scope for the .300 Blackout Rifle – Primary Arms Compact Prism Scope
I was unfamiliar with the Primary Arms brand until I started shopping for a scope for my .300 Blackout rifle. I kept running across reviews and other articles that touted the Primary Arms brand as an up and coming builder of quality optics. I decided to give them a look.
That look and my subsequent investigations and trials got the Primary Arms Compact Prism scope a place on my shortlist of rifle scopes for my .300 Blackout rifle. The Primary Arms Prism scope performs admirably and offers a rich set of features.
- Glass etched reticle for crisp and clear lines
- Eleven illumination settings
- Rated for IP67 waterproof uses
- Lifetime warranty
- Fixed 3X magnification
- Field of View at 100 yards – 31.5 feet
- Eye relief – 3 inches
- Battery type – Cr2032
- ACSS Reticle
- Weight 18.4 ounce
Users of Primary Arms optics offer up rave reviews about these scopes. Most of the negative comments deal more with shipping or packaging problems than with the actual performance of the scopes. Customer service issues are sometimes mentioned as well
- Exceptional clarity in the scope of this price
- Small and compact size with great eye relief fits well on an AR platform
- Rugged construction makes a dependable optic
- Easy to zero, and easy to adjust
- The reticle is amazing and makes target acquisition incredibly fast.
- For its size, the Primary Arms prism scope if heavy
The major issue I had with mounting this scope on my .300 Blackout rifle was the reticle. The Primary Arms prism scope is a CQB style scope intended for close-in shooting. The ranges intended for this shooting style generally means under 75 yards and in cramped extreme short-range situations. I didn’t want a CQB combat style reticle. The CQB reticle dropped the Primary Arms Prism scope out of the running.
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Ultimate Red Dot .300 Blackout Optic – Aimpoint PRO
The Aimpoint PRO optic is iconic among AR shooters. Aimpoint optics are renowned for their quality of construction, durability, and clear optics. The Aimpoint PRO is no exception. If you consider a red dot sight for your .300 Blackout rifle, put the Aimpoint PRO on your list.
One major advantage to the Aimpoint PRO is the technology that allows this optic to perform above and beyond in the battery life arena. A single battery will usually last up to 3 years under normal use. There is no need to turn the illumination on and off. Mount the sight, zero and forget.
Feature-wise, the Aimpoint PRO is second to none.
- Always on illumination lasting up to 3 years
- 2 MOA red dot
- Night vision compatible
- Compatible with all 3x magnifiers
- Waterproof to 150 feet
- Unlimited eye relief
- 10 illumination settings including 4 night vision modes
- Length overall – 4.5 inches
- Weight 7.8 ounces
Finding anything to criticize about the Aimpoint PRO red dot sight is difficult. Users of the sight are consistent in their admiration and praise of the Aimpoint PRO optic.
- Always on technology and long battery life
- Easy to co-register with your rifle sights
- Crisp and clear red dot makes target acquisition easy
- Built-in battery change notifications
- A bit pricey
Overall, I like the Aimpoint PRO sight. The long battery life, always-on features, and size make this an attractive option for a .300 Blackout rifle. However, budget-wise, it pushes the limits on what is reasonable. This one point alone kept the Aimpoint PRO from being my choice for my .300 Blackout rifle.
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Overall Best .300 Blackout Rifle Scope – Vortex Optics Strikefire II
I confess I own several Vortex Optics rifle scopes and pistol optics. I like Vortex and anytime I start shopping for a new optic for a firearm, there is almost always a Vortex Optics scope in the mix. It should come as no surprise that a Vortex optic shows up on this list as well.
Vortex has built a reputation for building very high-quality scopes with excellent performance characteristics as what many people consider a budget price. Since the budget is always a concern in my world, this makes Vortex one of my go-to suppliers for optics.
The Vortex Optics Strikefire II is not a caliber specific BDS rifle scope like most others on this list. The StrikeFire is a red-dot optic that offers a rich set of features in a simple platform.
- A large objective lens of a wider field of view than many other red dot scopes
- 4 MOA dot is easy to see and quick to bring on target
- User-selectable red or green dot aiming point
- Illuminated reticle has 11 intensity settings for use in any light conditions
- Up to 80,000 hours of use on a single battery
- Includes an offset cantilever mount for versatile mounting
- Battery – CR2
- Reticle – red or green dot
- Eye relief – unlimited
- Length – 5.6 inches
- Weight – 7.2 ounces
Users of Vortex Optics equipment have very few negative things to say. If there is a problem with a Vortex Optics scope, the no questions asked lifetime warranty puts Vortex Optics ahead of the game. Combined with the build quality, Vortex Optics tend to get high ratings among consumers.
- Awesome clarity and brightness in the Strikefire scope
- Rugged construction
- The cantilever mount allows almost any mounting position
- The adjustments on the illumination allow using the scope in the brightest sunlight or the dimmest shadows
- Easy to mount, easy to zero, and easy to put on target.
- The red dot is 4 MOA. A smaller dot would be nice.
Many shooters find the 4 MOA red dot to be large for their taste. I have never had a problem with the 4 MOA red dot. Since most of my shooting with my .300 Blackout is at 100 yards or less, the size of the dot doesn’t make much difference. For the price, the Strikefire II is a choice anyone should consider for a .300 Blackout rifle.
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I would have been pleased with mounting any of these optics on my .300 Blackout rifle. I do not doubt that any of the scopes on my list would perform and satisfy most of my requirements. At the end of the process, I settled on the Vortex Optics Strikefire II.
The combination of price, features, and performance were the core decision points for me. Your needs and expectations are certainly not exactly like mine. Consider your situation and make your decision accordingly. I hope that my discussion of each of these optics’ pros and cons helps you make a better decision. Good luck and good shooting.