Best AK47 Scope: Top 4 Expert Picks

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By Dennis Howard •  19 min read

We have Mikhail Kalashnikov to thank for the utilitarian AK-47 rifle. Officially known as the Avtomat Kalashnikov in Russian, this ubiquitous rifle is the product of Kalashnikov’s experiences during World War II. Since that time millions of these rifles have been produced in both military full-automatic versions and semi-automatic versions for the civilian market.

Best AK47 Scope: Top X Expert Picks

Many will argue that the AK-47 is not a hunting rifle. However, those in the know understand that the 7.62X39 cartridge is highly effective on medium-sized game animals such as deer and antelope. The trick to turning an AK47 into a hunting rifle is finding a scope that fits your needs and expectations.

Understanding the rifle and the cartridge are the first steps to finding a scope with the features that allow you to gain the maximum efficiency and effect from your AK-47 rifle. If you know your rifle, and you understand your expectation and needs, defining and finding the best scope for your AK-47 is not an insurmountable task.

The Kalashnikov semi-automatic rifle with fixed stock

The AK-47 and the 7.62×39 Cartridge

In truth, the AK-47 was never meant to be a scoped rifle. The original intent of the Russian army was to adopt an easy to produce, reliable rifle in a caliber that was suitable for the needs of a modern army. Consequently, function prevailed over form and the AK-47 is the result.

Manufacturing and Assembly

These rifles are made from stamped metal parts for the most part making them relatively cheap and easy to produce. The manufacturing tolerances on the machined parts are much larger than most other rifle manufacturers. The design makes these AK-47 rifles virtually indestructible under even the most extreme conditions.

7.62x39 brass case cartridge

Conversion to a Hunting Rifle

Over the years, more and more shooters find these same features make the AK-47 a great field gun when a few modifications are made to the original design. The addition of the proper scope to the rifle is one of the main changes made by most hunters.

Cartridge Ballistics

The 7.62×39 rifle cartridge is available in a wide array of bullet sizes, loads and case selections. Steel cases, mostly made in Eastern Europe, are popular among target shooters because of the cost. If you don’t reload, this is certainly an important factor. Looking across a number of the most popular commercial loads for the 7.62×39 cartridge we can develop a set of average ballistics for this round.

Muzzle Velocity

On average, the AK-47 loaded with a commercial 7.62×39 cartridge develops 2350 fps of muzzle velocity on average. This is a respectable amount of speed. Looking downrange we find that at 400 yards, on average the bullet retains 1350 fps of velocity. Since most American medium-sized game hunting is done at ranges of 200 to 300 yards, this cartridge carries enough speed to make it an effective hunting round.

Delivered Energy

Looking at the same set of ballistics data we find that an AK-47 develops around 1525 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. Downrange, at 400 yards, the bullet still delivers 493-foot lbs of energy on target. This is enough energy to ethically hunt North American deer and antelope and be confident of clean, quick kills.

Bullet Drop

One concern with any marginal cartridge is the amount of bullet drop experienced over the flight of the bullet. The 7.62×39 cartridge delivers ample speed and energy for hunting. However, past about 300 yards the bullet drop becomes excessive requiring holdovers that make an ethical shot possible. On average, at 200 yards you will experience a 4.08-inch drop. At 300 yards, this has increased to almost 23 inches and at 400 yards you must hold over almost 55 inches to compensate for bullet drop.


So, What Do We Look For in an AK-47 Scope Features

First, we consider the uses of the rifle and scope package. There are several possible legitimate uses for the AK-47 in civilian hands. These include:

There is, of course, overlap in the features that are important in each of these categories. I will look at scopes for an AK-47 that can fill many roles but have additional features that make them better for one category in particular.


My List of Scopes for the AK-47

As I begin a look at my choices for the best scope for an AK-47 rifle, it is important to understand that these are my views and preferences. Your needs and expectations may be different than mine. I hope that what I have to offer in the way of advice helps you make a better decision about which scope to mount on your AK-47.

Best All-Around Scope for AK 47 Rifles – Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 Rifle Scope

The AK-47 is a rifle designed to be used in a wide range of conditions and under the most extreme conditions. If you intend to mount a general-purpose scope on your AK, the scope should be an all-around general purpose scope that performs in many different situations.

The Vortex Optics Crossfire II features a quick focus eyepiece and a BDC reticle for quick target acquisition

The Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32mm riflescope fits those criteria well in a package that almost any shooter can afford. You get all the features for which Vortex Optics products are known in a scope that can be easily sourced for under $150.

Features

Vortex Optics has an excellent reputation among shooters for its customer service, warranties, and performance. The supporting list of features behind this reputation is the reason this Vortex Optics scope is on my list as the Best All-Around Scope for AK-47 rifles.

Magnification Power

The Vortex Optics Crossfire line of scopes can be found with an array of magnification levels allowing you to pick the best range of magnification for your rifle and circumstances. I chose the 2x to 7x version for this list. Higher magnifications given the effective range of the AK-47 and the 7.62×39 cartridge don’t warrant a higher magnified optic. 2x magnification allows for close-range shooting and the 7x high magnification allows you to shoot well beyond effective range.

Reticle

The second focal plane reticle is available in several variants. For an AK-47 all-around scope, I chose the Vortex Optics Bullet Drop Compensating reticle. One of the hardest tasks for many hunters to do effectively is range estimation and holdover. The BDS reticle makes these tasks much easier allowing for more accurate shooting

Vortex Optics BDS reticle for medium range shooting and rapid target acquisition
Eye Relief

Mounting any scope on an AK-47 can be a challenge. In many instances, I find that no matter what scope mounts are chosen, you need a longer eye relief than many scopes provide. The Vortex Optics Crossfire II offers a longer eye relief which can work to your advantage when this scope is mounted on an AK-47.

Lenses and Coatings

Vortex Optics coats all of the lenses on their scopes with a muli-coat system that protects them from scratches. This multi-layered coating also reduces glare and reflections that can inhibit accurate shooting.

Turrets and Adjustments

The Crossfire II scope features capped turrets that are finger adjustable. No tools are required to make windage and elevation adjustments in the field. The turrets are also zero resettable for quicker and more accurate field adjustments. Each click on a current moves the reticle 1/4 MOA.

Construction and Materials

Vortex Optics are designed to be rugged and dependable no matter the conditions. These scopes are constructed from a single tube of aircraft-grade aluminum, O-ring sealed, and nitrogen purged. This makes Vortex Scopes waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof.

Specifications

Vortex Optics Crossfire II fast focus eye piece keeps the second focal plane reticle sharp and clear

Pros and Cons of the Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32mm Rifle Scope for the AK-47

Pros
Cons

Sale
Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 Second Focal Plane, 1-inch Tube...
  • The 2-7x32 Crossfire II riflescope is one of many configurations in the Crossfire II line. The...
  • With long eye relief and an ultra-forgiving eye box, you'll be able to quickly get a sight picture...

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My Overall View of the Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32mm Rifle Scope

The Vortex Crossfire II scope wouldn’t have made my choice of the Best All-around scope if I didn’t believe it was a good value. If you are a general shooter who enjoys a little range time, some plinking and target shooting this scope will fit your needs. If you occasionally venture into the field for deer, this scope will do everything you ask. Like the AK-47, these scopes are durable and can take almost as much abuse as the rifle.

Best Overall Illuminated Reticle Rifle Scope for AK-47 – Athlon Talos BTR 1-4×24 SFP IR

Many shooters prefer an illuminated reticle for their rifles. My choice for the best overall illuminated reticle for an AK-47 is the Athlon Talos BTR 1-4x24mm model. Athlon may not be a name familiar to a lot of shooters, but my experience has been excellent with scopes from this company.

This second focal plane scope has features few other entry level scopes can for mid range shooting

The Talos line of scopes from Athlon Optics are versatile scopes that can fit into a number of categories and uses. I like the design and the features of this Talos scope for an AK-47 rifle. The features and specifications of this scope fit the AK-47 profile very well.

Features

Don’t be misled by the price of these Athlon scopes. The features and specifications of these scopes are impressive and should not be discounted. You won’t find much missing as you evaluate your needs and expectations against this Athlon Talos BTR scope.

Reticle

The Athlon Talos BTR scope is a second focal plane scope. The reticle is glass etched for superior clarity and accuracy. The mil-dot reticle has heavy black outside legs and a center mil-dot marked crosshair. The markings are clear and precise making this an accurate scope.

The Talos BTR reticle is a good hunting scope for both long range and short range with several brightness settings
Illumination

The Talos BTR scope provides an illuminated reticle that can give you extended shooting time at dawn or dusk. If light conditions are less than optimal, the illuminated reticle brightness can be adjusted to suit the conditions. Many shooters find that an illuminated reticle is a huge plus in many instances.

Lenses and Protection

The optical glass quality of the Athlon Talos BTR riflescope is remarkably high for an entry-level budget scope. The images are crisp and clear. Distortion is minimal in most cases. The glass surfaces are fully multi-coated to protect the lenses as well as reduce glare. Light transmission is increased to give the best low light performance possible.

Construction and Materials

Athlon chooses the highest quality aircraft-grade aluminum for their scope bodies. The Athlon Talos BTR scope is built around a 30mm tube for rigid and durable construction. The scope is sealed and gas-purged for water, fog and shock protection.

Magnification

The Athlon Talos BTR chosen for this list offers a 1x to 4x magnification. This range of magnification fits the AK-47 ballistic characteristics very well. Most shooters and hunters take most of their shots at medium range under 300 yards. The 4x magnification is perfect at these distances.

Eye Relief

The eye relief on the Athlon Talos BTR scope is more than adequate for mounting on an AK-47 rifle. At the lowest magnification level, you can enjoy 6.26 inches of eye relief. At the maximum magnification level, the eye relief is 3.5 inches.

Turrets and Adjustments

Unlike many other scopes in this category, the Talos BTR scope uses exposed tactical-style turrets for windage and elevation adjustments. Each click on the turret yields .2 mills of change in the elevation or windage.

Specifications

THe Talos BTR from Athlon is completely waterproof and offers illumination adjustments for your personal preference

Pros and Cons of the AthlonTalos BTR 1-4x24mm SFP IR Rifle Scope

Pros
Cons

Athlon 215025 Talos BTR 1-4x24 Direct Dial Fixed Riflescope, Black
  • Illuminated reticle provides greater visibility at dusk and dawn
  • Reticle is etched on the glass to provide excellent backing support for complex reticle design and...

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My Overall View of the Athlon Talos BTR 1-4X24mm SFP IR Rifle Scope

I discovered Athlon scopes several years after I closed my retail store. Had I found them earlier I can assure you that I would have had them in my inventory and available for my customers. I think Athlon produces a great scope for the money and in this category, the Athlon BTR is a standout. If you want an illuminated reticle, this is the scope I recommend.

Best Red Dot Scope for AK-47 – Vortex Optics Strikefire II

Owning a rifle for self-defense is a common strategy. You may even be a shooter who believes in being prepared for any eventuality. Choosing an AK-47 for self-defense does, in a lot of ways, make sense. However, choosing a scope for a rifle that is intended for personal or home defense needs some slightly different considerations than a standard hunting scope.

Vortex Optics Strikefire II red dot scope offers enhanced speed for close range shooting

A rifle for home defense is used in a very different way. The need for speed is essential. Fast target acquisition, maneuverability, and size are all important attributes of a self-defense rifle and scope combination. The Vortex Optics Strikefire II offers all of these traits in a compact and cost-effective package.

Features

You won’t find many features lacking in scopes made by Vortex Optics. Even this relatively simple red dot scope brings a host of unexpected features to the table. Finding a red dot sight that rises to this level for a comparable price may be hard to do.

Illumination and Dot Reticle

The four MOA dot is selectable between red and green at the press of a button. Ten brightness settings for each color allow you to select the optimum brightness level for the light conditions.

Strikefire II red dot or green dot reticle with lower 1/3 cowitness mounting option features several brightness settings
Lenses and Coatings

All glass surfaces on the Vortex Optics Strikefire II are multi-coated for optimal protection against scratches and maximum light transmission in a red dot sight. Vortex Optics uses high-quality optical glass and maintains strict quality control standards.

Eye Relief

Unlimited eye relief gives you quick target acquisition, the option for both eyes open aiming, and versatility in where you mount your scope. If you need magnified optics, mount the scope further forward to allow room for a magnifier behind the scope.

Construction

Vortex Optics uses the finest in aircraft-grade aluminum to manufacture its scopes. The Vortex Optics Strikefire II Red Dot Sight features a single-piece chassis for rigidity while maintaining its lightweight.

Durability

The single-piece chassis is rugged and durable. Strikefire II red dot sights are O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged to ensure waterproof, fog resistant, and shockproof operation. These red dot sights are a high-quality optic at an entry-level price.

Elevation and Windage Adjustments

Strikefire II red dots have windage and elevation adjustment turrets just like optical telescopic sights. You may not take many long-range shots using a red dot but you can be sure that if needed, you have the capability. Windage and elevation can be adjusted through 100 MOA to bring your rifle and scope in perfect alignment for long-range shooting.

Controls and Battery

Controls for the illuminated reticle are located at the rear of the sight for easy access in any situation. Waterproof push button controls give you instant access to illumination settings and color choices. A CR2 battery powers the Strikfire II and is easily replaced without removing the scope.

The Strikefire II Red Dot tactical scope can co-witness with the iron sights on your assault rifle

Specifications

Pros and Cons of the Vortex Optics Strikefire II Red Dot Scope

Pros
Cons

Vortex Optics Strikefire II Red Dot Sight - 4 MOA Red/Green Dot,Black
  • The Strikefire II Red/Green Dot is a rugged, reliable red dot sight that is at home in a variety of...
  • Fully multi-coated lenses provide a clean and bright, unobscured point of view. Unlimited eye relief...

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My Overall View of the Vortex Optics Strikfire II Red Dot Scope

I think I have made myself very clear about my views on Vortex Optics products. This is the scope that I chose to mount on several of my rifles and I continue to like it. I am able to shoot up to 100 yards with this scope and consistently ring a 6-inch gong. For a red dot sight in this price range, you won’t be disappointed

Best Night Vision Scope for Your AK-47 – SightmarkWraith Digital Night Visions Riflescope

If you are one of the growing numbers of hunters who legally stalk game such as feral hogs or coyotes at night, you understand the concept of owning the night. Every year, more and more hunters find affordable night vision devices on the market to aid their nighttime hunting. One of the most affordable night vision scopes available today is the Sightmark Wraith Digital scope.

The Sightmark Wraith Digitial Night Vision maekes an excellent ak scope for low light settings for an assault rifle like the AK-147

Unlike many night vision scopes, the Wraith is a digital scope that allows both day and night use. The digital concept also allows many features that are nearly impossible to build into a standard optical sight. This brings an entirely new dimension to an AK scope at an affordable price.

Features

Bringing digital technology into the night vision arena greatly increases the features and options that are available to shooters and hunters. Not only do you get enhanced image quality, but you can also record, stream, and share your hunting moments with your friends and family.

Digital Imaging

Unlike optical scopes that simply transmit gathered light back to the shooter’s eye, digital scopes use electronic technology to capture the images, enhance the images and display those images with the addition of reticles and ballistics data to the shooter. This allows the scope to function as a night vision device or as a daylight scope with equal versatility.

Image Options

With a digital scope, many options are available that you simply can’t get on an optical scope. The 4K images produced by the Wraith can be recorded on the onboard data card. Image colors can be adjusted to suit the user’s taste, and magnification up to 32x is available without distortion or loss of clarity.

Reticle Options

You can customize the reticle choice in your scope for whatever the situation demands. Ten different reticle styles are available with nine color options. You can find a reticle option to fit your needs and set the color and the intensity of the reticle to meet the light conditions.

Memories

You can save up to 4 different setups on the onboard memory card. A touch of a button can reset your scope for different caliber loads, different conditions, or different targets. These profiles are user-customizable and easy to access and switch.

Infrared Illuminator

Each Sightmark Wraith comes with an infrared illuminator that can be used as a flashlight or attached to the scope for use when hunting. The IR illuminator has a better life of 90 minutes. This optic-mounted illuminator is a positive bonus for nighttime hunts.

The SIghtmark IR illuminator gives you better long range ability at night and features excellent battery life
Construction and Durability

You need not worry about these electronics going into the field with your rifle. The Sightmark Wraith night vision scope is IPX5 water-resistant. The scope is constructed from aluminum and is sealed and gas-purged to make it fog proof and shock-resistant.

Battery Life

The internal lithium battery is rechargeable using the included USB cable. Each full charge of the battery will give you 8 hours of use. A separate power supply can also be used to extend your field time.

Specifications

Controls on the wraith scope are are intuitive and easy to use making this a

Pros and Cons of the Sightmark Wraith Night Vision Scope

Pros
Cons

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Sightmark Wraith 4K Max 3-24x50 w/IR Digital Night Vision Riflescope ,...
  • 4K Digital Imaging with built in HD video recording
  • Day/Night mode – full color viewing for day use; black and white or classic green for night vision...

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My Overall View of the Sightmark Wraith Digital Night Vision Scope

Night vision seems to be all the rage right now. Unfortunately, in the past, the cost to get into the nighttime hunting game was exorbitant. Often it cost several thousand dollars to mount a night vision device on your rifle. The Wraith brings the cost of night vision into the reach of most shooters and performs an admirable job at less than $1,000. This is a great entry-level night vision device and will serve most hunters’ needs.


Finding That Best Scope for your AK-47

The best scope for an AK-47 is the one that fills your needs and meets your expectations. This means you need to understand your hunting or shooting style, the demands your scope must meet, and your budget. I hope that my selections help you make the right decision about a riflescope for your AK-47.

Dennis Howard

A life long hunter, fisherman, and outdoorsman, after surviving a devastating tornado in his home town, he saw the effects on people's lives as they struggled to cope. He built his first bugout bag a few weeks later and has been a dedicated prepper/survivalist since that time. After a career as a fireman, Dennis opened a retail store (FFL approved) catering to the military, law enforcement, and like-minded individuals. The store built their own AR platforms. Furthermore, Dennis was also an NRA instructor in both long gun and handgun as well as a certified range safety officer. Read his full interview here.