Best 223 Scope Review 2019

If you are an experienced shooter or a gun expert, then you probably already know what a .223 scope is. Among all the scopes produced for shooting, the .223 design ticks off most of the requirements on your checklist. For early rookies in the shooting industry, here’s what you need to know first-hand about the .223 rounds and scope.

First and foremost, it’s one of the most popular rounds among shooters worldwide as it is relatively a cheaper alternative compared to the 5.56. Furthermore, a .223 is usually recognized in sporting configurations such as expanding rounds in hunting. Typically, it’s an excellent round within a 500 to 600 yard range.

In addition to that, these rounds are built with low recoiling, super easy shooting round even for close up and durable as well. An ideal .223 scope would be an optic that gives you option of lower magnifications for close range, good optical clarity and light transmission. It allows you to get the best precision along with its durability, complexity and cost.

Special features like BDC reticles and extended target turrets that are added by manufacturers have resulted in better accuracy while using a .223 scope on your rifle. Also take note that an AR 15 specific optic may be similar to a .223 scope, however it isn’t the scope to choose when it comes down to bolt action hunting rifles.

Comparison Table of the Best 223 Scopes

ProductMaterialMax RangeEye ReliefWeightSettings
Nikon 3-9x40 Mate polymer600 yardsyes17.1 ozeasy
Bushnell BDC Reticlepolycarbonate500 yardsyes21.4 ozeasy
Primary Arms polymer100 yardsyes24 ozmoderate
Bushnell Reticle Riflescope aluminium alloy500 yardsyes17 ozeasy
Nikon 8496 3x32 polymer600 yardsyes12.2 ozeasy
Bushnell FFP Illuminatedaluminium alloy500 yardsyes17.3 ozeasy

Nikon P-223 3-9×40 Mate BDC 600

One of Nikon’s best shooting equipment in the industry, the P-223 3-9×40 Mate BDC 600. Its interior development is uniquely built for the trajectory of the .223 Rem /5.56 NATO round. Not to mention the 55-grain polymer tip bullet feature on this .223 scope by Nikon.

Furthermore, the BDC 600 reticle provides an advantage point for shooters as there is an open circle aiming point with hash marks given from 100 to 600 yards. This is actually super convenient and beneficial for shooters of all experience.

That’s not all, the parallax setting provided in this Nikon scope is for 100 yards where it prevents parallax for better shooting precision. High powered scopes just like this one are used over long distance that compensates for parallax. In addition to that, the effective eye relief function lets your brow out of danger.

The P-223 3-9×40 Mate BDC 600 also has a hand turn tactical technique in the form of turrets with a ¼ MOA. This gives great adjustments on the reticle setting that will get you zeroed faster while maintaining other settings even with the repeated recoil!

You could easily simplify the field adjustments as Nikon has already integrated this element in all new rifle scope models. All you have to do is lift the adjustment knob, then rotate it to your ‘zero’ and reengage. It’s as simple as dialing in your subs ranges.

If you’re looking for a .223 scope that will withstand extreme weathers or environment, then you would be looking for something waterproof and fog proof which this model by Nikon provides this feature. Moreover, the interior around the reticle is filled with nitrogen and has an O-ring seal to ensure there’s no water entering.

This .223 scope also has a fully multi-coated optical system that offers 98% transmission of light with high brightness from daylight to nightfall. This scope happens to be popular as well when it comes to hunting animals like deer.

Another great thing about Nikon itself is its lifetime warranty service given to .223 scope buyers which gives you access to replacements of your scope and repair services. Although Nikon is a well reputable brand of high quality products, the lifetime warranty will always come in handy.

This .223 scope can also work perfectly on front optics that are only 2” and fits well on No.5 mounting rings. If you would like to use it with a magpul back up iron sight, you can with correct mounts specifically for this 223 scope. The only thing that really matters when it comes to mounting your scopes is if the pica tinny base of your scope fits your rifle pica tinny.

All in all, the Nikon P-223 3-9x 40 is a nice scope with crystal clear optics, light in weight, one of the heaviest recoiling cartridges that also serve amazing shooting angles and will not disappoint!

Bushnell Optics Drop Zone-223 BDC Reticle Riflescope

A versatile yet sleek .223 optic scope by Bushnell that will put a smile on your face. With stunning HD clarity, shooters will learn how aim and shoot with accuracy. In addition to that, this BDC Ballistic Reticle has been calibrated for 55-62 grain (223 REM/5.556) loads that will range up to 500 yards.

Although this drop zone .223 does not have rain guard features, the interior and exterior built of this scope is known for its durability to last for a long time. Note that the quality materials used to make this scope has been well tested to ensure its sturdy built.

You could also find parallax adjustment for altering the setting in order to use in long range. Moreover, Bushnell produces high quality optics that has fast focused eyepiece. It’s pretty impressive! For pinpoint precise adjustments, this .223 scope has great target turrets of ¼ MOA click value.

With fully multi coated optics, it provides incredible brightness that provides crystal clear field of view. The nitrogen substance around the optic reticle helps to remove any internal moisture that will produce fog. Plus, you wouldn’t have to worry about dust particles entering as well because the scope has an O-ring seal.

So what’s this Bushnell Optics Drop Zone-223 BDC Reticle Riflescope made out from? The exterior is made from aluminium alloy which is well made along with its polycarbonate interior parts. With anodize matte finishing’s, it adds a strong feature to the product itself.

One thing to pay attention when using this .223 scope is the erector cap which is located on the bottom of the scope windage and elevation control site. The structure of this scope may cause some limitations to use lower scope rings on AR optics riflescopes. However, it still works well for medium height rings as it does provide clearance to eliminate contact with the cap, scope base or even for firearm receivers.

At a field of view ranging from 100 to 500 yards, you would also be getting eye relief function of 3.7 in. (95mm). The size of this 223 scope is rather longer in length compared to other scopes which is better for longer guns or rifles.

Based on personal experience, this 223 Bushnell scope shoots 1.5 MOA at 200 yards and sub MOA at only 100 yards. Furthermore, the 18 power zoom feature gives you multiple options for various shooting distance. But be sure to adjust your parallax setting especially when your target is only a few yards down the range.

The key secret in Bushnell riflescopes are the bedrock precepts which aid in making the best optical precision, maximum accuracy. This also allows shooters to master important tactical scenarios in the shooting world.

Primary Arms 2.5X Compact Hunting Scope

Another impressive .223 scope is the all new compact hunting scope by Primary Arms. The brand itself stands on its own for fast, friendly customer service which compliments their product value.

Waterproof yet fog resistant features, you won’t need to be concern about having blurry moist optics. Just like in any other .223 scope, this feature is rather important to have and always make sure your next scope purchase has it.

The scope comes complete with a mount that can be easily attached to the pica tinny rail of your rifles. Unlike some other .223 scope mounts that cater for specific rails, this one fits perfectly in any full size ACOG mount. A small tip that can be beneficial is to use blue Loctite on the screws of the optic to secure it on the mount.

That’s not all, the scope base could also be removed for usage when using an AR15/ M16 carry handle. However when you decide to mount it on a carry handle, the optic is positioned higher than usual but still allows you to use the carry handle’s iron sight.

Although you may get a misconception about the reticle being too small, well that isn’t true. For someone with an average vision, every detail in the reticle can be seen easily and vividly. The question is if you used the diopter correctly which allows you to bring focus in and out at various ranges of vision.

If you would like to do a little comparison to an ACOG minus the passive illumination, this Primary Arms 2.5X Compact Hunting Scope has amazing eye relief. Moreover, the illumination effect that comes with the reticle gives you better shooting precision. You would find this scope best used in low light shooting environments and not in extreme sunlight.

Overall, this 5x prism scope with patented ACSS reticle is definitely recommended without a doubt. Quick range, firmly holds wind with simple sighting system that is ideal for mid-range shooting.

Bushnell Optics Drop Zone-223 Reticle Riflescope 1-4x/24mm

Just like the previous Bushnell .223 scope you saw, this one also features great quality and performance.

With its 0.1 mil click value target turret, you can get accurate pinpoint adjustments and reticle that is caliber specific for maximum precision as well. Furthermore, this specific optic scope has been fully multi coated that gives you maximum brightness capacity with an eyepiece that focuses quickly.

The Drop Zone-223 BDC reticle composes of 55-62 grain zeroes at 100 to 500 yards with aiming points.

Besides that, this rifle scope is also rustproof and scratch proof, allowing it to withstand extreme pressure and environments. Another factor that contributes to its durability is the aluminium alloy exterior with anodize finishing. You would be able to see how the O-ring seal helps to prevent dust particles and moisture from entering the internal body of the scope.

The exterior built of the Bushnell Drop Zone-223 Reticle Rifle scope has a beautiful matte finishing that will compliment many AR platform firearms. Compared to other 223 scopes, this one looks rather different on the outside but still functions the same with a main tube of 30 mm mount like many others.

One major positive feature about this .223 scope by Bushnell is the glass quality for what you’re paying for. If you happen to see any pictures online showing its clear glass, trust me when I say the picture does not do justice. It’s CRYSTAL CLEAR hands down! Among other popular brands out there in the rifle scope industry, Bushnell has proven to be the best in producing distinct glass in the last 20 years.

However, the scope does not come with a lens cap so if you would like to get one, you can opt to buy 2 varying sizes from Butler Creek. Moreover, the knobs can be easily hit and this causes you to lose zero but an experienced shooter would already know the trick to safely manipulate his rifle to avid this.

All in all, if you decide to purchase this 223 scope by Bushnell, expect nothing else but outstanding close-quarters, mid-range accuracy and it’s also really value for money. In addition to that, it comes with a lifetime warranty for there’s no need to worry about paying extra for maintenance.

Nikon 8496 P-223 3×32 Matte BDC Carbine

By now, you’d probably figured out that Nikon is one of the top brands out there in the rifle scope market which is why they cater to all scope types including the .223 model. The Nikon 8496 P-223 3x 32 Matte BDC Carbine on the other hand is quite similar to its sibling model, Nikon P-223 3-9x 40 Mate BDC 600. Nikon is still growing on the line up of precision optics for AR optics.

Nikon 8496 P-223 3x 32 Matte BDC Carbine is designed to suit extreme speed in sight and excellent long range accuracy when it comes to AR platform rifles and 223 cartridges. That’s not all, the full optical system in this scope is multi coated as well which means extreme brightness and up to 98% light transmission all the way from dusk to dawn.

With its amazing compact optic design that is used mainly for fast-handling and shorter AR barrels.  A BDC Carbine like this one allows you to engage with target quicker and more accurately till a maximum range of 600 yards. Plus, the zero reset feature with tactical turrets aids to ease field adjustments.

An interesting fact about this rifle scope by Nikon is that it enhances a shooter’s performance with the “Nikon Spot on Ballistic Match Technology”. This technology gives you access to exact aiming points on BDC carbine reticle for precise ammunition and load. Not to mention, the 200 yard cross hair with its significant has marks at 400 and 600 yards. You could definitely be able to hit a target at over 300+ yards with iron sights sufficiently without a doubt.

Unlike some other rifle scope that weigh about 20 ounces, this 223 scope weighs only just slightly above 10 ounces but still has the heaviest recoiling cartridges and simple shooting angles.

In a nutshell, the Nikon 8496 P-223 3x 32 Matte BDC Carbine will exceed your expectations with its latest carbine reticle, constant eye relief feature of 3.4 in, and value for money.

Bushnell Optics FFP Illuminated BTR-1 BDC Reticle-223 Rifle scope 1-4x/24mm

Here’s one more crowd pleaser that has made it on our list. This special Bushnell AR rifle scope offers various new features unlike any other.

For starters, this .223 scope also offers similar features like those other models out there. For an example, it has a fully multi coated optic lens which goes up to 4x magnification power. You would even be able to shoot with both eyes open, yet with no distortion at all.

Not to mention, the eye relief in this scope is at 93 mm, certainly does well in mid range distance and will not cause eye soreness after a whole day out shooting.

Moreover, the layers of coat help to produce more light and provide quicker focus time. The quick changes are possible because of the exclusive Throw Down PCL lever technology embedded into the scope. This really does make a difference if you’re looking for a scope that can deliver maximum precision and accuracy while aiming.

Besides that, this BTR-1 rifle scope has a calibrated reticle that is also an illuminated, recommended if you’re using 5.56 rounds. The reticle bar also happens to have 11 different settings, providing amazing performance in low light environments. The illumination effects are even visible during the brightest time of the day.

However, some shooters prefer to use the scope without its illuminated effect on the reticle even during nightfall. Also note that once the battery dies, you would still have the reticle just not illuminated anymore. Generally, the battery life is pretty okay but it does depend on how much you use it. You could use the scope with illuminated reticle for 4 hours straight and it still wont run out.

This Bushnell BDC 223 scope holds out from 100 to 500 yards. However, if you were to experiment with this scope, at different range stages, you’ll see how it how the scope is more suitable for mid ranges like 100 to 300 yards. Just like many shooters out there, 223 scopes deliver best results in accuracy for shorter ranges.

Other identical similarities that you can find with this and other 223 scopes are the nitrogen purged that remove internal moisture and O-ring seal for dust prevention. In addition to that, the body of this rifle scope is made from durable aluminium alloy that withstands high amount of pressure, plus it’s rustproof and virtually scratch proof too. With its 0.1 mil click target turret function, you’ll get pinpoint precise adjustments within seconds.

Key Considerations when choosing a riflescope


What makes a scope value for money? Overall, it really does come down to its durability and long lasting quality of the product. No shooter wants a 223 scope that will only last him for a month or so.

Hence, what the product’s made of is important. The material used for the interior and exterior body parts of the scope should be sturdy and not flimsy. Using materials like aluminium alloys, polycarbonates are highly recommended because their basic elements are tough yet light in weight. The mixture in the alloy components are formed by strong chemical bonds which is why they are famously used in the shooting product industry. As we know that .223 are much cheaper compared to 5.56 but the material is still high quality.

Max Range

Another factor to consider when purchasing your .223 scope is the field of view/range. Getting your hands on a scope that provides a far range is good. Generally, .223 has a wide range between 25, 100 yards up to 500 yards.

This is actually a pretty good scale because you have the option for close to mid to far shooting range. 223 scopes certainly give you that option.

Eye Relief

This is an optical instrument that provides full or partial viewing angle. When you’re using scopes with rifles, it’s best to opt for scopes that have longer eye relief. Most .223 scopes have a good eye relief application which is important to most shooters. Standard eye reliefs are usually from 5 to 6 inches where else longer guns require eye relief of 9 to 12 inches. 


Due to the material used in the making of .223 scopes, the weight is neither too light nor too heavy. Moreover, certain parts of the scope could even be made out of polymer materials so the combination gives a good balance in weight. They are usually less than a 20 oz. Hence, you could even get your kids one if you’re planning to get them into hunting or shooting at an early age.


Scopes in general are super easy to use. Moreover, some .223 scopes already have fixed internal adjustments such as the parallax setting or eye relief. You could give a 223 scope to an early shooter and he’ll know it’s a piece of cake to mount the gadget onto his gun and use it.


So, we have already shown you the top 6 .223 scopes out there in the market from various aspects to consider. Now, it’s your turn to decide which scope suits you and your shooting style best. In my opinion, all of them are really great choices and if it does come down to just one .223 scope, I’d have to go with the Bushnell Optics FFP Illuminated BTR-1 BDC Reticle 1-4x/24mm.