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Rifle scopes

Top 8 Best Scopes for M1A of 2024

When you’re looking to enhance the precision and performance of your M1A rifle, selecting the right scope is essential. The eight scopes we’ll discuss offer unique features tailored for different shooting styles and preferences.
From the Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen I to the Primary Arms SLX, each scope brings something distinct to the table regarding durability, clear optics, and customizable adjustments. So, which one stands out as the best fit for your needs? Let’s explore what sets each apart and why they’re considered top choices for M1A rifles.

Top 8 Best Scopes for M1A on the Market 2024

Note: The following advice comes from my personal perspective. What works for me might not work for you, but hopefully it sparks some ideas!

1. Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen I Second Focal Plane Riflescopes

If you’re looking for a durable and versatile scope for your M1A rifle, the Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen I Second Focal Plane Riflescope stands out with its shockproof 30mm tube made from aircraft-grade aluminum.
This riflescope features an EBR-1 hashmarked ranging reticle, ensuring accurate shots every time. The Customizable Rotational Stop allows you to return to zero effortlessly, while the extra-low dispersion glass provides sharp and clear images.
Additionally, the scope is both shockproof and waterproof, thanks to O-ring seals and argon gas purging. With a magnification range of 6-24x and a 50mm objective lens diameter, this Vortex scope offers a reliable performance for hunting.
The Viper PST Gen I’s top-tier construction and optical clarity make it a standout choice.
Best For: Hunting enthusiasts looking for a durable, high-quality scope with excellent optical clarity and reliable performance.
Shockproof and waterproof design for rugged use
Extra-low dispersion glass for sharp and clear images
Customizable Rotational Stop for easy return to zero
Higher price point compared to some entry-level scopes
Heavier weight at 663.4 grams
No night vision capability

Leupold VX-3HD 3.5-10x50mm Riflescope

The Leupold VX-3HD 3.5-10x50mm Riflescope, with its superior light transmission and quick elevation adjustment features, is an excellent choice for hunters and precision shooters using M1A rifles.
Boasting the Elite Optical System, this scope guarantees ideal light transmission, making it perfect for low-light conditions. The CDS-ZL feature allows for swift and precise elevation adjustments, essential for long-range accuracy.
Constructed from durable aluminum and made in the USA, this scope is built to last. Its low-profile throw lever facilitates smooth magnification changes, offering flexibility in various shooting scenarios.
With a 50mm objective lens and a minimum magnification of 3.5x, you’ll find it versatile and reliable. Backed by Leupold’s Full Lifetime Guarantee, it’s a dependable investment for any serious shooter.
Best For: Hunters and precision shooters seeking a reliable scope with superior light transmission and quick elevation adjustments, particularly for use with M1A rifles.
Excellent light transmission with the Elite Optical System
Quick and precise elevation adjustments with CDS-ZL feature
Durable aluminum construction and made in the USA
Lacks night vision capability
Eye relief of only 3 inches may be limiting for some users
Higher price point compared to other scopes in the market

Athlon Optics Ares BTR GEN2 HD 4.5-27x50 First Focal Plane Riflescopes

For M1A rifle enthusiasts seeking precision and durability, the Athlon Optics Ares BTR GEN2 HD 4.5-27x50 First Focal Plane Riflescope offers excellent features such as a 0.25 MOA click value and a robust aircraft-grade aluminum construction. Its 100 MOA total elevation adjustment and 25-yard to infinity parallax adjustment guarantee versatility across various shooting scenarios.
The scope’s HD glass and fully multicoated optics provide exceptional light transmission, resulting in brighter and clearer images. Additionally, the illuminated reticle with six illumination settings enhances visibility in low-light conditions. The precision zero stop system and first focal plane reticle allow for consistent use at all magnification levels.
Despite some mixed feedback on customer service and product quality, the scope’s performance and features are highly praised.
Best For: M1A rifle enthusiasts seeking a versatile and durable riflescope with excellent light transmission and clear imaging.
HD glass and fully multicoated optics for brighter, clearer images
100 MOA total elevation adjustment and 25-yard to infinity parallax adjustment
Precision zero stop system and first focal plane reticle for consistent use at all magnification levels
Mixed feedback on customer service and product quality
Issues with elevation turret binding
Complaints about the eye box at high power

NIGHTFORCE SHV 4-14x50mm F1 Hunting Scope

Ideal for precision shooters seeking versatility, the NIGHTFORCE SHV 4-14x50mm F1 Hunting Scope offers a first focal plane design with a broad magnification range and exceptional clarity. This scope features a robust 30mm main tube and a 50mm objective lens, providing a bright, clear sight picture.
The ZeroSet feature allows you to quickly return to your zero setting, ensuring rapid adjustments in the field. You’ll appreciate the exposed elevation adjustment and capped windage controls for precise aiming.
With parallax adjustment from 25 yards to infinity and an external illumination dial offering 12 brightness settings, this scope adapts to various lighting conditions. The MIL-R F1 reticle further enhances accuracy, making it a reliable choice for your M1A rifle.
Best For: Precision shooters seeking a versatile and reliable scope with exceptional clarity and quick adjustment features.
First focal plane performance with a broad magnification range
ZeroSet feature for rapid return to zero
Parallax adjustment from 25 yards to infinity with 12 brightness settings
Challenges with eye relief under high magnification
Higher price point compared to some competitors
Requires sign-in for price match feedback submission

CVLIFE 4-16x44 Tactical Riflescope

With its 4-16x magnification and robust aluminum construction, CVLIFE Tactical Rifle Scope (4-16x44) is perfect for hunters and shooting enthusiasts looking for durability and versatile performance. This scope offers red and green illumination, guaranteeing visibility in various lighting conditions. The locking turret and fully coated optical glass provide a bright, high-contrast image, enhancing target acquisition and accuracy.
You’ll appreciate the included sunshade, which helps manage glare, and the free 20mm rail mounts, which simplify installation. Although it lacks night vision, the 2.7-inch eye relief and high-strength aluminum alloy ensure reliability and comfort. Users praise its value and performance, noting its clarity and ability to hold zero, making it a solid choice for your M1A rifle.
Best For: Hunters and shooting enthusiasts looking for a durable, versatile scope with clear optics and reliable performance.
High-strength aluminum alloy construction ensures durability.
Red and green illumination for visibility in various lighting conditions.
Fully coated optical glass provides a bright, high-contrast image.
Lacks night vision capability.
Some users report minor blurriness in the lower section of the lens.
Mixed experiences with the durability of the illumination selector.

6. NIGHTFORCE SHV 5-20x56mm Zeroset .250 MOA Scope

The NIGHTFORCE SHV 5-20x56 scope, boasting an impressive 80 MOA of elevation adjustment and ZeroSet technology, is perfect for precision shooters who demand reliability and long-range accuracy from their M1A rifles.
Featuring magnification from 5x to 20x and side parallax adjustment, this scope guarantees your shots are on target regardless of distance.
Choose between the MOAR and Forceplex reticles, each offering distinct illumination options to suit various shooting conditions.
Weighing just 1.91 pounds, it’s built for durability without adding unnecessary heft to your setup.
Users consistently praise its crystal-clear glass and ease of use, though some have noted concerns about packaging quality.
If you’re serious about precision shooting, the NIGHTFORCE SHV 5-20x56 is an excellent choice.
Best For: Precision shooters looking for a reliable and accurate scope for long-range shooting, especially on M1A rifles.
Crystal-clear glass for exceptional visibility.
Wide magnification range from 5x to 20x.
ZeroSet technology for quick return to zero.
Some users report concerns about packaging quality.
Potential issues with receiving used products.
High price point may not be accessible for all shooters.

7. Zeiss Conquest V4 Riflescope

Hunters looking for precision in open terrain or long-distance shots will appreciate the Zeiss Conquest V4 Riflescope’s ZMOAi-T20 reticle and its maximum magnification of 24x. This riflescope offers side parallax compensation, ensuring that your aim remains accurate even at extended ranges.
The external elevation turret with Ballistic Stop and .25 MOA adjustments allows for precise targeting, while the 80 MOA elevation travel provides extensive adjustment capabilities. The scope’s smart reticles are MOA-based and available with illumination, enhancing visibility in various lighting conditions.
Weighing 24.4 ounces, it features a 30mm tube and a cantilever mount, making it a reliable choice for your M1A rifle. With a 4.6 out of 5-star rating, users commend its superior glass quality and robust build.
Best For: Hunters and long-distance shooters looking for precision and high magnification in open terrain.
Superior glass quality for clear and sharp images
80 MOA of elevation travel for extensive adjustment
Features such as side parallax compensation and Ballistic Stop enhance accuracy
Weighs 24.4 ounces, which might be heavy for some users
Requires a cantilever mount, which may not be included
Higher price point compared to other brands

Primary Arms SLX 5-25x56 First Focal Plane Riflescope

For M1A rifle enthusiasts seeking precision and durability, the Primary Arms SLX 5-25x56 First Focal Plane Riflescope offers a top-tier option with its premium-grade glass and versatile magnification range.
This riflescope, made from robust aluminum, features a 56mm objective lens diameter, ensuring excellent light transmission and image clarity. The 5-25x magnification range allows you to engage targets at varying distances with ease.
With a 34mm main tube diameter and a weight of 34.6 ounces, this scope provides a balanced combination of strength and manageability. Its ACSS Apollo 6.5CM reticle and .1 MIL click value contribute to precise adjustments, while the 4-inch eye relief enhances user comfort.
Although it lacks night vision capabilities, the included lens covers and limited lifetime warranty add to its overall value.
Best For: M1A rifle enthusiasts seeking a high-quality, durable riflescope with excellent light transmission and versatile magnification for precision shooting.
Premium-grade glass for clear and bright images
Versatile 5-25x magnification range
Robust aluminum construction with a 34mm main tube diameter
Lacks night vision capabilities
Limited compatibility with handguns
Heavier weight at 34.6 ounces may not be ideal for all users

Factors to Consider When Choosing Scopes for M1A

When selecting a scope for your M1A rifle, you’ll need to take into account several critical factors to guarantee peak performance.
Pay attention to the magnification range and objective lens diameter for your shooting needs, along with the eye relief to maintain comfort and safety.
Additionally, the reticle type and overall build quality are essential aspects that will impact accuracy and durability in various conditions.

Magnification Range

Determining the right magnification range for your M1A scope hinges on your specific shooting needs and scenarios. If you’re using your M1A for general-purpose shooting or hunting, a magnification range of 3-9x is a solid choice. This range provides enough versatility to handle various distances while maintaining a broad field of view, which is important for quickly acquiring targets.
However, if you’re focusing on long-range precision or target shooting, you’ll benefit from higher magnification scopes, such as those with ranges of 4-16x or 5-25x. These scopes offer enhanced clarity and accuracy at extended distances, allowing you to hit your mark with greater precision.
It’s important to recognize that higher magnification levels can narrow your field of view, making it more challenging to track moving targets or quickly switch between targets at close ranges. Therefore, balancing your magnification needs with practical considerations like weight, size, and cost is essential.
Choosing the appropriate magnification range ultimately depends on how you intend to use your M1A. By matching your scope’s capabilities to your shooting activities, you ensure top-notch performance and a more satisfying shooting experience.

Objective Lens Diameter

After selecting the appropriate magnification range for your needs, the next vital factor to take into account is the objective lens diameter, which greatly impacts your scope’s light transmission and image clarity. The objective lens diameter determines how much light enters the scope, directly influencing the brightness and clarity of the image you see.
Larger objective lenses, such as 50mm or 56mm, are designed to allow more light transmission, making them particularly beneficial for low-light conditions. This can be advantageous for dawn or dusk hunting, where visibility is often compromised. However, these larger lenses also add weight and bulk to your setup, which could be a consideration depending on your shooting style and the environment in which you’ll be operating.
On the other hand, smaller objective lenses, like 24mm or 30mm, offer a more compact and lightweight option, ideal for shorter-range shooting or scenarios where maneuverability and portability are essential. These smaller lenses reduce the overall weight of your rifle, making it easier to handle and transport.
When choosing the objective lens diameter for your M1A rifle, you’ll need to balance light transmission with weight considerations, aligning your choice with your shooting preferences and the specific environmental conditions you’ll be facing.

Eye Relief

You’ll want to pay close attention to eye relief, as it’s essential for both comfort and safety when using your M1A rifle. Eye relief refers to the distance between your eye and the scope where you can see a full and clear image without any black edges. For high-recoil rifles like the M1A, a longer eye relief is particularly beneficial to prevent injuries such as scope eye.
Optimal eye relief for M1A scopes typically falls within the range of 3-4 inches. This distance is important to accommodate the rifle’s design and recoil, ensuring that you maintain a comfortable shooting position while minimizing the risk of scope bite or other injuries.
When selecting a scope, understanding its eye relief is crucial for achieving a proper shooting stance, which directly impacts your accuracy and overall shooting experience.
Adequate eye relief not only enhances your comfort but also plays a significant role in maintaining safety during shooting sessions. By ensuring that your scope offers sufficient eye relief, you can focus on your target without the constant worry of potential injuries, thereby improving both your performance and enjoyment while using your M1A rifle.

Reticle Type

When selecting a scope for your M1A, one of the most essential factors to ponder is the type of reticle that best suits your shooting needs. Your choice should align with your shooting style and preferences, whether you lean towards duplex, mil-dot, or BDC reticles. For precision shooting, consider reticles like the MIL-R F1, MOA, or ACSS Apollo 6.5CM, which offer distinctive features to enhance accuracy.
Understanding the differences between first focal plane (FFP) and second focal plane (SFP) reticles is vital. FFP reticles adjust with magnification changes, maintaining their scale relative to the target, which is beneficial for range estimation and holdovers. In contrast, SFP reticles remain constant in size, which can aid in quick target acquisition at any magnification.
Illuminated reticles are another significant consideration, especially for low-light conditions, as they enhance the visibility of the aiming point. Additionally, factors like reticle subtensions, thickness, and clarity are critical for precision shooting. A clear and appropriately thick reticle helps in swift target acquisition and ensures that subtensions align perfectly with your aiming requirements.

Build Quality

Ensuring your scope is constructed with high-quality materials like aircraft-grade aluminum is vital for the durability and performance of your M1A rifle. This material isn’t only strong and lightweight but also highly resistant to corrosion, making it ideal for rugged outdoor conditions.
When selecting a scope, you should also prioritize features like shockproof and waterproof capabilities. These features guarantee that your scope can withstand the harsh recoil of the M1A and various environmental elements, maintaining its reliability over time.
Another critical aspect to take into account is the quality of the glass. High-quality glass provides superior light transmission and image clarity, which is essential for accurate targeting. Additionally, scopes with precise turret adjustments and zero stop features are advantageous for maintaining consistent performance, allowing you to make accurate and repeatable adjustments.
The construction of the scope should also be robust enough to handle the powerful recoil of the M1A. A sturdy build will prevent any potential damage during use, ensuring longevity and consistent performance.

Adjustability Features

After ensuring your scope showcases excellent build quality, it’s important to contemplate the adjustability features that enhance your M1A’s versatility and precision. One critical aspect to ponder is adjustable magnification levels, allowing you to adapt to different shooting scenarios, whether you’re engaging targets at close range or long distances.
Scopes with adjustable parallax settings are also crucial, as they enhance accuracy across various distances by minimizing parallax error.
Equally essential are adjustable turrets for windage and elevation, which facilitate precise and straightforward adjustments based on the shooting environment. These turrets should be easy to manipulate and offer clear, audible clicks to help you maintain accuracy.
Customizable reticles are another beneficial feature, providing you with the flexibility to adapt to varying lighting conditions and shooting preferences, ensuring you always have a clear sight picture.
Additionally, scopes with zero-reset features are invaluable for quickly returning to your original zero after making adjustments. This capability saves time and maintains consistency, particularly during dynamic shooting situations.

Mounting Compatibility

Choosing the right scope for your M1A rifle starts with making sure it’s compatible with your mounting system. Begin by verifying that the scope can be securely attached to your rifle’s existing mounts. Look for scopes that offer versatile mounting options, such as Picatinny or Weaver mounts, which are commonly used on M1A rifles. This versatility guarantees that you can easily attach and detach the scope as needed.
Consider the size and weight of the scope to ensure it provides a proper fit and balance on your M1A. A heavy or oversized scope can negatively affect handling and accuracy. As a result, selecting a scope that complements the rifle’s design is essential. Additionally, check for any specific requirements or adapters needed to mount the scope on an M1A platform. Some scopes may require specialized adapters or rings to fit securely.
Opt for scopes with durable construction to withstand the recoil and rugged use associated with M1A rifles. The M1A’s powerful recoil can be demanding on scopes, so choosing one with robust build quality is important. Making sure compatibility in these aspects will enhance your shooting experience and maintain the rifle’s precision and performance.


When selecting a scope for your M1A rifle, consider the following options:
Vortex Viper PST Gen I
Leupold VX-3HD
Athlon Ares BTR GEN2 HD
CVLIFE Tactical Rifle Scope
Zeiss Conquest V4
Primary Arms SLX
Each offers unique features such as varied magnifications, durable builds, and precise reticles to enhance your shooting accuracy.
Assess your shooting needs to choose the best option for achieving peak precision and performance with your M1A rifle.
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