The AR series rifles are the most popular long rifle in the United States.
Many companies are beginning to produce chassis that mimic the AR for bolt action rifles. An AR makes a great long-range rifle if the appropriate caliber is used. .308, 6mm or even 5.56 can be exceptionally accurate and can be easily chambered for different calibers. ARs are also modular: the stock, barrel, trigger, and forend can all be easily changed with simple tools, while the standardized flattop allows a solid mounting option for optics.
For combat training, hunting or competition events, like 3-Gun, a lot of useful shooting is done at ranges where even 1x (zero magnification) is good enough; all you need is the aiming marks on the reticle. The ability to keep both eyes open for a wide field of vision gives you situational awareness, while at 1x the optic can still help you place your shots accurately. Because an AR-15 in 5.56 can't reach out past 600 yards effectively. You can use a lower magnification scope, or you can use any of the other scopes recommended. AR in .308 or 6mm can easily shoot 1000 yards or more, with only a small decrease in accuracy compared to a bolt action rifle.
We would recommend a 5.56 for most beginners that aren’t attempting to hunt, as finding a range longer than 200 yards is difficult, which means buying an AR or a 5.56 trainer rifle until you want to shoot out to 1,000 yards. AR and many bolt actions can be rechambered in a new caliber when you are ready.
These are suggestions if you shoot an AR.
SWFA SS 10x42 : Beginner Scope. Everything you want, and nothing you don't need. Great glass clarity and turret tracking. Durable thanks to fixed power.
M223 4-14: Everything great about Nikon but for less, commonly found in your local gun shop. If you are considering this scope, take a look at the Nikon Prostaff FFP.
Leupold Mark AR: Leupold Glass, lightweight, AR eye relief, Firedot illumination with mils for longer range shots.
RS 24: AR BDC or Mil, Trijicon is the name for optics built for ARs. From the Acog to the RS24 Trijicon has great durability.
B-10 1.8-10: The perfect scope for the AR. Durable with a great zoom range. Strong tracking and good Glass with a great reticle.
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*SFP = 2nd focal plane; FFP = 1st focal plane.
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