There is a specific criteria that you will want to keep in mind when searching for a rifle scope.
If there is one rifle scope that can do virtually anything, it’s the 1-6x scope.
That’s because this is a scope that will be equally great for long range shooting at several hundred yards and for up close shooting like you would a red dot sight.
Even those who don’t know much about shooting know that the number one purpose for a scope is to achieve accuracy at longer distances than you can comfortably use open sights for. But most scopes are designed primarily to be used at specific ranges and for different shooting styles (hunting, competition use, tactical training, etc.)
If you’re looking for just one scope for your rifle that can do it all, the 1-6x scope is going to be your most versatile choice. We will talk about the top qualities that you need to look for in your 1-6x scope, and then we will dive into three of the best makes and models that meet the criteria we’ll go over.
Choosing The Best 1-6x Scope
The process for choosing the best 1-6x scope is really not all that different from how you would select any other kind of scope.
There is a specific criteria that you will want to keep in mind when searching for a rifle scope, which includes:
This is perhaps the single most overlooked element of looking for a scope, because most people focus on the magnification levels and whether the lenses are multicoated and so on. But the truth is that a quality construction is the only thing that is going to ensure your scope provides you with many years of service.
Durable materials used in the build, shock resistance and being waterproof, and remember, if this scope is going to be used for hunting or tactical use, it’s going to be put through a lot of adverse conditions, and it needs to stand up to that kind of inclement weather.
The quality of the lenses is the next most important following the quality of the body of the scope as a whole. Obviously you will want the lenses to be durable and high quality, but you also want to ensure that they allow a maximum amount of light transmission.
To ensure this, the scope should be multicoated, which will reduce glare and permit a lot of light to seep through the glass. This will enable you to view your target, such as a target stand, even when it is particularly cloudy outside.
Scratch resistant glass will also be a prime quality to seek out as well.
There are many different kinds of reticles available on scopes these days. The reticle is simply the crosshairs that you see when you first peer through the scope. Reticles can either be constructed from wire, or they can be etched into the glass itself.
A fine crosshair reticle will just consist of two lines that intersect perpendicular to one another. A mil dot scope will include dashes in the middle of the lines to represent different distances, to give you a more precise view of where exactly you will be shooting. A duplex crosshair reticle will have thicker lines that narrow in the center where you’ll be placing your shots.
Any type of reticle is technically fine and really depends on what your personal preference is.
The Best 1-6x Rifle Scopes
Here are the top three best 1-6x scopes on the market today:
BEST CHOICE FOR YOUR AR-15: Bushnell SMRS 1-6.5x Elite Tactical Riflescope
As the name suggests, the SMRS Elite Tactical riflescope from Bushnell is designed primarily for tactical use. Specifically, this would be a good choice to use with your AR-15, and specifically when using 5.56x45mm NATO ammunition with a bullet weight of 55 to 62 grains.
One of the best features about this scope is the fact that it has truly excellent light transmission with a strong glare reduction system. This means that the image you view through the scope should be very clear and high contrast, regardless of whether you will be operating in either a low light or high light environment.
Even though this scope is best out of the box for use with 5.56 ammunition, the drop compensation feature can be adjusted so it can be used with other calibers as well.
You should be wary of using larger calibers with this rifle, because typically scopes that are installed on guns with higher calibers than they are used to will have their stability thrown off, and this scope will be no exception. The eye box is also rather small in contrast to other 1-6x scopes, so that’s something else to be aware of.
However, another benefit to this scope is the fact that it can hold up in adverse weather conditions very well. This is because the interior of the scope is filled up with argon gas that will be very effective at preventing the interior of the scope from fogging.
All in all, if you’re looking for a high quality 1-6x scope that will be a great fit for your 5.56 caliber rifle, the Bushnell SMRS will be a superb option to go with.
Great for tactical use
Superb light transmission
Highly weather resistant
Eye box is rather small
Not the best use for calibers larger than 5.56x45mm NATO
BEST CHOICE FOR COMPETITIONS: SIG Sauer Tango6 1-6×24 Riflescope
Are you looking for a 1-6x scope that will be a good choice for close to medium ranges? If so, you will be hard pressed to ignore the Tango6 scope from SIG Sauer. Yes, SIG Sauer is predominantly known for their firearms, but they make numerous other gun-related products as well, including optics.
SIG Sauer designed this scope with the specific intention in mind that it be used for competitions such as tactical and 3-gun competitions. The body of the scope is built out of a very durable aluminum, and can handle water, fog, and shock while still holding zero through thousands of rounds.
The reticle is also illuminated, so you can easily view it even when it is very dark or dim outside. You can also adjust the brightness level with a knob on the side. Meanwhile, the lenses are multicoated to ensure a maximum amount of light transmission. This scope also comes with MOTAC technology, which will ensure that the illuminated reticle is only powered on after movement to ensure an extension of battery life.
One of the biggest disadvantages to this scope is its price. While you will definitely get what you pay for, this scope also costs over a grand, which means that it can be even more expensive than your actual rifle.
High quality aluminum construction
MOTAC technology conserves battery life
Lifetime warranty from SIG Sauer
BEST CHOICE FOR HUNTING: Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6×24 Rifle Scope
The Strike Eagle 1-6×24 rifle scope from Vortex is a great choice for hunting. The multicoated lenses offers some of the best overall light transmission of any 1-6x scopes on the market and will allow you to make full use out of the allotted magnification range. Take note that the reticle on this scope is a simple crosshair, so keep that in mind if you were desiring a BDC-type reticle.
Another big advantage to this scope is its durability. While it is a very heavy scope, which is certainly a con, there’s no denying that this scope is incredibly rugged and designed to withstand a lot of abuse. One reason for the durability of this scope is the fact that the body is simply a single piece of metal.
The fact that the light transmission on this scope is so clear and that its so durable means that this would be a most excellent rifle scope to use for hunting purposes, when you may often need to go during dawn or dusk when its very dim outside, and when you may need to go through very inclement weather as well.
Last but not least, this scope also comes with a lifetime warranty from Vortex, which goes to show that they believe in the product.
Excellent for low light shooting
Plenty of eye relief
Lifetime warranty from Vortex
There are certainly many more 1-6x riflescopes available on the market, but the three that we have covered here today effortlessly meet the criteria listed above and will be more than well suited for the needs for the everyman.
This article by Alex Joseph originally appeared at Gun News Daily in 2019.
Image: U.S. Military