3 Best Scopes for the Mini 14 - 2022 Reviews and Guide
In this article, we’re going to discuss one of my favorite rifles and how to combine it with variable scopes to boost accuracy and efficiency.
The Ruger M14 is certainly not a new or unfamiliar weapon to experienced target shooters. Even if you’ve never tried before, you probably know a little about this iconic firearm.
The Ruger M14 rifle has been around since 1973 when it was first made available to the general public for hunting, target shooting and home security.
In some regions, the M14 has been a police enforcement weapon for decades.
This is a seriously powerful weapon with a long and illustrious history. I like it because it’s straight and to the point. Any fancy frills and features offered have an obvious practical value.
There’s no unnecessary fat on the M14. It’s solidly reliable with a smooth rotating bolt action, three-prong front sight and a delightfully simple disassembly system. For formidable performance, there’s nothing better. It’s rough, tough and always gets the job done.
On the off chance that the eye relief isn't sufficiently long and you're utilizing a high-gauge cartridge, similar to a magnum, the highest point of the riflescope is going to hit your eyebrow when the rifle withdraws after you make the effort. This is the means by which inadequate eye relief converts into significantly better than the eye.
Underneath we have accumulated a rundown of the best long eye relief scopes accessible in the market today. In any case, before we get into that, here's a little guide on what to search for in a riflescope.
More Reasons to Love The Ruger M14
- Tolerates heavy recoil
- Compatible with silencer accessories
- Smooth rotating bolt action
- Adjustable rear sight
- 3-prong front sight
- Quick to set up and strip down
I mentioned the Ruger M14 rifle has been around for forty years or more. During this time, various changes have been made to its trigger controls and objective lens capabilities. Devoted fans of the brand were very skeptical about this at first.
They didn’t want Ruger messing with a classic design. However, in 2005, the manufacturer released its M14 580+ model and blew its competitors out of the water with even greater precision.
The M14 ranch rifle – classic or upgraded – is riotously good fun to shoot. You don’t need a scope to enjoy plinking or infrequent, casual shooting but I recommend one anyway.
When combined with a premium rifle scope, the M14 has potential you never even realized was there, waiting to be unleashed. The weapon can shoot with satisfying accuracy from anything up to 150 yards and, sometimes, with 1 MOA or less for the exceptionally skilled.
The right scope can triple this distance effortlessly which is why they’re such a good investment for distance shooters and veteran hunters.
In this context, ‘accuracy’ does refer to precision and a general ability to hit the right spot. It also describes a scope’s capacity for steady, even performance with every new round. With an ‘accurate’ rifle or scope, there are no unnecessary surprises.
The way it performs on the first two or three tries should be the same as the way it shoots after thirty rounds. There are some low performing rifle scopes on the market that fail to deliver on precision.
However, for the most part, ability to hit a target accurately is dependent on the user. It’s (almost) all you. I like to point this out because it means, even with a poor quality scope, talented marksmen can make special things happen.
These rifle accessories are here to enhance performance not create it. If you’re a poor shot, you need practice. Splashing the cash on an expensive scope won’t fix the problem.
A Quick Primer On Distance – What To Expect From Your Scope
If you’re ready to pick out a brand new scope for your M14, choose carefully. You wouldn’t use a mallet to crack an egg. Nor would you pick up an ax to chop up carrots or use tweezers for boring a hole.
Similarly, not every rifle scope is going to be a good match for your weapon, shooting style and preferences. The choice is between a long-range (350+ yards), mid-range (100 to 350 yards) and close-range (below 100 yards) scope.
The best choice for you depends on how, where and when you use your M14. Do you stick to a specific distance or transfer scopes between rifles? Are you a utilitarian hunter or a casual target plinker? Did you buy an M14 primarily for ranch security?
These questions will help you decide on the best scope specs to suit your needs.
Veteran hunters understand that bigger isn’t automatically better for a rifle scope. Blindly opting for the most powerful glass available doesn’t guarantee better performance.
If you rarely shoot long-distance, a high powered scope may be largely useless for you. Pick according to what you need, rather than what looks cool in the store.
Trust me, kitting out the Ruger M14 can be a costly affair. Choose carefully and you won’t need to do it again for a while.
Long Distances (350+ yards)
To reiterate, buying a long-distance rifle scope won’t make you an expert sharpshooter. They’re best left for those with a diverse skill set and lots of experience. If you do want a distance scope for an M14, go for 12x magnification or higher.
Medium Distances (100 to 350 yards)
Outside of the practice range, most medium-distance shooting takes place in natural environments with all of the expected obstacles (hills, trees, shrubs, etc.)
It might not be a question of how far you can shoot but how cleanly you can see through and past them. I recommend a scope with 6x to 12x magnification for this.
Close Distances (below 100 yards)
From a tactical perspective, close distance shooting normally takes place in confined or obstructed environments. You won’t always have time to prepare for an invader on your property. The location may be completely unsuitable or impractical.
To give you the best chance at an accurate shot, go for a scope with 6x or LESS magnification. More power will just create fuzziness at this range.
Bullet Drop Compensation
Anywhere you see the term ‘BDC,’ it stands for bullet drop compensation. It’s a desirable feature on some rifle scopes that takes the technical calculation work out of elevation adjustments particularly at longer distances.
It enables users to pick the reticle which best suits their current range and take a shot immediately rather than stopping to make (sometimes tricky) manual adjustments.
Not all rifle scopes have this feature and not all shooters feel like they need it. Though, it’s worth considering if making elevation adjustments on the fly is difficult or frustrating for you.
The Top 3 Scopes For the Ruger M14 Rifle
Nikon P-223 4-12x40mm BDC 600
Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 SFP
Vortex Optics Diamondback 3-9x40 BDC
Now let’s get down to business with the
TOP 3 Scopes For the Ruger M14 Rifle
1. Nikon P-223 4-12x40mm BDC 600
I’m especially fond of Nikon rifle scopes due to their stellar light transmission. The manufacturer makes some of the clearest, sharpest objective lenses you’ll ever use. Fortunately, the Nikon P-223 4-12x40mm BDC 600 does not buck the trend.
With a sophisticated BDC 600 reticle, users can employ open circle aiming points with hash marks indicating distance increments of 100 to 600 yards.
The scope’s ‘Spot On Ballistic Match’ system makes rapid target shooting easier than ever before. All viable aiming options get displayed on the reticle allowing the user to shoot consistently every time.
Plus, the spring-loaded adjuster function enables very quick in-field switches to ensure holdover, windage and elevation are accounted for.
Does the Nikon P-223 rifle scope deliver clear images? Absolutely. Nikon is truly one of the best in the business for light transmission. This scope’s Quick Focus Eyepiece is another opportunity to shave precious seconds off the time it takes to aim, point and shoot.
This is noteworthy because some similar mini 14 rifle scopes have an issue with sluggish reticle focusing that can make aiming feel labored.
The Final Verdict
The Nikon P-223 4-12x40mm rifle scope is a terrifically well balanced, high performing accessory. It doesn’t have any standout weaknesses apart from that curious sense of plainness that can set in sometimes when a scope is too good to give you any surprises.
Needless to say, Nikon’s craftsmanship is superb and its P-223 scope fits the M14 well.
2. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 SFP
The Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 SFP is an excellent option for skilled hunters who are used to tolerating and accounting for changeable conditions. For instance, if you’re always estimating holdover and making windage calculations, this scope may suit you.
The Dead Hold BDC reticle takes care of the counting on your behalf. At any distance, the scope’s reticle informs and guides efficiently. Making adjustments for clearer focus is easy due to the addition of smooth running MOA turrets and a quick-focus eyepiece.
Its objective lens is carefully coated to give it anti-glare properties that also resist rain, wind and fog. Sometimes, long-distance shots get a little fuzzy around the edges but medium-range aiming and shooting is very precise.
You can also expect a sturdy, rugged design from the Vortex Optics Crossfire II scope. The accessory boasts aircraft-grade aluminum for increased shock tolerance and durability. You can handle it roughly if needs be (to an extent) without worrying about picking up scratches and cracks in the frame.
The Final Verdict
The Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 rifle scope is a great option for those looking to buy affordable close to mid-range shooting accessories.
It delivers premium optics for a reasonable price and excels when used for fast-paced hunting and target practice in variable conditions and environments.
3. Vortex Optics Diamondback 3-9x40 BDC
The Vortex Optics Diamondback 3-9x40 scope is another winner from a manufacturer celebrated for its high performance rifle scopes. Expect the same accuracy, toughness and precision you’ve come to know from this maker.
Often, Vortex scopes are quite expensive. While still far from the cheapest option on the market, the Diamondback is less pricey than many of its other accessories.
I fell in love with this rifle scope’s lenses during testing. They’re made to be super-low dispersion so they have a better resolution and increased color fidelity.
They’re also multicoated to reflect glare and ensure as much light as possible enters the glass particularly in dim conditions.
The result is impeccably clear images no matter when you’re shooting.
I tested the Diamondback scope at both dawn and dusk and found no difference in clarity across conditions. Night time hunters, this is one to pay attention to.
You can rely on assured durability as well because the scope is shock and recoil tolerant. It is designed to endure heavy cartridges and accidental knocks and blows.
The scope’s optical cylinders are similarly resilient. They are nitrogen purged and O-ring treated to add extra security. You could be hunting an elk in the driving rain and the lens wouldn’t pick up a drop of moisture.
According to long time users, this is a durability that continues throughout years of regular use.
The Final Verdict
This is possibly the best scope on the list for ranch security. The bullet drop compensation system allows for fast, accurate targeting even in less than perfect conditions.
Plus, the scope’s second focal plane automatically adjusts the size of your target to give you the optimum image to aim for. Regardless of range, this is great for zeroing in and taking calculated, considered shots that are still fast and powerful.
Finding The Right M14 Rifle Scope For You
It is always worth practicing and honing your skills even if you’ve been target shooting for decades. I love shooting with rifle scopes. I’m excited by their capabilities and I enjoy enhancing my natural talent with high-grade accessories.
So often they’re approached as cure-alls for poor technique and performance. However, utilized correctly, rifle scopes like the Vortex Optics Diamondback and others are best for pushing the limits.
They allow hunters and competition shooters to control responses and environments more efficiently so they can focus on getting the perfect shot. I do recommend looking at well-known brands including the ones mentioned in this review, but don’t stop there.
Not all great scopes are expensive ones. I’ve been testing popular shooting accessories for some time now and you’d be surprised at how many budget/affordable scopes can stand up against the big brands.
Remember to prioritize features and consider range compatibility.