How to Mount a Scope on an AR-10 – Informational Guide [2020]

| Last Updated: January 27, 2021

So, you have an AR-10 and want to increase your shooting capabilities and enhance your hunting experience. For this, you will need to a scope to it. Adding optics to your rifles is a great way to further your skills and expand your target range. 

Before rushing out to buy the first scope you see, there are a few things to consider when making your purchase.

This article will help walk you through what you need to know before purchasing a scope and then will explain how to mount it on your AR-10. 

Things to Consider When Purchasing a Scope for Your AR-10

The AR-10 is known for being a lightweight and economic rifle. It is reliable and powerful. This rifle can also be customized to your needs and wants. It is a versatile and dependable weapon.

On its own, straight out of the box, the AR-10 is able to accurately shoot at 200 yards or less. By simply adding the right scope, you have the ability to take your shots out to 1000 yards, easily. In shooting, long range is considered to be any distance over 400 yards, mid range is between 200-400 yards, and close range is any distance under 200 yards. 

Since you have a great deal of variation to customize your AR-10, you can change your range based on the size of the barrel length on your rifle. The longer your barrel length, the further your range will be. 

What About Magnification? 

When it comes to long-range shooting, practice is definitely key. You need to consider environmental factors, such as wind, which can make it trickier. If you own an AR-10, then you already have one of the best rifles on the market. If you want to up your game and improve your shot, you will want to add a good scope to your AR-10.

For longer range shooting, you will want a scope with higher magnification. The key is to figure out what your maximum shooting distance is before making your scope purchase. 

It is helpful to remember a few things when it comes to shooting distances:

1. Long Range

Long-range shooting is anything with a distance of 400 yards or more. The size of your target is also a pretty important factor when it comes to long-range shooting. The size of the target can make long-range shooting more challenging. It is helpful to remember that a smaller target will require you to have better clarity and higher magnification. Bigger targets will not need the same levels. If you plan on using your AR-10 for long-range shooting, it is a good idea to have magnification levels of 9x and higher.

You want to look for a lens diameter of 40mm or more, too. This is because the higher the magnification, the more light is needed, and a larger lens is required to absorb more light. If you plan on long-range shooting, choose a rifle scope with a 40mm or larger lens. 

2. Medium Range

Medium-range shooting involves distances of 200-400 yards. It is safe to say that the majority of AR-10 users stay in the medium range when shooting. Again, target size is a consideration and the reason for a scope. At the medium-range distance, a scope with 5-9x power should be sufficient

3. Close Range

This range is anything up to 200 yards. With an AR-10 rifle, this range is often the same as long range for other types of rifles. At this close range, you do not need a lot of magnification power. Since your target is closer, you will need a lower magnification power level. In fact, 1-4x should be plenty. 

As is true with all scopes, the best one for you will be the one that helps you get the best experience out of your AR-10 rifle. 

Now that you have selected the right scope, it is time to mount it on your rifle. Proper mounting is crucial. Your scope cannot be wobbly or loose. You need to be certain you can clearly see your targets and that your scope will not come loose due to the recoil after every shot. 

Here Are Some Factors to Consider When Mounting Your Scope

There are different types of mounts. It is important to understand how they work and if they are right for you. The following are the types of mounts used with AR-10 rifles.

1. One-Piece

A one-piece mount is the simplest mount in the lineup. It is very easy to install and will work with most scopes. This type of mount is very strong and pretty rigid. It is very simple to install a one-piece mount and there should not be any alignment issues. 

2. Scope Rings

Scope rings have been used for a long time. They are very reliable and lightweight. It is also helpful to know that scope rings are relatively inexpensive, too.

3. Rail Mounts

There are two types of rail mounts, Picatinny and Weaver. The rail mounts are easy to use. The rails make it very easy for you to add a scope or take it off. If you plan on sometimes using a scope on your rifle and sometimes removing it, rails are a great mount type for you.

Things to Look for When Buying Scope Mounts


Most scope manufacturers will use high-quality materials. When making your purchase, look for scopes made from aluminum, steel, or polymer. These materials generally hold up very well under the rigors of shooting. These mounts are also designed to help absorb some of the recoil and still help you aim accurately at your target. 


The price of mounts can vary. While price should be a consideration, it shouldn’t be the only one. It is more important to purchase a quality mount that will secure your scope against recoil and last you for some time. Your scope is considered an investment and you should extend the same consideration to the mounts. 

How to Install a Mount 

You can pay a gunsmith to install your mount or you can do it yourself with a few tools.

1. Align the base with mounting holes in the receiver. Tighten the screws individually and make sure it clamps securely to the base. Consider adding a drop of thread lock to ensure durability. 

2. Mount the rings and turn the windage screws on the base. Make sure to do this evenly so the ring is centered. If you have a dovetail ring, use a dowel to get it in place. 

3. Check the rings to make sure they fit securely. You may need to file down surfaces. Make sure to do this lightly. If you prefer a tight fit, you can add electrical tape or rosin inside the ring’s surface.

4. Check that the rings are perfectly aligned. If the alignment is not exact, it can damage the scope. In addition to visually inspecting your rings, you can also purchase alignment rods to check your work. 

5. Position your scope and adjust your eye relief and reticle. Your field of view should be full and the reticle should be level. If you need to tighten screws in any horizontal rings, do so in an X pattern so the tightening is even. 

6. Now that you have your scope attached, be sure to zero it along with your rifle for maximum shooting distance. This will ensure you have a greater chance of success when shooting your targets. 

Points to Consider

An AR-10 is a great rifle capable of shooting at many ranges. Adding a scope to your rifle is a good way to increase your chances of hitting your target and will certainly enhance your shooting experience. 

There are three different types of mounts you can use to install your scope. The type you choose will depend on the scope you have selected and your expected use. You can expect to use either a single-piece mount, scope rings, or rail mounts. These mounts should be made out of durable materials that will stand up to recoil and wear and tear. 

It is important to check the manufacturer's instructions of the scope you purchase to determine the recommended mount and how much torque is needed to secure it to your rifle. This will vary, so you need to check. You can attach the mounts yourself or you can have a gunsmith do it for you. 


It does not matter if you prefer close-range shooting, mid-range shooting, or long-range shooting. An AR-10 is able to handle all of those ranges. Adding a scope will only enhance your shooting experience. 

Make sure to choose a high-quality mount. You want to be sure it is durable and holds up over time. If you are attaching the mounts yourself, make sure to do it correctly. And once you have your mount installed, check that your scope perfectly lines up. If it is not done correctly, it can cause damage to your scope. 

Owning a rifle and learning how to add accessories and optics to it is a very rewarding experience.