If you’re a serious hunter who wants to take the biggest game down in one shot, you’ll probably want the most potent caliber rounds in your rifle. And for that, nothing beats the .338 Lapua.
Capable of reaching great distances and traveling super-quick, this caliber can tackle any animal, at almost any range, with just one shot. And for that reason, it is always important to be as accurate as possible.
However, to get to a decent level of accuracy, you’ll need the best scope for 338 Lapua. While it may seem like rifles with this caliber may work with any scope – some of them will be better than others. Here, we want to show you the better ones.
Below, you’ll find the most recommended scopes for this potent and sought-after caliber. If you want to enjoy everything it has to offer, you better consider what we have to show you.
7 Best Scopes for 338 Lapua Reviews in 2021
Leupold VX-3i Riflescope
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Vortex Optics Viper HS-T Riflescope
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NightForce SHV Riflescope
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Simmons 8-Point Rifle Scope
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Steiner T5Xi Tactical Rifle Scope
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Swarovski Optik Z5 Scope
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Athlon Optics Argos BTR Riflescope
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While you’ll find hundreds, if not thousands, of scopes to choose from, only a few will meet the highest standards. Because we know how important it is to have a scope that gets the job done, we brought seven options that were impossible to dismiss. We explain everything about each below:
Starting with the most valuable scope for the cost, we find the Leupold VX-3i. Designed to withstand high recoils and any outdoor condition, this scope will last a lifetime even with 17 WSM rifles.
This scope is shockproof, waterproof, and fog-proof. The 6061-T6 aluminum build doesn’t let any environment cause damage. More importantly, it comes with a matte finish that makes it look superb while protecting it from undesirable environments.
But that’s not what sets it apart. The first reason we chose it as a go-to model for a Lapua .338 is the 3.5-10x magnification. This is more than enough to reach anywhere from 600 to 1,000 yards with your sight. If you want to get the hardest of shots on target, you’ll appreciate having a scope like this.
Be aware that you also get a 40mm objective lens. It is one of the most versatile sizes for different ranges. Whether you want to use the shortest zoom or the largest one, this scope will look amazing either way.
The light transmission is exponentially better than the typical scope, thanks to the DiamondCoat 2. An ion-assist coating on the lens improves clarity like no other. It also helps to prevent damage from abrasion.
Another last factor you’ll love is the 1/4 MOA adjustments with repeatable turrets. They’re smooth, easy, and accurate.
Lastly, you can pick between a typical Duplex reticle with thick lines or a Duplex CDS-ZL, a thinner plex reticle for those who want higher visibility. Either way, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to operate.
A big rifle with .338 Lapua rounds (or any other heavy-duty bullet) will need a scope to handle the recoil. And for that, few can match the HS-T scope from Vortex.
Thanks to O-ring seals and argon-purged construction, the scope can handle outstanding amounts of pressure. It can also withstand impacts, extreme humidity, and even fog. There’s no chance this scope will get damaged by usual environmental factors.
Along with such a high-level build, the scope offers top-notch Armortek coatings. They protect the lenses from scratches and abrasion. These coatings match well with the fully multi-coated XR system, designed to meet even the highest demands in light performance.
As for magnification, it starts at 4x and ends at 16x. For a 338 Lapua, this is more than enough. You can aim at distances of over 1,000 yards, but you can also go as little as 300 yards if needed. Either way, the high-quality image won’t let you down.
More importantly, you get the chance to pick between a VMR-1 reticle with MOA or MRAD markings. Along with the target-style turrets with exposed design, changing your aim details won’t be much of a problem. Add the parallax system for superb adjustments.
Even the objective lens at 44mm with a MAG-View Fiber Optic system increases overall visibility and ease of use. The FastFocus eyepiece makes the scope a piece of cake to use. Getting to your ideal magnification will be a no-brainer.
Whether you’re hunting or doing any kind of tactical usage, you’ll find the SHV scope from NightForce to meet all your needs completely. As a scope above the $1,000 mark, it delivers everything you could need.
It starts with a 56mm objective lens. The fully multi-coated lenses pair up with the objective to deliver top-notch image clarity. You’ll have enough brightness to aim at your target in any situation.
Similarly, the scope boasts a second focal plane reticle. This 4A reticle from Nightforce is specifically designed for hunting. Yet, it can also work for any purpose. Its simplicity makes it easy to adapt to any application.
An exciting part of the reticle is the MOAR system. It is an illumination feature to keep visibility even at dusk or dawn. You’ll have the chance to watch everything clearly regardless of the environment.
Apart from that, the scope boasts easy-to-adjust turrets. A ZeroSet technology lets you come back to zero settings without wasting any time. Along with a side parallax adjustment, you can ensure accurate aiming at any moment.
Suffice to say, you’re getting a high-end scope that can withstand any situation. Whether hard impacts or shocks from recoil, super-high humidity, or even fog – this scope endures it all.
Don’t want to spend a fortune on a new scope? Then you’ll love a Simmons model. The 8-Point is a perfect example of how much quality you can get for cheap.
It starts with 3-9x magnification. Ideal for mid-range shooting, this 50mm objective scope can get you maximum image quality, so you never miss a target. More importantly, it lets you aim through challenging environments without a problem, boasting fully coated optics that increase clarity exponentially.
One exciting part about this scope is the QTA (Quick Target Acquisition) eyepiece. It will let you modify power levels without wasting any time or effort. Along with this eyepiece, you get a set of exceptional turrets. They boast a SureGrip windage & elevation system for audible cues with every change.
These adjustments work like a charm with the Truplex reticle. Designed to make aiming easy, this reticle gets the job done in any situation.
Other features worth considering include the 3.75-inch eye relief. That’s more than enough to shoot .338 Lapua rounds without a single problem. And with the fog-proof, shockproof, and waterproof construction, you’ll have nothing to worry about.
A combination of top-notch build with a matte black finish makes it a good-looking product as well. Your rifle will look with a scope like this.
If you take your shooting seriously, you’ll have no problem spending a bit more than usual on a scope. And for that, nothing will be a better investment than the T5Xi from Steiner.
Suffice to say, it comes with an outstanding array of features, starting with a Special Competition Reticle. This SCR reticle comes with MIL markings, an illumination system, and an FFP design. You’ll get the whole combination of small touches for an utterly accurate aiming experience.
To operate the scope won’t be a problem either. Thanks to the markings on the reticle, a set of Never-Lost features with hard stops and a low-profile design overall will make changes easy.
The clarity of the image is outstanding, nonetheless. Its light transmission with a premium lens is other-worldly, especially with the fully multi-coated design. Even in low-light environments, the 56mm scope will look brighter and more contrast than the typical scope.
As for magnification, you get the chance to go from 5x to 25x without problems. Using a throw lever system, you can go from one to another in less than a second. The magnification ring is tapered and angled, so you can adjust it easily.
Because the scope is of the highest quality you can think of, it also boasts a waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof build. A set of Tenebraex Lens covers prevent moisture and dust damage. And what’s even better, it can withstand a high-pressure environment thanks to its nitrogen filling.
At 3.5-18x of magnification, this scope lets you get far away with your shots. You won’t need to struggle in the slightest, as it can get you as far away as 1,000 yards or even more.
A set of high-quality lenses with coatings won’t let you down either. The scope will ensure up to 90% of light transmission so you can see everything even in dark areas. What’s even better, it comes with coatings that protect from scratches, fog, and even dust.
As for the reticle, you get a BRX. Yet, you can also go for the BRX-HEAVY with thicker lines or the PLEX for ease of use. Whatever you get, the set of adjustment turrets will make the whole scope easy to operate. These turrets are smooth, come with a clicking system, and boast a zero-reset feature.
The scope still manages to look small and neat. Its low-profile design with capped turrets ensures tons of lightness. And to make it even better, it has a hard-anodized exterior that can withstand any environment without a pinch of damage.
Even the eyepiece makes it a piece of cake to adjust magnification. A small cue and clear markings will help you get your aim on target as fast as you can think.
Among the best long-range scopes under $500, we can find the Argos BTR from Athlon Optics. It is not a mistake we bring this model. The ability to work on mid-range aiming as well as extra long-range shots is unparalleled.
Despite its price, this scope offers a magnification level of 6x to 24x. This capacity is more than enough to make any .338 Lapua round reach its target with maximum accuracy. Yet, it is the FFP reticle that sets it apart – helping you aim with even more precision and adjust with full control.
The APMR MIL reticle is more than enough for mid or long-range shooting. It adapts to your demands accordingly. What’s even better, it comes with an illumination system, reducing reflection and increasing visibility in dark places.
But the real advantage in terms of clarity comes from the fully multi-coated lenses. They deliver the light transmission necessary to let you brighten up any place. Wherever you are, this system will help you look at the target with no problems.
Similarly, you get a set of exposed turrets. They make aiming adjustment easy, especially with the side parallax turret. Along with the fast-focus eyepiece, you’ll have no problem adjusting your aim to any demand.
Because Athlon cares about quality in every way, this scope also comes with a waterproof, shockproof, and fog-proof build. With an argon-purged and nitrogen-filled construction, it can handle the hardest of uses. And for higher durability, you can also enjoy the 6061-T6 aluminum tube.
How to Choose the Ideal Scope for Lapua 338
Now that you’re more aware of the scopes above offer let’s teach you precisely what to consider and what not to. We explain how each factor affects your shooting and how you can get the ideal one for a .338 rifle:
Magnification & Adjustments
The first thing you’ll notice about most scopes is that they have different magnification levels. For a .338 Lapua rifle, you’ll want something that can work at mid-range but also reach as long as you need (often over 1,000 yards).
That’s why we recommend magnifications between 3x and 24x as ideal. Anything within this range should be more than enough. Of course, you’ll have to pick following your specific demands. As a general rule, going for the broadest magnification range possible will make the scope more versatile.
Similarly, you’ll want this magnification to be easy to adjust. And for that, you should consider a fast-focus eyepiece. If the objective comes with practical markings and clicks cues, that should make the whole adjustment process easier.
Reticle & Focal Plane
Because most .338 Lapua rifles are designed for long-range shooting, you will need to pick a highly-marked reticle. That means something with MIL or MOA windage and elevation lines. An APMR or BRX reticle should get the job done in that case.
But if you’re a beginner who just wants to practice, an unmarked reticle could also work. For that, you’ll find Plex reticles ideal. Either way, focus on something uncluttered and comfortable enough for your demands.
On the other hand, don’t forget whether you prefer FFP (first focal plane) or SFP (second focal plane). The FFP reticle will change with the magnification, adjusting to the zooming accordingly, so you can aim more accurately. In contrast, the SFP will stay the same regardless of power level.
For that reason, we recommend FFP if you’re looking for maximum accuracy, as long as you know how to make the most out of windage and elevation markings. But if you’re starting using scopes, stick with SFP reticles for simplicity. For a .338 Lapua rifle, an FFP reticle will be a lot better, though.
Adjustments & Turrets
Every scope you’re getting will come with adjustment turrets. If you want these adjustments to be easy, then you’ll want to consider the type of turrets they are.
The main idea is to pick smooth turrets that don’t get stuck. But for further comfort, you will also like zero-reset turrets that make it easy to go back to previous levels as needed. More importantly, these turrets should handle consistent shooting without having to readjust.
Then, pick between exposed and capped turrets. Exposed models typically come with markings as well as taller bodies overall. Capped turrets are more low-profile, without markings. If you’re a beginner, go for exposed turrets. But if you know what you’re doing, a set of capped turrets will work.
Clarity & Light Transmission
Even though a .338 Lapua rifle doesn’t change the environment you’re shooting at, you’re more likely to take it to the extremes than with other rifles. For that reason, it is essential to get a scope that ensures maximum light transmission.
To achieve enough clarity, you’ll have to start with the objective lens’s size (where the light enters the scope). Here, we recommend anything between 40mm to 56mm for a .338 Lapua rifle. Anything below may be too small to ensure sufficient light clarity at high magnification levels.
For even better light transmission, go for fully multi-coated lenses. These capture much more light than usual, ensuring maximum clarity even in the darkest of places. You can pretty much aim effortlessly at dawn or dusk.
And lastly, don’t hesitate to consider illumination systems. These could illuminate the objective lens or the reticle itself. Either way, an illumination system could help you acquire targets in dark places with little effort.
Durability & Performance
Because a .338 Lapua caliber rifle tends to be potent, it produces a significant amount of recoil. Obviously, you’ll want a scope that can handle this recoil.
Simultaneously, because you’re likely to practice your shooting in harsh conditions, the scope needs to be sturdy enough to handle them.
Considering these two things, it is safe to say that you need to pick the sturdiest and most rugged scope possible. This typically means a high-quality aluminum build, a hard-anodized exterior, protective coatings, an argon-purged, nitrogen-filled, and O-ring sealed build.
If you can get something with at least half of these features, the scope will be waterproof, shockproof, and fog-proof. That should make it ideal for usage with a .338 Lapua rifle. Of course, it should also make it last a lifetime.
What is the Effective Range of a .338 Lapua Magnum?
Considering the .338 Lapua Magnum is one of the longest-range calibers globally, it is safe to say it can reach great distances.
Capable of traveling at speeds of over 2,500 FPS (feet per second), this caliber can go through body armor. It was primarily designed for this purpose, as it was a military caliber before it was a hunting bullet.
A standard 250-grain .338 Lapua bullet can penetrate armor at distances of over 1,000 yards. In the meantime, an effective 300-grain Lapua bullet at .338 should reach no less than 1,900 yards.
For that reason, the effective range of a .338 bullet is between 1,000 and 1,900 yards. Yet, it also works well in distances between 300 and 900 yards with no problems.
Is It Worth It to Hunt with a .338 Lapua?
Yes. It is completely worth taking a .338 Lapua on a hunting trip. The ability of a standard 300-grain bullet to penetrate skin and bone is fantastic. It ensures an instant kill, making it easier to take a large game home.
However, it is only worth it considering how effective it is. If you use the right scope, you’ll have higher chances of increasing its accuracy to prevent any bullet wastage. But it is still an expensive caliber. A standard .338 Lapua round can cost twice as much as a bullet of the same caliber from other brands.
In the right rifle, though, one of these bullets can achieve an outstanding 4,700 foot-pounds of force. That should be enough to hunt down even the largest of animals. Once the shot surpasses 500 yards, the force gets to as low as 3,000 foot-pounds. Even then, it’s still enough to bring down big game.
Compared to the rounds for a slug gun like the Savage 220, the price is exponentially higher. This could be a huge deterrent for people on a budget.
So, is it worth taking a .338 Lapua to a hunting area? Yes, because it is more potent than the standard hunting rifle. Considering its price, however, it may not be as good.
What is the Difference Between a .338 Lapua and a .338 Magnum?
You may be wondering whether the .338 Lapua is the same thing as a .338 Magnum. And the short answer is yes. They are the same caliber, so they’re pretty much the same. However, Lapua and Magnum bullets are different because they can reach different speeds when traveling through the air.
For example, if both Magnum and Lapua bullets are 250-grain, you’ll find that the Lapua model can reach over 3,000 FPS without problems. In contrast, a Magnum .338 may reach a maximum of 2,650 FPS.
Another difference is that most Lapua rifles need to be sturdier and larger. Even though the caliber is practically the same, it demands a bit more accuracy and power control. While you can fare well with an affordable .338 rifle, a Lapua bullet will need the best possible rifle to get the most out of it.
And lastly, it’s also worth considering that Lapua .338 bullets are often capable of reaching over 1,000 yards in total distance. In fact, a standard rifle with this bullet will have an effective range of up to 1,900 yards. A magnum rifle will be better for mid-range shooting, anywhere from 300 to 900 yards.
Does the Lapua .338 Produce too Much Recoil?
While the recoil is typically more than the usual hunting rifle, a Lapua .338 bullet still produces a manageable amount of force.
With a muzzle and a quality rifle, this recoil will be exponentially reduced. You can work well with one of these rifles, even if you’re a beginner.
Having said that, you will still need a durable and shock-resistant scope for this rifle. The recoil won’t necessarily damage low-quality scopes, but it could cause problems in the long term.
Can You Hunt Varmint with a Lapua .338 Rifle?
While it is possible to bring down small game, most rifles with this caliber won’t be ideal. Due to the enormous power and size of the bullet, hunting varmint becomes a recipe for disaster. It is mostly recommended for hunting big game instead.
If you’re looking for hunting small game, you will be better off with a 22-250 rifle, for example. The reduced power and smaller caliber will make it possible to shoot without making a mess. And more importantly, you’ll be able to take your hunt home without problems.
So, are you ready to take your rifle back to a hunting trip? Then make sure you pack up the best scope for 338 Lapua.
With the options above, you should have no problem picking the right model for your needs. All scopes are different, making it easier for you to choose what best matches your demands. And to make it easier, you can use our buying guide to prevent any unwanted choice later on.
Whatever you go for, remember that Lapua .338 rifles are powerful bullets, ideal for long-range shooting. With that in mind, go and pick the scope that you find more appealing. The right scope will make your shooting a lot easier, accurate, and comfortable. You won’t regret making a choice today!