Best Long Range Scopes — Our Exciting Comparisons

Last Updated: by Aiden Williams

Shooting with the best long-range scope could be the difference between making a shot or losing it. Any marksman worth their salt knows that having the right scope is as important as having the right weapon. But it is not enough to know that you should buy a long-range riflescope worthy of your choice weapon.

Because there are as many scopes out there as there are people to buy them, you could easily find yourself spending on a scope that will not serve your needs either because they do not have the right specifications, or they simply do not have enough value to be worth the money spent on their purchase.

This review contains a buying guide section which is meant to give you an idea of what specifications to look out for and a review section where some of the best scopes for 1,000-yard shots or more are analyzed.

The Burris Optics XTR II Riflescope is our Best Long Range Rifle Scope for the money. It is equipped with a high magnification setting of between 8x to 40x. This, in addition to its 50-millimeter OLD, ensures that it can magnify its sight picture, making it possible for you to zoom in and still clearly see your target miles away.

The Best Long Range Rifle Scopes Are:

ProductDetails
1. Burris Optics XTR II Riflescope 8-40x50mm

  • Manufacturer: Burris Optics
  • Item Number: 201080
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 4.2 x 4 inches
  • Weight: 1.96 pounds
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2. Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 5-25x50 First Focal Plane Riflescopes

  • Manufacturer: Vortex Optics
  • Item Number: PST-5258
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 19.6 x 4.1 inches
  • Weight: 1 pound
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3. Athlon Optics Argos BTR Riflescope

  • Manufacturer: Athlon Optics
  • Item Number: 214061
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 5 x 4 inches
  • Weight: 15.8 ounces
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4. Nikon Black FX1000

  • Manufacturer: Nikon
  • Item Number: 16512
  • Weight: 1.53 pounds
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5. Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II 4.5-27x56 First Focal Plane Riflescopes

  • Manufacturer: Vortex
  • Item Number: RZR-42704
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 17 x 4 inches
  • Weight: 4.85 pounds
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6. Vortex Optics Diamondback Second Focal Plane Riflescopes

  • Manufacturer: Vortex
  • Item Number: DBK-04-BDC
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 3.4 x 2.4 inches
  • Weight: 14.6 ounces
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7. Vortex Optics Crossfire II Riflescope

  • Manufacturer: Vortex
  • Item Number: CF2-31033
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 2 x 1.7 inches
  • Included Components: Removable lens covers, lens cloth
  • Weight: 2.2 pounds
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8. Nightforce Optics 5.5-22x50 NXS Riflescope

  • Manufacturer: Nightforce
  • Item Number: NXSTM 5.5-22x
  • Weight: 31.0 ounces
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9. Primary Arms SLX 4-14x44mm FFP Rifle Scope

  • Manufacturer: Primary Arms
  • Length: 12.9 inches
  • Weight: 25.2 Oz
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10. Vortex Optics Viper HS-T Second Focal Plane Riflescopes

  • Manufacturer:Vortex optics
  • Item Number: VHS-4325
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 5 x 5.2 inches
  • Weight: 2.8 pounds
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11. Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25x56mm Riflescope

  • Manufacturer: Leupold
  • Item Number: 171773
  • Product Dimensions: 17.1 x 3.8 x 4.1 inches
  • Weight: 2 pounds
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12. Trijicon TR23 AccuPoint 5-20x50 Riflescope

  • Manufacturer: Trijicon
  • Item Number: TR23-2
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 3.2 x 3.2 inches.
  • Weight: 26.9 oz
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13. Bushnell Elite Tactical G2DMR FFP Reticle Riflescope

  • Manufacturer: Bushnell
  • Item Number: ET6245FG
  • Product Dimensions: 4 x 6 x 18 inches
  • Weight: 1.69 pounds
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1. Burris Optics XTR II Riflescope 8-40x50mm

Burris Optics XTR II Rifle Scope 201080, 201081 - 8-40x50mm Riflescope - Tactical Shooting, Night Vision, Hunting

This long-range rifle scope offers magnification settings between 8x and 40x. Even for experienced marksmen, that’s an extraordinary range. It also has an objective Lens Diameter of 50 millimeters. These features easily ensure that you retain enough light to get a better sight of your target while also maintaining your field of vision.

We especially love that Burris is confident enough in the quality of their product to offer a no questions asked Forever Warranty. This warranty covers repairs, does not need a receipt or warranty card, and is transferrable to future owners!

Specs

  • Manufacturer: Burris Optics
  • Item Number: 201080
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 4.2 x 4 inches
  • Weight: 1.96 pounds

Pros

  • High resolution magnification setting and maximum light collection.
  • Remarkably ideal for extreme long-range shooting.
  • Trajectory compensation and reticle measurements are always correct and proportional.
  • Safe for use even in inclement weather because its fully multi-coated lens is also made of high-quality glass.
  • Features 11 illuminated brightness settings, with a convenient battery-saver position between each setting.
  • Burris offers a Forever Warranty on this optic. No questions asked.

Cons

  • Bulky and heavy

Conclusion

Based on the amazing features that are embodied by this long-range scope, it is hardly surprising that it is our choice for the Best Overall long-range rifle scope.

Rating: 4.7/5

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2. Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50 First Focal Plane Riflescopes — Best 1000 Yard Scope

Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 5-25x50 First Focal Plane Riflescope - EBR-7C Reticle (MOA)

The Viper PST Gen II is a high-end scope optic that offers glass clarity, color fidelity, and brightness. It features the EBR-2c and EBR-7c reticles for both MOA and MIL measurements. This optic takes optimum performance and durable tactical features to new heights. Its 5-25×50 FFP reticle is ideal for both short and long-range shooting techniques. It’s tactical-style and exposed turrets system makes elevation and windage adjustments easy and accurate.

We especially love the Lifetime Warranty offered by Vortex.

Specs

  • Manufacturer: Vortex Optics
  • Item Number: PST-5258
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 19.6 x 4.1 inches
  • Weight: 1 pound

Pros

  • Useful for accuracy in shooting targets at both close and long-range
  • Features an illuminated reticle that provides precise aiming under low-light conditions
  • Reticle is glass-etched and protected between two layers of glass for optimum durability and reliability
  • Fast-focus eyepiece that allows fast and effortless focusing
  • Hard anodized finish helps camouflage the shooter’s position
  • Provides fast, precise and easily understandable elevation and windage adjustments

Cons

  • Due to all its first-grade features, this item might not easily be within a lot of budgets at its rather expensive price. Although it does give great value for money.

Conclusion

This optic is nitrogen purged and sealed, therefore it is completely water, dust, and fog-resistant. It can be used in all weather conditions. It is one of the toughest scopes around in terms of durability and this is backed by Vortex’s excellent customer service. It is our first choice for the Best 1000 Yard Scope category.

Rating: 4.7/5

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3. Athlon Optics Argos BTR Riflescope — Best Long Range Rifle Scope for the Money

Athlon Optics , Argos BTR, Riflescope, 6-24 x 50 First Focal Plane (FFP) 30 mm Tube, Illuminated APMR MIL Reticle,

This optic sets itself apart by being very affordable despite packing enough features to compete with the best: It is an FFP scope with an etched reticle and turret adjustment.

The FFP design makes it possible for your reticle to increase or reduce along with the target. The reticle is also illuminated which helps with vision at dusk, dawn or other low-light times. The magnification setting of this scope is between 6 to 24x with a 50 millimeter OLD.

It is fully multicoated to withstand water, fog, and shock. This feature and the high quality aircraft-grade aluminum tube that it is constructed from makes for a durable product.

The Athlon optics argos BTR riflescope is constructed with a single heat-treated one-piece tube which keeps out moisture better than multi-piece tubes.

It has been expunged of all moisture, resulting in a tube that promises better waterproofing and thermal stability. This process is known as argon purging.

Specs

  • Manufacturer: Athlon Optics
  • Item Number: 214061
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 5 x 4 inches
  • Weight: 15.8 ounces

Pros

  • Features a reticle that can increase or decrease along with your target
  • Illuminated reticle
  • Bright and clear image production is guaranteed as it features a fully multicoated lens
  • Durable as it is made of an aircraft-grade aluminum tube
  • Fog and water proof
  • Argon-purged for better waterproofing and thermal stability

Cons

  • Low eye relief of 3.3 inches — if used with a weapon with hard recoil, shooter might receive a lot of black eyes.

Conclusion

This optics has features that are normally only found on high-end scopes. It features a 4x magnification that makes it versatile in multiple shooting disciplines. It also has an advanced fully multi-coated lens that guarantees delivery of clear bright images even in dark environments.

Rating: 4.5/5

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4. Nikon Black FX1000

Nikon Black FX1000 4-16X50 Matte FX-MOA

Nikon is a pretty well-known brand. In this case, not only for quality cameras but for excellent long-range scopes.

Due to its FFP reticle style, it can be used to calculate range, target size, elevation holdover and wind drift at designated magnification.

The Nikon Black 6-24x50mm Illuminated Reticle FX-MOA integrates renowned Nikon optics into its first focal plane optical system for sharp images and dialing functionality at any magnification.

For durability, it is O-ring sealed to prevent moisture from entering the body. It is also nitrogen-purged for absolute fortification against thermal shock, rough use and the effects of hard recoil.

Specs

  • Manufacturer: Nikon
  • Item Number: 16512
  • Weight: 1.53 pounds

Pros

  • Glass-etched ranging FFP reticle
  • Illumination control features 10 intensity settings and powers down after 1 hour of non-operation
  • High-speed turret with an integral zero stop
  • Smooth-turn aluminum ring with a rubberized eye guard for quick target acquisition
  • Waterproof, fog proof and shockproof
  • Nitrogen-purged and O-ring sealed

Cons

  • Poor glass. You might experience some eye-strain after use.

Conclusion

Nikon is a tested and trusted brand. This product lives up to the standard of the Nikon brand. It gives great value for money.

Rating: 4.8/5

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5. Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II 4.5-27×56 First Focal Plane Riflescopes

Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II 4.5-27x56 First Focal Plane Riflescope - EBR-2C Reticle (MOA)

This optic is designed for accurate long-range shots in extreme environments. It features a 6x zoom range, a 34-millimeter single-piece aircraft-grade aluminum tube for maximum protection and durability.

It also has an eye relief of 3.7 inches which is decidedly suitable for long-range shooting. It features an intricate FFP reticle design which is illuminated to make it safe to use during dusk, dawn or other low-light situations.

The lenses are protected from oil, scrapes and dirt by Armotek coatings.

It is moisture, fog and water proof because it is made from high quality single-piece aircraft-grade aluminum. It is also argon purged and O-ring sealed.

Specs

  • Manufacturer: Vortex
  • Item Number: RZR-42704
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 17 x 4 inches
  • Weight: 4.85 pounds

Pros

  • Remains in proportion to the zoomed image
  • Reticle is protected between two layers of glass for reliability and durability
  • Illuminated reticle
  • O-ring sealed and argon purged
  • Constructed from single-piece aircraft-grade aluminum
  • Lenses are protected by Armotek coatings

Cons

  • Very large and heavy and so would not be mounted on some weapons

Conclusion

This optic has numerous valuable features and is deadly precise. It is perfect for advanced precision shooting and tactical operations.

Rating: 4.5/5

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6. Vortex Optics Diamondback Second Focal Plane Riflescopes — Best Budget Rifle Scope

Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40 Second Focal Plane Riflescope - Dead-Hold BDC Reticle (MOA)

The Vortex optics Diamondback riflescope promises high image and build quality. It features a fully multi-coated lens which ensures that light transmission is optimum and images are clear and bright. With its precise turret, you have the ability to reset to zero after sight-in.

To ensure it delivers a lifetime of fog, moisture and water proofing, it is argon purged and O-ring sealed.

If you’re on a budget but would love to have a high-quality riflescope, the Diamondback is a good choice.

Specs

  • Manufacturer: Vortex
  • Item Number: DBK-04-BDC
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 3.4 x 2.4 inches
  • Weight: 14.6 ounces

Pros

  • Suitable for any shooting activity where there’d be need to estimate hold-over
  • Magnification setting between 4 to 12x and has an OLD of 40 millimeters
  • Ideal for both short and long-range shooting activities
  • Fully multi-coated lenses
  • Metal on metal precision turret
  • Made of an anodized one-piece tube for durability
  • Argon purged for fog-proofing and O-ring sealed for waterproofing

Cons

  • Less than 3.6 inches eye of relief

Conclusion

At less than 200 dollars, this optic provides value far above its price. Little wonder it is our choice for the Best Budget Rifle Scope category.

Rating: 4.6/5

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7. Vortex Optics Crossfire II Riflescope

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12x44 SFP Riflescope V-Plex MOA

The 6-18×44 adjustable objective crossfire II riflescope provides image focus and parallax removal to the shooter while the fully multi-coated lens prevents reflection and damage and also provides a crystal clear view.

This rifle scope is suitable for the dual purposes of shooting and hunting at varying ranges where estimating holdover is a concern. The customized hashmark design helps remove the need for holdover and windage corrections.

Specs

  • Manufacturer: Vortex
  • Item Number: CF2-31033
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 2 x 1.7 inches
  • Included Components: Removable lens covers, lens cloth
  • Weight: 2.2 pounds

Pros

  • No need for calculations on holdover and windage corrections
  • Perfect for shooting at ranges where estimating holdover is a concern
  • SFP does not visually change in size when magnification is changed
  • Constructed from an aircraft-grade aluminum for durability

Cons

  • BDC does not have an illuminated reticle

Conclusion

Particularly designed for discriminating hunters and shooters, this riflescope offers the highest level of dependability and performance.

Rating: 4.7/5

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8. Nightforce Optics 5.5-22×50 NXS Riflescope

Nightforce Optics 5.5-22x50 NXS Riflescope, Matte Black Finish with Illuminated MOAR Reticle, Zero Stop Turrets, .250 MOA, 30mm Tube

Generally, the NXS series are the most distinctive of Nightforce’s scopes. While the original design was influenced by the U.S. military’s needs for extreme long-range shooting and hard target interdiction, the NXSTM 5.5-22x has been a favorite of sportsmen and law enforcement as well.

This optic provides a broad magnification range, excellent eye relief, and 100 MOA of elevation travel.

It is constructed from 6061-T6 aircraft-grade aluminum material for sturdiness.

Specs

  • Manufacturer: Nightforce
  • Item Number: NXSTM 5.5-22x
  • Weight: 31.0 ounces

Pros

  • Fully multi-coated lens and OLD of 50 offer a fantastic sight picture
  • Illuminated reticle means it can be used during dawn or dusk
  • Matte black finishblends into the surroundings
  • Built to withstand shock, water, fog, and abuse

Cons

  • Almost above the 2,000 dollar mark — not necessarily a con if you’re not working off a tight budget

Conclusion

This scope is outstanding in all ramifications. At its highest magnification, it is an astounding 42x, with its fully multicoated lens to transmit light effectively and keep targets clear and bright. The fact that it is made of matte finish also serves as a camouflage for a shooter who wants to stay hidden.

Rating: 5/5

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9. Primary Arms SLX 4-14x44mm FFP Rifle Scope

Primary Arms SLX 4-14x44mm FFP Rifle Scope - Illuminated ARC-2-MOA

The Primary Arms 4-14×44 millimeters illuminated scope is a cost-effective FFP optic. It features a new MIL-dot matrix, enabling more reliable holdover reference with less clutter.

For really long ranges, the dot matrix can extend a full 15 MILs below the center of the reticle, thereby allowing for both holdover and faster recovery if you miss the first shot.

It has a variable 4-14x magnification FFP scope. This FFP scope features an R-Grid 2B reticle which ensures exact holds.

We love that Primary Arms offers a 3-year warranty on this scope for any defects that are caused by materials or workmanship.

Specs

  • Manufacturer: Primary Arms
  • Length: 12.9 inches
  • Weight: 25.2 Oz

Pros

  • Variable 4-14x magnification FFP scope features the R Grid 2B reticle
  • R-Grid 2B reticle and MIL-DOT grid ensure exact holds
  • Turret features partial red illumination with 6 brightness settings
  • Made with a 6063 aluminum body and matte black finish
  • Water, fog, and shock-resistant
  • Covered by a 3-year warranty

Cons

  • Does not offer 100%, no questions asked warranty

Conclusion

The primary arm company has built its reputation through the years and they did not disappoint with this optic.

Rating: 4.6/5

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10. Vortex Optics Viper HS-T Second Focal Plane Riflescopes

Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 6-24x50 SFP Riflescope VMR-1 MOA

The Viper HS-T 6-24×50 is one of the available optics in the Viper HS-T (Hunting & Shooting Tactical) line. This optic combines many of the best features of some of the popular Vortex brands to result in a product that is ideal for a wide range of shooting applications.

With the 4x zoom, it offers magnification versatility while the side focus parallax ensures optimum image focus and parallax removal.

It is coated with XR and armortek for enhanced light-gathering and lens protection.

Specs

  • Manufacturer:Vortex optics
  • Item Number: VHS-4325
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 5 x 5.2 inches
  • Weight: 2.8 pounds

Pros

  • Fully multi-coated, premium lens
  • Coated with XR and Armortek
  • Turrets are exposed and engineered for exact clicks
  • 4x zoom
  • O-ring sealed and argon purged
  • Water, moisture, and fog-free performance guaranteed

Cons

  • It has a narrow eye-relief window.

Conclusion

This optic is designed on a powerful 30mm one-piece machined aluminum tube to provide high windage and elevation travel and optimal adjustment.

With its precise, dependable and durable wind and elevation turrets, this scope is a bargain at the current selling price.

Rating: 4.8/5

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11. Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25x56mm Riflescope

Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25x56mm Riflescope

This optic with magnification settings between 5 to 25X assures edge-to-edge clarity and low-light performance. It also boasts of a versatile CCH reticle and is incredibly lightweight for all the features it packs.

With the Twilight Max HD Management System, it offers an additional 30 minutes of shooting light, reduces glass glare, and ensures edge-to-edge lens clarity.

We love that it is designed to maintain durability and performance by dispersing recoil energy.

Specs

  • Manufacturer: Leupold
  • Item Number: 171773
  • Product Dimensions: 17.1 x 3.8 x 4.1 inches
  • Weight: 2 pounds

Pros

  • 100% shock-proof, waterproof and fog proof
  • FFP reticle
  • Estimates range at all magnification settings
  • Twilight Max HD Light Management System
  • Lenses are protectively coated
  • Designed to disperse recoil energy

Cons

  • It costs quite a lot

Conclusion

This product might be on the high side but you get exactly what you pay for: quality.

Rating: 5/5

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12. Trijicon TR23 AccuPoint 5-20×50 Riflescope

Trijicon TR23 AccuPoint 5-20x50 Riflescope MIL-Dot Crosshair with Green Dot Reticle, 30mm Tube

This is a riflescope with magnification settings of 5 to 20x. It’s OLD is also 50 millimeters which altogether ensures that sufficient light is transmitted into the scope to guarantee clear and bright sight image. The image clarity is also enhanced by its fully multi-coated lens.

It uses an SFP reticle which means the reticle does not change to match the magnification. Instead, it remains constant. It has a fiber optic technology that automatically adjusts brightness levels.

Externally, it is built with aircraft-grade aluminum housing to guarantee sturdiness.

Specs

  • Manufacturer: Trijicon
  • Item Number: TR23-2
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 3.2 x 3.2 inches.
  • Weight: 26.9 oz

Pros

  • Features a fully multi-coated lens
  • Delivers improved clarity and light transmission capabilities with no distortion
  • Adjusts the brightness level and contrast of the reticle to available light conditions
  • Illuminated reticle
  • Durable and protected against tough elements
  • Reticle always remains constant

Cons

  • Apparently, it is not completely waterproof but can, in fact, be destroyed by water.

Conclusion

This Trijicon long-range riflescope gives shooters the capacity to accurately expand their range in any light. It uses fiber optics and tritium to offer battery-free illumination. This product is one of our choices because it offers great value for money

Rating: 4.6/5

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13. Bushnell Elite Tactical G2DMR FFP Reticle Riflescope

Bushnell Optics, Drop Zone BDC Reticle Riflescope with Target Turrets and Side Parallax, Matte Black, 3-9x/40mm

This is one of Bushnell’s only first focal plane optics and has an etched reticle that can perfectly assist beginners in learning the ropes. With its oversized turrets, it makes adjustment of windage and elevation easy. It is protected by an ultra-wide band coating and fully multi-coated lens that transmits light satisfactorily for clear sight image.

With its 6 to 24x magnification and 50-millimeter objective lens, light transmission is optimum.

A rain guard HD anti-fog technology ensures the lens is permanently clear, no matter the weather condition. It is also a one-piece argon-purged tube to forestall moisture and fog.

Altogether, this scope is extremely suitable for long-range shooting.

Specs

  • Manufacturer: Bushnell
  • Item Number: ET6245FG
  • Product Dimensions: 4 x 6 x 18 inches
  • Weight: 1.69 pounds

Pros

  • Protected by an ultra-wide band coating
  • Lens is fully multi-coated
  • It transmits light adequately for clear sight image
  • Boasts a Rain Guard HD anti-fog technology
  • Delivers outstanding brightness and expanded range magnification
  • One-piece argon-purged tube for durability

Cons

  • Does not have a zero stop

Conclusion

The elite tactical range of optics is Bushnell’s highest quality of scopes. They combine their own proprietary multicoat technology with good glass to create a lens that optimizes light transmissions. This optics is also very durable and sealed against water, fog and moisture.

Rating: 4.5/5

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What is Long Range Shooting?

Based on the fact that long-range is often subjective, we think it is necessary that we specify the range we are looking at before we start suggesting which scopes might be suitable. The truth is that long-range is often relative, depending heavily on the firearms used.

For example, while a .22 rifle user might consider 100-150 yards to be long-range, a .223 user could easily go for 500 yards. A marksman with a .308 rifle would go even further to consider 1000 yards and more as his idea of long-range.

Consequently, there is no unanimous definition of ‘long-range’ for everyone. Your long-range power will be dependent on the caliber of your weapon and your rifle barrel strength.

It is knowledge of your rifle’s ballistics that will help you in determining what long-range means for you. Which brings us to our next topic…

Selecting A Long-Range Rifle

As earlier stated, your choice of rifle goes a long way in determining if you will make your long-distance shot. Generally, the bolt action rifle is considered to be more accurate than the semi-automatic. Choosing between them should be based on your needs.

If you’re going for accuracy in your shots, then you should surely go for the bolt action precision rifle. If, however, you are more concerned with a faster firing rate for hunting or a competition, then the semi-automatic rifle is your best bet.

Although this will depend on several factors with respect to both firearm and ammunition, as recent semi-automatic rifles can be incredibly accurate when designed with long-range shooting in mind.

Buying Guide

Why Do You Need A Quality Scope?

You need to choose a quality scope because the scope you use can make or break your shot. As much as the ballistics of your rifle is one factor that determines how far your shots can go, the scope is also as important. In fact, it is so important that an old rule of thumb has always been to spend as much on your scope as on your rifle.

This rule does not necessarily fit into this generation as the price of scopes have dropped even while quality rose. A more modern rule would be to go for the same level of quality in a scope as you have in your rifle.

Do not saddle your 6.5 Creedmoor with a scope that has only 3x magnification. Remember, you can afford to spend more on your scope because it can always be remounted on a better rifle in the future.

Why Do You Shoot?

While trying to select a scope for your air rifle, you should first decide what you need a scope for by examining your reasons for firing your rifle:

Self-Defense

Is your weapon solely for self-defense? If you do not use your rifle for any other reason but to defend your territory, then you probably don’t need a scope. A scope will possibly slow you down and get in the way of your self-defense. Do not buy a scope unless you’re protecting a large parcel of land.

Target Shooting

If your rifle is for shooting targets, the question of distance arises. How far away do you normally shoot from? Is your range 100 yards or less or do you shoot long distances? How far do you need to see to shoot your targets?

Hunting

What do you hunt and where do you hunt them? If you’re a small game hunter in a forest with thick trees, using a scope with above 10x magnification would be redundant as the trees won’t let you see anything. On the flip side, if you’re a big game hunter with access to locations with plenty of space, you may need a scope with zoom above 10x.

How Do You Choose a Scope For Long-Range Shooting?

Types of scopes abound, but they can be generally placed into two categories, based on the adjustability or otherwise of their magnification:

Variable Scopes

Scopes that can riffle through different zoom levels are called variables. They are the most common type of scopes and are ideal for dynamic surroundings while shooting.

Because the magnification can be adjusted to zoom in and out according to your needs, they are usually perfect for shooting accurate shots.

Most sniper rifles use variable magnification as it is best suited for long-range shooting. We also recommend it as the benefit of having that extra versatility cannot be over-emphasized.

Fixed Scopes

These scopes, on the other hand, have only one magnification telescopic setting. They are simpler to use than the variable scope because, with them, there is no need to adjust the magnification. You cannot change how far the scope zooms as it is permanently in one position.

As much as this can seem like an advantage, you should also note that it reduces the application in which it can be used. Nonetheless, it is the perfect choice if you always shoot in the same environment or at the same distance. They also tend to be more durable.

How Do You Differentiate Between A Fixed And Variable Scope?

The easiest way to tell a variable scope from a fixed scope on sight would be a glance at the numbers that they are given. These numbers contain specifications. First in the arrangement is the magnification, followed by the Objective Lens Diameter in millimeters. They are separated by an ‘X’.

For instance, in something like the TR23 5-20X50.

If as in the example above, the numbers to the left of the ‘X’ have a dash in-between, it simply means that it’s a variable scope and you can adjust the magnification, thereby making the target to appear from between 5x to 20x bigger in the scope.

But if there is no dash as is the case in the CTU 6X34 Compact scope, then it is a fixed scope as it cannot be adjusted.  The target would permanently appear 6X as big in the scope than it would to the naked eye.

The number after the X is the Objective Lens Diameter in millimeters. It simply tells us that the diameter of the front lens is 34 millimeters.

Other Things To Consider Before Buying A Long Range Scope

Magnification

Magnification settings directly affect the accuracy of your shots at extended ranges. It is the magnification setting of a scope that determines if it is built to be used for long-range or sniper rifles.

Generally speaking, typical hunting takes place between 200 and 500 yards and requires scopes with zooms that can be adjusted between 2x and 8x the normal size. On the other hand, a scope with a magnification setting of 10x will be perfect for shooting a target at 1000 yards, depending on the rifle used and the caliber of cartridge or bullet.

For long-range shooting, scopes with high magnification settings work best, this is because they can magnify their sight picture, making it possible for you to zoom in and see a target that is thousands of miles away. They can provide exceptional clarity and precision across considerable distances.

A major disadvantage of long-range scopes is that it narrows your field of vision, by excluding peripheral vision, and excludes light. This makes it impossible to track moving targets or to accurately aim at targets that are close to you.

Another disadvantage is that you’d definitely have to pay more for high-range scopes and they affect the ergonomics of your rifle as they are bigger and weigh more than the short-range scopes.

Objective Lens Diameter

Like there is generally no one size fits all scopes, there is also no perfect lens size. It all depends on the purpose the lens serves. You should read the objective lens diameter to deduce how much light a lens lets in.

Remember that the number after your magnification specification is usually the objective lens diameter i.e the size of the glass at the end of the scope. It is usually measured in millimeters.

Note that the objective lens’ size has a direct effect on the amount of light that is allowed inside the scope’s tube. In fact, the wider the size of the lens, the more light that can be gathered by the scope, and, the better you can see your target.

Bigger lenses generate a wider range of views and also create brighter images for your eyes. Thus, a scope with high power magnification and a wide objective lens gives you a better sight of your target without jeopardizing your field of vision.

But you should note that a bigger lens might limit the type of weapons you can mount on your scope as they tend to be bulkier and therefore, can alter the weight and balance of your rifle.

It is better to find a balance that meets your particular needs without also becoming an impediment.

Turrets

A target turret is a device mounted on the sides and top of an optic which makes it easy to adjust for windage and elevation. Making accurate adjustments require knowledge of the exact range and wind speed as does your BDC reticle. When combined, a target turret and standard reticle allow for a clearer sight picture at a long-range.

Turrets provide precise adjustments to the optic, making it possible to take accurate shots. The turrets also allow you to return the settings to a zero range, ready for another shot in new conditions.

Reticle Options

A reticle is a crosshair or aiming point in a scope. There are four basic categories of reticles:

  • Crosshairs: The crosshair is simply a set of crossed lines, that sometimes has a larger dot in the center to clarify the point of aim. It is probably the oldest pattern of reticle marking. Although the crosshair is suitable for short-range hunting, it is not a great choice for long-range scopes as there is no provision for estimating range or wind.
  • Duplex or Plex Reticles: Some companies offer this reticle with its number of small markings above the windage line of the scope. They are meant to be used for holdover assessment but are not found on serious tactical scopes. While they’re a great help for hunters who need to quickly estimate bullet drop at a distance, they are hardly enough for a calculated shot.
  • Shaped Reticles: These reticles have a chevron or circle in the middle. Scopes that come with this reticle are usually intended for short-range shooting and greatly increase target acquisition speed. However, these are not an adequate choice for long-range shooting as once you have passed the 100-yard mark, they are very difficult to get an accurate shot with.
  • Measured or BDC Reticles: Scopes that are fully marked are usually the long-range shooter’s best bet. These scopes make use of Bullet Drop Compensation (BDC), which are a series of estimation points that are stacked in a straight line beneath the center of the crosshairs. These estimation points enable you to accurately place a shot’s impact point as they correspond to your rifle’s zeroed range.

Because this reticle is fully marked, it is a little bit more complicated than the others but it can be easily learned with practice and are tremendously beneficial to the long-range shooter.

A downside of this reticle is that it is usually calibrated for specific ballistics, and so cannot be used for different weapons firing different calibers of bullets.

As with other specifications of a scope, the first way to select your reticle would be to first go for what you are used to and comfortable with. But if you are not familiar with any of them, then select based on which option best suits your needs.

Adjustments

The scope you’re going to buy should have the capacity to adjust the turrets. Long-range shooting usually requires adjustment. This adjustment might be necessary every time you shoot. There are two methods:

  • MOA: Approximately, 1 MOA will match 1.047 inches at 100 yards. For shots less than 600 yards, MOA is quickly calculated as 1-inch per 100 yards measurement to make the calculation of bullet drop or windage quick. But, the .047 that is ignored will catch up with you after 600 yards, especially if you’re trying to make an accurate shot at 1000 yards.
  • MRAD: MRAD is usually considered to be a little more complicated, especially to Americans who are used to measuring in inches and yards. 1 MRAD is roughly 3.6 inches at 100 yards.

MRAD is often favored by long-range shooters but it is usually bulky and expensive.

Finally, you want to make sure that the measurement of your reticle matches that of your turrets for easy calculations.

Eye Relief

Eye relief determines the distance between the rear lens of the scope and your eye where you can still see the target perfectly, and thereby maintain accuracy. It is especially important to prevent you from developing a ‘scope eye’ which happens when the weapon recoils (comes backward) after a shot.

A scope with a short eye relief is going to constantly result in a black eye. This means you should consider going for a scope with high eye relief as long-range rifles tend to have a lot of recoils. Anything above 3.6 would be a good bet.

Lens Coating

High-quality glass is crucial to your ability to see a mark during long-range shooting. But there is no standard that lets you know if the scope’s optic is made of high-quality glass.

The lens coating, on the other hand, is one thing you can check. Lens coating is supposed to reduce glare and improve light transmission. It is this gathering of as much light as possible that makes it possible for your optics to present you with a bright and clear target picture.

  • Coated: This means that at least one lens surface has a single layer of coating.
  • Fully Coated: All lens surfaces that touch air is fully covered with a single layer of coating.
  • Multi-Coated: At least one lens surface features multi-coatings.
  • Fully Multi-Coated: All the glass surfaces that touch air are fully coated, multiple times.

It is best to go for a fully multi-coated lens for your long-range scopes. This helps ensure you get the clearest pictures possible, which in turn would affect your accuracy.

Fully multi-coated optics will prevent your optics from being easily scratched, improve light transmission across all boards as well shed water from the glass on the lens (for hydrophilic and hydrophobic coatings).

It is necessary to note that fully multi-coated optics are usually more expensive.

Durability

It is the durability of your scope that determines how long it will last. Durability is especially essential with more expensive scopes. You should ensure you go for scopes that are made of aircraft-grade aluminum or something as sturdy.

These materials are designed to last longer and are usually anodized. Apart from being rust-resistant, an anodized lens also reduces the glare of the scope and helps you to efficiently blend into your environment.

The internal of the scope should be sealed, purged and gas-filled. This helps prevent moisture intrusion as water and dust can cause irreparable damage if they get inside the scope. Scopes that are resistant to moisture can also be used in inclement weather without fear of them ceasing to function.

Final Thoughts

For us, the best sniper scope for the money will not only possess the correct features needed to make that accurate 1,000-yard shot but will also be durable and give great value for money. This is probably why the Burris Optics XTR II Riflescope 8-40x50mm is easily our best choice of all the excellent scopes reviewed. To list a few of its unique winning features:

  • High magnification settings between 8x and 40x.
  • External durable frame that is shockproof. Waterproof and fog-proof lens.
  • It features a zero-click stop adjustment knob that lets you quickly and easily revert to the original zero setting without counting clicks.
  • It features an adjustable side parallax of 50 yards to infinity.
  • It features an FFP reticle.

But if for some reason this scope is not in line with what you want, there are 12 additional scopes for you to consider until you find exactly what fits your needs.

Always remember that no one scope, no matter how perfect its specifications or design, can satisfy every customer’s needs. Feel free to weigh all options before arriving at a scope that specifically contains all the features you want.

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