Best Sniper Scope — 7 Reviews

Last Updated: by Aiden Williams

Buying long-range optics, or sniper scopes as they are more commonly called, involves quite a bit of research and is not a decision to make impulsively.

There are many different rifle scopes out there that may seem suitable at a glance, but you wouldn’t really know that it’s the best sniper scope for you unless you look a little deeper.

Most optical sights are designed for very specific applications and might not be what you need.

So, my selections for the best long-range scope took into account all the important features a sniper would want a scope to have.Here is my roundup of the top six optics I found for a sniper rifle.

The Nightforce Optics NXS Riflescope should be your go-to scope for your sniper rifle if you are looking for speed, accuracy, repeatability, and reliability.

The Best Sniper Scopes Are:

ProductDetails  
1. Nightforce Optics NXS Riflescope

 

  • 5.5-22x magnification range
  • Second focal plane platform
  • Illuminated MOAR reticle
  • Zero stop turrets
  • Aircraft grade aluminum construction
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2. Leupold VX-3i LRP Riflescope

 

  • Ultra-lightweight design
  • First focal plane reticle
  • Long-range precision target adjustments
  • Twilight max light management system
  • Side focus
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3. Nikon P-Tactical BDC600 Riflescope

 

  • P-tactical BDC reticle
  • Fully multi-coated optical system
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum main tube
  • Spring-loaded instant zero-reset turrets
  • Quick focus eyepiece
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4. Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II Riflescope

 

  • Glass etched illuminated reticle
  • Fast focus eyepiece
  • Tactical exposed turrets
  • Argon purged and O-ring sealed
  • Extra-low dispersion glass
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5. Trijicon TR23 AccuPoint Riflescope

 

  • Advanced fiber optics
  • Dual illumination system
  • Second focal plane reticle
  • Zero forward emission
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum housing
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6. Redfield Revolution 3-9x40mm Riflescope

 

  • Accu-Range reticle
  • Resettable finger click adjustments
  • Premium lenses
  • Rapid target acquisition eyepiece
  • Fog-proof, shockproof, and waterproof main tube
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7. Steiner 5122 T5Xi Riflescope

 

  • SCR illuminated reticle
  • Low profile, second rotation indicator, resettable turrets
  • Side focus parallax
  • Long-range 34 mm tube
  • Razor edge image clarity
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1. Nightforce Optics NXS Riflescope — Overall Best Sniper Rifle Scope

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

Introducing the most rugged, reliable, and repeatable scope for your sniper, the Nightforce Optics NXS Riflescope.

Specs

  • 5-22x magnification range
  • Second focal plane platform
  • Illuminated MOAR reticle
  • Zero stop turrets
  • Aircraft grade aluminum construction

This riflescope has an optical design that maximizes resolution for shooting at a distance and transmits the most possible light for low light conditions.

All the glass within the scope has a mil-spec bonding agent, which prevents any glass to metal contact, ensuring the optics withstands the punishment of heavy recoil or heavy field use. It has a 30-millimeter main tube diameter with a tube thickness of two to three times that of the competition. This allows the scope to absorb almost any use and abuse.

This model is standard with high-speed adjustments, which have twenty minutes of angle or ten mil radians per revolution.

But I was a bit disappointed by the concept of the second focal plane because the holdover marks and the range estimation were only valid at a specific power setting.

Pros

  • Wide magnification factor boosts precision accuracy over long ranges
  • Superior objective lens offers maximum resolution and clarity
  • Remarkably easy to return with the zero stop technology
  • Slim profile is highly adaptable to different mounting systems
  • Rugged design withstands heavy field use and heavy recoil

Cons

  • It is a little bit heavy
  • Mounting gear not provided

Conclusion

It is a military-grade scope that is capable of long-range shooting and possesses extreme ruggedness as well as reliability.

Overall Rating – 5.0

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2. Leupold VX-3i LRP Riflescope — Best Front Focal Plane 

Leupold VX-3i LRP 6.5-20x50mm Side Focus Riflescope

If you are looking for a long-range precision rifle scope for your sniper, look no further than the Leupold VX-3i LRP, a scope engineered to deliver relentless performance.

Specs

  • Ultra-lightweight design
  • First focal plane reticle
  • Long-range precision target adjustments
  • Twilight max light management system
  • Side focus

This scope has an ultra-lightweight design, which is great because it disperses recoil energy for unbeatable performance and durability. It has long-range precision target adjustment that offers an easy to grab 1/10 MIL or 1/4 MOA dial with a revolution indicator, zero stop, and three revolutions of travel.

I really appreciate the 30 mm main tube construction, considering its increased windage and elevation adjustment range and incredible strength.

The side focus on this scope allows for a simple parallax fix. You can easily fine-tune the parallax from any shooting or hunting position.

But the set I got did not come with mounting accessories. Also, there are no color options.

Pros

  • Setting up the scope is pretty straightforward
  • Upgraded turrets lock zero easily for vertical adjustments
  • Unmatched low light performance for hunters
  • Delivers exceptional edge to edge lens clarity
  • Highly waterproof, shockproof, and fog-proof

Cons

  • First focal plane may be obtrusive for long-range shooting
  • You may not get mounting accessories

Conclusion

The Leupold VX-3i is engineered to perfection. You will get excellent glass clarity, unmatched light transmission, and a high performing zero stop.

Overall Rating – 4.8

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3. Nikon P-Tactical BDC600 Riflescope — Most Generous Eye Relief

Nikon P-Tactical .223 3-9x40 Matte BDC600

If you are looking for a high performing sniper rifle scope that comes with all your desired features, look no further than the Nikon P-Tactical BDC600.

Specs

  • P-tactical BDC reticle
  • Fully multi-coated optical system
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum main tube
  • Spring-loaded instant zero-reset turrets
  • Quick focus eyepiece

This scope has the brand’s flagship p-tactical BDC reticle, which is a good feature because it allows for extra holdover and you can optimize it with spot-on ballistic technology.

It comes with one of the industry’s best spring-loaded instant zero-reset turrets, which you can effortlessly reset to zero once you are sighted-in for easy referencing.

This scope is equipped with a quick focus eyepiece and generous eye relief, making it easy and comfortable for you to acquire picture-perfect images.

Another amazing feature is the fully multi-coated optical system, which is anti-reflective and allows for optimum light transmission and superior image quality.

It is certainly a high-end scope, but the BDC circles were a bit small for me to see through a darker background. Also, I had a few issues getting the parallax right.

Pros

  • Zero reset is a breeze on this scope
  • Quick focus eyepiece allows for fast image acquisition
  • Generous eye relief keeps you safe during heavy recoil
  • Anti-reflective lenses allow for optimum light transmission
  • Rugged main tube performs excellently under unforgiving conditions

Cons

  • BDC circles may be a bit smaller for some shooters
  • Possible to experience fussy parallax

Conclusion

This scope gives you clarity and precision that you need for your sniper rifle. The rugged construction can withstand the test of time.

Overall Rating – 4.8

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4. Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II Riflescope — Best Extra-Low Dispersion Glass

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

Introducing the Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II, which is revamped with upgraded features from top to bottom.

Specs

  • Glass etched illuminated reticle
  • Fast focus eyepiece
  • Tactical exposed turrets
  • Argon purged and O-ring sealed
  • Extra-low dispersion glass

If you like to dial your clicks for bullet drop compensation, you will appreciate the exposed laser edged turrets and adjustable parallax. The scope’s two to ten power zoom range provides a wide variety of magnification options for either long range or short-range scenarios.

A true one power on its low end provides reflex sight functionality, which is a great feature because it increases magnification to precisely execute shots at greater distances.

I really appreciate the extra-low dispersion glass on this model, considering how effective it is at increasing color fidelity and resolution.

But it was disappointing that I received a used product and not the one displayed on the product page.

Pros

  • Illuminated reticle allows for precision aiming in low light
  • Reticle focusing was easy and quick with the fast focus eyepiece
  • Tactical exposed turrets dial in so easily and hold zero pretty well
  • Rugged design is built to withstand heavy recoil
  • Generous eye relief keeps you safe from recoil

Cons

  • Possible to receive a used product
  • No mounting gear is available

Conclusion

This scope will take your sniper rifle shooting experience to a whole new level with its top-of-the-line design features and performance.

Overall Rating – 4.7

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5. Trijicon TR23 AccuPoint Riflescope — Best Second Focal Plane 

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

Meet the Trijicon TR23 AccuPoint, a tactical long-range shooting scope that is suitable for snipers, varmint hunters, and tactical shooters.

Specs

  • Advanced fiber optics
  • Dual illumination system
  • Second focal plane reticle
  • Zero forward emission
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum housing

This rugged scope is tritium and fiber optics illuminated, which is great because it provides you with exceptional aiming point illumination speeds for precision target acquisition.

The lenses on this model are multi-coated. So, you should expect an optimum light transmission and superior clarity with zero distortion.

At longer ranges, you will love the second focal plane reticle, which remains the same size as you increase magnification, providing you with a more exact aiming point.

Another thing that you will find helpful when you are hunting in bright daylight is the light collector knob, which you can turn away from the main light source to dim the brightness.

However, the green illumination of my scope stopped working, and for some reason the seals failed.

Pros

  • Dual illumination offers superior aiming point brightness
  • Has a remarkably fast speed of focus compared to conventional optics
  • Fast focus eyepiece allows for quick image acquisition
  • Windage and elevation adjustments are generous for optimum travel
  • Anti-reflective glass boosts superior light transmission

Cons

  • Green illumination may stop working
  • It is possible not to receive the reticle you order

Conclusion

As far as 5-20×50 scopes are concerned, the Trijicon TR23 AccuPoint is well-equipped for the job with minimum design flaws. You will pay top dollar for consistency and durability.

Overall Rating – 4.6

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6. Redfield Revolution 3-9x40mm Riflescope — Best RTA Eyepiece 

Redfield Revolution 3-9x40mm Riflescope with Accu-Range Reticle, Matte Black

Introducing the Redfield Revolution, a long-range precision scope that is ideal for your sniper rifle. This unique masterpiece features a rapid target acquisition eyepiece.

Specs

  • Accu-Range reticle
  • Resettable finger click adjustments
  • Premium lenses
  • Rapid target acquisition eyepiece
  • Fog-proof, shockproof, and waterproof main tube

This scope uses the Accu-Range reticle, which is a great feature because it provides you with several possible aiming points that you can use to compensate for bullet drop.

It is fitted with tactile and audible clicks, which are easy to grab and adjust even if your fingers are wet or dirty.

I really like the rapid target acquisition eyepiece, considering how easy and fast it is to align my eye with the eyepiece.

I had a very challenging experience with the focus ring, though. It took me a while to produce a clear image. The image clarity wasn’t the best at higher magnification.

Pros

  • Lightweight, fog-proof, and waterproof design
  • Vapor deposition coated lenses offer superior light transmission
  • Audible and tactile turrets allow for simple dials
  • Eyepiece is fast and effective at acquiring the target
  • Main tube is weatherproof and waterproof

Cons

  • Possible to experience issues with the focus ring
  • No mounting accessories are available

Conclusion

If you are looking for a reasonably priced scope that will give you decent performance with your sniper rifle, look no further than the Redfield Revolution.

Overall Rating – 4.5

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7. Steiner 5122 T5Xi Riflescope — Best Special Competition Reticle

Steiner Model 5122 T5Xi 5-25x 56mm Riflescope, w/SCR Reticle

The Steiner 5122 T5Xi is a relatively compact and relatively lightweight scope that comes equipped with the first focal plane reticle.

Specs

  • SCR illuminated reticle
  • Low profile, second rotation indicator, resettable turrets
  • Side focus parallax
  • Long-range 34 mm tube
  • Razor edge image clarity

This scope has an oversized 34 mm one-piece tube, which not only improves strength, but also offers superior long-range elevation and windage adjustments.

It uses a long-range special competition reticle that is located in the front focal plane, which is great because it offers extended illumination area for precise distance ranging.

You will really appreciate the build quality and performance of the low profile turrets, considering that they come with hard zero stops for adjustments of elevation and windage.

Another good feature is the 14-psi pressurized nitrogen that is contained in scope, which ensures that the optics is completely fog-proof.

But I had quite a hard time getting the parallax right because it was fussy. This was quite disappointing, considering how much I spent on the scope.

Pros

  • Oversized tube offers you reliable strength and performance
  • Low profile turrets are easy to zero in and maintain zero
  • Special competition reticle ensures that you hit those long range targets
  • High-quality glass offers superior light transmission and image clarity
  • Highly waterproof construction can withstand fog and moisture

Cons

  • Getting the parallax right may be a challenge
  • It is a little bit heavy

Conclusion

If you want a scope that will never lose a zero and will take recoil well, even after a few hard hits and drops, look no further than the Steiner 5122 T5Xi.

Overall Rating – 4.4

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Buying Guide

You should mainly focus on versatility when selecting the best sniper scope because the distances can be so different. Here are the various things you should consider.

Magnification

The first thing you should consider is magnification, which has everything to do with optical quantity and optical quality.

The tendency when choosing rifle scope magnification is to always go higher. What I want to stress to you is that it can be beneficial, but it also comes with a set of detractors.

As you go up in magnification, things like image brightness, sharpness, contrast, and clarity will actually go down.

If you are going to shoot a sniper rifle, going with a low magnification rifle scope might be a bad way to go. What you need are optics that are optimized for long-range shooting.

First Focal or Second Focal Plane

There are two types of scopes manufactured out there: first / front focal plane and rear / second focal plane.

For the first focal plane scope, the crosshair is always the correct measurement size no matter what power setting you are using.

If you set your FFP scope on 3.2x, your crosshair will show you 1 MIL. If you adjust to 17x, your crosshair will still show 1 MIL, but with a bigger image.

Using a FFP scope allows you to make precise adjustments simply because your sub-tensions are consistent across the entire magnification range.

The main disadvantage of FFP scopes is that the crosshair could get extremely big when using a higher magnification setting.

At the lower magnification, the crosshair may get too small to the extent that you cannot pick it up on the eyepiece, especially in low light situations.

The most popular reticle design that you will come across today is the rear / second focal plane. With this design, your reticle size never changes.

The benefit of SFP scopes is that your reticle is always very visible and not affected by magnification changes.

But you may face significant challenges when you have trajectory compensation. Your holdover or sub-tensions will only be accurate on one magnification setting.

Turret Type

Turrets are among the most important design features of any sniper or long-range scope. Usually, a scope has two turrets: one for elevation and one for windage.

Obviously, the elevation turret is going to allow up and down movement and the windage turret will allow lateral movement.

What determines the quality and performance of turrets for long-range shooters is turret tracking, which has to be 100% reliable.

There are different kinds of turrets, such as:

Low Profile Spotting Turrets

These are normally found on spotting scopes. These turrets are usually capped. To access them, you will have to unscrew the cap. Underneath the cap you will have a small turret.

This type of turret does not provide the best tracking for long-range applications. Not to mention that they are not very easy to grab.

Target Style Turrets

These are usually tall turrets with markings in Minute of Angle (MOA) for adjustment. They are considered the best for precise shot placement over long distances.

After establishing a baseline zero, you can set target turrets to 0 using the graduated scales. Then, you can apply the requisite elevation clicks to achieve long-range hits.

The turrets may be graduated in MILs, MOAs, or inches. You want to make sure that the units of measurement on the turrets are similar to the ones on the reticle.

Final Words

Our overall best sniper scope is the Nightforce Optics NXS Riflescope, which is our most proven sniper and long-range riflescope.

Its wide magnification range allows for pinpoint accuracy at the longest possible distances. Not to mention its excellent and unmatched magnification at close ranges.

Another reason why this model took the top spot in our roundup is the rugged construction. It is built to withstand heavy recoil, repeated field use, and extreme weather conditions.

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