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Whether you’re a hunter or just a sport shooter, you’ll definitely appreciate an excellent performing scope for the long-range. The thrill of taking shots thousands of yards off is an experience every shooter needs to experience in their lifetime.
And to be able to bring out the maximum potential of your gun, you’ll need to be equipped with the right scope to go along with it.
When we think of long-distance shooting, we’re considering lengths where standard iron sights become ineffective. With that said, you may now be asking yourself, what is the best long range scope on the market?
In our guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know about scopes and give our favorite in the trade.
Best Long Range Rifle Scopes Comparison in 2021
Last update on 2021-01-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Top 10 Long Range Scope on the Market
Our selection of scopes all effortlessly and consistently hit a minimum of 300 yards. Standard features like powerful optics with parallax focus and turret adjustments make a great scope, though some have additional pieces to help give them an extra edge. Here are some of our best picks:
Vortex Optics Strike Eagle
Serious competition shooters will love this optic for its generous magnification and broad range adjustments. This beast of a scope is defined by speed and versatility. Its ability to adjust up to six powers when you need to engage targets at a distance makes it a favorite pick.
If you appreciate high quality, then the fully multi-coated lenses that deliver clear, crisp sight pictures even at low light performance will leave you impressed with this scope.
The fast focus dial on the eyepiece ensures that your reticle is always sharp. Furthermore, to ensure that you’ll be able to go out in any weather, it is constructed from reliable material that makes it fog, shock, and waterproof.
Its alignment is maximized to improve accuracy and optimum visual performance. And to top it all off, it has a capped reset turret that allows quick re-indexing without any tool after sighting in the riflescope.
To confer the best accuracy, it comes furnished with listed reticle subtensions that estimate range, the holdover as well as wind drift correction at the highest magnification. All shooters appreciate strength and rigidity in their tools, and the durability offered by the solid block of this scope gives just that.
A waterproof O-ring seal prevents moisture, dust, and debris from penetrating the binocular for reliable performance in all environments. Another key feature is its one-power low-end view, which easily transitions up to 6x magnification for quick target acquisition at long distance.
You’ll get the best of both worlds whether you’re in the field hunting that alpha coyote or practicing out at the range with this reticle on your side.
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Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical
This scope stands at the intersection of precision and value, delivering an impressive array of features and performance. You’ll be impressed by their extra-low dispersion glass and fully multi-coated lenses that optimize the light gathering ability of the scope. This translates into crisp, bright sight images, even in poor lighting.
Rather than cramming features at the expense of turret performance and optical quality, they dial it back, putting the focus where it counts. Exposed turrets bring impressive tracking performance to keep subtensions accurate at all magnifications and in proportion for viewing.
Another high-end feature worth mentioning is the Precision-Glide Erector System, which uses premium components in the zoom lens to ensure smooth magnification changes under the harshest conditions.
We also love the exposed tactical turrets and a side parallax knob that afford you the tools needed for long-distance precision shooting.
Its relatively simple design places you firmly in the driver’s seat with the potential to take on that 1,000-yard mark and beyond, suitable even for new shooters.
The construction uses premium components in the erector-spring system to ensure maximum repeatability and ease of adjustment.
And if you’re keen on convenience features, the fast-focus eyepiece allows you to have quick and easy reticle focusing.
What’s more, the raised magnification rib on the ring facilitates fast magnification changes in the heat of the action, allowing you to do what you do best.
Its sturdy 30mm one-piece main tube provides a solid platform for the internal mechanisms.
The construction is a lightweight and durable aluminum alloy treated with a scratch-resistant, low-reflectivity matte black anodized finish.
It’s built to withstand the rigors of heavy outdoor use in all weather conditions, with the optical tube filled with nitrogen and O-ring sealed to be waterproof and resistant to internal fogging. Finally, its tactical crosshair design has extra-long fine center hairs that won’t obstruct targets.
Vortex Optics Viper HS-T
If you need a long-distance scope for a high-powered rifle, this piece, one of the multiple configurations in the Viper Hunting & Shooting Tactical line, is for you. With their premium, extra-low dispersion lenses, you’ll get excellent resolution and color fidelity.
Their XR coatings provide enhanced light gathering capability while Armortek coating protects the lenses.
The exposed target-style turrets are constructed for precise and repeatable finger-adjustable clicks. Only a fraction of the thickness of human hair, this reticle operates on a fiber optic system for serious precision on the smallest targets at the greatest distance.
Additionally, the CRS zero stop allows for a reliable return to zero capability after dialing temporary elevation corrections.
A 4x zoom provides magnification versatility while the side focus parallax adjustment provides optimal image focus and parallax removal. The fast focus eyepiece allows the shooter to adjust the reticle to your eye correctly.
The one-piece tube is O-ring sealed and Argon purged to ensure waterproof and fog-proof performance. This Viper HS-T is a versatile yet simple rifle scope that is at home in a hunting, target shooting, or tactical application.
Further, it has a generous four-inch eye relief at 6X and is even good with a 3-inch eye relief at 24X. The professional construction with the optical system provides you with versatility and performance with each shot you make.
Additionally, this impressive rifle scope gives you extreme precision plus heightened versatility, enabling fast-target acquisition, and smooth operation. No matter if you find yourself perched on a tree stand or mountaintop, this piece will come to your rescue.
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Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II
If you’re ready to take a leap in your long-distance shooting, then this rock-solid tool is for you. Its versatility made; ideally for close to long-range shooting scenarios.
Shooters who dial their turrets for bullet drop and wind compensation will appreciate the laser-etched turrets with an adjustable parallax and the RZR zero stop.
The reticle offers shooters highly functional, intuitive, and detailed hold points, and yet remains uncluttered for optimal viewing. It also features ten intensity levels with off positions between each set for the extra edge every shooter appreciates. A fiber optic rotation indicator ensures you can keep track of your turret position with ease.
Not only are the adjustments crisp and easy to feel, but there is also a visible rotational indicator that changes color to indicate one full rotation. One more thing you’re sure to enjoy is the extra-low dispersion glass that increases the resolution and color fidelity.
Their impressive XR multi-coated lenses increase light transmission, while the Armortek coatings protect the lenses from scratches, oil, and dirt.
O-ring sealed and argon purged, the Viper delivers waterproof and fog-proof performance while the single-piece, aircraft-grade aluminum construction gives you a durable platform.
Tactical-style exposed turrets provide fast, accurate, and easily read elevation and windage adjustments. The illumination dial is cleanly integrated into the side focus adjustment knob for easy access and streamlined performance.
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Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II
Built precisely for long-range dialing and precision shots, this great rifle scope features a glass-etched reticle that has 11 illumination intensities and ensures that subtensions stay accurate.
To suit all your shooting needs, it incorporates a locking mechanism that prevents accidental elevation adjustments, making it perfect for advanced precision shooting and tactical operations.
A visual rotation indicator allows shooters to keep track of revolutions on the turret easily. Furthermore, the side parallax adjustment and illumination controls have been integrated into one knob for easy access and streamlined performance.
All lenses are fully multi-coated with XR plus anti-reflective coatings to increase light transmission for fantastic brightness.
Seasoned shooters will love this scope for its generous magnification. Enabling zooming of up to 6x, you’ll be endowed with impressive versatility, and a fast-focusing eyepiece adjusts the reticle into sharp focus.
Additionally, the APO optical system delivers stunning image quality through premium, high density, extra-low dispersion glass.
And if you need more proof that this piece is a beast in the field, it comes with an O-ring seal and Argon purging, delivering waterproof and fog-proof performance.
Designed and engineered for dialing precision long-range shots in extreme environments, they’ll pique the interest of most serious precision shooters. Their sophisticated L-Tec turret system adds to its high-performance features, making it a state-of-the-art optic with deadly accuracy.
To prevent galling or deformation, the hardened steel pad comes heat-treated and interfaces with a hardened steel ring on the erector tube for steel-on-steel contact.
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Nightforce Optics 5.5-22×56 NXS
This piece is a hit with military operations as it’s developed for the military’s extreme long-range shooting and hard target acquisition. It provides broad magnification combined with a large field-of-view to give you the best shooting experience.
Law enforcement professionals who demand unfailing, repeatable performance won’t fail to be impressed by this piece with its high precision.
Their four inches of eye relief paired with a 100 MOA elevation travel means that you’ll be a champion wherever you take it, whether it’s the field or just at the range. If you’re looking for impeccable vision clarity, this piece will give you an outstanding performance with its оbјесtіvе lеnѕ optimized for ultіmаtе lоw-lіght use.
The top-of-the-range riflescope meets the demands of shooters and hunters. It combines performance and innovation in a rifle scope without sacrificing ruggedness, dependability, and craftsmanship.
Another top feature is the rеtісlе, giving this long-range scope the ability to be appropriately used as a hunting scope. It ѕроrtѕ аn іmрrеѕѕіvе turret with a pоѕіtіvе-сlісk that is fіngеr-аdјuѕtаblе even with glоvеѕ оn.
The 30mm mаіn tubе bоdу gives it mахіmum іntеrnаl rаngе аdјuѕtmеntѕ, and as a bonus feature, it comes fullу wаtеrрrооf, fоg-рrооf, аnd ѕhосk-рrооf. For fast adjustment, the hіgh-sрееd turrеt sуѕtеm ensures that your performance is always at its peak.
It also comes with an onе-ріесе, іntеgrаtеd еуеріесе аnd роwеr rіng ѕуѕtеm to help you optimize your time at the range.
Vortex Optics Golden Eagle HD 15-60×52
Competitive shooters require a particular set of features to stay ahead of the competition, and this next scope hits the mark (pun intended). With a 15-60x magnification, plus a positive and repeatable tracking, it’s perfect for fine-tuning that record shot.
Plus, its relatively lightweight build allows shooters to adhere to strict competition weight limits.
Whether you’re interested in recreational sports or are a serious competitor, you’ll love this scope. It has dual use, making it suitable for both shooting and tactical hunting.
With its minimal features, you’ll be able to focus on the only thing that needs your attention, which is the traditional set of fine crosshairs that subtend 0.016 MOA at 40X.
A second focal plane reticle maintains the same ideally-sized appearance. Speed and adaptability are some of the most crucial features that make this scope great at helping you achieve wide-angle aims at absolute intervals. It is also excellent when it comes to hunting with low light, from sunset to the first light of dawn.
The windage turret included allows you to dial a full 10 MOA revolution of windage before the scale repeats for impeccable convenience.
A great aperture stop ring broadens the depth of focus, allowing the shooter to more easily observe downrange mirage and other wind indicators while keeping the target in focus.
It is optimized to function optimally in all weather, and its second focal plane reticle option helps maximize precision in known-distance long-range targets.
All these features are complemented by a top-tier optical system making for a super-sharp target picture downrange and the ability to read mirage to make you better at what you do.
Burris Optics XTR II Rifle Scope – 5-25x50mm Riflescope
For precise target acquisition, trust this scope to help you identify your target and maintain control with excellent resolution and tactical-appropriate reticles. With a versatile 5-times zoom system, you’ll enjoy better target acquisition at long ranges, making it perfect for long-distance shooting.
Moreover, the high-grade optical glass, ensures that you enjoy excellent and clear optics with lasting durability.
This beast is made ideally for tactical shooting. Equipped with this machine, you’ll be able to enjoy maximum precision during maneuvers with an illuminated reticle that reduces the time to get on target in any lighting condition.
If your mission is competitive shooting, then you can count on this scope to deliver advanced windage and elevation adjustments that are fast and accurate.
The ergonomic side focus affords you better vision when shooting with its easy-to-reach parallax adjustment from 50 yards to infinity, for improved accuracy at long distances.
One other worthwhile mentionable feature is the versatile 5-times zoom system that gives a larger field of view at close ranges and even better target acquisition at long ranges.
Additionally, the front focal plane reticle design allows the reticle size to increase or decrease as magnification is increased or decreased to ensure you maximize your time out in the field.
You’ll also be granted great trajectory compensation that’s always correct and proportional for the selected power setting, also called the first focal plane.
Excellent resolution optics and tactical-appropriate reticles and adjustment knobs make it easier to identify targets and adjust for windage and elevation.
You’ll also be unstoppable with the striking 11 adjustable brightness settings to allow you to navigate night vision, low light, and daytime, plus a convenient battery-saver position between each setting.
Finally, a triple internal spring-tension system allows the scope to hold zero through shock, recoil, and vibrations.
Bushnell Elite Tactical G2DMR FFP Reticle Riflescope
Manufactured with the newest and best protective lens coating that molecularly bonds to the glass and repels water, oil, dust, debris, as well as prevents scratches is this top-class scope.
Tactical precision is the order of the day with this incredible machine, with optical excellence and rock-solid reliability all converged in one to give you a renowned piece.
The controls of this riflescope are incredibly responsive to enhance your shooting experience with its sleek design and cutting-edge engineering.
A favorite among law enforcement and military experts, this one provides optical precision and blacked-out cosmetics for the most demanding tactical shooting situations you can face.
The 30-millimeter one-piece tube construction is purged with Argon for maximum reliability. For superior visibility and accuracy across the entire magnification range, it has a powerful adjustable magnification and a 50-millimeter objective lens that offers exceptional brightness and extended-range magnification.
Its impressive throw hammer lever allows quick magnification changes with a simple flick of a finger, giving you the best control you’ll ever experience. It is exquisitely designed for ranging, holdover, and windage correction.
What’s more, the ultra-wideband coating and fully multi-coated optics give impressive light transmission and image clarity. And for even better vision, the anti-fog technology keeps the lens clear in any condition.
It has all the essential features that a shooter needs from a top-tier rifle scope. The rifle scope comes with a sunshade of 2-inches to keep glare away and to offer high resolution and crystal-clear image at 24x magnification.
Moreover, it’ll be compatible with a vast range of rings with its 30mm tube. The exceptional, blacked-out finish allows you to adjust the position and avoid reflecting sunlight.
NightForce ATACR 5-25x56mm F1 ZeroStop
A forgiving eye box with excellent eye relief gets you on target quickly and easily. You’ll get a choice of illuminated MOA or Mil based ranging reticles, and whatever you settle for, you’ll be guaranteed of beautiful ED optics. A capped windage adjustment helps prevent accidental adjustment in the field.
Fully multi-coated ED glass lenses perform superbly, even in low light transmission, giving you brilliant images and exceptional color contrast. With the varying magnification ranges, this line of scopes can cover almost any situation a shooter may have. Featuring sophisticated reticles, it leaves nothing to chance.
Without a doubt, this will be the perfect all-around long-range riflescope. It is packed full of features to maximize your speed and precision, like the XtremeSpeed thread for making a fast diopter adjustment. This particular piece has great parallax adjustment, from 45 yards to infinity.
Shooters will love it for its ruggedness and reliability with an impressive construction from the best, durable materials.
The parallax adjustment is marked with approximate numbered distances and is coupled with impressive digital reticle illumination.
Also featured is an eyepiece that impeccably enhances engraving, with an integrated adjustable magnification.
This piece redefines the “long” in the long-range, leaving the possibilities endless.
Features to Look for Before You Buy
Not all rifle scopes are created equal. Some are better at distance shooting than others. So, what makes a scope suitable for extreme distance shooting? Here are some things to look for.
It’s hard to hit what you can’t see. If you want to ping targets at a distance, you obviously need to be able to see those targets. A magnifying scope helps you do just that.
The first one or two numbers on a scope’s label indicate its magnification. These are the numbers that precede the x in the scope’s designation. Bigger numbers before the x mean you can zoom in closer on distant targets.
However, the amount of magnification needed for long-range shooting is often relevant to your target size. Shooting big game like moose, elk, or bighorn sheep at 300 yards doesn’t require the same level of magnification that popping groundhogs from the same distance requires.
Generally speaking, the smaller the target you’re shooting, the more magnification you’ll need from your scope.
Magnification is often the first thing shooters consider when buying a scope. While magnification is an essential feature in a long-range optic, it isn’t the most crucial feature. Remember, you can’t hit what you can’t see.
Buy a cheap scope with poor glass quality, and it might look like you are peering through the bottom of a milk glass, especially when dialed on to the highest magnification.
Magnification is nothing without resolution, so don’t think that big magnification numbers automatically mean you’ll be able to see those distant targets better. In addition to magnification, look for a scope with high-quality glass that is fully multi-coated.
Fixed vs. Variable Scope for Long Range
A fixed power scope offers one level of magnification and one level only. When looking at the label of a fixed power scope, you will see a single number before the x. This number indicates the scope’s one level of magnification.
Fixed power scopes are typically less expensive than their variable power cousins. They also tend to be less complicated and offer a much more forgiving shooting experience for inexperienced shooters.
Variable power scopes offer a range of magnification, allowing you to zoom in or out for different shooting conditions. The magnification range on a variable scope will have two numbers separated by a dash preceding the x.
A 6-12x scope has a magnification of 6 times at its lowest setting, and the image will appear 12 times larger at full magnification.
Not only do variable scopes cost more than fixed power scopes, but they are also much more complicated to operate. They can be harder to zero in and require parallax adjustment. Variable ranges are also bigger and heavier than the standard fixed power optic.
So why would you want a variable power scope? First, they are incredibly versatile, allowing you to fit a wide range of shooting “jobs.” Variable scopes are also well-suited for long-range shooting because of their wider field of view (FOV).
They’re able to increase light transmission for brighter twilight shooting and are handy for eliminating mirage distortion (which can be a severe issue as the heat comes off your barrel).
The number that follows the x on the label indicates the diameter of the objective lens in millimeters. And the objective lens (located at the end of the scope closest to the target) is usually larger than the rest of the scope.
Primarily, the job of the objective lens is to let in light. Just like large windows brighten a room, a large objective lens creates a brighter image, especially in low light conditions.
Large objective lenses (50mm or larger) are common in the long-range shooting because a big objective lens improves the image quality at the high end of the scope’s magnification range.
However, large objective lenses do have some drawbacks. Scopes with a large objective lens are large and heavy, which just isn’t practical in many hunting situations.
Their large size also requires you to mount the scope higher. Because of the scope’s height, getting a proper cheek weld and a good sight picture at the same time can be challenging, which can cause significant accuracy issues.
Several different reticle styles are useful for long-range shooting. Which style works best is mostly a matter of personal preference. Whatever design you choose, make sure it has MIL or MOA marks of some sort. These marks will help you effectively compensate for windage and range.
MIL vs. MOA for Long Range
MIL and MOA are angular measurements that are highly useful in long-range shooting. Here are the basics:
• MOA (Minute of Angle) is a measurement of 1/60th of a degree
• MOA is equal to 1.047 inches at 100 yards
• MIL (milliradians) is 1/1000th of a radian
• MIL is equal to 3.6 inches at 100 yards
The argument on MIL versus MOA is relentless, and since each has its own dedicated fan base, this argument won’t be resolved any time soon. However, the truth is that one isn’t any better than the other. They are two different ways of expressing the same thing. Just be sure you know which system your scope uses.
First Focal Plane vs. Second Focal Plane for Long Range Shooting
The location of the reticle within the scope is essential for long-range shooting. A first focal plane (sometimes referred to as “front focal plane” or FFP) reticle is bound to the scope’s magnification. Hence if you zoom in on a target, the reticle grows proportionally to the magnification.
A second focal plane (SFP) reticle doesn’t change size with the magnification. Because it is static, an SFP reticle is only valid at one magnification.
Most long-range shooters prefer an FFP reticle because they can use it to effectively compensate for bullet drop and windage across the optic’s entire magnification range.
It is the optical effect that occurs when your reticle seems to shift when you move your head. This effect makes the target’s position appear offset from the reticle center.
Parallax usually happens when using a scope at higher magnification, and it can be a severe issue at distances over 250 yards. Without adjusting for parallax, you can easily miss important shots.
Some scopes are “parallax free,” meaning the parallax is set up internally and locked in place for all ranges of magnification. However, parallax-free scopes are usually designed for low range shots (less than 400 yards).
When shooting long range with a variable power scope, you need to adjust for parallax, usually with a knob located on the side of the scope. When parallax has been appropriately adjusted, the reticle will be locked in place, no matter which way you shift your head.
All rifle scopes have windage and elevation knobs to help you zero the optic at a set distance. However, the turrets on most scopes are small and have a low profile.
If you plan to shoot long distances, a scope with target turrets can be a major asset. Target Turrets are specialized turrets that are tall, easy to turn, make tactile or audible clicks, and have external markings to represent MOA or MIL. Long-range shooters use target turrets to make fine adjustments for wind and range.
Long Distance Tips and Tricks
When shooting long-distance targets (especially those out past 1000 yards), precision is vital. Even the smallest inconsistencies can have adverse effects on accuracy that intensify with every yard of distance. Here are a few tips and tricks to help improve your long-range shooting.
Don’t Skimp on Your Scope
You might find it hard to spend big bucks on a rifle scope, but the quality is essential in long-distance shooting and quality costs. Your scope is the most fragile and complicated piece of shooting equipment you will own.
Learn to Breathe
Every time you take a breath, your body moves. Although slight, every inhale and exhale shift your rifle sights. To minimize the effects of these tiny movements, squeeze the trigger on the natural respiratory pause (the space between breaths at the bottom of the exhale).
It can be tempting to jump off the weapon after the shot. However, after the shot breaks, stay with your gun. Maintain your cheek weld and continue the trigger squeeze. Follow the shot all the way to the target.
Zero to a Higher Standard
Most deer hunters making shots under 300 yards are happy if they can get three shots in an 8-inch circle (about the size of a deer’s vital area) at 100 yards. Precision long-range shooters won’t be happy with that level of accuracy.
If you want to be a successful long-range shooter, hold your zero to a higher standard than the average hunter. The goal should be three consecutive rounds within a 1-inch square at 100 yards.
Choose the Right Ammo
Consistent accuracy requires consistent ammunition. Many serious distance shooters choose to hand load their ammunition to ensure it is loaded to very exacting standards.
If you don’t have the time or desire to load your own, at least opt for loads that feature a Sierra MatchKing projectile. These are some of the most precise bullets ever made.
Frequently Asked Questions
If we had to pick one magnification level to recommend, it would be either an 8x or 10x. For a shooting range, the most recommendable would be a variable 3-9x magnification.
A fixed power scope will typically be higher quality and more durable. There are benefits to each. Most military personnel, however, prefer fixed scopes because of their reliability and consistency.
The objective lens should be matched to the scope’s magnification. There is no easy way to answer this question. You should always look through a scope before you purchase it. Look for a clear, bright view.
We only recommend two reticles for new scope shooters. If you predominantly hunt, go with a plain reticle. It should have few or no internal markings. For tactical and long-range optics, a standard mil-dot reticle is best.
The mechanics of parallax are complicated. You don’t need to know them. All you need to know is how to identify and deal with the issue.
Parallax happens because of improper alignment between your eye and the scope.
If there is too much distance between your eye and the ocular lens, you will get parallax. Simply sliding your head back and forth will allow you to find a place with no black areas around the edges. You are then parallax-free.
Long-range shooting is a very exciting hobby full of challenges. But one challenge you shouldn’t have to struggle with is contemplating what the lightweight long range scope on the market is. Nothing beats strong shooting fundamentals when attempting those really long shots.
With a decent scope, anything under 300 yards is fairly easy. Once you have a strong shooting technique, it’s time to add a good optic. That makes a perfect finish to your armor.