Long distance rifles are much more popular than other models thanks to their ability to get a clear shot of prey without getting too close and potentially scaring it away. However, a long distance gun may prove redundant if the shooter can’t see that far in the distance, which is why a long range rifle scope is an excellent piece of gear to invest in.
Whether you’re a beginner to the sport or you’re more of a professional, long range scopes are always going to prove handy in one situation or another, which is why you should carry one around just in case.
Thanks to their popularity and effectiveness, there are many different models on the market. These all have differing features and prices, so it’s important to know what you’re looking for in your scope.
Luckily, we’re here to ease the load and show you ten of the best long range scopes on the market in 2020, as well as detailed explanations of the piece of equipment and the different price levels. Let’s jump right into it, shall we?
What is long range?
Long range isn’t a one size fits all situation and there are different maximum ranges which suit different guns better than others. This also depends on the individual shooter and their preference. For example, a shooter equipped with a .22 rifle may consider long range 150 yards, whereas a 44 Magnum rifle’s long range actually equates to 70 yards.
If you’re looking for a maximum long range rifle that’s really going to get you accurate distance shots, you can’t go wrong with a 6.5 Creedmoor. This type of firearm considers long range to be a crazy 500 yards, and if you use the correct long range scope alongside it, you can even reach distances of 1000 yards.
This means that not every scope will work for you and your chosen gun. Choosing the correct long range efficacy for you depends on two predominant factors - your rifle’s barrel length and your chosen caliber, so you’ll need to know these two factors before finding the right scope for you.
Below we’ll be looking at scopes of all different ranges to hopefully cover all bases, and they will all have outlines of what features they offer that makes them a great long range scope. Let’s have a look at some of the things to consider before confirming your purchase.
10 Top Long Range Scopes
Now you know more about what to look out for when purchasing a rifle scope, let’s get into the juicy section - the best long range scope models on the market!
Although you may know every feature possible for scopes, there are still thousands of different models available. Instead of scrolling endlessly through page after page of different scopes, we’ve narrowed it down to the top ten.
But we haven’t just stopped there - we’ve found the best scopes in comparison to their price, so whatever your budget, we’ve got you covered.
Best Long Range Rifle Scopes - Comparison Table
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Best Long Range Rifle Scopes Between $500 and $1000
Best Long Range Rifle Scopes Over $1000
Best Long Range Rifle Scopes Under $500
The reticle of the Vortex Optics Crossfire II is placed onto the second focal plane, meaning it won’t change size when you switch between the magnification levels. It also is classified as a BDC reticle which is highly beneficial as you can use the vertical estimation marks to make your shots even more accurate.
Speaking of magnification levels, this scope offers 6x to 24x. There's a parallax removing knob on the side of the scope to increase the focus of your image, which you can use at maximum magnification levels to get the crispest image possible.
The lenses are multi coated to provide more durability as well as better light transmission to ensure the images are super high quality thanks to the brightness and clear contrast.
Key Feature: Eye Relief
This scope offers a generous four inches of eye relief which is perfect to use with rifles that offer a high recoil, or for shooters who wear glasses. The eyepiece is also fast focusing so that you can keep an eye on your target without having to wait for the focus to catch up.
The aluminium body is aircraft grade and therefore very durable as well as water, fog and shockproof thanks to the nitrogen purged design and O ring seals.
The unit of measurement used is MOA which is most common in America, so it’s likely you won’t have to learn a new system. The reticle is illuminated, however it is a simple red light that is often too dim to see in bright light.
Athlon is a well known name in the world of scopes and shooting, and their Optics Argos FFP Rifle Scope is a prime example of why. There are multiple magnification settings to choose from, ranging all the way from 6x to 24x, allowing you full control of how close or far away you’re looking.
This is much more beneficial than other scopes that don’t allow adjustments as you may be quite close to your target and still have to look at it in 24x magnification. This will lessen the chances of getting a quality shot, so this is a great addition to a long range scope.
Along with these magnification settings, the objective lens is 50mm so you’ll be able to achieve a larger field of view than other budget scopes. This view is also crystal clear even at the highest magnification so your view will never be compromised thanks to your scope. These two features make for the perfect dream team for a long range scope.
Alongside this, the lens has been colored multiple times with an XPL material to ensure great light transmission, giving you an amazing image which isn’t too bright or too dark. This will help you to get a perfect view of your target, even if it’s blended into the surroundings, which is an absolute must for long range shooting. Moreover, the coating will also protect the glass from damages such as scratches.
Key Feature: Illuminated Reticle
The glass of the scope includes a solid etching of the reticle, which can also be illuminated which gives you a better view of it in poor light conditions, such as sunrise or sunset, or perhaps even in the dead of night.
The exterior of this scope is made from aircraft grade aluminium which is super durable and won’t be breaking anytime soon, even after several accidental drops. Along with this, it has also been purged thoroughly with argon to prevent the inside becoming full of condensation in the colder months. Moreover, this makes the scope weatherproof, shockproof and suitable for all conditions.
On the left side of the scope you will find the knob to fix the parallax, which is particularly useful when shooting long range. This is one of the few scopes that uses the Mil unit of measure instead of MOA, which is less popular in America.
The scope is designed to take the strong recoil from your rifle, but this doesn’t mean your eye is safe. The scope offers 3.3 inches of eye relief which is a little shorter than normal for a rifle scope, however it shouldn’t cause you too many issues. For under $500, you’d be hard pressed to find a better long range scope than the Athlon Optics Argos FFP Rifle Scope.
This Vortex Optics Diamondback first focal plane scope has magnification settings of 6x to 24x. The windage and elevation markings can be used consistently throughout all of the magnification settings, giving you an accurate shot even at the furthest away distance from your target. The unit of measurement used is MOA which is most commonly used in America, and the etched reticle is sturdy enough that it won’t be compromised after repeated heavy recoils.
The glass is low dispersion which allows as much light as necessary to be collected within the scope and used to brighten the image you see. This glass is also multi coated to provide high quality pictures which are clear and distinctive. The coatings also protect the lenses from scratches and damages, as no one wants a scope with lots of scratches compromising the image.
Moreover, the eye relief is large and spacious and the eyepiece is very fast at focussing on your reticle so you’ll have eyes on your target at all times.
The precision glider rector system uses components inside the zoom lens to create a smooth and quick change between magnification levels. This means you don’t have to waste any time getting to the right magnification and therefore your target won’t have any time to get away. The magnification rib on the inner ring also helps this to make sure it’s snappy and efficient every time.
Key Feature: Easily Adjustable
On this scope you’ll find a number of tactical turrets and a parallax knob on the side. These give the user the opportunity to adjust the elevation, parallax values and windage easily and swiftly. The knobs also lie relatively flat so that there is minimal risk of them catching on gear or clothing.
The scope itself is made from aircraft grade aluminum which is fogproof, waterproof and shockproof. This is thanks to the O ring seals and the nitrogen-purged body. Moreover, the exterior adopts an anodized finish which prevents glare from the sun, helping to keep the scope from eroding over time.
For such an affordable long range scope, the Vortex Optics Diamondback model is excellent value for money in regards to all its added features. The only slight issue we have with this scope is that the reticle could be emphasized a bit more as it is quite dim and thin in bright lighting.
Best Long Range Rifle Scopes Between $500-$1000
Straying from the norm of this list and the scope market in general, the Nikon Black X1000 Riflescope’s reticle is on the second focal plane, allowing you to have a stimulating experience while hunting through the mental mathematics needed to get accurate shots. Rather than the SFP reticle being set for the maximum 24x power, it’s actually optimally used at 18x, meaning your most accurate shots will be taken at 18x power.
This has been etched into the glass and can be illuminated red so it’s usable in low light settings. Moreover, you can decide how bright or dim the illumination is with a simple control on the scope’s side, making it very easy to switch through the ten levels of brightness to adapt it to the lowering of heightening natural light levels. However, there’s also an off switch if you want to use the reticle without the red illumination.
The 50mm objective lens allows a lot of light to enter the scope and gives a great field of view at any magnification power.
Key Feature: Multi Coated Lenses
The lenses of the Nikon Black X1000 Riflescope are multi coated to give the optics better light transmission while preventing reflections bouncing around, creating glares and lowering the quality of your images. Additionally this helps protect the glass from damages and scratches.
There are plenty of adjustment knobs dotted around the scope’s body which will allow you to change the windage and parallax amongst other things. These knobs click at each turn which gives you the opportunity to tweak the different settings without having to take your eye off your target.
The body of the scope is made from aircraft grade aluminium, uses O rings as seals and has been nitrogen purged to keep it fully weatherproof, shockproof and reliable in difficult conditions.
The Burris Optics XTR II Riflescope offers a great range of magnification levels, from the lowest of 5x to the highest of 25x. The 50mm objective lens allows plenty of light to be collected by the scope. Along with the objective lens, each of these magnification levels offers a bright and clear image while also giving the user a large field of vision to see more through the scope.
The Mil-dot reticle and Mil measurements are lesser known in America, so be cautious if you’re buying this one and are used to MOA measurements, as you’ll have to learn a new system. Said reticle is also illuminated which allows your precision and accuracy to be on top form even in low light conditions.
Key Feature: Durability
The high quality glass that’s used for the lenses of this scope offers great durability while maintaining crisp and clear images all at the same time. While the eyepiece is a little narrow to see clearly through, the eye relief is amazing so this scope is great for firearms with heavy recoils.
You can adjust the windage and elevation with precise knobs which allow you to smoothly shift between each setting. This means you can adjust your scope without ever taking your eyes off your target, which is very beneficial to hunters. The parallax knob also allows you to prevent parallax at larger ranges.
Along with the scope you’ll also receive a sunshade which can help both guard your eyes or the lens in bright sunshine, preventing glare and giving you more accurate vision. Moreover, a lifetime warranty is included within this purchase to ensure your scope keeps going forever. Simply contact Burris if your scope degrades thanks to general wear and tear or a manufacturing issue.
While you’ll still have to pay for a new scope if you damage your scope by dropping it or not looking after it properly, a lifetime warranty as a backup is a nice touch from Burris to ensure you keep your peace of mind when using the scope.
Overall, all these impressive features make for an excellent long range scope that you can be sure will aid you perfectly during your shooting expedition.
Much like many long range scopes, this model has a magnification range of 6x to 24x. The reticle can be seen on the second focal plane which is set for the highest magnification setting of 24x, meaning it won’t change size no matter the magnification power. This requires more effort on the shooters part to calculate the distances in their heads.
The lens of this scope is coated with both Armortek and XR. Armortek protects the lenses from scratches and damages which keeps the image clear, whereas XR improves the light transmission greatly. This keeps the image bright and clear, greatly improving your accuracy.
Key Feature: Precise Turrets
On each side of this scope there are target-style turrets which give you the opportunity to adjust a number of things such as the windage, parallax and elevation values. These include zero-stop features which let you reset all the turrets back to zero after you’ve made different adjustments.
Moreover, the turrets have a radius bar included which lets you adjust them through the feel of them rather than having to look at them. This allows you to adjust the settings while keeping your eye on the target. This may sound difficult however after a few uses, you’ll get used to it and most likely find it a very precise way of making adjustments.
The precision glider rector system allows you to change the magnification range quickly and smoothly so you can get your eyes back on your target as fast as possible. This also prevents the lenses from jamming and faltering.
The eyepiece is both fast focusing and offers a lot of eye relief, however the eye box is considered a little narrow for some peoples tastes.
Aircraft grade aluminum is used to create the scope’s exterior, the seals are O rings and it is argon purged to keep it fully waterproof and fogproof. Moreover, the exterior is covered with an anodized finish to make it shockproof and glare resistant. This also prevents the scope from deteriorating after prolonged use.
Bushnell designed their Elite Tactical Riflescope with the reticle etched on the first focal plane so you can get a clearer shot, even when magnified to the full potential. Speaking of magnification power, this scope offers a range from 6x to 24x to go with its impressive 50mm objective lens.
The Throwhammer technology used within the scope allows you to switch between the magnification ranges smoothly and quickly, as all you’ll have to do is flick a switch with a single finger.
The lens is multi coated to give you the clearest image thanks to the improved clarity and light transmission. Moreover, this makes the lens more durable and resistant to scratches. This scope is completely weatherproof thanks to the Rain Guard HD technology used, allowing you to use it in environments with extreme weather such as high humidity or torrential rain.
Key Feature: Mil Measurement System
The Bushnell Elite Tactical Riflescope uses millidrans instead of MOA as the unit of measurements, so it differs from the norm in America. Bear this in mind if you’re used to MOA, as you will have to learn a whole new system.
The body of the scope has been purged with argon to keep it both weatherproof and durable. You won’t find this scope struggling in harsh conditions!
There is a knob on the side of the scope to adjust the parallax .1 Mil at a time to give excellent versatility and great accuracy for your long range shots. There are also elevation and windage turrets that are equally as precise.
You’ll also receive a three inch sunshade with this scope to use on either your eyes or your scopes lens to protect from midday sun. Along with this you’ll also get a scope cover and a turret tool to keep your scope in perfect shape. Moreover, Bushnell offers a lifetime warranty to cover manufacturer issues.
Best Long Range Rifle Scopes Over $1000
Vortex has designed this scope with an etched glass reticle on the FFP to help with stabilization, and you can switch the scope between magnifications of 4.5x and 27x. This highly impressive magnification pairs perfectly with the 56mm objective lens to give the user a great field of view without compromising the image quality by letting too much light in.
This is due to the lenses being coated with Armortek and XR to control the amount of light transmitted into the scope at one time. This gives you perfectly bright and clear images every time. The Armortek coating also prevents glare from the sun affecting the efficiency of the scope, as well as protecting the glass from scratches and breaking.
Key Feature: Illuminated Reticle
The Vortex Optics Razor has 11 different settings which change the illumination of the reticle. This is a great feature as it means you can make it brighter as you lose natural light. Simply turn a knob on the side of the scope to flick through each of the settings until you find your optimal choice.
All of the adjustable knobs on this scope can be locked to prevent you accidentally losing your perfect settings thanks to an accidental knock or bump. This is handy as the knobs can be slightly inconvenient when you first use the scope, and this will stop you hitting them accidentally.
The fast focusing eyepiece keeps up nicely with the quick focusing reticle, so the scope is very beneficial when spotting brief motion that offers a short window of time to shoot. Once you see the slight movement in the distance, you’ll be able to look through your scope and it should already be focused and ready for you.
Not to mention this scope is fogproof, shockproof and waterproof - or rather it can work in almost any weather. The body is crafted from argon purged aircraft grade aluminium which is incredibly durable and sturdy. It is sealed with O-rings and the lens is coated to protect the glass.
The Vortex Optics Razor has the highest magnification that we’ve seen in this list currently, making it an excellent choice for a long range rifle scope if you have a higher budget.
First and foremost, this scope from Primary Arms has an excellently wide range of magnifications, giving you the choice of options from 6x to 30x. These pair perfectly with the 56mm lens and an illuminated first focal plane reticle to give you the best quality image no matter the environment and lighting condition.
This reticle illuminates red and can be changed through multiple different settings depending on the current light. This is beneficial as you may begin hunting in good light which may begin to deteriorate slowly throughout your hunt. Instead of having to turn the illumination straight onto the lowest power, you can slowly decrease it to keep it optimized for the current time.
Whilst using the scope on the lowest setting of the illumination, you can also use it alongside night vision equipment. On the other hand, the highest setting is bright enough to be seen in the brightest of natural lights and therefore still offer excellent accuracy.
Key Feature: Great Reticle
The reticle of this scope is etched onto professional quality Japanese glass to increase the clarity and ensure it’s always able to be seen, no matter the environment. It is also easier to see even without the illumination on. The glass also offers excellent light transmission to offer bright images in even low lightning.
The reticle, along with the adjustable windage and elevation, uses the Mil unit of measurement. This is not the norm in scopes made in the USA however they are still incredibly accurate and easy to use.
You will be able to make your adjustments easily without going under or over thanks to the turrets that are locking in zero resettable. Knobs on scopes are often regarded as irritating or unreliable as they have a reputation of getting caught on clothing or other gear and falling out of the chosen alignment, making the lockable feature very sought after and attractive.
The durable scope has been anodized to make it resistant to not only water but also fog and damage from shock such as recoil or accidental dropping. The black finish not only makes this scope look very sleek and unnoticable, it also prevents corrosion over time and reduces glare from the sun.
However, if the scope does become faulty it’ll be covered by a lifetime warranty. This will protect you from defects arising from materials or workmanship used to create the scope, along with natural wear and tear. Not only will this give you peace of mind when out using it, it’s also great value for money.
The Primary Arms 6-30X56 FFP Scope offers the highest magnification range that we’ve seen, meaning that it’s excellent for long range hunting and shooting, especially for the toughest and most skittish of targets.
Another scope which has the reticle on the second focal plane, Nightforce Optics NXS Riflescope allows the user to switch between 5.5x and 22x magnification power. The objective lens is a large 56mm which allows an unbeatable amount of light into the scopes body and a large field of view. While this sounds great and exciting, remember that the larger the lens, the larger space it needs to be mounted onto your rifle, so check that your rifle can handle the size before purchasing.
The lenses are multi coated to better this light transmission even further as well as keeping it durable and free of scratches. The reticle is illuminated so you can use it in low light settings, however this can also be completely turned off if not needed on a bright day.
Key Feature: Zero-Stop Adjustment Turrets
The key feature of this scope does exactly what it says on the tin - it has zero-stop adjustment turrets on the body. This allows you to adjust your turrets while keeping your eye on the target and prevents you from accidentally messing up the estimates. This is great as the knobs are quite bulky and easily knocked, so it’s good to have a contingency plan in place.
Another standout feature of this scope is the incredibly fast snapping eyebox, giving you the opportunity to keep your eye focused on the reticle and your target quickly and without interruptions. This is a good feature although the eye box is slightly slimmer than we’d have liked.
As well as being water, fog and shockproof, the body is made from aircraft grade aluminum and is covered in a matter black finish to prevent sun glare making you more visible to your target. This also keeps the exterior from being scratched or damaged. This, along with the multi coated lens, make for a near indestructible scope.
Both the quick focusing eyebox and the super large lens make for an excellent long range scope.
Best Long Range Rifle Scopes - Buyer's Guide
Things to consider when looking for a long range scope
Durability is always an important factor to consider when buying anything, especially an expensive scope. This will typically indicate how long your scope will last for, and no one wants to spend a reasonable amount of money on something bound to break within months of using.
The most durable scopes are made from aircraft grade aluminium or other similar metals, particularly for the main tube. These materials are both incredibly sturdy as well as being lightweight, making it optimal for riflescopes. Scopes made out of this type of material will generally last much longer than other models.
Moreover, anodized materials will prevent natural corrosion and rusting from degrading your scope, so these are other important features to look out for. Anodized coatings also prevent the body from giving off glares from the sun, allowing you to stay hidden from your prey with no gleaming beams of light reflecting from your scope.
Another thing to look out for is multi coated lenses as the coating will also protect the glass from scratches and damage from the environment. The glass of your scope needs to be completely clear to keep your image crisp and effective, which means that this coating is very important.
Finally, check to see if the scope is weatherproof. No, not just waterproof - we mean fogproof and shockproof as well. This extra layer of durability is welcomed and often necessary for long hunting trips. You never know what the weather is going to throw at you, and the last thing you want is to be caught in a rain shower which quickly fills your scope with water and renders it unusable.
One of the most important factors to consider when looking for a long range scope is the magnification. Without magnification there’s no improved sight of what’s in the distance, right? The caliber of bullets your gun uses, and of course the gun itself, alters the range that your gun is able to reach. However, magnification also greatly impacts how accurate you can extend your range.
On the whole, 10x magnification is a great starting point for many types of rifles. However, as we have established earlier, this may be a little ambitious for guns such as the .22. But on the whole, beginners especially should aim for higher than 10x to get a decent long range.
Guns with higher power, such as the 6.5 Creedmoor, will want a scope with more magnification to keep up with the abilities of the weapon. These magnification levels will tend to reach upwards of 20x, sometimes even up to 30x.
Most of our rifle scopes included below include a magnification range of around 6-24x which is the most popular for long ranges and give you plenty of options to choose from, depending on your target. These will also work on multiple different firearms so you don’t need to buy a different scope for each different gun you have.
Fixed or Variable Magnification
Now we’ve discussed magnification, let's look at the different types you can get. Some long range scopes only have one setting in regards to the magnification and therefore are called fixed scopes, whereas others have multiple different levels of magnification that you can choose from (called variable scopes).
Whichever type you choose will depend on your individual needs and preferences, however the type can alter the scope’s price point substantially, so bear this in mind. You can find many affordable options with only one magnification setting, however if you look in the right places you’ll also be able to find some that have multiple settings.
Although it’s your choice to which one you go for, we recommend a variable scope to give you more versatility and options when on your hunting expedition. This gives you the opportunity to determine how close or far away you have to be from your target to get an accurate shot.
Having said this, many hunters find that they get on better with fixed scopes and are adamant that one setting is all they need. This is fine and you may find a scope with all the necessary features that you need which is fixed, just remember that you won’t be able to change how far it zooms in or out.
The type of reticle that a scope adopts is another extremely important factor to consider when choosing a scope, and often one that is overlooked and pushed aside. Reticles are often etched on either the first or second focal plane.
Reticles etched on the first focal plane (FFP) appear to change sizes as you increase or decrease the magnification levels. This keeps the estimation marks correct and relative to the target, no matter what magnification it’s at. Although the markings change size and may disappear from your image, they’ll still represent the same distance.
This is much easier as the hunter knows what the markings mean as they don’t adopt new meanings depending on the magnification level.
On the other hand, reticles on the second focal plane (SFP) do not change as the magnification level changes. These reticles are etched on one magnification setting which is usually the highest magnification power so that the estimation points are only accurate at this level.
When using any other magnification level, you’ll have to adjust your estimates manually and often in your head with quick mathematics or, more often than not, guesswork. This isn’t too tricky when using a scope with only a few magnification powers, however SFP reticles on scopes which have many different levels can cause quite a problem and often inaccuracies.
For this reason, most long range hunters prefer to use FFP reticles rather than the alternative. They may take some getting used to, but in the long run they’re much easier to use and more accurate thanks to the removed guesswork.
The choice is yours and you may find a SFP reticle is much more beneficial to you, however in our opinion these reticles are much more reliable on fixed scopes or variable models with a limited range of magnification powers.
On our list below there are multiple scopes which use both first and second focal planes to ensure we’ve catered for everyone and we’re sure you’ll find your perfect new long range scope, no matter your preference.
Many long range scopes offer illuminated reticles which can be very beneficial for individuals who prefer to hunt in low light conditions such as dawn or dusk. However, they can also be very beneficial in bright light to keep the reticle visible and your shots as accurate as possible.
If a scope comes with an illuminated reticle, check and see how many settings it comes with as this will allow you to adjust the brightness of the light depending on the environmental conditions. Moreover, some reticles come illuminated in different colors, so make sure the particular color is going to stand out well from the environment you’re going to be using it in.
For example, a green illuminated reticle may not show up as well as a red reticle in environments with a lot of greenery, such as woodlands or forests.
Bullet Drop Compensation (BDC) reticles use a list of estimation points which are positioned directly beneath the center of the crosshairs in a vertical line. These points correspond with the individual rifle’s zeroed range and let the hunter put their shot’s impact point at different ranges accurately and accordingly.
For example, a 100 yard zeroed rifle which uses a BDC reticle will have elevation estimate points corresponding with its 100 yards apart beneath the crosshairs. This allows you to see where different measurements are in front of you. For instance, if your target is 400 yards in front of you, you should count to the third marking underneath the crosshairs and aim your target using that.
This gives amazing accuracy to each shot and is a benefit to every long range shooter. Moreover, they’re very easy to use and understand so anyone can use a BDC reticle whether it be a professional or ametuer. Although they don’t take wind adjustments into consideration, they are still extremely helpful in removing almost all of the guesswork out of long range shots.
Some BDC reticles are even adjustable to cater to different distances, however they’re typically calibrated for specific ballistics and therefore different firearms. This means that you won’t be able to use the same scope for different guns that use different calibers, so if you enjoy using a different gun for different occasions, you should consider choosing an adjustable model.
As we mentioned before, lens coating can protect the optics from scratches and damages from the environment used in. Many long range scope lenses are coated with Armotek, or something similar, to prevent this damage from occurring.
Other chemicals may be coated on the glass as well as multi coated lenses can greatly impact the light transmission in a great way. The better the light transmission, the more light is able to come into the scope and therefore your images will be brighter and clearer - even in low light conditions. This then will allow your shots to be more accurate. The domino effect that comes from multi coated lenses is a big and important one, so it’s worth choosing a scope with multiple chemicals coated on the lens.
Scopes that have lenses both coated with protective qualities and chemicals to improve light transmission are superior to scopes that don’t adopt these coatings, however with this added feature comes an added amount on the price point. We believe that the extra cost is worth the benefits, but it’s up to you what you opt for.
Mil vs. MOA
The units Mil (milliradians) and MOA (minute of angle) are easily confused thanks to their short names, but actually mean a great deal different. They both measure the distance between you and either estimation points you may have or your actual target.
Whether you choose a scope that adopts Mil or MOA measurements depends on your personal preference. Many hunting schools use Mil measurements so their students just continue using this their entire lives. MOA is most commonly used in the United States while Mil is more common around the world, but ultimately you can use whichever you prefer.
1 milliradian is .36 inches per 100 yards, whereas 1 MOA is 1.407 inches per 100 yards. Both of these units can be converted to one another by multiplying whatever number you have by 3.43. However, this takes time that many people don’t want to waste and you may not have a calculator handy, which is why most scopes only use one of these units of measurement.
Whichever unit you’ve chosen or are most familiar with, make sure your scope is compatible so you’re not having to learn a whole new unit before being able to use your scope.
How much light is allowed into the scope is determined by the objective lens - simply, the wider the lens is, the more light is able to come into the tube. More light equates to brighter images and therefore higher quality aim and shots. A bigger objective lens also offers a wider field of view, no matter how magnified you have your scope.
This is essential in long range shooting and scopes with higher magnification and bigger objective lenses are much more beneficial than other models as they are unlikely to compromise your field of view.
Having said this, bigger objective lenses need to be mounted onto your rifle higher than other models which will make your gun bulker and less transportable. Moreover, it’ll be heavier to carry and more easily spotted by your target. Not to mention that your particular rifle may not allow scopes with big objective lenses to be mounted onto it due to its shape.
Overall, you want a scope that adopts a not too big objective lens, but not too small either. A happy medium, if you will. Although bigger is better, you don’t want to get carried away and choose one that is going to compromise your gun. Through our list we have attempted to choose scopes with lenses that achieve this optimal size.
Eye relief is an incredibly important factor to consider when buying a scope, however it is often overlooked and forgotten about. Rifles with a strong recoil can be especially dangerous if there is little eye relief on your scope. A good starting point is 3.5 inches between your eye and the eyepiece so you can avoid black eyes.
It’s worth noting that glasses wearers will need more eye relief than others as no one wants to return from their hunting trip with broken glasses. We have ensured that all our ten scopes below have decent eye relief.
As demonstrated above, long range scopes can range dramatically in price, which accommodates to all hunters with varying budgets. Although more expensive scopes tend to be more impressive thanks to their extensive features, there are plenty of great long range rifle scopes under $500 as well.
Long range rifle scopes that come in under the $500 mark generally have a range of standard features that will prove beneficial to the shooter. Almost all of these models will have durable materials and protective casing in some way, and many of them will be weather and shockproof.
Between $500 and $1000
Scopes within this price range will offer a few more complex features than the below $500 models, which will in turn offer more advantages to the user. Their construction should be of a higher quality, however this isn’t always the case so beware of overpriced items. Manufacturers of these scopes often throw in a couple of extra accessories to heighten the value, which is a nice touch for the shooter.
Over the $1000 mark is where long range rifle scopes really shine, literally and figuratively, as they’re made with premium quality materials and many offer lifetime warranties to ensure your money is protected. These are often the best long range rifle scopes due to the variety of helpful features and the durability.
The scope you decide to buy is heavily dependent on your individual needs and preferences. Having said this, it doesn’t matter if a scope has all the features you need if the price is outside of your budget, so this is predominantly the main point to consider.
If you’re a beginner to the world of hunting and are only going to use your scope a couple times a year, you may want to invest in a lower priced scope. On the other hand, if you’re an avid hunter and know that a long range scope is going to greatly benefit your hobby, your budget may be higher.
When you’ve been in the world of firearms and their accessories and are seasoned in buying them, you’ll know that you get what you pay for so choose your budget accordingly.
No matter the budget, durability or design, no long range rifle scope is going to work the best for everyone. Like most things, everyone has their own techniques when it comes to shooting so you have to find a scope that works alongside you and aids your individual style the best.
One person’s favorite scope may not include features that you desperately need, so make sure you look at all the specifications and features before committing to one. Lastly, don’t forget about your budget if you’re not prepared to spend the most amount of money on your scope.