Sniper Rifle Optics

‘Sniper’ or tactical scopes are made to help you to make fantastic shots that count at a long distance range. These kinds of scope will help you to get extra range, give a lot of extra clarity and they’re incredibly precise pieces of equipment that help compensate for windage, parallax and elevation. 

These types of sniper scopes tend  to be available in a bunch of different magnifications and specifications, and they all have their own types of special reticles and adjustment turrets. With so much variety, you can bet that there’s a sniper scope that will suit almost any rifle. Nevertheless, it can still be a little tricky for your average hunter to be able to know what kind of sniper scope which will work well for your rifle. 

Sniper scopes can be a little expensive too, so it’s pretty vital that you make the right choice for your shooting style and rifle, to the letter. 

Thankfully, we’re here to help you make it easier to make a decision. We’ve done all the research to show you the best sniper optics that are available out on the web today. As there are a lot of options out there, it can be a little tricky to narrow down a couple that are likely to suit everyone. With that being said, we’ve managed to bring you a few options that will be able to fit a couple of different shooter types.

Read on to find out our full reviews of some of the best sniper scope models. We’ve also covered all the important specifications, and we’ve also explained what every one of them means as far as actual shooting results are concerned. In addition, we’ve added a useful list of a few tips that will help you to scope out all of the options. 

In a hurry?
This is our Winner!

Our Pick

Sniper Rifle Optics - Comparison Table

Sniper Rifle Optics - Reviews

NightForce NXS5.5-22x56mm Riflescope - .250 MOA, ZeroStop, Moar Reticle C434,

Our Top Pick

Our rating

This scope is completely catered to military specifications and it has an immense power range, and it even has a MOAR adjustment reticle system.The scope comes with a bunch of different features, such as extended eye relief, zero stop and it also has a very narrow tube that really makes you understand the higher pierce. A lot of previous buyers have this high on their list of favorite scopes! As a top range option, it’s only natural we’d recommend it. It’s perfect if you don’t have any constraints in your budget.

Pros

  • The Nightforce NXS is a very high powered scope, with a maximum zoom of 25x. Even if you need to make shots at 1000 yards this scope will be more than efficient to help you to achieve that and beyond, with perfect precision. The high power also goes really well with a premium rifle and it’s not underpowered even for the largest rifles. 
  • The large objective lens that this scope features will give you a rather large field of vision, even extending past 1000 yards. The 52mm also adds ¼ onto standard lens diameters. This makes a world of distance for long range shooters. This will allow you to be able to see both your target and the surrounding area. It’s pretty handy being able to see your background as it can help you to assess windage and parallax much more easily.
  • It also features a technical MOA reticle which will help you to make simple adjustments with the knobs. They have fine MOA reticle markings, but they also have wider crosshairs on the scope edges so it can help make the reticle more visible in lower light conditions. As it’s on the second focal plane it helps to maintain a stable size regardless of the zoom settings you choose.
  • The knobs work on a turn system for ¼ MOA, and they will work with the reticle for easy calculations.
  • There are a lot of adjustment options for the reticle on this scope. For example, it’s possible to adjust the windage knob for 60 MOA, and with the elevation knob it’s possible to turn all the way up to 100 MOA. Both of these knobs are completely exposed, and they have tactical markings and grips.
  • The scope features a refined, thin tube with 30mm diameter. This narrow design is a lot stronger than 1 inch tubes, and it’s also a lot less obtrusive.
  • There are accommodations made for bigger guns with the NXS scope too. It features 3.9 inch eye relief and this accounts for even the largest kickbacks. The adjustment turrets also have zero stop so you don’t need to worry about them getting moved out of position.
  • All of these features really make it stand out from the crowd. The high price is more than justified for us because of all of these features, except the expensive glass.
  • It’s surprisingly light for a scope this powerful, weighing at little as 2 pounds total. You may not be carrying your rifle around in the woods with you all day but this lighter weight can make a huge difference, making everything so much less cumbersome.

Cons

  • It’s pretty expensive! It can be a tough scope to obtain for some people on a more narrow budget. It costs almost as much as some guns on the market.

This is a pretty decent choice for a sniper scope as it’s made out of fantastic quality materials, and has a sleek matte finish that makes it look as good as it performs. It’s very durable too. It comes from one of the most respected names in the scope industry, so you can bet that it’s a great choice. 

The scope comes with knobs which you can fully adjust so it’s easy to operate, and it also comes with a locking ring that will help to hold it in place. It’s got quite impressive zoom, providing a crystal clear image that doesn’t give any distortion

Pros

  • The scope will give a proper approximate distance to the target as it uses a magnification ring. This will help you to be able to properly bracket the target onto the reticle lines and you can simply alter your settings to the proper distance.
  • Furthermore, the scope has very generous eye relief. This ranges from 3.7 to 4.2 inches, all depending on the level of magnification. It’s even possible to use it on higher powered rifles that have more kickback.
  • It gives a fantastic, clear image even when you’re zooming in. There is also an adjustable lock ring with it that can be twisted until it ends up touching the eyepiece, and it’ll lock it in place once you’ve adjusted the diopter.
  • Speaking of the zoom, the scope comes with a magnification of 3.3-8.5x.
  • The scope is very easy to use, coming with little, compact knobs that can simply be used to your liking in mere seconds. It has an elevation knob that’s located externally, though it’s a little shorter than a lot of scopes so it keeps in with the compact build of the scope. The scope has 15 MOA adjustments per resolution. It can be adjusted for the elevation and for the wind.
  • The scope features a very solid construction and a beautiful finish - it feels and looks strong and sleek.
  • The scope is fairly lightweight so it’s easy to carry it along with you.
  • The light transmission is good enough for even dark and low lighting conditions.

Cons

  • The scope doesn’t come with a lens protector. This feature is pretty common in most other quality scopes so it’s a little disappointing that this one doesn’t feature one.

This is a great option for a sniper scope as the new and updated version of the previous model. The V-Brite reticle uses the V-Plex format and it has battery-powered electronics that will illuminate the center dot for shooters during low-light conditions. It is made from high-quality materials and comes at a reasonable price.

The fast-focus eyepiece allows for quick and easy reticle focusing, and you will be able to quickly get a sight picture and acquire your target. Additionally, the capped reset turrets are easily finger adjustable, with MOA clicks that can be quickly reset to zero after sighting in. The high quality and durable materials ensure strength and shockproof performance, and this product is both fog-proof and waterproof.

Pros

  • The featured technology will provide shooters with an illuminated center dot that will enhance their abilities in low light situations without affecting accuracy
  • The eye box is perfect for long eye relief, so you won’t be putting your eyes under unnecessary strain
  • This scope offers great value for money as you receive a high-quality product for a reasonable price
  • There is an anti-reflective and fully multi-coated lens that can provide the user with bright and clear views

Cons

  • Some of the settings may not be adequate for all situations on high magnification

Sniper Rifle Optics - Buyers Guide

Conclusion

By this point you may have a decent understanding of what all of these scopes can offer you. It simply comes down to one question - what’s the best option for you? 

It’s worth getting the NightForce NXS if you’re much more serious about being a long range shooter, even if it means a little bit of extra expense. It’s significantly better than a lot of other choices as far as build quality, durability and its accuracy are concerned and it also has a very large range. With that being said, we understand that the price may get in the way for some buyers as this certainly is not a cheap option.

Meanwhile the Vortex Viper is a good choice for those snipers who have a little less money to play with, and also for maybe a beginner who’s just starting out but isn’t serious about hunting long range at the moment. It’s very functional and boasts a lot of power that will cover most of your needs. It’s also a very high quality scope too, featuring a lot of the quality you would likely find in some of the more high end scopes. 

The Redfield model is also a fairly solid option if you’re on a budget, as it’s lightweight, has decent magnification and a fantastic build quality and construction. It also looks pretty awesome, and has a bunch of adjustability options. There is a lot of clarity in this scope, and it’s all for an affordable cost so it’s a great option, even if it doesn’t come with lens covers.

How can I shop for a sniper scope?

Quality Glass

This is probably one of the most important considerations for when you’re shooting at longer ranges.  A good quality of glass will help to give you more clear vision at closer ranges and it helps you to be able to judge the mirage effects from things like parallax and windage even at long distances. It’s important to ensure that the scope is made by a company that has a decent reputation for providing scopes with very clear glass that isn’t marked. It’s even better if you can get a scope that has lenses that are optically indexed or engineered digitally. Some of the least expensive options on this list still have decent optics. There’s still not much of a reason to buy something incredibly cheap if it means your shooting ability is going to be hindered.

Accuracy

You should ensure that you’re finding scopes that are precise, and include things like tactical and lockable adjustment turrets. These should also be exposed be properly matched to the reticle with MOA markings or mil dot markings.

Technical Reticles

These are vital. Ideally you should be looking for a mil dot reticle. You’ll find that BDC reticles usually aren’t technical enough to be used for sniping. The only reticles that will help you to be able to properly compensate for windage, elevation and bullet drop at long ranges are technical reticles.

SFP (Second Focal Plane) Reticles

These are pretty great reticles as they tend to stay around the same size regardless of zoom level. Reticles positioned on the first focal plane will tend to change size depending on what settings you have, and it can be a lot harder to get your eyes to adjust in that moment, causing accuracy issues.

Etched In Reticles

Usually reticle issues tend to come from a crosshair coming loose from the glass. It’s rather common if you’re using a scope on a particularly large gun. It’s not possible to loosen crosshairs on an etched lens, so it’s no longer an issue. 

Spring Loaded Turrets

Scopes with padded or spring loaded turrets are very helpful as they help you to be able to deal with any kickback you may get from a particularly powerful long range rifle. Durability can be concerning with scopes, so you need to make sure that you prioritise good build quality, in addition to the magnification power.

High Power Ranges

Power is important! You should be looking out for scopes that have higher power ranges. It’s good to start with 5-6x rather than 3-4x for example, and then going upwards of 16-18x. The more higher end lenses aid you in making more accurate shots past 1000 yards. At this level of magnification, 12x isn’t all that useful in the slightest. 

Larger Objectives

Make sure you’re considering scopes with larger objectives so that you can keep your field of vision at those higher zoom levels. A lens between 40-50mm is more than sufficient. 

With the majority of rifle scopes, you’ll find that upper tier is considered anything that’s valued above $1000. Usually, scopes in the range of $500 - $1000 are considered to be budget range. You should be spending a lot more money on a sniper scope. It’s also worth mentioning though that your average shooter can cope quite well with a scope valued around $750 - $1000. If you’re a serious shooter, then it’s worth looking into the more pricier options listed in the £2000 to $3000 range.