If you plan on shooting at long ranges, then just any old scope won’t do. You need a long-range rifle scope to enhance your performance and ensure precision and accuracy. Let’s take a look at what makes a great scope and determine the best on the market today.
Best Long Range Rifle Scopes Comparison Chart
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Are All Long-Range Rifle Scopes The Same?
Long-range rifle scopes might be the same in their goal to deliver better performance to the long-range shooter, but they couldn’t be more different in how they achieve this. Some major differences include:
This is the most critical factor in determining a long-range rifle scope. Not only do you want to pay attention to how high-powered it can go, but you also want to look at the range. If the lowest magnification is too high to be usable at the shortest range you expect to shoot at, that’s a big problem.
On the other hand, you can opt for a fixed power magnification instead of a variable magnification. This means you get a single magnification power, which is advantageous in terms of simplicity and often price.
You know we’re bringing you the best products in our reviews but be wary of scopes that can’t hold up in extreme conditions. You keep working in the rain and so should your scope!
Lastly, a wider lens makes for a bigger viewing picture and a brighter one, too. This means that even in the darkest of conditions, you’ll be able to witness a well-lit scene. On the other hand, you may prefer a thinner, darker lens if you don’t tend to shoot in darker conditions and want a more low-profile option.
Best Uses For a Long-Range Rifle Scope
Why should you get a long-range rifle scope? There are a few great reasons:
- You’re not getting the accuracy you want from your existing scope: If you’re shooting at long ranges with a scope that offers minimal magnification, a long-range rifle scope that’s specially designed for your needs makes sense.
- You want better features: Maybe your current scope is accurate enough for you, but using a scope specifically designed for longer ranges typically introduces features like reticles with bullet drop compensation.
- You want to be a better hunter: Whether you’re already a proficient hunter or haven’t hunted anything other than tin cans, better equipment will improve your results and provide for a cleaner, more ethical kill.
- You want a challenge: On the other hand, if you’re a competitive shooter or just enjoy shooting, picking up a long-range rifle scope can add some variety to your hobby and introduce new challenges.
Review of the Best Long-Range Rifle Scopes
Now that you’re all caught up on your basic long-range rifle scope knowledge, you’re ready to dive into some reviews! As always, we’ve rounded up the best of the best, and we try to make it easy by breaking down what’s best for which type of shooter. That said, use your judgment and let your preferences dictate your buying decisions.
Vortex Optics Crossfire II
Vortex Optics is a solid brand, and the Crossfire II has become a bit of a legend among hunters. It’s likely that you know hunters who are using one. Heck, they’re so popular, we expect deer to start carrying the Vortex Optics Crossfire II when they get around to arming themselves.
This popularity is for a very good reason, though. The scope is offered at a very fair price and can easily perform alongside some of the most expensive options on the market. It is also very utilitarian—just about anyone can comfortably use it.
It largely comes down to two things: the magnification range and the objective lens diameter. With a 6x-24x range, you can really zoom into just about anywhere. Often, the larger ranges (like 24x) don’t come paired with a floor as low as 6x. That’s a lot of versatility.
A 50mm objective lens diameter offers an exceptionally large view, ensuring you’ll have rapid target acquisition even when fully zoomed at 24x. You just don’t want a narrow picture when you’re deep in the details, or you’ll get lost too easily. Not only that, but this wide lens also ushers in a beautiful amount of light, ensuring an excellent picture even in the darkest conditions.
You also get a super-precise, dead-hold BDC reticle with a custom hashmark design. It’s not the most fully-featured reticle, but it’s efficient and very crisp and clear. Pair that with fully-adjustable windage and elevation with ¼ MOA increments, courtesy of capped turrets with an audible click, and you’re set.
Of course, it’s a tank, too. Made from a single cut of aircraft-grade aluminum and given a hard-anodized black matte finish, it is further nitrogen purged and O-ring sealed. You get waterproofing, fog proofing, and shock proofing.
What more could we ask for? Only a more niche product, that’s what—and that’s why this scope is our top overall choice.
The Crossfire II is everywhere and for good reason. It’s a great product in every way, from durability, to feature set, to reliability. There are more niche products out there, but if ever there was a great go-to scope, it’s the Crossfire II.
Best Long-Range Rifle Scope for the Money:
Vortex Optics Strike Eagle
The Crossfire II topped our list because it should appeal to the widest number of shooters, checks all the boxes of what a great scope should be, and is a great value. But what if you’re looking for a scope that really focuses on giving you the most for your money? Well, Vortex Optics has you covered with the Strike Eagle.
The biggest upgrade is the electronics. Thanks to a CR2032 battery, you’ll have 11 brightness levels. While you still get a beautifully wide 50mm objective diameter, you’ll never have to worry about lighting again.
You also get a much-improved EBR-4 MOA reticle, which enables you to quickly determine holders, ranges, windage corrections, and moving target leads. It’s a lot of detail laid out very simply with minimal intrusion and being able to adjust the brightness really helps to relay the information just how you need it.
You also get fully-adjustable windage, elevation, and even parallax, all adjustable in ¼ MOA increments with finger-clicks. Parallax is adjustable 20 yards to infinity. You can easily reset to zero.
Of course, you also get the complete proofing against all elements as Vortex Optics offered with their cheaper model, the Crossfire II.
The Strike Eagle serves as a slightly pricier upgrade to the Crossfire II, introducing a very worthy addition of battery-powered brightness and a much-improved reticle.
Best Under $300:
Vortex Optics Diamondback
You might be noticing a trend here. Yep, Vortex Optics produces some of the best scopes around in a lot of categories. While the previous two entrants were very flexible and cater to everyone, the Diamondback is less flexible but is nonetheless our top choice if you’re looking for the finest quality instrument under $300.
With a 3.5-10x magnification range, it’s ideal for shooters who have some experience under their belt. A magnification of 10x is typically more than enough for a skilled hunter.
This lower magnification power means the wide 50mm objective diameter is even more noticeable, offering a brilliant view of the field of view, which is 35.8-12.5 feet per hundred yards. With max elevation adjustment of 65 MOA and max windage adjustment of 65 MOA, as well as 100 yards of parallax setting, it is possible for experienced hunters to experience optimum precision. These are all adjustable by way of metal-on-metal capped turrets.
Additionally, the dead-hold BDC reticle is highly efficient and minimal, utilizing an unobtrusive single crosshair design overlaying a second focal plane spot reticle. This makes it perfect for estimating holdover.
Of course, construction is solid, made from aircraft-grade aluminum alloy and argon-purged for full waterproofing, fog proofing, and shock resistance. A black nitride finish ensures a sleek but reflection-free surface that further resists corrosion.
Designed for experienced hunters, the Vortex Optics Diamondback offers competitive features in an affordable package.
Best Under $500:
Vortex Optics Viper
Upping the ante a bit, we have the Vortex Optics Viper PA Second Focal Plane Riflescope. In many ways, it shares the basic design of the Diamondback.
Most notably, it has a much wider range of magnification, from 5x to 20x. We really like the fact that instead of going higher, Vortex Optics has focused on a more practical lower range. Many experienced hunters will enjoy this, too.
The difference in quality is evident when using the scope, however. Vortex Optics has applied their finest lenses to this scope, and they are coated with a special XR coat to further enhance light. This is in addition to a standard multicoat and an armor coat.
All in all, this means superior protection from scratches, and resistance to water droplets, fog, and oils. The lenses themselves offer exceptional brilliance and color fidelity.
Additionally, a fast focus eyepiece with over three inches of eye relief takes great advantage of the 50mm-wide objective diameter. As you would expect, this diameter also adds a lot of brilliance to an already-great viewing picture, and really pushes the limits of just how dark it can be when you hunt.
Two reticles are available, a dead-hold BDC or a standard mil-dot. Again, unlike some other reticles out there, these designs do not hold your hand, but as this is aimed at experienced and professional hunters, we suspect this won’t be an issue to most in its target market.
For those shopping for a more premium scope, Vortex Optics offers an excellent option with unbelievable clarity and a great suite of features at what is still a great price.
Best Under $1000:
Millett 6-25 X 56 LRS-1
For those with bigger budgets still, there is an exceptional option worth considering from Millett. Right off the bat, you’ll notice a super wide 56mm objective lens which offers an outstanding field of view and a brilliant image in the worst of lighting conditions.
You will be able to zoom anywhere from 6x to 25x, a wonderfully rich range that focuses heavily on the practical low end. Additionally, you get premium glass with standard multicoat, ensuring the best possible image at any magnification. This glass is further coated to enhance strength, resist scratches and shed water or oils. It also works exceptionally well on dirt and debris.
It also features precision controls with a full 140 MOA adjustment for windage, elevation, and parallax. Extra large and ergonomic turrets provide smooth ¼ MOA adjustments and produce an audible click. This is complemented by the glass-etched, mil-dot bar reticle, designed for absolute precision.
Of course, it is constructed from top-quality aluminum and finished with a black nitride coat. It is fog-proof, waterproof, shockproof, and resistant to corrosion.
Lastly, it also comes with a sunshade, rings, and a cover.
For those looking to take down serious game, or who hunt regularly and seriously, an investment in the top-quality Millett scope is an excellent idea for a lifetime of high performance.
Best Long-Range Hunting Scope:
Nikon ProStaff 7 4-16X50
Nikon never disappoints. As we often point out, they produce scopes that fit in that sweet spot between a premium offering and a high-value item. We’ll never turn down superior craftsmanship at a reduced price!
The ProStaff is just another fine example of this trend. With a 4x-16x magnification range, we truly appreciate how low it can go. You’ll notice many others on our list start several orders of magnification higher, but there is a very practical purpose for starting at 4x, and we’re sure many experienced hunters will agree.
Of course, Nikon is known for their lenses and you get the finest glass available. Completely scratch-proof and coated for optimum light pass-through, they also resist oils, debris, and shed water droplets.
The picture itself is gorgeous, with high color fidelity and absolutely zero glare or unwanted light distortion. In the lowest of lighting conditions, it truly works magic with its 50mm objective width, seriously enhancing an image about as well as you can without the use of electronic processing.
Furthermore, a generous 4” eye relief makes it ideal for a variety of situations, as does the proprietary Nikoplex reticle. This reticle is a combination reticle which is only as intrusive as a basic crosshair but offers exceptionally precise details worked into the design. It allows for unparalleled accuracy at any range and is one of our favorite proprietary reticles.
Of course, you get full proofing from shocks, water, fog, and corrosion. The black nitride finish also ensures virtually no reflections, making for a stealthy choice.
Add in a lifetime warranty, and you’ve got a real winner, with premium features at a reasonable price.
If you’re willing to spend money on a premium scope, but don’t quite want to sink four digits of cash, Nikon can always be trusted to give you top-notch features on a budget. Durable, brilliant, and versatile, this is a beautiful scope.
Best Long-Range Night Vision Rifle Scope:
ATN X-Sight II
Are you ready for something completely different, something next-generation? If you’re a tech-enthusiast and love using gear, you’ll likely love this scope.
You should start by understanding that this is a “smart” scope. In other words, it uses an internal processor to perform some pretty mind-blowing feats relative to what wasn’t possible until pretty recently.
For starters, you get a day and night mode, with the unit processing the image to enhance atmospheric conditions or even emulate a night-vision appearance, although in practice the night mode image looks far superior to actual night-vision, with very detailed precision and a full scale of light and dark tones.
Your image can be magnified from 5x to 20x, and as the image is entirely based on real lenses, not digital enlargement, it retains optimum clarity. It is only after the ideal image passes through the wide objective lens that the image is processed.
You also receive a ballistic calculator, which is truly like magic. Unlike other scopes, where you need to pay attention to a complicated reticle design, here, everything is calculated for you. What this means is that factors like wind, target lead, bullet drop, and other nuances are calculated and your projected point of impact is displayed. This takes all the guesswork out of taking your shot—and yes, it works.
It can even record HD video with an internal SD card or with wireless streaming to your mobile device in full 4K for later viewing.
All of this runs on a 20,000mAh battery which is rechargeable, and believe it or not, it can operate up to 22 hours straight before needing to be charged.
For those looking for an affordable way to get the latest digital features so that they can hunt in any condition or light, this is simply the scope to beat.
Aspects to Consider When Buying a Long-Range Rifle Scope
Before you make your purchase, consider the following factors that should guide you to your dream scope:
What Magnification Range Makes Sense?
Keep in mind that a wider range, or a higher range, is not necessarily ideal. Sometimes, a scope with a low minimum magnification is perfect for when shooting at a closer range. It can be great to have 2,000% magnification, but if your target is 100 yards away, you’ll value a lower number, too.
Do you want the ability to do next-generation tasks, such as stream your kill in 4K to your phone? How about having the ballistics calculated for you? You’d better believe that’s not standard!
Objective Lens Width
An objective lens width that’s of a higher value is generally a good thing, but if you’re looking for stealth, you might want to trade the brighter picture for something slimmer, especially if you don’t hunt in low-light conditions.
It’s an excellent time to be a hunter with the variety of scopes and features on the market today. That said, there are so many, and with so many new and advanced features, it can be quite the shopping experience. Use our guide to focus your search and then use our reviews to pick from the best products out there.