Getting the best long range rifle scope for your needs is essential to making accurate shots. In this guide, you’ll learn about which products we recommend, as well as buying information and answers to frequently asked questions to help you decide which product is best for your needs.
Unfortunately, most people don’t have enough information for choosing scopes, and I’ve seen that firsthand when shots that people could have made went wildly off-course. That’s why it’s so important to know not just brand names and specifications, but how they apply to your shooting style.
Our Top Choice
While there’s a lot to like about all of the scopes on our list, our favorite is the Vortex Viper HS-T 6-24x50mm Riflescope. It’s lightweight, durable, and has a large, precise lens. In short, it includes the features of a premium scope at a budget-friendly price point.
The 10 Best Long Range Scopes
Here’s a rundown of popular and well-made options you’ll want to consider:
A great choice for almost any situation
Vortex’s Viper HST 6-24x50mm riflescope is a long-range, waterproof aluminum scope that serves as a great first choice for most buyers.
The large, 30mm tube supports more windage and elevation adjustments than many competing scopes, while the 50mm objective lens offers easy viewing in various circumstances. The parallax adjustment is relatively unusual for products in this price range, but it offers excellent overall performance with some practice.
However, the real standout feature is the larger, 30mm tube. This gives it more room to support windage and elevation adjustments than standard one-inch tubes do, and flexibility is crucial for getting a great riflescope.
This scope is machined from a single aluminum piece, too, which provides added strength, straightness, and waterproofing compared to scopes with lines in them. Together, these features make for a high-quality scope that’s ideal for most buyers. However, it is moderately expensive, so this scope isn’t a great choice for budget buyers.
- Made from a single piece of aluminum
- Each battery lasts for about 150 hours, supporting long-term use
- Functionally waterproof and fog proof
- Has variable magnification
- Focuses from 50 years to infinity
- Tends to get blurry at 20x to 24x magnification
- The glass is a little lower in quality than it should be for the price
This is a great scope for most buyers. While it’s not the most powerful scope on the market, it does have a great balance of pricing and features that make it more attractive for serious buyers. Ultimately, that earns it the top spot on our list.
Solid performance at a better price
Redfield’s Revolution 3-9x40mm is an impressive, affordable alternative to our top choice and ideal for budget-conscious buyers. Designed for shots at up to 500 yards, this scope actively supports hunting with a rapid target acquisition system and a vapor-deposition coating that focuses on low-light wavelengths that are ideal for hunting.
These are impressive features for a rifle in its price range and make a case for its status as our runner-up option. However, while this is a reliable rifle for most scenarios, it can’t quite match the performance of a more expensive option. Its magnification ends at 9x, which is just a little below the sweet spot of 10x used for hunting game up to 1000 yards away.
Despite that drawback, this scope is a practical, field-tested design that easily surpasses show-style scopes that quickly fail in harsh conditions. With waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof qualities, this is a great option to consider if you tend to be rough with your gear.
- Accurate up to 500 yards
- Has special vapor coatings that make light transmission easier while hunting
- Uses an exclusive rapid target acquisition system
- Waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof
- Comes with a lockable eyepiece
- Doesn’t have the same variety of features as a more-expensive scope
- Doesn’t reach 10x magnification
Overall, this scope isn’t as good as the Vortex Viper, which is why it’s down here instead of being at the top of this list. However, it’s still a relatively high-quality scope overall, and it’s significantly cheaper than many of the other options on this list. Together, these make it a solid runner-up choice for buyers who want a high-quality scope at a more moderate price.
Budget Choice: Leapers UTG BugBuster 3-9×32 Riflescope SCP-M392AOLWQ
Cheap doesn’t always mean bad
Leapers isn’t a premium brand, but it’s hard to beat if you’re looking for one of the most affordable scopes. It’s both waterproof and fog proof, with a parallax going from 3 yards to infinity on a Picatinny mount. Emerald-coated lenses offer crisp views.
However, the features that give this budget scope the real value are its zero-lockable and zero-resettable target turrets. These support quick shooting, while the sunshade helps prevent glare from messing with your shots.
With a standard 1-inch diameter and a 32mm objective lens, this scope does its job well. However, it does have a significant drawback in that it’s not as durable as our top two choices are. If you tend to be rough with your gear, give this scope a pass and invest in something tougher.
- Excellent performance for the price
- Offers both red and green illumination
- Comes with a sunshade and a cleaning cloth
- Has a flexible, variable magnification
- Filled with nitrogen to avoid interior corrosion
- Relatively heavy compared to higher-quality scopes
- Best for targets up to about 75 yards away, which is lower than most scopes
This scope is a great example of the way you’ll get what you pay for if you are looking for a long range hunting scope on a budget. It simply can’t match the build quality of a higher-end product like our first two choices. However, if you can accept a decent-but-not-amazing scope because you want to save money, this is one of the best scopes to consider.
Premium Choice: NightForce NXS Tactical Scope
It’s almost too good to recommend
This is the complete opposite of our previous choice and easily one of the most expensive options on this list. Regularly retailing for about three times as much as some other scopes, NightForce’s NXS tactical scope offers accuracy at up to 2000 yards away. It’s also designed for military situations, which means it’s far more rugged and durable than hunting scopes.
This scope offers a 30mm tube with a 56mm objective lens, which is somewhat larger than typical scopes. Illumination comes exclusively in red, which is slightly unfortunate given the price of this item, but it does offer 100 MOA for internal adjustments. It’s made of aircraft-grade aluminum for durability, while the optional ZeroStop version offers a quick reset.
Despite all of these features, it’s difficult to recommend this product to most buyers. The price is a major component of that because not everyone can afford it, but it’s also a much better scope than most users will need. Even long-range hunters rarely need to hit targets from over a thousand yards away, so think about your actual needs before considering this scope.
- Outstanding range compared to other long-range rifle scopes
- Fully waterproof and weather-resistant
- Composed of extremely durable aircraft-grade aluminum
- Uses a proprietary spring system for improved control and accuracy
- Has an optional version for rapid scope resets
- Significantly better than most people need
- Extremely expensive
There’s no denying that this is a great scope. In terms of pure power and capability, this is easily the best scope on our list. That said, it’s meant mainly for military situations, rather than deer hunting or similar activities. If you don’t need this kind of extreme performance, it’s better to get a cheaper option instead.
Other Options: Trijicon AccuPoint 5-20×50 Riflescope
A premium choice for demanding situations
With 5x to 20x magnification on a 30mm tube, Trijicon’s AccuPoint is built for long-range hunting and uses a creative dual-illumination system to adapt to your current lighting conditions. Helpfully, this system includes a manual override option for situations where the defaults aren’t quite perfect.
The body here is hard-anodized aluminum. For those who aren’t familiar with this process, hard-anodizing is an electrochemical process that significantly toughens the outer layer of metals like aluminum. This process makes it largely nonreactive, so rain, dirt, and body oils won’t harm it. This toughness also protects it from most shocks.
However, while this scope is a decent option for most hunters because it’s waterproof and fog-resistant, it has a few flaws that hold it back from being a top choice. It stops working correctly at about -20 degrees Fahrenheit, which can be a problem for some winter hunters. It’s also not fully fog proof, which makes it worse in such situations than many other choices.
- Extremely durable thanks to its hard-anodized shell
- Works from 5x to 20x, which means it’s viable at most hunting ranges
- The 50mm objective lens provides added visibility for most hunters
- A dual-illumination system makes it easier to get a great view in different lighting conditions
- A long eye relief helps protect your eyes while you’re shooting
- It’s not fog proof
- More expensive than most other scopes on this list
This is a premium-priced scope, but it should be fog proof at this price range instead of merely fog resistant. That’s one of the main reasons it’s not our top premium choice, despite being more expensive than most other long-range scopes.
Even so, this is a high-performance option that works great in most situations, so it’s worth considering if you don’t like any other scope more.
Other Options: Atibal XP6 Mirage
Impressively good for its price
Atibal’s XP6 Mirage is a solid mid-range choice, more affordable than most of the other options on this list but still better than budget-range models. However, it does require a lot of skill to get the most from it because its magnification only ranges from 1x to 6x. The tube is a solid 30mm, which is good, while the objective lens is 24mm (or about half the NightForce’s diameter).
While the parallax goes from 100 yards to infinity, this scope only works well on the short end of what we can consider long-range. With 300 hours of battery life, it’s quite viable for long hunting sessions, and that’s supported by being waterproof down to 10 meters and broadly resistant to the impacts of weather.
The exterior is the tame 6061-T6 aircraft grade aluminum that many other products on this list use. It doesn’t stand out because it’s the same, but it’s also a good choice, and better than some other products in the same price range. Overall, there’s a lot to like with this scope, even though user skill is needed to get the most out of it.
- Offers 11 brightness settings to match many different conditions
- Works for both competition shooting and hunting
- Has a 30mm tube, which is better than many others in this range
- The efficient battery can last through an entire week of hunting
- Waterproof to deeper than many competitors
- Doesn’t have the same range as more-expensive scopes offer
- The reticule can be a little oversized at maximum magnification
This is an impressively good scope for its price range, which is right at the lower end of mid-range scopes. Although it’s technically a long-range scope, it only works on the nearer end of that range, so don’t expect to hit truly distant targets with it.
Other Options: Primary Arms 4-14x44mm FFP Riflescope
Great magnification at a great price
Primary Arms’ FFP riflescope is a lower-middle-range riflescope with an unusual 4x to 14x magnification spread on a 30mm tube. While this particular range is uncommon, it neatly surpasses the 10x threshold preferred for hitting targets at 1000 yards, making it an excellent overall choice for long-range shooting.
This unit is functionally shockproof and fog proof, making it ideal for rougher excursions where your gear may get banged up a little. However, it’s only rated as waterproof down to 0.25m (about 0.8 feet), which is extremely shallow for a rifle scope. That lack of water resistance pulls this scope down from an otherwise-deserved place closer to the top of this list.
Other features include a side-mounted parallax adjustment knob for quick tuning, wind holds, and a 0.1 Mil Rad adjustment click. The manufacturer doesn’t list how long the LED lasts, but you can reasonably expect it to last for at least one long hunting trip on a fresh battery since it is an LED.
- More affordable than most other scopes
- Excellent resistance to shocks and fog
- Wide magnification range for accurate shots at over 1000 yards
- Solid aluminum construction offers a durable design
- 30mm tube offers incredible visuals in a wider range
- Only barely waterproof at the shallowest depths
- Not as accurate at longer ranges
This is an affordable long-range rifle scope with a decent (if slightly irregular) magnification range and a durable aluminum body. While it’s a good choice for many budget-conscious buyers, the fact that it can only withstand water up to a few inches deep is a severe problem in some environments. Anyone who plans to shoot near water should get a different scope instead.
Other Options: Vortex Crossfire II
A mid-range scope with budget pricing
Vortex is a great manufacturer, so it’s no surprise they earned two spots on this list. The Crossfire II is one of their budget models, and while it’s far inferior to our top choice, it’s worth looking at if you want to keep costs down while maximizing the quality of your scope.
This unit offers 4x to 12x magnification, which is a little below our previous option but still in the sweet zone for shots at 1000 yards. It uses multi-coated optics for improved light transmission, making it viable at twilight and dawn, and like most better scopes, it’s carved from a single piece of high-quality aluminum.
The exterior is an anodized black matte, which drastically reduces glare in well-lit conditions. It’s shockproof and fog proof, as well as fully waterproof, which already makes it better than the previous option on our list.
- Excellent magnification range
- Has a wide 50mm objective lens for improved sighting
- Lighter than many of its competitors in this range
- From one of the most well-known manufacturers
- Offers about 150 hours on a single battery
- The battery life is still shorter than many competitors offer
- The tube is comparatively small
This is a great rifle scope in general, and it’s hard to find an actual flaw with it. If anything, its only problem is that it doesn’t offer quite as many features as a higher-end scope like our top choice, but the same could be said of almost every other scope on this list. This isn’t quite the cheapest option, but it’s a fantastic choice for any budget buyer.
Other Options: Burris Fullfield E1 3-9x40mm Riflescope
An excellent shorter-range scope
Burris’ Fullfield E1 is another budget-range scope, although it usually sells for a bit more than Vortex’s Crossfire II. It offers a relatively common 3x to 9x magnification range, which is just shy of the 10x preferred for shots at 1000 yards. It still shoots far enough to work for most hunting environments, but it’s not as long-range as most options on this list.
However, this scope does offer an unusual setup with separate power rings and eyepieces. This design means you can attach extra flip-up lens covers, allowing you to better protect your scope when you’re not using it. The tube has a standard 1-inch diameter, with a relatively large 40mm objective lens for improved sighting.
This scope also offers customizable clickers. This drives up the price because you’ll need to contact Burris directly and work with them to manufacture it, but that’s an option most competitors don’t offer. This riflescope is mainly for enthusiasts who want a versatile scope at an affordable, collection-friendly price.
- Very affordable
- Functionally shockproof and fog proof
- Offers great accuracy for shots at 500 yards
- Designed for field use, which makes it more rugged than range-focused scopes
- More customizable than most of its competition
- Not rated as waterproof, which can be an issue for hunting in the rain
- Not illuminated, which makes it harder to use in dimmer conditions
This scope is impressively customizable, which is a rarity for products in this price range. Even many premium scopes don’t have quite as much flexibility or ability to add additional parts to it, which makes this an outstanding choice if you want to personalize your scope. However, since it’s not rated as waterproof, be sure you’re careful around puddles and lakes.
Other Options: Sightron SIII SS
Premium quality at premium pricing
Sightron’s intriguingly-named SIII SS is a premium long-range scope that goes from 8x to 32x magnification. This is significantly higher than most of its competitors and makes it a top contender for anyone who wants to shoot at extreme ranges.
Alongside its 30mm tube diameter, the exterior is about twice as thick as on most other scopes, with a 56mm objective lens. This extra material makes it significantly more durable than many other scopes, and that’s supported by its extra length for improved accuracy. It’s rated as shockproof, fog proof, and waterproof.
MOA adjustments occur at a 0.25 rate, supported by large, easy-to-use target knobs that all have a fast reset to zero. Windage and elevation caps help protect the knobs from being pushed out of focus over time. Seven-layer multi-coated lens provide outstanding resolution for serious use.
Like other premium riflescopes, this option is made for serious users and offers plenty of features to justify its high price.
- Offers better maximum magnification than most long-range rifle scopes
- Outstanding lens quality helps ensure sharp resolution at long distances
- Easy-to-use knobs provide quick, accurate adjustments while firing
- Thicker and more durable than most of its competitors
- Made from a single piece of aluminum
- Somewhat heavier than many other scopes
- Has a relatively thin reticule that’s not quite as good for hunting
It’s challenging to find things to complain about with this scope because it’s so good overall. However, there are somewhat better scopes in the same price range, and that’s the real drawback to this option. It’s not fundamentally bad in any sense of the term, but when there’s even better for the same price, most people will want those instead.
Long-Range Rifle Scope Buying Guide
Now that you know more about the best long range rifle scopes currently on the market let’s look at some buying information to help you decide which product is the best choice for your needs.
Riflescopes come in several primary sizes, but the most crucial difference is the tube diameter. Most fall into one of two popular sizing options: 1 inch or 30mm. 30mm tubes are better than one-inch tubes because they allow for more internal adjustments while you’re firing.
The other main difference is the field of view. This value explains the size of an object you can expect to see at a particular range. However, keep in mind that most manufacturers list this in either 100 yards or 100 meters, which are different ranges. This difference can make it harder to compare the true field of view.
How To Choose A Long-Range Rifle Scope
The first thing to do when choosing a long range scope is setting your budget. Scopes can range from about $100 to about $2000. You may find a few scopes above this range, but those are often overpriced for the features they offer.
Scopes up to about $250 are in the budget range. These aren’t necessarily bad products, but they are inferior to mid-range options. If you’re new to shooting, start with the best budget long range scope so you can get used to them, then upgrade to a better scope once you’re more familiar with them. There’s no point in starting with the most expensive option.
A mid-range scope usually costs above $250 but less than $800. These are solid, practical, and reliable options that work well for most buyers in most situations. Mid-range scopes
Premium scopes cost more than $800 and offer the best features. However, some premium scopes aren’t much better than a mid-range option, which means you’re spending a lot more money for minimal performance improvements.
Finding the Correct Fit
Next, figure out which scopes will fit on your rifle. Scopes have different lengths and mounting options, and while most scopes are compatible with most rifles, longer scopes, in particular, may not fit on every gun. Put simply, it doesn’t matter how good the scope is if you can’t fit it on your rifle.
Where Do You Want to Shoot?
After that, consider your shooting environment. Premium scopes could be viable for shots at 2000 yards or more, but most people will never need to take a shot at that distance. Even hunters often shoot at just 100-200 yards, which is significantly below what you can do with any long-range scope.
Hunters also need to deal with obstacles like trees that can make long-range shots functionally impossible. On the other hand, if you’re shooting at a range or similar environment, you may want to fire from as far away as possible. In these cases, your maximum effective range can affect your performance for recreational or competitive shooting.
Your shooting environment also includes details like how many targets you expect to shoot and how quickly. If you need to switch between targets at different ranges rapidly, that’s very different from finding one target and approaching it at your own pace. Adjustment options make it harder, or easier, to do these kinds of things.
Don’t forget to think about your magnification range. Long-range shooting is all well and good, but if you want to shoot at shorter spans as well, a scope that starts at 10x magnification isn’t practical. Somewhere around 5x is a good ‘low’ end for a long-range scope because that means it’s still useful for shorter-range environments.
As you can see, many things go into picking a long-range scope. While factors like the price can determine which scopes you can get, every price range has various options that are ideal in different situations.
What Are The Advantages/Benefits Of A Long-Range Rifle Scope?
The main advantage of a long-range riflescope is, of course, its ability to help you shoot accurately at very long distances. Long-range scopes usually work for shots at 500 to 1000 yards, with high-quality scopes occasionally supporting shots at ranges of 2000 yards or more.
While this is the direct benefit, long-range scopes have several other features that make them useful for different situations. Even if you want to shoot from a shorter range, having a long-range scope on your rifle allows you to scout out terrain from a safe distance and gather more information in unknown environments.
Long-range scopes also help improve your accuracy. This has a powerful effect on your mindset when you’re shooting and can encourage you to keep enjoying yourself. Improved accuracy also means greater cost-effectiveness because you won’t waste as many bullets. The goal is to have no wasted bullets, but it takes practice to reach that level.
If you take part in competitive shooting, a high-quality long-range scope can help you increase your scores and ultimately do better. Nothing matters more for your score than your personal skill, but higher-quality gear offers a clear competitive edge.
What Are The Disadvantages Of A Long-Range Rifle Scope?
While there are no true downsides to having a long-range rifle scope if you want to take long-distance shots, there are a few drawbacks to consider before you start buying.
The first major drawback is the price. Even budget models typically run more than $100, and they can get much more expensive, very quickly, if you’re looking at high-quality options. A great scope can be more costly than some guns, so this isn’t a minor investment, and it’s certainly not appropriate unless you plan to do a lot of shooting.
The second major drawback is that some scopes can make shots at shorter distances much harder. This is most apparent on ultra-long-range scopes, which rarely support less than 8x magnification. If you need to shoot something closer than 800 yards or so, a powerful scope could end up hindering you more than it helps.
Finally, it takes time and money to master using a long-range rifle scope. You cannot merely affix a scope to your rifle and instantly improve your aim. It takes practice, and plenty of bullets, to learn how to set the scope and maximize your efficiency with it. Unless and until you do this, long-range rifle scopes are little more than a fancy ornament.
To be clear, none of this means that you should avoid getting a long-range scope. In most cases, these scopes are the only reliable way to make accurate shots at extremely long distances, outweighing every drawback.
Attributes That Differentiate These Products
Here are the main attributes that separate rifle scopes from each other. Most sellers list this information on product pages, but you may occasionally need to refer to the manufacturer’s website.
- Magnification: This sets the magnification range on the scope. Higher magnification means more-accurate shots at much longer distances. Most long-range scopes don’t go above 15x or so, but a few premium scopes go significantly higher.
- Tube Diameter: This details how wide the tube itself is. Wider tubes (usually 30mm, or 1.1 inches) are ultimately more effective and flexible, so they’re the better choice for most buyers.
- Battery Type: This lists which type of battery the scope uses for its powered components. Most rifle scopes use a CR2032 battery, but make sure you check this to be sure you have enough spares.
- Field Of View: This lists the size of an object you can see at either 100 yards or 100 meters, depending on what the manufacturer wants to list. It usually includes the sizes for minimum magnification and maximum magnification.
- Weight: The scope’s weight is almost always given in ounces. Scopes have similar weights, but small differences in weight can affect your aim when you change scopes, so this is helpful to reference when you’re buying a new option.
- Length: This details the total length of the scope. This isn’t a problem on most guns because there’s usually enough room for a scope of any length, but it’s still good to have this information before you start buying.
- Material: This covers the primary material that the scope is made out of. Most manufacturers prefer using aircraft-grade aluminum or aluminum alloys, which are both durable and lightweight. Anodizing is a popular choice for manufacturing because it significantly improves the overall durability of the scope.
- Adjustment Type: This marker denotes which type of adjustment system the scope uses. The most popular formats are Mil Rad (MIL) and MOA. MIL is more precise and ideal for tactical situations, while MOA is easier to use and better for newcomers.
- Adjustment Click Value: This denotes how much adjustment you can make per click of the knobs. The most common adjustment values are 0.1 MIL or 0.25 MOA per click.
- Parallax: The parallax on a rifle scope is essential for offset viewing, and it’s extremely helpful for precision shooting. The actual values here aren’t important for most people.
- Shockproof: This details whether a scope is functionally shockproof, which means it won’t be thrown out of alignment if it gets bonked.
- Fogproof: This explains whether or not the scope is practical to use in fog. Scopes that aren’t fog proof may get covered by moisture when you’re shooting, rendering them functionally useless.
- Waterproof: This notes whether or not the scope is waterproof. Most are at least somewhat waterproof. Some manufacturers also rate the water resistance depth, which is how deep the scope can go before its waterproofing fails. Better scopes can go several meters underwater, while poorer scopes may only go a few inches.
Here are some of the most common questions people ask about buying long-range rifle scopes.
What Power Scope Do I Need For 1000 Yards?
A scope with 10x magnification is suitable for most regular targets at 1000 yards. 10x is not enough for exact shooting, but it is typically enough to hit a human-sized or larger target without significant difficulty. Consider getting higher magnification if you want a genuinely accurate shot at that range.
What Magnification Do Snipers Use?
They use whatever magnification is appropriate for the distance. Less glibly, snipers often use a scope in the 20x range. This is suitable for accurate hits on comparatively small targets, including targets that may be moving. Many scopes also start to blur above this point, which means it’s a practical upper end for users.
Are There Restrictions On Buying Long-Range Rifle Scopes?
Yes. Many of the best long range scope options are subject to export restrictions imposed by the United States’ federal government. These are normally imposed by the U.S. Departments of Commerce, State, and the Treasury. Websites that sell scopes typically provide information to help customers understand whether they can buy these products.
Aside from export issues, there are no particular restrictions on most rifle scopes. A scope is essentially a small telescope, and there are no particularly sensitive or control-worthy elements that require limiting ownership.
However, while there are few real restrictions on buying them, keep in mind that some regions ban long-range rifle scopes for hunting. Be sure to check with the local government of any area you plan to use these scopes before putting them on your rifle.
The Vortex Viper HST 6-24x50mm scope is easily the winner of this collection. While it’s not quite the best scope overall, it provides an outstanding selection of features at a reasonable price. The 6x to 24x magnification range is very wide for a rifle scope, and it’s good at up to 20x.
It’s almost a premium model but stays just low enough in pricing to remain a mid-range option. The large objective lens, comparatively low weight, and precision-based systems make it even better than some premium options. While it’s not quite the right choice for everyone, especially at ultra-long ranges, it’s our top choice for most situations.