11 Best Long-Range Scopes Reviewed (1000 Yard Scopes)

long range shooting

Long-range shooting is an absolute thrill. The joy of hearing the dong as you strike a metal target at long range is one of the best feelings in the world.

Once you start long-range shooting, you’ll quickly become addicted. One of the most important decisions you can make is the selection of a rifle scope.

There are lots of different pieces of gear you’ll rely on when it comes to long-range shooting, especially over 1000 yards, but outside from your chosen rifle and rounds, your optic is the most critical piece.

Choosing the right scope can be tricky, so we are going to dive into the world of long-range rifle scopes and leave you learning a thing or two.

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The 11 Best Sniper Scopes: Outdoor Empire Reviews

Here are some examples of the best long range scopes:

  1. Best budget scope #1: Nikon Monarch 5
  2. Best budget scope #2: Vortex Viper PST
  3. Best scope under $1000: Burris Veracity
  4. Best long-range scope for the money #1: Zeiss Conquest HD5
  5. Best long-range scope for the money #2: SIG Sauer Tango4
  6. Best tactical scopes #1: Nightforce ATACR 5-25 x 56
  7. Best tactical scopes #2: Schmidt and Bender Police Marksman 2 – 5-25×56
  8. Best overall long-range scope: NightForce Optics Benchrest Series
  9. Best 1,000-yard scope: The Steiner T Series
  10. Best 1,000-yard scope on a budget: Golden Eagle
  11. Best long-range hunting scope: Steiner GS3
CategoryBest BudgetBest for the moneyBest overall
ProductNikon monarch 5
Nikon Monarch 5
Zeiss conquest hd5
Zeiss Conquest HD5
Nightforce optics benchrest series
NightForce Optics Benchrest Series
Magnification & Objective Diameter5 - 20 x 50mm5 - 25 x 50mm12 - 42 x 56mm
Weight22.2 oz26.6 oz36 oz
Length15 in14 in17 in
Reticle typeBDC, Nikoplex, MK1-MOARZ1000 reticleNP-2DD™ Reticle
NP-R2™ Reticle
Eye relief3.9 - 3.490 mm75 mm/2.9 in
PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price

1. Best Budget Long-Range Scope #1

Nikon Monarch 5
  • Advanced reticle makes long-range shooting easy
  • Locking side focus
  • Water, shock, and fog proof
  • Compatible with Nikon's Spot-On technology
  • Compatible with Nikon's Spot-On technology
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Nikon is an interesting company that produces a wide variety of different optics including cameras, microscopes, and more. Needless to say, they make an outstanding product and the Nikon Monarch 5 is an amazing long-range rifle scope, especially considering the sub-$1K price tag.

The Nikon Monarch is built with a variety of high-quality features that will make it easy to hit targets that are way beyond your normal capabilities. This includes extra-low dispersion glass, fully multi-coated lenses, and an excellent spring-loaded instant zero reset.

The Monarch 5 goes above and beyond when it comes to affordable, high-powered optics and packs a stunning 5-20 power magnification with a 50mm objective lens.

Nikon Monarch 5 packs:

  • Super-smooth magnification ring
  • Powerful magnification range
  • Amazing glass
  • A quick focus eyepiece
  • Generous eye relief for magnum powered rounds

The Nikon Monarch 5 is a great go-to for shooting at ranges between 500 to 750 yards. Pushing past 750 yards may be difficult on all but the brightest and clearest days.

The optic is well-suited for hunting at ranges 300 yards and under, or for shooting small targets like prairie dogs at 200 yards or so. Its affordability makes it a great choice for shooters new to long-range rifle work.

2. Best Budget Long-Range Scope #2

Vortex Viper PST

The Vortex brand is most well known for producing the first high-quality yet efficiently affordable red dot optics. It's a real shame if that is all you know about them.

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The Vortex brand is most well known for producing the first high-quality yet efficiently affordable red dot optics. It’s a real shame if that is all you know about them.

Their variable magnified optics are outstanding pieces of gear, and the Vortex Viper PST is an excellent long-range scope that comes in at an affordable price. The 6-24 power model is perfect for reaching out and touching a target with confidence and clarity.

The Vortex Viper PST is a second focal plane scope, so it is better suited for target shooting and hunting than tactical use. It uses Vortex’s XR coating to give you glare reduction, facilitate light gathering, and protect your lenses from abrasions.

The PST VMR-1 MOA reticle is precise and useful with measurements for both bullet drop and windage calls. The Viper PST is a high-performance scope at a great price.

3. Best Long-Range Scope under $1,000

The Burris Veracity
  • Affordable first focal plane performance
  • Highly textured controls for easy use with gloves
  • Hi-lume multi-coating for low light performance
  • Burris Forever Warranty
  • Parallax adjustment is form 50 yards to infinity can compromise close-range shots
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02/27/2024 10:18 pm GMT

Compare prices at: Euro Optic

Burris is a great go-to brand when it comes to high quality yet affordable optics, and the Burris Veracity is a great entry point to the budget long-range scope world.

The Burris Veracity comes in a few flavors, but for long-range shooting, the 5-25 power option is the best. The Veracity is a really well-made scope, and one of my favorite budget options.

The Veracity is a one-piece tube design that is built to withstand the shock and vibration of long-range rounds. The Veracity is water-, shock-, and fog-proof, and uses a double spring tension system that keeps the optic zeroed regardless of shock and external vibration.

The Veracity Packs:

  • First focal plane design
  • PT crosshairs for speed and precision
  • Zero-click stop-adjustment knobs
  • Side focus adjustment
  • Ability to use a variety of different turret knobs

4. Best Long-Range Scope for the Money #1

Zeiss Conquest HD5
  • Lightweight and compact for its magnification range
  • Easy for new long-range shooters to use
  • Brilliantly clear
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Designed for the 308 round and not compatible with anything else
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Zeiss conquest hd5 rifle scope

Zeiss is a German firm that is, without a doubt, one of the most reputable optics brands ever created. The Zeiss Conquest Series represents some of the best optics out there on a dollar-for-dollar basis.

The Zeiss Conquest HD5 packs a ton of features that are nearly unbeatable. The Conquest HD5 is brilliant and clear with amazing optical quality. The scope is also extremely compact and lightweight for its 5-25 power magnification range.

The Zeiss Conquest is well suited for reaching out to 1,000 yards and has one of the best reticles for shooting out to that same distance. The Zeiss Conquest is a German-made optic that is perfect for hunting, long-range bench rest shooting, and even some tactical use.

The Zeiss HD5 Packs:

  • Rapid-Z ballistic reticle for shooting out to 1,000 yards
  • Lockable target turrets
  • Rugged construction
  • Textured magnification ring and turrets

The Zeiss Conquest HD5 is a great scope for the shooter looking to do a little bit of everything when it comes to long-range shooting. It is suited for hunting, long-range competition, and even some police use. It’s a do-it-all scope that’s easy to use and designed to last.

5. Best Long-Range Scope for the Money #2

SIG Sauer Tango4
  • The motion-activated illuminated reticle is perfect for saving battery life
  • The Lens Armor system is designed to make the optics and the glass incredibly durable
  • Waterproof
  • Only comes in SIG grey
  • Tactile feedback of the turrets is low
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SIG Sauer is best known for its line of tactical handguns and rifles, but in the last few years they have extended into the rifle scope realm with extreme prejudice, winning contracts with the US Army and Special Operations forces.

The SIG Sauer Tango4 is their high-powered, long-range scope that packs a 6-24 power magnification with a 50mm objective lens.

The Tango4 is a durable optic that is priced very competitively compared to other long-range optics. Its robust design comes complete with a single piece main tube, target turrets, and a side focus adjustment.

SIG offers an outstanding warranty on all its scope, and the optic itself is completely waterproof (that is, submersible) up to 1 meter.

The Tango4 Packs:

  • First focal plane scope
  • Motion-activated illumination that powers up when moved
  • Low dispersion glass for high optical clarity
  • Four different reticles

The SIG Sauer Tango4 is a scope for those of us who are rough on scopes. It’s a rugged design that’s tough and can take a real beating when it’s called for.

If you are the clumsy type, or maybe the type who prefers to hunt or operate in the harshest environments, the Tango4 is the scope for you. This optic is rock solid and dependable, and even though it’s built like a tank, it has the finesse to reach out and touch a target.

6. Best Tactical Scopes #1

Nightforce ATACR 5-25 x 56
  • One of the most robust scopes on the market
  • ED glass for extreme clarity
  • Integrated power throw level
  • Perfect for both semi-auto rifles and bolt guns
  • Expensive
  • Heavy
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02/19/2024 01:11 pm GMT

Compare prices at: Euro Optic

Nightforce atacr 5-25 x 56

The United States Marine Corps has some of the best snipers in the world. Their strenuous scout sniper course is one of the hardest in the world.

The man—and, by extension, their gear—is a formidable force. The USMC recently adopted the ATACR 5/25 x 56mm rifle scope for their newest sniper system, and they do so with a good reason.

The Nightforce ATACR packs a long-range punch and is a first focal plane scope with a respectable level of magnification. It provides a crystal clear view and is built to be as tough as the Marine carrying it.

The ATACR series is used around the military with elite snipers for a reason. It makes it easy to hit your target and can go to hell and back with a smile.

The Nightforce ATACR packs:

  • Extremely precise .250 MOA click value
  • A variety of tactical reticles can be chosen
  • The best Zero Stop on the market
  • Digital reticle illumination

The Nightforce ATACR is the scope you want if you carry a gun for a living. This isn’t a weekend hunting optic, but a serious machine made for tactical environments.

This optic is for the most serious of shooters in the military, law enforcement, and private security worlds. Its price, weight, and features make that very clear.

7. Best Tactical Scopes #2

Schmidt and Bender Police Marksman 2 - 5-25x56
  • Water and shockproof
  • Capable of reaching out to 2,000 meters
  • 120-hour battery life
  • Compatible with front mounted night vision
  • Eleven brightness settings
  • Heavy at almost 40 ounces
  • Long at over 16 inches
  • Expensive
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Schmidt and bender police marksman 2 - 5-25x56

The Schmidt and Ben Police Marksman 2 is another optic that recently has been adopted by special units in various military branches.

Schmidt and Bender have a long history of producing outstanding optics, and the Police Marksman 2 is their top-of-the-line tactical scope. This optic gives the user enhanced clarity in both daylight and low-light situations and is compatible with the majority of night vision clip-on devices.

The Police Marksman offers users the choice of over eight reticles, from some straightforward models to models that are extraordinarily complicated and well-designed for long-range engagements.

The scope is brilliant, and they offer models in both the first and second focal planes, although I’d advise the first focal plane for tactical use.

The Schmidt and Bender Police Markman 2 packs:

  • .25 MOA click value for precision adjustments
  • Parallax compensation from 10 meters to infinity
  • Illuminated reticle
  • Camera-grade glass for the clearest possible picture

The Schmidt and Bender Police Marksman 2 rifle scope is another serious shooting tactical scope. Its design makes it rugged and reliable, and its high-grade class gives you a brilliantly clear sight picture.

While it is designed for long-range sniping, it can also be used for close-range precision on small targets. The Police Marksman 2 is a well-crafted piece of gear and will likely serve you the rest of your life.

8. Best Overall Long-Range Scope

NightForce Optics Benchrest Series
  • A massive amount of magnification
  • Rugged and strong enough to withstand calibers up to 50 BMG.
  • Externally adjustable illuminated reticle
  • Awesome set of target turrets.
  • It’s a very heavy optic
  • Quite costly
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02/19/2024 01:11 pm GMT

Compare prices at: Bass Pro Shops

Nightforce optics benchrest series

NightForce Optics is a brand most commonly associated with tactical shooting. Shooters and snipers in the most elite special operations teams in the world use NightForce Optics, and that is where most shooters recognize the brand from.

The NightForce Optics brand is much larger than that, however, and one of their best series is the Benchrest series. The Benchrest series is designed for long-range target shooting, not long-range people shooting.

The Benchrest series packs a variety of different magnification levels, but the one I’d use for long-range shooting is the 12-42x56mm model.

The Benchrest series packs the same outstanding clarity NightForce is known for. You’ll see your target in brilliant clarity and easily line up your shot before pulling the trigger. The NightForce Benchrest series is brilliant and full of features that include:

  • Adjustable parallax from 25 yards to infinity.
  • .125 MOA Target turrets for precision adjustments.
  • A coil spring plunger return system to maximize accuracy.
  • Fast focus eyepiece and reticle.

The NightForce Benchrest series is a precision tool design for hitting targets way, way out there. This optic is one of the best on the market for competition shooting, and it earns its Benchrest name for a reason.

The NightForce Benchrest scope is a brilliant addition to any long range rifle and the NightForce name is so well known for a reason.

9. Best 1,000-Yard Scope

The Steiner T Series
  • Water, Shock, and Fogproof
  • An All Metal Magnification ring
  • Military Grade Ruggedness
  • Lifetime Heritage Warranty
  • The scope is expensive compared to competitors.
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02/19/2024 01:16 pm GMT

Steiner is a European brand that is massive on that side of the world. In the United States, the Steiner brand has slowly become more and more accepted and widely used.

Steiner produces extremely high-quality optics, and the T series is one of the most famous long-range scopes. The T series comes in a variety of magnification levels, and the best model for 1,000-yard shooting is the 5-25x optic.

The Steiner T series uses what they called the SCR reticle. This stands for Special Competition Reticle and its built from the ground up for long-range competition use.

It incorporates windage and elevation holdover lines and it uses a 1/10-mil ranging brackets to dial into an extremely precise degree.

The Steiner T Series packs a few features worth mentioning, including:

  • A throw lever to quickly change magnification levels.
  • A Second Rotation Indicator that changes the mils automatically after the first 120 mils.
  • Fingertip adjustable turrets that use Never Lost technology
  • High-grade premium class cut and ground by Steiner.

The Steiner T Series rifle scopes are rugged and dependable. Their ability to reach out and see a target gives you the ability to reach out and touch a target.

The SCR reticle is perfect for competition shooting and hitting those 1,000-yard targets. This rifle is built for competition, but tough enough to be used in tactical shooting scenarios.

10. Best 1,000-Yard Scope on a Budget

The Golden Eagle
  • Very powerful
  • Easy to use
  • Water-, shock-, and fog-proof
  • Fast focus eyepiece
  • Lightweight 20 ounces
  • Second focal plane kills tactical use
  • Parallax adjustment is 15 to infinity (10 to infinity is industry standard)
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02/19/2024 01:21 pm GMT

Compare prices at: Euro Optic, Sportsman’s Guide

Shooting 1,000 yards on a budget is tricky. It can be difficult to manage both a budget and a high-quality rifle scope, but it can be done.

Assuming you are shooting stationary targets in a non-tactical environment, we can come up with a substantial 1,000-yard scope. Personally, I’d go with the Vortex Golden Eagle. Priced at $1,500, this scope is considered budget friendly in the long-range market.

The Golden Eagle packs a 15-to-60 power magnification with a 52 mm objective lens. The optic is produced by the always fabulous Vortex, who makes some of the best red dots ever.

The Golden Eagle uses crystal clear HD Lens elements to deliver a bright sight picture that’s enhanced and protected by Vortex’s XR plus lens coating. The Golden Eagle soars above the budget long-range scopes and is one of the few that can even kick it with more expensive options.

The Golden Eagle Packs:

  • 15-60x magnification
  • Single piece tube design
  • Optically indexed lenses
  • Apochromatic object lens for bright and true colors
  • 125 MOA precision adjustment turrets

The Golden Eagle is well suited for the shooter new to long-range shooting. The design is rock solid, and it’s easy to use.

The Eagle is designed for long-range shooters who can’t spend three to four thousand dollars just on an optic.It’s best used for long-range stationary targets, not for hunting or tactical use.

11. Best Long-Range Hunting Scope

The Steiner GS3
  • Lightweight and short mount length
  • Single piece tube
  • Brilliant picture quality
  • Affordable
  • Lifetime Heritage warranty
  • No lens covers (a small detail, but it’s a high priced optic so you’d expect it)
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Long-range hunting is very tricky, and even the best shooter should stay within 300 yards to be a humane hunter. When you hear 300 yards, you don’t think that’s long range; however, when you are aiming at a target the size of a fist, it’s tricky.

Most animals have a heart no more significant than that, and an ethical kill means targeting that fist-sized target. The Steiner GS3 optic is the best scope you can choose for long-range hunting.

The Steiner GS3 isn’t just an extremely precise scope but features outstanding glass that delivers a clear and bright picture regardless of the conditions.

It uses the exclusive Color Adjusted Transmission lens coating that makes it easy to see an animal as it blends in with the surrounding environment.

The hide of a deer blends in quite well with the colors of fall, which is effectively natural camouflage. The GS3 helps defeat that natural defense and allows you to see animals regardless of how far they are away and how camouflaged they are.

The Steiner GS3 Packs:

  • Magnification range of 4-20x
  • Uncluttered reticle
  • Short mounting length for smaller rifles
  • Water- and fog-proof construction

The Steiner GS3 is a brilliant hunting optic designed for the long-range hunter. From mountains to fields, the Steiner GS3 will zoom in and spot an animal in excellent clarity. It’s hard to beat the rugged design and fantastic durability.

2 Extra Picks!

Best 6.5 Creedmoor Scope

Steiner T5Xi
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02/19/2024 01:21 pm GMT

The Steiner T5Xi 5-25x56mm is an overall fantastic rifle scope designed to take advantage of the 6.5 Creedmoor’s brilliant range and precision.

The 6.5 Creedmoor is one of the best modern 1,000-yard cartridges, and to get every ounce of range and accuracy out of it, you need a good optic.

The Steiner T5Xi is designed for competition and tactical use. It utilizes an SCR reticle explicitly designed for those 1000-yard targets.

The steiner aim

The Steiner is made for precision aiming, and it boasts target turrets that are fingertip adjustable and have ¼ MOA adjustments.

We haven’t even talked about Steiner’s brilliant optical quality and extraordinarily bright and satisfying picture. The 6.5 Creedmoor is a modern round in need of a modern scope, and Steiner offers one of the best.

If you want to reach out and touch a target, it’s hard to go wrong with a Steiner.

Best .308 Long-Range Scope

Scope for 308 round

The 308 is a classic rifleman’s round used around the world due to its hard-hitting power and notable long-range performance. Teaming it up with the right scope can make it a killer out to 800 yards.

The M-308 from Nikon is both an affordable and high-performing scope designed around the classic 308 caliber round. The M-308 sports a specialized reticle that gives the shooters drop points out to 800 yards. This makes hitting targets out to 800 yards child’s play.

If you don’t mind what I call “boringly accurate,” you won’t mind the Nikon M-308. The scope sports a quick focus eyepiece, target turrets, a focus adjustment knob, and is fully multicoated.

The scope is water-, shock-, and fog-proof, so it’s at home at both the bench rest and the treestand. Nikon Makes fantastic optics, and the M-308 is an excellent choice for simple and reliable accuracy.

Why You Need A Quality Scope?

Rifle with long range scope

When it comes to long-range shooting, if you want to strike a target at long range you need the right optic to do it. A $150 optic isn’t going to cut it.

You need an optic that prioritizes quality over everything else. This includes quality glass, a quality reticle, as well as turrets and internal components.

That feeling of hitting a target at 700, 800, or even 1,000 yards is a tremendous feeling. Constantly missing can kill the mood, and often the difference comes from the quality of your rifle scope.

When I first hit a target at 500 yards with nothing more than iron sights, I was addicted to this challenging idea of long-range shooting. Beyond 500 yards the challenge increases substantially, and while you need fundamentals, you’re going to need the proper gear to get you there.

Target through scope

Important Scope Choosing Factors

Keys to choosing a quality scope:

– A high-quality product will allow you to see the target, which is damn important if you want to hit it. You generally want a magnification of 25x, or close to it. You can go higher (and may need to) if you are shooting tiny targets.

– Proper reticle selection is essential when it comes to placing rounds on target. You have to be able to compensate for both windage and bullet drop. You also want a wide objective lens—50mms or bigger is typically right around the sweet spot.

  • You want a middle-of-the-road eye relief (over two inches), and this is to accommodate the recoil of powerful rounds built for long-range shooting.
  • You also want an optic that’s made from one solid piece of aluminum. A one-piece optic is more rigid and more precise overall. You want and need every ounce of precision at the 1,000-yard line.

Anything less than a quality product will leave you hitting the berm and not the target.


Scope construction

Construction is critical for a number of reasons. First, long-range rounds are often powerful rounds with heavy recoil. This creates a need for a tough and durable optic capable of taking abuse.

Additionally, you want a single piece tube for long-range shooting. This means the tube of the optic is made from one piece of aluminum. This makes the scope tougher, but also more precise and less prone to shift.

Now when it comes to long-range shooting optics, the amount of water-proofing, shock-proofing, and fog-proofing isn’t necessarily important for the shooting aspect.

However, life happens and you always want an optic dedicated to beating the elements. This includes keeping moisture and dirt out, as well as resisting recoil, drops and falls—and of course keeping fog from building up inside the optic.

Quality construction is the hallmark of any good optic.


Magnified view through scope

Clearly, if you shooting long range, you need an absurdly powerful 70X optic right? Well, no not really. Long range is relative, but at 1,000 yards you wouldn’t need a 70X scope, or even half that.

You have to keep target size and range into perspective. At 500 yards, I can easily hit a man-sized target with a rifle equipped with a 4X scope.

For long-range shooters, I doubt you’d ever need anything beyond 25X… and even that is a lot. A good 5-25 power optic is capable of reaching out quite far and ringing steel true.

Anything beyond that is a bit excessive, not to mention that the scope starts to get heavier, more expensive, and a bit much overall. Less magnification works, as does a little more—but keeping it around 25x isn’t terribly hard to do in this market.

That Pesky Eye Relief

Soldier adjusting scope knob

Eye relief is the distance from the rear lens of the optic to your actual eye. A rifle scope has a set eye relief which is typically measured in inches. Occasionally you’ll see it in MMs as well.

Eye relief is generally more of a concern for length of pull, and where and how you can mount an optic. On a pistol for example the eye relief is very long or unlimited.

Long range rifles have to fire a big and heavy bullet a long distance. This requires a lot of oomph. A lot of oomph translates into a lot of recoil, and recoil is the weapon coming rearward.

With a scope, its coming back towards your face. A scope with a short eye relief is going to result in a nasty black eye.

Proper eye relief for a powerful and hard-hitting round is often 3.6 inches and beyond. Eye relief may change as the scope’s magnification level changes, so pay attention to both numbers. Eye relief can go as far as 4 inches and still be a comfortable option for long-range shooting.


Scope turrets

Turrets are not just gun emplacements or those weird tower things on the sides of castles. When it comes to rifle scopes, a turret is the device mounted on the top and sides of an optic.

They are used to adjust the reticle, and occasionally a third will be used to adjust the parallax.

Turrets are incredibly important when it comes to dialing in an optic for long-range shooting. A good set of turrets can make a big difference in the field and in tactical environments. The same goes for shooting at a benchrest and for competition.

Your turrets should provide precise adjustments to the optic—at the high end, a ¼ MOA adjustments are considered quite fine in the world of long-range shooting. These small adjustments make it easy for you to dial in a precise zero for your rifle.

A slight misadjustment at 100 yards is nothing, barely noticeable. At 1,000 yards, we are talking inches worth of failure.

A person adjusting scope turrets

This is why precision adjustment turrets are so necessary for long-range shooting. Anything less is bound to cause you significant issues at long range.

Fingertip adjustable turrets are a great thing for precision tactical shooting or for hunting. They allow a shooter to make quick adjustments to compensate for wind and bullet drop in mere clicks. They aren’t necessary, but they are an outstanding feature to have.

Beyond being precise and small in their adjustments, they should also provide a tactile feeling. You should be able to feel and even hear every click you make when it comes to adjustments. This makes it easy to count your clicks, and therefore how many inches (or fractions of an inch) you are adjusting.

Reticle Options

Reticle options

When it comes to reticles, you’ll have dozens if not hundreds of options to choose from. Every company has their version of a long-range reticle, and it can get tricky picking the right one for you.

Of course you need to examine your overall goal. Competition scopes may have rules that you’ll have to follow. Personal preference will always be a factor when it comes to reticle selection as well.

My must-haves include a simple but precise windage and elevation scale. The optic must have these two things for quick field corrections.

Additionally, the reticle needs to be fine enough that it will not obscure a target at long range.A big target looks awfully small at a 1,000 yards and a big thick reticle will completely obscure it.

Beyond these requirements, you can go as fancy as you need to. Windage and elevation pyramids are a great option, as are illuminated reticles for tactical shooters. Pick and choose your features as you deem necessary, but do not compromise on the above must haves.

Precious Glass

Scope glass

Glass is tricky. It’s easily the most crucial aspect to seeing a target at long range, and you need glass that’s extremely high quality.

When it comes to long range shooting, high-quality glass is critical to your ability to see the target, especially in low light situations. The problem is there isn’t an optic industry standard when it comes to high-quality rifle scope glass. There isn’t a rating or number to look for.

This makes finding awesome glass tricky. High-quality companies with a solid reputation tend to utilize the best glass. Some companies will list the country of manufacture of the glass, and this can be a handy indicator of quality.

Glass is made from sand, and finer sand creates higher-end glass. The best sand comes from Asia, specifically Eastern Asia. Japan, for example, makes extremely nice glass.

Beyond just the quality of the glass, you also need to consider the coating on the glass. A lens coating is designed to both reduce glare and improve light transmission.

This gives you a much clearer picture overall, and there are several different types of coatings out there for an optic. Some are standard, and others are proprietary.

Regardless of the coating, there are different ways the lenses can be coated. The following are the most common you’ll see on riflescopes:

Coated – An optic that is coated will have a single layer of coating on at least one lens surface.

Fully Coated – A fully-coated optic has coatings on all surfaces that touch air.

Multi-Coated – Multi-coated optics feature multi coatings on at least one lens.

Fully Multi-Coated – These optics have multiple coatings on every piece of glass that touches air.

When it comes to long-range optics, your best bet is going to be fully multi-coated optics. This will provide you the clearest and crispest picture possible. It will make it easy to shoot in bright light and low light. The industry standard for high quality optics is fully multi-coated lenses.

Learn more about lense coatings.

Brands Worth Looking Into


Nightforce scope

Nightforce is the brand to beat when it comes to cutting-edge optics and quality. I’ve yet to see a brand dominate the market so thoroughly.

Nightforce is in use with some of the most elite units in the world, including the USMC Scout Snipers, the United States Navy SEALs, and the Army Rangers.

Their reputation has followed them from combat theater to combat theater, and a generation of armed forces members can testify to the quality of Nightforce optics.

Their optics are built to give you a brilliant picture quality, a bombproof design, as well as reliable and useful functions and features designed for long-range shooting.

Nightforce has staked their claim as the premium-grade vendor of optics designed not just to hunt deer, but to shoot people. Nightforce is primarily known for their service overseas and in tactical scenarios. This is where they rule.

However, they are interested in the civilian bench rest and competition side of the market as well. They have a firm footing with serious competition shooters looking to ring gongs and create small groups at long ranges.

If you have a mission where second best isn’t an option, Nightforce is the company you go with.


Vortex rifle scope

Vortex is a company that’s a bit tough to pin down. They produce such a wide variety of optics you could say they are a jack-of-all-trades.

From red dots to binoculars, and budget picks to pricey options, Vortex covers it all. In the long-range riflescope world, they have become a favorite of shooters looking to stretch their dollars as much as possible. Vortex makes an optic that is built to last and get the job done.

Vortex optics are excellent choices for hunters since they focus on giving a bright and clear picture, the kind of picture needed to distinguish deer from leaves in the fall.

They aren’t the only company that can produce a quality picture but they are the only company who can do it on a budget. Hunters looking to reach out a little further would be well served by a variety of Vortex scopes.

Vortex produces great optics for long-range hunting and target shooting, and they do so at numerous budget tiers. Their optics are well designed and well proven in the fields of clarity, durability, and usefulness.

Schmidt and Bender

Schmidt and bender scope

Schmidt and Bender is a company well reputed for their high-end scopes for competition, tactical use, and hunting. They are best described as the “gentleman’s scope,” often due to their European heritage and their constant presence on beautiful and bespoke rifles.

Schmidt and Bender is a powerful brand, and as an optic’s company, they are mostly recognized as a hunting and competition brand.

If you need to see and then hit a target way down range, Schmidt and Bender will get you there. Their scopes provide clear and vibrant images that allow you to see and shoot way out there.

Their scopes are refined for long-range competition and allow to easily compensate for windage and bullet drop when paired with Schmidt and Bender’s amazing reticles.

Outside of competition, the S&B Scopes are often seen in exotic hunting locations. Across savannahs and up mountains, S&B scopes are designed for a wide variety of environments.

They have optics designed specifically for particular locales that allow them to excel in these environments. S&B is one of the few who takes the time to consider the environment when they build their optics.

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