Choosing the Best 500 Yard Rifle Scope – Reviews and Buying Guide
Anyone who really loves hunting knows that having the right equipment can make your experience that much better. If you’ve been wanting to buy a new scope for your rifle, then it’s worth looking into what the best options on the market are.
There are many different rifle scopes that are advertised for being good for 500-yard shots. Determining which ones are truly worth your time might not always be easy, though.
- 1 What Do You Have to Consider for Shooting Out to 500 Yards?
- 2 What Magnification Do You Need for 500 Yards?
- 3 What Are the Best Scopes to Shoot 500 Yards?
- 4 Conclusion
If you’re in a hurry, then here’s the list of the best 500-yard rifle scopes for long-range shooting:
- Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12×50
- Burris 4.5-14x42mm Fullfield II
- Nikon Monarch 3 3-12×42
- Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x50mm
- Nikon Black FX 1000 4-16×50
- Steiner Optics GS3 Game Sensing 2-10×42
Also, you’ll find some useful information about important things that you need to keep in mind when shopping for a long-range scope. Read on to get all of the right information so that you can buy what you need.
What Do You Have to Consider for Shooting Out to 500 Yards?
There are some things that you will want to consider when you’re shooting out to 500 yards. You have to keep these things in mind when you’re buying the ideal scope for you.
One of the first things to keep in mind is that higher glass quality is going to give you a better image. If you want to have a better image, then you’ll need higher glass quality on your rifle scopes in comparison to what you need for short distances. Not only the glass quality is of importance but also the coatings of the lenses. It’s desirable to have fully multi-coated lenses. These fully multi-coated lenses improve the transmission of light and provide a clear and crisp sight image.
Shooting further out also means that you have to pay better attention to wind and elevation. Larger ranges for windage and elevation are required in order to give yourself the best possible shot.
You shouldn’t underestimate how important this is. It’s especially crucial if you aren’t used to shooting out to 500 yards and you’ll want to make sure that things are in order.
You also need to consider things such as higher light transmission and your field of view. A lot goes into making a successful shot at 500 yards. Buying one of the best rifle scopes is going to give you a much better chance of getting your desired results. Keep all of these things in mind when you’re looking at the various rifle scopes options.
Sometimes it can be worthwhile to spend a little bit more money if you’re getting better features. A cheaper scope might seem appealing for your budget but it isn’t going to be very worthwhile if it isn’t capable of completing the shot.
You need to have a good field of vision and you need to be able to have the right information available to you so that you can make adjustments. As long as you understand this, you should be able to buy a good scope that will improve your overall experience.
What Magnification Do You Need for 500 Yards?
It’s also important to have the right magnification in order to make shots at 500 yards out. If you can’t zoom in enough on your target, then there is no way that you’re going to be able to accurately take a shot.
The better that you can see your target, the more likely you are to have success. This means that good magnification is a must.
Minimum Magnification for 500 yards
The bare minimum level of magnification that you will need for 500-yard shots is 5x magnification for any targets that are not too large. Even this level of magnification is going to be on the low side for most shots ranging out to 500 yards.
Maximum Magnification for Long-Range Shooting up to 500 yards
Most experts would recommend up to a 10x magnification for 500 yards in order to give yourself a good shot. You also need to keep in mind that certain situations are going to call for greater magnification specifically when your target is small or the surrounding light conditions are less than perfect.
Smaller targets are going to require higher magnification. If you’re hunting game that is fairly small, then you’re going to need those higher magnification levels on your scopes in order to find success.
Field of View considerations
One notable problem with this is that at high magnification levels, the field of view of the scopes is going to be reduced significantly. This is a necessary trade-off in many situations but it’s still worth noting.
At very high magnification levels even the best long-range scope will have you also deal with mirage. This gets your scope image blurry and hard to get a precise shot.
Also, you need to know that it might be best to consider the overall versatility of the scope. Having high magnification can be a great benefit to you but you aren’t always going to need to take shots at 500 yards.
Suggested Magnification Ranges for the Best Long-Range Scope Choices
Buying a variable scope with a minimum magnification of 3x or 4x might be best. Good scopes in this range should be able to go up to 14x or 16x, giving you the ability to change things up as necessary.
Elevation and Windage Adjustments
Another important factor when looking at scopes for 500 yards is that you sufficiently can adjust windage and elevation. 500 yards will require that you adjust holdovers and wind impact so you will hit the target instead of missing the shot.
Lens Size and Coatings
A final consideration for these types of scopes is that you have a large objective lens and tube to bring in as much light as possible to produce a clear target image. A crisp image makes it possible to target out to 500 yards when you’re shooting.
Lens coatings do also help to improve the image clarity. In addition, they help with repelling water and dirt to make the scopes fog-proof.
You do want to be able to make use of powerful magnification when you’re trying to shoot at 500 yards. You just want to keep the overall capabilities of the scope in mind when making your purchase.
You’ll be able to find scopes that offer many different experiences. You might even find that you prefer sacrificing a bit of versatility for magnification power, depending on your style.
What Are the Best Scopes to Shoot 500 Yards?
Below you can take a look at six recommended scopes that are excellent for shooting out to 500 yards. All of these are good for different reasons. You can learn a bit about the individual scopes and what they have to offer. Once you have read all of the information, it should be easier to decide which of these is going to be right for you.
Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12×50
The first thing to take note of when looking at the Vortex Crossfire II scope is that it is very budget-friendly. If you’re looking for a good scope that doesn’t break the bank, then this is probably going to be your best bet.
The Vortex Optics Crossfire II scopes offer you many good features while still managing to keep the price reasonable. This is a very good scope for hunting at a number of different ranges and it feels very easy to use as well.
You’ll be able to make use of the adjustable objective to provide image focus while maintaining a clear view of your target. The Vortex Optics Crossfire II rifle scope is anti-reflective and it makes use of fully multi-coated lenses in order to give you a bright and clear view of what you’re looking at.
You shouldn’t have any problems with glare or seeing what you’re doing with the proprietary coatings from Vortex Optics that also optimize light transmission. It makes it easier to complete those long-distance shots that you want to be able to line up.
It’s also noteworthy that the Vortex Optics Crossfire II riflescope has an ultra-forgiving eye box with 3.9-inch eye relief. The objective lens measures 50 mm. You should be able to acquire your target very quickly and this makes taking shots at a number of different ranges easier.
The fast-focus eyepiece of the Vortex Optics Crossfire II rifle scope is going to be very helpful as well. Even the capped reset turrets for windage and elevation are finger adjustable, giving you a really good experience for such an affordable riflescope. The field of view at 100 yards ranges from 25.7 to 8.4 ft depending on the magnification.
The only potential negative is that the red dot center isn’t really all that bright in the illuminated reticle versions. This isn’t going to deter most people from making use of this scope properly. It’s probably best to pick the non-illuminated Dead-Hold BDC reticle that is positioned on the second focal plane. Even so, it’s important to know about so that you can decide if this is a good option for your use.
Overall, the Crossfire II is the best budget scope for 500 yards with sufficient eye relief and fully multi-coated lenses. For long-range shooting beyond 500 yards, you might want to consider looking at a Crossfire II rifle scope model with a higher magnification power like the Vortex Optics Crossfire II 6-18×44 or the Vortex Optics Crossfire II 6-24×50.
Burris 4.5-14x – 42mm Fullfield II
It’s an incredibly convenient scope to use and is one of the best hunting scopes that you can buy for 500 yards without having to spend an abundance of money. This is not too much more pricey than the Vortex Optics scope mentioned above.
You’ll be getting a scope that can offer long-range accuracy while remaining easy to use. This is one of the most user-friendly scopes around and it uses a Ballistic Plex reticle that is effective. This reticle is positioned on the rear focal plane and is capable of trajectory compensating and you’ll have a good time using it. It’s a simple design but it works very well for your needs when shooting at 500 yards.
The parallax adjustment of this scope allows for improved accuracy at longer distances. This is a powerful scope that is designed to make taking long-distance shots simpler. If you’re not as used to taking shots at 500 yards or longer, then this is a good scope to buy. It isn’t cumbersome to use and it’s highly accurate.
The eye relief on the rifle scope is 3.1 to 3.8 inches (depending on your zoom setting). Compared to some other scopes that is a tad short but it’s enough for heavy recoil rifles and calibers. The field of view is between 22 and 7.5 feet and 100 yards. The design of the Burris Fullfield II is overall high-quality.
The only problem is that the glass isn’t as clear as many people would like it to be. If you want incredibly high-quality glass, then you’re going to have to invest a bit more of your money. The transmission of light is ok but it’s not the best scope for low-light conditions. That’s also partially the result from the 42 mm objective lens with a 1-inch tube.
Even so, this is an affordable scope that is perfect for everyday use, and allows to comfortably aim with one eye open. It’s easy to recommend as long as you understand that the glass can’t match up to the quality of more expensive scopes.
Nikon Monarch 3 3-12×42
Hunters are really going to fall in love with the Nikon Monarch scope for rifles. This is without a doubt one the best scopes for everyday hunting purposes that is good for 500-yard shots.
This rifle scope has been designed to make your hunting experience as good as possible. It manages to simplify field adjustments while providing you with comfortable eye relief, great zoom control, and a very good picture.
The glass on this scope is very good overall and it makes use of a fully multi-coated optical system. It has several layers of anti-reflective compounds on the glass surface, providing you with bright pictures from dawn to dusk in low-light environments due to the optimized light transmission.
This scope also has a fantastic reticle that is going to make it even easier to place your shots where you want them to go. Any hunter is going to be able to make use of this scope in order to take down a target at 500 yards.
Basically, the reticle on this scope stays the same size in relation to your target when you’re cycling through different magnification levels as it’s located on the front focal plane. This makes it a lot easier to place your shots properly.
The objective lens measures 42 mm in diameter and Nikon uses a 1″ tube for these scopes. The adjustment range for windage and elevation is rather small with 48 MOA. The eye relief on the 3-12x Monarch scopes is between 4 and 3.7 inches depending on what magnification you dialed in. That’s sufficient eye relief for most rifles.
You should be able to get a kill shot at a long-range without having your reticle throw you off. This feels incredibly natural to use and it makes it even better than usual to take shots at these longer distances.
The Nikon Monarch’s quick-focus eyepiece is really going to make your next hunting trip better if you decide to buy it. There are some who might find the reticle to be too fine but most people are going to be able to make use of this perfectly. Consider this option if you’re a regular hunter who is in need of a solid long-range scope.
Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x50mm
It makes use of what is called the Twilight Max Light Management System. This can give you an extra twenty minutes of shooting light and it even reduces glare to give you premium image quality. The lenses are fully multi-coated with Leupold’s proprietary coatings.
You’ll also like the way that the Leupold VX-3i scopes are designed from a functionality standpoint without tons of gimmicks. They are designed for the hunter and shooter and are a great option for 500-yard shots.
The scopes come with a 50mm objective lens, a 1-inch tube, and eye relief between 3.6 and 4.5 inches. The large eye relief makes the VX-3i scopes a great option for rifles with heavy recoil. The field of view on these scopes is between 11 and 29.8 feet at 100 yards.
The scopes allow adjustment of elevation and windage within 52 MOA. It has precise 1/4 MOA finger click adjustments that will make adjusting for windage or elevation simple. You’ll be able to adjust things quickly so that you won’t miss out on an opportunity. This has been designed to be a very user-friendly hunting rifle scope with several premium features.
The Diamond Coat 2 Ion-Assist lens coating is worth talking about as well. This gives you much higher light transmission while offering you superior abrasion resistance. You’ll also like knowing that this scope is quite durable. It has been crafted using aircraft-quality aluminum but it still manages to be lightweight.
Everything comes together to create a very reliable rifle scope that offers very clear vision and good magnification. It is a bit pricey and may not appeal to those who aren’t willing to invest the money. Even so, it’s easy to recommend this scope for hunters who need something to rely on in low-light situations. Keep this scope in mind if you want to buy something that will give you extended time during low shooting light.
Nikon Black FX 1000 4-16×50
You will find that the Nikon Black FX1000 rifle scopes are among the best options for shooting at 500 yards or more. If you find yourself in situations where you’re going to need to take long-distance shots regularly, then having a reliable scope such as this will help.
You’ll be able to accurately shoot targets while getting as much data as possible. This is great for hunting at long distances and people also like to use this scope for target shooting.
This rifle scope has a glass-etched ranging reticle that works really nicely. The reticle is located in the first focal plane and it can easily be used to estimate range.
You’ll be able to determine your target size, elevation holdover, and wind drift at whatever magnification you have designated. It’s all really very intuitive and you’ll have a good time making use of this one.
Other positive features of this first focal plane scope for 500 yards include the side focus parallax adjustment and the high-speed turrets for windage and elevation. In combination with the large objective lens with a 50 mm diameter, you’ll be able to target over long distances even in challenging lighting conditions.
The eye relief on the 4-16x Nikon Black FX1000 scopes ranges from 3.6 to 4 inches. This provides sufficient eye relief for rifles where the recoil is on the stronger side. The field of view at 100 yards is between 27.2 and 6.8 feet with a 30 mm scope tube diameter. Windage and elevation are adjustable within 90 MOA or 25 MRAD depending on whether you use an MRAD or MOA-based reticle.
You’re going to be able to use this scope in many different situations including long-range target shooting. This is truly one of the best rifle scopes on the market for long-distance shooting due to the optimized sight picture and the tools that are provided for ranging.
The issue that some people will encounter is that this is a truly premium scope. You’re going to need to shell out some money if you want to own this one. It’s really great for long-distance shots, though. For some people, this is going to be one of the best possible options.
Steiner Optics GS3 Game Sensing Scope 2-10×42
Now it is time to take a look at an even more high-end scope that is going to appeal to the most dedicated hunters, the Steiner Optics GS3. If you want to take long-distance shots, then the Steiner scope is going to be perfect.
This rifle scope provides one of the smoothest experience possible. The zoom range is great and it provides you with a sharp resolution even at longer distances.
Being able to see more details at longer distances is fantastic for those who want to take shots at 500 yards. You’ll always be able to feel confident that you know what you’re looking at. It makes it easier to obtain your target and you’ll be able to complete the shot with full confidence. This is perfect for shooting in wide-open areas.
This scope has really great lens coatings that will help to amplify the contrast in peak human vision sensitivity range. The lenses on the Steiner Optics GS3 are fully multi-coated to improve light transmission and reduce glare. It makes it that much simpler to spot game while you’re out hunting. This scope has been meticulously designed and it is made to provide hunters with the best long-distance shooting experience possible.
The Steiner GS3 has an eye relief ranging from 3.5 to 4.3 inches which makes it useful on rifles with heavy recoil. The field of view is an impressive 52 to 10.5 feet at 100 yards. The windage and elevation adjustment range over 70 MOA and the scope comes with a 30 mm tube and a 42mm objective lens.
The high price of this optic is going to be prohibitively expensive for some people. It just depends on how badly you want to enjoy these premium features. It has a great reticle that can help determine holdover for distance. It’s even simple to compensate for the wind using this scope so take a look at it if you have the money to invest in a rifle scope.
Now that you have seen the scopes that are available to you to target out to 500 yards, you’ll be able to find the best scope in your price range. There are several options to consider and they’re all appealing in different ways. Some of the more pricey rifle scope for 500 yards options are very impressive but they won’t be practical for everybody out there. The cost-effective options are still great and they won’t put you in a financial bind.
Take the time to choose whichever of the rifle scopes is best for your situation. You’ll be able to make shots at 500 yards much more easily with the help of a high-quality scope.
The best affordable scope is in our opinion the Crossfire II from Vortex Optics. If money does not matter then go for the Steiner GS3. It’s an awesome optic for a large variety of distances including 500 yard shots. A good compromise can be the Nikon Black FX 1000 with the first focal plane reticle and a large maximum magnification.
Any of the above scopes are recommended but they’re going to be good at different things. As long as you have a good idea of what you want, deciding shouldn’t take you too long.