Buyers Guide to Finding the Best Long Range Rifle Scope – Editor’s Pick for 2020
This Buyers Guide shows you the features you have to look for when you’re going to buy a long-range rifle scope. Please let us know in the comments if you have other suggestions or think that there are other features that would need to be highlighted.
- 1 Best Long Range Rifle Scope For The Money
- 2 Conclusion
- 3 Commonly Asked Questions
- 4 Updates
When you’re thinking of buying a long-range riflescope then you must be aware of a few important features that need to be taken into consideration. You will most likely have to spend north of $2,000 for a scope that satisfies all of the feature requests of a perfect long-distance scope.
Many people do not have that kind of money for a scope so we’ll explain the different features and you can then decide what is most important for you vs. what you can live without in order to get down the price point for the scope.
There are quite a few things you need to consider when you’re looking for a long-range riflescope. We have compiled a list of considerations in our Ultimate Buying Guide for Long-Range Riflescopes. Please check it out if you want to dig deeper into the different important features you have to look out for!
Best Long Range Rifle Scope For The Money
Based on the features listed above we provide below a list of the best rifle scopes for long-distance shooting for the money you can get. We separated them out into different price ranges so you can find a great scope for every wallet.
Under $500 – Nikon PROSTAFF 5 Mildot 4.5-18x40mm
Nikon offers a great value for all the features covered through this scope. There certainly are scopes with better glass and higher magnification.
But you’ll have a hard time finding a better scope for this price. With the price of this long-distance scope, you can even live with having a mildot reticle and MOA turret adjustments.
The objective diameter is 40 mm so it’s on the lower end of what is required for long-range shots but it certainly is acceptable. The tube diameter is 1” which is also not the best you can find but for the price, it’s more than good. Overall, it’s a great scope for the price.
Under $1,000 – Leupold VX-3i 8.5-25x50mm LRP Riflescope
The VX-3i comes in a variety of zoom levels. The one for long-range shooting is the 8.5-25x. It’s not a good optic for shorter distances. The LRP in the name comes from Long Range Precision showing that this Leupold Scope is specifically designed for that purpose.
The scope comes with a TMR reticle that is specifically purposed for long-range shooting. The VX-3i series comes in a variety of designs. You can get it with the reticle on the first or second plane and with MIL or MRAD adjustments.
The glass is very clear even at large zoom settings. It comes with a 30mm main tube that is made from aircraft-grade aluminum. The large tube allows for elevation and windage adjustments of up to 80 MOA.
The turret adjustments are 0.1 mils per click or 0.25 MOA depending on which type of scope you get. The objective measures a massive 56mm. Even in less than perfect light conditions you can get enough light into the scope to get a clear and crisp image.
There’s a lot of features in this top-quality scope and it comes at a reasonable price.
Under $1,500 – Primary Arms 6-30X56 FFP Platinum Series
You might be surprised to find a Primary Arms scope on this list. Yet, they have pushed upwards into the premium market with their Platinum Series.
The glass used on the 6-30x scope is from Japan and ultra-clear. The reticle sits on the first focal plane and is a DEKA AMS MIL reticle. It’s a variant of a typical MIL-DOT reticle. To make target acquisition more straightforward the reticle is illuminated.
The objective diameter is a large 56mm and in combination with the high-end glass, you get a lot of light into the scope. To increase the amount of light to travel through the tube, they also use a massive 34mm main tube for the scope.
The elevation range is a massive 27.6 MIL. The windage can be adjusted by up to 13.1 MIL. This provides enough adjustment even for the longest ranges.
Primary Arms designed a truly good scope for this price range. It comes with a ton of great features and capabilities.
Under $3,000 – Vortex Razor HD Gen II 4.5-27x56mm
This scope was designed with long-range shooting in mind. The glass is outstanding and it is one of the most popular choices of the best shooters around.
This specific scope is available with MOA and Mil-Dot reticles and turret adjustment options. The objective is 56 mm and the tube diameter is 34mm which allows for extended elevation and windage adjustments.
This scope is typically close to the $3,000 mark but when you consider that it basically checks off all the features listed above then it’s worth every penny.
Above $3,000 – Steiner 5-25X-56mm MSR
It offers a modified Mil-Dot reticle and can in any way compete with for example the Schmidt & Bender scopes. The outstanding optics in this scope make it one of the top picks for any serious long-range shooter.
There’s no single ‘best’ long-distance rifle scope. The price points are too different, and the different scopes vary too much in what they are good to be used for.
If money doesn’t play a role then the Steiner scope is simply the best you can get. Whether you want to use it for target shooting or hunting, this is the scope to have.
If money is an issue, and that’s for most of us, then either of the scopes in the different price ranges will be a good choice.
Commonly Asked Questions
What is the most powerful rifle scope?
At the time of writing the most powerful regarding magnification is the March Optics 8-80x56mm scope. It delivers a whopping zoom range up to 80x which lets you target shots way beyond the 2,000 yards.
However, this all comes with a few downsides. First, pricing, as you can imagine, is on the very high end. Second, the scope comes in at around 30 oz. If you’re thinking of using it for hunting, then that’s quite a lot of weight to strap onto your rifle and carry around.
It’s a fantastic scope for ultra-long- distance target shooting. It’s definitely over-powered for hunting.
What is the best scope for shooting 1000 yards?
There are a number of great scopes to shoot 1,000 yards. We created an overview of what you need to consider and what scopes are the best here: https://riflescopescenter.com/choosing-the-best-1000-yard-rifle-scope/
What is the best scope for 6.5 Creedmoor?
The 6.5 Creedmoor is designed for target shooting across longer distances. Having said that, you should have no problem using it with any of the scopes shown above.
What is the best rifle scope for under $300?
There’s no single scope that is the ‘best’ for under $300. We have compiled a list of the different scopes in that price range that we think is best for specific uses. You can have a look at this evaluation here: https://riflescopescenter.com/best-rifle-scope-under-300/
What scope do I need for 300 yards?
A common rule of thumb is to require a zoom power of 1x per 100 yards. The minimum you should look for based on that calculation is a 3x scope.
Realistically, you’ll need a higher magnification though. The smaller the target the more magnification you will need. For 300 yards you should be doing well with a 2-8x or a 3-9x variable scope.
What is the best scope for a 308?
The 308 is a very common type of rifle. There are a number of great scopes out to match the characteristics of this cartridge.
You can find evaluation and compilation of the best rifle scopes for the 308 here: https://riflescopescenter.com/best-308/
A few things have changed between the list of 2018 and 2019. Some of the scopes we had reviewed originally are no longer available or simply hard to come by.
The ones we had to take off the list for 2019 are
- Leupold Mark AR 6-18x40mm MOD 1 Riflescope
- Leupold Mark 4 LR/T 6.5-20x50mm (30mm) M1 Mil-Dot
We copied and left the original reviews below in case you are interested to read about those scopes or if you can find one online or in a local shop. Find those reviews at the bottom.
In addition, we did discuss to add a Zeiss scope as they are simply outstanding but overall we did come to the conclusion that the scopes on the list are in no way inferior to any newer market entries.
We reviewed our list of picks for 2018 and decided that there’s no change from the 2017 lineup. The newer scopes that hit the market in 2017 don’t really seem to have an upper hand to the ones listed above. So, we came to the conclusion to leave the list as is and keep an eye on new introductions during 2018. If any new scope is better than what we listed above then we will switch it out and let you know in the updates section here.
Old Reviews from Previous Years
Leupold Mark AR 6-18x40mm MOD 1 Riflescope
It’s a lower end, Leupold, with great optics. The glass on this scope is great and it comes with a Mil-Dot reticle.
The turret adjustments are mildot (0.1 mils per click). The objective size is 40 mm and it has a 1″ tube and thus is on the lower end for both of these features.
This scope offers a great set of features and quality for the price. One of the best buys you can get.
Leupold Mark 4 LR/T 6.5-20x50mm (30mm) M1 Mil-Dot
This mid-range Leupold scope offers a lot of features simply a little better than our choice for the under $1,000 range. The glass is somewhat better, and the objective size is 50 mm.
The tube size is 30 mm instead of one inch and this allows for larger Elevation and Windage adjustments (70 MOA). It’s a great scope for the price.