Find the Best Sniper Scopes – Buying Advice and Reviews
Sniper scopes are used to help shooters and hunters make accurate shots at long-range distances. The benefit is that they provide greater clarity at further distances, and they are accurate because of elevation and windage adjustments. The models offered are various and diverse, so it is a good idea to learn about them when you begin your search for the best sniper rifle scope.
- 1 What Are the Basics of a Sniper Rifle Scope?
- 2 What Magnification Do You Need for the Typical Use of a Rifle Scope for a Sniper?
- 3 What Are the Best Sniper Scopes?
- 3.1 Nightforce Optics 5.5-22×56 NXS Riflescope
- 3.2 Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50
- 3.3 Burris Optics XTR II Riflescope 8-40x50mm
- 3.4 Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II 4.5-27×56 FFP Riflescope
- 3.5 Swarovski Riflescope Z5 5-25×52 BT
- 3.6 Trijicon TR23 AccuPoint 5-20×50 Riflescope
- 3.7 Steiner T5Xi 5-25x56mm Riflescope
- 3.8 Leupold VX-6HD 4-24x52mm Riflescope
- 3.9 Sig Sauer Tango4 6-24X50mm
- 3.10 Zeiss Conquest HD5 3-15×42 Rapid-Z 800 Ballistic Reticle Rifle Scope
- 4 Final Thoughts
- 5 Updates and Removed Scopes
If you’re in a hurry, here’s the list of the best sniper scopes:
- Nightforce Optics 5.5-22×56 NXS Riflescope
- Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50
- Burris Optics XTR II Riflescope 8-40x50mm
- Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II 4.5-27×56 FFP Riflescope
- Swarovski Riflescope Z5 5-25×52 BT
- Trijicon TR23 AccuPoint 5-20×50 Riflescope
- Steiner T5Xi 5-25x56mm Riflescope
- Leupold VX-6HD 4-24x52mm Riflescope
- Sig Sauer Tango4 6-24X50mm
- Zeiss Conquest HD5 3-15×42 Rapid-Z 800 Ballistic Reticle Rifle Scope
What Are the Basics of a Sniper Rifle Scope?
A sniper scope is basically a telescope that is made to hold your target crosshairs in the magnified picture. They allow you to more accurately shoot targets that are far away, including deer, coyotes, and other game. Some models are designed for hunting, while others are designed for the military, but they mostly have the same goal: to give you a clear image of distant targets when you look through the sniper scope.
You should consider the overall weight and durability of such a long-range sniper scope. These riflescopes are not inexpensive, so you want these sniper scopes to last for years. It should be durable enough to last through different weather conditions.
In addition, you will want to choose a sniper scope with a first-rate glass quality because this will give you better quality images. It should have protective coatings to ensure that the lens is fogproof and shockproof. The key is for the lens to provide you with the best performance in the environment where you intend to shoot your targets. You will want higher light transmission for greater clarity.
The magnification on such a sniper scope can be as high as 25x, which is important if you want to hit a long-range target. You also need the right reticle so that you can compensate for windage and elevation. In addition, a wide objective lens is ideal with middle eye relief over two inches to handle the recoil of the powerful rounds in long-distance shooting.
Another factor in the construction is that a solid one-piece aluminum optic is more precise overall. It is more rigid, which leaves less room for error. It will be less prone to shifting over time.
The turrets are mounted on the top and sides of optics, and they are used to adjust the reticle. It is very important and you need good turrets in this case. They should provide precise adjustments, so look for a one-fourth MOA for this range as it allows you to dial in a precise zero for your rifle. The longer-range you are shooting, the more precise you need to be.
You will have a number of different reticles to choose from, and you will want to use those with simple yet precise windage and elevation. It cannot obscure targets at a long range. If it is too thick, it will obscure the target.
The glass is the most crucial element of a long-range sniper scope because it allows you to see a target that is far away. You need to make sure that the glass is of the highest quality. It is critical in low-light situations. The best way to find high-quality glass is to look for high-quality companies that have a solid reputation. Glass is made from sand, and the better glass is made from finer sand.
In addition, the lens coating will improve your light transmission, so it is very important. You should choose fully-multi coated optics for the clearest picture. It works well in low and bright lights, and it is the industry standard for high-quality optics. You want a field of view that is sufficient because the more you zoom in, the lower your field of view is. A larger field of view is beneficial in long-range shooting.
What Magnification Do You Need for the Typical Use of a Rifle Scope for a Sniper?
For the typical use of a sniper rifle scope, you would want magnification from 4x to 25x. Smaller targets require larger magnification, or you won’t be able to see them. As magnification increases, the field of view decreases. For this reason, you need to choose the magnification that is ideal for your personal hunting and shooting uses.
Long-range sniper scopes allow you to zoom in and see targets that are thousands of yards away, and this usually requires 20x magnification or higher. They are usually used for slow-moving targets or shooting targets at a distance because the lower field of view limits your peripheral vision. It is very difficult to track a moving target at this range.
Sniper scopes for long-range shooting are versatile because they have the capacity to magnify up to 25x, but they can also give lower magnifications so that you can use them in a variety of situations. Variable scopes have advantages in that you can use them over a number of distances, so you can hunt different game and shoot different targets. When you choose a scope that ranges from 4x to 25x, you can shoot anything at 100 yards or more. You would only be prohibited from using the scope for close range.
Generally speaking, you need an objective diameter of at least 50 mm. The exit pupil diameter is important because it determines how much light information your eyes receive as the sun begins to set. You want this range to be from 5 mm to 7 mm.
The best magnification also requires that the lenses are fully multi-coated for maximum light transmission. The quality of the glass will play a role as well. If the lens has graded glass, it will have better sharpness, clarity, and color for long-range shooting.
Although sometimes people think they need super high magnification up to 70x, the reality is that you rarely need anything beyond 25x. If you have a good 5x to 25x sniper riflescope, you should be able to do everything you want to do with your rifle.
What Are the Best Sniper Scopes?
High magnification in the past meant ridiculously high prices. Even today, a sniper scope will be expensive but you’ll get high-quality glass and material all around. We compiled the list of what we think are the best sniper scopes today that fit different price points and uses. Have a look at the reviews of the best scopes for snipers below.
Nightforce Optics 5.5-22×56 NXS Riflescope
The Nightforce Optics 5.5-22×56 NXS a great long-range sniper scope for anyone who needs one. It has a 56 mm lens that will make your images exceptionally clear through the entire magnification process. It is a very accurate scope, no matter what range you choose to set it to.
It has a 100 MOA internal adjustment for elevation and windage and is crafted with aircraft quality aluminum. As a result, the scope is tough and durable. You can acquire closer range targets down to 5.5x magnification, as well as long-range targets up to 22x. It also has a zero stop function.
The long-range sniper scope’s reticle can be illuminated brightly, so you will have greater accuracy in low light. This makes it ideal during early morning and early evening hunting or tracking. Its built-in weatherproof construction is one of its best qualities. It is a high-quality hunting scope of considerable length and weight.
It is actually built to military-grade specs, which makes it tough enough to last in all kinds of conditions. It has a number of other smart features, including the extra narrow tube, the extended eyepiece, the zero-stop, and more. It is considered a top range scope, and it is expensive but worth the money.
You can take shots at 1000 yards and beyond because of its high magnification ability. The large objective lens allows for a wide field of view at these further distances. The MOA can turn to 60 for windage and 100 for elevation, and both knobs are fully exposed with tactical grips and markings.
Best for: You can choose this scope for any application from tactical competitions to long-range hunting.
- High-quality scope up to 25x magnification
- Rugged and durable construction
- Exceptional image clarity
- Lifetime warranty
- 100 MOA for elevation and windage
- 3.9-inch eye relief to allow for recoil power
- Weights just two pounds
- Expensive for those shopping on a budget
Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50
The Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50 replaces the Nikon FX1000 in our list of the best sniper scopes. Unfortunately, Nikon no longer produces and sells riflescopes. Thus, after you really can’t easily find this great scope anymore, we had to look for a solid contender that is as good, or even better, as the FX1000 was.
The PST GenII 5-25×50 is available in both SFP and FFP versions. While we prefer second focal plane reticles for hunting, we like first focal plane reticle scopes for target shooting. Therefore, we picked the FFP version, a 1 to 1 match to the Nikon FX1000.
The PST Gen II has a 5x zoom providing a magnification range from 5x to 25x. Combine that with the massive 50 mm objective lens, the 30 mm scope tube, and excellent glass, and you have one of the most versatile scopes for medium-range to long-range sniping. The scope image is incredible, and the colors are vivid. You’ll have no problems making out details across long ranges.
The scope comes with Vortex’s EBR-7C reticle in either MOA or MRAD variants. The reticle is illuminated, and you can adjust the brightness in 10 intensity settings. Between each brightness setting is an ‘off’ position that switches the illumination off. That’s handy as you won’t have to dial through 10 brightness levels when you want to switch the illumination off. The intensity adjustments work well between low-light and bright sunshine so that you can find a good level for pretty much any lighting condition.
The scope is constructed as a single-piece tube made from aircraft-grade aluminum. The eye relief is 3.4 inches, which is sufficient, but you might feel like it could be a tad longer with a high-powered rifle. The field of view at 100 yards ranges between 24.1 and 4.8 feet.
The Vortex PST GenII comes with tactical turrets with Vortex’s RZR Zero Stop feature. It allows a rapid reset to the original zero once you have sighted the scope. You can adjust windage by 35 MOA and elevation by 70 MOA. If you choose the MRAD reticle, your adjustment ranges are 20 MRAD for elevation and 10 MRAD for windage.
The scope construction is top-of-the-line. Vortex used the best material, aircraft-grade aluminum, that is currently available for durable scopes. The outside of the scope is hard anodized to reduce glare. The riflescope is waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof, as you would expect.
While we did mention above that we prefer SFP scopes for hunting. Best for: There’s no reason you can’t use the Viper Optics PST Gen II 5-25×50 for hunting.
Best for: The Viper PST Gen II FFP scope is a great choice for hunting and shooting anywhere between medium-range to long-range. The 5-25 magnification makes it a versatile scope that you can use for nearly every kind of target shooting or hunting. Best of all, it comes with a very attractive price tag!
- FFP reticle that works great for medium-range and long-range hunting and target shooting
- Extra-low dispersion (XD) glass provides brilliant sight images and excellent light transmission
- Illuminated reticle
- Eye relief is on the shorter side
- Some reports of shooters having problems with holding zero
Burris Optics XTR II Riflescope 8-40x50mm
The Burris Optics XTR II 8-40x50mm is a compact riflescope that has all of the features you need for both close and long-range shooting. It is a rear focal plane scope with a zoom that starts at 1x, so you can use it with both of your eyes open. The 8x magnification is useful in midrange situations, and it has an XTR II Ballistic Gen 3 reticle for fast target acquisition.
This second focal plane scope also has an illuminated crosshair and a BDC for making shots up to 1000 yards. It has a built in zero stop, and the glass quality is excellent, which gives you a bright image even in low-light settings. The reticle can be illuminated to improve your accuracy at dusk or dawn.
This scope is made on a durable frame that will last a long time. It is waterproof and fogproof, so you can use it no matter the weather conditions. It has a control ring that responds quickly and smoothly to any adjustments.
It also has quick adjustment knobs for windage, elevation, and modifications. It will click with each increment, so it is easy to adjust the turrets while you have your eye on the scope. They work for long-distance sniping, which ensures accuracy and precision.
Best for: This scope is ideal for those who are shooting or hunting long-range targets.
- Excellent lens quality
- The reticle can be illuminated
- Very durable body
- Audible click as you turn turrets
- Turrets are a bit bulky
Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II 4.5-27×56 FFP Riflescope
The Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II 4.5-27×56 FFP riflescope is loaded with features, and it is incredibly accurate. It is the perfect scope for advanced shooting. It has a glass-etched EBR-2C MRAD reticle with 11 different intensities of illumination, and it keeps the subtensions accurate. The Razor HD Gen II is a first focal plane scope.
The scope is made for precise long-range shots, and the L-TEC turret system has a locking mechanism to prevent accidental adjustments in elevation. The visual rotation indicators will allow you to keep track of the revolutions on the turret.
It has a fast-focus eyepiece that can adjust the reticle into sharp focus, and the side parallax adjustment and illumination controls are integrated into one knob, so you have easy access and ideal performance. It has an APO optical system to deliver excellent image quality with the premium glass that has high density and low dispersion. The lenses are fully multi-coated with XR and anti-reflective coatings that increase light transmission. They provide intense brightness.
In addition, the scope is O ring sealed and argon purged, so it is waterproof, fogproof, and durable. It is made with a single piece aircraft-grade aluminum body and armor tek coatings to protect the lenses from oil, scratches, and dirt.
Best for: This riflescope is ideal for people who are looking for a long-range sniper scope that is top quality and durable.
- Waterproof, shockproof, and fogproof
- Precise long-range scope
- 11 different illumination settings
- Fully multi-coated lens
- High-image quality
- Single piece aircraft-grade aluminum body
Swarovski Riflescope Z5 5-25×52 BT
The Swarovski Z5 5-25×52 BT riflescope is lightweight, slim, and incredibly precise. It is a long-range scope that offers from 5x to 25x magnification. This versatile scope is useful in many types of hunting. It has a 52 mm objective lens to give you bright light even during low light times of the day, and it has turrets that are easy to use for quick adjustments. It is accurate at a variety of ranges.
This second focal plane scope offers extended eye relief at 3.74 inches. It also has a large field of view, which ranges from 5.8 to 1.17 degrees. The reticle will remain the same even when the image is enlarged with the zoom. The microstructure prevents residual reflections inside the tube, so you get bright, high-contrast images in all types of light.
The scope tube is constructed in a rugged, one-inch alloy main tube that is finished with an anodized scratch-resistant surface. The slim design makes it easy to mount. The turrets are large and rugged, and they click into place. They are also waterproof with turret caps to prevent them from changing once you set them.
The long-range scope has a ballistic turret that can set up for four distances in just a few simple steps. You can change the distances whenever you need to, and the alignment knob makes it easy to see when you are on the zero setting.
Best for: This is a versatile long-range sniper scope with all of the bells and whistles good for anyone who wants to spend the extra money for these features.
- Limited lifetime warranty from Swarovski
- Set Ballistic turret for up to four distances in a few easy steps
- Extended eye relief
- Well made and rugged
- Waterproof, shockproof, and fogproof
The Trijicon TR23 AccuPoint 5-20x50mm is another great sniper scope that combines quality with innovation. It has a magnification that ranges from 5x to 20x, which is suitable for most sniper scopes. It has a second focal plane reticle, which stays the same for all magnification levels.
The lenses of the Trijicon TR23 AccuPoint 5-20x50mm are of high quality and have been multi-coated to make them more durable and reduce distortion. In addition, this increases light transmission. The scope is made of aircraft-grade aluminum, which ensures that it will hold up in any conditions.
The reticle on this second focal plane scope illuminates without the use of batteries. It has a tritium phosphor lamp that provides illumination, which prevents it from polluting the final image. This gives you additional accuracy without the impact of the reticle blinding you with brightness. It is one of the best illuminated scopes on the market.
This long-range scope is durable and has great windage and elevation turrets which allow adjustments within a 40 MOA range. The eye relief is between 3.8 and 4.1 inches and the field of view at 100 yards is between 19.4 and 5.2 feet. You get fast target acquisition and extended shooting hours, and the scope automatically adjusts the brightness for the surrounding conditions. It is waterproof up to 10 feet.
Best for: This sniper scope is ideal for anyone who wants a rugged high-quality scope that adjusts its brightness according to the conditions.
- Specially illuminated reticle
- Parallax reticle
- Works in any weather conditions
- Lenses are multi-coated, which reduces distortion
- The turrets do not lock
Steiner T5Xi 5-25x56mm Riflescope
The Steiner T5Xi 5-25x56mm scope is the ultimate in long-range accuracy. It is reliable and precise, and it is housed in a one-piece, oversized 34 mm tube that makes it stronger and more reliable.
The first focal plane scope is designed with competition in mind, and it offers an extended illumination area, windage, and holdover lines. It has one-tenth mil brackets for precise ranging.
The throw level allows you to change the magnification from 5x to 25 x and everything in between very easily. It has a Tenebraex lens cover to protect the lenses from dust and moisture. The Diopter adjustment range is from +2 to -3.
The large 56mm objective lens together with the 34 mm scope tube provide a clear sight picture in nearly all lighting conditions. The specialized reticle is made for competitive long-range shooting.
There is a second rotation indicator, where after the first 120 clicks, the mil numbers change automatically to prevent you from getting lost on the dial. It also has a lifetime warranty that covers all repairs.
Best for: The long-range scope is ideal for competitive shooting and law enforcement. It has a Special Competition Reticle (SCR) and Second Rotation Indicator that shows each mile of elevation through the window. The Steiner T5Xi 5-25x 56mm riflescope is one of the best first focal plane riflescopes available for long-range shooting.
- Special Competition Reticle
- Magnification from 5x to 25x
- Waterproof up to 33 feet
- Large objective lens diameter for bright illumination
- Low-profile turrets with second rotation indicator
Leupold VX-6HD 4-24x52mm Riflescope
The Leupold VX-6HD 4-24x52mm sniper scope is 100% waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof. It has a T-MOA CDS reticle and a matte finish. The Zero lock CDS (custom dial system) makes longer shots easier by eliminating the need for you to have holdovers or ballistic calculations because it uses a dial that is customized for your rifle and ammo.
It has a Twilight Max HD Light management system, which adds up to 30 minutes of shooting light. It has the best in glass glare reduction and edge-to-edge HD lens clarity. The illuminated reticle is ideal for lowlight conditions, and the in-scope electronic level makes mounting simple and improves your long-range accuracy.
This second focal plane scope is built around massive 34mm scope tube made from aircraft-grade aluminum. Elevation and windage adjustments are made in 1/4 MOA clicks across a 75 MOA adjustment range for each. The eye relief ranges from 3.7 to 3.8 inches and the field of view at 100 yards is between 28.1 and 4.8 feet.
The scope is made with extra-low dispersion glass and the optic is using fully-coated lenses. The lens has Guard-Ion Hydrophobic lens Coating, which is extremely durable and scratch-resistant. It gets rid of fingerprints, dirt, and water.
This scope has the magnification you need for any situation, and it has incredible color consistency, brightness, and resolution to make sure you can see your target crisp in the sight picture. It has a wide zoom range and an in-scope electronic reticle level, so it is one of the most versatile rifle scopes ever made.
Best for: This sniper scope is ideal for the serious shooter or hunter who values long-range precision, accuracy, and all of the extra features.
- Magnification of 4x to 24x
- 34 mm diameter tube
- Twilight Max HD system for illumination in any conditions
- Proprietary glass blends and seals for ultimate protection
- High-end sniper scope is expensive
Sig Sauer Tango4 6-24X50mm
The Sig Sauer Tango4 6-24x50mm comes with four different magnification variants. It is a quality, long-range, and high-powered scope that gives you a lot of features at an affordable price. It is a first focal plane scope that offers magnification from 6x to 24x, and it has a 50 mm objective lens.
This first focal plane sniper scope for long-range shooting is very durable and features a single-piece main tube. It is waterproof even submerged up to one meter, and it has good target turrets and easy access side focus.
The illuminated reticle is motion-activated, and it will only power on if it is activated. This helps to save your battery life. It offers high optical clarity with the extra-low dispersion glass that it uses. The fully multi-coated lenses provide a clear sight picture.
The eye relief on this first focal plane scope is 3.3. inches. The field of view @ 100 yards ranges between 14.7 and 3.7 yards. The elevation adjusts within 60 MOA / 17 MRAD and windage adjustments are within 30 MOA / 8.5 MRAD.
In addition, it has a LockDown Zero System with its stop locking turrets. You can find the Zero and lock it, but you can also give a rapid, precise return to Zero as needed. It comes with an unlimited lifetime guarantee, which is fully transferable if you sell the scope.
Best for: This long-range scope is best for anyone who wants features at an affordable price.
- Great SIG Quality
- Well-priced with a lot of features
- Intelligent reticle power
- Lifetime guarantee no matter who owns it
- Low tactical turret feedback
The Zeiss Conquest HD5 3-15x42mm is a German-made sniper scope with an HD lens system and T coatings for enhanced image quality. The Rapid-Z 800 ballistic reticle provides numbered holdover lines for long-range shooting out to 800 yards. It has a sleek and attractive new design with a low profile, and it comes with a new five-year no-fault policy and a limited lifetime warranty.
This scope has a lot of flexibility because it has a magnification range that can handle most mid- to long-range hunting situations well. It also has a RAPID-Z 800 ballistic reticle that is optimized for magnum calibers and flat-shooting cartridges. It has numbered holdover lines so that you can take precise shots out to 800 yards.
The HDS is an incredibly advanced super zoom that is German engineered for durability and precision. It is waterproof and shockproof, and it has a slim ocular design and a sleek low profile. It is a middle tiered scope with great features.
Best for: This scope is ideal for shooters and hunters who want a quality scope at an affordable price.
- German engineered for durability and precision
- Allows precise shots up to 800 yards
- HD lens system with enhanced coatings for image quality
- Magnification goes to 15x, whereas others have magnification up to 25x.
If you hunt or shoot long-range targets, you will need a sniper riflescope to show your target. It is important to find a scope that has high enough magnification with clarity of the final image and illumination. Often when you increase the magnification, the field of view decreases, which makes it difficult to shoot moving targets at these distances.
Before you choose a sniper riflescope, you will want to understand the different features. These scopes range in price, so you should also set your budget and choose the scope that is best for you.
The reviews above should help you understand the features of some of the best sniper rifle scopes on the market today. As you can see there is no one-size-fits-all scope available.
Any and all of the above listed scopes are a good choice. None of them is ‘cheap’ but some of them are certainly more expensive than others.
Updates and Removed Scopes
The following sections contain scope reviews that we removed as these scopes are not easily available anymore or have been discontinued. Nevertheless, these are great optics and if you are able to find one at a good price then don’t hesitate to pick any of these riflescopes!
Nikon Black FX1000 6-24×50 – No longer available as Nikon stopped offering riflescopes
Nikon is a highly respected manufacturer that provides quality optics at reasonable prices. This riflescope is created with an FX-MOA reticle that is especially for the Nikon Black FX1000 6-24×50 riflescope with its first focal plane optical system. It is designed to optimize the sight picture, but it can correct the range, holdover, and windage. It offers a contrast in all different light conditions, which makes it stand out.
In addition, it has side controls for illumination. There are 10 intensity settings based on your conditions, and the battery will automatically shut off when you are not using it, which allows it to last longer.
The turrets have an integral zero stop, and you can make rapid adjustments to the windage and elevation. It has 25 MOA adjustments for each revolution with a maximum of 90 MOA internal adjustment.
Another important feature is that this long-range sniper scope is built to be solid and durable. It can handle a consistent recoil in the field, and it is waterproof and fogproof with a sealed O ring. It is nitrogen plugged, so you will not have any problems with this scope lasting.
This scope is ideal in all conditions, and it has a broad field of view. It is not difficult to mount, and it guarantees a rapid zero return that makes it a pleasure to use when hunting.
Best for: This scope is ideal for people who want an affordable high-quality scope to use when hunting at various distances.
- Works for any shooting sport
- Excellent tracking turrets
- High-quality glass for clarity and excellent light transmission
- Multifunctional and reliable reticle
- Good eye relief
- Reticle illumination is not as reliable as other models
- Tiny internal turrets adjustments