Hitting a target at great distance is an extremely satisfying experience. It also takes quite a bit of practice and patience. This is when a long range scope becomes your most valuable asset because it’s going to simplify your target acquisition process.
There isn’t any standard operational definition of “long range” because effective shooting range depends on the type of gun and cartridge used. Some rifle calibers are remarkably effective with just iron sights up to 500 yards, and others become ineffective past 150 yards – you can learn more by checking out our rifle caliber guide. Generally speaking, it becomes very difficult to maintain accuracy with most rifles beyond 350 yards without some kind of optical sight. And at that range the scope doesn’t necessarily have to be designed for long range. However, it gets increasingly difficult with most rifles to maintain consistent accuracy at 500 yards and beyond without a long range scope.
It’s important to keep in mind certain aspects of long range shooting that factor into accuracy and precision.
This will be your primary consideration. You need to determine the general distance of your targets. Magnification range can significantly affect the price of a scope so you want to make sure you’re purchasing within your ideal range. Long range scopes are usually versatile enough to accommodate shorter distances so you’ll often find scopes in the variable 2-10x zoom range. 10x is more than enough magnification power for most hunters, but magnification can go up to 15x or 20x for extremely long ranges.
– Objective Lens
Brightness and optical clarity are extremely important at long ranges where targets become difficult to spot under low light conditions. The objective lens size directly impacts your scope’s light-gathering capability. Bigger lenses will create brighter images with a wider field of view at greater distances. The drawback to a bigger objective lens is obviously its size and how that may affect the weight and balance of your rifle, particularly if the lens must be mounted higher up.
– Reticle Type
Reticles in the first focal plane (FFP) are a good option for long range shooting because the size of the crosshair and holdover marks will adjust on target relative to the magnification level. This will allow you to transition through the magnification range and maintain accuracy without needing to perform ballistic calculations. The downside of FFP is that the reticle may become too thin or thick at respective magnification levels. Second focal plane (SFP) reticles will maintain a precise and consistent size at all zoom levels which many people prefer as well. Moreover, you want the reticle to be clear and crisp. Some reticles feature advanced illumination and outstanding clarity at very long distances, even in low light. Look for reticles that offer bullet drop compensation. These reticles are usually called BDC or CDS (Custom Dial System) and offer very quick bullet drop adjustments and small aiming circles that don’t obstruct your field of view. SCR reticles are excellent for precision and competition use.
– Parallax Adjustment
Scope parallax is an optical illusion that makes your reticle appear to move across the target when you adjust your head position. This is terrible for long range target acquisition. Almost all long range scopes have a parallax adjustment to compensate for this inconsistency.
You want a long range scope that will address these issues so check out this list to consider which features you may specifically need.
The Best Long Range Scopes Reviewed
Bushnell Elite Tactical 4.5-30 x 50 Illuminated
The Bushnell Elite Tactical 1-8.5x24mm is designed to seamlessly switch between a wide focal range, allowing the user to zoom from true 1x magnification to 8.5x very quickly and accurately to engage long-range targets.
It features Bushnell’s new and exclusive EXO Barrier Protection lens coating to repel water, oil, dust, and surface debris while preventing scratches. The Elite Tactical is one of the best long range scopes because of its exceptionally versatile BTR-2 Ballistic Tactical Reticle (first focal plane) that provides supreme clarity and illumination up to 600 yards.
Offers great eye relief and a “both eyes open” aiming experience at low magnification. But more importantly, the Bushnell Elite Tactical is a fantastic long distance 3-gun competition/tactical scope that offers well-calibrated ranging T’s and very accurate hold over for longer range shots. For more quality scope options check out our guide to great scopes.
The optics are clear and adjustments are crisp and precise for instant target acquisition.
Leupold VX-6HD 2-12x42mm
The relentlessly performing VX-6HD 2-12x42mm offers an incredibly wide FOV while allowing the shooter the versatility to transition to long-range targets with elite optical performance.
Ideal for hunters needing a best long range scope that is durable and lightweight, the Leupold VX-6HD provides a wide zoom range (2x-12x) with outstanding color consistency, brightness, and resolution to maximize the early and late hours of the day.
The VX-6HD is a truly versatile optic with an advanced in-scope electronic reticle level, CDS-ZL2 Zero Lock elevation dial and removable throw lever. It has a unique combination of features that give it excellent ruggedness and supreme performance at all ranges, including clear long distance shots up to 500 yards with consistent accuracy.
Leupold VX-5HD 2-10x42mm
The extremely versatile VX-5HD 2-10x42mm offers a wide field-of-view while allowing the shooter the ability to transition to long-range targets with outstanding clarity and accuracy.
Ideal for hunters and shooters needing a best long range scope that can adapt to any environment, the Leupold VX-5HD provides versatile magnification (2x-10x) with outstanding color consistency, brightness, and resolution (with its Twilight Max HD Light Management System) to maximize the early and late hours of the day.
The VX-5HD is a truly versatile optic with an advanced illuminated Fire Dot Duplex CDS reticle, Zero Lock CDS-ZL2 (Custom Dial System) and removable throw lever. The shooter can simplify long range shots by eliminating the need for holdovers or ballistic calculations.
The VX-5HD has a unique combination of features that give it excellent ruggedness and supreme performance under the toughest lighting conditions, including incredibly illuminated long distance shots up to 500 yards with consistent accuracy.
Definitely one of the best long range scopes with elite optical quality in its price range.
Burris XTR II 4-20x50mm
The Burris XTR II 4-20x50mm is designed for serious long-range precision shooters — tactical or competitive.
Featuring an ergonomic side focus and easy-to-reach parallax adjustment for improved long distance accuracy, the XTR II is one of the best long range scopes for precision rifles because it has great magnification power, a crisp and clear reticle, easy adjustments, and maintains point of impact through the magnification range so you can consistently engage targets down range.
It has a versatile 5x zoom system for excellent target acquisition at long ranges. The XTR II is a very high resolution optic that also features tactical or competition reticles like the SCR MOA (Special Competition Reticle) or SCR Mil.
Bushnell Nitro 6-24x50mm
If you thought Bushnell was not the most premium brand on the market, think again.
The Forge 2.5-15x50mm with Deploy MOA (Second Focal Plane) Reticle is one of the newest Bushnell riflescopes designed for recreational or competitive long range shooters/hunters, or even on a pink gun! This best long range scope has a lot of great features at a great price: a turret-halting Revlimiter zero stop that guarantees a true zero stop that can be easily adjusted, a Throw Hammer power change lever to assist in zooming in and out with speed and precision, and astonishingly clear and bright optics.
The Forge 2.5-15x50mm has a compact size with great field of view and an ability to engage long-range targets with speed and consistency. Makes a great option as a .308 scope.
Top Selling Long Range Scopes on Amazon
- PRECISION SCOPE - Rely on the Eliminator to determine the distance of your target, factor your trajectory and illuminate the perfect holdover
- MAKE HUNTING MORE EFFICIENT - Eliminate the extra variables and guesswork, and make your next hunt efficient and productive
- LONG-DISTANCE RANGEFINDER - This laser rangefinder features 1, 200+ yards ranging capability, increasing the distance at which you can take an ethical shot
- LASERSCOPE TO INCREASE ACCURACY - With precision, this laser scope will significantly extend the range and accuracy of your favorite gun
- STATE-OF-THE-ART OPTICS - Count on the built-in inclinometer to prove accuracy in a variety of conditions, including shooting up or down steep hills
- The Venom 5-25x56 First Focal Plane (MOA) riflescope is built for long-range and competition with a 5-25x mag range built into a 34mm tube for a massive amount of turret travel (85 MOA max elevation/windage).
- XD Optical System delivers impressive resolution, edge-to-edge sharpness and greatly reduces chromatic abberation. Fully multi-coated lenses provide superior light transmission for exceptional clarity and low-light performance.
- The RevStop Zero System offers an easy to set, fast and reliable return to zero. Side knob parallax adjust allows quick and easy parallax adjustments with range numbers visible while in the shooting position.
- EBR-7C reticle ensures subtensions are accurate throughout the mag range making it easy to measure and range targets.The fast focus eyepiece allows for easy reticle focusing while the included throw lever allows for fast transitions between magnifications
- Nitrogen purged and o-ring sealed providing water and fogproof performance. Armortek coating protects the lenses from scratches and oil. The one-piece, aircraft grade aluminum, 34mm tube is shockproof, shrugging off recoil and other impacts.
- The TD-S 10-40x50 SFIR tactical second focal plane riflescope, as a high-performance optics, is the latest high-end product launched by Westhunter, suitable for large caliber(.308 to .50), used for long-range precision shooting, hunting and competition(This option includes 2 x Lens Cover, 1 x Sunshade, 1 x Picatinny Scope Mount, 1 x Throw Lever, 1 x Side Parallax Wheel, 1 x Bubble Level)
- 30 mm tube, first focal plane(FFP), long eye relief(96-95 mm / 3.78-3.74 in), red illuminated(Six Gear) etched glass reticle, standard click value for E/W is 1/10 MIL, field of view is 11.5-2.9@100yds(ft)
- Fully multi-coated(FMC) high transmission glass increase light transmission, providing sharp, bright images
- Zero Lock & Setting: Featuring capped quick-reset turrets with stretch lockdown, and with a crisp audible click when adjusting, will be able to quickly reset to zero after sighting in
- Made of anodized 6061 T6 aircraft-grade aluminum alloy, sealed nitrogen-charged tube. The shockproof, waterproof, fog-proof, and weatherproof performance have passed strict testing. The most high-end series of WestHunter riflescopes(SFP)
- Magnification: 6-24x
- Objective Diameter: 50mm
- Field Of View: 28 ft @ 100 yards
- Click Value: 1/8 inch @ 100 yards
- Illuminated Type of the rifle scope: Red and Green
- Heavy duty one piece main tube provides the foundation for precise lens alignment and other components
- Extended-range tactical riflescope with 6-25x magnification and 56mm objective lens
- Mil-DotBar reticle; precision controls with 140 MOA adjustment
- The use of water resistant sealants, synthetic grease and secure O-ring seals protect against fogging
- 35mm tube diameter; includes mounting rings; matte black finish
- The Diamondback Tactical First Focal Plane 6-24x50 stands at the intersection of precision and value, delivering an impressive array of features and performance.
- Extra-low dispersion glass and fully multi-coated lenses transmit a crisp, bright sight picture. The first focal plane, glass-etched reticle keep subtensions accurate throughout the 4x zoom range.
- The precision-glide erector system uses premium components in the zoom lens to ensure smooth magnification changes under the harshest conditions.
- Exposed tactical turrets and a side parallax knob give shooters the tools needed for long distance precision shooting. The fast focus eyepiece allows quick and easy reticle focusing.
- The single piece 30mm tube is shockproof, ruggedly built to withstand recoil and impacts. Strong o-ring seals and nitrogen purging waterproof and fogproof performance.
- The Golden Eagle HD is specifically designed for competitors in F-Class, Bench Rest and other disciplines with targets at known distance. A finely subtended, second focal plane reticle and 1/8 MOA clicks help you make subtle adjustments.
- High density, apochromatic lens elements are index matched and generate sharp, high definition images. Premium, XR anti-reflective coatings deliver maximum brightness at the highest magnificaiton.
- A side focus adjustment eliminates down range parallax. An aperture stop ring broadens your depth field allowing you to more easily observe mirage and wind indicators while keeping your target in focus.
- A 30mm maintube machined from a single piece of aircraft grade aluminum provides a highly reliable precision platform. At 29.5 ounces, you'll be able to adhere to strict competition limits.
- O-ring sealed and argon purged, the Golden Eagle delivers waterproof and fogproof performance. Armortek coatings protect the lenses from scratches, oil, and dirt.
- Reticle Details: VPR MIL
- Turret Adjustment: 1/10 MIL
- Elevation Adj. Range: 32 MIL
- Windage Adj. Range: 16 MIL
- Adjustment Per Revolution: 10 MIL
- CONFIDENT AIMING IN ANY LIGHT: User-selectable LED brightness settings with an "off" in between each setting to adapt to any environment
- EDGE-TO-EDGE CLARITY: Fully multi-coated, broadband, anti-reflective glass provides excellent light transmission, true detail and color with zero distortion
- QUICK & EASY ADJUSTMENTS: Crisp, precise, windage/elevation adjusters require no tools; Capped or zero stop adjusters ensure no accidental shift
- PINPOINT AIMING IN ANY CONDITION: Precise milling and holdover reticles available in first or second focal plane for ensured accuracy
- ULTRA DURABLE FOR ENSURED RELIABILITY: Ruggedized design engineered to withstand extreme conditions and tested to military standards and protocols
- High performance tactical rifle scope with 6-36x magnification for mid to long distance shooting out to 1000+ yards
- Functionally designed first focal plane MOA reticle, with easy-to-read ranging information that remains constant regardless of magnification, for faster range estimation and holdover correction
- Equipped with a parallax adjustment dial that allows for sharper focus of the target image, elimination of parallax, and range estimation
- Inline dial controlled reticle illumination with multiple brightness intensities, for better reticle visibility in low light environments
- Package also includes set of high profile picatinny scope rings, a detachable honeycomb filter sunshade, a set of spring loaded flip-up lens covers, and one CR2032 3V battery
Some Final Words
All of these scopes should offer the essential features you need as a long range shooter or hunter: variable magnification, advanced reticles, quick adjustments, and outstanding optical clarity. But because some of these scopes are incredibly advanced, you should carefully consider which ones offer features you may not require depending on your skill level and shooting environment.
Hey, Nice review article, I just missed the Stealth Vision Binoculars. I saw that they are pretty good for long-range shooting. They have good clarity and are lighter and smaller than the other ones.
Maybe you can make a review for them too
Thank you for compiling these recommendations; they help me and my friends in preparing for long-range shooting.