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
- FFP with HD Glass and True Zero Stop
- Advanced Fully Multi-coated
- Capped Windage Turret
- 10MIL/25MOA Travel-Per-Rotation Turrets
- Field of View at 100yds: 17.8-4.6 ft
- The Viper PST Gen II takes incredible performance and rock solid tactical features to new heights. The 5-25x50 first focal plane riflescope is incredibly versatile and ideal for close to long range shooting scenarios.
- Shooters who dial their turrets for bullet drop and wind compensation will appreciate the laser etched turrets, adjustable parallax and the RZR zero stop. A fiber optic rotation indicator ensures you can keep track of your turret position with ease.
- The reticle offers shooters highly functional, intuitive, and detailed hold points, yet remains uncluttered for optimal viewing and features 10 intensity levels with off positions between each setting.
- Extra-low dispersion glass increases resolution and color fidelity. XR fully multi-coated lenses increase light transmission. Armortek coatings protect the lenses from scratches, oil, and dirt.
- O-ring sealed and argon purged, the Viper delivers waterproof and fog proof performance while the single-piece, aircraft-grade aluminum construction gives shooters a durable platform.
- High performance tactical rifle scope with 8-32x 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 at night or in low light in 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
- The HD Tactical First Focal Plane 6-24x50 maximizes the ratio of quality-to-cost, create amazing precision and value at the lowest cost.(Note: The option is equipped with 1 x "Sunshade", 2 x "Lens Covers", 1 x "Side Parallax Wheel", 1 x "Throw Lever", a set of 20mm "Picatinny Scope Rings")
- First focal plane(FFP), long eye relief(100mm/3.94"), etched glass reticle, wide field of view(18.2 to 4.55 ft @100yds), standard click value for E/W is 1/10 MIL, excellent shockproof performance,hold up to the recoil of .300 Win Magnum
- Fully multi-coated high transmission glass increase light transmission ,providing sharp,bright images
- Featuring capped quick-reset turrets with stretch lock down, are finger adjustable with MIL crisp audible clicks that will be able to quickly reset to zero after sighting in
- Made of anodized 6061 aircraft grade aluminum alloy, sealed nitrogen-charged tube,the shockproof waterproof fogproof weatherproof performance have passed a strict testing, an outstanding representative product of WestHunter
- Side Parallax Adjustment
- 35mm Tube Size
- RG Illuminated Glass Etched Reticle
- Capped reset turrets are finger adjustable with 1/8 MOA clicks that can be reset to zero after sighting in.
- Nitrogen purged scope body, completely sealed with o-ring, rendering scope Waterproof, and fog proof
- NX8 1-8X24 F1 SCOPE - is a class leading, compact and lightweight scope optimized for short to mid-range shooting thanks to the intelligent reticle and adjustable turrets
- HIGH PERFORMANCE AND RELIABILITY - At only 8.75" in length and 17 ounces, this scope adds minimal size and weight but delivers superior optics and trusted NightForce performance to any gun
- LONG SHOTS - For those preferring to dial for long shots, the ZeroStop elevation adjustment allows for a rapid and positive return to zero. Adjustments are a true 2/10 Mil-Radian or 1/2 MOA
- RETICLES - With the daylight visible center red dot users can engage targets with speed like a red-dot sight, but as targets increase in distance the intelligent FC-Mil and FC-MOA first focal plane reticles provide precise hold points
- DURABLE CONSTRUCTION - NightForce NX8 1-8x24mm Illuminated scope is built from top-quality materials and constructed with a 30mm body tube for superior strength and durability
- 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
- PRECISION RIFLESCOPE – 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 riflescope will significantly extend the range and accuracy of your favorite rifle
- 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
- Popular and premium traditional hunting riflescope at an affordable price; High-grade optical glass provides excellent brightness and clarity with lasting durability
- Improved 4x zoom system with premium, multi-coated lenses for edge-to-edge clarity and low light performance; Durable, integrated-eyepiece design has no-slip grip for easy adjustment in the field
- Sleek new design with finger adjustable turret knobs; Wide selection of reticles for both hunting and long-distance target shooting
- Side parallax adjustment and focus as close as 10 yards allows for fine tuning for crisp views perfect for all platforms including rimfire and air guns; Positive steel-on-steel adjustments assure repeated accuracy
- Nitrogen-filled 1-inch scope tube prevents fogging, even in cold and rain, and is waterproof; Guaranteed by the Burris Forever Warranty
- High magnification extends your long-range shooting capability
- Features the Ballistic Plax E1 reticle, a quick, simple, accurate reticle
- Trajectory-compensating technology and cascading dots to compensate for wind drift
- Designed for enthusiasts who want a simple, yet sophisticated, reticle for supreme accuracy
- Ergonomic side focus allows easy-to-reach parallax adjustment from 50 yds. to infinity
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.