So you want to move in with the big boys and go for kills from a farther range? Well, that 3-9x standard scope can only get you so far. Sniping from a long distance is a whole different game, besides having great timing, control, concentration, judgement, accuracy and a great gun, you will need the right scope to hit that target.
The best long range rifle scope is going to have to be top-notch, powerful and precise; probably an overall upgrade of components like the optics quality, turret springs, retaining systems, a higher magnification etc.
Designed to help you make long distance shots that count, these “sniper” or tactical scopes are advanced super precise instruments designed to compensate windage, elevation and parallax errors.
If it isn’t pristine, it isn’t worth it. Most shooters are willing to fork out around $3,000 for a good scope.
However if you are on a budget, here is a list of features to look out for will help you in your buying decision.
You should be specifically looking at:
You will be spoiled for choice from an array of scopes with different powers and specs; special reticle or adjustment turrets. Then again, too many options can also make it hard for you to choose.
There’s a lot to look for when trying to choose the best long range rifle scope. For the most part, it isn’t too different from finding a general scope. The only big differences are the reticle and focal range.
To help make your decision easier, I’ve researched and compiled a list of the top 5 sniper scopes available online that are fine in terms of the above aspects. All you have to do is compare the features!
To get a quick taste of what we’re looking at, here are a few basic specs for the scopes I’ll be reviewing in the article.
|Vortex Viper 6-24x50mm||Burris XTR II 8-40x50mm||Leupold Mark 4 LR/T 8.5-25x50mm||Nightforce Optics NXS|
|Steiner M5Xi 3-15x50mm|
|Scope length (in)||19.6||19.2||17||14.8||16.6|
|Objective Lens Size (mm)||50||50||50||56||56|
|Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
From $900+ to $3000+, the price range for long range scopes are no joke. You’ll notice that some of the basic specs are similar, optimizing for best performance. There’s also a bit of a difference between specs, allowing room for personal preference.
But enough with the basics. Let’s look beyond them and dive into the features of each individual scope.
Why pay top dollar when you can get everything you need for less? The Vortex Viper provides all of the necessary features and more without hurting your wallet as badly as the other options. Extremely clear images from far distances, made very tough with a single, solid aircraft-grade aluminium, and it’s equipped with an illuminated front focal plane. Heck, this scope even has shout-outs from gun magazines with excellent ratings.
The only downside to this amazing scope? There have been reports of some uses that experience a bit of distortion and discoloration when magnifying the lens at a high power. But that doesn’t stop them from rating the scope as one of the best they’ve used. Also, this isn’t necessarily the best scope on market, but giving up a little bit of quality to save a big chunk of cash? It’s well worth the tradeoff!
Click here for reviews of Vortex Viper 6-24x50mm on Amazon
The Burris XTR II is for serious shooters. With its 25% increase in thickness to tube and 5-times zoom, this scope will get you the shot that you need. It’s built with high quality materials and is durable in rough conditions such as heavy recoil and road bumps. In addition to its toughness against direct impact, the XTR II is also waterproof, shockproof and fogproof. It’s loaded with features and adjustment settings, giving you the flexibility to be as accurate as possible.
The front focal plane is intentionally very dim at the lowest magnification to maximize visibility, but this can be a weakness to the scope for some. Also, the parallax has been reported to lose focus when zoomed in over 200 yards. But if you can look past these minor flaws, the XTR II is a nice choice.
Click here for reviews of Burris XTR II 8-40x50mm on Amazon
With the most up-to-date components, the Leupold Mark 4 flaunts its performance and durability. Waterproof, aircraft quality material, great picture, maximum light transmission, etc. With mil-dot reticle, it is an easy-to-follow marking system tactical military-style sight for us.
You name it, the Leupold Mark 4 has it. Hunters rely on this scope for its toughness and accuracy. Likewise, many professional competitors also vouch loyalty to this scope, and for good reason. Speak to any gunsmith, and they’ll tell you that the Mark 4 is a great companion to have.
Click here for reviews of Leupold Mark 4 LR/T 8.5-25x50mm on Amazon
Claiming to be Nightforce’s most worthy long-range riflescope, the NXS 5.5-22×56 is a premium sniper scope that provides the highest possible image through the glass through all magnification ranges it allows (unlike some scopes which lose quality at higher magnification power). The higher magnification range on the NXS helps pinpoint targets from afar, while remaining accurate at a closer range with the 5.5 magnification.
Zero-stop, extended eye relief and extra-narrow tube, these smart features further justify the hefty price of $2000+!
Click here for reviews of Nightforce Optics NXS 5.5-22x56mm on Amazon
I see, you’re a big spender. If it’s worth it, you’ll be willing to dish out $3000 for a scope? If that’s the case, the Steiner M5Xi 3-15x50mm is the one you want. Built to military standards, this scope is built by experts who have incorporate Steiner’s 65 years of knowledge and expertise into it. With Steiner, you get what you pay for, and $3000 is no chump change.
Click here for reviews of Steiner M5Xi 3-15x50mm on Amazon
Once again, here’s a brief recap of all 5 great scopes and their prices in the table below:
|Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 6-24x50 SFP Riflescope VMR-1 MOA|
|Vortex Optics||Buy on Amazon|
|Burris XTR II Riflescope with F-Class MOA Illuminated Reticle, 8-40 x 50mm|
|Burris||Buy on Amazon|
|Leupold 113092 Mark4 LR/T Scope||N/A||Leupold||Buy on Amazon|
|Nightforce Optics 5.5-22x56 NXS Riflescope, Matte Black Finish with Illuminated MOAR Reticle, Zero Stop Turrets, .250 MOA, 30mm Tube|
|Nightforce Optics||Buy on Amazon|
|Steiner M5Xi 3-15x 50mm Riflescope, MSR Reticle|
|Steiner||Buy on Amazon|
Personally, I find the Leupold Mark 4 to give you the best for its price. It isn’t overly costly, though still above the cheaper equipment. Despite not being the highest-priced, it certainly gives you an expensive feel. The scope body is built like a tank, and the interior technology allows for top performance. One look through the scope is sure to put a smile on your face without damaging your wallet as much as the higher-cost scopes.
Leupold is a great brand, and they’re known to give shooters what they want, but the other options are also great alternatives.
Whatever your choice is, I’m sure any of the scopes listed above will give you satisfaction in your long-range endeavors.