Scopes designed for long ranges are the most expensive and most specific of all scopes. With so much information that goes along with long range optics, it becomes a science on its own. There are a lot of different features for these scopes, and a lot of them are not really relevant to the majority of shooters. We will only list the most important and basic aspects of best long range scopes.
What to look for in a long range scope?
- Price/requirements: The price of long range hunting scopes usually varies between $200 and $3500. When it comes to choosing your price range, it is important to remember that a long range scope is one of those items that often times, you get what you pay for. Investing enough money in the right scope is almost always worth it. However, don’t waste money on accessories you don’t need. For example, if you’re starting out, a $300 scope is just fine, and a better scope might spoil you and keep you from attaining a better skill level. Other people will find mostly what they need in the $300 to $1000 price range. Everything above is for more professional purposes, and apart from having better quality glass, offers very few and specific improvements.
A proper scope should provide:
- a clear view of target area and sight picture
- specific hold-over to the maximum distance
- specific target lead(wind drift) to the maximum distance
- optical ranging of targets (unless you always rely on a laser range finder)
Just because a scope is cheaper, doesn’t mean that it fails in any of the categories above. The price is mostly determined by the quality of the glass, which is determined by your maximum operating range needs. So determine what your needs are and buy accordingly.
Note-worthy Scope Qualities:
- Reticle. Besides proper sight picture and target area view mentioned before, the choice of choosing a reticle consists of two questions: FFP or SFP? and mils or MOA? FFP and SFP both have their advantages and disadvantages, and it all falls down to personal preference. Mils and MOA are basically the same, and depend on your preference of the metric system. One thing to really emphasize here is the reticle-knobs compatibility. They should both be either mil or MOA. A lot of scopes have mixed measuring systems, which means you have to constantly convert units and that is just annoying to everyone.
- Magnification. Don’t go overboard when choosing magnification. Higher magnification means a smaller field of view and a smaller exit pupil. Most people will never need anything above 20x. There are magnifications that go even up to 80x, but those are not meant to hunt deer. If you’re a pro and in need of a 8x – 80x 56mm tactical scope, then you probably know everything you need to know on this subject and can jump down to the review section right away. But the majority of you will never need something like that. I would instead advise you to keep in mind the low end of your magnification range. If you’re a hunter, it is important to have a 4x or 5x low end of the scope.
- Objective lens size. Like with magnification, more is not necessarily better. While a 56mm objective will help a lot in low-light situations, and enlarge the exit pupil, it will in turn add bulk and weight to your rifle. You will also need a proper mount that can lower an objective lens of that size enough to align it properly. 40mm to 50mm is the general span for long range scopes. Anything above will have slight improvements in quality, and is meant to suit the needs of veteran sharpshooters.
A Few More Notes:
I should also add a few minor things before ending this article. You don’t have to use just a variable scope on long range rifles. Fixed scopes are more rare and outdated these days, mostly because modern variable scopes are just as sturdy, and better suited for the job. That doesn’t mean that you can’t get the job done with a fixed one. Remember, long range shooting is all about making first-round hits on extreme ranges, while being able to judge wind direction, bullet trajectory, target movement and terrain elevation. Skills and training make a good sharpshooter, not the expensive gear he/she is packing.
Best long range scopes for sale (with reviews)
This scope is nothing short of remarkable. As you can see from the video below, this long range rifle scope works great day or night. With its enhanced night vision capabilities, you won’t have any problems pulling this out during the darker hours. Often times when hunting you will encounter situations when you cross over from dark to daylight or daylight into the night. You’ll be able to transition without stopping. I thought it was a little odd that they had a person waiving there arms while dialed in on a scope, but safety is always first for them, though I’m not sure I would have volunteered for that job. As you can see this scope maintains remarkable clarity and accuracy in the darkest of conditions and from medium to long ranges(up to 300 yds.)
An added bonus is that the Sightmark Photon can be used as a crossbow scope as well. If you skip to the :35 second mark in the video, they are at 50 yds away, which is about the max distance most shooters would want to be at with a crossbow. If you’re good at tracking and like to partake in nighttime hunting(bacon anyone), this has got to give you the edge.
- Includes 2 Crossbow reticle
- Two Duplex Reticles
- Mil-Dot Reticle
- German-Style Reticle
- 640×480 Resolution
- Digital Windage and Elevation Adjustment
- 4.6 Magnification
- Optional Video Out component for recording
- 42 MM Objective Lens
- High Precision
- Night Vision
On the more reasonable side of things in terms of price, is this high quality precision made option. BARSKA totes this model as being ideal for varmint hunting and target practice. It doesn’t have as many bells and whistles as some other scopes, but it is modestly priced and it packs enough features to get the job done. It has a Mil-Dot reticle. Basically instead of just your typical crosshairs, the inner half of the reticle is aligned with dots for increased accuracy. Rugged, accurate, and moderately priced.
- Mil-Dot Reticle
- Limited Lifetime Warranty
- Ideal for Varmint hunting
- Entry Price Model
- 1/8 MOA Click Adjustments
- 10-40X Magnification
- 3.6″ Eye Relief
- Multi Coated lens Optics
Rounding out the top three is this highly rated model from Millett. Quality. quality, and more quality is what you’ll notice immediately from seeing this scope. The scope comes with rings fitted for a Picatinny rail. This is a true LONG Range rifle scope. Usable from 1000 yards, if you’re looking to invest in a quality made accurate scope that maximizes distance, look no further. There is also a camouflage model if you prefer that.
- High Quality Build
- Extreme Long Range Capability
- 6-25X Magnification
- 56 mm Objective Diameter
- Mil-DotBar Reticle
- Picatinny rail rings included
- 140 MOA Adjustment
- 35 mm Tube