5 Best Long Range Scopes

Best Long Range Scope
Best Long Range Scope

L.P. Brezny

USA –  -(Ammoland.com)- Author L.P. Brezny literally wrote the book on Long Range Shooting, now in it's Second Edition.

In this quick article he makes the case for his five best long range scopes. Let me say right off that in the business of long range shooting the old standard 3X9 whitetail scope becomes history when we talk about the best long range scopes.

When range is extended much beyond say 400 yards the whole game changes, and as such some very different glass sights are regarded as very necessary.

What the long range rifle scope is for the most part is a general advancement of optics quality, internal parts ( turret springs and retaining systems ,) and an increase in magnification, as well as some very different and exact reticle systems, that in most cases are etched directly into the optics glass. ( Horus, and Schmidt Bender by example .)

The best long range scopes optic needs to retain a core system so as to elevate to some massively long ranges (1 ½ miles.) by example. This means a turret system that is large in ring size and retains more then enough M.O.A. or Mil graduations so as to allow elevation to hit a target at ultra long range.

When suggesting what I call the five best long range scopes the first consideration is operational quality. In this area price is always higher then your standard hunting optic. Based on the elements just reviewed above, the long range optic selected for target, hunting, or military applications just can't be embracing any short cuts regarding materials or construction.

Therefor based on this criteria these are my choices in best long range scopes that will carry the mail down range.

Scope BrandSteinerLeupoldVortexNightForceSchmidt Bender
Scope ModelM5Xi MilitaryMark 4 ER/THS-T with VMR-1 Reticle (MRAD)C507 NXSPMII
Scope Size5-25×56mm8.5-25x50mm6-24×5mm5.5-22×56mm5-25×56mm
Most Recent Price (10/8/2016)$3,249.99$1,599.99$629.99$2028.00$3,799.00
Scope DetailsMore InfoMore InfoMore InfoMore InfoMore Info

Steiner M5Xi Military 5-25×56 Rifle Scope

First of all I will begin by saying that if I had unlimited resources all the best long range scopes I own would be based on military ( mil specs ). Staying in this bracket however would drain the bank account and I would be eating beans seven days a week. That stated my number one scope system, and the one that sits atop my Armalite M-30 A-1 300 Win mag is a Steiner M5Xi Military 5-25×56 Rifle Scope application, a sniper scope system.

With ultra long range milrad settings on this scope our South Dakota grass rats are turned into red mist out to 1000+ yards all day long. This little long distance glass sight system runs up on the credit card to about $3,700 MSRP retail, but it is designed to save a snipers life when return fire is a strong possibility. In terms of an operators needs, price is no object at all.

Leupold Mark 4 ER/T Riflescope

Leupold Mark 4 ER/T Riflescope
Leupold Mark 4 ER/T Riflescope

While the first scope reviewed here used a Schmidt Bender long range reticle in military grade, the second scope that is in effect mounted on my Kimber turn bolt 7.62X51,308 sniper rifle makes use of the standard moa turret settings, and a “loaded” turret that can crank additional elevation for almost ever. The scope. Leupold's M-4 the proven battle tested glass sight found on one pile of M-10 7.62X51's in the sand box across the pond. Currently in the Leupold's Mark 4 ER/T Riflescope has a MSRP of $3000.00 and change, but with an internet search you can take this glass sight system home for under $2990.00 and less.

Vortex Viper HS-T 6-24×50 Riflescope with VMR-1 Reticle (MRAD)

Vortex Viper HS-T 6-24x50 Riflescope with VMR-1 Reticle (MRAD)
Vortex Viper HS-T 6-24×50 Riflescope with VMR-1 Reticle (MRAD)

There is good news in this area of advanced best of the best long range scopes systems. Vortex, a newer scope company has broken the reticle glass sealing by introducing long range designed scopes for under $1000.00, and in some cases much less. As applied to my Ruger Precision chassis 6.5 Creedmoor, is a Vortex Viper with a milrad reticle, and combined turret using moa adjustments for additional precision accuracy.

After a full year reviewing the Vortex I can say with confidence that the system works very well when being subjected to coyote forays, long range steel shooting at over 100 degrees F (Gun Sight AZ,) and in general the normal abuse a field rifle is subjected too quit often.

The price of the Vortex Viper HS-T 6-24×50 Riflescope with VMR-1 Reticle (MRAD) with a glass and aircraft aluminum tube system comes in at $640.00, or about the same prices as a better quality whitetail optic.

NightForce C507 5.5-22×56 NXS Riflescope

NightForce C507 5.5-22x56 NXS Riflescope
NightForce C507 5.5-22×56 NXS Riflescope

When searching out the best long range scope my final selections cover two more of what I like to call ATAT systems. Nightforce, the logo on almost all sniper filmed shooting sequences being observed slightly through camo paint or in your face black and white, is with question a bench mark product in long range applications. The NightForce C507 5.5-22×56 NXS Riflescope was a primary go to optic when shooting test loads for the new Hornady ELD-X bullets to 1300 yards near Grand Island NB, the home base of Hornady, and the Charlie Sisk shooting school at Gun Sight AZ during the early summer of 2015.

In both cases when I pulled off the Nightforce glass and switched out rifles my scores dropped. Enough said regarding that matter it would seem.

Pricing on the Nightforce is competitive with others at $2000.00.

Schmidt Bender PMII 5-25×56 Rifle Scope

Schmidt Bender PMII 5-25x56 Rifle Scope : 5 Best Long Range Scopes
Schmidt Bender PMII 5-25×56 Rifle Scope

As the final optic selected as the best of the best it comes down to the folks at Schmidt Bender and their outstanding PM II. This Schmidt Bender PMII 5-25×56 Rifle Scope 4-P 0T system that is military grade all the way. Installed with their own reticle of a milrad projection, or the Horus Milrad christmas tree, and you have a world class long range system.

Pricing on this optic will run high at $3,799,00, but if you a professional bad guy hunter, or need a bloody end gate on the pickup truck to prove success to clients, this is just the cost of doing business.

While some will argue that picking the Best Long Range Scopes may be subject to personal choice, the five listed above are rock solid long-range optics and well worth the investment by serious operators or hunters.

Best Long Range Scopes Resources:


About the Author L.P. Brezny:
With more than 50 years experience in the field and the testing lab, author L.P. Brezny is one of today's most recognized shotgun experts and authors. He is a contributor to dozens of firearms publications, such as Wildfowl, Shotgun Sports, and Varmint Hunters, and he is a regular columnist in the Gun Digest annual.

  • 35 thoughts on “5 Best Long Range Scopes

    1. Great article. I wrote a similar article a while back that included the US Optics LR-17. Are all of these optics FFP with zero stops? I know the answer on some but admittedly will have to look up a couple that I have spent range time with. That said, 6x is about my minimum magnification at 600 yards; I prefer more. At 1,000, I like at least 12, if not 15. With the US Optics LR-17, I topped it out at 17 for 900 yard shots, with my final 3-shot group holding at sub-3″ firing my McRees Precision BR10, chambered in .308 Win. I really like Steiner and perhaps its the disease in my eyes but I’d have a heck of a time hitting 1,000+ yards at 5x. That’s quite commendable. With Steiner I’d probably go with the T5Xi 5-25×56 with MRad and FFP. http://www.steiner-optics.com/riflescopes/t-series/t5xi-5-25×56. I’d also take a hard look at Trijicon’s new TARS 3-15×50 (TARS103) with Mil-square reticle, as well as the Leupold Mark VI and the Vortex Razor HD Gen II. Of course, that Burris XTR II 5-25x50mm looks good and the Burris Eliminator III 4-16×50 looks fun. Absolutely loved your S&B and Nightforce picks. Thanks for an engaging read, L.P.

    2. These are all fine scopes, and you cover them well. But I’m really surprised that you make no mention of their fixed-magnification counterparts. Admittedly, there seem to be fewer and fewer of these available, but it remains true that a fine fixed-mag scope will have better optical quality; will be more durable and less prone to intrusion of water, dirt, etc.; and will be lighter than a variable-mag scope.

      1. @kcshooter, thanks for the heads on that it has been corrected, for the record that was an Editor mistake, not L.P. he had his info right in the original. ~ AmmoLand

    3. Actually one can shoot one can hit (larger target so it can be registered on in the scope) with a 4x at 1,000 yards-not consistently though. But I get a kick out of all the big bucks stuff for “long range shooting” so popular in magazines currently. Then these over cost guns and their incredibly under practiced shooters on a KD range with all the wind and mirage training that takes think the gun will carry then through when shooting at soda cans at 1,000 yards (which we do), but we practice and learn and have fired on KD ranges with careful notes on mirage, wind and even sun and that too is why our highly trained snipers do this stuff where Joe six pack with his $6,000 rifle and big bucks scope can’t. But dreaming is fun too.

      1. Other than bragging rights, and having more money than common sense, is there really a point to shooting at 1000+ yards? I don’t think you’re going to bring down a white-tail at that distance (usually too many trees in the way), and no one hunts buffalo anymore. I shoot regularly at 400-500 yards, with a view to feeding my family, and possibly fending off the bad guys, should it come to that. However, unless it comes down to combat in the streets (and the woods, where I live), I don’t see a practical purpose to shooing at those ranges. Just my two cents worth. YMMV

    4. I grew up and started hunting in the late 60’s . Very few people used scopes unless they had eye problems. It was not uncommon in west Texas for people to shoot deer at 400 yards with iron sights. People with training ,military, shot out to 600 regularly so a 5 power would be fine in there hands at 1000. You just have to now how to shoot and practice a lot.

    5. I just bought a Ruger Precision Rifle in .308. Could someone give me some good choices for outfitting, scope, mounts, bipods, etc.? Thanks

      1. Bushnell legend 3-9-50 for the money better than leupold got same warranty if something does ever go wrong get one u will love it for sure

    6. Some serious misses for the criteria being the “Best”. Didn’t even get the best Vortex, Leupold, or Nightforce in the list. Sorry but some more research is needed by the author.

    7. Old marine:
      All good scopes but prices are out of line with the real world. There are other scopes just as good if not better at less than one third the price of these. Some scope manufactures have realized that a good scope doesn’t have to take a months wages to have on your weapon. there is even iron sights that will shoot the same distance, true it takes a lot more skill but the past has produced such shooters. Some of the manufactures even produce cheap scopes that can get the same results. In the 1950’s I was shooting a 1000 wars with iron sights and competed in USMC at 600 yards with iron sights. shooting entails more than just looking for the target thru a scope but a scope can really help especially if your eyesight isn’t what it used to be. If you use a scope I would recommend that you first become proficient with iron sights at 500-600 yds first. It will make you rely less on the best scope you can buy.
      >>> Old Marine

    8. For years I hunted deer with a Winchester 94 30-30. It’s a very old rifle with top eject and could never get a side mount scope to hold zero. Taken a lot of deer with it open sights.

    9. I’m just learning MOA and trying to decide on a scope for my 338 lapua mag and 223. I’m looking at vortex vipers pst FFP 6x24x50F1 but running $949. I’m on disability and really cant afford this ammount but I’m looking for this quality.
      Anyone have any suggestions. Also, anybody have any moa charts with 223 sighted in at 100 yards using 55 grain bullets and 338 sighted in at 300 yards. Any help would be appreciated, I try to find info on utube but only find so much.

    10. I’m looking for an M1500 sniper rifle and from what I understand you’re supposed to be the greatest thing out there I am I belong to front sight and they say that they have them for sale right now we could price tag is like $25,000 can you please give me some insight on this as to is there a comparable model or is this really the cost of this type of gun thank you

    11. So in the end what would your rating sequence look like? I ask as someone getting ready to purchase a long range scope for a Ruger Precision project. Would appreciate your response. Looking at the Steiner-Nightforce & S&B
      Thank you-Great article

    12. Ol d Pilot

      Great article. I took up long range precision shooting when my eyes got too bad to fly. Needless to say, I have a need for a very good scope and have experience with the Nightforce and Schmidt and Bender. Both will support reliable hits at 2,000 yard targets. And both will enable 3/8″ 3-shot groups at 200 yards. For that level of precision only the finest glass will do.

      Old Pilot

    13. Surprised Swaroski wasn’t mentioned. Had a 6-24X and it did as well as my Nightforce 12x42X on clarity and quality.

    14. Id like to see a rundown of the top 5 long range scopes that the average person can afford. I for one could never spend this kind of money on an optic.
      I also think that the small incemental increase in quality over scopes on the 1k-2k range could not justify the tremendous price difference.
      Bushnells new DMR2 is a damn nice scope, and at 1600.00 it vould possibly do everything I could possibly ever need to do.

      1. Save dollars on ur deer & pig rig get yourself a bushnell legendhd 3-9-50 will do all that u need to do in the field & woods bushnell legend great affordable accurate fog proof water resistant u will never need another said by the only georgiaoutlaw been hunting deer all my life best scope one will ever need on anything from 308 & up smaller would be waste of great glass on rifle that not need great glass in a hunting situation

    15. Of all the fine rifle scopes mention just wondering why I didn’t see the first bushnell legend the 3-9-50 is fie a rifle scope that one would need for shooting deer & pigs why thier not mentioned as top scopes just a thought I got one it’s better than all the nikons I have on other rifles

    16. Georgiaoutlaw says we’re is the bushnell legend 3-9-50 best scope one will need for a hunting situation the legend is best in affordability looks & durability what more could u need BUSHNELL LEGEND HD best thier is get one u will see

    17. vortex, no matter the price, is a barska/simmons quality & they all have the same warranty except vortex guarantees you will need their warranty, that’s why they’re priced so high.

    18. Vortex Leupold Nikon smit & bender all over priced get a bushnell legendhd ultra 3-9-50 you will not need another rifle scope

    19. Great affordable rifle scope is the by far the bushnell legend hd 3-9-50 rifle scope knocksem dead every shot can’t go wrong with the only legend that matters get one u will agree

    20. Why am I only one sending in comments on how great the bushnell legend ultrahd rifle scope is I will never need another it will & does all I will ever need it to do BUSHNELL LEGEND ULTRA HD 3-9-50 try one u will love it and easy on the wallet also just another great benefit of Bushnell’s legend go to your nearest gun shop try one take it home mount on your gun of choice you will love it for sure

    21. Bushnell legend 3-9-50 for the money better than leupold got same warranty if something does ever go wrong get one u will love it for sure

    22. Just a thought wondering why I don’t hear much about the accuracy and dependability of the bushnell bushnell ultra hd 3-9-50 rifle scope it is a very good optic for ur hunting situations and it’s extremely accurate to check them out get one u will love it

    23. I have scope x 36 fixed and x20 fixed all Japanese and under $ 300. I’m willing to compete with your best shooter with those $ 2000-4000 scope. I can 50 shots in a hole in 300 yard … how many they want to 1000 yard and they are not competent in 100 yard

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *