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The Best Long-Range Scope for Hunting and Tactical Operations 

 March 2, 2021

By  Anton Scharff

Advancements in weapon technology have led to rifle scopes, which help shooters identify and observe the target from a significant distance. These scopes are designed to provide high clarity, efficiency, and improved functionality in your rifle.

Nevertheless, it can be challenging to pick out a suitable option from the hundreds of models on the market. So, this review explores the top five best long-range scopes and a buyer's guide to guide your decision.

Let's start with our top picks.

Best Long-Range Scope for Hunting and Tactical Operations

1. Vortex Viper PST Gen II First Focal Plane Riflescopes

Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 2-10x32 FFP Riflescope EBR-4 MOA
  • The Viper PST Gen II takes incredible performance and rock...
  • Shooters who dial their turrets for bullet drop and wind...
  • The reticle offers shooters highly functional, intuitive,...
  • Extra-low dispersion glass increases resolution and color...
  • O-ring sealed and argon purged, the Viper delivers...

The Vortex Optics Viper is our first selection in this list of the best long-range rifle scopes. With an in-built illumination dial on the side focus adjustment knob, this rifle scope offers smooth performance and ease of use. The glass reticle features detailed, intuitive, and useful hold points while still being uncluttered enough for effective viewing. It has ten intensity levels, and each set has an off position to let you adjust accordingly to the surroundings.

Packed with several tactical features, the Viper PST Gen II is versatile enough for close and long-range operations. The scope has an extra-low dispersion glass function that improves color fidelity and resolution. So, you will get better magnification and clarity with this scope. The lenses have multiple coats that enhance light transmission and prevent scratching and oil and dirt stains.

With an aluminum body, the Vortex Viper PST Gen II 5 is durable, and it's sealed and purged with argon. As such, it is waterproof, fog-proof making it one of the ideal models on the market.

  •   Pros
  • Durable construction
  • Easy to use
  • Zero stop function
  • High image resolution
  • Has multiple tactical features
  •  Cons
  • Low-quality lens covers
  • Short eye relief

2. Leupold Mark 5HD Riflescope

Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25x56mm Riflescope
  • Model #171774 - Mark 5HD 5-25x56mm with Front Focal H59...
  • M5C3 Turrets - Low Profile 1/10 Mil per click dials provide...
  • First Focal Plane (FFP) - The reticle magnifies along with...
  • Up to 20 ounces lighter than other riflescopes in its class,...
  • Design, Machined and Assembled in the USA. 100% Waterproof,...

Coming 18 ounces lighter than other scopes, the Leupold Mark 5HD provides more control while not compromising on quality. The elevation adjustment turns three revolutions making this long-range rifle scope suitable or maximizing the performance of your rifle and ammo.

It features the Twilight Max HD system, which delivers exceptionally vivid images even in the lowest light conditions. This means you can comfortably keep track of your target without straining your eyes. to see. With visual and tactile revolution indicators, you can rest easy knowing you won't get lost in your expedition.

The Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25x56mm scope features a Matte Black finish, giving it a lush appearance and an eye relief eye box. The reticle of this First Focal Plane riflescope magnifies simultaneously with the image to ensure you can determine the range at all levels of magnification.

  •   Pros
  • Great magnification
  • Light construction
  • High-resolution images
  • Long-lasting build
  • Water and fog proof
  •  Cons
  • A small number of customer reviews

3. Vortex Strike Eagle Second Focal Plane Riflescopes

Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6x24 Second Focal Plane Riflescope - BDC3 Reticle (MOA), Black
  • The updated Strike Eagle 1-6x24 is defined by speed and...
  • The magnification ring has been updated and now includes a...
  • The new illuminated BDC3 reticle focuses the shooter's eye...
  • The fast focus dial on the eyepiece allows for quick and...
  • Nitrogen purged and o-ring sealed the for water and fogproof...

It's tough to engage your target point-blank from about 600 yards; however, the Vortex Strike Eagle can help you do it efficiently. Its speed and versatility are among the main reasons it's one of the best long-range scopes on the market.

You can use this long-range shooting scope in different scenarios of close and extended ranges accurately. The updated magnification ring features a thread in the throw lever and magnification indicators visible without removing the scope. This gives the Strike Eagle a subtle design that will be a good addition to your rifle.

The illuminated reticle can focus your eye on the target much faster, and the holdovers enable immediate use for targets with a known distance. You can quickly adjust the focus using the dial to get ideal image clarity.

The glass parts are coated with an anti-reflective layer that improves light transmission to better perform low light scenarios and better resolution. It is purged and sealed with nitrogen to give it water and fog resistance so that you can continue uninterrupted. The aircraft-grade aluminum tube is strong enough to withstand the recoil and other impacts the scope suffers.

  •   Pros
  • Strong build
  • Easy magnification and focus
  • Versatile uses
  • Smooth performance
  •  Cons
  • Not an illuminated scope
  • Tight eye box

4. Nikon MONARCH M5

MONARCH M5 5-20x50SF M MK1-MOA
  • 30mm Main Body Tube Constructed of aircraft-grade aluminum...
  • Spring-Loaded Instant Zero-Reset Turrets and Side Focus...
  • Low Profile Aluminum Turret Caps
  • Precise, positive-click ¼-MOA reticle adjustments
  • Waterproof, Shockproof and Nitrogen Purged

Get the best hunting optics of any long-distance shooting scope with the Monarch M5, which can zoom images up to 4 times more. This results in a brighter, sharper picture thanks to the efficient light management system.

With a rugged and robust body tube that protects the optical system, you can be sure that this product will be a useful and long-lasting accessory for long-range shooters. It features an ideal strength to weight ratio with the Type II hard anodizing aluminum in its construction.

You can use the MK1-MOA reticle to estimate the target range, size, elevation angle, and wind drift, making it capable of delivering consistent results. The turrets and caps are designed ergonomically to match the shape and profile of the riflescope to make it an aesthetic addition to your rifle. The parallax adjustment, the zoom ring, and the ocular focus sit on this scope without drawing any attention.

The quarter MOA reticle adjustments can zero the scope quickly to let you maintain your settings even when there's heavy recoil. It is waterproof since the O ring seal prevents moisture from permeating the body. The nitrogen purging provides reliability against internal fogging and thermal shock, which affect performance.

  •   Pros
  • Sturdy build
  • Withstands water and shock
  • Efficient optical zoom system
  • High-quality images
  • Ergonomic design
  •  Cons
  • A bit pricey

5. Steiner P4XI Compact Tactical Rifle Scope

Steiner P4Xi 4-16x56mm Riflescope, SCR Reticle - Compact Tactical Rifle Scope, Hunting Optics
  • Illuminated Reticle - Rely on Steiner’s SCR illuminated...
  • Compact and Lightweight - With a compact design, 34mm tube...
  • Windage and Elevation - with precise windage and elevation...
  • Waterproof - Submersible to 33 ft, depend on O-ring sealed,...

The Steiner P4XI is specially designed for tactical operations and patrol. One of the primary reasons it's one of the best long-range scopes is its quick response to sudden actions thanks to the fast-action reticle. It also has a Special Competiton Reticle illuminated front focal plane and a side parallax adjustment.

In terms of durability, the Steiner has been tested and approved to withstand the harshest environments, including the low light, heavy glare, deep cold, grit storms, and impacts. Rest assured, this longe range rifle scope is an excellent choice for looking for a versatile model with all-weather reliability.

The knobs controlling windage and elevation are ergonomically designed to enable easy control. The dial calibrations are quite precise, a one cm click equating with 100 m. It has a strong body made from high-quality aluminum with no seams or welds, making it more durable.

It is reliable for long-range shooting since the illuminated reticle will light a wide field of view. The high contrast option will expose your target so that you can maintain accuracy even in pitch-black darkness. The Steiner is a lightweight and compact long-range option that provides a great addition to your hunting rifle without conspicuousness.

  •   Pros
  • Lightweight unit
  • Convenient elevation adjustments
  • Affordable price range
  •  Cons
  • Low glass clarity

Factors to Consider When Buying the Best Long Range Rifle Scope

1. Magnification

You can't hit what you can't see, and the naked eye can only go so far. That is why you need a magnifying scope for long-range shooting. Usually, the numbers before the Scopes designation or label indicate the magnification range it can deliver.

The type of magnification you need depends on the size of your target. So, if you are hunting large targets, you will require a lower magnification range than someone after smaller targets. However, while bigger might seem better in magnification, the resolution is also crucial.

Without a proper resolution, the image will become blurry and unclear as you zoom in. So, you should ensure your long-range scope has a high image resolution. If you want the best visual clarity, using fully multi-coated lenses will do it for you.

2. Variable or Fixed Long Range Rifle Scopes

The fixed power hunting scope features only one magnification level that you can know from the one digit before the x in the scope's label. Since it is hardly complex, it's a great option for inexperienced long-distance shooters.

On the other hand, the variable power scopes have different magnification levels, letting you zoom the image in and out to your desire. Nevertheless, they are more expensive and challenging to use than fixed scopes and require parallax adjustment. These scopers are also bulkier and heavier than typically fixed power optics which adds to the rifle's weight.

What makes them suitable for long-range shooting is that they feature a wider field of view, increasing light transmission for brighter viewing.

3. Objective Lens

The label of every long-range rifle scope includes some numbers that follow the x symbol. This value indicates in millimeters the diameter of the objective lens. This component is positioned on the opposite end of the scope, where you place your eye and serves to let light in to produce a clear image. The larger the objective lens, the brighter the picture will be, even in low lighting.

A 50 mm objective lens is considered the standard in long-range shooting since it can optimize the image quality. Unfortunately, large lenses are heavy to carry, which becomes a limitation in hunting.

4. MIL or MOA

MOA and MIL are angular units of measurements used in long-range target shooting. MOA translates about an inch to represent 100 yards while MIL represents 3.6 inches at 100 yards. They provide different ways to express the same thing, which is why your choice could rely on preference.

5. Target Turrets

The riflescopes in this review have windage and elevation knobs that zero the optic at a particular distance. These turret adjustments feature an inconspicuous profile and a small size. Target turrets are easy to use and produce audible clicks as you turn them and have external calibrations in MOA or MIL units. The windage turret ensures you make the best adjustments according to the wind in the area and range.

6. First vs. Second Focal Plane Reticle

The next thing you should think about is the location of the reticle inside the scope. A first focal plane reticle works simultaneously and proportionally with the magnification. As a result, the reticle grows with magnification as you zoom in on a target.

The second type doesn't adjust size as you zoom since it's static, giving it only one magnification range. Most shooters prefer the first type since it compensates for the trajectory and windage efficiently.

7. Eye Relief

Eye relief refers to the distance from the optic lens to your eye. Each rifle scope has some degree of eye relief typically measured in inches and is essential for where you mount the optics and the length of pull.

Since a long-range rifle has to fire a heavy bullet from a far distance, it needs much power, and the power causes recoil, which pushes back the weapon in an instant. There are higher chances of sustaining impact on your eye from the recoil in rifles with short eye relief, which could give you a black eye.

A measure of at least 3.6 inches is recommended to prevent any injury to your face. Plus, the distance could change as you adjust the magnification of the scope. Fortunately, long-distance shooting rifle scopes can have 4 inches of eye relief which is optimal for shooters.

8. Glass Clarity

The quality of the glass determines the quality of the image you'll see. In situations where there is limited availability of light, it is paramount that you select a scope that can let you see the target vividly.

The models in this review have high glass clarity to ensure your vision is ideal. Apart from this, you need to consider the coating on the glass. The lens's coatings are meant to reduce glare and enhance the transmission of light to produce better images.

Here are the most common coats you'll see on long-range riflescopes;

  • Coated - a single layer of coating on at least one side of the lens
  • Fully-coated - a coating on all surfaces of the lens
  • Fully-multi coated - multiple coatings on one lens.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the best long-range scope on the market?

The best long-range scope on the market is the Vortex Viper PST Gen II First Focal Plane Riflescopes, an excellent option for shooting a target from hundreds of yards.

2. What kind of scope do I need for 1000 yards?

The level of magnification necessary to see across a distance of 1000 yards is x 10.

3. How do I choose a long-range scope?

When selecting a long-range scope, the factors to consider include the construction materials, magnification, eye relief, price point, and glass quality.




Anton Scharff


Anton is a hunting expert who respects nature. Ask him anything about large game. Lover of the great outdoors.

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