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Best Scopes for Long Range Shooting

In this article, we discuss features and suggestions that cover Best Scopes for Long Range Shooting

Maybe you are a newbie competition shooter looking into the sport, or maybe you are simply a hand loader who wishes to mix up the normal long range formula, or perhaps you are a hunter. Whatever the case be,  you are shooting long range, you require lots of practice and the right equipment. Most bolt-action rifles can do the job, but with poor scope, you might as well be doing nothing. You need a quality scope with the tools required for long range shooting. That includes high magnification and a lot of dial-up capability. Even so, experts warn that too much magnification can be get in the way of shooting - let's dive right into it.

Here is a list of the Best Scopes for Long Range Shooting


Scopes for Long Range Shooting


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Nightforce MOAR

Leupold Mark 8

Swarovski X5(i) Long Range Master


Nightforce ATACR F1


Here, I will take you through a list of the most important features you should consider for the best scopes for long range shooting.


High-quality lenses, also referred to as glass, spell the difference between a clear line of sight. You need a glass that presents a crystal picture at both high and low magnifications. This high-quality glass is especially important for reading mirage, which allows you to understand accurately how the wind is affecting your target.

You should consider light transmission to determine if a scope has good lenses. However, there is no standard test analysis for that as many manufacturers just play with the light transmission system to make themselves look better.

The best way is to look through different scopes for a side by side comparison. This is when you can easily find out which scope has a solid lens system and which don’t.

It is also important to keep in mind the manufacturers who have proven to make quality lenses such as Leupold, Schmidt and Bender, Trijicon, and Swarovski. While I do not personally have any experience with companies like U.S. Optics, Zeiss, and Nightforce, they have a repute for making clear glasses.

Scope Body

A good scope should be made from a high quality, durable material preferably aircraft grade aluminum, and designed in a single piece. When the actual scope tube is made of a single piece of aluminum, it contributes to the scope’s overall precision as well as the overall durability. Most high-end scopes are made in single piece body designs.

Milling Reticle

You require a reticle that has hash marks or dots spread evenly along the horizontal and vertical axis. This could be MOA or MIL measurements. In essence for long range shooting, these reticles allow you to use holdovers for both elevation and windage.

Although using these hash marks or dots is easy, it takes a bit of trigger time to be an expert with. They allow a consistent elevation changes compensation as well as a holdover for windage. I would recommend a brand with finer hash marks like Nightforce MOAR.

>>>View Nightforce MOAR here<<<

The Size of Objective Lens

When it comes to the size of the objective lens, many people believe that bigger is better. Unfortunately, once you get the size of your objective lens to 50mm, you notice a very little difference in light transmission.

The larger the objective diameter, the higher you need to mount the scope. The overall precision of your rifle is lost when you mount the scope higher than the barrel using single piece mounts or high rings. Some people prefer larger objective lenses, but the light difference that occurs as a compromise is not worth. Experts recommend objective lenses size ranging between 42 and 50mm. Although most long-range shooters prefer 56mm, I personally prefer a 50mm objective as in Swarovski X5(i) Long Range Master.

>>>View Swarovski X5(i) Long Range Master here<<<

Zoom Power

For long range shooting, an ideal scope should have at least 18x magnification power. Most people think that more magnification power is better. I would say that this is partially true as it depends on your situation, and your main shooting goals. If a moving target is in sight about a hundred yards away, you should be able to zoom on it easily and without any problem. At the same time, to let you feel comfortable while focusing on targets below 50mm yards, your rifle scope should be able to zoom down to 5x. When your optic is super powerful, you have very little versatility and you are restricted to long range shooting. Magnification power ranging between 5x – 25x offers an excellent level of versatility. The Leupold Mark 8 has an option in 3.5-25 power which offers an excellent level of various magnifications.

>>>View Leupold Mark 8 here<<<

Elevation Adjustment Range

This is simply the amount of adjustments the scope allows internally. When it comes to long range scopes, elevation adjustments are more serious and you should have more adjustment options. Rounds such as 308 drop 50 inches at five hundred yards, so you can figure the adjustments required to make an accurate shot at one thousand yards. 100 MIL or MOA adjustment is often ideal to cover elevation at one thousand yards or further.

Focal Plane

Focal planes fall under two categories: front focal plane, and second focal plane, which means simply means that it is either located behind or in front of the zoom of the scope. The reticle will change size as magnification decreases or increases on front focal plane scopes while the reticle remains the same size on the second focal plane scopes. In my opinion, the front focal scopes are better because the hash marks or the dots never change; they are always 1 MOA or 1 MIL apart. These hash marks or dots at the second focal plane will require a particular setting to be accurate. Nightforce ATACR F1 is a good example of a front focal scope.

>>>View Nightforce ATACR F1 here<<<

Matching Reticle and Turrets

To match reticle and turrets, if you decide to pick MOA reticle, you should make sure that the turret adjustments are in MOA. If you choose a mildot reticle, you should also make sure that the turret adjustments are in mils. Basically, when reticle and turrets match, you can watch the impact of your bullet and in case you were off; you can measure the distance by the reticle and make the necessary adjustment to the scope.

Other Key Features to Consider

These features are the most important when it comes to the best scopes for long range shooting, but there may be more options you may need to factor in depending on your rifle. These may include locking turrets, illuminated reticles, zero stop and 1/8 MOA adjustments among other factors. If you are using a potent weapon such as a 50 caliber, you may be required to choose a particular scope for it. This is because this weapon’s recoil can actually break lesser scopes.

Other factors may be the ability to work with night vision, or weight if you wish to keep your rifle light. Regardless of the reason you are shooting, knowing your scope and rifle can reach out to a target beyond one thousand yards is convenient and a very comfortable feeling.