Whether you are a target shooter or hunter, you want to bring out the best in your rifle. Standard scopes work well at certain distances, but if you want to expand the capabilities of your rifle, consider a long range scope.
There are plenty of long range scopes on the market manufactured by well-known tactical companies and loaded with impressive specs. But these can cost thousands of dollars, which is out of range for many shooters.
Here, we have compiled the top five best long range scopes under $1,000. These scopes include the most important features such as durability and comfort with an affordable price point.
Choosing the right scope is ultimately up to you and depends on your shooting style and preference, but we hope this buyer’s guide can answer some of your questions and help you in your search.
Why should I buy a long range scope?
Accuracy becomes increasingly difficult as your range increases. Without a scope, certain ranges are out of consideration for most shooters. Scopes improve the view of the target and can even improve your shooting skills over time as you become more confident and fine-tuned.
Long range scopes allow you to be farther away from the target while still maintaining quality visibility. For hunters, these scopes are incredibly useful as they can maintain a safe distance from potentially dangerous predators. Long range scopes also provide you the time to take a comfortable and well-adjusted shot.
Using a scope for target shooting allows you to see the target better and shoot more accurately. For most target shooters, shooting at a long distance without a scope is often a waste of time and bullets. Scopes are meant as a tool for the shooter. As you learn to shoot with the scope, you will become more confident and your scores will improve.
Top 5 Best Long Range Scopes Under $1000
|Nikon Black X1000|
|Vortex Optics Viper PST First Focal Plane Riflescope 4-16×50|
|SWFA SS 10×42 Tactical Riflescope|
|Vortex Optics Crossfire II 6-24×50 AO, SFP Riflescope|
|Primary Arms 4-16×44 SFP Rifle Scope|
1. Nikon Black X1000 – Best Overall
The fully multi-coated lenses provide excellent light transmission, and the included 4-inch sunshade helps eliminate glare and sun spots. The Nikon has a 50 mm objective lens and a 3.5 inch eye relief as well.
The Nikon Black X1000 has 6-24x magnification and an illuminated X-MRAD second focal plane reticle with 10 brightness levels. The turrets feature crisp clicks and stops with spring loaded instant zero resets, making for an easier user experience.
Likewise, the parallax adjustment is turret-mounted to the side of the scope, which allows the shooter to fine tune the sight image without changing their position.
This scope is our number one choice because of its versatility and durability. It can handle any shooting application, caliber, or ballistic. The Nikon is also waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof and backed by a lifetime repair and replacement policy.
2. Vortex Optics Viper PST First Focal Plane Riflescope 4-16×50 – Best for Tactical Shooting
It is waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof with a scratch-resistant coating on the exterior lenses.
This scope has 4-16x magnification. The tactical turrets all have clear markings and serrations, so shooters can easily adjust in any weather without moving their eyes from the scope.
The Vortex Viper has a 50 mm objective lens diameter with a fully multi-coated lens for better lighting. Shooters have 4.0 inches of eye relief and a field of view of 27.4 – 7.4 ft at 100 yards.
This scope has a first focal plane EBR-1 MRAD reticle, so there are hash marks at each full milliradian and half milliradian. For high quality durability, the reticle is protected between two layers of glass. The illuminated reticle is a nice option in low light conditions and has 10 adjustable brightness levels.
Backed by a lifetime warranty, the Vortex Optics Viper PST Scope is an extremely durable, feature-rich scope for precision shooters.
3. SWFA SS 10×42 Tactical Riflescope Mil-Quad Reticle 1/10 Mil Adjustments Rear Focus SS10X42MQ – Best Fixed Scope
They are also easier to adjust and dial in because you only have to deal with one magnification level instead of several.
This scope has a 30 mm tube diameter made of single piece aluminum with a rough matte finish. The objective lens of this scope is 49.5 mm. It has a field of view of 11.8 ft at 100 yards and a 3.9 in eye relief.
The SWFA SS has a MIL Quad reticle and a rear parallax adjustment. The tactical turrets provide both a tactile and auditory feedback for shooters.
The SWFA SS is waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof with fully multi-coated lenses. It can be used with .50 caliber ammunition, which is rare for a scope at this price point. At only 18.7 oz, it is one of the lightest weight scopes on this list, but one of the most durable.
4. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 6-24×50 AO, SFP Riflescope – Most Versatile
This scope has a 50 mm objective lens diameter and 6-24x magnification. The fully multi-coated lenses have anti-reflective coatings, which allow for more light transmission.
The reticle is in the second focal plane, and the field of view is 17.3 – 4.4 ft at 100 yards. A 4 inch eye relief provides ample and comfortable room for shooters.
Vortex scopes feature fast focus eye pieces that allow for quicker shooting, which is ideal for hunters. The Crossfire II also features capped turrets, which provide external protection and enable the shooter to instant reset to zero without tools. Backed by a lifetime warranty, the Vortex Crossfire is a reliable and versatile choice for any shooter.
5. Primary Arms 4-16×44 SFP Rifle Scope – Illuminated MIL-DOT Reticle – Best for Beginners
This is a second focal plane scope with 4-16x magnification and an illuminated Mil-Dot reticle with 12 brightness settings. It has a field of view of 26.19 – 6.98 ft at 100 yards and 3.5 inch eye relief.
This scope has locking turrets that reset to zero and a side-mounted parallax adjustment knob. The objective lens diameter is 44 mm.
At 23.5 oz, the Primary Arms scope is a bit heavy for its price, but shooters report excellent durability with this waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof scope.
Things You Should Know Before Buying A Long Range Scope
The material of the the long range scope is partially what dictates its durability. Aluminum is a common and preferred material among users for its light carrying weight and durability.
A reticle is the crosshair that appears through the scope. Reticles can appear on the first or second focal plane. First focal plane (FFP) scopes increase the size of the reticle as the magnification increases. Second focal plane (SFP) scopes maintain the size of the reticle no matter the magnification.
The level of magnification depends on your shooting purpose and caliber. Hunting scopes need less magnification to allow for a wider field of view and more light to enter the scope, which is important for low light situations. 4x – 16x is the typical range for hunting scopes.
Target shooting scopes range usually from 16 – 32x magnification. Such high levels require better optics to make the image clear. They also let in less light. Depending on how powerful your rifle is, you may need additional stabilization at this level of magnification.
There are four types of lens coating – Coated Lenses have a single chemical coating on the lens, Fully Coated Lenses have a single chemical coat applied to all optical surfaces, Multi-Coated Lenses have multiple layers of chemical coatings on the lens, and Fully Multi-Coated Lenses have multiple layers of chemical coatings to all optical surfaces.
As you move from Coated to Fully Multi-Coated Lenses, the price and quality of the scope will increase.
Target turrets are the knobs on the outside of the scope. Often called the windage and elevation knobs, target turrets adjust the point of aim by moving the reticle up, down, and sideways. This raises and lowers the bullet’s point of impact. Turrets have a variety of markings and friction settings, so it will depend on your preference when you’re choosing a scope.
Eye relief is the distance between the ocular lens and the eye where the full field of view is visible. The more powerful your rifle, the higher the recoil, and the more eye relief you will need.
Long Range Scope FAQs
What does long range mean?
This depends on the caliber of weapon you use. You can search databases for what long range means for your rifle based on the ballistics you’re using. It can range from 150 – 1,000 yards.
What magnification should I get?
This depends on what you are shooting and how far away it is. Long range shots usually require at least 10x magnification with target shooting requiring 20+x.
The higher the magnification, the heavier and more expensive the lens will be. Evaluate your shooting needs first and then decide on the proper scope.
Why is the objective lens important?
The objective lens is what gathers light that creates the image you see through the scope. The larger the lens, the more light you will get. Similar to the magnification, you should not get an objective lens that is too big as it could throw off your weight.
Our Final Take
Rifle scopes can greatly improve your shooting performance whether you are a target shooter or hunter. Choosing the right one will depend on your priorities and which specifications are most important to you. There are many scopes out there under $1,000 that did not make this list, but if you choose one of the 5 scopes above, you will be making a great addition to your shooting setup no matter what.