Best Long Range Rifle Scopes 2016: Buyers Guide & Reviews

Rifles can hit a target from several hundred yards away—especially when using a large and powerful caliber. The problem is, you can’t see that far; at least with any accuracy that is. The solution to this is to add a scope.

Some of the greatest long range rifle scopes are pricey, but worth every penny when you hit your target from a few hundred yards away.

Each rifle scope has its pros and cons, and those depend heavily on what you need to see and from how far away.

There are different magnification levels, but when you are shooting at a deer 100 yards away or less, you don’t need a 14x scope. In fact, you’ll probably miss or wound your target more often than not.

There is more to selecting one of the best long range hunting scopes than magnification.

How to Choose the Best Scope for Long Range Shooting

The first thing you want to know is the area you are hunting. Most hunters hunt the same land year after year, so this isn’t a problem.

The reason you should know the area is this will help you make a better decision about which of the scopes out there is one of the most suitable long range hunting scopes for your particular hunting area.

It’s ideal to know the routes of the deer or other game and where you’ll typically be taking the shot. A 5x scope might be just right. What you lose by getting a scope that’s too powerful is, on the closer shots, all you see is a furry mess in front of you.

Is that a neck or the hindquarters?

Typically, you can use a 3x-9x scope and do just fine. Are you shooting from near or far? This bit of information is where the knowledge of the geography of your hunting land comes into play.

There are hunters who like the challenge of shooting from a greater distance. Shooting from a greater distance than 100 yards requires different criteria.

hunter

Objective Lens

Some characteristics you’ll find in the scopes for long range shooting are one of two reticles (crosshairs). In the lower power scopes, you’ll usually see a thin crosshair line that gets thicker toward the outer edge of what you see when you look through the scope. This is called a duplex reticle.

When you are shooting from farther than a couple hundred yards, you’ll need to compensate for the bullet dropping and the wind. For this, you can look for BDC and Mildot reticles.

A BDC (bullet drop compensator) reticle has lines below the crosshairs so you can line up the vertical line with the target, then aim higher using the additional horizontal lines to compensate for how far you think the bullet will drop before it reaches your target.

The Mildot is similar but has dots instead of lines. These dots are on the vertical and horizontal lines of the crosshair. The dots on the vertical crosshair works the same. However, the dots on the horizontal crosshairs are used to compensate for the wind. If you have a wind blowing 10mph from left to right, you can aim one dot to the right of center to compensate.

Another consideration is the size of the forwardmost lens. The bigger it is, the more light is taken is. When more light is taken in, the clearer and brighter the image you see through the scope. But you can’t mount a huge scope on your gun without drawbacks, though.

If you are buying your first large lens scope, talk to some friends or a local gun shop about cheek pad adjustments you might need for proper shooting line of sight alignment through the scope. This is true with all of the long range shooting scopes on the list.

The scopes in the list below are a happy medium and should work well when you want to show off your shooting skills from a quarter of a mile.

1. Ade Advanced Optics 6-25X56 35mm Long Range Rifle Scope

The Ade Advanced Optics long range scope is on the budget side of this list. Don’t think this because it is the least expensive on the list that it’s not worth a look. You have a large objective lens so your target will be clear, even when using your full 25x magnification.

The lighted Mildot reticle helps you get your target in your crosshairs and compensate for bullet drop and wind, even in low light.

Pros:

  • Illuminated Mildot Reticle
  • 6-25x magnification
  • Water resistant materials help resist fogging of the lens.

Cons:

  • The numerous adjustments may make getting a clear image quickly more difficult.

The large lens gives you a better view of your target area. When you have a better view, you aren’t scanning the area so much. You also eliminate jumping back and forth between your scope and binoculars.

Ade Advanced Optics

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2. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 6-24x50mm

Vortex is based in Wisconsin where hunting is a lifestyle, not a hobby. They have an amazing warranty and a great product. The Crossfire II is a solid long range shooting scope at a very reasonable price.

The Vortex Crossfire II uses customized markings to save time when lining up your shot. It’s especially helpful if you have your site zeroed in at a certain distance, and you attempt to shoot a target at a further distance. This is called holdover.

Pros:

  • Great warranty
  • Customized hash mark design
  • Milled from a solid piece of aircraft grade aluminum.

Cons:

  • The hash marks may be confusing to new shooters at first.

vortex-optics

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3. Secozoom Optics 4-50x75mm

This Secozoom Optics scope has the widest range and highest magnification (4-50). This means it works well at closer distances as well as letting you see what’s happening over 1000 yards away.

The coated lens helps to reduce reflection and enhance the light intake through the objective lens. The coating helps you accurately shoot from first to last light of the day with no problem times.

The Mildot reticle is a must for a hunting scope with magnification like this. You’ll surely try to shoot targets at greater distances, so you will need to compensate for bullet drop, the wind, and holdover—depending on what range you zeroed your gun.

Pros:

  • 50x magnification
  • 75mm objective lens for large target viewing area.
  • Mildot
  • Coated green lens
  • Ideal for larger calibers (.308 and 50 BMG)

Cons:

  • The 75mm lens may require some adjustments or additions

This is a good all-around scope, especially if you want one scope for a wide variety of target ranges while shooting.

While the objective lens may be a bit large for some, the field of view you’ll have is nice to have when you are tracking game through a thick forest or from a long distance.

secozoom-optics

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4. Nikon M-308 Tactical Scope

The M-308 scope is the only “tactical” scope on the list. In this case, tactical just means the type of adjustments it has.

It has tactical style turrets. These are the adjustment dials on the top and sides giving you more precise controls.

Pros:

  • Smartphone app to help calculate your shot.
  • The smallest diameter objective reticle.
  • Quick-focus eyepiece to help you get a visual faster.
  • Good general scope for close and long distance shooting.

Cons:

  • Lowest top end magnification of the group at 16x

The claim to fame with the Nikon is the smartphone app. The app does your holdover calculations for you. Add a few bits of information and it tells you which dot in your crosshair to line up to your target.

Nikon M-308 Tactical Scope

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5. Vortex Optics Viper 6.5-20x50 PA

This Vortex Optics is more powerful than the scope earlier on the list. You’re also going to see a different reticle than the previous Vortex scope: this one is Mildot.

Having a more powerful scope, as mentioned before, you will need to calculate more than just distance. Using the 20x magnification will require wind and bullet drop too.

Pros:

  • Mildot Reticle
  • Fast Focus eyepiece for quick target acquisition.
  • Waterproof and fog proof

Cons:

  • Black non-illuminated reticle can be hard to see against some backgrounds.

This scope upgrade will ensure you have a better chance to reach out and touch your target by lining up the proper markings on your reticle. The fast focus lens will make sure you have a clear picture of what you’re going to shoot.

These may seem simple, but the best long range rifle scopes have simple adjustments and features that make hitting your target easier, not more complicated.

vortex

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6. Millett 6-25 X 56 LRS-1

This Millett scope is on the high side for magnification with 25x. The only other one to have this much power is the lowest cost scope.

The multitude of controls gives precise adjustments. It isn’t the most expensive scope out there, just the priciest on this list.

Pros:

  • 25x Magnification
  • Mildot reticle
  • Illuminated reticle
  • Positive 1/4 MOA click adjustments

Cons:

  • Same feature list as the least expensive scope on this list.

While this Millett 25x max magnification scope is the most expensive on the list, doesn’t necessarily make it the best long range scope.

It has a better build quality and a few more bells and whistles than the others. Also, the larger objective lens gives you a wide view of the area you are surveying.

millett-6-25

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7. Rifle Scope, Barra Hero 6-26x50 FFP First Focal Plane

He Barra Hero is made in Japan and is designed for precision. The high profile turrets (adjustment knobs) make tuning in your focus easy.

The multi-coated lens enhances light transmission through the objective lens meaning you have a better image of your target in lower light scenarios.

Pros:

  • Multi-coated lens
  • 6-26x magnification
  • Mildot reticle
  • Transferable Lifetime Warranty

Cons:

  • Similar features to lower prices scopes on this list.

The warranty is a great feature many people overlook until they need to use it. It would be nice if the scope went as low as 4x magnification, but if you know the geography of your hunting grounds, you can position yourself in an area where that won’t be an issue.

rifle-scope

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Overall

There are some great choices. You’ll need to decide which style reticle you like best. This may be partly based on your environment, but also the distance you’ll be taking the shot.

The greatest long range rifle scopes will all have a good build quality and good adjustments. Warranty is pretty important too because your scope can take a beating when you are trudging through the woods and climbing into your tree stand.

Many hunters feel they need to buy the latest and greatest equipment. Trying to find the best long range hunting scope can get pretty pricey. It’s better to know the problem you are having and solve it.

Manufacturers will make and market whatever they think you they can get you to buy. They will come up with wording to make it seem like you have a problem you didn’t know you had. The key is to know how far you’d like to shoot and buy the long range scope for your specific situation.

When looking through the best long range rifle scopes, what features are most important to you?