4 Best Long Range Rifle Scopes [2020 Update]

*Scopes Field is reader-supported. When you buy through links on my site, I may earn an affiliate commission.*

Today I’m going to show you the best long range rifle scope.

In fact:

I’ve hand- tested over 10 scopes alone for this review.

The best part?

I’ve sorted the scopes by use. So whether you’re on a budget or need the best extreme long range rifle scope, you’ll find it here.

Let’s dive in!

The 4 Best Long Range Rifle Scopes

If you’re pressed on time, here’s a quick list of the best long range rifle scopes:

  1. Vortex Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50: Best Rifle Scope For Long Range Shooting
  2. Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25×56: Best Extreme Long Range Rifle Scope
  3. Athlon Argos BTR 6-24×50: Best Long Range Rifle Scope For The Money
  4. Vortex Strike Eagle 4-24×50: Best Long Range Scope Under $500

1. Vortex Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50: Best Rifle Scope for Long Range Shooting

Let me begin by saying that the Vortex Viper PST Gen II is one of the best long-range rifle scopes out there.

I’ve used it for hunting, tactical shooting and even long-range shooting (above 1,000 yards).

Interested? Keep on reading…


Glass Clarity & Reticle

The lenses on the PST Gen II are clear as a church bell.

In other words, I don’t have to worry about the scope washing out in bright light and I can use it at night too. This is due to the fully multi-coated lens and large 50mm objective lens.

But what about the reticle?

It uses a EBR 2C MRAD first focal plane reticle, specifically made for long range shooting. The reticle allows me to account for windage, holdover and bullet drop, keeping those shot groups tight.

And since it’s in the FFP, the size adjusts with magnification so the adjustment dots are always clearly visible.

Speaking of visibility, the reticle comes with illumination. So if you want to shoot at night or in the early hours, you can.


Eye Relief & Eye Box

The Viper PST Gen II has 3.4 inches of eye relief.

The best part?

Eye relief remains consistent at all magnification levels. So whether I was shooting at 200 yards or stretching out to 1,000+, I always had a clear FOV.

The eyebox is serviceable, but not stellar. It will work, but I wouldn’t do a shooting routine that required me to move and aim quickly.


Durability

As I’ve mentioned in my 6.5 Creedmoor guide, the PST Gen II is built to take a pounding.

It’s made from one solid block of aircraft-grade aluminium. In regular terms, it’s made out of tough metal and will stand up to anything I throw at it. The scope is also fogproof, waterproof, and shockproof.

The best part?

The lenses are protected with an ArmorTek coating, which repels oil, dirt, and scratches. Pretty cool, huh?


Elevation & Windage Knobs

The textured-grip turrets proved to be reliable.

They audibly click when I turn them, so I know I’ve adjusted the sights. No over or under adjusting here.

But here’s the best part:

The Gen II is equipped with Rapid Zero Return. This feature is priceless for long-range shooting since it prevents me from zeroing below my sight-in. Here’s how it works:

And in case you’re wondering, the scope holds zero. I’ve shot hundreds of rounds with the PST and have never lost zero to date.


Parallax & Magnification

The 5-25×50 magnification is versatile.

It can be used for short distance shooting, but excels at medium to long distances.

The PST comes with a parallax adjustment knob. Although it was a bit tough to turn, it loosed up with usage.


Mounting & Rings

The Vortex Viper PST doesn’t come with any mounts or rings.

So I mounted it on Vortex’s Pro Extended Cantilever 30mm Mount…

…along with Vortex Pro 30mm low Rings.

Vortex Optics Pro Series Riflescope Rings
  • The finishing touch to your rifle and optic combination. Pro Series rings combine rock-solid reliability and strength with high quality machining to ensure ultimate accuracy and consistency.
  • Streamlined, lightweight and durable, these rings use four T-25 Torx-style socket cap screws for secure mounting.
  • Fits Weaver and Picatinny Rails.

If you want to keep your lens in pristine condition, invest in Vortex Defender Flip Caps (Eye Piece Size: E-10, 41.5-46mm) (Objective Size: O-50, 55-59mm).

Vortex Optics Defender Flip Cap Set - Eyepiece E-10 (41.5-46mm) & Objective Lens Cover O-32 (38-41 mm)
42 Reviews
Vortex Optics Defender Flip Cap Set - Eyepiece E-10 (41.5-46mm) & Objective Lens Cover O-32 (38-41 mm)
  • Virtually indestructible, the Defender flip caps are the most versatile and durable on the market, these are the last flip caps you'll ever need. Made in the USA.
  • A stainless steel spring flips the Eyepiece into multiple stop positions: vertical, 45 degrees and 90 degrees. The vertical position is for inserting your dope disk in to have easy access to while...
  • The E-10 fits all Vortex Riflescopes EXCEPT the 1-inch tube Viper model VPR-M-01BDC, VPR-M-04BDC and VPR-M-03BDC. Outside diameter: 41.5-46 mm | 1.6-1.8 inches

Is the Vortex Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50 worth it?

If you’re looking for the best long-range rifle scope, I highly recommend the Vortex Viper PST Gen II.

Aside from a tight eye box, it has:

  • Clear glass
  • Durable build
  • First focal plane
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Adjustable zero stop
  • EBR-2C illuminated reticle
  • Tactical, glove-adjustable turrets

True: the price may seem a bit high. But I’m sure you’ve heard of the saying “buy once, cry once”.

So if you’re willing to cry once and take your long-range shooting to the next level, I wouldn’t hesitate to buying the Vortex Viper PST Gen II.


2. Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25×56: Best Extreme Long Range Rifle Scope

Digging through the long range scope market is overwhelming.

I had over 20 scopes on my wish list when I started looking, but I always came back to the Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25×56.

After trying it, I haven’t looked back.

If you’re searching for the best extreme long range rifle scope, read on.


Glass Clarity & Reticle

To say that the glass clarity on this scope is impressive would be an understatement.

Scoping 5x was just as edge-to-edge clear as when I maxed it out to 25x.

How is it that clear? Because it uses Leupold’s Twilight Max HD Light Management system.

That’s a mouthful for: shooting in low light settings with an increased contrast, incredible high definition detail, and crystal clear optics.

(Not to mention I get an added 30 minutes of shooting light so I can stay out longer).

When it comes to scopes, you get what you pay for. While it’s a pricey optic, the ultra clear glass far surpasses the competitors.

But what about the reticle?

Leupold offers a variety of reticle options, but all of them are first focal plane so you’ll have the same high definition clarity with the Combat Competitive Hunter (CCH) reticle as any other option.

The reticle also magnifies along with the image, so you can estimate range at all magnification settings.

The one issue I have seen using the Front Focal TMR reticle is that the lines can get pretty thick at the higher magnifications. However, the center dot stays real small so, at the end of the day, those outer crosshairs won’t really get in your way.


Eye Relief & Eye Box

It has a 1.76 eye box, and the 3.58-3.82 inch eye relief is pretty standard.

You shouldn’t be under any threat of shooting your eye out. But, as usual, wear eye protection, eat your veggies, etc.


Durability

The last thing I want is to have my scope croak 5 minutes into my hunting day because I sacrificed durability for a cheaper option.

The Leupold Mark 5HD checks all the durability boxes:

  • Fogproof
  • Waterproof
  • Shockproof
  • Climate tested
  • Impacted tested

This scope will probably outlive me.

Even being as lightweight as it is (30 ounces), it’ll disperse that recoil energy for some unparalleled durability.

Rain or shine, you’ll be shooting.


Elevation & Windage Knobs

I hate slippery turrets, but I also don’t want to bring a hand clamp out to the range to make my adjustments.

The Leupold Mark 5HD straddles the happy medium: it’s audible and smooth to adjust but won’t budge after a shot.

The scope uses a new single turn CDS-ZL dial which locks at zero only, so you can dial up the elevation with a press of a button. Easy peasy.

With an elevation adjustment range of 120 MOA, I can zero in as close as 75yds and still shoot out to past 500 by dialing. No other scope on the long rang market maintains this kind of elevation adjustment quality.

The low profile turret has 30 Mils of adjustment in 3 revolutions, which means a lot of versatile range.

The locking turrets pop up after the first, second, and third rotation so I can see where I’m at with a glance or touch instead of winding down to zero and starting all over.


Parallax & Magnification

While I am calling it the best extreme long range rifle scope, it does more than that.

This scope is versatile; I can go from shooting at 200yds to way beyond without a change in clarity.

It fully delivers on the 5-25x magnification the scope advertises. It’s great if you go hunting in a variety of landscapes, so you’re really getting the bang for your buck.

It has a side focus parallax adjustment with guiding numbers. You can turn all the way up to 600 without actually looking through the scope, but I would still use my eyes to adjust. It’s a nice feature, but I don’t put too much stock in the accuracy of those numbers.


Mounting & Rings

Here’s where it gets sticky.

While this grade-A, American-made scope has a stellar performance, it’s going to be difficult finding rings. The 35 mm tube is awkward to fit, although it’s great for windage and elevation adjustment.

I recommend Leupold’s own BackCountry Cross-Slot 35mm High Rings. From there, the mount fully depends on what you’re shooting with.

If you’re looking for the best scope for a Ruger 10/22, check out this article on the 5 Best Scopes for a Ruger 10/22 in 2020.


Is the Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25×56 worth it?

You can take it competitive shooting, hunting, and to the long range for target shooting. This scope is versatile.

As a brand, Leupold is known for its innovation when it comes to long range shooting.

In fact, I cited the Leupold VX-1 3-9×40 as one of the 5 Best Rimfire Scopes For 22LR in 2019. The Leupold Mark 5HD follows right behind as the best extreme long range rifle scope.

Here’s what makes this scope the stand out:

  • Clear glass
  • Front focal plane
  • Lightweight design
  • Military grade durability
  • No questions asked, lifetime warranty

In short, the Leupold Mark 5HD is the perfect blend of value, reputation, performance, and quality.

The glass quality alone is worth the price, which is why it’s my new go-to for long range shooting.

If you’re thinking the Leupold Mark 5HD might be for you, I say, pull the trigger.


3. Athlon Argos BTR 6-24×50: Best Long Range Rifle Scope For The Money

The Athlon Argos BTR 6-24×50 is the best long-range rifle scope on a budget.

In fact, this scope’s effectiveness has been compared to optics 3x the cost.

Can affordability outweigh a higher price?

Keep reading to find out…


Glass Clarity & Reticle

The glass clarity offers a bright and clear view.

In fact, I’m able to use this scope during the day and at night.

This is due to the fully multi-coated lens and large 50mm objective lens.

But what about the reticle?

The Argos BTR uses an APMR MIL reticle.

Here’s what I like about it:

First, it’s illuminated which allows me to shoot at night.

Second, it’s set in the first focal plane. This is great for long-range shooting since the subtension values remain consistent throughout all magnification ranges.

Lastly, the reticle is etched onto the glass. So if my battery dies, the reticle still works.


Eye Relief & Eye Box

The eye relief is only 3.3 inches. So it doesn’t have a lot of wiggle room.

But after shooting my heavy recoiling caliber, I was pleasantly surprised to find that eye relief offered enough space.

So it really depends on your set up. But for the most part, you should be fine.


Durability

The amount of shock resistance is impressive.

Due to its construction of rugged 6061 T6 aircraft-grade aluminum, it has a much higher resistance to recoil.

So you can fire away without fear of damage.

Plus, this scope is waterproof and fogproof. Due to the heat-treated one piece tube, it keeps moisture completely out.


Elevation & Windage Knobs

The resettable, graduated turrets offer better adjustment.

Due to the turrets being exposed, they can be set to zero after sighting. Which means you can make much faster adjustments to take your shot and easily return to zero.

However, I found the turrets to be spongy. They moved too easily when I barely touched them which can lead to over-adjusting.

But luckily there’s an easy solution to this:

Just re-grease those turrets!

Watch this video to learn how:

To summarize: you simply remove the cap, wipe out the factory grease with a long cotton swab and cleaner, and then re-grease those turrets with lubricant.

Good to go!

But how well does it zero?

Zeroing with the Athlon Argos is easy enough.

In fact, after just seven shots, I had it zeroed. And it held very well afterwards.


Parallax & Magnification

The 6-24x magnification is versatile.

You can shoot from multiple distances—both short-range and long-range.

But that’s not all.

I really like the parallax adjustment side focus feature. It’s set from 10 yards to infinity, and the knob is smooth and easy to turn. Plus it’s accurate.


Mounting & Rings

I mounted this scope on the Burris PEPR 30mm Mount. It provides two inches of forward positioning and optimum eye relief.

But it’s also durable and has long-lasting holding power, so you’ll be covered all day.

And for the rings:

Go for the 30mm Burris Optics XTR Signature Rings. They’re lightweight, easy to install, and allow sighting without moving the scope.

For added accessories, I recommend getting the Athlon Optics Riflescope Sunshade. This will reduce lens glare and keep harsh sun reflections out of your view.


Is the Athlon Argos BTR 6-24×50 worth it?

If you’re looking for a scope that offers versatility for tactical shooting, get the Athlon Argos BTR 6-24×50.

Here’s what I really liked:

  • Strong build
  • First Focal Plane
  • Great glass clarity
  • Versatile shooting distances

It also comes with a lifetime warranty. So if your scope gets damaged for whatever reason, Athlon has you covered.

In short: If you’re looking for a budget-friendly long range scope, I highly recommend the Athlon Argos BTR 6-24×50.

Athlon Optics Argos BTR GEN2 6-24X50 First Focal Plane Riflescopes
  • 0.1 MIL Click Value, 18 MIL Total Adjustment, 10 yards to infinity Parallax adjustment
  • First focal plane reticle stays valid at all power settings allowing you to fully utilize the specially designed reticle that shrinks or grows along with your target as you zoom in or out. The reticle...
  • Fully Multicoated optics effectively reduces reflected light and increases the transmission of light giving you a brighter image than normal single coated lenses

4. Vortex Strike Eagle 4-24×50: Best Long Range Scope Under $500

The Vortex Strike Eagle 4-24×50 is hands down one of the best long range scopes under $500.

In fact, I’ve used it for target shooting, hunting, and even long-range competition.

And it’s never let me down.

Here’s why…


Glass Clarity & Reticle

The glass is crystal clear and crisp.

With a 50mm objective and fully multi-coated lens, you’re getting insane light transmission. As a result, the clarity and brightness is really good.

In fact, I’m able to nail targets from 500+ yards away without breaking a sweat.

But here’s where it gets interesting:

The EBR-4 reticle.

It’s set in the second focal plane, which provides consistent image size regardless of magnification.

It can also estimate range, windage and moving target leads — making it invaluable for long-range shooting.

What’s even better is the illuminated, glass-etched reticle that allows me to see my crosshairs clearly, even in low-light settings and busy environments.

In short: I get a clean, clear shot…every time.


Eye Relief & Eye Box

3.5 inches.

That’s how much eye relief you’re getting, which isn’t too bad. Eye relief and eye box do get a little tight at higher magnification.

While the scope’s extra-low dispersion glass mostly enhances color and image detail, I did experience some colored blurs at the highest magnification. But you can’t expect perfection with a high magnification scope, especially at such a low price.


Durability

The Strike Eagle is as durable as a war tank.

In fact, I’ve been using this optic for the past few years and it’s still working like a champ.

That’s because it’s built right: Aircraft-grade aluminum, O-ring seal and nitrogen purged.

To put simply, it’s completely shockproof, waterproof and fogproof.


Elevation & Windage Knobs

The tactical-style windage and elevation turrets are reliable and accurate.

The turrets are audible though not as crisp as I’d like. But they lock into place, preventing any unwanted movement.

Marked indicators on the turrets make adjustments far more accurate.

Zeroing was easy. Six rounds was all it took to get me out into the field.


Parallax & Magnification

The 4-24x magnification makes this scope awesome for target shooting.

You never have to worry too much about where to position and still get an accurate view.

The external parallax adjustment knob starts at 20 yards to infinity. It turns smoothly and clears all parallax.

However, the zoom knobs can be hard on the hands. So I invested in a throw lever to save time and effort.


Mounting & Rings

I love all-in-one deals. Sadly, this isn’t one of them.

There’s no mount, so I used a 30mm Vortex Cantilever.

Vortex Optics Sport Cantilever Riflescope Mounts
842 Reviews
Vortex Optics Sport Cantilever Riflescope Mounts
  • Use this cantilever mount for mounting 30 mm telescopic sights onto flattop style rifles.
  • The 2-inch offset of this cantilever mount positions the scope in a forward location, allowing the correct eye relief and head placement on your rifle.
  • The cantilever ring mount positions the center of the riflescope tube at a height of 1.59 inches (40.39 mm) from the base. Weighs 6.7 ounces.

Good news it comes with a sun shade, cleaning cloth and bikini covers. If you prefer flip caps (like myself), I’d buy Butler Creek Flip Cap. (Size: E: 28, O: 39)


Is the Vortex Strike Eagle 4-24×50 worth it?

If you’re looking for a long-range shooting optic with budget in mind, then get the Vortex Strike Eagle 4-24×50.

Despite a bit of image distortion at high magnification, the Strike Eagle earns points for its:

  • Zero reset
  • Clear glass
  • Second focal plane
  • Tactical capped turrets
  • EBR-4 MOA illuminated reticle
  • A high magnification range (great for over 1,000 yards)

Otherwise, you get a super versatile scope with all the needed long-distance features. Best yet, I know I haven’t blown my wallet.

And even if you don’t trust its durability, just trust its lifetime warranty. That’s a pretty long time, if you ask me.

Sale
Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6x24 Second Focal Plane Riflescope - BDC3 Reticle (MOA), Black
857 Reviews
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 versatility. A true 1x on the low end adapts to a wide range of scenarios, letting shooters rapidly engage targets from point-blank to extended...
  • The magnification ring has been updated and now includes a thread-in throw lever, and the magnification indicators can now be seen without coming off the scope.
  • The new illuminated BDC3 reticle focuses the shooter's eye to the target faster and holdovers allow for immediate use out to 650 yards for targets of known distance.

Now It’s Your Turn

I hope you enjoyed my best long range rifle scope guide.

So as a recap:

If you’re looking for the best rifle scope for long range shooting, get the Vortex Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50.

Looking for the best extreme long range rifle scope? Get the Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25×56.

On a budget for a long range scope? Choose the Athlon Argos BTR 6-24×50.

Athlon Optics Argos BTR GEN2 6-24X50 First Focal Plane Riflescopes
  • 0.1 MIL Click Value, 18 MIL Total Adjustment, 10 yards to infinity Parallax adjustment
  • First focal plane reticle stays valid at all power settings allowing you to fully utilize the specially designed reticle that shrinks or grows along with your target as you zoom in or out. The reticle...
  • Fully Multicoated optics effectively reduces reflected light and increases the transmission of light giving you a brighter image than normal single coated lenses

What if you had to spend less than $500? I’d personally go for the Vortex Strike Eagle 4-24×50.

Sale
Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6x24 Second Focal Plane Riflescope - BDC3 Reticle (MOA), Black
857 Reviews
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 versatility. A true 1x on the low end adapts to a wide range of scenarios, letting shooters rapidly engage targets from point-blank to extended...
  • The magnification ring has been updated and now includes a thread-in throw lever, and the magnification indicators can now be seen without coming off the scope.
  • The new illuminated BDC3 reticle focuses the shooter's eye to the target faster and holdovers allow for immediate use out to 650 yards for targets of known distance.

That said, you can’t go wrong with any of these options. All 4 scopes passed my exhaustive testing, and proved to be reliable. Additionally, they all have lifetime warranties. Just pick one based on your need and budget.

Now I want to turn it over to you:

Which scope will you pick for your long range rifle?

Let me know by leaving a quick comment down below.

Leave a Comment