The Best Scope for Long-Range Hunting

There are many reasons to consider adding a scope to your hunting rifle—improved accuracy, target identification, and increased visual acuity are among the chief advantages. Another is increased range, and when you want to participate in extreme long-range hunting, a scope is no longer an advantage but a necessity. Selecting the right scope for the job will be the difference between filling a tag and ending the season empty-handed.

Essential Functions


Magnification is essential, especially when you are shooting 1000 yards + but do not get sucked into spending more money for the highest magnification available. For most hunters, 10x – 25x is enough for 1000-yard shots. If you are going further, bump to 35x. It’s imperative you understand MOA at long distances. Having the right magnification won’t matter if you don’t hit your shot.

Clear View

The money you save by not buying the most magnification available should be spent ensuring that your scope has the best glass possible. High-quality glass will not only ensure a clear view at higher magnification but also provide a clear view edge to edge. Protect this glass by including a protective covering on the glass and a glass-sealed tube to prevent fogging.

Focal Plane

The next big question is whether to use the first or second focal plane. For shooters who need to estimate the distance at different powers, a second focal plane is a must, as the reticle will remain the same size as the magnification is increased/decreased. If this is not a concern, save some money and go with a first focal plane scope.


Adjustability leads to adaptability. Adapting to different conditions or scenarios allows your scope to become multi-functional and, thus, a better investment. Look for turrets that are easy to operate, easy to reach, and can be locked in place when on the move. The money spent is worth it if you include a zero stop, illumination, or revolution indicator.

Our Recommendations

Leica PRS 5-30x56i

The PRS is one of the most impressive scopes on the market. It is sleek, compact, and great to look at, and it outperforms everything else in its class. The controls are easy to use, responsive, and well-synced with the reticle. The 5-30 power is well suited for beyond 1000 yards. A first-plan MIL-illuminated reticle and zero stop are standard. Clear, bright glass provides excellent vision at even the highest magnification.

Vortex Razor HD Gen III 6-36×56

Vortex is a name that almost every shooter knows. Since it first hit the market, Vortex has offered high-quality optics with cutting-edge technology—the Razor HD is no exception. The 6-36 magnification is well suited for any hunting application and excellent for those wishing to push beyond 1000 yards. The first-plane EBR 70 reticle is available in either MRAD or MOA. Easy-to-use controls include a micro-adjust turret, zero stop, lockable illumination dial, and external rotation indicator.

Burris Xtreme Tactical 5-25x50mm

Burris is the oldest manufacturer on the list but has not always been acquainted with producing “the best.” At the same time, Burris has focused on producing budget-friendly products, but their scope can still stand up to the big boys regarding quality and performance. The Xtreme Tactical is just one example of getting more than you pay. At a fraction of the price, it offers many of the same features as the other scopes recommended above – crystal clear glass with Hi-lume protective coating, nitrogen-filled single-piece tube, multiple reticle options, easy-to-reach controls, zero stop, illumination, and unmatched durability.

What to Consider When Selecting a Scope

Your Rifle

The scope is only one part of the equation; the other is the rifle. Before you spend thousands of dollars on a long-range scope, make sure your rifle is up to the task. See our top recommendations of the best hunting rifles for long-range shooting. Yours may be on the list.

What are you hunting?

The species of game you are hunting will often determine the rifle you will be using. This, in turn, will significantly impact the scopes available. While the 6.5 Creedmoor is a famous, more extended-range round with plenty of capable rifles built for it, it is not the perfect round for every animal. Would you trust your 6.5 Creedmoor against a grizzly? Again, match your rifle to the species hunted and the rifle’s scope.

Environmental Factors

The harshest abuse any piece of equipment can face is from the environment. Blowing sand, freezing temperatures, and endless rain all lead to premature wear and tear on a scope. You can extend the life of your scope by selecting one designed for the harsh conditions you are most likely to face, maintaining it during and after every hunt, and avoiding unnecessary exposure to extreme changes in conditions.

The Size of Your Budget

There is no escaping the fact that budget is a concern for almost every hunter. Although long-range scopes are not cheap, reliable long-range scopes are still available in almost every budget. Make your money go a little further by focusing on features that will provide the most bang for your buck while avoiding unnecessary add-ons.

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