Author L.P. Brezny literally wrote the book on Long Range Shooting, now in it’s Second Edition.
In this quick article he makes the case for his five best long range scopes. Let me say right off that in the business of long range shooting the old standard 3X9 whitetail scope becomes history when we talk about the best long range scopes.
When range is extended much beyond say 400 yards the whole game changes, and as such some very different glass sights are regarded as very necessary.
What the long range rifle scope is for the most part is a general advancement of optics quality, internal parts ( turret springs and retaining systems ,) and an increase in magnification, as well as some very different and exact reticle systems, that in most cases are etched directly into the optics glass. ( Horus, and Schmidt Bender by example .)
The best long range scopes optic needs to retain a core system so as to elevate to some massively long ranges (1 ½ miles.) by example. This means a turret system that is large in ring size and retains more then enough M.O.A. or Mil graduations so as to allow elevation to hit a target at ultra long range.
When suggesting what I call the five best long range scopes the first consideration is operational quality. In this area price is always higher then your standard hunting optic. Based on the elements just reviewed above, the long range optic selected for target, hunting, or military applications just can’t be embracing any short cuts regarding materials or construction.
Therefor based on this criteria these are my choices in best long range scopes that will carry the mail down range.
Steiner M5Xi Military 5-25×56 Rifle Scope
First of all I will begin by saying that if I had unlimited resources all the best long range scopes I own would be based on military ( mil specs ). Staying in this bracket however would drain the bank account and I would be eating beans seven days a week. That stated my number one scope system, and the one that sits atop my Armalite M-30 A-1 300 Win mag is a Steiner M5Xi Military 5-25×56 Rifle Scope application, a sniper scope system.
With ultra long range milrad settings on this scope our South Dakota grass rats are turned into red mist out to 1000+ yards all day long. This little long distance glass sight system runs up on the credit card to about $3,700 MSRP retail, but it is designed to save a snipers life when return fire is a strong possibility. In terms of an operators needs, price is no object at all.
Leupold Mark 4 ER/T Riflescope
While the first scope reviewed here used a Schmidt Bender long range reticle in military grade, the second scope that is in effect mounted on my Kimber turn bolt 7.62X51,308 sniper rifle makes use of the standard moa turret settings, and a “loaded” turret that can crank additional elevation for almost ever. The scope. Leupold’s M-4 the proven battle tested glass sight found on one pile of M-10 7.62X51’s in the sand box across the pond. Currently in the Leupold’s Mark 4 ER/T Riflescope has a MSRP of $3000.00 and change, but with an internet search you can take this glass sight system home for under $2990.00 and less.
Vortex Viper HS-T 6-24×50 Riflescope with VMR-1 Reticle (MRAD)
There is good news in this area of advanced best of the best long range scopes systems. Vortex, a newer scope company has broken the reticle glass sealing by introducing long range designed scopes for under $1000.00, and in some cases much less. As applied to my Ruger Precision chassis 6.5 Creedmoor, is a Vortex Viper with a milrad reticle, and combined turret using moa adjustments for additional precision accuracy.
After a full year reviewing the Vortex I can say with confidence that the system works very well when being subjected to coyote forays, long range steel shooting at over 100 degrees F (Gun Sight AZ,) and in general the normal abuse a field rifle is subjected too quit often.
The price of the Vortex Viper HS-T 6-24×50 Riflescope with VMR-1 Reticle (MRAD) with a glass and aircraft aluminum tube system comes in at $640.00, or about the same prices as a better quality whitetail optic.
NightForce C507 5.5-22×56 NXS Riflescope
When searching out the best long range scope my final selections cover two more of what I like to call ATAT systems. Nightforce, the logo on almost all sniper filmed shooting sequences being observed slightly through camo paint or in your face black and white, is with question a bench mark product in long range applications. The NightForce C507 5.5-22×56 NXS Riflescope was a primary go to optic when shooting test loads for the new Hornady ELD-X bullets to 1300 yards near Grand Island NB, the home base of Hornady, and the Charlie Sisk shooting school at Gun Sight AZ during the early summer of 2015.
In both cases when I pulled off the Nightforce glass and switched out rifles my scores dropped. Enough said regarding that matter it would seem.
Schmidt Bender PMII 5-25×56 Rifle Scope
As the final optic selected as the best of the best it comes down to the folks at Schmidt Bender and their outstanding PM II. This Schmidt Bender PMII 5-25×56 Rifle Scope 4-P 0T system that is military grade all the way. Installed with their own reticle of a milrad projection, or the Horus Milrad christmas tree, and you have a world class long range system.
Pricing on this optic will run high at $3,799,00, but if you a professional bad guy hunter, or need a bloody end gate on the pickup truck to prove success to clients, this is just the cost of doing business.
While some will argue that picking the Best Long Range Scopes may be subject to personal choice, the five listed above are rock solid long-range optics and well worth the investment by serious operators or hunters.
About the Author L.P. Brezny:
With more than 50 years experience in the field and the testing lab, author L.P. Brezny is one of today’s most recognized shotgun experts and authors. He is a contributor to dozens of firearms publications, such as Wildfowl, Shotgun Sports, and Varmint Hunters, and he is a regular columnist in the Gun Digest annual.