May 01, 2014
By David Hart
Long range shooting is the latest craze to sweep the hunting and shooting industry. Why not? Thumping steel consistently at 1,000 yards or more isn't just fun, it's rewarding. Hitting a target a half-mile away takes practice, though, and lots of it.
It also requires the right equipment. A variety of off-the-shelf bolt-action rifles do the job, but without a good scope, you might as well be throwing rocks. You don't just need a quality scope, you need one with the tools required for long range shooting. That includes lots of dial-up capability.
"A .308 bullet can drop as much as 30 feet at that distance. Most standard scopes simply can't account for that drop in the dial-up," says Sportsman's All-Weather, All-Terrain Marksmanship School owner Tim Fallon.
Long-range scopes also need high magnification. However, Fallon warns that too much magnification can be detrimental.
"Anything past 20-power can start to distort the target. You get so much mirage through the scope at higher magnifications the target can be difficult to see," he explained. "You also need a scope with parallax adjustment so you can focus on the target at ranges beyond 400 yards."
Fortunately, most scopes made for long range shooting come equipped with all the tools you need to thump steel at distances unheard of just a few years ago. All you need to do is practice, practice, practice. Check out these 10 great long range scopes.
Burris Eliminator III
An on-board ballistics calculator removes much of the necessary math, making this a great everyman long distance scope. Just zero at 100 yards, plug in the specs of your ammo, including the ballistic coefficient, sight-in distance and drop value, press a button to engage the built-in 1,200-yard laser range finder and wait for the appropriate dot in the X96 reticle to light up.
The Eliminator III
also has a built-in hold-off calculator for a 10 mph wind value. The battery lasts up to 5,000 cycles and the scope comes with a 40 minute-of-angle adjustment range and a 1/8 MOA click value.
Available with four illuminated front focal plane reticle styles (Mil4, Mil6, MSR/Ki and AMR), the Kahles 6-24x56 scope
is designed specifically for long range shooting. The scope is built on a 34mm tube and comes with .1 mil impact correction per click.
The parallax is adjustable from 50 yards to infinity. The K624i weighs 33.5 ounces and is 15.9 inches. The eye relief is 3.54 inches.
Leupold Mark 4 ER/T
has been in the scope business for decades and the quality of their products reflects the company's history. The Mark 4
series is an example of Leupold's dedication to that quality. The 4.5-14x50 has 70 MOA adjustment for elevation and windage and a front focal tactical milling reticle in a 30mm tube.
It's equipped with Leupold's exclusive Xtended Twilight Lens System, allowing shooters and hunters to stretch out their time on the range or in the field late into the evening. The Mark 4 ER/T also has a twin bias spring erector system, a locking eye piece and a 3-to-1 zoom ratio.
Zeiss Victory FL Diavari
Shooters who demand the highest quality scope will find plenty to like in the Zeiss Victory FL Diavari
series. The 4-16x50 is available with Zeiss' Rapid-Z ballistic reticle or the ASV bullet drop compensator reticle.
Illuminated reticles are also available. The Diavari is parallax-free at 55 yards to infinity and is built on a 30mm tube and comes with a .34-inch adjustment per click at 100 yards. It has a 3.54-inch eye relief and is just 13.24 inches in overall length. It weighs about 26 ounces.
Nikon Prostaff 5
Still dipping your toe into the long range shooting pool? No need to spend a month's salary, thanks to Nikon's Prostaff 5
line of scopes. The 4.5-18x40 has 40 MOA elevation adjustment, a1/8 MOA click value, instant zero-reset turrets, parallax adjustment and other features long-range shooters demand.
It also has high-quality glass and a mildot reticle to help you get on target at long ranges. Nikon's Prostaff 5 Series also includes Spot On Ballistic Match Technology, which allows you to calculate various aim points for various yardages for specific loads.
Serious long range shooters are fans of Nightforce
optics for good reason. Its ATACR
, short for Advanced Tactical Rifle scope, is the company's newest addition to its already-proven lineup of long range scopes. It's capable of 120 MOA/34.9 mils of elevation adjustment and a 60 MOA/17.45 mil wind adjustment and comes with Nightforce's ZeroStop technology.
That allows shooters to return to the zero with a few turns of a knob without fear of ever losing that zero. The ATACR has a 34mm tube and is just 14.3 inches long. It's available in three different reticles, including MOAR, MOAR-T and MIL-R.
Swarovski Z6 5-30x50 BT
There's good, better and best. And then there's Swarovski
. The name is synonymous with the highest standard in optics and the Z6 is as good a scope as you'll find. It's made with the best glass in the optics business.
The Z6 BT
(ballistic turret) has a maximum elevation adjustment of 43.2 inches per hundred yards and 1.2 inches per hundred yards of windage adjustment in a 30mm tube. The impact point correction is .36 inches per hundred yards. Parallax is laterally-adjustable beyond 55 yards with its own turret.
Trijicon earned the respect of soldiers on battlefields throughout the Middle East. The company also gained the respect of serious shooters, thanks to Trijicon's 3-15x50 TARS
, a long-range workhorse that performs as flawlessly as the guy behind the gun. It features a first focal plane reticle and 150 MOA/44 mil total elevation adjustment, 120 MOA/22 mil total windage adjustment and 30 MOA/10 mil adjustment per revolution.
The turrets also have locking devices to prevent accidental movement and the TARS features a return-to-zero setting. The illuminated reticle is available in four configurations and has 10 illumination settings, including two suitable for night-vision use.
US Optics LR-17
You may have never heard of US Optics
, but serious long range shooters are quite familiar with the company. The LR-17
is one reason. Adhering to the high standards 1,000-yard shooters demand, US Optics builds their scopes with the highest-quality glass and other materials.
It has a 74 MOA elevation range and a 64 MOA windage range and an adjustable magnification range of 3.2 to 17 power. Reticles are available in Mil, MOA and Horus options and all LR-17s include the company's unique Erector Repositioning Elevation Knob that maximizes gross elevation travel adjustment.
Vortex Viper HS LR
One of the few scopes designed for long range shooting that's priced under [imo-slideshow gallery=223],000, the Vortex Viper HS
is a great choice for shooters who want to ease into the thrilling world of long range shooting. It has many of the same features as top-end scopes at a fraction of the price.
The Viper LR
has a maximum elevation adjustment of 75 MOA and a max windage adjustment of 50 MOA and a parallax adjustment from 50 yards to infinity. The Viper HS features a second focal plane Dead-Hold BDC reticle and Customizable Rotational Stop turrets that allow a quick return to zero after a long day at the range. It weighs just 21.4 ounces and is 13.7 inches long.
The Essentials Gear Box.
Our editors have hand-picked these essential pieces of gear to make you a more successful hunter when you hit the game trails this season.