Our editors pick the products & services we write about. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Learn more.

5 Popular Long Range Scope Brands You should know

5 Popular Long Range Scope  Brands

As more people take up hunting and a general interest in firearms, it makes sense that there is a growing interest in accessories. Accessories have the ability to turn an average hunting day into a great one. For rifles, there are many accessories available to add on and enhance your shooting experience.

One accessory is a scope. Scopes are constructed for different reasons. There are some scopes for night use, others are intended for shorter ranges, some are better for varmint hunting and some are designed for long range shooting.

Long range shooting is gaining in popularity among gun enthusiasts. It is a great sport, but it does require you to have the right tools. In addition to a rifle, you will definitely need a long range scope.

Long range shooting is defined as shooting that takes place at a distance that requires the shooter to factor in ballistics, especially windage and bullet drop. These two factors are necessary for accurate target hitting at a distance.

In the sport of shooting, long range shooting is broken down into different classes. Benchrest shooting involves distance that are between 100-1000 yards. F class shooting is typically 300-1000 yards as well. Practical Precision shooting involves targets that are 100-1800 meters out and use steel targets.

It can also be said that long range is determined by weather and caliber and the distance at which you consistently hit your target. For a .22 rifle, any distance over 100 yards is considered long distance. If you are using centerfire rifles, any distance over 400 meters is considered long range.

What to look for in a long range scope

rifle scope basic

Before heading out to purchase a scope for long range shooting, there are a few factors to keep in mind. Consider the following when looking to make your purchase:

1.Magnification

Good long range scopes have magnification starting at 10x. Great scopes will run from 20x-30x. You need to consider your skill level and determine the maximum distance you will be shooting.

2.Fixed or Variable

A fixed scope will only have one level of magnification. A variable scope will have the ability to flip through different levels of magnification. This really comes down to personal preference. Some users like to have the ability to pull back and view more of the terrain as they are hunting. This also is not a big factor in price difference.

3.Objective lens

The objective lens is responsible for how much light is let into the scope. A wider lens lets in more light and can give a clearer picture. The caveat is that a bigger objective lens will be bulkier and take up more room on your rifle and also be heavier.

4.Reticle type

Reticle type are divided into 2 categories-plane type or BDC.

Plane types are either first plane or second plane. First plane reticles do not require you to make any additional calculations when shooting. However, the more you increase the magnification, the smaller the target will appear.

Second plane reticles are fixed, usually at the highest magnification level.

A BDC, Bullet Drop Compensation, reticle uses estimation points stacked vertically beneath the crosshairs. These estimation points correspond to your rifle’s zero range.

5. Durability

As with any major purchase or investment, durability is a factor. Considering the conditions that you will be using the scope under; it makes sense to look for a durable one. Look for a scope made from aircraft grade aluminum, or a similar material.

6.Lens Coating

Some scopes will have a special coating on the lenses. This is to protect them from getting scratched. Other lens coatings are used to help transmit the light better, resulting in a clearer view. Generally speaking, the more types of coating that a scope has will equal a higher price.

7.Eye Relief

This is an important factor. Eye relief refers to the distance between your eye and the scope that allows you to see a clear picture. Given the recoil of some firearms, this is important. The minimum recommendation is 3.5” of eye relief.

8. MIL or MOA

These are both measuring systems to use when shooting with a scope. It comes down to which one you are more comfortable using.

MIL, or milliradians, is .36 inches at 100 yards.

MOA, or minute of angle, is 1.047 inches at 100 yards.

Long range scopes typically use one or the other, but not both. It makes sense to know which system is more comfortable for you before you purchase a scope. Most hunters use MOA, whereas military users are comfortable with MIL.

Now that you understand the parts of a long range scope, let’s take a look at some of the popular brands of long range scopes.

Vortex

Among other optics brands and companies, Vortex Optics is a relative newcomer. This company was started in 2002 and is headquartered in Wisconsin. Vortex Optics was started by a husband and wife team who were frustrated by the industry. They were tired of the poor quality, high prices and less than desirable customer service of some other optics companies.  Vortex Optics prides themselves on being family owned and veteran owned business.

When starting Vortex Optics, the owners realized there was a need for customer service within the industry. This is one of the components of their business. They set out to not only sell great products, but to also revolutionize the way optics are sold. Their business plan is not just customer friendly, but retailer friendly as well.

The founders are very involved in the design of their optics. In fact, all of Vortex Optics’ products are designed to be efficient, well built and durable. This is evident by the policies they have in place regarding their products. They use a VIP policy. This stands for Very Important Promise. Vortex optics will repair or replace any of their items that becomes damaged or defective at no cost to the consumer. They also offer a military and law enforcement discount.

Vortex Optics makes a full line of products, including scopes, spotting scopes, binoculars, red dot and holographic sights, range finders and tripods to name just a few.

Nightforce

Nightforce Optics is another American manufacturer of optics. The are actually an offshoot of an Australian company that was started by a dentist. Nightforce Optics was started in 1992 and is based out of Georgia and with headquarters in Idaho.

In 1998, the company began to roll out their NSX series scopes. This was the first product that was acceptable for both personal and military use. The idea behind the series was to have a product that would be more than suitable for elite military to use, such as the Navy Seals. The US armed forces to note and by the early 2000s, military contracts started to happen for Nightforce Optics.

Nightforce Optics is well known in the industry for their range of products which include telescopic sights, spotting scopes and mounting accessories.

Leupold

Leupold is a well-known and well-respected manufacturer of optics. The company started in 1907 and has been run by 5 generations of the family.

Originally the company made survey equipment. However, after World War II, they started to design optics. This happened when Marcus Leupold could not hit a deer because his scope fogged up.

Over the years, the company bought shares in Nosler Bullets, as well as a sheet metal fabrication company. Leupold continues to grow and has been award workplace safety honors.

This American company provides scopes for the US Army, US Secret Service, Navy Seals, US Navy and the Marines.

Leupold scopes are designed to be sturdy, yet lightweight. Each scope is designed to withstand 5000 impacts on the Punisher, which is their recoil simulator. The lens is constructed to military standards and are labeled Extreme Military-Standard scratch resistant. In addition, their scopes are waterproof and fog proof so that you can use them under any field condition.

Leupold backs all of their products with a warranty and a guarantee of performance.

Bushnell

The Bushnell company was started in 1948 when David Bushnell returned from Japan with a crate of binoculars that he sold as mail orders. His goal became to provide binoculars for middle class people.

Over the years, the Bushnell company has acquired other outdoor brands and optic companies. They are well known for manufacturing high quality outdoor products, including rifles and scopes.

Today their scopes are made using their patented High Definition Optical System (HDOS). They also use fully multi coated lenses, which delivers 95% light transmission across 300% more of the visual light spectrum and ED Prime glass, which gives a high contrast and color accurate picture. Their Exo Barrier also ensures that the picture stays visible by keeping fog, water and dirt off the lens.

All of Bushnell’s products are covered by the company’s Ironclad Warranty.

Nikon

The name Nikon is familiar to many; this company has been around for a long time and specializes in cameras, binoculars and optics.

Nikon’s long range scopes are expertly crafted. The scopes incorporate their proprietary new glass etched reticle which they have paired with precise, high speed turrets. In order to help you return to your zero in lightning fast speed, Nikon now uses an all new integral zero stop.

The body of their scopes are O ring sealed, meaning that they have been nitrogen purged to ensure that they are waterproof, fog proof and shockproof.

Given Nikon’s long history with lenses it is no wonder their optics enjoy a huge fan base.

Primary Arms

Primary Arms is a well-known and popular manufacturer of firearms and accessories. The optics are well liked and versatile.

The company’s Silver Series is their more popular line. In fact, the National tactical Officers Association has awarded the Silver Series optics a Gold tier rating after numerous tests.

Their scopes are known for having all kinds of excellent features and characteristics. For example, one of their most popular scopes features a red dot reticle that will allow you to take aim of your targets and make sure that every shot you take is accurate, precise, and consistent each time you pull the trigger. Not to mention, they have scopes that are really durable. In fact, they are so confident that they are backed by a warranty that lasts a lifetime.

Burris

The Burris company prides itself on producing quality optics. They put a lot of thought into the design of their long range scopes. Burris’ long-range scopes provide trajectory-compensating reticles to push your capability to 1,000 yards or beyond. Hone your accuracy with sophisticated features like Zero Click Stop and multi-turn target knobs.

This company uses a high-grade optical glass which provides excellent brightness and clarity with lasting durability. Their scopes also feature their Index-matched Hi-Lume multi coating on the lenses, which aids in low-light performance and provides. glare elimination.

Burris scopes are precision gauged. They are also O ring sealed and nitrogen purged, making them waterproof, shockproof and fog proof. Their products are covered under the Burris Forever Warranty.

Factors to Remember

Long range target shooting is gaining in popularity. There is nothing like the sound of pinging metal as your shot hits the target! In order to enjoy success with long range shooting, you need to have the proper materials. Definitely a good rifle. And you will absolutely need a long range scope to go along with it all.

Picking the right scope is crucial. You need to think about the maximum distance you will be shooting. You also need to keep in mind a few other points when selecting your long range scope.

Magnification ability is important. You can select a decent long range scope with 10x magnification. You can also pick a great one that goes from 20x-30x. Along with magnification capability, is to decide if you need a fixed scope or a variable scope.

A fixed scope will have one level of magnification. A variable scope will have several different levels of magnification. Again, your level of experience and desired maximum range will help determine which features are best for you.

You want to be sure that the scope you choose has lens coating. This is extremely important. Lens coating protects the lenses from scratches. On a scope, the lens is critical for passing light through and allowing you to get a clear picture of the target. You do not want anything to interfere with the view.

It is also strongly recommended that you choose a scope that has been O ring sealed and nitrogen purged. This process ensures that no moisture or dirt can enter the lens. This guarantees that your scope will be waterproof, shockproof and fog proof. This is critical. When you are out in the field, you do not want to worry about environmental factors that could negatively affect your view or the use of your scope.

Look for a scope that is crafted from aircraft grade aluminum. Again, this is a feature that will allow the scope to stand up under all types of conditions. You want to be sure that the long range scope you choose can go the distance.

Finally, ask about any warranty that your scope might come with and know what is covered.

Conclusion

Long range shooting is gaining in popularity among gun enthusiasts. It is a great sport, but it does require you to have the right tools. In addition to a rifle, you will definitely need a long range scope.

Scopes can vary in price; there is a wide range from less expensive to extremely pricey. Most people do consider the rifles and accessories to be an investment and it makes good sense to think this way.

Keep in mind, you do not necessarily need to buy the most expensive long range scope. You should buy the best scope for your skill level and needs that fits within your budget. Make sure that you know how it will attach to your rifle as well.

These companies have spent years refining and improving long range scopes and optics. If you are not sure which one is best for you, ask. Your local gun shop can be a great source of guidance and help.

Scroll to Top