5 Best Long Range Scope On Under $1000 (2020 Updated)

Long-range shooting is fun, and in this buyer's guide we show case some of the best long range scopes under $1000.

These scopes are great for starters to learn the basics without committing too much money into it.

If you think this is something you seriously want to get into, please also check out this guide about the benefits of long range shooting.

We've created this helpful resources for you combined with our own experiences.

At the end of this guide, you will understand what to look for in a long range scope and pick the best one for your rifle.

Let's check them out...



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Popular Long Range Scopes Under $1000

Best long range scope on a budget under 1000
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BEST OVERALL


Vortex Viper PST GEN 2 5-25X50 SFP
EBR-2C MRAD RETICLE
  • Magnification & Focal Plane: 5-25X50 & SFP
  • Reticle & Clicks : EBR-2C MRAD & 0.1 mil rad
  • Length & Weight: 16" & 31.2 oz
  • Tube Size & Exit Pupil: 30mm & 2-10mm
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BEST EYE BOX

Nightforce SHV 4 4-14X56
MOAR RETICLE
  • Magnification & Focal Plane: 4-14X56 & SFP
  • Reticle & Clicks : MOAR & 0.25 MOA
  • Length & Weight: 14.8" & 28.5 oz
  • Tube Size & Exit Pupil: 30mm & 3.6-12mm
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BEST GLASS QUALITY

NIKON FX1000 6-24X50
IL FX MRAD RETICLE
  • Magnification & Focal Plane: 6-24X50 & FFP
  • Reticle & Clicks : IL FX-MRAD & 0.1 mil rad
  • Length & Weight: 15.2" & 24.5 oz
  • Tube Size & Exit Pupil: 30mm & 2.1-8.3mm
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BEST FOR TACTICAL SHOOTING



BURRIS XTR II 5-25X50
SCR MIL RETICLE
  • Magnification & Focal Plane: 5-25X50 & SFP
  • Reticle & Clicks : SCR Mil & 0.1 Mil Rad
  • Length & Weight: 16.3" & 32.1 oz
  • Tube Size & Exit Pupil: 34mm & 2-10mm
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BEST LONG RANGE FOCAL PLANE

Sig Sauer TANGO 4 6-24X50
sig-sauer-tango-ffp-dev-l-mrad-reticle
  • Magnification & Focal Plane: 6-24X50 & FFP
  • Reticle & Clicks : MRAD DEV-L & 0.1 Mil Rad
  • Length & Weight: 16.3" & 32.1 oz
  • Tube Size & Exit Pupil: 30mm & 2.1-8mm
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Vortex Viper PST 5-25x50

Magnification - 5-25x

  • Objective Lens Diameter - 50 mm
  • Adjustment Graduation - 1/4 MOA
  • Eye Relief - 3.4 inches
  • Tube Size -  30 mm
  • Focal Plane - Second
  • Length - 15.79 inches
  • Weight - 31.2 oz

Why people love Vortex Optics - By now, everyone in the industry knows the Vortex brand. They make a large selection of optics for shooters.

The Vortex Viper PST 5-25X50 is a second focal plane scope with a sharp glass quality, no noticeable distortion of any colors, and it has great light transmission than other scopes.

Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 5-25x50 is a second-generation with significant improvements to Gen I. the scope is more durable and comes with better glass, larger eye box and eye relief.

The Gen 2 version also finally upgraded the turret adjustment similar to their high-end Razor line, which means no more shims for adjusting your zero stop.

The Viper PST is the versatile choice for 6.5 Creedmoor/6.5 PRC caliber rifle owners that want a multi-use combo for hunting, competition and shooting tactical with its glass etched EBR-7C reticle.

If you want to check out more rifle scopes with reticles best suited for 6.5 Creedmoor, get the Nightforce NXS 5.5-22x56 HS Zero Stop MOAR because this scope can handle other heavy kick calibers.

Sig Sauer Tango 4 6-24X50 scope
  • Magnification - 6-24x
  • Objective Lens Diameter - 50 mm
  • Adjustment Graduation - 1/4 MOA
  • Eye Relief - 3.3 inches
  • Tube Size -  30 mm
  • Focal Plane - Second
  • Length - 15.6 inches
  • Weight - 22.9 oz

Why give Sig Optics a try - The Sig Sauer optics has a very unique greyish color scheme that makes them stand out among other scope brands.

The Tango 4 6-24X50 performs extremely well, but the markings on the scope is a bit too much with lines and indication marks all over the place. 

There are two illumination controls, one for the reticle and one for the adjustable parallax. The dial closest to the tube is used to adjust the parallax.

This control has parks from 50 yards up to 500 yards, and the final marking is for infinity. 

As far as shooting performance goes, it holds zero and it’s accurate if using the right scope mount. 

The standard reticle has hash marks indicating the number of MOA for range finding. Each mark delivers 2 MOA, the reticle has a small opening in the middle with a dot.

In addition, there were finer 1 MOA hash marks in two locations, which allows for even finer scoping.

If you like the edgy looks of the Sig Sauer product, then this is a great tactical long range scope to get under $1000.

Nikon Black FX1000 6-24X50
  • Magnification - 5-25x
  • Objective Lens Diameter - 50 mm
  • Adjustment Graduation - 1/4 MOA
  • Eye Relief - 3.6 inches
  • Tube Size -  30 mm
  • Focal Plane - First
  • Length - 15.2 inches
  • Weight - 24.5 oz

Why some people love Nikon Optics - For under $1000, I’m not sure there’s another scope on the market that can compete with this thing. This is a math grade first focal plane tactical scope that is great for hunting and precision shooting.

What makes it different among other similar Nikon optics around the $1000 price range is the first focal plane reticle for long range precision shooting, which generally shoots up the price of a scope beyond $2k.

Competition-ready straight from the box - BLACK FX1000 features a proprietary new glass-etched tactical reticles paired with precise, high-speed turrets allow fast, repeatable distance corrections and intuitive hold-off points.

Rapid return to your zero - Nikon’s all-new BLACK Return-to-Zero integral zero-stop is built-in the adjustment turret for fast adjustment on the go, and it makes zeroing much easier.

World's top camera manufacturer making superior rifle scope glass - The Nikon glass is super high quality being from a camera manufacturer, they definitely know what they’re doing.  

For the money, it’s hard to beat the deal you get out of this scope. Please click on our link below and shop for the best deal. 

NightForce SHV 4-14X50 F1
  • Magnification - 5-25x
  • Objective Lens Diameter - 50 mm
  • Adjustment Graduation - 1/4 MOA
  • Eye Relief - 3.6 inches
  • Tube Size -  30 mm
  • Focal Plane - Second
  • Length - 14.8 inches
  • Weight - 28.5 oz

Reasons NightForce is the best to buy - The NightForce brand in our experience is like the Ferrari in the optics World. The SHV optics line is the only exception here that has a 4 and a half to 14 high power magnification.

Superior in-house quality control - Every NightForce product goes through additional quality check in house to ensure the customer get the best precision rifle scope product in this world.

NightForce products are used by government agencies - Team NightForce has been supply high-end rifle scopes for the military and tactical communities for many years, people trust their products and they don't compromise quality for speedy production.

Better precision - NightForce scopes go through restrict quality check to ensure every specs and tight tolerance standards are met before putting them on the shelf, 

I will point out something that other shooters would agree with me which is You don’t really need more than 18X power during a competition to make shots up to 1200 yards.

In fact, it’s often desirable to zoom out in order to increase your field of you. The 14X maximum power on the NightForce will not hold you back in any way.

Burris XTRII 5-25X50 SCR MIL MRAD FFP Scope
  • Magnification - 5-25x
  • Objective Lens Diameter - 50 mm
  • Adjustment Graduation - 1/4 MOA
  • Eye Relief - 3.5-4.25 inches
  • Tube Size -  34 mm
  • Focal Plane - First
  • Length - 16.31 inches
  • Weight - 32.1 oz

The one main downside of the Burris is the glass.  The clarity is fine and there’s no distortion when compared to the night force and the Vortex, which have crisp clean natural color.

There is a noticeably gray color. However, on a bright sunny day, it looks like the sky just got cloudy.

All almost all of them have identical features, So we decided to only outline the abbreviated specs. All of them have common specs, and I’m going to highlight the differences and finally follow up with our recommendation on each scope.


For ~$1000, What To Look For?

Pick The Right Focal Plane 

Focal Plane Low Power Variable Scopes Difference

There are two types of focal planes, First Focal Plane (FFP) and Second Focal Plane (SFP). These two determine the clarity of the scope as well as how your reticle responds to magnification settings for the purpose of range estimation.

Second Focal Plane has the magnification lens in front of the reticle, which means the reticle with range estimator is only true at the highest magnification setting. If you’re shooting under 6X magnification, the SFP scope will be just fine. Anything over 6X goes with an FFP scope.

First Focal Plane is desirable for long range shooting, and it’s the ultimate choice, but it will cost a little more.

The reticle inside the scope is in front of the magnification, which means the reticle increases in size to match the distance, and the reticle holds true on any magnification setting.

We actually have a detailed guide explaining the difference between F1 and F2 on our site, which you can check out by clicking on the highlighted link.

Use an Illuminated Reticle

Each of the optics listed above has an illuminated reticle, which is powered by a single CR 2032 battery located inside the adjustment knob.

You can change the brightness setting up and down depending on the lighting condition.

This feature is very helpful in indoor shooting ranges and other low light environments.

Learn more: How to zero a deer rifle scope for hunting 

Pick The Right Turret Knob

Every one of these scopes has zero stop feature zero stop, which means your elevation turret for a long range shot you can quickly and easily turn the nob back down to your original zeroed distance.

Zero point and the turret will lock and stop at that exact point. So you never have to second guess if you returned to your zero or not. Is a very handy feature in the competition world, and it’s absolutely vital when doing things quickly on a timer.

Learn more: Ballistic Turret Vs Ballistic Reticle

Get The Right Tube Size

There are 30mm, 34mm and 35mm scopes and ring mounts available on the market, and each categories have different price points and capabilities.

The larger the tube the higher the exit pupil dimension, which result in more light transmission through the scope.

So for better low light performance, a bigger tube is better. 

30mm is the most standard and weighs the least, and 34mm and 35mm offer more click adjustments for long range shooting.

You can learn more about them in a comparison article here

Pick The Right Reticle

Many long range precision rifle optics comes with various tactical reticles with holdover mil dots. Some reticles are so complicated that people think all those lines would clutter up the target and get in the way of seeing the target.

One benefit of having an optimal reticle is so that you can quickly hold over for windage and elevation without manually adjusting the knobs.

If you understand the caliber you are shooting as far as its ballistic performance, then you can make some educated decisions on which reticle to use.

Weight & Price

All of these scopes weigh roughly 2 pounds and stretch about 15 inches in length, and they all have the same magnification range from 5 to 25X power.

The objective lenses are all identical at 50mm. For scopes with 30 to 34mm diameter lens the prices vary slightly, but their costs are all near that $1000 mark.

How Does Scope Shadow Affect Accuracy?

Scope Shadow

Reference: Rimfire Blog Worldwide

Scope shadow can affect your comfort behind the rifle, and it’s due to improper eye relief distance, or your eye isn’t centered from the scope.  When you see someone non-stop adjusting their head position is because they’re trying to get the perfect eye relief distance and get that scope shadow out of the way.

Some scopes have quite a bit more scope shadow than the others. Not only the shadow is annoying at times, but that evil black ring also creeps in an obstruction field of view when your eye isn’t perfectly lined up in the scope.

Lastly, the point of aim will be thrown off because of the slight parallax of the scope. I have tested many so-called “parallax free scopes and red dot sights”, and they all have slight parallax.

When you see the shadow, it means your eye isn’t centered, so the reticle isn’t exactly on the target you think it is. This makes a huge difference for long range shooting where 1-inch deviation at 50 yards can be 5 inches off target at longer distances.

Please remember the fact there is no way you can adjust for parallax and get dead on. Focusing a rifle scope should be a one-time adjustment that shouldn’t be done over and over again.

Pick The Right Magnification

For every 100 meters, you need 1X more magnification on your scope.

Is it actually a rule of thumb to follow? Here are a couple of questions you gotta ask yourself first.  

  • What’s your preference?
  • What’s your shooting application?

These factors are an important link between you and the target. Having a higher power isn’t something we used to do, and it’s not a must. You just need higher magnification power for extremely long distances.

If you can see better, then you can shoot better. This is very practical for military applications.

Conversely, In the hunting and competition world, where your shots are not gonna go past 1 mile, so having a super high power scope isn’t practical unless you just want to have it as gadget collections.

Like I mentioned above that competition shooters actually prefer dialing down the magnification so they get a better field of view.


Additional Considerations

Add Offset Sights For Close Range Targets

If you have a magnified scope on your rifle, personally I wouldn’t use it as a home defense weapon clearing a house. If I had a rifle in that setup, I would install an offset sight such as a red dot or iron sights, so you can engage close targets within 50 yards without looking through a magnified scope.

I don’t want to look through a long range scope in CQB environment unless it has 1X power such as those low power variable optics, those type of scope actually makes sense to use for medium range and close range application.

Since those are high power scopes starting with 4X or 6X, I just wouldn’t use it as a home defense gun for the reasons that it is slow and bulky.

If that’s all you have, then you can use an offset sight as a backup, and all you have to do is to roll it over very quickly with both eyes open to engage any fast movers very quickly.

Higher Power Magnification Traces The Bullet Down Range Better

Higher scope magnification helps the shooter to track the bullet’s trace down range for wind and elevation adjustment.

There is a common misconception that much power is bad for long-range shots because it’s too zoomed in, which narrow the field of view. However, that’s just not true if you think in the perspective of a spotter.

Shooters can actually trace the bullet better with higher power magnification. In the precision shooting world, we also call it “Mirage”.

nightforce-scope-shv-4-14x-moa

It’s a naturally occurring optical phenomenon in which light rays are bent to produce a displaced image of distant objects. 

The Mirage is noticeable when you look through a high power optic, which is also why every sniper needs a good spotter to track the bullet.

A scope with 20X magnification can really make the bullet mirage visible down range, and you could actually see that change to make better shot adjustments.

Learn More: Best Long Range Precision Calibers

Scope Length Could Take Up Mounting Real Estate

Mounting a large profile scope could take away a lot of mounting real estate on the rifle such as night vision scope. The biggest problem once we start having high power magnification is the increase in scope length. That’s just science, and there is not very much we can do about it.

For night vision shooters out whether you are hunting or doing military operations. This is a factor to be taken into account. Most night vision optics go in front of the rifle scope, so you need plenty of rail space.  Rifles without continuous monolithic rail such as a bolt gun, you need to think about how can you make your setup work.


Conclusion

The NightForce and the Vortex optics are great budget option long range scopes and they have all the features you could possibly need for entry level hunting and long range shooting. All the controls just make sense and they're intuitive to the shooter

Night force scopes are virtually indestructible and vortex has the best warranty in the business. I have literally nothing bad to say about either of these 2 scopes.

In addition, It’s also important to pick the right magnification of your scope based on your applications. For extreme long-range shots, for every 100 yards, you need 1X more power.

For medium-range such as competition or hunting, anything below 8X is plenty for you to work with.

Making your long-range rifle close range ready is super easy just by installing an offset 45-degree sight, so you can engage close fast-moving targets through a 1X sight.

Hope you find this resource useful, and please check out our website for other interesting content.

Read More: Best Fixed Magnification Scopes

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