The road to becoming what most people consider to be a sniper isn’t an easy path. When I say the term sniper I’m not talking about what you picture in the military. I never served in the military and I could never pretend that I know what it’s like to be a sniper. What I do know a little bit about is long distance shooting, and becoming an excellent long distance shooter isn’t easy. You are going to have to practice endless hours and spend a lot of money. You will probably even need to take up reloading to lower your costs and increase accuracy. The traditional high end sniper scope isn’t going to come cheap. If you want to shoot in the 1000 yard range you are going to need to spend a lot of money. Not only will you need a lot of expensive equipment you are going to need to practice religiously. You don’t become an expert sniper overnight, it will take a lot of hard work and years of practice. If you still think you have the cash and fortitude to learn how to shoot one of the best sniper scopes.
What is the Best Sniper Scope for The Money?
It wouldn’t make sense for a beginner to buy an extremely expensive scope. So I will review a scope for every experience level and explain a little bit about long distance shooting. Hopefully I’ll be able to and steer you in the right direction before you make a purchase. Long distance shooting is a very expensive hobby and you can quickly get in over your head financially.
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If you are trying to get sub MOA at 1000 yards you are going to need a quality piece of glass. One of the best optic companies in the world is Nightforce.
If you’re not familiar with Nightforce they are one of the biggest companies in the long range shooting world and this scope is one of their best.
Some of the best snipers in the world have used this Nightforce scope. This is the scope that Chris Kyle the most famous sniper in the world used while he was in the military. If the scope is good enough for him it should be good enough for just about anybody.
In Chris Kyle’s autobiography he said “As a SEAL, I used Nightforce scopes. They have very clear glass, and they’re extremely durable under terrible conditions. They always held their zero for me,”. If that isn’t a good enough recommendation for Nightforce optics I don’t know what is.
That doesn’t mean that everyone will benefit from purchasing a Nightforce Scope. You will need to pair this rifle scope with a very high quality rifle. Without an extremely accurate rifle you will be wasting your money with this nice of an optic. If you pair this scope with a quality rifle you won’t have any excuse for why you missed you’re shot.
In the optic world you can pay a lot of money for a scope. If you don’t believe me check out some of the Schmidt Bender Scopes or Kahles Scopes on amazon. Nightforce scopes are about the best scope you can buy without needing to get a loan from the bank.
Purchasing a Nightforce scope isn’t for everyone. The vast majority of shooters will never be experienced enough to benefit from a scope in this price range.
If you aren’t already shooting at an elite level you shouldn’t waste your time and money buying this nice of a rifle scope. It would be like purchasing a drag car before you have your drivers license. This type of scope is for someone that already has a rifle that is shooting at or below 1 MOA. With a Nightforce optic you will be able to get that extra little push to become that next tier of shooter.
This Nightforce Optic has a 8-32x magnification level which is perfect for long range. Most of the time you won’t need a 32x magnification, but it’s definitely nice to have when you do. You’re recommended magnification will largely depend on the weather conditions.
Factors that normally wouldn’t make a difference at short range are huge at long distances. If the weather is poor you probably won’t need to go past 20x magnification, but it’s always better to have more magnification than you need.
With just about any scope above 700 dollars you are going to have an extremely clear optic. So it’s no surprise that this Nightforce is crystal clear. What you are really paying for with a Nightforce scope is consistency.
When shooting extremely long distances consistency is the most important quality of your equipment. With a Nightforce scope you know exactly how each click on your dials will effect your bullet.
You will also be able to know exactly when you click from one spot to the next. Cheaper scopes have a tendency to feel flat while adjusting your turrets.
If you are looking for one of the strongest and most ergonomic scopes in the world you need to purchase a Nightforce. If you don’t want to take my advice listen to Chris Kyle when he said that this is an amazing scope. If you are looking for a professional scope you can’t go wrong choosing a Nightforce.
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Very few people in the world will get to the point that they will need the Nightforce Scope listed above. Very few shooters would even be able to tell the difference between a Nightforce scope and this Swarovski.
If you can afford it purchase the Nightforce, but for everybody that doesn’t have an extra 1000 dollars to spend this is an amazing alternative.
I’m not saying that this is a bad scope, actually I’m saying the exact opposite. This Swarovski scope is one of the best scopes on the market.
At half the price of the Nightforce only an expert sniper would be able to tell the difference. Swarovski scopes are known for making some of the clearest optics in the firearm industry. If you are serious about getting into competitive long range shooting it would take many years before you out grow this Swarovski scope.
So what’s the difference between a Swarovski scope and cheaper scopes with similar magnification levels? Anyone that has looked through a Swarovski scope can easily tell the difference.
Swarovski scopes use some of the clearest glass in the firearm industry. It’s like the difference between wearing glasses and getting lasik eye surgery. You have the same magnification level but they are a completely different experience.
Likewise there really is no comparison between a Swarovski and cheaper scopes on the market. With a Swarovski scope you will have a crystal clear sight picture throughout the entire magnification range.
On cheaper scopes you will experience serious distortion at both ends of the magnification scale. What you are really paying for is consistency in any weather or lighting conditions. You will be able to use this scope any time you can safely see down range.
Another major difference between a Swarovski scope and their cheaper competitors is the eye relief. The 3.74 inch eye relief will allow you to move back farther away from the scope.
You can stop worrying about rifle placement and focus more on concentrating on your shot. This large field of view will make shooting much easier. This Swarovski scope also has the Reticle in the second image plane.
The turrets on this scope are also very easy to use. The large and rugged turrets each have distinctive adjustable clicks for accurate adjustments. If you know what you’re doing you will be able to quickly and easily adjust you’re distance.
Swarovski also has a ballistics program for you to use on their website to tell you the exact number of clicks needed to adjust the scope. If you are serious about shooting long distances you should seriously consider this scope.
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You can’t go wrong with a Leupold scope and even if you don’t become an expert sniper you will have an excellent hunting scope. Most people who have been around the firearm industry for a while have heard of Leupold Optics.
Leupold has probably made more mid to high range optics than any other company on the planet. This isn’t the best scope for extremely long range shooting, but most beginners won’t be starting out at 1000 yards. You would also have to be crazy or rich to drop a few grand into a hobby that you aren’t positive you will enjoy.
This Leupold 4-12x40mm scope is the perfect scope for beginners that want to get into long range shooting. This scope is perfect for 500-700 yards and with experience you should be able to reach out to 1000+ yards.
This will depend on a variety of factors like your eyesight and rifle quality, but under the right conditions this is a great long range scope for most beginners. With all Leupold scopes you will receive an extremely clear optic.
This scope actually has a fully adjustable red dot which they call a firedot. This firedot can be turned on or off and goes over the center of the basic black reticle. It’s actually very helpful at most distances, but it depends on the target background.
At very long distances and high magnification levels the red dot will have to be turned off to increase the reticles accuracy.
Leupold uses a set of heavy duty adjustable turrets on this scope. The turret dials are in .25 increments and are very precise and accurate. It would be nice if the turrets were a little bit larger, but you can easily make adjustments with this scope.
The tactile feedback isn’t as good as the more expensive scopes on this list, but for the price it’s not bad. You will be able to distinguish the different increments on your turrets. You just won’t be able to adjust the distance as quickly as with the more expensive scopes.
This is the perfect entry level scope for competitive long range shooting. If you decide long range shooting isn’t for you this will make for an excellent hunting scope.
Choosing a Long Range Scope
Before you can buy a quality long range scope you are going to need to buy a high end rifle. When I’m discussing long range shooting I’m talking about shooting to distances of 1000+ yards. If you don’t have a decent income to start with you should probably consider another shooting hobby.
The first thing you are going to need to look into is where you are going to shoot. Most shooting ranges in my part of the country have a max distance of 100 to 200 yards. You can shoot almost any stock AR15 accurately out to 200 yards with a 100$ scope.
If I didn’t have a lot of property I would have to drive over 2 hours to find the closest 1000 meter range. So before you go out and buy a brand new rifle and optic make sure you are going to be able to use it.
You can’t just buy any rifle and expect it to shoot accurately out to a 1000 plus yards. You are going to need to purchase a high end rifle in the correct caliber. My personal favorite long distance calibers are the 6.5 Creedmor and the 300 Win Mag.
You also can’t go wrong learning how to shoot long distance with the 308, but it has a little higher learning curve. These three calibers are both affordable to buy and offer decent long range ballistic properties. If you want to get good at long range shooting you are going to need to shoot a lot.
Unless you’re wealthy I would highly recommend purchasing a decent reloading press and reloading these calibers. Otherwise your spending will quickly get out of hand.
Shooting out close to 1000 yards is going to require very high end glass. Most people aren’t going to be consistently successful slapping on a 100 dollar gun scope at this distance.
Most of the time as magnification levels increase so does the price. When it comes to long range shooting you are going to have to buy the best glass that you can afford. The rule of thumb used to be go with 1x magnification for every 100 yards. Personally I don’t like a magnification over 14x at this distance but everybody’s tolerance is different. As magnifications increase above a certain level you will begin to see a mirage effect in high light conditions.
What is The Best Long Range Sniper Scope?
The perfect scope really is going to depend on your skill level. The absolute best scope that I would recommend is the Nightforce 8-32×56 Scope. This would be an excellent scope for even the absolute best long distance shooter in the world. It would be nearly impossible to ever out grow a Nightforce Scope The best intermediate long distance scope would be the Swarovski 5-25×52 Rifle Scope.
Due to the price you need to be serious about getting into long distance shooting, but most people will never outgrow this Swarovski scope. If you are a new long distance shooter you should purchase the Leupold 4-12x40mm Rifle Scope.
The Leupold scope is great for 5-700 yards and can even stretch out to 1000 in good weather conditions. Depending on your experience level, I strongly believe you will be happy with just about any of the above rifle scopes.