Choosing a Long Range Rifle Scope

  • Looking for the right long range rifle scope can be a challenge. There are so many companies each with their own lines of products. The marketing they bring out can also be misleading and sometimes confusing. Advertisements are always biased towards the product they feature.
  • To be able to get your hands on the best long range rifle scope for yourself, you need to be prepared. You should know at least basic knowledge about rifle scopes and optics before diving in. Going in blind is the same as asking for disaster. You need to do some studying if you do not want to waste your money.

Table of Contents

Top Best Long Range Rifle Scopes 2014

The Basics of a Rifle Scope

1. Magnification levels

Rifle scopes can either be with fixed magnification or with variable magnification. Fixed scopes have only one zoom level. They are not versatile but many still prefer using them over variable scopes. Since they do not require any tinkering, they are a lot simpler to use and are also reputedly more durable. If you plan on using your scope and rifle at a specific distance, this would be the perfect type of scope.

Variable rifle scopes offer adjustments in their zoom levels. They have a minimum and maximum magnification level and all levels in between can be used. Since they can change zoom levels, they are very versatile. They can offer both short range and long range shooting. If you have no particular preferred firing distance, these would be a great choice.

The magnification levels of a rifle scope are the relative effective range it offers. A 3x-9x 40mm scope can be adjusted from 3x to 9x. For long range rifle scopes, the maximum magnification power is better as it gets higher. Still, the minimum magnification power should also be given attention. If you suddenly find yourself less than 100 yards from your target, you will not be able to aim through your scope if the zoom level is too high because your field of view would be too small.

The field of view is the area you can see when looking through the scope. It is measured from left to right at a determined distance, which is usually at a hundred yards. Long range rifle scopes usually have smaller fields of view because of their high magnification power. This means you’ll likely see a patch of brown hair instead of a deer if you aim from close by.

2. Objective lens diameter

The objective lens is the lens at the front of the scope. Larger lenses supposedly “gather” more light. Lenses do not actually gather light, but larger lenses allow more light to pass through. This is essential to long range rifle scopes because the best times to hunt are at dusk and at dawn. Both times are low-light situations and will hamper visibility.

A 5x-25x 44mm scope has an objective lens with a diameter of 44mm. Bigger does not mean better with objective lenses. Bigger lenses will make mounting heights higher. The firearm will also be increasingly top-heavy. These issues will complicate handling and aiming the gun.

2. Main tube diameter

The most common tube diameters for rifle scopes are 1”, 30mm, and 34mm. The larger main tubes offer better elevation adjustment over the smaller ones. The size of the main tube will also dictate the size of the rings needed to mount the scope.

Things to Consider About Your Desired Long Range Rifle Scope

1. Lens Quality

To judge the quality of glass used for a scope lens, the best scenario would be looking at it directly. If you can’t get your hands on models of rifle scopes, it would be best to go by reputation. Stick to companies that reputedly use good quality lenses. Still, if you can inspect a scope in person, that would be better.

2. Reticle Marks

For long range rifle scopes, the reticle must be marked. There should be clear divisions on the vertical and horizontal axes. These are essential in compensating for winds, bullet drop, and measuring distances from targets. The marks on the vertical axis are for bullet drop compensation while those on the horizontal axis are for compensating for the wind.

The units used by the reticle should also match the ones used for the adjustments on the scope turrets. The units used by the scope can either be in “mils” or in “minutes of adjustment or MOA.” The choice between either measurement systems is a matter of preference. Just remember to match the units on the reticle with the ones on the turrets. Otherwise, you will be doing a lot of hard math.

3. Reticle Positioning

The reticle can either be in the first or second focal plane, or in from or at the back of the zooming process. Reticles in the first focal plane are reputedly more accurate but change in intensity with the zoom levels. Those on the second focal plane have unchanging reticles but will require a bit more compensation when shooting. This will make a big difference in long range rifle scopes so choose wisely.

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