Top 5 Long-Range Hunting Scopes – Updated

There is no doubt that rifles, ammunition, and optics have all come a long way in the last 25 years. Snipers can often hit targets from far away, which was once thought to be impossible or, at the very least, only possible for the military.

Even though this isn’t the place to talk about whether or not it’s wrong to shoot at unharmed game animals from very far away, long-range hunting has become very popular because some animals need to be able to be shot from farther away.

I’d rather set my own limits on how many times I can shoot at unharmed game, keep practicing my shooting skills, and keep training with knowledgeable teachers. As the shooter, I also want the best gear I can buy so I’m not the weakest link in the chain.

The only part of the equation that actually hits the game animal is the projectile, but it takes a precise rifle to deliver that bullet, and as the old saying goes, “You can’t hit what you can’t see.”

I usually try to spend as much as I can on the best optics I can afford for my long-range rifles once I’ve found a rifle, cartridge, and bullet that I’m comfortable with.

It’s important to me that my scopes have a good magnification range, so that when I get a chance to shoot close, I’m not staring at a fuzzy blob of fur, but also so that I can see the target clearly at distances beyond what I’m comfortable with.

There might not be a simple answer because the weight and/or length of the scope I want will depend on where I’m hunting (for example, I may prefer a lighter scope for prairie dogs than for mule deer or antelope).

Do you like how hard the first focus plane is or how easy the second one is? Who uses a holdover dial or a corrected reticle more? Let’s look at a few options that have worked well for me.

1. Leupold VX-6HD 4-24x52mm

The Leupold VX-5HD and VX-6HD are two of my favorite scope lines because they are strong, reliable, and produce one of the clearest and sharpest images in their price range. The new 4-24x52mm VX-6HD is the biggest scope in the line.

It is great for both hunting and shooting at targets. The TMOA reticle lets you holdover for elevation and adjust for wind on the crosshair, while the 4-24x5234mm mm’s main tube gives you 75 MOA of elevation and windage adjustment.

Long-Range Hunting Scopes

The scope has a CDS-ZL2 elevation turret that can be marked in yards if you give Leupold your load data. Both the elevation and windage turrets have a ZeroLock that shows the shooter right away that the turrets are back to zero.

All of the equipment weighs 25,4 ounces, and the reticle illumination can be turned on and off and changed with a button on the left-hand focus knob.

Keep the scope set to 4x for portability or use in a deer stand, but turn it up to 24x so you can count the fleas on a coyote’s backside before putting an end to the canine predator’s life.

It can handle both the rough conditions of the sheep highlands and the 2,000-yard steel. The 52mm objective lens and whatever black magic Leupold is using to coat its lenses help make an image that is very bright.

When I compare the VX-6HD series to other brands and models, I have no trouble recommending it. Details are on Leupold.com, where the list price is $2,099.99.

2. Swarovski Z5 3.5-18x44mm

Swarovski is known for making high-quality lenses. Some of their newer models are bigger than their older ones, but the better clarity usually makes up for the extra size.

I recommend the Z5 3.5-18x44mm if you want a simple, reliable scope that works well at any reasonable hunting distance.

Even though it has an old-fashioned 1-inch tube, I have used this sight on my 6.5-284 Norma to hit steel at 1,500 yards. The BRX reticle may even make the hunter forget to dial.

Long-Range Hunting Scopes

I’ve hunted deer with this sight, which has a minimum magnification of 3.5x, in the dense forests of New York and, at higher magnifications, in the Texas senteros.

Even though the settings are limited, that reticle will let you shoot at distances farther than 500 yards, which is far beyond my own personal limit for big game.

The scope can also be mounted low for a good line of sight. If you want to get a feel for European optics, this is a great scope to look at and look through. The average selling price is $1,432, and you can find it at swarovskioptik.com.

3. Zeiss Conquest V4 4-16x44mm

The name Zeiss has been around since the middle of the 19th century. Ernest Hemingway loved his “Zeiss field glasses” when he went on safari in Tanganyika, which is now called Tanzania, in 1933. The company has kept the same level of quality ever since.

The new Conquest line has glass that is as clear as crystal and as strong as nails. I got to try out one of the first models, the 4-16x44mm, which was amazing.

Long-Range Hunting Scopes

Zeiss’s No. 68 reticle for the second focal plane is a simple “Christmas tree” shape with a cross in the middle that can be lit from ten different directions. The No. 68 reticle makes it easy to shoot accurately because it is marked off in 1-minute increments for 20 minutes of angle.

Because the reticle is always there, the hunter can use it to make holdover and wind corrections. If you want to subtend the right amount of angle with the reticle, you’ll need to use it at full power, but you can get by with half power by doubling the values.

Because it has a wide magnification range of 4-16x, the Conquest V4 can be used in any hunting setting. The list price of Ziess.com is $1,099.99.

4. Leupold VX-3HD 4.5-14x40mm

The new VX-3HD 4.5-14x40mm delivers a lot of performance for the price, and it’s probably the lightest and least expensive long-range scope I use. The scope has a simple Duplex reticle and a one-inch tube, so it’s not too different from other common choices.

But the 14x maximum magnification is more than enough for good hunting shots, and the CDS-ZL turret can be a real game-changer if you have a single preferred load and have Leupold mark the turret in yards for you.

Think about this: you have a.30-06 rifle, which is a premium. (insert bullet weight here) 165 grains and a turret that shows the distance.

Long-Range Hunting Scopes

Get close to the caribou, elk, sheep, aoudad, or whatever else you want to shoot, dial that number, and smoothly let go of the trigger. The VX-3HD’s optics are very high quality for how much the scope costs.

The 4.5X magnification is great for “woods shots,” while the 9X maximum is good for long shots.

You shouldn’t look any further than the VX3-HD 4.4-14x40mm if you’re looking for an affordable scope that will last a lifetime and fits into a small, light (13.3 ounce), low-profile package. Costs about $599.99 at leupold.com.

5. Riton 5 Conquer 5-25x50mm

The 5 Conquer 5-25x50mm from Riton Optics, a company based in Arizona that is proud of its optics, is a great choice for long-range shooting.

Even though it weighs 34 ounces, the 5 Conquer is a great choice for hunting furbearers, prairie dogs, or deer from a stand that lets you take a steady shot from far away. With its 34mm main tube and 70 MOA of height adjustment, the 5 Conquer can get close enough to touch.

Long-Range Hunting Scopes

The unique BAF Illuminated reticle is shaped like a tree, but instead of branches, it has squares.

Because it is a first-focal-plane reticle, the grid can be used to make precise elevation and windage adjustments at high magnification, but at low magnification, it can be turned into a simple crosshair.

On a Riton, the 1/4-MOA turrets have zero brakes that let the shooter know when they have gone back to zero.

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