It seems the precision shooting at long distances with the best 1000 yard scope is all the rage today, making every gun enthusiast believes he can hear the dong as he strikes the metal target at 1000 plus yards. First, let's find out the way to categorize shooting ranges for rifles. There are likely many ways to define shooting distances, but we consider that close range is bellow 100 yards, 100-300 yards medium range, and from 300-1200 yards long range, with anything past 1200 yards to be extremely long range.
When it comes to long-range shooting, for many gun aficionados the ability to shoot at extremely long ranges is a challenge that both thrills and intimidates. But most would agree that excitement of hitting a target beyond 500 yards is a tremendous feeling.
How to choose the scope for 1000 yards?
Whether you plan to go with benchrest or long-range tactical shooting that would require different skills compared to other shooting disciplines. Actually, the long-range shooting is one of the fastest-growing activities in rifle sports and a queen of marksman art and for mastering the Art of Long-Range Shooting, you will need a lot of knowledge and adequate tools.
If you have developed a passion for long-range shooting, you already know that along with reliable rifle you'll need a specialized scope to get consistent performance at those distances. Assuming that you have selected appropriate long-range rifle in an adequate caliber, the second most important thing is choice of the correct optics to get the job done.
Without doubt, a rifle scope is the most critical piece of your long-range shooting set, but the type of optics depends on what you want to use your scope/rifle for. For instance, one single scope cannot be ideal for both target shooting in bright sunlight and for hunting big game during dusk or dawn.
The most important factors when considering a long-range scope are high-quality glass, milling reticle, zoom power, elevation adjustment range and objective size.
For long-range riflescopes, the high-quality glass and overall optical quality are the most essential features, and you should pay attention to that fact since there are only four or five factories in the world that produce high-quality glass. Additionally, to the quality of the glass, lens coatings are also crucial for bright and clear picture overall. With several different types of coatings available, your best bet is going to be fully multi-coated optics.
When it comes to reticles, the optics market is cluttered with varying styles and types of reticles. Nowadays every scope makers have their version of a long-range reticle, but you won’t be wrong if you opt for thin one that will not obscure a target at long range. Whether you chose a scope with a classic, bullet drop compensated (BDC), a ballistic reticle or with Christmas tree style reticle, proper reticle selection should allow you to compensate for both windage and bullet drop. As above said, these reticles should be equipped with evenly spaced dots to help you estimate the elevation and distance of the target. That measuring can be in a minute of angle (MOA) or milliradians (MIL). Though the MOA is the most common measurements for turret adjustments in the USA, the MIL is the final evolution step of the classic optical riflescopes and much more prevalent among marksmen, snipers, and hunters alike. The scopes with Mil-Dot reticles are best suitable for riflescopes with a large magnification since they are typically used for adjusting the impact of a bullet on long-distance rifles.
The turrets on long-range riflescopes are usually target or tactical in style with precise and tactile adjustments with1/8 MOA clicks or preferably one/10th (0.1) mil movement per click for maximum precision. Of course, the turret and reticle measurements should match MIL-MIL or MOA-MOA.
Besides adjustable fingertip turrets, you will also need a considerable elevation adjustment range for your long-distance precision instrument. Some experts recommend as ideal range a 100 MOA or 40 MRADs of elevation adjustment, whereas descent scope should have at least 40 MOA/ 20 MRADs
Though the magnification may sound like a prime feature for a 1,000-yard shot, it is not of epochal significance. While the most serious competitors and marksmen utilize high-end optics with 40-50X and all the way to the incredible 80x zoom, for the most shooters a magnification of at least 18x is suitable for shooting at 1,000 yards and beyond.
Objective size & Construction
For long-range shooting, you also want a scope with a 50-56mm objective size, as it will enable you with sufficient light and field of view (FoV). For better low light performance, the long-range scopes are usually built of large objective bells and 30mm or 34mm main tubes, making most of these gargantuan riflescopes often weighing more than 2 pounds.
Aside from those features, you may also decide to go another path choosing the caliber-specific riflescopes with ballistically matched, bullet-drop reticles. If you have selected one of the proven calibers for the long-range work, then you will be overwhelmed with the abundant offer of caliber-specific scopes dedicated for 6.5 Creedmoor, for 308, 7mm mag, or 300 win mag.
Top Brands to Consider for 1000 Yards + Scope
When you're shooting at short to a medium-range, you can manage with cheap rifle and optics, but with long-range shooting, you’ll need the right setup consisting of a high-grade long-barreled weapon and the top-of-the-line rifle scope.
Based on the desired characteristics, it is fully expected that you should look for long-range scope options only from the very best brands that would provide you with the best performance for the money. However, the optics have gotten dramatically better over the last 15 or so years offering quite decent long-range features for less money.
Many shooters assume that a scope made in the USA is superior to those made in other countries. That's not always true since more traditionalists like us believe the top-rated optics come from European manufacturers like Zeiss, Schmidt&Bender, Kahles, Swarovski and IOR-Valdada. However, it doesn't mean that reputable brands from the U.S. such as Leupold, Vortex, or Nightforce are not viable options, but may mean that you will be deprived of the brilliant picture quality or some extras on adjustments.
Best 1000 Yard Scope on the Market Review
Choosing the right scope can be tricky, particularly if you are on a budget, but similar reading guides like our can make your choices much easier. Needless to say that reviews like this one can help you find an optic that will be the best bang for your buck and will suit your needs. In this overview, we'll introduce eight long-range scopes classified from affordable, through the best value, all the way to the top, high-priced models.
Though the long-range shooting sport besides excellent shooter also requires precision and valuable tools, it does not necessarily mean that you need an expensive high-end instrument to get the job done. For your new hobby, you may find scopes not just under $1000 but even under $300 that is an excellent choice for a first-time shooter. In that price range, you can buy a relatively bare-bones scope ideal for day-to-day use for hunting or target practicing.
1. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 6-24x50 AO
The Crossfire lineup is Vortex Optics’ entry series of scopes, designed to help long-range shooters on a budget and comes with many features found on the much higher priced options.
Like many economic models, the Vortex Crossfire II 6-24x50 AO boasts AO system (Adjustable Objective) at riflescope's objective bell for greater image focus and parallax removal.
The Vortex Crossfire II 6-24 sports 4x zoom ratio making it ideal for dual-use for long-range competition shooters and the long-range hunters.
In this configuration, Vortex Optics has offered two reticle types, but this scope with manufacturing number CF2-31045 comes with ballistic Dead-Hold BDC reticle located on the Second Focal Plane (SFP). It means this versatile duplex reticle is easy to see in all lighting conditions at all magnifications. Still, the subtensions for windage and hold-over will be accurate only at 18x magnification.
The capped turrets are resettable for easy zero re-indexing with maximal travel for both windage and elevation of 40 MOA. The adjustment graduation is standard in this optic class with ¼ MOA per click.
The scope is built of one-piece durable aluminum, purged with nitrogen gas and protected with O rings to enable shockproof, waterproof and fogproof features.
2. Mueller Target Rifle Scope, Black, 8-32 x 44mm
A perfect alternative to expensive high-end, long-range optics is the Mueller brand, which represents one of the best names in the $150 to $250 price range. While there is a wide selection of Mueller riflescopes with an interesting variety of magnification ranges, they are all an excellent choice if you are looking for an affordable scope under $300.
The Mueller Target riflescope MU83244TD comes with 8-32 x zoom range and 44mm objective. The Tactical 8-32×44 utilizes a fine crosshair with a small target dot in the center that covers about 1/4" at 100 yards making this Mueller model perfect not only for the competitive shooting but also for pest control, prone and bench shooting.
The Black 8-32 x 44mm target scope from Mueller features fully exposed (target-style) turrets and side focus parallax adjustment for accurate range finding. Whereas the windage/elevation knobs have increments value of 1/8 MOA with an audible click audible click stop, the total elevation adjustment of 40 MOA is somewhat limited for long-range optics.
Mueller 8-32x44 offer constant eye relief of 4″ and good eye-box even at higher magnification. The fully multi-coated lenses provide adequate brightness in different kinds of lighting and also when magnified to high levels.
3. Athlon Optics Argos 6-24x50 Rifle Scope
Another long-range, precision shooter's scope which is bringing premium features to an affordable price point comes from the Athlon family of scopes. The model Argos BTR riflescope boasts an optical system that gives you a high 6 - 24x zoom housed in a 30mm sturdy 6061-T6 aircraft grade aluminum tube.
The superior mechanical integrity can withstand the high powered rifles recoils while the internals is well protected against moisture and fogging with o-rings and argon purging.
This versatile riflescope can be used evenly in hunting and multiple shooting disciplines, so it’s at home at both the bench rest and the treestand.
The Argos BTR body features exposed graduated turrets and a side parallax adjustment knob at the middle of the scope and low-profile reticle illumination control knob and lever for fast zooming next to the eyepiece.
Though the turrets are not as impeccable as high-grade counterparts, they offer decent 18 MRAD windage and elevation ranges with ability to be set to zero after sighting in the scope.
All the Argos BTR lineup have features typically only found on high-end optics such as APMR MRAD-based reticle, fully multi-coated lenses and the proprietary XPL scratch-resistant coating to repel grease, dirt and oil.
4. Nikon Black X1000 6-24x50 Riflescope
If the lower-priced scopes under $300 don’t meet your expectations, a Nikon Black X1000 series in the category under $500, might be a better choice because they are built to withstand the larger caliber recoils of today's long-range rifles.
Built on an aircraft-grade 30mm aluminum tube, The Nikon Black X1000 6-24x50 mm is perfect for long-range hunting, but it will help you reach out to a thousand yards and push the limits of your shooting. This 6-24X model is a dedicated precision riflescope that offers 4x magnification ratio, which is perfect for intermediate shots but also makes it powerful enough for extreme long-range precision.
Black X1000 riflescope in 6-24x configuration comes with Nikon's proprietary high-density glass and full multilayer coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces to provide the clarity you need for 1000-yard precision.
The Nikon X1000 riflescope boasts the tactical turrets with spring-loaded instant zero-reset as well as a turret-mounted side focus parallax adjustment.
Placed in a second focal plane, a glass-etched reticle will give you an ability to apply all holdover corrections, ranging and other measurements no matter what distance you’re shooting at.
The Nikon manufacturer number 16384 features illuminated x-MRAD reticle with 10 brightness settings enabled by side-mounted control.
5. Vortex Viper PST Gen II 5-25x50
Vortex is known for making quality and reasonably priced scopes, but in our opinion, the new generation of the very popular Viper PST (Precision Shooting Tactical) scopes far surpasses their predecessors, approaching significantly to the more expensive Vortex Razor HD Gen. 2.
The Viper, PST Gen II 5-25x50, features the highest magnification in whole Vortex PST series and is available with several reticle configurations. The Vortex PST-5251 model sports 5x magnification and an EBR-4 MOA glass-etched reticle that is constructed in the second focal plane. This reticle is offering uncluttered picture for optimal viewing with fully-illuminated crosshair subtensions in 10 intensity levels.
Although declared by Vortex as tactical rifle scopes, the Viper PST Gen II 5-25x50 is ideal for close to long-range target shooting and hunting. The turrets are exposed tactical with1/4 MOA adjustments per click and a true zero-stop function called RZR (Rapid Zero Return). Due to the Precision-Glide Erector System and large 30mm one-piece aluminum maintube, this Viper allows ample room for elevation adjustment of 70 MOA for long shots.
The Vortex Viper PST Gen II Riflescope comes with an outstanding optics equipped with XD (extra-low dispersion) glass and with XR Plus- multiple anti-reflective coatings.
6. Bushnell Elite Tactical 6-24x50 FFP
One more riflescope in 6-24x50 configuration comes from Bushnell, and it's priced just under $1000. The new series of Elite riflescopes from Bushnell is intended for professional tactical shooters, but it will be useful for target shooting and variety of medium and long-range hunting applications.
The construction of the Elite Tactical is based on 30mm main-tube that's purged with argon gas for all-weather reliability, while the exterior has "Blacked-Out" matte finish for complete concealment.
This Elite Tactical single-piece body sports target-type turrets, side-mounted parallax focus and a combination of battery compartment and rheostat located on the ocular. In order to meet the desired sub-$1,000 price, the only sacrifice that was filed on behalf of the quality is lacking lockable turrets and a zero-stop feature.
The model ET6245F is offered with Bushnell BTR illuminated Mil-Dot reticle placed in the first focal plane.
With turrets marked in 0.1 Mil adjustments for precise targeting and Mil-Dot reticle system, this Elite Tactical belongs to group of scopes often called "mil/mil" scopes.
With lenses produced in Japan, this long-range precision shooting instrument features fully multi-coated optics and proprietary RainGuard HD water-repellent lens coating.
7. Nightforce Optics NXS 8-32x56 SFP
Nightforce Optics is a USA company renowned for its competition riflescopes that are some of the greatest in the industry. With several models used in the military, it is evident that the Nightforce NXS series is created from the ground up to meet Mil-Spec requirements. Still, you should also know that the NXS full-size models are one of the most famous lines of scopes for ultimate long-range shooting and a favorite device among the F Class shooters.
Although the Nightforce NXS 8-32x56 with its magnification range is not so versatile and appropriate to a wide variety of applications, because of its rugged and durable 30mm body and waterproof, fog-proof, and shock-proof features, the NXS 8-32x56 also remains the blue-eyed boy for hunting communities.
Nightforce NXS C438 model comes with popular MOAR illuminated reticle located on the 2nd focal plane that offers fast adjustments for precise, repeatable shot placement on stationary or moving targets.
The 56mm objective glass provided maximum clarity and paired with fully multi-coated lenses the NXS would give you a brilliant picture quality in less than ideal light conditions.
All scopes from NXS series have exposed tactical turrets offering to long-range shooters fast internal adjustment capabilities for precise and repeatable shot placement at the 1000-yard line.
8. Schmidt and Bender PM II/LP/MTC 5-25x56
For a decade or so the 5-25x56mm scope`s configuration is a prominent feature in the various specialized police teams and military Special Forces units. Having that optical landscape in mind, the Schmidt and Bender is a leader that put the milestone with their premium PM II 5-25x56 riflescope.
Featuring 5-time zoom ratio and 5-25x magnification this S&B riflescope is quite versatile but leans more towards long-distance shooting. The robust construction is based on 34mm main body and proven internal mechanics that can withstand use on powerful calibers intended for long-range shooting well over 1000 yards.
The PM II 5-25x56 is a universal scope with a large magnification range featuring low profile elevation and windage adjustments in the form of lockable Double Turret (LT) with "More Tactile Clicks" (MTC) system. This function provides clearly tactile clicks at every tenth click. There is a wide selection of more than 50 different combinations of turret clicks, turret rotation direction and reticles available both on the first or second focal plane.
Since the SFP reticles are the most popular in the USA, we have chosen as our proposal an S&B PM II scope with second focal plane P4FL2-MOA illuminated reticle and left-side turret for adjustable parallax from 10 meters to infinity.
As you should expect from the superb optics meant and build for professionals, the second edition of the Police Marksman series sports crystal clear glass and amazing optical performance from smallest magnification till maximal magnification.
Reading this article, you might have concluded that long-range shooting might be an affordable and accessible passion for most gun enthusiasts. Still, of course, there are few other top-ranked scope manufacturers, who dominate not only the long-distance competitions and battlefields with their high-end scopes but are often seen in exotic hunting locations on beautiful and bespoke rifles.
As you may found almost any mid-priced, the best 1000 yard scope is capable of reaching out quite far compared to the classic configurations intended for more common ways of shooting such as 100 yards punching paper or big-game hunting up to 70-120 yards.
Article has been contributed by Donald's team from IOutdoorPursuit.com.