Best Rifle Scope In 2024

Last updated on April 5th, 2024

There are many elements that make a scope a contender to be the best rifle scope on the market. The quality of the glass, magnification range, field of view and how well its constructed are just a few of the factors that need to be considered in the ever advancing field of premium optics.

These factors are important to consider, to ensure you get the most out of your optic by making that shot as accurate at possible and most of all making the shooting experience as enjoyable as possible.

The shortlist below narrows down the eight best rifle scopes available in 2024 to long range shooters including the best for competition and military applications. The list will be updated throughout the year as new optics become available.

Best Long Range Rifle Scope: Schmidt & Bender PM II 6-36×56

Best rifles scopes Long Range Shooting Scopes
@schmidtandbender

First on the list is straight out of Germany and the team at Schmidt & Bender have released new updates to the well known Police and Military ‘PM’ II series. The long time favourite for military snipers has been updated in late 2022 with the illumination dial being integrated into the parallax dial. Traditionally the PM series have had larger/taller elevation turrets than most high end optics on the market, but S&B have redesigned this version of the PM II to be much more slim line.

The revised version of the PM II’s lower profile turrets are more in line with other tactical turret systems available from other manufacturers. The ridges on the magnification ring have also been enlarged to assist magnification changes without using a throw lever.

Best rifles scopes Long Range Shooting Scopes

The scope weighs in at 940 grams which isn’t the heaviest optic listed, but it’s certainly not a lightweight scope. At 390mm in length with a solid 34mm tube, this scope is well sized for serious shooting applications. The magnification range of 6-36x makes it one of the best long distance capable scope choices on the list. There are several turret adjustment configurations such as DT27, DT35, DT II+, and MT II, each with its own elevation and windage specs.

More info on Schmidt & Bender turrets can be found on their website. The parallax adjustment start at 20 meters and goes out to infinity, and there is illumination included. For those of you who find yourselves in harsh environments, this scope is waterproof up to 3 meters and operational in temperatures of –46 to +61°C.

Colour options include the traditional Black and the unique light brown ‘RAL8000’, giving you some options on colour. Lastly the reticles available are the P5FL, GR²ID and newly released TR²ID, all great choices for long distance precision shooting scopes. The PM II’s have an amazing reputation in the long distance shooting community and are hard to beat on quality. For my own personal long range rifle, I chose a 5-25×56 PM II as I stand behind my recommendation of this being one of the best scopes money can buy.

Quick Stats: Schmidt & Bender PM II

Glass Germany
Magnification Range6-36×56
Weight995g/35.1oz
Eye Relief90mm/3.54in

Schmidt and bender PM 2

Schmidt & Bender PM II 6-36×56

Best Precision Rifle Competition Scope: Nightforce ATACR 7-35×56

best rifle scope

The Nightforce B.E.A.S.T would have been here to represent Nightforce but it has been discontinued by Nightforce, so the next best thing from Nightforce takes its place, the ATACR. The rugged and reliable Nightforce ATACR has proven itself to be one of the most popular long range competition optics in the world. It’s unlikely you will attend a precision rifle match in 2024 without seeing a Nightforce ATACR. There are even military variants of the Nightforce ATACR available, which have a slightly different colour scheme.

The variety of reticles, incredibly tough construction and amazing reputation make this a popular choice for the long range shooter who takes part in competition shooting. It’s got a high magnification range of 7-35x designed to reach out over very long distances. The body of the ATACR is built around a sturdy 34mm tube. Size wise, it measures an overall length of 16.0 inches and it’s not exactly lightweight at 39.3 oz/1113 g but like the other optics on the list, high magnification and high quality come at a cost of weight.

best rifle scope
@nightforce

The internal adjustment range is 100 MOA/29 MRAD of elevation and 60 MOA/17 MRAD of windage. Parallax adjustment starts at 11 yards and goes all the way to infinity. The eye relief is a comfortable 3.6 inches, which is about standard across the range. Then there’s the ZeroStop feature on the elevation which plays an important part, as in competition shoots you need to quickly return to your original zero, no matter how many adjustments you’ve made after dialing up.

A power throw lever comes standard, making magnification changes easy, particularly important for a competition shooting scope. Whether you’re a competitive shooter or just someone who appreciates great optics, the ATACR is a premium choice and an easy addition in the best rifle scope list.

Quick Stats: Nightforce ATACR

Glass Japan
Magnification Range7-35×56
Weight1113g/39.3oz
Eye Relief91mm/3.6in

Best Value Long Distance Scope: Vortex Razor Gen III 6-36×56

Best rifle scopes Long Range Shooting Scopes
@vortexoptics

Out for a few years now the Gen III Razor hits a lot of long distance shooting must haves at a much more affordable price than the competition. The feature packed optic combined with its attractive price point have made this a popular choice in the long distance shooting world.

An awesome feature in the Gen III Razor is the zerostop which is adjusted through only one set screw. This is a refreshing feature compared to undoing three or so screws like most scopes. I had this scope on loan from Vortex for a few months and got to test out all the features and it gave me a chance to see how the cheapest scope option on the list stacks up against the competition.

The magnification range of 6-36x is an excellent step up from the Gen II Razor and moves the Razor Gen III into a new category for its capability of reaching out to longer distances. The magnification range ensures it keeps up with the competition on the list but it also needs to bring great glass quality to be competitive. Luckily the glass in the Vortex Razor Gen III doesn’t disappoint and its 56mm objective lens helps capture a bight and clear image at all magnification levels.

best rifle scope

In terms of reticles, the EBR-7D retile on offer from Vortex is incredibly popular and the MOA and MRAD varients give competition shooters a feature packed reticle capable of rapid holdover work. Another great feature are the locking turrets, I’m usually not too fussed about them on a target scope but these are very easy to use. You simply lift the turret up and it will rotate normally, once you have set your elevation or windage you can push the turret down to lock it in place, its simple and satisfying.

Like most on the list, the maintube is 34mm but what’s inside the tube is the massive elevation and windage adjustment range as well as an impressively close parallax adjustment. Perfect for NRL 22 competitors, the parallax on the Gen III Razor starts off at 10 yards, making it easy to focus on targets at close range. The only real negative about this scope is the weight, it’s the heaviest on the list coming in at 45oz, that’s a notisible weight especially when its paired with a precision rifle.

Overall the Vortex Razor Gen III offers a huge amount of premium features at an affordable price point for a premium optic. This is Vortex’s strength and what has made them such a popular optic company in the shooting world. If your long distance budget is on the lower side of the scopes listed, you will not be disappointed in how the Razor performs. You can also checkout the entire range of Vortex Scopes here.

Quick Stats: Vortex Razor Gen III

Glass Japan
Magnification 6-36×56
Weight1278g/45.1oz
Eye Relief
89mm/ 3.5in

Latest Premium Long Range Scope: Zero Compromise ZC840 8-40×56

Best rifle scope
@zerocompromise

The company is relatively new compared to the competition, being founded in 2018 they have been rapidly gaining a fan base around the world with sporting shooters and hunters looking for very high quality glass and heavy duty construction. We finally have a distributor here in Australia so it’s been good to see them at the range and get hands on with one. Zero Compromise optics feature a very robust construction and use high quality glass with high light transmission in their scopes. Zero Compromise have produced a solid contender for one of the best long distance shooting rifle scopes available on the market today.

best rifle scope

This high magnification premium scope from Zero Compromise features a massive magnification range of 8-40x, which is a huge amount to use and puts it at the top of list for magnification ranges on offer for long distance shooting. The objective lens diameter is the larger 56mm, in line with its competitors. The Parallax adjustment is from 10 meters, out to infinity. Light transmission is impressive being listed as 92%, meaning clearer, brighter images, even in lower light conditions. The tube diameter is 36mm, and the scope’s overall length is 440mm.

It weighs in at 1175g, which makes this of the largest scope on the list, but keep that magnification range in mind when looking at how much it weighs in at compared to the competition. The illuminated reticle is available in red or green, offering options for personal preferences. You can checkout all the reticle choices for the Zero Compromise 8-40×56 here. Locking elevation and windage turrets are also included on the Zero Compromise, a neat feature. All in all, the Zero Compromise 8-40×56 premium long distance shooting scope stands out as a high magnification choice and the company continues to develop high end optics for long distance shooting.

Quick Stats: Zero Compromise ZC840

Glass Austria
Magnification Range8-40×56
Weight1148g/40.5oz
Eye Relief89mm/3.54in

Zero Compromise ZC840 8-40×56

Most Innovative Long Range Scope: Kahles K525i DLR 5-25×56

best rifle scope
@kahlesoptics

Kahles continue to take the lessons learned from dynamic sports shooting and incorporate them into their optics. The Kahles K525i DLR looks a little odd at first glance with an enlarged wheel under the elevation turret. This is where Kahles have put the parallax adjustment so its a lot more intuitive and easier to change on the run. This is just one of the many strengths that make the K525i DLR standout as a contender for the best rifle scope available today.

Another great feature is how customizable the scope is, it can be ordered with the windage turret on the left or right side, depending on the users preference. This option allows you the option of choosing what works best for you and your shooting style. The third major strength for the Kahles is the optical system within the optic. The glass used is of a very high quality and Kahles have coupled this with an extremely large field of view.

I have been lucky enough to spend some time with a Kahles K525i DLR and compared the glass up against the Steiner, Schmidt & Bender and Vortex Razor. The K525i pulls its weight well with a high contrast image at all magnification levels with no chromatic aberration. The standout feature though is the incredibly wide field of view which makes this optic standout from the others on the list.

Best rifle scope

The competition features keep coming with this scope as it includes a throw lever to help make magnification changes easier. The turrets on the DLR also feature larger numbers, this makes them easier to read in a hurry, a must have for competition shooting. Their extensive research is backed by some serious competition shooting pro’s including Shannon Kay from K&M Precision Rifle Training. Shannon helped Kahles design the incredibly versatile SKMR4 reticle which is used in the Kahles K525i DLR.

Overall the K525i DLR is one of the most innovative long distance shooting scopes on the market. Incorporating ease of use features coupled with high quality and well researched components make this an incredibly difficult optic to pass up. For a more detailed look checkout our full review of the Kahles K525i DLR here.

Quick Stats: Kahles K525i

Glass Austria
Magnification Range5-25×56
Weight992g/35.0oz
Eye Relief94mm/3.74in

Military Snipers Favorite Scope: Steiner M7Xi 4-28×56

best rifle scope

Steiner are known for producing high quality battlefield optics that are built to survive tough conditions. The slightly lower magnification range of 4-28x in comparison to other scopes on the list shouldn’t stop you from considering the Steiner M7Xi. One of the biggest drawcards for me to this optic are the reticles that are on offer, as they are some of my favorite tactical styles and offer a good selection to target shooters and military snipers.

My second favorite part to the M7Xi is the elevation turret features a small revolution indicator that pops out of the top of the turret on the second lap. So when your dialing up in a hurry you know what rotation of the elevation turret you’re on.

best rifle scope

The scope’s length is 15.2 inches, and it weighs in at a manageable 33.5oz / 949g. These dimensions give it some weight but that also provides confidence that its built well enough to take a hit and still work. Parallax starts from 50 meters, which is a little higher than most others in this category. The M7Xi comes nitrogen filled, ensuring it remains fog free in changing temperatures and humid conditions.

Plus, it’s waterproof and fogproof, making it reliable in harsh weather conditions and leaves no doubt why its such a popular optic for military snipers around the world. The glass quality, features, solid construction and battlefield reputation of the M7Xi continues to make it a top choice for snipers.

Quick Stats: Steiner M7Xi

Glass Germany
Magnification Range4-28×56
Weight949g/33.5oz
Eye Relief87mm/3.43in

American Favorite: Leupold Mark 5 HD 7-35×56

Best rifle scope
@leupoldoptics

One of the most popular scope companies in the world, Leupold have built a reputation for creating extremely reliable scopes. Hunters and sports shooters alike agree that the made in the US Leupold optics are built to perform. The Mark 5HD is Leupold’s long distance shooting flagship, with its hefty 35mm maintube it sets the foundations for a high performing optical system.

With a mighty magnification range of 7-36, the Mark 5HD brings great long distance shooting capability coupled with some high quality components. A huge feature for me are the amount of reticles on offer with the Mark 5, these choices give you a lot more choice to suit your own specific needs for the scope. If you are competition focused, the Tremor3 is available and if its more benchrest turret dialing there are simpler less obstructive reticles available.

Best rifle scope

A neat feature of the Leupold is its locking turret button. Similar to the Vortex Razor Gen III, the Leupold has locking turrets, but instead of lifting the turret to move it, there is a small button that needs to be depressed in order to move the turret. This is a great feature and ensures that any changes made to the scopes elevation are made by the user on purpose and not accidently made by the scope’s turret rubbing against something. I often have to double check my scope turrets at the Leupold Mark 5HD eliminates that problem.

The MK5 HD is a great choice for competition shooters looking for an American made long range scope that is reliable and built for field use. For long range hunting, the weight and simple reticle options make the Mark 5HD a great contender also. For more information checkout our Leupold Mark 5HD review.

Quick Stats: Leupold Mark 5 HD

Glass USA
Magnification Range7-35×56
Weight935g/33oz
Eye Relief96mm/3.8in

Best Scope Turrets: Tangent Theta 5-25x56mm

Best rifle scope
@tangentoptics

The Tangent Theta is popular amongst precision rifle competitors in the US due to its wide field of view and high quality glass. What sets this optic apart from the competitors is that it arguably has the most satisfying turrets of all the best rifle scopes on the market. Another unique feature of the Tangent Theta is how the scope is zeroed. Traditionally, the scopes zerostop is set by unscrewing the turret and moving it to the zero position. The top center of the Theta turret turns, allowing you to set your zero and lock it back down. It’s a handy way of setting zero without any tools needed. Like the Schmidt & Bender PM II, the turret also has a pop up revolution indicator.

Diving into the Theta’s specs, it has a magnification range of 5-25x, which is a good range for most shooting distances and the industry standard for long distance shooting. The length of the scope is 425mm and weighs in at 1150g, which as covered above is pretty standard in this category. The tube diameter is 34mm, and the objective lens diameter is 56mm. There are a huge range of reticle choices available which is another great strength for the optic.

The total adjustment range for elevation is 30MRAD / 103MOA and for windage, it’s +/-10 MRAD /34MOA.  Adjustments are made in 0.1MRAD or .25MOA increments. Parallax adjustment ranges from 50m out to infinity, similar to the Steiner M7Xi. The illumination has 11 settings, offering a lot of options for the user. The Tangent Theta does not disappoint, being a finely crafted piece of optical equipment. If you are shopping for a high quality long distance shooting scope and its in your price range you wont be disappointed.

Quick Stats: Tangent Theta

Glass Canada
Magnification Range5-25×56
Weight1155g/40.7oz
Eye Relief88mm/3.5in

Considerations When Selecting a Long Distance Rife Scope

You will no doubt have specific features you are chasing in an optic, whether its magnification range, long eye relief or a specific price point.

The tables below list out common specifications that are most important to users when selecting an optic including price comparison, glass quality, magnification range, weight and eye relief range.

Price Comparison When Looking For The Best Rifle Scope

Firstly, consider the financial outlay when purchasing a high end rifle scope. The price is intricately linked to various performance characteristics such as the quality of the glass, the manufacturing quality and reliability of the adjustments in the turrets. When shooting long distance in this price range it’s essential to align your budget with your specific needs.

For instance, if your long range shooting and exceeding 1000 yards in low light, a premium scope with quality components in this price range helps enormously. There are some substantial differences in prices of these scopes. The Vortex Razor is at least 2,000 USD cheaper than the Schmidt & Bender PM II. It might not have the quality of glass as the PM II but the Razor is still a very capable premium optic.

Best rifle scope
Schmidt & Bender PM II 6-36×565,500+ USD
Nightforce ATACR 7-35×563,000+ USD
Vortex Razor Gen III 6-36×562,999 USD
Zero Compromise ZC840 8-40×564,000+ USD
Kahles K525i DLR 5-25×563,499+ USD
Steiner M7Xi 4-28×563,600+ USD
Leupold Mark 5 HD 7-35×562,600+ USD
Tangent Theta 5-25×565,000+ USD

If you are eyeing off premium optics but don’t mind a couple of scope ring marks, you can sometimes score these optics as ex showroom demo’s. You can save a few hundred by checking out EuroOptics Showroom Demo’s here.

Glass Quality on High End Rifle Scopes

The price of a rifle scope is closely tied to the quality of the glass used in its optics, with higher quality glass typically comes a higher price point. A general rule of thumb when budgeting for a rifle scope is to allocate a similar amount to what you spent on the rifle itself. While not a strict guideline, it provides a useful reference for balancing your investment between the rifle and the scope.

Optical lenses used in scopes receive various coatings to enhance light transmission and contrast, which can influence the optic’s total cost. There are four categories of lens coatings however the optics featured here are premium rifle scopes and are all equipped with fully multi-coated lenses.

The table below illustrates the origin of the glass used in each scope. For many buyers of premium optics, the manufacturing origin of the glass carries alot of weight. These top-tier scopes have earned their place on the “best scopes list” due to their exceptional glass quality, which is reflected in the esteemed reputation of the countries listed below. German and Austrian glass, renowned as some of the best in the world, commands a higher price point, as evident in the table.

Schmidt & Bender PM IIGermany
Nightforce ATACRJapan
Vortex Razor Gen IIIJapan
Zero Compromise ZC840Austria
Kahles K525i DLRAustria
Steiner M7XiGermany
Leupold Mark 5USA
Tangent Theta Canada

Best Premium Long Range Shooting Scope
@vortexoptics

Magnification Ranges on Premium Rifle Scopes

While magnification ranges vary among the different manufacturers, each optic offered here is capable of reaching distances beyond 1000 yards, making them suitable for long range shooting. All scopes offered here also feature a large objective lens of 56mm, which effectively captures light and helps deliver a crisp image.

Schmidt & Bender PM II6-36×56
Nightforce ATACR7-35×56
Vortex Razor Gen III6-36×56
Zero Compromise ZC8408-40×56
Kahles K525i DLR5-25×56
Steiner M7Xi4-28×56
Leupold Mark 57-35×56
Tangent Theta 5-25×56

Best Premium Long Range Shooting Scope

Weight of the Best Long Distance Rifle Scopes

There is a spread of weights between them on the list with the Vortex Razor III being the heaviest and the Mark 5 the lightest. The weight of an optic becomes very important if you are spending a lot of time on foot where the weight of the rifle combined with the weight of the bipod and the optic can become a burden. When looking for the best rifle scope for you, choose an optic with a weight that combined with your rifle will best suit your style of shooting.

Best rifles scope Long Range Shooting Scopes
Schmidt & Bender PM II995g/35.1oz
Nightforce ATACR1113g/39.3oz
Vortex Razor Gen III1278g/45.1oz
Zero Compromise ZC8401148g/40.5oz
Kahles K525i DLR992g/35.0oz
Steiner M7Xi949g/33.5oz
Leupold Mark 5935g/33oz
Tangent Theta 1155g/40.7oz

Eye Relief On High End Scopes

Eye relief refers to the distance between the eyepiece of a rifle scope and the shooter’s eye, ensuring an undistorted, full field of view. It is a crucial aspect of rifle scopes, particularly for users who wear glasses, as it directly impacts usability. Sufficient eye relief is essential for comfortable shooting, enabling a natural and relaxed head and eye position. This becomes especially significant during extended periods at the range. Inadequate eye relief can result in a narrowed field of view, hindering the ability to effectively track and aim at targets.

Therefore, selecting a scope with the appropriate eye relief is paramount for ensuring a comfortable and precise shooting experience. Most of the optics have a very similar eye relief with only the Kahles and Leupold standing out from the pack with larger ranges. If you wear glasses you may be suited to an optic with a little more eye relief.

Best rifles scope Long Range Shooting Scopes
Schmidt & Bender PM II90mm/3.54in
Nightforce ATACR91mm/3.6in
Vortex Razor Gen III89mm/ 3.5in
Zero Compromise ZC84089mm/3.54in
Kahles K525i DLR94mm/3.74in
Steiner M7Xi87mm/3.43in
Leupold Mark 596mm/3.8in
Tangent Theta 88mm/3.5in

Rifle Scope Adjustment In MIL & MOA

Most of the top tier long range shooting scopes are available in both MOA and MIL measurements. When deciding between these options, a helpful starting point is considering which measurement system aligns with your natural thinking. If you’re accustomed to measuring in centimeters and meters, MILs may be the better choice, whereas if you prefer inches and yards, MOA might be more suitable.

Mil and MOA Best Premium Long Range Shooting Scopes

Sticking with your familiar measurement system simplifies adjustments without the need for conversions. Whether you opt for MIL or MOA, it’s generally advisable to avoid switching back and forth between linear measurements unless operationally necessary. Instead, remain consistent with the system you’re accustomed to and select a scope accordingly.

Selecting the Best Rifle Scope Conclusion

In the world of premium rifle scopes, the diversity in options from magnification ranges, reticles, eye relief, glass origin to turret configurations means that choosing a single scope isn’t an easy task. The key lies in identifying features that aligns with your shooting requirements and budget.

Once you’ve honed in on the important factors for you, you can then refine your choice to the finer details, comparing models with those specifics to find the perfect match for your shooting needs. Exceptionally clear glass and a solid optic can help you get more accurate shots and make the experience a lot more enjoyable.

EDITORS PICK

Schmidt & Bender PM II 6-36×56

The best glass on the market, tough build from one of the best optics companies in the world

PRS FAVORITE

Nightforce ATACR 7-35×56

High magnification with clear glass and tough exterior

Best Premium Long Range Shooting Scopes

BEST VALUE

Vortex Razor Gen III 6-36×56

Best warranty in the optics world combined with smooth turrets and great glass

Best Premium Long Range Shooting Scopes

MODERN LONG DISTANCE PICK

Zero Compromise ZC840 8-40×56

New to the market the 840 has a massive magnification range with great glass

COMPETITION READY

Kahles K525i DLR 5-25×56

Packs features for competitions with a wide field of view

PROFESSIONAL PICK

Steiner M7Xi 4-28×56

Built tough and with a proven track record of performance

Best Premium Long Range Shooting Scopes

AMERICAN FAVORITE

Leupold Mark 5 HD 7-35×56

Cheapest of the 8 but packs great features for the money.

BEST TURRETS

Tangent Theta 5-25x56mm

Wide field of view and the best turrets on the market

Don’t forget to checkout our best scopes for hunting!

Editors Picks

Every long distance shooter needs this book. A must have.

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Provides a secure hold on your firearm and a place for all of your accessories.

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BEST CLEANING SOLUTIONS

Hoppes 9 Elite Gun Cleaning Kit

Effective solvent for removing primer, powder, lead and metal fouling.

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