- Magnification Power
- Objective Lens Size
- Brands to Consider for Your Long Range Hunting Scope
Most hunters desire a rifle that can shoot long distances, maximizing their kill zone for game. However, the long range rifle scope they select can be more vital than the rifle itself. A great scope will increase your accuracy, even at more than 500 yards.
Bullets can drop when traveling lost distances. A normal scope cannot account for the drop. Also, long range hunting scopes need more magnification than your average rifle scope. However, you need to find the right about of magnification.
When you get above 20x, the game can be distorted and become patches of fur rather than an object. Too much magnification can make seeing game difficult. The most important factor is the precision. Let’s look at other things you should know about long range hunting scopes.
Factors to Look for in Long Range Scope
Long range scopes can be an investment; you want to make sure it has all the features you need and want. However, this can be difficult since there are so many options on the market. When making your decision, there are some features you should look at to determine the best choice for you.
This is one of the most important features, as we discussed earlier. If you are shooting long distances, you ideally need more than 18x magnification. You will be able to zoom in on moving game with ease.
At the same time, you need a scope that allows you to zoom out, for game that is closer. A problem with scopes such as 10x to 40x is you are limited to long range shooting. If all you plan to do is competitions, this should be fine, but hunters need the capability to shoot closer as well.
Game can be anywhere, and you don’t want to be limited to far away game. There are a lot of adjustable ranges; something such as a 3.5x to 25x would give you the both of best worlds.
There is a feature more important on your long range scope than magnification, and this is the lenses. Long range hunting scopes need to have lenses that are crystal clear. The picture needs to be great at low and high magnification.
Shooting at long ranges can be difficult. You have more factors in play than just the game. 1,000 yards is far; reading the wind is a needed skill if you want to hit the mark each time. Great lenses allow you to see the dust and grass blowing to help determine the wind factors.
This is one of the reasons I don’t suggest shooting for long range scopes online. You may have more selection online, but it is hard to determine the quality of the lenses. When I shop for my rifles, I look through different scopes for a side by side comparison.
The reticle you select is also an important factor for your long range scope. There are tons of selections available; all you need is a simple hash marks or dots. If you want a specialty reticle, the market has tons available.
Reticles can have MIL and MOA measurements that are separated. They also have holdovers for wind and elevation. You will need to practice and spend time learning how to use your new scope to understand it fully.
You should want a reticle with the holdovers, but some also include bullet drop compensators. This sounds like an awesome feature, but in my experience, they are far from accurate with long range shooting. If you will be shooting over 800 yards, it isn’t a necessary feature. Also, they don’t generally include the wind holdovers, which is far more important.
Objective Lens Size:
Lens allows light to be transmitted. Usually, a larger lens means more light transmitted. This is generally a good thing. However, anything over 50mm will make little difference in your long range scope.
The biggest problem with selecting a large objective lens size is the mounting on the rifle. If the scope is higher than the barrel, you risk reducing your precision level. Your scope needs to be close to the barrel.
Ideally, you would select an objective lens size between 42mm and 50mm. Remember, while bigger sometimes is better, you will minimal to no betters after reducing your precision.
Long range shooting has more factors to consider than normal range shooting. You need the ability to make adjustments easily. More than just wind, you will also encounter elevation adjustments.
When shooting at long ranges, you will find yourself making more frequent adjustments for elevation. Bullets can drop when traveling at long ranges. For example, a 308 round will drop 50 inches (over 4 feet) at 500 yards. You have to be able to make the adjustments for an accurate shot.
You will see some long range rifle scopes that make 50 MOA or MIL adjustments. This just isn’t enough for long distances such as 1,000 yards. Go for the 100 MOA or MIL adjustments so you don’t run out of adjustment ranges.
These are just some of the factors you should be aware of when making your selection. There are other things to consider as well, such as the focal plane and the scope body. However, these 5 are some of the most important factors to check when making your selection.
Brands to Consider for Your Long Range Hunting Scope
Now you understand some of the basic factors of long range scopes. If you have ever used a scope before, this should make a great deal of sense for you. If you haven’t, you may want to find a store that allows you to try before you buy the scopes. They do take practice and time in order to become well-versed.
There are a lot of brands to consider before making the purchase. Here are 4 brands I consider to be top of the line options.
If you want a brand you know will have the best lenses, Swarovski has some of the clearest lenses on the market. Some of their scopes can cost thousands of dollars, but the quality is the best. They make scopes at the highest standard. The Z6 BT can adjust 43.2 inches per hundred yards for elevation adjustments. The correction is .36 per hundred yards. If you plan to do competition shooting, consider a Swarovski scope.
Leupold has scopes in all budget ranges, making this brand appealing for all buyers. The quality is never lacking, no matter what price range you select. A great selection is the VX-2, with a magnification of 4-12x and objective lens size of 40mm.
Nikon makes every type of lens imaginable, from cameras to scopes. It is easy to understand why they are considered a trustworthy brand. They have some middle-of-the-road price scopes. The Nikon Buckmaster costs around $275 and is a great scope for the money.
This is a popular brand for all scopes. One of the most popular options for long range hunting scopes is their Elite Tactical scope. The magnification goes from 3.5x to 21x; this is impressive. It packs a lot of power, but comes at a hefty price. No worries; Bushnell has lower ranges as well.