January 30, 2018
Long-range shooting is very popular right now, with more people ringing steel out at 1,000 yards than ever. However, a thorough knowledge of ballistics is required to implement the features of a long-range scope. I'd be willing to bet that a good many features built into the best-long range scopes are lost, but we as shooters are doing quite an impressive job educating ourselves.
Here's a look at some of the best values in long-range scopes for 2018, both simple and complex, staying within a reasonable budget.
The new Strike Eagle 4-24x50mm scope - with a 30mm main tube - offers a shooter plenty of options in an affordable package. Using the EBR-4 reticle, there are enough useable subtentions for accurate holdover (or under) and wind adjustments without over -cluttering the view. The second focal plane reticle is calibrated to be used at the highest magnification, and is not only glass-etched but illuminated as well. With ¼ MOA adjustments and a full 80 MOA in both planes, the Strike Eagle should prove to be a popular choice, especially with an MSRP of $699.99.
Riton is a new optics company from Arizona; they are Veteran owned and making good scopes. Their Mod5 4-16x40 features a one-piece 30mm main tube, dry nitrogen purged and filled and a left-side parallax adjustment knob. Featuring a bold and simple mil dot reticle - the Mod5 uses capped locking turrets with ¼ MOA adjustments for a scope that could easily do double duty as a hunting scope and a tactical/target scope. At 14 ½ inches long and weighing 23.8 ounces, the Mod5 is a good value, especially considering it comes with an MSRP $499 and a lifetime warranty.
This one's loaded for bear. It's available in either MOA or milrad measurements, with a simple to use reticle, in a 30mm tube with a 50mm objective, at a price point of $749.99. It's offered with an illuminated reticle, 4-16 magnification range, glass-etched reticles, high-speed turrets (with seriously positive clicks), parallax adjustment and quick focus eyepiece, lots of eye relief and a lifetime warranty. There's no reason a shooter who wants to break into the long-range game can't get it done with this new Nikon; simply put, I was impressed from the minute I got behind the glass. Images are crisp, magnification changes are a breeze, and the reticle makes sense. Gonna be hard to beat this scope.
I've been a fan of Burris scopes for quite a while, especially their tendency to over-design integral parts like tension springs. The XTR II, in the 3-15x50 non-illuminated variety is a serious piece of kit, considering the beefy main tube and triple spring tensioned adjustments. One look through the Hi-Lume coated lenses will make a believer out of you, and the 5x magnification range gives all sorts of flexibility for those wanting to use this scope for a variety of purposes. With an MSRP of $1079, and a street price of under $900, there's a lot here to be happy about. A first focal plane reticle, matched precision adjustment knobs, and the Burris Forever Warranty make for a package that will serve the budget-conscious shooter very well.
For a shooter who wants to get his or her feet wet in the long-range game, the Bushnell AR Drop Zone 6.5 Creedmoor is an affordable means of getting out there. It's a simple 1-inch main tube, with a drop compensated reticle using holdover points for the trajectory of the 6.5 Creedmoor out to 600 yards. With a 4.5-18x magnification range, and a 40mm objective lens, this scope will allow a shooter to learn the fundamentals of the long range game using both reticle holdover and dialing - the scope comes equipped with ¼ MOA target-style turrets - at a fraction of the cost of the high-end stuff. The MSRP of $323.45 should be very appealing to the budget-minded.
This one is one the high side of affordable, but has some great features that make it a really good value. The Sig optics have good, clear glass, and the entire product line has shown itself to be reliable across the board. The Whiskey 5 5-25x52mm features the Level Plex, helping to eliminate any cant in your shooting position so your bullets will drop in where you intend them to. The reticle has varying illumination, and the elevation turret has 75 MOA of adjustment range, equipped with a zero lock. Positive ¼ MOA clicks allow for confident adjustments, and the Whiskey 5 is backed with a lifetime warranty. Street price is right around $1,200, but again, it's a good value.