Where long range precision shooting is involved, high-end optics are part of the mix. Most professional and amateur shooters using optics that cost even more than the rifles themselves. Taking into account our slogan, -if you can’t aim, you can’t shoot-, and how true that it, it becomes obvious how important optics play in long range precision rifle shooting. There are literally thousands of posts online comparing long range scopes, but very few of them contain actual experience of use, and true usable comparisons and advice that help shooters determine which is right for them. We cut through the BS, actually test and compare the top high-end long range rifle scopes on the market currently, and show you the results to help you decide which one is right for you. Not only do we test which is the best 300 yard rifle scope, but because of the nature of modern precision rifle matches, and sniper shooting, we also test which is the best thousand yard scope, and they are often one and the same thing when it comes to precision rifle scopes. The only other choice you have to make after reading this comparison, is whether you prefer a MOA or a MRAD reticle scope.
Finding the the best 1000 yard scope, and the best high-end rifle scope, are mostly the same thing, as when it comes to precision rifle shooting to distances of a 1000 yards, characteristics like tracking, clarity, and lens quality become vitally important. So this list is not only for those searching for the best precision rifle scope, but also for those looking for the best 1000 yard scope as well. Many of our readers enquiring about this level of rifle scope here, are often after a PRS scope for match shooting in the Precision Rifle Series or the National Rifle League.
1. KAHLES K525i 5-25x56mm
Uniquely offering the choice of having the windage knob on the left for adjusting windage without having to lift your right eye off the scope for right handed shooters, or the right as per other scopes if you prefer this. Kahles being owned by Swarovski and featuring Swarovski glass in a tactical scope, this Kahles offers the best of both optical performance and tactical functionality, Kahles are some of the best tactical European scopes you can get.
Large turret knobs offering good tactile adjustment feel, and a very easy to rotate magnification ring, make this scope a dream to operate in a timed high-stress match scenario like PRS or NRL. If you cannot justify spending the highest amount possible for the likes of a ZCO or Tangent Theta, you will never be left wanting with this Kahles.
If money was important but still having a top-tier scope, and just having one single scope for the rest of our lives, we would gladly stick with this Kahles K525i. Swarovski optics level clarity and glass, but with tough tactical build and features. This is the reason why it is crowned and used by us as the best PRS scope we have tested and shot with.
2. TANGENT THETA 5-25x56mm
A dedicated precision rifle long range scope, used by numerous winning precision rifle professional shooters.
If money is not an issue and you are looking for the absolute best precision rifle scope money can buy, the Tangent Theta is it. The turrets on this scope are incredible and can be used as a benchmark for other scopes. Clicks that are perfectly tactile, and tracking that is as good as you can get. These turrets can be turned for hours before being reset to zero, and your rifle will always be completely zeroed. This scope’s re-zeroing is also as simple as it gets; simply loosen the center of the turret cap, lift up and off the turret, put it back down at zero and tighten it down.
These turrets have a zero stop that is 0.6 MRAD below the zero, which means you can zero at 200 yards and then dial back to 100 if you do a lot of long range shooting and want to twist your knobs a little less than if you had a 100 yard zero.
The optical clarity is unrivaled in the industry. There is no tunneling, no chromatic aberration, and the picture is crisp and clear. Thanks to the 56mm aperture, you can see just fine even in low light indoor ranges where even most other high-end scopes struggle at magnifications greater than 10x.
The absolute only drawback we could find on this scope is that there are no distance values indicated on the parallax knob. It does, however, adjust over the full range in just 180⁰ of knob turn rather than the normal 360⁰, making it fast and easy to adjust and the parallax very forgiving. A quarter turn is 100 yards, and then you can set it at the full half turn and forget about it for everything 300 yards and further out.
The bottom line is that if you want the best tactical scope money can buy, this is the one you should get.
Optics from Schmidt and Bender, Nightforce, Zero Compromise Optics and Vortex are all inferior to this scope in some way (though they are all excellent scopes and the difference is minimal). If money isn’t a problem, simply purchase the Tangent Theta.
3. ZEISS LRP S5 5-25mm FFP
Newly added to the list for 2022 after having shot two matches with it so far, this new LRP S5 from Zeiss, is a superb PRS scope with many features you expect from a top-tier FFP scope, and a few new ones not yet seen on the other models.
With very large turrets, you not only get a very definite and tactile feel to the clicks, but on the elevation turret, there is a more defined click on every tenth adjustment or every 1 Mrad, so you can quickly dial to the higher numbers when having to dial for a lot of elevation at longer ranges under time constraints of a PRS match.
It is a well known fact that Zeiss is one of the best, if not the best optical glass manufacturers in the world, especially in their medical machinery, and that they produce most of the glass for the best other top-tier hunting and tactical scopes, so just as you would expect from their own offering, this LRP S5 is not exception when it comes to glass quality, image clarity and light transmission, equaling some of the best scopes available.
The illuminated reticle goes from dim to very bright so it can even be used in bright sunlight conditions, and it is only the central part of the reticle that illuminates so it does not distract you from the target.
The central adjustment ball of the scope, on which the turrets are mounted is quite a bit larger than most of the other scopes we have worked with, so keep this in mind when buying a unimount for it, as with a Spuhr mount, you will need the longer variation to ensure you do not damage the scope.
4. LEUPOLD MARK 5HD 5-25x56mm
Lighter than almost all the scopes in this class, whilst still offering top tier functionality and glass clarity, it becomes clear why the US Army prefers the Leupold Mark 5 in combat conditions.
With the ultra-light, yet military grade tough Leupold Mark 5HD, you will be well served when putting it through its paces. With optical great optical clarity, on-par with it’s price range, you would be surprised by how good it is for how light it is.
With only a slight bit of chromatic aberration and fringing, the scope delivers what is expected at this price range, and to beat it, you need to either look at the Minox LR 5-25 or move up in price towards the Vortex Razor HD II.
If you value fit and finish, with tough quality at an affordable price, the Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25x56mm is the rifle scope for you. We personally prefer the Illuminated TMR reticle because we adjust for hold over and windage and don’t aim for it, and we prefer the distinct center dot.
5. NIGHTFORCE ATACR 5-25X56mm F1 M-RAD
Most professional shooters have shot with or do shoot with a Nightforce at one point or another. Legendary toughnesss and dependability.
If you have had anything to do with precision rifle shooting, you will no-doubt have heard of the name Nightforce, and often it is touted as the ultimate when it comes to precision rifle scopes. In fact, a few years ago, Nightforce was almost alone in it’s class for high-end top-tier precision rifle scopes, in this price bracket, and to find another competitor back then, one had to opt for the Schmidt & Bender PM ii at almost double the price(then).
Luckily the other manufacturers have caught up, and with the improvement of technology and production costs, the Schmidt & Bender is now almost the same price, and there are now some top-tier scopes rated even better than both the Schmidt & Bender and the Nightforce ATAC-R at the same, and higher price brackets.
This scope still features an Illuminated Reticle, that you can switch from Green to Red to Off by pressing the button on the parallax focus, with three different brightness settings.
Nightforce rifle scopes are known to be built like a tank, and there are many stories of rifles and scopes being dropped, and still keeping their zero. If reputation, proven toughness, clarity and dependability are what you are after, then you will not regret getting this Nightforce ATAC-R.
6. VORTEX RAZOR HD GEN II
Superb clarity with heavy duty build quality backed by a lifetime guarantee. Well worth the price.
Many new precision rifle shooters initially struggle to see where the extra $900 price premium of this Vortex Razor HD Gen ii is compared to the Vortex PST Gen ii, but as soon as you start shooting at distances longer than 600 yards, or any low-light scenarios, the difference become clear and the clarity astonishes.
Built for long-range large caliber rifles, that kick the crap out of lower-end or medium-level rifle scopes, this Vortex can handle whatever bumps or recoil is thrown at it. Vortex is quickly gaining a good reputation and large following amongst the precision rifle community with with this scope, with many shooters opting to save a few dollars over the Nightforce, and get the same or better for less with this Vortex Razor HD Gen II.
7. MINOX ZP5 5-25x56mm MR4
Superior tracking and clarity from one of the world’s leading lens manufacturers. Military grade European optics.
A bright, tough, well-built riflescope that all who use, quickly fall in love with.
Only fairly recently becoming known in the US, and often associated with low-quality optics that they released in their initial entry-level range a few years ago, Minox is somewhat unknown to most precision shooters. What those who use them or have looked through them quickly realise, this Minox ZP5, offering military grade top-tier build quality and brilliant clarity and optic quality, easily competes with some of the best precision riflescopes available at any price point. We absolutely love ours, and will most certainly always have one on our all-weather rifle as in low-light and challenging light conditions is where the Minox clarity really sets it apart from similarly priced competitors.
8. SCHMIDT & BENDER PMII 5-25×56
Still the standard by which all other top-tier riflescopes are measured.
Featuring the Police Marksman designed double turn turret, that allows the elevation knob to enter a second 360 degree rotation for additional elevation settings, and also including a visual indicator showing you in which rotation you are, the Schmidt & Bender PMII can go long, very long.
Having been chosen previously by the US Special Operation Command Precision Sniper Rifle program as their riflescope of choice and issued to their snipers, you know it is good and dependable when it matters. With the advent of manufacturing technology, and improvement of competitive riflescopes on the market bringing the retail price of this once costly scope within reach of precision shooters.
9. SIG SAUER TANGO6 5-30x56mm
With HD glass, and proven Sig Sauer reliability and functionality, the Tango 6 will be as at home on a sniper’s rifle, as on a precision competition rifle.
If you are looking for a precision rifle scope, with in first focal plane, with high-end glass and low-light clarity, military-grade durability, but at a reasonable cost compared to others in the same class, the Tango 6 by Sig Sauer is the one to get.
Featuring legendary Sig Sauer build quality, with glass quality to match the best in the segment, this scope will not let you down no matter the weather and competition. The levelplex anti-cant system, which displays small led arrows inside the reticle, showing you which side needs to go up if you are canting the rifle left or right, helps you to keep the rifle level for long-range shots, without having to lift your eye off the scope. The sensitivity of the levelplex system can be set to your liking.
The turrets and magnification ring feature knurling that provides good grip in all weather situations, and Sig Sauer also offers and optional throw-lever that can be screwed onto the magnification ring knob if you prefer that. The turrets need to be lifted to be set, which helps prevent accidental adjustments.
If you are looking to enter the top-tier scope segment, or a PRS scope for shooting tough matches with, without breaking the bank too much, or if you know you will be putting the scope through a hammering and down want to feel sorry for a $3000+ scope, then this is the one to get, it can hang with the big boys, at a lower price bracket.
10. DELTA OPTICAL STRYKER HD 4.5-30x56mm
A relative new-comer with excellent glass and precise tracking and an unbeatable price for this category riflescope.
A new-comer and absolute case of underdog taking taking the scene by storm. This rifle scope by Delta Optical, features superb Japanese glass offering unmatched clarity and low-light brightness and visibility at anywhere near this price point. Not only the image, but the performance tracking-wise is truly precise and flawless at any magnification, even the hash-marks on the reticle are spot on as can be seen below.
With the parallax, zoom and eyepiece focus rings offering butter-smooth rotation, and great tactile feel of the clicks on the elevation and windage turrets, the build-quality and handling of this rifle scope score a near full marks in our books.
Yes it may not be a well-known name brand in the sporting optics world now, but with this sort of quality and performance, that will change soon enough, we struggled to find fault with Delta Stryker.
More Rifle Scopes to Come
These are our top picked high-end precision long range rifle scopes on the market, that we have tested personally so far. If you do not see a scope in this class that you are after, or already have, do not worry, we have a few more rifle scopes that we have either already received and are busy testing, or are still on the way to us to test. As soon as another rifle scope in this category gets tested and reviewed by us, it will be added here, so be sure to bookmark this page, sign up for our email list, and check back regularly.
Is FFP or SFP Better?
First focal plane vs second focal plane, has long been a big question on shooters mind as soon as they start taking precision rifle shooting seriously. For long range and precision rifle shooting, FFP has become non-negotiable because of it’s advantages over SFP, specifically for long range and precision rifle shooting matches.
Most new shooters got for the most expensive gun they can afford, and then just buy the cheapest scope they can find to put on it. If you start learning more about precision rifle shooting, or start attending any precision rifle shooting matches like the PRS or NRL matches, and even more applicable to extended long range and ultra long range rifle matches, you quickly learn that the riflescopes are as important, often even more important than the rifles. I definitely recommend any new shooter to buy the best PRS scope they can afford, and then only buy a rifle with the money left over. Most PRS shooters that are in the intermediate to professional league, will do better with a high-end scope on an entry level Howa or Remington 700 action rifle, than they would with a full custom high-end action rifle, but with a low-quality glass scope on top.
The same holds true for the NRL hunter league of competitions, where firstly seeing or spotting the target is the hardest part, so optical clarity becomes vitally important. The saying, and our slogan holds true, ‘if you can’t aim, you can’t shoot’. Although the very best is not often necessary, if you get to the professional level of precision rifle shooting however, you will find that a top-tier high-end rifle scope is a must have. Any of the riflescopes on this list will work well for professional and amateur precision rifle shooters looking for the best 300 yard scope, which one you choose however depends on what you value as important, whether it is clarity, low-light visibility, tactile feel, precise tracking, dependability, durability, name brand or price, that will determine which one is right for you.