a gun with scope set up on long range target shooting area

The 10 Best Sniper Scope Options To Hit The Mark Every Time

In the last decade, long-range shooting has become one of the most popular sectors of the shooting sports industry. From gong-ringing competitions at the range to extended trophy shots on Western game lands, it's clear that today's shooters can shooter longer and more accurately than ever before. Much of this improved long-range capability is the product of improved ammunition with higher-velocity projectiles. An equally big part, however, is improved optics. In this article, we'll take a deep dive into the best sniper scope available to civilian shooters.

Optics and Shooting

Most experienced shooters have used a range of scopes at various performance levels. It's common for hunters to use vintage optics handed down over generations on an heirloom firearm. If you've never looked carefully at today's best sniper scopes, then you may be in for some surprises. Sure, your grandfather's old Simmons may work just fine for a weekend in the Midwestern whitetail woods. But would you really want to carry that thing up a 7,000-foot ridge while chasing sheep in Idaho?

Scope Changes

The best sniper scopes today are lighter, have better quality glass, and are far more durable than their antique counterparts. While some modern scopes may look intimidating because of a larger form factor, it's important to remember why they are bigger. The front (objective) lens on any scope allows light to pass through and offers the shooter a field a vision. The bigger your objective lens the greater clarity you'll have in low light conditions. It's also important to remember that today's high-tech materials will be far lighter weight than the overweight scopes of yesteryear.


So if you're thinking about taking the plunge into long range shooting but you're intimidated by that looks of today's best sniper scopes then you can put those fears to rest. Throughout this article, we'll get you all the information you need to make an informed choice so you'll pick the best sniper scope for your long-range shooting needs.

Product FAQ

a man looking through the sniper scope

Image Source: Unsplash.com

1. How Do Sniper Scopes Work?

2. How Are Sniper Scopes Different from Regular Scopes?

3. What Types of Shooters Need a Sniper Scope?

4. What Should You Look for in a Sniper Scope?

5. Who Makes the Best Sniper Scopes?

How We Reviewed

a sniper scope attached to a replica gun

Image Source: Pexels.com

For this article, we selected sniper scopes with a range of different price points, quality levels, features, and sizes. We broke down the features for each scope and their prices, availability, and warranty information. Every scope has pros and cons, so we offered a few bullet points for each. We also chose one overall best sniper scope from this group. We're not saying this scope is the perfect option for every shooter at the range, but we feel it's an ideal combination of price, performance, durability, and overall value.

Overall Price Range

Prices can differ for today's best sniper scopes but the products on this list range between around $300 and around $2000. Lower-end scopes usually offer excellent value but cut costs by using lower-quality glass and offering less clarity. Top-end sniper scopes will offer crystal clear vision at very long distances and offer superb durability for years of tough use afield.

What We Reviewed

NightForce ATACR 4-16x42mm F1 Riflescope C615
  • 34mm main tube
  • First focal plane
  • Tactical MIL turrets
BARSKA 3-12x50 IR Huntmaster Pro 30/30 IR Cross Riflescope
  • Ideal rifle-scope when lighting conditions are less than ideal, combining advanced optic technology
  • Fast-focus eye bell, large objective lens, and multi-coated optics deliver clear, high-contrast downrange views
  • 3 to 12X magnification, water, fog and shock-proof, adjustable for wind-age, elevation and rheostat
Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II 4.5-27x56 FFP Riflescope EBR-2C MOA
  • The Razor HD Gen II 4.5-27x56 riflescope is feature rich and deadly accurate; perfect for advanced precision shooting...
  • Built for dialing in long-range, precision shots, the L-TEC Turret System features a locking mechanism that prevents...
  • A 6x zoom range offers magnification versatility while the fast focus eyepiece adjusts the reticle into sharp focus....
Steiner M5Xi 5-25x 56mm Riflescope, G2 Mil-Dot Reticle
  • Steiner M5Xi is a premium, high-performance sniper riflescope with true 5X magnification
  • Precise windage/elevation adjustments provide both visual and tactile indication of rotational position in a front focal...
  • Illumination control features rotary digital control with intermediate stops rated for daytime, low-light and night...
Sniper brand 6-24x50mm Scope W Front AO Adjustment. Red/Blue/Green...
  • Red, Green, Blue illuminated color Mil-Dot reticle
  • 1/4 MOA click value for wind and elevation adjustment
  • Multi-Coated lenses, includes scope rings
Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 5-25x50 FFP Riflescope EBR-2C MRAD
  • The Viper PST Gen II takes incredible performance and rock solid tactical features to new heights. The 5-25x50 first...
  • Shooters who dial their turrets for bullet drop and wind compensation will appreciate the laser etched turrets,...
  • The reticle offers shooters highly functional, intuitive, and detailed hold points, yet remains uncluttered for...
Nightforce Optics 5.5-22x56 NXS Riflescope, Matte Black Finish with...
  • 100 M.O.A. of internal adjustment
  • Exceptional optical integrity
  • Speed and accuracy in all situations
Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 6-24x50 SFP Riflescope VMR-1 MOA
  • The Viper HS-T 6-24x50 is one of multiple configurations in the Viper HS-T (Hunting & Shooting Tactical) line. VMR-1...
  • Incorporating our premium, fully multi-coated, extra-low dispersion lenses brings excellent resolution and color...
  • The exposed target-style turrets are constructed for precise and repeatable finger-adjustable clicks. A CRS Zero Stop...
Leupold FX-II 4x33mm Riflescope, Wide Duplex Reticle, Black
  • The Multicoated 4 lens system offer brightness, clarity, and contrast unmatched by other scopes in the FX-II class
  • Ruggedness and absolute waterproof integrity that's factory proven
  • A durable Leopold Scope Cover is included to protect your valuable FX-II riflescope during transport or when not in use
Leupold VX-R Patrol Riflescope
  • Leopold Model #113769 - VX-R Patrol 1. 25-4x20mm with Illum. Fire Dot SPR reticle and Matte finish
  • 100% Waterproof, fog proof, & shockproof
  • Illuminated Reticle, ideal for lowlight conditions
  • Nikon M-308 4-16X42 Riflescope
  • Schmidt Bender PMII
  • Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II First Focal Plane Riflescope
  • Steiner Optics M-Series Rifle Scope
  • FSI Sniper 6-24x50mm Scope
  • Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II First Focal Plane Riflescope
  • Nightforce Optics 5.5-22x56 NXS Riflescope
  • Vortex Optics Viper HS-T Second Focal Plane Riflescope
  • Leupold FX-II 4x33mm Riflescope
  • Leupold VX-R 1.25-4x20mm Patrol Rifle Scope

Nikon M-308 4-16X42 Riflescope


NightForce ATACR 4-16x42mm F1 Riflescope C615
  • 34mm main tube
  • First focal plane
  • Tactical MIL turrets

Description

The Nikon M-308 4-16X42 Riflescope is a superb quality sniper scope with excellent versatility that won't cost you an arm and a leg. This scope is made for integration with Nikon's Spot On Ballistic Match and is optimized for use with .308 caliber rifles including ARs. It offers 4X to 16X optical magnification and the generous 42mm objective lens will keep you shooting straight until the finals hours of your hunting day.


Nikon chose a BDC 800 reticle for this scope, so you'll have plenty of confidence handling bullet drops at long range. The fully waterproof, fog proof, and shock resistant tube will also withstand the worst weather you can find.

PROS  

  • Compatible with Spot on Ballistic Match
  • Calibre specific
  • 4X to 16X zoom
  • BDC 800 reticle

 CONS

  • Smaller objective lens than some sniper scopes

Where to Buy

Warranty

This scope is covered by Nikon's limited lifetime warranty.

Schmidt Bender PMII


BARSKA 3-12x50 IR Huntmaster Pro 30/30 IR Cross Riflescope
  • Ideal rifle-scope when lighting conditions are less than ideal, combining advanced optic technology
  • Fast-focus eye bell, large objective lens, and multi-coated optics deliver clear, high-contrast downrange views
  • 3 to 12X magnification, water, fog and shock-proof, adjustable for wind-age, elevation and rheostat

Description

The Schmidt Bender PMII 3-12x50 L/P Gen II offers a mix of premium features that will appeal to high-performance shooters. This scope offers an illuminated reticle, parallax adjustment, and Schmidt's proprietary .1 MRAD MTC (More Tactile Clicks) turret adjustment system. This means that you'll be able to dial in your target easily regardless of wind conditions or low light. With a 3X to 12X optical zoom, you'll also have more than enough magnification to obtain targets at extreme distances.

PROS  

  • Easily controlled turrets
  • 3X to 12X variable magnification
  • Superior glass clarity
  • Parallax adjustment

 CONS

  • High cost

Where to Buy

Warranty

​This scope is covered with a limited two-year warranty.

Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II First Focal Plane Riflescope


Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II 4.5-27x56 FFP Riflescope EBR-2C MOA
  • The Razor HD Gen II 4.5-27x56 riflescope is feature rich and deadly accurate; perfect for advanced precision shooting...
  • Built for dialing in long-range, precision shots, the L-TEC Turret System features a locking mechanism that prevents...
  • A 6x zoom range offers magnification versatility while the fast focus eyepiece adjusts the reticle into sharp focus....

Description

​The Razor HD Gen II 4.5-27x56 rifle scope is a premium-grade scope for specifically designed for hunters who need deadly accuracy in all conditions. This scope features Vortex's illuminated, glass-etched EBR-2C MOA reticle with 11 different brightness intensities. You can dial this scope in as far as 27X magnification, so there won't be any guessing about target acquisition when you're shooting for keeps. Vortex's L-TEC Turret System offers a visual sign of windage and elevation adjustments and allows for a quick and easy return to zero once adverse conditions calm down.

PROS  

  • Illuminated reticle
  • 27X max magnification
  • Easy to use turrets
  • Excellent glass quality

 CONS

  • Higher cost than some competing scopes

Where to Buy

Warranty

​This scope is covered with a limited lifetime warranty.

Steiner Optics M-Series Rifle Scope


Steiner M5Xi 5-25x 56mm Riflescope, G2 Mil-Dot Reticle
  • Steiner M5Xi is a premium, high-performance sniper riflescope with true 5X magnification
  • Precise windage/elevation adjustments provide both visual and tactile indication of rotational position in a front focal...
  • Illumination control features rotary digital control with intermediate stops rated for daytime, low-light and night...

Description

​The Steiner M5Xi has many features found on the highest priced scopes but with a considerably smaller price tag. This scope as a 3X to 15X variable magnification for an overall 5X power. The front focal plane design on this gun is manually adjustable with easily twisted turrets on the top and side. Shooters will both feel and see how far they've adjusted with indicating lines and can easily return to zero without incident. With an adjustable illuminated reticle, this gun is ideal for both daytime and nighttime use. What truly sets this gun apart, however, is its fully waterproof body that can be submerged down to 33ft.

PROS  

  • Easy windage and elevation adjustments
  • 5X overall magnification power
  • Waterproof to 33ft
  • Variable intensity illuminated reticle

 CONS

  • More expensive than some competing scopes

Where to Buy

Warranty

​This scope is backed with a lifetime limited warranty.

FSI Sniper 6-24x50mm Scope


Sniper brand 6-24x50mm Scope W Front AO Adjustment. Red/Blue/Green...
  • Red, Green, Blue illuminated color Mil-Dot reticle
  • 1/4 MOA click value for wind and elevation adjustment
  • Multi-Coated lenses, includes scope rings

Description

​The FSI Sniper 6-24x50mm Scope offers affordable quality for shooters who want to go long on a budget. This scope has a distinct look largely due to the front AO adjustment ring. FSI uses this ring just like the parallax adjustment on comparable rifles but puts the control at the tip of your fingers with an oversized tactile ring.


Despite this scope's ample 50mm objective lens, it's very light thanks to 6061 aircraft aluminum housing. Top and side turrets provide accurate windage and elevation controls for long shots with side winds and elevation changes. Multi-coated lenses complete the package on this scope and will keep you seeing for many seasons in the bush.

PROS  

  • Front AO adjustment rings
  • 50mm objective lens
  • Adjustable parallax view
  • Light 6061 aircraft aluminum body

 CONS

  • A retro look that may not appeal to modern shooters

Where to Buy

Warranty

​This scope is covered by a limited lifetime warranty against defects but also a satisfaction guarantee.

Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II First Focal Plane Riflescope


Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 5-25x50 FFP Riflescope EBR-2C MRAD
  • The Viper PST Gen II takes incredible performance and rock solid tactical features to new heights. The 5-25x50 first...
  • Shooters who dial their turrets for bullet drop and wind compensation will appreciate the laser etched turrets,...
  • The reticle offers shooters highly functional, intuitive, and detailed hold points, yet remains uncluttered for...

Description

Vortex's Viper PST Gen II offers maximum clarity and performance for shooters who want a top tier sniper scope at a mid-level price. This scope offers a robust 50mm objective lens with a 5X to 25X first focal plane magnification. The wide objective lens and 5X zoom on this scope make it one of the best sniper scopes available for both close range and long-range shots.


One of the most powerful features of this scope is the RTZ turret adjustment system. As you make windage and elevation adjustments an optical indicator keeps your initial zero-point illuminated. This way you can easily return the scope back to zero when needed.

PROS  

  • Vortex's RTZ zero adjustment turrets
  • 50mm objective lens
  • 5X overall magnification
  • Excellent reputation and customer support

 CONS

  • More expensive than some competitors
  • Slightly larger form factor than some comparable scopes

Where to Buy

Warranty

​This scope is covered by Vortex's limited lifetime warranty.

Nightforce Optics 5.5-22x56 NXS Riflescope


Nightforce Optics 5.5-22x56 NXS Riflescope, Matte Black Finish with...
  • 100 M.O.A. of internal adjustment
  • Exceptional optical integrity
  • Speed and accuracy in all situations

Description

The Nightforce Optics 5.5-22x56 NXS Riflescope is a high-performance product that easily ranks amongst the best sniper scopes on the market. This scope has a unique look with a matte black finish and some unique features to match. It offers 100 minute of accuracy internal adjustment to help you dial in long-range shots in even the most extreme weather conditions.


It has a massive 56mm objective lens that may have you feeling like you're using a spotting scope. And despite the scope's ample size, it's surprisingly light thanks to the premium-grade aircraft aluminum construction. This a tough and durable scope ready for anything you can throw at it.

PROS  

  • Large objective lens
  • Versatile internal MOA adjustments
  • High-grade materials
  • Exceptional warranty

 CONS

  • This scope could look massive on shorter guns
  • Higher cost

Where to Buy

Warranty

This scope is covered with a lifetime limited warranty.

Vortex Optics Viper HS-T Second Focal Plane Riflescope


Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 6-24x50 SFP Riflescope VMR-1 MOA
  • The Viper HS-T 6-24x50 is one of multiple configurations in the Viper HS-T (Hunting & Shooting Tactical) line. VMR-1...
  • Incorporating our premium, fully multi-coated, extra-low dispersion lenses brings excellent resolution and color...
  • The exposed target-style turrets are constructed for precise and repeatable finger-adjustable clicks. A CRS Zero Stop...

Description

The Viper HS-T 6-24x50 from Viper offers some of the best glass on the market for a low-middle priced sniper scope. This unit has lenses that are fully multi-coated and offer extra-low dispersion to help improve color recognition and overall clarity. The VMR-1 Reticle (MRAD) is easily adjustable with top and side turrets and the premium CRS Zero Stop system will never leave you second guessing about your zero.

PROS  

  • Large objective lens
  • VMR-1 Reticle
  • CRS Zero Stop

 CONS

  • May feel cumbersome compared with competing scopes.

Where to Buy

Warranty

​Vortex covers this scope with a limited lifetime warranty.

Leupold FX-II 4x33mm Riflescope


Leupold FX-II 4x33mm Riflescope, Wide Duplex Reticle, Black
  • The Multicoated 4 lens system offer brightness, clarity, and contrast unmatched by other scopes in the FX-II class
  • Ruggedness and absolute waterproof integrity that's factory proven
  • A durable Leopold Scope Cover is included to protect your valuable FX-II riflescope during transport or when not in use

Description

​The Leupold FX-II is a scope that offers sniper-quality target acquisition at an affordable price. This is a four-lens system with full multi-coating throughout. It offers superb clarity and color representation in an ultra-tough, American-made casing. While this scope does not offer MOA adjustment, the 33mm objective lens is ideal for short range shooters who need to take the occasional long shot.

PROS  

  • Affordable quality
  • Light and compact
  • Ultra-durable

 CONS

  • No adjustable turrets

Where to Buy

Warranty

​This scope is covered with a limited lifetime warranty.

Leupold VX-R 1.25-4x20mm Patrol Rifle Scope


Leupold VX-R Patrol Riflescope
  • Leopold Model #113769 - VX-R Patrol 1. 25-4x20mm with Illum. Fire Dot SPR reticle and Matte finish
  • 100% Waterproof, fog proof, & shockproof
  • Illuminated Reticle, ideal for lowlight conditions

Description

​The Leupold VX-R 1.25-4x20mm Patrol Rifle Scope offers a slim and compact option for shooters using one of the many scout and patrol rifles on today's market. With just a 20mm objective lens, this scope doesn't have any wasted size or material. In fact, it's made of ultra-light aircraft aluminum to give the lowest possible weight. It's a totally waterproof scope and also boasts an illuminated FireDot Duplex style reticle to improve visibility in low light conditions.

PROS  

  • Light and compact
  • Affordable
  • Superb build quality
  • Leupold's sterling reputation

 CONS

  • Only a 4X maximum zoom
  • Very small optical lens

Where to Buy

Warranty

​Leupold covers this scope with a limited lifetime warranty.

The Verdict

Our choice as the best sniper scope from this group is the Nightforce Optics 5.5-22x56 NXS Riflescope. This is a premium-grade scope and has the price tag to prove it. And while you'll dig deep for the honor of mounting this scope, we think it falls under the "buy once, cry once" category. With its huge 56mm objective lens and 100 MOA internal adjustment capabilities, this scope will give you the chance to make shots you simply wouldn't with other scopes.

If you're planning to mix in some close-range still hunting, then this may not be the right choice as it nearest zoom is 5.5X. For most forms of Western hunting and any competitions, however, we think this is one of the best sniper scopes on the market.

Featured Image Source: Pixabay.com

Logan

Logan

I'm an avid hunter and I've been doing it for over 25 years. I mainly hunt in Northern Minnesota and Arkansas during the summer. Thanks for reading my blog! I hope you enjoy my Hunting Gear Reviews, guides and blog posts!

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