Having a great rifle scope can be really advantageous to your accuracy, especially at long ranges. Taking a 1000 yards shot goes beyond having a steady aim, as elevation and windage become notable factors, even the bullets that you use.
Since you’re here, chances are you already have a great rifle, with the missing ingredient being the best rifle scope for 1000 yards. This article aims to point you in the right direction and highlight top choices, but also break down what makes a good scope. It would be quite simple to list out the most expensive options which easily go beyond $3000, but we’ve opted for more sensible, value-for-money scopes which perform just as well.
Without further delay, lets get into the top picks for 1000 yard scopes!
Best 1000 Yard Rifle Scopes: Our Picks
|Tube size||30 mm|
|Magnification x Lens||6-24×50|
This gem of a product made by Vortex takes the top of our list. The HS-T stands for Hunting Shooting Tactical, clearly describing the purpose of this magnificent scope. Built out of a solid block of aircraft-grade aluminum, Viper can withstand a lot of recoil as well as impacts. Finished in hard anodized, low-glare matte, it boosts shooters’ ability to camouflage. O-ring sealed tube with argon purging makes sure that the Viper is completely waterproof and fogproof. The best part – it comes with a lifetime warranty!
The hashmark-based second focal plane VMR-1 MOA reticle is extremely effective for adjusting to windage and moving targets in real-time. The second focal plane or SFP reticle is designed in such a way that it keeps its appearance at any magnification.
Internally, only the premium components have been used. The Precision-force spring system ensures the maximum repeatability and ease of adjustment, while the zoom lens mechanism makes sure that any magnification change comes smoothly, even in the most extreme of conditions. Fiber optic provides visible reference points on the turret, alongside rotation indicator, with a tactile point of reference.
|Tube size||30 mm|
|Magnification x Lens||6-24×50|
This best-of list would not be truly complete without a Nikon optic. Nikon Black FX1000 bears what the brand is all about, bringing its optical prowess forward with this model. High-speed turrets have integral zero stop for a quick reset which is an impressive addition. Exceptionally detailed reticle lets you calculate and adjust on the fly, and is one of the strongest points of this Nikon scope.
Built to the highest standards with an O-ring seal, Nikon Black is waterproof, shockproof, and fogproof, as well as resilient to the extreme weather conditions and thermal shock. Eye relief is advertised as generous, while quick focus eyepiece allows for a crystal clear reticle and fast target acquisition. The side parallax knob is adjustable without the need to change the shooting position.
While advertised to have a ‘generous’ eye relief, Nikon Black is beaten by a few of its competitors in this department. Still, this makes it far from inferior, and in fact, we struggled to find any true fault with it!
|Tube size||30 mm|
|Magnification x Lens||5-25×50|
|Turret Style||Capped or Tactical|
Burris Optics has always been in the race for producing the best long-range rifle scopes, and the Veracity definitely shows why. Unlike most of the other options, it’s available with a choice of three reticle styles: SCR MOA, Classic Ballistic Plex, and Customized Ballistic Plex. This makes it a favorable choice for those who’re picky about they’re reticle style, including myself!
As expected, Veracity is built from a single piece, nitrogen filled, and sealed, so there’s no need to worry about the build quality. I might be just saying that, but Burris Optics certainly isn’t, as this scope comes with a Burris Forever Warranty!
With the use of Progressively Thick Crosshairs, which flare away from the center, you’ll be able to quickly target in low light conditions at close ranges, while it’s effective at any magnification. Like the Nikon, it has the quick return to zero through the Zero Click Stop system, and 15 MOA of adjustment per turret rotation. As it comes with trajectory compensation out to 700 yards, practicing at that range will make the 1000 yard shot that much easier to master.
|Tube size||30 mm|
|Magnification x Lens||5.5-22×56|
The NXS is the most popular model offered by Nightforce Optics, and it isn’t hard to figure out why. Just as sturdy as the competition, NXS is both waterproof and fogproof. Aside from the larger lens, the feature which makes this scope stand out the most is the illuminated reticle.
Like the Veracity, it has three reticle options:
- MIL-R – 5 Mils Reticle, which is excellent for range estimation
- MOAR-T Reticle, a more refined option that allows for multiple zeroes, holdover, hold-under, and windage adjustments
- MOAR – 20 MOA Reticle with 1 MOA elevation and windage adjustments, and improved range finding for smaller targets at longer range
This is an expensive scope, and the weight is on the higher end, but for a shooter looking for the specific features, Nightforce Optics NXS is definitely worth considering.
|Tube size||30 mm|
|Magnification x Lens||4.5-27×50|
|Turret Style||Exposed Direct Dial|
With the second generation of Ares BTR scope, Athlon has managed to strike gold again, giving us a fantastic scope capable of long-range targeting. The new stainless steel turret design improves on the previous generation and features more tactile, sharper clicks.
Athlon boasts its HD glass, which is a new optical system that provides a clearer and brighter image regardless of magnification. The reticle is illuminated for better visibility during dusk or dawn, as well as other low light situations. Zero Stop System works perfectly, while the erector system is built to extreme tolerance levels that allow the smoothest magnification changes.
Despite a slightly higher price point, the Ares deserves its spot in this list due to its excellent performance.
|Tube size||34 mm|
|Magnification x Lens||5-25×56|
Steiner is a well-known manufacturer of premium rifle scopes, and T5Xi is one of our favourite models. With German design and U.S. manufacturing, you already know this model cannot turn out bad. The illuminated SCR reticle is specially designed for long-range competition use and has 4 night and 7-day levels of brightness. The markings are detailed, matched by finely tuned turrets which can be reset to zero. The Never-Lost turrets have a second rotation indicator which prevents the shooter from getting lost on his dials.
As Steiner optics saw extensive military use, you can expect top-notch build quality and ruggedness. Pressure sealed one-piece oversized tubes is durable against all types of weather and shock. The T5Xi comes with a heritage lifetime warranty, which does not require a warranty card or receipt, and is fully transferable to the next owner. With this move, Steiner is making a strong statement: Our scopes are built to last.
With this model, we’re stepping into the higher tiers of scopes, but also price points. Steiner T5Xi is an expensive scope, but if we put the price aside, it just might be the best long-range rifle scope.
|Tube size||34 mm|
|Magnification x Lens||5-25×56|
For good measure, here’s a Schmidt Bender. When you throw your budget plans out the window and are just looking for the best option, but also brand name, you end up with one of these. The PM II is a beast of a scope, used by the snipers of the USMC special forces, US Navy, Air Force, and Army. Several anti-terrorist law enforcement units have these scopes attached to their rifles.
Designed specifically for long to ultra-long range, this model is not the best rifle scope for 1000 yards. It’s the best for much, much further targeting. A 1000 yards with a scope like this, with as good of a rifle, should be absolutely no challenge. We’ve spoken about reticle options, well, PM II comes with eight, and some of these are so detailed and complex that you’ll need to read the manual several times to remember all the features.
As you can see, I’m not talking about build quality. That’s because this scope speaks for itself. If special forces can take it on a mission, no matter where you take it, the PM II will not be affected at all. Double Turn elevation turret provides a visible rotation indicator and two rotational settings, for the finest tuning.
All of this costs a lot of money. And I do mean A LOT. But, if you’re able to easily afford it, or have just thrown common sense away, you’ll receive the finest German scope money can buy!
How to choose the best rifle scope for 1000 yards
As scopes of this caliber are not cheap by any means, a lot of consideration is needed for making the best purchase. At 1000 yards, you need more than just magnification, which is why we’ll go over each of the aspects that can affect your ability to make that shot. If you’re already aware of these, or if your budget speaks for itself, feel free to go back to the product list and pick the most suitable scope. But if you’re looking for more information, stick around.
How does a scope function?
Even though scopes are extremely complex and built to microscopic precision, in essence, they’re a series of magnifying lenses within a tube container that has been built for centuries. Components of a modern optic include a scope tube, ocular assembly, focal planes, picture reversal assembly, adjustment knobs, mounting rail, and objective assembly. We will go into great detail for several of them, as they’re crucial for a well-built scope that can be used for long-range shooting.
To hit a target at 1000 yards, you’ll first need to see it clearly. This is where magnification plays an important role, and mid-range, variable 3-12×42 scopes will not be sufficient. Our selection of scopes has a wide range of magnification, from 5 to 25 power, giving you plenty to work with. Sufficient magnification for 1000 yards is between 14x to 18x, but feel free to increase the magnification if your scope allows it. At this range, without a carefully prepared stabilization setup, you won’t be able to see the target, let alone hit it, so always take that into the account as you prepare.
Reticles come in different shapes and sizes, with varying degrees of information presented through the lens. At the range we’re aiming at, a plain cross-shaped reticle can suffice for an experienced marksman, but I’d strongly suggest going with better options.
You can get MOA or Mil reticles, which determine the way measurement notches are displayed. Detailed windage and elevation markings, rangefinder, and the illuminated reticle will help you get a better sight picture and position on your target. Some even come with built-in positions for different ranges, with your only task being to adjust magnification, and take steady aim.
The focal plain plays an important role, determining whether the reticle is enlarged by the changes of magnification. Our picks come with the second focal plane reticle, which is not affected by magnification. Some suggest going with the first focal plane, but if that was superior, it wouldn’t make too much sense for all of these high-end manufacturers to go against it.
We could stay on the topic of turrets for hours and not explore all the details, which is while I’ll briefly summarize the important aspects. Turrets are the way you adjust your scope for windage and elevation so that the reticle can be centered on the target. While this part is pretty straightforward, the way to achieve this at long range is quite challenging.
Turret rotations need to be both very precise for fine-tuning, but also fast enough so that you’re not spinning the turret like a volume knob. As you’re focusing on the target and adjusting, it’s easy to lose track of how far you’ve adjusted, making it difficult to return to the original state.
Several manufacturers have found solutions for most of these problems. Tactical turrets have clear indicators, crips movement, and characteristic clicks that will help you tune the scope while looking through the lens. Some have a single-click return to zero, very useful if you go overboard, or are done shooting at that range.
Parallax occurs when the target and reticle are on different planes within the scope, an optical illusion that is symptomatic for the long-range scopes. However, this is easily mitigated by using the parallax adjustment turret, or an adjustable ring on the objective lens.
Having a larger lens helps with capturing more light, therefore making the image brighter and clearer for you as a shooter. For the long-range shooting, the typical lens size is between 50mm and 56mm. The lens itself has to be made out of the highest quality glass with multiple protective and enhancing coatings to offer a clear picture. If a lens is sub-par, it brings down the rest of the features with it, no matter how impressive they may be. You will find a lot of crossover between rifle optics and camera lens making companies, as these typically have the same standard of build quality.
Construction and Build Quality
Typically made out of aluminum or high-grade steel, optics casings should be cast as a single piece-tube. This provides the much-needed strength to withstand shock, be it from heavy recoil, or impact. Seals between the lenses need to be perfect, especially on the outer lenses, as even the tiniest amount of dirt, or even clean air, carries enough particles to foul the entire optic. A speck of dust is insignificant to a human eye, but at 20x magnification, it’s more than noticeable.
With the high-end models, the internal gaps are not filled with air, but rather nitrogen or similar gasses, as this prevents fog from enveloping the lens. Bottom line is, you shouldn’t worry about build quality with any of the models listed above, as the manufacturers have taken more than enough time to perfect their products, as well as offering a lifetime warranty for their optics.
As the name suggests, eye relief provides a distance between the rear lens and your face. It’s an important feature as the recoil of the gun will drive it backward, and your body will move before your head does, which can lead to painful results. Optics manufacturers are staying on top of this, providing you with several inches of spacing between the scope and the cheek rest. This not only allows for better scope placement but also a more comfortable shooting position. When looking at any optics, it’s not a bad idea to check for eye relief distance.
Do I need additional equipment?
Even if you get the best long-range rifle scope, there are still a few more things that can make that shot easier. A pair of high-quality sunglasses can prevent sunlight from disrupting your vision and help you focus. Binoculars come as a must, as you shouldn’t wave your gun around freely to sight through it. A rifle scope is great for targeting and precision aim, but that’s all it’s really designed to do. Binoculars will be much better at giving you the whole picture, and a good pair will last you a lifetime.
An alternative to binoculars is a spotting scope. It provides a single lens, which can be larger to provide a clearer picture, and typically mounted on a tripod to provide a stable picture at long range. Rangefinders, be it integrated into a spotting scope, binoculars, or standalone is crucial for taking a 1000 yard shot. Granted, if you’re at the range, you know how all of the targets are distanced, but in the wild, especially when hunting, you need to make sure you have the most information possible, to make that challenging shot.
By now, you should have a clear picture of the scope’s functionality, and priorities when it comes to a purchase, and if you’ve looked at our carefully curated list, you’ve most likely found the best long-range rifle scope per your requirements. You can’t go wrong with any of these highly competitive options, but think carefully and consider your budget.
If you’re thinking of finding a bargain or sale for one of these, be very careful. Second-hand market and even some of the retailers are selling fake scopes that have nowhere near the same level of build quality nor precision. Spending $50 on a no-name scope can be fine, but playing with $500 or more is very risky. Brand association affecting the prices is definitely a thing, but in all honesty, I would rather spend more and have a tried and true product, than to end up with a waste of money counterfeit.
Schmidt Bender PM II might just be the best on our list, but the extreme price makes them hard to recommend for all but those aspiring to become a top-tier marksman. Vortex Optics Viper HS-T is an excellent all-around choice, but if you’re on a budget, Nikon will be just as effective. We understand that these options are expensive as-is, but there’s no real alternative. A rifle scope that can effectively target 1000 yards does not come cheap, and neither does the rifle for it to be placed upon.
Still, if you’re confident in your skills, and have a budget to spend on one of these amazing scopes, we hope our article was helpful in finding the best rifle scope for 1000 yards!