Be it PRS or leisure hunting, and rifle scopes have become a necessity. Most of these fit on different types of rifles and prove resourceful. Various factors need to be taken into account while selecting the best long range scope under $500. To make a choice easy for buyers, the list compiles the best rifle scopes in the price range.
Customer feedback has played the most important role in compiling the list. The scopes are ultimately for customers to use. While the rifle scopes share most of the features, a few distinct ones make them stand out.
Despite being affordable, they offer characteristics of high-end scopes such as aircraft-grade aluminum, parallax adjustment, tactile turrets, and so forth.
Top 7 best long range rifle scope under $500
1. Vortex Optics Crossfire II
The adjustable objective scope makes it to the top of the best long range scope under 500 lists. The product offers two options: V-Plex and Dead-Hold BDC. Both of them offer a good range, and the reticle is great for hunting or leisure shooting. The greatest advantage it has to offer is the excellent estimation of holdover.
The turrets make a clicking sound, which makes it easier to alter while focusing. Also, the body is made from a single tube of high-quality aluminum to provide a strong and shockproof scope.
The reticle is illuminated by a red dot at the center of the crosshairs. Red dot is faintly visible in broad daylight but performs a decent job in low-light conditions. The multi-coated lenses are anti-reflective and anti-fog and remove parallax for better focus.
The scope has a long eye relief, and the combined effect of eye box and eyepiece lets you focus quickly on the target, making it ideal for hunting. Tube is sealed with O-rings, which make it water- and fog-proof.
- Anti-reflective, waterproof, and fog proof.
- Turrets make a clicking sound and have a reset button.
- Quick focus and parallax removal.
- Good holdover estimation.
- The optics may fail when you adjust the focus.
- Not good for distances further than 150 yards.
It might not offer great visibility under low-light conditions but performs satisfactorily well with the help of the red dot. It is a great 1-4 scope and is perfect for hunting, especially in varying ranges that require holdover estimation.
2. Athlon Riflescope Argos
Athlon scopes make the perfect choice for PRS. The multi-coated lenses offer great visibility even at nights and have 4 x magnifications. The reticle is designed to shrink and grow as you zoom in or zoom out. Moreover, the scope offers characteristics of high-end scopes such as elevation and windage adjustments.
The reticle is illuminated and is etched in glass, which offers great durability. It offers quick focus. The lenses are XPL coated, which protects it against grease and dirt.
Tube is heat-resistant and sturdy. The scope is waterproof and fog proof. The control and erector system are designed to minimize shock.
- First focal plane reticle for quick target engagement.
- Good for long-range shooting.
- Offers windage and holdover adjustments.
- The lenses have protective layering and offer great visibility at night.
- It does not hold zero.
- Turret tracking is not reliable.
The scope is best for PRS. It offers good long-range focus though it requires frequent adjustment. The first focal plane reticle could prove bothersome if you are not used to the same. Regardless, the lenses offer great visibility and the body is shockproof. The lenses are multi-coated and the body is made from high-grade aluminum to provide sturdiness.
3. Nikon M-Tactical
Offering markers from 100-800 yards, the riflescope is great for long-range shootings. The sleek 30mm tube makes it look classy and elegant. The scope by Nikon makes it to the lists because of user reviews. The brand lives up to its name and provides the highest quality lenses in the list.
It’s knobs have coarse indentations for easy setting. They have a spring-loaded reset option. The side knob provides parallax adjustment without changing the shooting position.
Moreover, wind age and elevation turrets offer quick adjustments and a quicker focus. The eye relief is forgiving.
- Multi-coated lenses provide high contrast pictures.
- It offers great versatility owing to 4x magnification and reticle with markers.
- Waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof.
- No distortion around the edges.
- The reticle is not illuminated.
- You will have to buy the mount separately.
The riflescope is great for long-range and short-range shootings. Since the reticle is not illuminated, it is only good for shooting in daylight. The scope offers the best lenses in the list and has other typical features of a good scope. Body is sleek and the design is elegant. The scope performs its best with a .308 Winchester only.
4. Leupold VX-3i Riflescope
The matte-finish scope is the best looking in the list. Leupold offers a duplex reticle for precise shooting. The scope is entirely waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof. Lenses are resistant to scratch and are high-grade.
It offers ¼ MOA adjustments for high precision. Windage and elevation adjustment is superb. The body is made of aircraft quality aluminum, like most of the scopes.
Though, it does not break easily even under strong recoils.
- Good magnification and crystal clear pictures.
- Better light transmission makes it good for low-light conditions.
- The body is strong and can bear strong recoil impact.
- Matte-finish makes it look the best.
- Turrets are not easy to manage.
- No reset option on turrets.
Leupold has produced a great scope with sharp pictures. The double reticle makes focusing easier. Moreover, it has good long-range support. ¼ MOA windage and elevation adjustment with parallax removal makes it even better. The lenses have twilight max coating and offer great visibility at night. It is one of the best looking and performing scopes in the list.
5. Bushnell Engage Riflescope
The Bushnell Engage series offer decent scopes for leisurely hunting or sports. It offers 1-MOA elevation and wind age hash marks. The lenses are coated to avoid water, grease, dust, and debris. It offers a bright and sharp picture quality. The turrets give a tactile feel and the side knob is used for parallax adjustment.
Lenses have an anti-glare coating and the tube is overall waterproof and shockproof. The matte-black color gives it a nice finishing. The product includes eyepiece covers and flip-open objectives. It is ideal for short and mid-range shooting.
- The lenses are anti-glare and provide great clarity.
- Turrets are easy to adjust and reset.
- Holds zero.
- It comes with lens cover.
- The reticle is thin and does not help.
- The lenses fog up easily.
It provides value for money but does not have all the required features. The turrets give a tactile feel and are easy to adjust. The reticle proves useless as the crosshairs are very thin. There is no illumination and therefore, it does not work well in low-light conditions. It provides good elevation and wind age adjustments and overall, it performs well at that price.
6. Nikon Black FX1000
The 4-16 x 50 scopes has quickly adjustable turrets for quicker focus. It offers great optics owing to the legacy of Nikon. It has the first focal plane optical system, and the lenses offer good and crisp pictures in all light conditions. The reticle helps in holdover and wind age adjustments.
The turrets provide 24 MOA adjustments per revolution and are marked. They can be reset to zero instantly. It has considerable eye relief. The O-ring sealed body is waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof. Also, Nikon scopes offer protection against thermal shocks.
- Etched glass reticle for crystal clarity.
- Turrets have a good grip and offer quick adjustments.
- Good eye relief.
- 25 MOA adjustments per revolution on wind age and elevation turrets.
- The body is not sturdy and offers low protection against recoils.
- The lenses are not as good as other Nikon scopes.
The scope is good for shooting up to a range of 1000 yards. The MOA is accurate and etched reticle provides good adjustments. The turrets might create problems, but once you get used to them, they offer quick adjustments and easy reset. It has all the necessary features of a good scope and it offers value for money.
7. Burris Fullfield Riflescope
Burris provides a lifelong warranty on this scope which itself speaks volumes. The sturdiest scope in the list provides excellent optics. The target appears clear as the light transmission is great. It offers high magnification and proves good for long-range shooting.
The scope offers a trajectory-compensating technology to fight against wind drift. Reticle is helpful, and the side knob helps with parallax adjustment. The scope is threaded for sunshade. It gives accurate holdover data. Wind age and elevation adjustments are accurate, too.
- Great focus and magnification.
- Value for money.
- Great optics and lenses provide a crystal clear view.
- The finishing of the product isn’t good.
- The turrets do not have a quick reset.
If you are looking for a scope with all the basic features at a low price, Burris 4.5-14x42mm scope proves ideal. It has a ballistic Plex reticle, which helps in long-range shooting. The picture is clear and bright and cascading dots help in compensating for wind drift. Overall, it is a decent scope and gives value for money.
What to look for in a long range rifle scope?
Long-range rifle scopes must have magnification. Without variable magnification settings, long-range scopes do not prove of much help. Moreover, once you get used to the first focal plane reticle, it becomes a necessary feature in long-range shooting. Other important features include:
- Magnification alone cannot help. The light transmission through the lenses must be good. This will help in providing clear and high contrast pictures. Lenses should be of high grade and the eye relief must be generous. The combined effect will produce less strain on the eyes.
- The reticle should either be etched or must have hash marks. These help in compensating for variables. If the reticle isn’t thick, it will not help in quick focusing. Thick or double reticle makes it easier to target objects far away.
- The best long range scope should also be sturdy. Long-range shooting implies stronger recoil. The body of the scope should be able to withstand strong recoils so that they do not break or get damaged easily.
- It takes time to focus on objects far away. If the lenses are not fog proof or waterproof, it could cause problems. Also, they should be anti-glare. Long-range shooting requires immense concentration and these little features help in avoiding problems.
- Parallax, wind age, and elevation adjustment are equally in long-range shooting. These features are present in all the scopes mentioned above, and therefore, they prove great for mid-range and long-range shooting.
Different MOA adjustments also prove useful in precision shooting. Except for these, some auxiliary features enhance the experience. Multi-coated lenses ensure that they stay scratch-resistant and avoid the accumulation of grease, dirt, oil, etc. If the lenses do not get foggy or dirty, the scopes can continue performing their job.
Shade protection and lens caps also prove useful. Not all the scopes in our list have lens caps. Therefore, you should be wary while making the purchase. Lens caps can be brought separately, and they will increase the life of the scope and protect against unnecessary damage.
Which Scope Proves The Best?
The ultimate decision to buy a scope depends on the shooter’s personal choice. Depending upon whether they require it for long-range or short-range, daytime or nighttime, clear weather conditions or rainy, etc. can alter the choice greatly. The best long range rifle scope under 500 lists contains the top competitors. Except for sharing some basic characteristics, they offer some extra exclusive features.
You do not need to invest in high-end scopes to get the desired result. These scopes might not offer the best features, but they stand above others in the same price range. Affordable scopes are becoming common, owing to frequent replacements. Pick the best scope that is the most suitable for your needs.