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2 Extra Picks!
Best 6.5 Creedmoor Scope
The Steiner T5Xi 5-25x56mm is an overall fantastic rifle scope designed to take advantage of the 6.5 Creedmoor’s brilliant range and precision.
The 6.5 Creedmoor is one of the best modern 1,000-yard cartridges, and to get every ounce of range and accuracy out of it, you need a good optic.
The Steiner T5Xi is designed for competition and tactical use. It utilizes an SCR reticle explicitly designed for those 1000-yard targets.
The Steiner is made for precision aiming, and it boasts target turrets that are fingertip adjustable and have ¼ MOA adjustments.
We haven’t even talked about Steiner’s brilliant optical quality and extraordinarily bright and satisfying picture. The 6.5 Creedmoor is a modern round in need of a modern scope, and Steiner offers one of the best.
If you want to reach out and touch a target, it’s hard to go wrong with a Steiner.
Best .308 Long-Range Scope
The 308 is a classic rifleman’s round used around the world due to its hard-hitting power and notable long-range performance. Teaming it up with the right scope can make it a killer out to 800 yards.
The M-308 from Nikon is both an affordable and high-performing scope designed around the classic 308 caliber round. The M-308 sports a specialized reticle that gives the shooters drop points out to 800 yards. This makes hitting targets out to 800 yards child’s play.
If you don’t mind what I call “boringly accurate,” you won’t mind the Nikon M-308. The scope sports a quick focus eyepiece, target turrets, a focus adjustment knob, and is fully multicoated.
The scope is water-, shock-, and fog-proof, so it’s at home at both the bench rest and the treestand. Nikon Makes fantastic optics, and the M-308 is an excellent choice for simple and reliable accuracy.
Why You Need A Quality Scope?
When it comes to long-range shooting, if you want to strike a target at long range you need the right optic to do it. A $150 optic isn’t going to cut it.
You need an optic that prioritizes quality over everything else. This includes quality glass, a quality reticle, as well as turrets and internal components.
That feeling of hitting a target at 700, 800, or even 1,000 yards is a tremendous feeling. Constantly missing can kill the mood, and often the difference comes from the quality of your rifle scope.
When I first hit a target at 500 yards with nothing more than iron sights, I was addicted to this challenging idea of long-range shooting. Beyond 500 yards the challenge increases substantially, and while you need fundamentals, you’re going to need the proper gear to get you there.
Important Scope Choosing Factors
Keys to choosing a quality scope:
– A high-quality product will allow you to see the target, which is damn important if you want to hit it. You generally want a magnification of 25x, or close to it. You can go higher (and may need to) if you are shooting tiny targets.
– Proper reticle selection is essential when it comes to placing rounds on target. You have to be able to compensate for both windage and bullet drop. You also want a wide objective lens—50mms or bigger is typically right around the sweet spot.
- You want a middle-of-the-road eye relief (over two inches), and this is to accommodate the recoil of powerful rounds built for long-range shooting.
- You also want an optic that’s made from one solid piece of aluminum. A one-piece optic is more rigid and more precise overall. You want and need every ounce of precision at the 1,000-yard line.
Anything less than a quality product will leave you hitting the berm and not the target.
Construction is critical for a number of reasons. First, long-range rounds are often powerful rounds with heavy recoil. This creates a need for a tough and durable optic capable of taking abuse.
Additionally, you want a single piece tube for long-range shooting. This means the tube of the optic is made from one piece of aluminum. This makes the scope tougher, but also more precise and less prone to shift.
Now when it comes to long-range shooting optics, the amount of water-proofing, shock-proofing, and fog-proofing isn’t necessarily important for the shooting aspect.
However, life happens and you always want an optic dedicated to beating the elements. This includes keeping moisture and dirt out, as well as resisting recoil, drops and falls—and of course keeping fog from building up inside the optic.
Quality construction is the hallmark of any good optic.
Clearly, if you shooting long range, you need an absurdly powerful 70X optic right? Well, no not really. Long range is relative, but at 1,000 yards you wouldn’t need a 70X scope, or even half that.
You have to keep target size and range into perspective. At 500 yards, I can easily hit a man-sized target with a rifle equipped with a 4X scope.
For long-range shooters, I doubt you’d ever need anything beyond 25X… and even that is a lot. A good 5-25 power optic is capable of reaching out quite far and ringing steel true.
Anything beyond that is a bit excessive, not to mention that the scope starts to get heavier, more expensive, and a bit much overall. Less magnification works, as does a little more—but keeping it around 25x isn’t terribly hard to do in this market.
That Pesky Eye Relief
Eye relief is the distance from the rear lens of the optic to your actual eye. A rifle scope has a set eye relief which is typically measured in inches. Occasionally you’ll see it in MMs as well.
Eye relief is generally more of a concern for length of pull, and where and how you can mount an optic. On a pistol for example the eye relief is very long or unlimited.
Long range rifles have to fire a big and heavy bullet a long distance. This requires a lot of oomph. A lot of oomph translates into a lot of recoil, and recoil is the weapon coming rearward.
With a scope, its coming back towards your face. A scope with a short eye relief is going to result in a nasty black eye.
Proper eye relief for a powerful and hard-hitting round is often 3.6 inches and beyond. Eye relief may change as the scope’s magnification level changes, so pay attention to both numbers. Eye relief can go as far as 4 inches and still be a comfortable option for long-range shooting.
Turrets are not just gun emplacements or those weird tower things on the sides of castles. When it comes to rifle scopes, a turret is the device mounted on the top and sides of an optic.
They are used to adjust the reticle, and occasionally a third will be used to adjust the parallax.
Turrets are incredibly important when it comes to dialing in an optic for long-range shooting. A good set of turrets can make a big difference in the field and in tactical environments. The same goes for shooting at a benchrest and for competition.
Your turrets should provide precise adjustments to the optic—at the high end, a ¼ MOA adjustments are considered quite fine in the world of long-range shooting. These small adjustments make it easy for you to dial in a precise zero for your rifle.
A slight misadjustment at 100 yards is nothing, barely noticeable. At 1,000 yards, we are talking inches worth of failure.
This is why precision adjustment turrets are so necessary for long-range shooting. Anything less is bound to cause you significant issues at long range.
Fingertip adjustable turrets are a great thing for precision tactical shooting or for hunting. They allow a shooter to make quick adjustments to compensate for wind and bullet drop in mere clicks. They aren’t necessary, but they are an outstanding feature to have.
Beyond being precise and small in their adjustments, they should also provide a tactile feeling. You should be able to feel and even hear every click you make when it comes to adjustments. This makes it easy to count your clicks, and therefore how many inches (or fractions of an inch) you are adjusting.
When it comes to reticles, you’ll have dozens if not hundreds of options to choose from. Every company has their version of a long-range reticle, and it can get tricky picking the right one for you.
Of course you need to examine your overall goal. Competition scopes may have rules that you’ll have to follow. Personal preference will always be a factor when it comes to reticle selection as well.
My must-haves include a simple but precise windage and elevation scale. The optic must have these two things for quick field corrections.
Additionally, the reticle needs to be fine enough that it will not obscure a target at long range.A big target looks awfully small at a 1,000 yards and a big thick reticle will completely obscure it.
Beyond these requirements, you can go as fancy as you need to. Windage and elevation pyramids are a great option, as are illuminated reticles for tactical shooters. Pick and choose your features as you deem necessary, but do not compromise on the above must haves.
Glass is tricky. It’s easily the most crucial aspect to seeing a target at long range, and you need glass that’s extremely high quality.
When it comes to long range shooting, high-quality glass is critical to your ability to see the target, especially in low light situations. The problem is there isn’t an optic industry standard when it comes to high-quality rifle scope glass. There isn’t a rating or number to look for.
This makes finding awesome glass tricky. High-quality companies with a solid reputation tend to utilize the best glass. Some companies will list the country of manufacture of the glass, and this can be a handy indicator of quality.
Glass is made from sand, and finer sand creates higher-end glass. The best sand comes from Asia, specifically Eastern Asia. Japan, for example, makes extremely nice glass.
Beyond just the quality of the glass, you also need to consider the coating on the glass. A lens coating is designed to both reduce glare and improve light transmission.
This gives you a much clearer picture overall, and there are several different types of coatings out there for an optic. Some are standard, and others are proprietary.
Regardless of the coating, there are different ways the lenses can be coated. The following are the most common you’ll see on riflescopes:
Coated – An optic that is coated will have a single layer of coating on at least one lens surface.
Fully Coated – A fully-coated optic has coatings on all surfaces that touch air.
Multi-Coated – Multi-coated optics feature multi coatings on at least one lens.
Fully Multi-Coated – These optics have multiple coatings on every piece of glass that touches air.
When it comes to long-range optics, your best bet is going to be fully multi-coated optics. This will provide you the clearest and crispest picture possible. It will make it easy to shoot in bright light and low light. The industry standard for high quality optics is fully multi-coated lenses.
Brands Worth Looking Into
Nightforce is the brand to beat when it comes to cutting-edge optics and quality. I’ve yet to see a brand dominate the market so thoroughly.
Nightforce is in use with some of the most elite units in the world, including the USMC Scout Snipers, the United States Navy SEALs, and the Army Rangers.
Their reputation has followed them from combat theater to combat theater, and a generation of armed forces members can testify to the quality of Nightforce optics.
Their optics are built to give you a brilliant picture quality, a bombproof design, as well as reliable and useful functions and features designed for long-range shooting.
Nightforce has staked their claim as the premium-grade vendor of optics designed not just to hunt deer, but to shoot people. Nightforce is primarily known for their service overseas and in tactical scenarios. This is where they rule.
However, they are interested in the civilian bench rest and competition side of the market as well. They have a firm footing with serious competition shooters looking to ring gongs and create small groups at long ranges.
If you have a mission where second best isn’t an option, Nightforce is the company you go with.
Vortex is a company that’s a bit tough to pin down. They produce such a wide variety of optics you could say they are a jack-of-all-trades.
From red dots to binoculars, and budget picks to pricey options, Vortex covers it all. In the long-range riflescope world, they have become a favorite of shooters looking to stretch their dollars as much as possible. Vortex makes an optic that is built to last and get the job done.
Vortex optics are excellent choices for hunters since they focus on giving a bright and clear picture, the kind of picture needed to distinguish deer from leaves in the fall.
They aren’t the only company that can produce a quality picture but they are the only company who can do it on a budget. Hunters looking to reach out a little further would be well served by a variety of Vortex scopes.
Vortex produces great optics for long-range hunting and target shooting, and they do so at numerous budget tiers. Their optics are well designed and well proven in the fields of clarity, durability, and usefulness.
Schmidt and Bender
Schmidt and Bender is a company well reputed for their high-end scopes for competition, tactical use, and hunting. They are best described as the “gentleman’s scope,” often due to their European heritage and their constant presence on beautiful and bespoke rifles.
Schmidt and Bender is a powerful brand, and as an optic’s company, they are mostly recognized as a hunting and competition brand.
If you need to see and then hit a target way down range, Schmidt and Bender will get you there. Their scopes provide clear and vibrant images that allow you to see and shoot way out there.
Their scopes are refined for long-range competition and allow to easily compensate for windage and bullet drop when paired with Schmidt and Bender’s amazing reticles.
Outside of competition, the S&B Scopes are often seen in exotic hunting locations. Across savannahs and up mountains, S&B scopes are designed for a wide variety of environments.
They have optics designed specifically for particular locales that allow them to excel in these environments. S&B is one of the few who takes the time to consider the environment when they build their optics.