Long range hunting requires special gear that will provide the hunter with advantages over factors such as distance and parallax. The market today is full of inexpensive yet quality options for those who are on a budget. This article is for the long range shooter on a budget looking for the best long range scope under $500.
Being on a budget does not mean quality has to be compromised. With sufficient research, one can find excellent scopes under $500 that come on par with high-end scopes. This article is ten best long range scopes under a budget that will surprise you with their features.
10 Best Long Range Scope under $500 – A Quick Comparison Table
|Vortex Optics Crossfire II||• Dead-hold BDC reticle|
• 1-4x24 magnification
• Long eye relief
|Bushnell Engage Riflescope||• Premium protective lens|
• Side-mounted dial for easy parallax adjustments
• Has anti-reflection coatings
|Leupold Mark AR MOD 1||• Mil-Dot reticle|
• 40mm objective lens
• 4.3 inches of eye relief
|Simmons 8-Point Truplex Reticle riflescope||• QFA eyepiece|
• Fully coated lenses
• TrueZero windage and elevation adjustments
|EOTECH 512 Holographic Weapon Sight||• 1 MOA red dot reticle|
• Holographic reticle projection
• Three inches thick shatter-proof glass-laminate over the rear-facing window
|Burris Veracity Hunting Rifle Scope||• 50mm objective lens|
• Features the Burris Varmint reticle
• High magnification range of 4-20X50mm
|Athlon Optics Argos BTR Riflescope||• Crafted from aircraft-grade aluminum|
• Includes advanced fully multi-coated lenses
• Argon purged housing
|Athlon Optics Argos BTR GEN2||• 10 yards to infinity of parallax adjustment|
• 6X-24X range of magnification
• Fully multi-coated optics
|Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical First Focal Plane Riflescope||• Uses extra-low dispersion glass|
• Fast focus eyepiece
• Shockproof single piece 30mm tube
|Vortex Optics Strike Eagle Second Focal Plane Riflescopes||• Extra-low dispersion glass|
• Includes capped reset turrets
• Magnification ring includes thread-in throw lever
1. Vortex Optics Crossfire II
Crossfire II by Vortex optics is one of the best scopes with a Dead-Hold BDC reticle. Ideal for medium and long-range hunting and highly adjustable, this scope is truly one of the best long range scope under $500. The 1-4x24X range of magnification on the scope makes it equally easy to view the target placed far away from the shooter and the ones close-by. Since the scope's objective lens is adjustable and has excellent focusing abilities, it enables excellent light transmission, which is ideal for low light conditions.
Another addition to this model is its second focal plane. It allows for a great range of zooming while the size of the reticle stays the same. The reticle on the model is the Dead-Hold BDC variety, which minimizes the need for guessing bullet holdover at long distances. To give better-aimed shots while shooting at different angles, the hash marks on the reticle allows making better holdover and windage corrections.
Also, the windage and elevation adjustment turrets are finger adjustable, which means that toggling with the turrets on the scope during mid-hunt can be avoided. There is a four-inch-long eye relief, combined with a wide magnification range and easy to use reticle. A crisp and clear view of the target is obtained. Additionally, the forgiving eye box and fast focusing eyepiece help in rapid spotting, even on the move.
- Durable construction
- Four inches long eye relief
- Excellent magnification
- Crisp and clear images
- Comes with a lifetime warranty
- Described as bulky by some users
2. Bushnell Engage Riflescope
- Premium protective lens
- Side-mounted dial for easy parallax adjustments
- Has anti-reflection coatings
Being one of the latest models put forth by Bushnell, this Engage rifle scope is an easy to use long range scope that is worth its price. With its 1-MOA elevation and windage, this scope makes both mid-range and long range shots easier. The fine reticle included in the scope is excellent for making precise shots at the target.
Here, the turrets are finger adjustable and do not require tools for resetting. This makes it easier for the hunter to lock or release the turrets on the go. Further enhancing the ease to use, the design of the scope is compact and durable. Since the scope has anti-reflective coatings, it is better suited for tactical operations and nighttime hunting.
Another commendable feature of this scope is its optical performance. The scope has been noted for its tracking abilities and performance in all light conditions. Clear and crisp images are obtained with the help of 2.5-10x44mm magnification and the Deploy MOA reticle. Along with the relatively long eye relief, this Bushnell scope is, without doubt, one of the best long range scope under $500.
- Tool-less zero reset
- Waterproof and fog-proof construction
- Sturdy locking turrets that can withstand bumps and drops
- Fast focus eye bell at the ocular end
- Excellent optical performance
- Reticle visibility of the scope is unsatisfactory for some hunters.
3. Leupold Mark AR MOD 1
- Includes a Mil-Dot reticle
- 40mm objective lens
- 4.3 inches of eye relief
Another good suggestion for the best long range scope under $500, the Leupold Mark AR MOD 1 offers clear, crisp, and well-contrasting images with its index-matched lens coatings. Fully multi-coated optics utilized here maximizes the light transmission and image quality, making it as good as scopes that use ED glass.
For better target acquisition and aiming, the Firedot-G TMR reticle offers range compensation markers in all directions. It works spectacularly regardless of the light available. Also, the field of view is 14.1 to 33.5 feet at 100 yards, depending on the magnification level, while the generous eye box allows for easy viewing of the terrain.
Since the scope's design is compact and lightweight, this 1.2 pounds scope is easy to transport. Additionally, the scope of aluminum housing guarantees durability, and the argon/krypton fog-proofed, nitrogen-purged housing makes the scope more suitable for the outdoors. For durability purposes, the scope also comes with flip covers that help protect the gear.
- Highly precise windage and elevation adjustments
- Mounting system suitable for Picatinny rails
- Illuminated reticle for better low light vision
- Second-generation argon/krypton fog-proofing
- The generous field of view
- Absence of zero stop on elevation and windage controls
4. Simmons 8-Point Truplex Reticle riflescope
Simmons scopes have excellent clarity and sharpness when it comes to image quality. This one has fully coated optics to improve contrast and enhance brightness for crystal-clear images. With its 40mm objective lens, this budget-friendly scope offers exceptional light transmission and gathering. The images obtained after maximum zooming are also equally bright and contrasting.
With a magnification range of 3X-9X, the hunter can spot the target and aim precisely at it. The field of view offered by the scope is 31.4 to 10.5 feet. It allows for easy location of the target and effortless zooming without losing sight of it. Also, the anti-reflective, anti-glare, and waterproof lenses help in hunting in any weather condition.
Since it is made from a single piece of machined aircraft-grade aluminum and has a rubber coating over it, the scope can withstand a fair amount of abuse. Even though this scope cannot withstand high-powered air rifles' recoil, it can be mounted on and used well on shotguns and other rifles.
- Truplex reticle gives crisp crosshairs in any shooting situation.
- Adjustments have smooth fingertip action controls.
- Fast focus and easy target acquisition
- Can be mounted on almost all mounting systems
- Ability to hold the zero even after heavy recoil
- Does not have a parallax adjustment feature
5. EOTech 512 Holographic Weapon Sight
- 1 MOA red dot reticle
- Holographic reticle projection
- Three inches thick shatter-proof glass laminated over the rear-facing window
Close to military-grade quality, the EOTech 512 Holographic Weapon Sight is suitable for a close-combat environment. It gives the feeling of a first-person shooter game. This is lightweight equipment, weighing around 10.9 ounces, and is exceptionally compact, which allows for easy storage and transportation. Moreover, this holographic viewfinder is the best in terms of speed and versatility.
To give correct, bright, and clear vision, there are twenty levels of brightness, and the scope provides good contrast even in low light settings. Additionally, the onboard microprocessor helps control the programmable auto shutdown features, brightness scrolling up and down, and battery indication. It also helps in obtaining sharp images.
This product has excellent maneuverability and can be mounted on a variety of equipment. The gear is well waterproofed to the extent that it can be submerged in ten feet of water and still perform well. Also, the aluminum and steel used in the body's construction make the scope more sturdy and able to withstand shock.
- Military-grade quality
- 20 levels of brightness settings
- Makes use of readily available batteries
- Shatter-proof, waterproof, and shock-absorbing
- Lightweight and durable
- Not suitable for shooting at night
6. Burris Veracity Hunting Rifle Scope
- 50mm objective lens
- Features the Burris Varmint reticle
- High magnification range of 4-20X50mm
The best rifle scopes have the sturdiness and quality that make them last longer. Here, the Burris Veracity Hunting rifle scope does not disappoint. With a sleek matte look, the scope is built from a single aluminum piece that is strong enough to handle the shocks and vibrations of continuous shooting. Along with the standard waterproof and fog-proof features, this scope can withstand most types of wear and tear.
Another notable feature of the scope is its Ballistic Plex E1 FFP reticle. This allows for trajectory compensation and wind drift compensation when using big game hunting cartridges. To help in wind drift compensation, wind dots represent a 10 mph wind adjustment located at every hash mark, up to 500 yards. Also, the trajectory compensation works for 600 yards.
The optics of the scope are made from high-grade material to guarantee clear and bright images. The lenses are also multi-coated with index-matched, Hi-Lume, anti-glare coatings for excellent performance in low light conditions. Speaking of the dual internal spring-tension system, it assists in holding the zero through shocks and vibrations.
- Guaranteed lifetime warranty
- Wide range of magnification
- Easy to calculate holds at varying distances
- Easily resettable stop target turrets
- Specially design for big game and varmint hunters.
- Considered as too bulky for some uses
- Needs special scope rings
7. Athlon Optics Argos BTR Riflescope
- Crafted from aircraft-grade aluminum
- Includes advanced fully multi-coated lenses
- Argon purged housing
For better low light performance, the Argos BTR scope has one of the better-illuminated reticles on the market without much question. This illuminated reticle comes with the first focal plane etched onto the glass, making the reticle more resistant to recoils than other reticles in the market.
This scope is a spectacular choice for both experts and amateurs. With its MIL-style reticle, extra holdover points for estimating windage, elevation, and some bullet drop are seen. The scope can also be purchased in MOA-style, and this makes it more suitable for hobbyist hunters and marksmen.
It comes with advanced and fully multi-coated lenses, which give worthy light transmission and shows clear images with high contrast. The extra protective layer on the lenses keeps it safe from dirt, oil, and smudges. The housing of the scope is purged with argon, and it makes the scope supremely weatherproof. Argos BTR has a unique design. With its wide magnification range, it becomes a versatile scope that suits various users.
- Excellent tracking
- Includes an APMR-illuminated reticle
- Reticle stays valid at all power settings.
- The smooth turning of the parallax adjustment knob
- Reliable turrets
- May show some chromatic aberrations under certain lighting conditions
- The illumination dial seems to be located at an odd angle for some users.
8. Athlon Optics Argos BTR GEN2
- 10 yards to infinity of parallax adjustment
- 6X-24X range of magnification
- Fully multi-coated optics
The next generation of Argos BTR does not disappoint the shooters. With its wide range of magnification ranging from 6X-24X, the scope is ideal for long range shooting without losing the clarity of the distant target. Also, the illuminated reticle provides better precision while hunting in low light conditions. Even better, the fully multi-coated lenses are excellent in light transmission and gathering, which makes the Argos BTR Gen2 scopes more suited for nighttime shooting.
Further adding to the optics' quality, the lenses are XPL coated to prevent smudges and damage due to dirt and oil. Owing to the quality of glass used in the manufacture of this scope, there is little to no color fringing in the images produced regardless of the light conditions. Along with the multi-coated lens, the feature of argon purged housing makes the scope fit for use in rough weather conditions.
Also, the zero position system of the scope is easy to control. It can be adjusted correctly even in the darkest settings. An illuminated reticle etched on the glass gives way for better visibility and shock absorption during regular firing sessions. Most importantly, an exceptionally strong 6061T6 aircraft grade aluminum tube has been used to construct the rifle scope body, which makes it extremely durable and one of the best long range scope under $500.
- Precise zero stop system that can be correctly adjusted even in the dark
- XPL coating on the lens to avoid dirt and smudges
- Helps in quick target lockdown
- A first focal plane reticle that stays valid at all settings
- Aircraft-grade aluminum tube that is highly durable
- Lacks locking turrets
9. Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical First Focal Plane Riflescope
This is one of the best long range scope under $500 that makes use of ED glass. Along with the fully multi-coated lenses, the Diamondback tactical scope assures clarity with bright images, regardless of the light available. Thanks to the first focal plane and the reticle etched on the glass, the subtensions remain accurate throughout the 4X zoom range.
To make sure that the shooter gets smooth transitions while zooming, the precision-glide erector system uses premium quality components. The exposed target-style turrets allow frequent adjustments while in action. It is ideally designed for precise and repeatable finger-adjustable clicks that can be taken advantage of in any situation. Coupled with a side-focused parallax adjustment and a fast-focus eyepiece of the Vortex Optics, this scope gives optimal image clarity at various magnifications.
The scope makes use of the best materials and is ruggedly built to withstand any harsh setting. It is designed to be easily mounted on almost all rails and is reliable for accurate holds at extended ranges, even at moving targets. Moreover, the scope is O-ring sealed and argon-purged to prevent any external element from entering the scope.
- Ergonomic design
- Side knob to adjust parallax
- Easy shooting thanks to the fast-focus eyepiece and quick reticle focusing
- Precision-glide erector system to give smooth magnification transitions
- Exposed tactical turrets
- The sharpest of views is not obtained even after maximum zooming.
10. Vortex Optics Strike Eagle Second Focal Plane Riflescopes
- Extra-low dispersion glass
- Includes capped reset turrets
- Magnification ring includes thread-in throw lever
The Vortex Strike Eagle features one of the highest all-purpose magnification powers found on rifle scopes. With a set of phenomenal lenses that provide a good sight picture at each zoom level and an illuminated reticle providing accuracy no matter the ambient light level, the Strike Eagle is undoubtedly one of the best long ranges scopes under $500.
For more distant shots and a great range of eye relief, the BDC3 reticle included in the design makes this scope ideal for traditional hunting scenarios. There are 11 different brightness settings for better visibility and color fidelity in varied light settings. Also, the eye relief stretches between three to five inches based on the zoom settings, making the scope comfortable to use.
The fully multi-coated lenses feature coatings to improve their light transmission and their damage protection capabilities. Since the illuminated reticle is etched on the glass and focused on the second plane, a zoom setting change does not lead to a change in size. The Strike Eagle houses an excellent set of windage and elevation capped adjustment turrets, making this lightweight, weatherproof scope ideal for pursuing the prey regardless of the weather conditions.
- New illuminated BDC3 reticle that makes target acquisition faster
- Fast focus dial on the eyepiece
- Anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces
- 1-6x24mm magnification makes the scope suitable for fields
- Excellent clarity and low-light performance
- Some users find the eye box tight.
- Illumination seems to be unsatisfactory for some users.
What Makes the Best Long Range Scope under $500: Buying Guide
High-end rifle scopes have great features, but that does not mean that scopes available at mid-range prices are inferior in quality. A shooting enthusiast can get the best long range scope under $500 without compromising the quality. Before getting overwhelmed by the choices available, there are a few features that one should look for to make an intelligent purchase.
This is the most important feature to look for while purchasing rifle scopes. Remember to look for scopes with large objective lenses. They allow greater light-gathering abilities and transmission. This results in better image quality and precise aiming at the target.
Scopes with a high-quality lens or ED glass also give sharp images, even after being zoomed in to the maximum. With this being said, not a lot of scopes on a budget use ED glass, but with adequate research and comparison, they can be found.
- Glass coatings
All the glass-to-air surfaces of the scope have to be coated at least once. Scopes that are fully multi-coated with anti-glare, anti-reflective, and rubber coatings are more durable and suitable for outdoor shooting. These coatings also make the image quality better in unfavorable light conditions.
Particular scopes have coatings to prevent damage to the lenses from dirt, smudges, and oil. Purchasing scopes with such additional features are better investments because they last longer and can withstand reasonably rough usage.
Choosing a scope with the right reticle is crucial when it comes to long-range shooting. Be sure to pick reticles with hash marks to make your shooting experience more comfortable. The reticles should have single dots spread horizontally and vertically, and these can be MIL or MOA measurements.
The scopes with dots and hash marks take time to be broken into, but once you get the hang of it, the handling of these scopes comes easily. They also enable compensation for elevation and bullet drop. Learning to handle these reticle configurations make the scope suitable for precise mid-range shooting as well.
- Focal plane
Focal planes come in two categories - first focal plane and second focal plane. This is important to determine how much the reticle size will change on magnification. When the scopes have first focal plane optics, the reticle size increases or decreases as the magnification is changed.
At the same time, in scopes making use of second focal plane optics, the reticle size remains the same. Here, the hash marks and dots need a particular zoom to be visible. Choose a scope with a suitable focal plane based on the kind of conditions that the scope will be used in and the shooter's experience.
- Adjustment range
The ability to adjust the windage and elevation is crucial in long range shooting. Turrets that can be easily adjusted with smooth finger movements and do not require handling tools should be preferred.
It is also ideal to look for scopes that have turrets that can be locked and released quickly in a hassle-free manner. Also, look for a scope with easily resettable zero stops and those that hold the zero even after heavy recoils and vibrations.
Long-range hunters need long-range hunting rifles and rifle scopes that go well together with their preferred hunting strategy to aim well and shoot at their targets. However, since not all rifle scopes are made the same, there are ones that come under a budget without compromising the quality offered. Although this article contains a list of the best long range scope under $500 for the hunter on a budget, expect to find diversity.
The Vortex Optics Crossfire II scope is our top pick from this list. With its excellent light transmission and Dead-Hold BDC reticle, the scope offers clear and sharp images. This scope also makes way for fast target acquisition, and the wide range of magnification makes it all the more suited for long-range shooting.
Our pick does not have to be the best scope for you. Research well, and without being in a hurry, choose a long-range scope from the wide variety of scopes available, especially one that fits your needs.