Optics can be pretty expensive. They’re made of a complex combination of unique parts that grant you visibility & range. They also generally have to be built to be resistant to harsh weather conditions. This means that finding the best long range scope under $1000 can be a tricky task.
If you’re a fan of the great outdoors – and all the comes with it, you may have a keen interest in hunting. It’s definitely a sport that require a good bit of patience, knowledge and skill. Having a high quality scope can make the hunting process much more luxurious.
The problem begins to arise when it comes to getting the best value for your money. Optics can get pretty expensive. Especially in the modern era – where scopes can be both digital, traditional or a combination of the both.
The increased popularity of digital technology combined with general improvements in the field of optics is a great thing. It’s provided us with a wealth of different high quality, amazing scopes to choose from.
Things start to get tricky, however, when you realise just how many scopes there are out there. And all this research and development didn’t come free – many of them are pretty expensive too. With prices soaring into the region of several grand.
There’s a wide variety of styles to choose from too. Various shapes, sizes and even colours are present on the market and it can be difficult to differentiate which optic is actually right for you.
Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite scopes that cost under $1000. If spending any more than this is simply impractical for you, then this list will be ideal.
Best Tactical Scopes Under $1000
Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 6-24×50
The Vortex Optics Viper HS-T is a magnificient scope that sits on the lower end of the pricing spectrum. It’s lowest default magnification setting is 6x. That means that objects in the scope will apear 6x closer than they actually are. The magnification can be adjusted all the way up to 24x which is absolutely superb for longer distance shooting. This is complimented well by the 50mm lens which will capture plenty of light to assist you in getting a clear image.
It has been purged with argon gas to ensure it’s absolutely fog proof. It’s also shock proof, having been built as rugged as possible from the ground up to ensure it doesn’t break in the field.
It’s waterproof, dustproof and debris proof as the lens has been sealed with an O-ring. This means you can still make full use of your scope, even if it starts to rain.
The low dispersion glass allows for a better resolution and enhanced color fidelity.
It’s also scratch resistant too. So if you’re looking for a scope you know will definitely hold up well against the element, this is a solid bet.
Leupold VX-5HD 3-15X44
The Luepold VX-5HD is a superb rifle scope. It’s excellent for moderate through to longer distances. It varies between 3x and 15x magnification with a 44mm lens. These ranges are ideal for hunting in closer ranges in wooded areas or across larger distances in open plains. It sits a little bit higher on the price range – it wouldn’t be unfeasible to see this priced above $1000 in the near future.
As you’d come to expect from scopes in this price range, it’s waterproof, fogproof and shockproof.
You can expect to put plenty of rounds downrange without this losing accuracy as a result of its shockproofing.
A unique combination of features work to set this scope far apart from its competitors.
It makes use of a zero lock CDS (Custom Dial System). This CDS lets you use a dial that’s specific to your own firearm and eliminates the need for ballistic calculations.
It also features the Twilight Max HD Management System. This amplifies the visiblity available in your scope and should net you about an extra half an hour of shooting light before it’s time to consider other options. It’s also capable of glare reduction – so it kills two bird with one stone (or bullet).
The simple parallax adjustment interface at the side which will allow you to focus with relative ease.
It also has an illuminated reticle which is perfect for lower light conditions. This is all complimented fairly well by the motion sensing technology which only powers the reticle when the rifle is in use. After 5 minutes of remaining still the reticle will turn itself off to save battery.
ATN X-Sight II HD
This scope has been featured before. Namely for its unique preference of digital optics over traditional optics. This scope is 100% digital, meaning that you should opt for some lithium batteries for the power draw.
It has both a day and a night mode allowing you to get a clear line of sight regardless of how dark it is outside. Combine this with its integrated ballistic calculator and awesome ability to hold a zero and you’ll learn that it’s an outstanding scope.
The SMART range finder can pinpoint the range of any target with just two clicks. Once the distance is determined it will adjust your magnification for you automatically.
It’s also capable of recording high definition videos and taking high quality photographs. With the option to activate video recording automatically whenever recoil is detected. You can even stream these videos over wifi and view them with a smart phone if you wish.
Despite being a digital scope, this scope is still pretty durable and should be able to hold up to adverse weather conditions and regular use.
Trijicon ACOG Sight 4×32 for .223
If you gravitate more towards ACOG style scopes then this optic will be an ideal match for you. The ballistic reticle is completely self illuminated. During the day time, it’s a simple black reticle. But when light levels begin to drop the presence of tritium becomes fairly self evident as the reticle begins to glow a bright red.
It has a magnification of 4x with an objective size of 32mm.
This scope is manufactured from aircraft aluminium to ensure that it remains lightweight whilst also maintaining a high level of strength and structural integrity. If you’re looking for a scope that’s bordering on “indestructable” – this is a safe bet. It’s also water resistant up to 100ft, this is ideal if you can see yourself subjecting your rifle to rainy/muddy conditions.
This ACOG is designed to be fired in two ways. You can use it the conventional way: close one eye and take your time with your shots for enhanced accuracy.
You can also operate this scope with “both eyes open” – this an optical concept that’s used for CQB and rapid targest acquisition in close quarters.
The concept is actually quite simple – if the illuminating light for a reticle is bright enough, you don’t need to close your other eye to aim. Your brain will effectively merge the two images you’re seeing together.
What’s So Special About This ACOG?
The fibre optics present in Trijicon scopes are second to none. This scopes self illumination system works automatically by utilising fibre optic technology to adjust the contrast/brightness of the reticle relative to the light level in your environment.
The lense itself has had an anti-reflective coating applied to it. This will prevent glare and distortion on even the sunniest of days.
This reticle can also be ranged all the way out to 800 meters.
This is a strong contender for the best long range scope under $1000.
Nikon Prostaff 5 BDC 3.5-14×40
The Nikon Prostaff 5 is an excellent selection for a budget purchase. It’s manufactured by Nikon, who are renown for their commitment to high quality optics. They don’t just go all out on the lenses either – this is manufacturer from an incredibly sturdy aluminium which you’ll struggle to damage.
It makes use of Nikons own patented BDC (bullet drop compensating) reticle. This reticle makes it considerably easier to place accurate shots over larger distances.
It’s also compatible with Nikon’s spot on ballistic match technology – an app that you can download to your phone.
The lowest magnification level is 3.5x, but it can be increased all the way up to 14x.
This scope will hold a zero through thousands of hours of use. You can throw as much recoil as you want at it – it’s not going to budge for quite a while.
It’s not just shockproof, it’s waterproof and fogproof too.
The Prostaff series offer the ability to make adjustments on the fly, even in a shooting position. The outstanding light transmission of this scope allows for its use even in low light environments.
In true Nikon fashion, great care has went in to ensure the optics are as reliable as possible. As such every single glass component of this scope is coated in anti reflective material.
Primary Arms SLX 1-6×24 FFP
The Primary Arms SLX Scope is a solid quality variable scope that tickes quite a few boxes for the average enthusiast.
It’s lowest magnification point is 1x, this is ideal for shooting across shorter distances. It can, however, be adjusted all the way up to 6x magnification – ideal for moderate to longer distances. The 24mm lense size helps to keep the scope small and compact.
It’s designed for use with 5.56, .308 and 5.45 ammunition. That isn’t to say you can’t use it with other types of ammunition. But you can utilise it with these 3 primarily and have complete confidence in the scopes ability to hold a zero.
It has a battery powered illuminated reticle, which can be adjusted with up to 11 different brightness settings.
It’s waterproof rated up to IP67 which means it can be submerged in a body of water a meter deep for up to half an hour. This is, of course, done under lab conditions. So variables such as mineral dense sea water aren’t taken into account. Rest assured though, this means that your device will be completely impervious to rain or submersion in shallow water. Just don’t take it swimming in the ocean for extended periods of time and you can guarantee you’ll have a scope that lasts.
How Tough Is It?
This matte black scope is made out of 6063 aluminium. This is an architectural alumium – so you know for a fact it’ll withstand just about any kind of abuse you can throw at it. It has also been nitrogen purged to prevent fog accumulating inside the scope.
It comes with a lifetime warranty for any manufacturers defects. On the off chance your scope is faulty, you can get it replaced totally hassle free.
Overall this is a sturdy and durable scope that you’ll be able to use in any scenario. From CQB to much vaster distances.
Millet Buck Gold 4-16×50
The Millet Buck Gold is a premium quality rifle scope that’s orientated towards longer distance shooting. It’s initial magnification level is 4x but can be adjusted all the way up to 16x. The lense size is a rather large 50mm which will allow you to soak up as much detail as possible.
It’s manufactured exclusively from high quality materials to ensure it stands up to the test of time. It has a green illuminated reticle which has up to 11 different brightness settings.
It’s also completely multicoated to ensure a vibrant and bright image. It makes use of a mildot style reticle with a thin line to make lining up shots much easier.
It’s pretty difficult find a scope of this quality with the exact same level of specifications for the same price. Even if you’re not on a budget, this scope is absolutely formidable and can seriously compete with some of the higher end products.
You can expect to put countless rounds down range with a wide variety of different calibers of ammunition and still hold a perfect zero.
If you’re opting for this scope you should get the manual too. This will explain all the different turret clicks and magnificatin levels etc. You’ll be able to figure out how to get it to near-perfect accuracy in no time if you use this documentation efficiently.
Overall this scope is more than worth its pricing point. You should expect to be pleasantly surprised if you opt for this scope.
Important Things To Consider When Buying A Scope
The magnification level of a scope should be critical in your purchasing decision. Some scopes come “locked in” at a higher magnification level and can’t be adjusted. Others with absolutely zero magnification (1x) and can be adjusted up to their higher magnification levels.
The key indicator of a scopes practicality is in the naming convention. Generally speaking a scope that starts at double magnification (2x) and goes up to quadruple (4x) will be represented as “2-4x”. This generally precedes a number indicative of the lens size. For example a scope with double to quadruple magnification with a lens size of 30mm would be written as “2-4×30”.
Once you’ve figured out the naming convention it’s as simple as asking yourself what you’re really looking for. Do you want a scope for exclusively longer distances? then it’s okay to buy a scope that starts off in the 3x or 4x region. Would you like a scope that you can utilise across various distances, including close range? Then consider a scope that starts off with a 1x magnification level.
With the advent of modern technology, it’s quite common to see digital scopes. They may have previously been exclusive to science fiction. But nowadays with the further miniturisation of technology, they’re actually incredibly practical. Some digital scopes even have the ability to sync up with a smart phone and transmit footage/photographs.
If you’d like some digital features but don’t want a scope that’ll be unusable without a power source – you can opt for a hybrid. Some scopes make us of both conventional magnification and digital magnification. For example, you may get 2x magnification conventionally and a further 2x digitally. Resulting in a total magnification of 4x.
If you’re not feeling up to the hastle, a traditional scope will go a long way. You don’t even need to worry about batteries with a traditional scope – provided you opt for a self illuminating one.
The durability of a scope is incredibly important. Especially if you’re expecting to be using it regularly. You should always opt for a scope that has a reasonable level of durability. You can assess the durability of the scope by examining two things:
- How many moving parts are there?
- What material is used in the manufacturing process?
The more moving parts there are in a scope, the more opportunity there is for something to go wrong. Ideally you want a scope that’s manufactured as one continous piece, rather than painstakingly assembled in a factory from hundreds of smaller parts. The more moving parts there are – the more opportunity there is for recoil to damage a vital component.
The materials used in the manufacturing process are also ridiculously important. You do not want a scope that’s manufactured from cheap, weak materials. They’ll either be too heavy or too easy to damage.
Scopes that are manufactured from high quality aluminium are always a good starting point. More specifically aircraft or architectural aluminium.
This is particularly important for anyone who’s doing more than just taking their gun to a range. It’d also be particularly important for those of you who make use of outdoor ranges. Ideally you want a scope that is at a minimum resistant to water. You don’t need to buy a scope that you can take deep sea diving – just something that’ll be able to withstand a bit of rain. If you want absolute security, you can opt for a scope thats rated at IP67 or IP68. These respectively mean they can be actively submerged under various depths of water (0.5m vs 1.5m) for up to half an hour without encountering any issues.
Fogproofing is also necessary – ideally on both the inside and the outside. The inside can be prevented from fogging up by ensuring it is purged before sealing. Sealed environments that have not been purged can steam up due to the presence of microbial life – which is obviously not ideal.
Shockproofing is another key feature you’ll want in a scope. Having a high quality, borderline indestuctible metal is great. But it’s still possible to lose your zero from recoil without adequate shockproofing. Ensure your scope is shockproofed to ensure that you can remain accurate even after putting thousands of rounds down range.
It’s likely your choice of scope will boil down to one of two types. You’ll either opt for a traditional rifle scope or an ACOG. ACOG scopes are ideal for a variety of distances, and often allow you to look through the scope with both eyes open – this is insanely efficient for close quarters rapid target aquisition.
ACOG’s are also the most commonly used scope in combat – there’s a very good reason for this. They’re perfect for a variety of distances and scenarios.
You can also opt for a traditional rifle scope. This will allow you to better place shots over generally much longer distances. Although some traditional rifle scopes will start off at 1x magnification, meaning they can be used in a very similar fashion to an ACOG.
Manufacturer Location + More
Ideally you’ll want to opt for a manufacturer who’s based in the US. Don’t be fooled by the presence of a “made in USA” sticker either. It’s entirely possible to manufacture the brunt of materials abroad and simply assemble a product in the USA in order to qualify for the title of being made in the USA.
Read up on any manufacturer before you make a purchasing decision. Things such as lifetime warranties are normally a solid indicator of a quality manufacturer. But a little bit of due dilligence is always helpful for keeping you right and ensuring you get the most out of your money.
Searching for the best long range scope under $1000 can be a difficult process. As a result, it’s important to stay vigilant and be careful with how you spend your money.
Don’t just assume that a legitimate manufacturing process in the USA is an undeniable guarantee of quality either – there’s nothing stopping local manufacturers from cutting costs by using cheaper materials.
Once you’ve found a brand you’re comfortable with, reading some user reviews on the specific item will help a lot. It’s possible for a brand with an outstanding track record of high quality products to release an inferior line of products. It happens to even the best of brands at times.
Thanks for reading!