Up until about a decade ago shooting 1000 yards was left to some military-designed target match shooters. I remember the time when just shooting to 500 yards was a very big deal considering the types of equipment we had to work with at the time.
But drawing from my experience, today all that has changed with the introduction of long-range shooting that has become almost a household word in many areas of the USA, and the fact is that everyone offers a specialized long range rifle today as a standard part of the brands marketing content.
What my tests and just common sense says is that in the area of glass sights which are absolutely necessary when considering the 1000 yards shot again brand options have been driven clear off the charts. Think of what you want in a scope sight and you can get it overnight.
Best 1000 Yard Scopes
1. Athlon Optics Argos BTR
Here we have a big target style scope that is an easy reach to 1000 yard with its high power setting at 34X. My research showed that this scope retains the range of 8-34, and also has an objective lens opening at the forward bell of 56mm, at a FFP( first focal plane design ). That I’ve seen is that his scope pulls light in well under complete control. Remember light control means less target fade and that is an issue at 1000 yards, and also rainbow color patterns at the edges of the reticle glass.
The main tube built of 6061T6 aluminum (aircraft grade ) is 30mm, and the scope is illuminated using the ATMR MOA reticle that says the shooter can double over and half the sights with both clocks up top and looking through the lens for additional elevation that at 1000 yard should not be required, but the system is there anyway.
I found after using the Argos BTR that it has protective coated lens surfaces, giving it the ability to control light downrange. Etched reticle means it will not move and is an advanced system developed by Horus Sub tension designs some years ago, but just starting to be adapted by the industry in general.
Using large exterior non capped turrets the ability to elevate for longer range shots or pull for wind is quick and effective. This is a larger scope and designed for a full size rifle. This scope will work on AR-10’s with the long receivers and turn bolts as well.
2. Leupold VX-5HD 7-35×56
Never fear you will find the holes in the target with this monster sized professional grade sniper/target grade glass sight. The reticle is the Leupold Impact -14 MOA which I found keeps the shooter’s eye in the lens much of the time and will do this almost to the final click versus using all turret adjustments for 1000 yard elevation requirements.
After many years of testing, I’ve found that Leupold knows how to control light, and in this event the 1000 yard shooter needs to maintain a handle on this observable part of target, or steel long range shooting.
The scope has side focus parallax adjustment on the left side of the turret. Testing out the open turret knobs I found they have fast elevation adjustments, and special lens coatings for long range shooting.
My experience showed that this is a pro-grade glass sight and as such money spent will be in the high range, but you get exactly what you pay for to be sure. The main tube is aircraft-grade aluminum and the scope is totally built in the USA and carries a seal of the Leupold lifetime care policy.
Scope weight 26.1 ounces, length 15.6 inches, main tube 34 mm ( master class package), Mag range 7×35. Twilight Max HD Light Management System.
3. Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44mm
Cut the price in half as opposed to the previous scope in the Leupold line and you have the VX-5HD in a 44mm objective lens model. However, don’t think it lacks the meat to get the job done. Far from it my friends. After putting it to the test I found Leupold is a class one outfit and we use them by the numbers here at BR&D.
This scope retains that 3-15 magnification setting and I found after field testing that it will be more than enough for 1000 yard target sighting and shooting. The scope is illuminated, and it carries an on-off system that automatically working off scope movement for activation.
My field tested showed that the fire dot reticle subtensions give the shooter an edge on long shots when lighting conditions at the target are questionable. This system will go on/off on its own depending on scope movement.
The scope retains a side focus knob on the left side of the turret housing, CDS-Z12 custom dial system with ZeroLock, and high open turrets for fast elevation changes in bullet impact. Be advised that five different subtension reticles are available for this scope. Shooters choice one could say.
My investigation also found that the VX-5HD is designed and machined right here in the USA. Leupold backs what it sells. No worries at all mates.
4. Bushnell Nitro 5-20x44mm
This Bushnell is a mid priced scope that will do the deal out to 1000 yards based on the power settings and optics quality. Again, I shoot this brand all the time here at my test facility, and I can’t afford downtime around here. Far to many irons in the fire and little extra time on task.
Using the HDOS ( light definition optical system), and I determined from my tests that it combines the special coated lens surfaces with a 94% light transmission ability that pulls in clear sharp targets downrange.
This scope is offered close to other long range models built by Bushnell, and as such carries the required tools in its core tubing to get the job done.
I found after using the Bushnell Nitro that the capped target turrets keep the high standing knob adjustments protected, but still allow easy zero and advanced moa clicks to be utilized. A very solid sight as applied to the 308, 6.5 Creedmoor, and others in this cartridge bracket.
5. Bushnell Elite Tactical LRTS
In this second Bushnell, based on my experience we have a scope that can stand right with any of them out there on the market today. I shoot this scope to one mile regarding the use of my 338 Lapua on a Montana 1999 turn bolt Mauser.
I found this scope is top of the line at Bushnell and retains very good glass that also has all the high-tech light control systems the company has developed built in to the lens system.
The scope is designed for 1000 yard shooting and beyond. Just one look through this glass sight and you can be assured that getting a clear image upfront of a target surface 1000 yards away is no effort whatsoever for the scope.
Large high capacity MRAD turret knobs as well as the paired sub tensions make this a specialized 1000 yard sighting system. Be advised that this is a DMR II series glass system and Bushnell offers a variety of modes in this scope. If you don’t see what you want here search further and the company will most likely offer it.
This scope at 4.5-18X44 which after putting to the test I found it gives ample magnification for long range work. The scope is NOT illuminated, but again other models close to its design are just that.
The scope is military police grade in terms of tough weather fighting ability and for use on 7.62 NATO rifles regarding sniper setups regarding urban or combat settings.
6. Steiner T5Xi
This is military grade long range and 1000 yards is a walk in the park for this rifle scope. I shoot two of these at BR&D and my first hand experience showed that they can be pushed to 1500 yards easily when testing with various rifles and ordnance.
This basic scope is offered in four different models by Steiner. The 5-25Xi 56mm is a big scope but designed for big work as well. SCR Sub tensions in MOA or MILS can be obtained and the large turret knobs retains ample rotation with zero stop for turning up the ranging distance for the longer range shooting.
Offered in the FFP the scopes sub tensions move up with the scopes power settings on target size. This is very military in terms of design and sniper preferred much of the time if not always.
The massive 34mm one piece aluminum tube that is built by German engineers with that level of quality workmanship is again professional level that I felt the moment I touches the optic. It will eat up that 1000 yard targets easily if required.
The SCR reticle is set up for long range competition and is graduated in 1/10mil ranging settings ( clicks). The quick throw level is fast for magnification changes. Moving up elevation through the first 120 clicks sets the turret up for using the second rotation indicator. This keeps the shooter in touch with his or her turret rotation settings and therefore will not get lost in the turret rotations.
The scope has warranted coverage for the life of the product, and owner if that be the case. (1)
7. Sniper KT 12-60X60 Long Range Scope
What I found putting using this product is simple. Here is a starter scope for the shooter that wants to push bullets to 1000 yards. After putting it to the test I found the unit has a lot of fun bells and whistles to tack onto the sight have fun for a day in the field or range.
In all cases, my first hand experience showed that the light gathering and control when shooting long is critical. I have some scopes that are splendid when shooting 600 yards but die on the receiver of the rifle when pushed to 800 or 100 yards. The problem is glass quality and in this case being the price point is so very reasonable I would wonder if the glass is up to the task? Anyone with more information on that question please advise me through the editors here at this post.
I would consider another source covering this scope however and that indicates that is guaranteed for life and is from a Texas USA source. That can’t be all bad I would tend to think?
At any rate, this caught my eye when searching out scopes on the net and trying to move to something a bit different from the dame old search patterns for rifle glass, so I decided to put it to the test.
My investigation showed that this scope has the side parallax adjustment wheel (large ) and 35mm tube size that carries a lot of click settings for elevation and windage, capped turrets that can be reset for pinpoint accuracy, and zero return with 1/8 MOA clicks.
The scope retains a glass etched reticle and is illuminated both red and green. My findings showed that the sub tension design used to be MOA hash marks that match the turret settings. Strangely enough, nothing says “Horus” or some other known brand sniper optic selection.
Manufacture states the scope is waterproof with a completely sealed tube body. It is interesting that I am currently shooting for a published rifle review in the states a Custom Shop Tasco that almost matches this scope to perfection less the illuminated reticle. It is at 10-50X50, big focus wheel, double sun shades, and it is 40 years old with never an issue one connected with the performance of the scope.
Note, this product has been discontinued, follow the link for our suggested replacement:
We started this review with general use scopes and have ended with professional grade glass sights that are among the best built anyplace today.
When selecting a Steiner scope I would suggest researching each of them with care and even communicating with the manufacture if you have any detailed questions that need answering. I can say that my time using these scopes has been trouble free and effortless to date.
Keeping in mind that the two basic requirements are necessary for 1000 yard shooting, and that again is glass quality and enough power ( magnification ) to see what you’re shooting at.
I would not want to leave you with the idea that by getting the best scope money can buy the 1000 yard shot becomes a piece of cake. No way my friends because 1000 yard or more shooting requires knowledge of how to use those advanced sub tensions, factory computer data covering wind drift. Elevation and other related elements including the rotation of the earth by specific direction.
However, by working with good glass that is designed to send the bullet accurately down range you have at least covered one of the four bases in this ball game. (2)
- John McAdams, Scope or iron sights: Pros and cons. Retrieved from https://www.multibriefs.com/briefs/exclusive/scope_or_iron_sights_pros_and_cons.html#.Y8-gpnZBw2w
- LJ Bonham, Long Range Hunting: Here’s the Equipment and Skills You Need for an Ethical Hunt. Retrieved from https://discover.hubpages.com/sports/Long-Range-Hunting-Is-It-Ethical
I have been writing firearms and outdoor material for over 50 years to date. I have hunted across the world, including Russia, and a great deal of time professional hunting in Australia. I currently live in the American West and hunt all across the Black Hills of South Dakota and the Big Horn Mountains. I have specialized much of my work as a load developer in shotguns and rifles. I have run a small company that builds suppressor barrels of my design and load tests for writing purposes and consulting. My commercial names include Ballistics Research & Development / Metro Gun Systems TM.
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- Email me at LP@barrettrifles.com
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- Buy my book: Gun Digest Guide to Modern Shotgunning
- Buy my book: The Gun Digest Book of Long-Range Shooting
1 thought on “Best 1000 Yard Scope: Long Range Rifle Optics [Review]”
I would check out the Hi-Lux 7-30×50 Top Angle Scope. I shoot 600yd at my club monthly and twice a year go to 1000yd and 1750yd clubs to practice my groupings and any new load combinations. I do have a 20MOA mount, but being a retired Army veteran and 7year sniper. I have Leupold, U.S. Optics, and March scopes and have found the Hi-Lux/Leatherwood scopes to be utter game changers.