Alright! So, you’re leveling up! Trying to hit those targets 1000 yards away or hunting those coyotes and deer? If yes, you’re so lucky as a 1000 yard range is not accessible to everyone.
Here’s the thing,
To hit targets at 1000 yards or beyond you need a damn good scope. Now, scopes with amazing clarity and build are expensive and aren’t affordable for everyone.
Yet I have managed to shortlist the best long range scopes under $1000 in 2020. These scopes are shortlisted based on glass quality, build and overall performance.
Here’s a quick comparison table, but I suggest keeping reading, as I will be covering important aspects of choosing a good yet affordable long-range rifle scope.
Comparison Table for the Best Long Range Scopes under $1000:
Hunting or shooting something at a 1000 yard or beyond is tough. The target looks way smaller and unclear, so now we will need a long range scope to do the job. And to be honest, scopes especially designed for long ranges are expensive and usually the best out there start from a $2000 price.
The worst thing people do is, not listening to experienced shooters and trying to experiment.
The problem is that you are already in a tight budget and your trials and errors will probably make you lose money.
So, I have done all the hard work for you and I’m going to list and review the best long range yet budget scopes under $1000.
On What Factors Were the Scopes Chosen?
It took a whole month to research and then review these scopes. The factors were:
- Glass Quality.
- FFP or SFP.
Top 6 Best Long Range Scopes Under $1000:
Sightron SIII 10-50X60 (SFP):
One of the most underrated scope makers out there.
The Sightron SIII is top in my list because of the value it provides.
The glass is exceptional in this price and I would say it’s on par with the Vortex that I’ll be reviewing next.
The 56mm objective lens provides amazing clarity, thanks to the size allowing maximum light.
The Sightron SIII can handle low light conditions very well. At 1000 yards while shooting 13-inch targets, this scope provides amazing clarity and sharpness.
The parallax adjustment is flawless and you can easily achieve max. sharpness with minimum parallax.
What truly sets this piece apart is that it delivers vivid colors and amazing contrast in fading light.
The ExacTrack windage and elevation system make sure that you never experience drift in any adjustments.
Also, you can easily achieve quick adjustments with its fast focus eyeball when you’re out in the fields.
It has an MOA-2 reticle with fine hashes to use for bullet drop compensation.
For the accuracy test, we tested it out to 300 yards on a steel plate with Loadout: Savage 110 Varmint 22-250 and 53gr Nosler Varmageddon.
We were dead on after the first test shot (in yellow box) and got some nice 5 group shots in a 2.8” circle at such a distance.
All credits goes to the super clear 32x zoom that helped us to be precise all the time.
- Amazing clarity at full magnification (tested at 1760 yards).
- The target knobs are large and oversized. The clicks are smooth and give a positive feel.
- Big size.
- .338 Lapua Magnum.
- Savage 6.5mm Creedmoor LRP rifle.
- AR 15.
- Savage F/TR .308.
- 22LR Target.
All in all, the Sightron SIII offers a lot at such an affordable price.
It’s truly one of the best long range scopes under $1000 price. You can’t get anything better than this.
Vortex Viper PST Gen I 6-24x50 (FFP):
Who doesn’t know about Vortex Scopes? Its one of the best rifle scope brands out there.
The Vortex Viper with 6-24x magnification can surely fulfill your long range shooting needs.
It comes with an illuminated reticle but probably you’ll never need that most of the times. Why?
The huge 50 mm objective lens brings in enough light. The approach really appreciated here is that instead of spinning the knob completely to turn off the light, the scope provides an off position after every graduation.
The extra low dispersion is good, and it totally outshines at 12x magnification (tested at 1760 yards).
The glass etched EBR-1 MOA reticle being in the front focal plane changes size with increase in magnification. However, the marks on the reticle remain the same with respect to the target so you can calculate the distance.
Talking about its internal mechanism, the erector-spring system is built with premium components hence ensuring easy adjustments. Also, the CRS zero stop makes it easy to return to zero.
The Vortex PST also features fast focus eyepiece and Radius Bar for convenience.
- Noreen ULR 50BMG.
- Remington 700 in 300 Win Mag.
- DPMS .308 Recon.
- Lifetime warranty.
- Amazing Build quality
- Good eye relief.
- Adjustable objective.
- Great price-performance ratio.
- The tactical style turrets give a positive feel and have a great texture, hence provide a better grip.
- A bit heavy.
- At highest power, it loses clarity.
- The magnification ring can be stiff.
If you’re just starting out and don’t want to spend much, then the Vortex is a good choice. It provides amazing clarity. Though i will insist on checking the video below to see the differences in clarity between Vortex and Sightron SIII.
Sightron SIII vs Vortex PST Gen 1:
Burris XTR II 3-15x50 (FFP G2B Mil-Dot Reticle):
Burris is not a new name in the market, but I was a bit surprised when I was unable to find enough reviewers talking about it.
Though members of many forums were comparing it with the Viper PST.
Unlike the original XTR series, the Burris XTR II features a 25% thicker 34 mm tube which makes this scope tough and durable.
The illuminated mil-dot reticle is present at the front focal plane and helps the trajectory compensation to be always correct for any power setting.
The parallax adjustment is from 50 yards to infinity hence improving accuracy for longer distances.
The reticle gives correct wind holds and since the adjustments are in a 0.2 increment, it eliminates all the guesswork (as its usually in 1/10th increments).
The tactical turrets give a positive feeling.
Burris has surely designed this rifle scope with a thoughtful approach as the focus and illumination knobs are of different diameters hence no need to always look for the correct one to adjust.
For all of those careless people who leave the illumination ON, the Burris XTR II comes equipped with an Auto-Off feature which turns the illuminated reticle off after 3 hours.
The 5x zoom system provides diverse options for every shooter for all scenarios (1-5x, 2-10x, and 3-15x).
- AR-15 (930 yards with 16″ target).
- Forgiving eye relief at max magnification.
- Clear glass.
- A bit heavy.
The Burris XTR II is really a bang for the buck and can be used for various scenarios. Be it for competitive, long range precision shooting/hunting or taking on those coyotes at 1000 yards. This scope will surely do the job.
Bushnell Elite Tactical 6-24x50 (G2DMR FFP Reticle):
Bushnell is well known for providing premium features in budget prices.
The Bushnell Elite G2DMR is one of those.
As the company claims, this piece of optic was designed after taking feedback from military and law enforcement experts.
Multicoated optics and RainGuard HD coatings for lens prevents moisture and hence improves visual clarity, improves brightness and contrast.
The Bushnell Elite is equipped with a 2-inch sunshade that ensures a clear image while keeping the glare at the bay.
The turrets though not enough audible provide a positive feeling and track perfectly.
- Provides good visibility even at lower magnification.
- The reticle comes with mil-hash markings which can be used for holdover, windage and ranging corrections.
- No illuminated reticle.
- Bit heavy.
The Bushnell Elite rifle scope is a good choice for beginners looking for long range precision shooting and mid-range tactical engagements. You can also choose this if your budget is anywhere around $600.
SWFA SS 3-15x42 (FFP Mil-Quad Reticle):
The SWFA SS has a 30 mm tube along with a Mil-Quad reticle at the front focal plane, hence making it easy for ranging targets at any distance.
The 3-15x magnification provides versatile magnification for close- and long-range shooting.
The glass (made in Japan) is decent and clear (not HD). If you’re looking for an HD glass from SWFA, then i suggest getting the SWFA SS HD 5-20x50 Tactical 30mm Riflescope.
The 42 mm objective lens provides good light transmission and the lenses are fully multi-coated.
- No zero stop.
- No illumination.
Not much to say here, the scope ,is SPOT ON and does what its meant to do!
Primary Arms 4-14x44mm FFP Scope Review:
This affordable long range scope by Primary Arms is also known as PA4-14XFFP. It comes with a non illuminated Mil-Dot Reticle. Though it’s made in China but the brand in itself promises quality.
The thing that i liked about it is that both, the turrets and the reticle are mil based and have a click value of 0.1 Mil.
Just like others, the PA4 is tough, well built and is shockproof and waterproof.
This scope worked amazingly well on my .308 bolt-action rifle (Tested: 700+ rounds).
Coming to it’s features, it has tactical styled exposed turrets, has zero reset feature and is finger adjustable.
- Accurate adjustments.
- Clear glass and works well in low light conditions.
- FFP scope in such a low price.
- Narrow eye relief.
- Turrets are a bit mushy (though the clicks are audible).
Well what should i say? This is the best budget long range scope that is under $500 (actually below $300) you can get as of now. If you’re a guy just beginning with long range shooting and are looking for a FFP scope with mil based reticle and turrets but have a really low budget, then the PA4 is for you. Period!
Athlon Ares 4.5-27x50 (FFP) Review:
Athlon is a US based company and the scopes are manufactured in China.
Though I didn’t see any difference, the scope is solid, is lightweight and has a good glass quality.
The glass on Vortex is slightly better but an untrained eye wouldn’t notice this.
Coming to the turrets, the Vortex is better, but I prefer Athlon Ares because of the direction of parallax adjustment, though the turrets are slightly better than some Leupolds but give a mushy feeling.
In case of turret markings, the Athlon has a limit of 24, therefore on the second rotation, you will have to add up 24.
It has an illuminated MOA reticle which remains crisp and clear in all settings.
Coming to the warranty, I’ve heard it’s just like Vortex’s.
The thing that I liked about them was that they hear their customers and make substantial improvements to their scopes.
The rifle scope provides a forgiving eye relief. The zero-stop setting is easy, it returns to zero quickly and tracking is great.
This scope by Athlon can be an affordable choice for long range hunting and shooting only if you’re OK with it being manufactured in China.
So, these were the best long range scopes for under $1000 you can get as of 2020.
What you choose, depends on your preferences. Either go with the brand value or go with what features a scope is providing.
I would suggest, don’t cheap out so $1000 is a pretty good budget to get a scope for long range hunting and shooting.
Try to get these scopes as soon as possible as the prices are volatile, they increase or decrease depending on the demand.
Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Budget-Friendly Long Range Scope?
You will literally find numerous cheap long range scopes out there, but the problem is the quality of glass they provide, the build quality, etc.
Here’s the thing, when shooting at distances like 1000 yards, firstly your field of view decreases by a lot.
Secondly, the target becomes super blurry and then even your small movements (heck even breathing!) bring more troubles.
So, what do you need?
Yes, practice and a quality scope with a quality glass and a good build.
Though it’s pretty hard to shortlist long range scopes under a $1000 budget but if you’re just starting or usually shoot/hunt at 600-1000 yards then I understand not spending $2000+ on a scope.
How Much Magnification Do You Need at 1000 yards?
Follow the good old rule of thumb.
1x for every 100 yards.
So, if you’re hitting targets at 800 yards, get a scope with 8x magnification and a minimum 10x for targets at 1000 yards.
Personally, I prefer variable scopes over fixed scopes because of the diverse ranges I shoot at.
How to Choose a Long Range Scope for Hunting?
If you are going to hunt moving targets like whitetails and coyotes at such distances, then you actually need to see all the details.
In case you’re a seasoned shooter then you just need to see the specific parts of the animal to get that 1 shot kill.
Also, if you’re hunting with a 32x magnification at such distances, your field of view becomes very small and then you’ll have a hard time finding your target.
So, what’s the solution?
A scope with a good quality glass with a max magnification of 18x to 25x will do the job (the magnification depends on the target size, the distance, and your eyes too!).
If you are aiming at an Elk at 1000 yards, you can use a scope at 10x magnification but if you’re trying to take down a coyote then you’ll need a higher magnification.
How to Choose an Affordable Long Range Scope for Target Shooting?
Again, the same thing as explained above, but here you’ll look for more details.
A scope with a good quality glass and a good magnification is necessary.
For long range precision shooting (like grouping at a 1000 yard), look for something 14x and above.
First Focal Plane vs Second Focal Plane for Long Range Shooting:
Look, it’s your choice.
Personally, I prefer SFPs as I get a bit distracted because of the thick crosshairs when zooming in to longer distances. SFPs provide a better view and a same sized reticle at all distances suit me.
So i hope this article would have helped you to choose the best scope for your long range shooting and hunting needs. Click here to go back to the comparison table again.
If you have any recommendation or suggestion, please comment below or contact me through the contact page.
Over and Out.
Last update on 2020-01-29