A hunter aiming at 1000 yards.

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 2021. These scopes are shortlisted based on glass quality, build and overall performance.

In a hurry?

Here’s a list of the shortlisted scopes for your reference, but I suggest keeping reading, as I will be covering important aspects of choosing a good yet affordable long-range rifle scope.

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 stimulus checks out going out and since ammunition is in short supply you want to make every shot count. Our list of best scopes under $1000 has really narrowed because of the prevalence of Vortex Optics.

If you are looking into upgrading your optics setup put your money to good use and look to buy a scope that will last and track for years.

Luckily the competition for the price point is fierce. Vortex has been leading the range for long-range shooting since 2015 but Burris and Athlon are not going to be left out. Nightforce and U.S. Optics have entry-level offerings.

I have done the hard work for you and I’m going to list and review the best long range yet budget scopes under $1000.

Note: It isn’t about how much magnification your scope has, it’s about how clean the glass is.

Before we move forward…

If you’re already worrying about the mounts you’ll have to use for your long range scope, just get a EGW 20 MOA Base along with Low Warne 30mm or 1″ Maxima Rings, and choose any of the scope listed here. You’ll be fine!

On What Factors Were the Scopes Chosen?

It took a whole month to research and then review these scopes.

Just a quick word on how we grade the scopes. Every scope on the list meets or exceeds the qualifications for the price point, namely turrets that pass the box test and clear glass that doesn’t fisheye at high magnification.

The $750-$1200 range are mid-range scopes that will do everything you ask of them or I wouldn’t include them on the list.

  • Price.
  • Glass Quality.
  • Weight.
  • Magnification.
  • Focal Plane.
  • Reticle.
  • Tracking.

Top 6 Best Long Range Scopes Under $1000:

Vortex Viper PST Gen II (FFP):

Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 2-10x32 FFP...
453 Reviews
Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 2-10x32 FFP...
  • The Viper PST Gen II takes incredible performance and rock solid tactical features to new heights....
  • Shooters who dial their turrets for bullet drop and wind compensation will appreciate the laser...
  • The reticle offers shooters highly functional, intuitive, and detailed hold points, yet remains...
Who doesn’t know about Vortex Scopes? Its one of the best rifle scope brands out there.

You don’t need to keep reading. This is the scope you want. The only reason not to buy this scope is if it is out of stock. It does everything well. If you can tell the difference in glass quality

Great glass quality, good choice of reticles, solid turrets and great build quality, as well as the best customer service in the industry. Every other scope is going to be compared to the PST Gen II for two reasons:

  1. It is the most recommended scope I have ever seen.
  2. No other scope beats it in a majority of categories.

Vortex really knocked it out of the park with the PST scope line. The Gen I was the standard for years and the Gen II improves on that design with a better reticles and slightly improved glass, better magnification and nicer turrets.

clarity of vortex viper pst 6-24x50 ffp

16” target at 940 yrds

The turrets feel perfect, with solid clicks during the box test. I never wondered if I made the adjustment or not. If ammunition wasn’t scarce we could have written at 100 yards.

The reticle options vary between the fine dot in the EBR-7C or an open with the EBR-2C, The position of the holdover numbers on the 7C are centered compared to the outside on the 2C.

Choose the one you prefer though the 7C seems to be more available.

The only downside I’ve been able to find is that some people want the entire tree to be illuminated not just the crosshair, and some people feel the turrets are a bit stiff.

I think they just might be jealous.

Specifications & Special Features:

Vortex Viper PST Gen II Specifications & Special Features

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • A bit heavy.

 

Vortex Strike Eagle 5-25×56 (FFP):

Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 5-25x56 First Focal...
292 Reviews
Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 5-25x56 First Focal...
  • The Strike Eagle 5-25x56 First Focal Plane riflescopes provide the features needed to improve your...
  • XD Optical System delivers impressive resolution, edge-to-edge sharpness and greatly reduces...
  • The RevStop Zero System offers an easy to set, rock-solid return to zero after turret adjustments....
Vortex’s lower cost option is geared toward a more mobile setup; the locking turrets keep brush and that annoying friend that messes with your knobs from changing your zero.

The scope is still great for long range shooting and available for a couple hundred less than the Viper PST.

The lower cost comes from slightly lower glass clarity, manufacture in China instead of the Philippines and the loss of some precision on the box test (though that could have been the wind) But it is a good all-rounder for long range shooters.

Vortex Strike Eagle 5-25×56

The 34mm tube on the Strike Eagle allows more light throughout the scope but it does make finding rings that much more difficult. Keep the ring size in mind when picking out a scope.

Specifications & Special Features:

Vortex Strike Eagle 5-25x56 Specifications & Special Features

 

Burris Xtreme Tactical XTR III 5.5-30X56 (FFP):

The XTR III is manufactured in Colorado at the Burris factory.Burris might be the closest contender to knock Vortex off the number one spot. While Vortex edges them out in glass quality the Burris is a close second. The reticles are the biggest difference between the two and it is going to come down to personal preference.

I like the Burris XTR III F-Class Reticle for the 20MOA drop if I am quickly changing target ranges without the need to change my elevation. While their Mil Reticle with ladder mil-hashes is an interesting concept, many find them confusing.

Burris comes with a Zero stop set with an allen wrench and heavily knurled turrets, it looks and feels like a beefy, bullet proof scope.

Burris Xtreme Tactical XTR III 5.5-30X56

Eye relief seems to be better on the Burris than on the PST II but once again it is so close that you need to be testing them together to notice the difference.

Unfortunately the nail in the coffin of the Burris is the price difference between the PST II and the XTR III.

Burris made a great scope that really competes with the PST Gen II but then the Vortex costs around $200 less and the gap becomes massive.

Specifications & Special Features:

Burris Xtreme Tactical XTR III 5.5-30X56 Specifications & Special Features

Pros:

  • Forgiving eye relief at max magnification.
  • Clear glass.

Cons:

  • A bit heavy.

Verdict:

The Burris XTR III 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.

 

Vortex Diamondback Tactical (FFP):

Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical 4-16x44 First...
1,521 Reviews
Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical 4-16x44 First...
  • The Diamondback Tactical First Focal Plane 4-16x44 stands at the intersection of precision and...
  • Extra-low dispersion glass and fully multi-coated lenses transmit a crisp, bright sight picture. The...
  • The precision-glide erector system uses premium components in the zoom lens to ensure smooth...

The Diamondback is essentially a Strike Eagle without an illuminated reticle. Lower glass quality than the PST, and a smaller tube than the 34mm Strike Eagle, but at half the price of the PST GEN II it replaces the SWFA 3-15x for my budget scope.

It has what look to be the same great turrets as the PST, though it doesn’t have the true mechanical zero stop.

It might be the best entry level scope on the market because of Vortex Legendary Customer Service.

If you told me the Diamondback was a PST without an illuminated reticle I wouldn’t be surprised and I would recommend it as the best entry level scope for 90% of new shooters.

Specifications & Special Features:

Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical 4-16x44 Specifications & Special Features

 

 

Vortex Viper HS LR 6-24×50 (FFP):

The Last Vortex on the list a bit of an outlier, I don’t recommend it unless you want to outfit a hunting rifle with a great scope for long range shooting. Because of state restrictions it can be difficult to hunt with a long range rifle setup.

But it does tick all the boxes if you are hunting at +200yards.

Vortex Viper HS LR 6-24×50

It is a lighter scope than the Viper PST by half a pound. Features capped turrets for windage so you don’t lose your zero stalking through brush. ½ MOA elevation for quickly adjust to your range requirement on game.

The HSLR XLR reticle is great for holdovers and ranging.

It is a great scope however there is a downside to the ½ MOA adjustments. At 100 yards a ¼ MOA or 1MRAD adjustment is standard with the ¼ MOA being preferred because it is more accuracy due to the smaller changes.

So you may struggle with zeroing the rifle and making adjustments if you are less than ½ MOA off. This isn’t a big deal but it can be infuriating.

Specifications & Special Features:

Vortex Viper HS LR 6-24x50 Specifications & Special Features

 

NightForce SHV 4-14x50mm F1 (FFP):

NightForce SHV 4-14x50mm F1 Riflescope, Black.1...
15 Reviews
NightForce SHV 4-14x50mm F1 Riflescope, Black.1...
  • Nightforce SHV 4-14x50 F1 .1 MIL -illuminated Mil-R reticle C557

The Nightforce SHV is available for under the $1000 budget. The SHV stands for Shooter, Hunter, Varminter. It is a midrange scope with a solid build quality.

 

NightForce SHV 4-14x50mm F1

The turrets adjustments are spot on though the turret marking don’t extent from the zero in both directions. It is a minor issue that is so easy to fix gives me pause about recommending the scope.

The other problems with the scope are minor and mostly due to this being Nightforce’s entry level scopes such as the SHV only comes in FFP with its F1 series at 4-14×50. The reticle doesn’t feature a horus tree which most shooters prefer.

The Nightforce ATACR is the perfect scope for long-range shooting; nearly every competition shooter uses the ATACR with its large range of reticles and amazingly clear, bright glass.

Unfortunately, the ATACR is a $3400 scope and not on this list.

Specifications & Special Features:

NightForce SHV 4-14x50mm F1 Specifications & Special Features

 

U.S. Optics TS-25X (FFP):

U.S. Optics TS-25X Riflescope, 5-25x50mm, 30mm...
  • ASIN B084C1JZYX .xls U.S. Optics TS-25X Riflescope
  • 5-25x50mm
  • 30mm Tube

U.S. Optics has gotten tons of flak after moving the manufacturing of some of their scope line to China but the TS-20x and the TS-25x show that they still can make great scopes.

Originally a custom optics shop, they really show what they can do with the TS-20x JVCR, many people would be surprised by a long range scope that can drop its magnification down to 2x but U.S. Optics managed to make a great scope that just doesn’t get as much press as Vortex, Burris or Nightforce.

The TS-25 at 5-25x50x is a great long range scope for just a hair under $1000. It hits that sweet optics range for PRS. Great turrets, clear glass, perfect for the price point.

U.S. Optics TS-25X

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m not going to recommend anything that doesn’t have precise and repeatable turrets and amazingly clear glass.

The US optics TS 25’s problem is that it just doesn’t have anything that makes it special.

It looks good, it shoots great but at the end of the day it is just standard and reliable, but if you are asking for more you may be missing the point.

Specifications & Special Features:

U.S. Optics TS-25X Specifications & Special Features

 

Athlon Ares ETR 4.5-30×56 (FFP) Review:

Athlon Optics Ares ETR UHD 4.5-30x56 First Focal...
43 Reviews
Athlon Optics Ares ETR UHD 4.5-30x56 First Focal...
  • Fully Multicoated optics effectively reduces reflected light and increases the transmission of light...

The Ares ETR has a ton of mixed reviews, Athlon made in China used to be the cheap scopes available on eBay but in recent years really stepped up their game.

The Ares ETR has similar features to the Vortex PST Gen II, quality glass, good turrets and a great reticle but where they shine above the competition is the quality of their illuminated reticle. While other scopes in this price range can bleed through their etched glass at high magnification the Ares doesn’t.

Athlon Ares ETR 4.5-30x56

The downside is scope weight, this is due to the absolutely massive objective lens and tube weight.

If you are looking for a long range scope you can do worse just be prepared for the comments at the range, about how it’s a cheap Chinese made scope. But let your shooting do your backtalk.

Specifications & Special Features:

Athlon Ares ETR 4.5-30x56 Specifications & Special Features

Verdict:

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.

 

Conclusion:

So, these were the best long range scopes for under $1000 you can get as of 2021.

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.

Test Bed:

  • Custom M1A Loaded.
  • Blackfeather Chassis.
  • Sadlak Airborne Mount, Sphur Unibody Mount.
  • Harris Bipod with Hawk Feet.
  • 168 Seirrra Match tip Handload.
  • 0.86 MOA 10 round groups at 200 yards prone bipod support. That’s 1.72 inch for those that don’t want to do the math.

Why I use the M14 as a test bed?

I’m in an abusive relationship with a rifle. It isn’t as accurate as a bolt action. It is definitely not as mount accessories as a AR-15. It can be finicky with ammunition, stock tension, or bipod load. After 12,000 rounds it has had changed barrel, chassis, bedding, rings, mount, ammunition, and modified ejection port.

After $4000 dollars in parts and labor it is still not perfect. But it has gone through over 12,000 rounds (I stopped counting two years ago) and most days the only thing I want to do is pull the trigger just one more time.

The M14 is abusive to both me and the scopes I’m testing. Lesser scopes will just shake apart while quality shines through. It doesn’t baby accessories and adds that bit of user error that most people will experience.

I don’t like the AR platform, get out of here with your AKs and NATO FALs and G3s. Bolt Actions can shoot a mile with a 2×4 stock and a duct taped scope. Like they say I don’t want no teenage queen, I just want my M14.

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.

What do you look for when choosing your scope?

Just a quick word on how we grade the scopes. Every scope on the list meets or exceeds the qualifications for the price point, namely turrets that pass the box test and clear glass that doesn’t fisheye at high magnification.

The $750-$1200 range are mid-range scopes that will do everything you ask of them or I wouldn’t include them on the list.

How Much Magnification Do You Need at 1000 yards?

This is the first question you need to ask yourself and it may require a bit of research. Some shooters are lucky and have a mile range 15 minutes from their house, while others need to make a three-hour trip just to find a place to shoot rifles.

Find the maximum range, the most common range, and if possible the dream range, and think about your shooting possibilities and magnification needs.

Figure out your maximum ranges then divide it by the highest magnification and that is how far it will be to shoot a 1x scope at that range.

Example : 800 yards is the longest range I have. My scope is a 5-25x. 800/25=32. So I have a 32 yard shot with a 1x scope.

That’s the napkin math. Long range is generally 200yards-1760yards or 1 Mile. For long range you want a scope that meets your needs or go with the standard of 5-25×50.

If you will only ever shoot a 200 yard target, save the money on the zoom and buy a lower magnification with much better glass quality such as a 1-8x or a 2-10x. We all love shooting half a mile but sometimes it just isn’t practical.

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!).

Remember, a scope helps you to see better, it doesn’t help you to shoot better. Practice! Practice! Practice!

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:

It is 2021, buy a First Focal Plane scope.

A first focal plane scope allows you to measure distance, make quick adjustments, and make better use of Horus and Mil-dot reticles. These reticles show hash marks at high zoom while leaving your sight picture mostly clear at lower magnification.

While I think that 2nd Focal Plane Scopes (SFP) can be used for long range shooting, I would never recommend them. Every scope on this list is a FFP scope. Make sure when purchasing a scope that you know which focal plane it uses.

Final Words:

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.

Sources:

U.S Optics Image: coldboremiracle

Last update on 2021-04-18