Best AR-15 Long Range Scopes – 2020 Complete Round-up

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You can get an incredible AR-15 rifle and still not be able to get the performance you expect out of it. The simple reason for this is that in order for a great rifle to work well, you need good attachments and optics. 

The AR-15 truly is incredibly versatile. It works wonderfully for hunting, tactical shooting, and competitive shooting. All this translates to it being a highly capable rifle. 

The AR-15 is highly customizable and can fit a wide range of long-range scopes. The large number of products available on the market can make it pretty difficult to select the best choice for you. Thus, we have created this ultimate guide to buying a scope. It includes how to decide on a good scope, some excellent recommendations, and what to expect out of this product. 

Comparison of the Best AR-15 Long Range Scopes

  • The excellent performance of this unit makes it the best overall
  • Features dead-hole BDC reticle
  • Constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum
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  • Runner-up because of the clear visuals it promises
  • 5-20 x50 riflescope
  • Features a 30mm main tube
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  • Quality optics of this unit makes it the best for the money
  • Features Drop zone-223 BDC Ballistic reticle
  • Can aim points at 500 yards
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  • 6-24x 50mm construction
  • Features a 30 mm main body
  • Constructed with 6061 T6 aluminum
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What is Considered Long Range?

There is no proper definition of long-range. For some people, it might be 100 yards, whereas others say that long-range is 500 yards. Perhaps a general way of defining long-range would be when your naked eye and iron sights fail to work in identifying the target, and you need extra aid. Normally, this would be the 300 yards and above mark, as this is where getting hits becomes very difficult without the aid of a scope. 

What Size of Scope Do I Need?

Ideally, the scope you opt for should offer a versatile range of magnification. However, at the end of the day, it is personal preference. The scope you opt for should be able to mount on your rifle; thus, prior to investing in one, check its measurements and the rifles it is compatible with. If you buy a good scope and are unable to mount it on your rifle, it is a wasteful investment. 

What Do the Numbers on a Scope Mean?

The numbers on a scope often throw people off and may appear complex. However, they are really easy to understand. They indicate the minimum magnification, maximum magnification, and objective lens diameter.

For example, if a scope has the numbers 5-20 X50 on it, then the 5 is its minimum magnification, whereas the 20 is its maximum magnification. The hyphen in between indicates the range. Furthermore, the 50m after the x is an indication of the 50mm objective lens diameter. 

What to Look for When Buying a Long Range Scope

There are certain factors and features that are necessary for the proper functioning of a good long-range scope and help improve the overall experience you have with the product. Let’s take a look at these, so you know which long-range scope to invest in:


Having a decent warranty guarantees the product to be highly reliable and more durable. It makes it a smart long-term investment, which is what you need, given the hefty price you pay for such a product. 

Weight and Construction

The product shouldn’t weigh a lot; otherwise, it will bring your rifle down and cause strain. On the other hand, the overall construction should be solid and able to withstand harsh weather conditions so it can work for hunting as well. 


Magnification allows the product to make the target appear closer to you so you can take a more accurate shot with greater precision. The higher your magnification range is, the more options you have, and the more versatile your product is. Make sure you opt for a product that offers a clear image at higher magnifications as well. 

Review of the Best AR-15 Long Range Scopes

There’s an abundance of long-range scopes in the market, which can make it difficult to pick the ideal option. Thus, we have compiled detailed reviews of some of the best AR-15 long range scopes available on the market. Let’s take a look:

Best Overall:
Vortex Optics Crossfire II


  • Solid and innovative design allows it to be accurate and precise
  • Fast-focus eye-piece for efficient and easy reticle focusing
  • Constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum which allows it to be shock-proof 
  • Features long-eye relief and an ultra-forgiving eye box, allowing it to be ergonomic
  • O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged thus delivers waterproof and fog-proof performance


  • Slight purple tinge in some conditions
  • Max magnification gives slightly blurry images in full sunlight
  • Some buyers complained of the elevation turret markings to not align completely

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers are incredibly happy with the performance of this unit. It offers clear and excellent magnification. Furthermore, the waterproof and fog-proof construction allows it to work in adverse weather conditions as well. Overall, it is quite lightweight and doesn’t cause any type of strain. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This product stunned us with its fast-focus eyepiece that allows it to be incredibly efficient and accurate. Its aircraft-grade aluminum construction allows it to be incredibly durable and makes it both waterproof and fog-proof, which further adds to its reliability. 

Who Will Use This Most

Hunters and folks who frequent shooting ranges will find this easy to use, constructed to be solid, and ideal for numerous rifles. It is particularly great for hunting as it offers a very precise and accurate shot with great magnification without being impeded by nasty weather conditions.  

Bottom Line

Overall, this scope is very impressive. It works wonderfully well for many shooting conditions and it features a very innovative design that makes its operation incredibly precise, accurate, and ergonomic. Its rugged construction and phenomenal performance make it a great investment and an obvious choice for the "best overall" spot on this list.

 Vortex Optics Viper PA


  • Features XR coatings that enhance its light gathering capability
  • Hard-anodized finish makes it tough and rugged
  • Fast-focus eyepiece allows easy and efficient reticle focusing
  • Side knob parallax adjust enables quick and easy parallax adjustments 
  • Multi-coated, extra-low dispersion lenses give the user excellent resolution and color fidelity


  • Heavy, thus weighing down the rifle
  • On the higher end of the price spectrum
  • Image seems to get a little cloudy at max magnification

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers find this product to be user-friendly and well-constructed. Some did complain of a slight cloudy image at max magnification, but it wasn’t a deal-breaker. Furthermore, it is sturdy and features a great warranty, making it highly reliable and durable. It truly proves to be worth the splurge.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This scope has a heavy-duty construction with a hard-anodized finish, allowing it to be rugged and tough. This enables it to be great for predator hunting. Furthermore, the fast-focusing eyepiece allows efficient reticle focusing. Plus, the multi-coated optics increase light transmission, whereas the extra low-dispersion elements enhance the resolution.

Who Will Use This Most

This unit is perfect for beginners because it is incredibly easy to use, customizable, and provides clear magnification and efficient focusing. Any adjustments one would like to achieve are very easy to make with it. The construction is solid, which makes it perfect for hunting.

Bottom Line

All in all, the Viper PA is a delight to own. It comes with multiple innovative features that not only enhance its performance but also allow the unit to be user-friendly. The construction is high-quality as well, which contributes to it being a great investment. 

Best for the Money:
 Bushnell AR Optics


  • Fast-focus eyepiece gives it highly efficient reticle focusing
  • Incredibly affordable and one of the most budget-friendly options on the market
  • Side focus parallax adjustment allows easy adjustability and accuracy
  • Features anodized finish and is properly sealed, making it durable and reliable 
  • Constructed from a high-quality, strong, rugged aluminum alloy


  • Caps are held with cheap plastic
  • Does not come with a sunshade
  • Zoom ring is too stiff and hard to adjust

What Recent Buyers Report

In a marketplace where scopes typically cost ridiculous amounts of money, this unit is an excellent budget-friendly option. Buyers find the quality and performance to be great, which ensures that this unit provides great value for the money you spend on it and has quickly made it a consumer favorite product. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This product caught our attention for many reasons. First, it has multi-coated optics that enable it to produce high-quality bright images regardless of the lighting conditions. Furthermore, its fast-focusing eyepiece offers quick reticle focusing, and its side focus parallax is easy to adjust, given the innovative design. As a result of all these features, it boasts accurate and precise aiming.

Who Will Use This Most

This highly accurate scope has incredible construction, and its high-quality optics allow it to work wonderfully well under many lighting conditions and provide clear images. Furthermore, it is nitrogen purged to remove any internal moisture and features an O-ring for dust and fog resistance. Because of all this, really any AR-15 user would find this to be very useful; perhaps the best fit for this product would be a buyer on a tight budget.

Bottom Line

Overall, this scope is a gem. It is well-constructed and built to last. It carries multiple features that add to its aesthetic and durability. The overall construction is of an aluminum alloy, plus it features an anodized finish. All of this contributes to it being highly reliable and a great investment.

4. Athlon Optics


  • Affordable and accessible
  • Constructed of rugged and solid aircraft-grade aluminum
  • Argon purging makes it waterproof and thermally stable
  • Features advanced fully coated lenses for better light transmission and bright image
  • Reticle is etched on the glass to provide backing support for complex reticle design


  • Considerably heavy
  • Doesn’t seem to have the clearest glass 
  • Detents can be difficult to use under stress as they are vague

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers are incredibly happy with the construction of this scope. Consumers find it to be consistent, precise, and accurate. It is able to provide bright images and withstand multiple weather conditions. Furthermore, it features a great outlook that makes it a very stylish product. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This remarkable scope features reticle support, which is a rare feature to find that supports and backs up the complex reticle design. Furthermore, it is constructed from rugged aircraft-grade aluminum. 

Who Will Use This Most

Hunters will appreciate that this scope is waterproof and dust-proof. Its ability to withstand adverse conditions and provide a consistently bright and clear image (thanks to its amazing optical construction) will make it indispensable for tracking down your prey out in the wild. 

Bottom Line

This is one of the most reliable and durable scopes in the market. It is constructed with great craftsmanship and is a wonderful investment. The Athlon brand is known for creating high-quality pieces, and this is one of their masterpieces. It is definitely worth checking out.

5. Nikon Black X1000

Nikon black X1000 6-24x50SF Matte IL x-MOA


  • Nitrogen purged so it can be protected from dust and fog
  • O-ring seal protects against moisture
  • Shockproof construction allows it to shrug off hard recoil
  • Provides consistent eye relief, keeping eyes and brows safe during recoil
  • Features anti-reflective coatings to show consistently bright and sharp images


  • Turrets seem to be misaligned
  • Maximum magnification clouds the image
  • Considerably more expensive than similar units 

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers find this Nikon scope to be incredibly well constructed and of great quality. From the optics it features to its overall construction, this unit seems to impress consumers highly. It is constructed to be ergonomic and also features an incredibly stylish design. Overall, users find its quality to be well worth the relatively high price tap. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

We are in love with the excellent optics of this scope, which enable it to reproduce a very consistently bright and sharp image. It also allows the user to be incredibly precise by providing accuracy. Furthermore, it features an incredibly rugged construction and O-ring and nitrogen purging that make it moisture-resistant and dust and fog proof. 

Who Will Use This Most

This incredibly well-made, shockproof, waterproof, and fog proof scope is perfect for use in the field and for hunting. It can hold up against multiple harsh conditions, allowing it to be reliable and durable. Plus, its construction is ergonomic and it features a stylish appearance as well. 

Bottom Line

Not only is this scope loved and appreciated by professionals, but it is a consumer favorite as well. It isn’t the most budget-friendly option; however, it does feature an incredibly innovative and unique design to compensate and make up for the steep price. 

Pros and Cons of Long Range Scopes

If you’re still unsure about investing in a long-range scope, perhaps a side by side comparison of the pros and cons will help you decide.


By investing in a long-range scope, you will get to enjoy the following benefits:


If you find yourself in a situation where you own an excellent rifle, yet are unable to hit targets due to lack of good optics, then a long-range scope is a lifesaver.


More often than not, a scope has a good warranty. If you invest in a quality product, you won’t have to worry about it breaking or needing a replacement any time soon. This is because they are well-constructed and are long-term investments. 


If you find yourself to have trouble focusing on an object, then a long-range scope can be beneficial. It features a fast-focusing eyepiece, which enables a fast reticle focus. 


Of course, like all things, long-range scopes have their limitations. 


Such scopes carry pretty hefty price tags. The higher the magnification range and the more well-constructed your scope is, the more expensive it will be. 


The use of a long-range scope can enhance and optimize the performance of your AR-15. This phenomenal rifle benefits greatly from a long-range scope as it allows the rifle to be more effortless, accurate, and precise. 

But it is on you to decide whether the type of shooting you practice is in need of better optics. You may not feel the need to invest in high magnification optics for some shooting types, whereas other types simply do not require it. Furthermore, the process of buying a scope can be rather daunting. Therefore, this article was aimed at helping you get the most relevant and useful information about the topic so you can make a smarter decision while buying a scope for yourself.