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Best Long Range Scope –


best long range scope

If your goal is to consistently hit targets at 1000 yards, you’re going to need a quality rifle, precision match-grade ammo, and a high-performance optic. There’s just no way even the best marksman can accomplish high level precision by simply point shooting. Precise distance shooting is impossible without a high-quality scope.

However, finding the right optic for distance shooting is no easy feat. Rifle scopes are expensive, and you don’t want to invest a ton of money, only to discover your optic isn’t suited for the job. That’s why we’ve compiled this informative guide. Use it to help you choose the best long range scope for your shooting needs.

If you don’t have time for the details, check out the list below for the best rated long range scopes today:

  1. Schmidt & Bender PMII 5-25×56
  2. Leupold VX-3i LRP 4.5-14x50mm
  3. Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25x56mm
  4. EOTech Vudu 5-25x50mm
  5. Primary Arms PLx 6-30x56mm
  6. Zeiss Conquest V6 5-30×50
  7. Swarovski X5i 5-25×56
  8. Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50
  9. Steiner T5Xi 5-25×56
  10. Burris Xtreme Tactical XTR II 8-40×50
  11. NightForce ATACR 7-35x56mm

Things to Consider Before Buying a Long Range Rifle Scope

Not all rifle scopes are created equal. Some are better at distance shooting than others. So what makes a scope suitable for extreme distance shooting? Here are some things to look for.


It’s hard to hit what you can’t see. If you want to ping targets at distance, you obviously need to be able to see those targets. A magnifying scope helps you do just that.

The first one or two numbers on a scope’s label indicate its magnification. These are the numbers that precede the x in the scope’s designation. Bigger numbers before the x mean you can zoom in closer on distant targets.

However, the  amount of magnification needed for long range shooting is often relevant to your target size. Shooting large game like moose, elk, or bighorn sheep at 300 yards doesn’t require the same level of magnification that popping groundhogs from the same distance requires. Generally speaking, the smaller the target you’re shooting, the more magnification you’ll need from your scope.

Magnification is often the first thing shooters consider when buying a scope. While magnification is an important feature in a long-range optic, it isn’t the most important feature. Remember, you can’t hit what you can’t see.

Buy a cheap scope with poor glass quality, and it might look like you are peering through the bottom of a milk  glass, especially when dialed in to the highest magnification. Magnification is nothing without resolution, so don’t think that big magnification numbers automatically mean you’ll be better able to see those distant targets. In addition to magnification, look for a scope with high quality glass that is fully multi-coated.

Fixed vs Variable Scope for Long Range

A fixed power scope offers one level of magnification and one level only. When looking at the label of a fixed power scope, you will see a single number before the x. This number indicates the scope’s one level of magnification.

Fixed power scopes are typically less expensive than their variable power cousins. They also tend to be less complicated and offer a much more forgiving shooting experience for inexperienced shooters.

Variable power scopes offer a range of magnification, allowing you to zoom in or out for different shooting conditions.  The magnification range on a variable scope will have two numbers separated by a dash preceding the x. A 6-12x scope has a magnification of 6 times at its lowest setting, and the image will appear 12 times larger at full magnification.

Not only do variable scopes cost more than fixed power scopes, they are also much more complicated to operate. They can be harder to zero in and require parallax adjustment. Variable scopes are also bigger and heavier than the standard fixed power optic.

So why would you want a variable power scope? First, they are incredibly versatile, allowing you to fit a wide range of shooting “jobs.” Variable scopes are also well-suited for long range shooting, because they have a wider field of view (FOV), increase light transmission for brighter twilight shooting, and are handy for eliminating mirage distortion (which can be a serious issue  as heat comes off your barrel).

Objective Lens

The number that follows the x on the label indicates the diameter of the objective lens in millimeters. The objective lens (located at the end of the scope closest to the target) is usually larger than the rest of the scope.

The job of the objective lens is to let in light. Just like large windows brighten a room, a large objective lens creates a brighter image, especially in low light conditions.

Large objective lenses (50mm or larger) are common in long range shooting, because  a big objective lens improves the image quality at the high end of the scope’s magnification range.

However, large objective lenses do have some drawbacks. Scopes with a large objective lens are large and heavy, which just isn’t practical in many hunting situations. Their large size also requires you to mount the scope higher. Because of the scope’s height, getting a proper cheek weld and a good sight picture at the same time can be hard, which can cause major accuracy issues.


There are a number of different reticle styles that are useful for long range shooting. Which style works best is largely a matter of personal preference. Whatever design you choose, make sure it has MIL or MOA marks of some sort. These marks will help you effectively compensate for windage and range.

MIL vs MOA for Long Range

MIL and MOA are angular measurements that are highly useful in long range shooting. Here are the basics:

  • MOA (Minute of Angle) is a measurement of 1/60th of a degree
  • MOA is equal to 1.047 inches at 100 yards.
  • MIL (milliradians) is 1/1000th of a radian.
  • MIL is equal to 3.6 inches at 100 yards.

The argument on MIL versus MOA is relentless, and since each has its own dedicated fan base, this argument won’t be resolved any time soon. However, the truth is that one isn’t any better than the other. They are basically two different ways of expressing the same thing. Just be sure you know which system your scope uses.

First Focal Plane vs Second Focal Plane for Long Range Shooting

The location of the reticle within the scope is important for long range shooting. A first focal plane (sometimes referred to as “front focal plane” or FFP) reticle is bound to the scope’s magnification. This means that if you zoom in on a target, the reticle grows proportionally to the magnification.

A second focal plane (SFP) reticle doesn’t change size with magnification. Because it is static, an SFP reticle is only valid at one magnification.

Most long-range shooters prefer an FFP reticle, because they can use it to effectively compensate for bullet drop and windage across the optic’s entire magnification range.

Parallax Adjustment

Раrаllах is the optical effect that occurs when your reticle seems to shift when you move your head. This effect makes the target’s position appear offset from the reticle center.

Parallax usually happens when using a scope at higher magnification, and it can be a serious issue at distances over 250 yards. Without adjusting for parallax, you can easily miss important shots.

Some scopes are “parallax free,” meaning the parallax is set up internally and locked in place for all ranges of magnification. However, parallax free scopes are usually designed for low range shots (less than 400 yards).

When shooting long range with a variable power scope, you need to adjust for parallax, usually with a knob located on the side of the scope. When parallax has been adjusted properly, the reticle will be locked in place, no matter which way you shift your head.

Target Turrets

All riflescopes have windage and elevation knobs to help you zero the optic at a set distance. However, the turrets on most scopes are small and have a low profile.

If you plan to shoot long distance, a scope with target turrets can be a major asset. Target Turrets are specialized turrets that are tall, easy to turn, make tactile or audible clicks, and have external markings to represent MOA or MIL. Long range shooters use target turrets to make fine adjustments for wind and range.

Long Range Scope Brands Worth the Money

If you aren’t sure where to begin your search for a quality long range optic, start with these reputable brands. These companies consistently produce some of the best optics that money can buy, and their premium long-range scopes are some of the best in the world.

Schmidt & Bender

Schmidt & Bender is a German, family-owned  company that designs and manufactures premium riflescopes for hunting, competition shooting, law enforcement, and military shooting applications. A Schmidt & Bender long range scope won the Precision Sniper Rifle Program of the US SOCOM (United States Special Operations Command), which resulted in a $34 million contract with the US military.

This company’s manufacturing processes are some of the strictest in the industry (meeting ISO 9001:2000 Quality Management). All Schmidt & Bender scopes are assembled by hand to guarantee quality. The one drawback to the company’s attention to detail is that they can only produce a limited number of quality optics each year.

Leupold & Stevens, Inc.

Leupold has been designing and manufacturing high quality, American-made optics for five generations. Founded in 1907 by German immigrant, Fred Leupold, the company originally focused on repairing survey equipment. They branched out into riflescopes after Fred’s son, Marcus, missed a shot on a deer because his scope fogged up. He allegedly shouted, “Hell! I could build a better scope than this!” He did, and the rest is history.

Known for their reliability and impressive glass quality, Leupold scopes are among the best in the world. Even US Army snipers, Navy SEALs, and Secret Service agents trust Leupold scopes to top their rifles. Iraeli Defense Forces also use Leupold’s Mark 4 and Mark 6 series of riflescopes.

Swarovski Optik

Swarovski Optik, headquartered in Austria, is part of the Swarovski group of companies. While the Swarovski name is best-known for its crystal and gemstone jewelry, the company is focused on “capturing the natural magic of light,” which is exactly what Swarovski Optik does with its high-performance riflescopes.

Swarovski optics have some of the best glass quality in the world. When you look through a Swarovski scope, you will see an image brighter, sharper, and clearer than anything you will ever see with the naked eye.

Carl Zeiss AG

Zeiss is a German manufacturer of high-tech optical systems and optoelectronics. Founded in 1846 by optician and scientist, Carl Zeiss, the company designs everything from microscopes to telescope. Currently, Zeiss is designing optical components for the James Webb Space Telescope, which will take the place of the famed Hubble Space Telescope sometime in 2021.

Zeiss riflescopes are well-known in the shooting industry for their high-quality lenses. The company brings the same quality and cutting-edge technology to their rifles scopes as they do to the components designed for the Space Telescope.

NightForce Optics

NightForce riflescopes are some of the most rugged optics in the shooting world. Built to perform reliably in any weather condition, NightForce scopes are thoroughly tested to withstand saltwater, wind, dust, and mud. Their accuracy is even proven in extreme temperatures, ranging from -80 degrees to 250 degrees Fehrenheit.

The company attempted to charm top-tier military groups (like the Navy SEALs) with their NXS series of precision optics. While they lost their bid for the US military’s Precision Sniper Rifle to Schmidt & Bender in 2009, they were awarded a $25.8 million contract to make scopes for US Special Forces and Marine Corps snipers the following year.

Best Long Range Scope on the Market Review

Here is a list of what we consider the best long range scopes available to the modern shooter.

 1   Schmidt & Bender PMII 5-25×56

Schmidt Bender PMII 5-25x56 L/P DT P4Fine FFP MRAD CCW

This Schmidt & Bender scope has a well-earned reputation for being the best of the best in long-range scopes. A popular choice for police and military snipers (thus the PM designation), this optic sets the industry standard for quality and reliability.

Serious competition shooters also love this optic for its generous magnification and broad range adjustment.

The low-profile Double Turn turret design is hands down the best in the industry. Not only are adjustments crisp and easy to feel, there is also a visible rotational indicator that changes color to indicate one full rotation.

You can choose from a range of reticle designs available in first or second focal plane options. We highly recommend the FFP H2CMR. Similar to a standard Mil-Dot, the H2CMR reticle makes counting holdover and corrections super simple. The reticle is adequate at the lowest magnification, but it really sings at 25x. You also get a beautiful well-lit sight picture at 25x with perfect edge-to-edge clarity.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about the PMII is its image clarity. Schmidt & Bender uses high-quality glass and an advanced optical coating to maximize the scope’s light gathering ability. This translates into crisp, bright resolution, even in low light.

 2   Leupold VX-3i LRP 4.5-14x50mm

Leupold VX-3i LRP 6.5-20x50mm Side Focus Riflescope

This scope from industry leader, Leupold, is just what you need to take your long range shooting to the next level. Long Range Precision (LRP) is right there in the optic’s name, and this thing really delivers.

Offering match-grade repeatable accuracy, the Leupold VX-i LRP features easy-to-read, zero-stop adjustment dials. The target-style click turrets offer simple tactile adjustments for windage and elevation.

The scope has an ultra-lightweight design built to endure punishing recoil and hard use, making this scope ideal for hunting with your .300 Win Mag or .338 Lapua.

The FFP reticle magnifies with the image for easier range estimation, and Leupold’s proprietary Twilight Max Light Management System eliminates glare, providing maximum edge-to-edge clarity. It also extends your shooting time by gathering available light for better visibility in low light shooting situations, something big game hunters will love.

Another high-end feature worth mentioning is the side focus parallax adjustment that allows for easy focusing from any shooting position. We also love the integrated, quick-turn throw lever that provides instant magnification changes.

This is hands down the best rated long range scope for under $1000 you could possibly mount on your rifle.

 3   Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25x56mm

Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25x56mm Riflescope

Another Leupold long range scope that deserves some love is the Mark 5HD. Designed to maximize the performance of premium long-range rifles and ammunition, this scope lets you put lead downrange quickly and accurately.

The Mark 5HD offers exceptional glass clarity at all magnifications. The main housing is filled with a proprietary blend of inert gases for crisp, undistorted images. The whole unit is o-ring sealed and tested for a multitude of pressure changes. It is also waterproof up to a 33-foot depth.

We also love the Twilight Max HD Light Management System, which reduces glare by 90 percent and produces unbelievable image clarity, even in the murkiest light. This scope lets you see so well, that you’ll almost feel like a nocturnal predator. You won’t find this kind of low light performance in any other scope.

It features an illuminated FFP reticle available in a variety of configurations suitable for hunting, competition, or tactical applications. And since this scope was born for low light shooting, we appreciate the tactile feel and audible click of the turret adjustments. This helps take the guesswork out of windage and elevation adjustments in near dark conditions.

The Mark 5HD scope is seriously lightweight (a full 20 ounces lighter than other optics in this class). But don’t let its lightweight design fool you. This is one rugged and durable scope. It is designed to hold up under demanding recoil. Plus, it comes backed by a lifetime warranty.

 4   EOTech Vudu 5-25x50mm

EOTECH Vudu 5-25x50mm Precision Rifle Scope

If you’ve ever used EOTech’s holographic sights, you know how easy it is to fall in love with them. It’s also pretty easy to fall in love with this super short long range riflescope.

By far the shortest optic on this list, EOTech adopted this squat design so you can easily add night vision or a thermal device. Its size (just over 11 inches long) makes this the perfect scope for AR-15 or other short platform rifles. In fact, this super compact optic looks right at home on a modern sporting rifle.

The EOTech Vudu features extremely clear XC high-density glass for impressive light transmission and sharp image clarity. It also comes with an MD3 FFP reticle that pops at 5x, 25x, and everything in between. Long distance shooters will also appreciate the throw lever  quick magnification changes and the push-button reticle illumination with 10 brightness settings and a two-hour automatic shutoff.

The elevation turret locks in place, and the windage turret is capped to prevent accidental adjustments. However, when you do need to make adjustments, the turrets are surgically precise with solid, audible clicks. They also allow you to re-index to zero without any hassle.

 5   Primary Arms PLx 6-30x56mm

Primary Arms PLx Series 6-30x56 FFP Rifle Scope with Illuminated DEKA MIL Reticle

It might surprise some shooters that Primary Arms landed on our list of the best long range scopes. Best known for producing budget-priced optics, Primary Arms busted into the premium optic scene with their PLx series of high end scopes.

Manufactured with high-quality Japanese glass and a 56mm objective lens, the PLx delivers images that are bright, clear, and crisp from edge to edge. The PLx also offers some features you would expect to see on a premium long range scope, including precise click adjustments that are both tactile and audible, easy zero reset turrets, and a full lifetime warranty.

The 6-30x magnification range on this scope is ideal for reaching out past 600 yards. The first focal plane DEKA AMS MIL reticle is an updated version of the combat proven Mil-Dot commonly used by military forces around the world. This uncluttered reticle design is compatible with any caliber and features 5 MILS of holds for easy ranging on extreme distance targets.

It features full red reticle illumination that stays true through the range of magnification. The reticle is night vision compatible on the lowest illumination setting, but is easily visible in full daylight on the brightest.

 6   Zeiss Conquest V6 5-30×50

Zeiss Conquest V6 5-30x50 ZMOA Reticle w/BDC Turret, Black

Zeiss is famous for producing some of the best optical equipment in the world, and their Conquest V6 riflescope makes it easy to understand why. It features state-of-the-art, high light transmission glass (92 percent) with T star six-layer multi-coatings, fluoride lenses, and a wide field of view. This means you’ll experience crisp, high-contrast images even when you’re shooting in twilight.

The Conquest V6 also has a special LotuTec protective lens coating that repels water, fingerprints, and dust, so you have a crystal clear, unhindered view in all kinds of weather.

The exterior of the scope is also built for tough weather conditions. Built with both a hard shell and hard core, the Conquest V6 has a high-quality seal to protect your optic from rain, snow, and sweat. You can trust this scope to operate reliably even in extreme temperatures, whether you’re shooting in the sub-Saharan desert or on the Arctic tundra.

For extreme distances, the Zeiss Conquest V6 has an ultra-fine illuminated reticle that produces minimal target coverage, even at the strongest magnification level. Only a fraction of the thickness of human hair, this reticle operates on a fiber optic system for serious precision on the smallest targets at the greatest distance.

The Conquest V6 makes a fine varmint scope, although it feels right at home zinging steel and busting bullseyes in competition.

 7   Swarovski X5i 5-25×56

Swarovski X5i 5-25x56 P 1/8 MOA Plex-I+ 79124

Swarovski scopes are well-known in the shooting world for their precision and clarity. In those regards, the X5i doesn’t differ much from other Swarovski optics. However, the X5i has more to offer than brilliant optical quality. Swarovski has added some serious premium features that make the X5i rifle scope stand out in the field of long range optics.

One feature that will excite serious long range shooters is the revolution windows on the scope’s turrets. This unique feature allows you to quickly and easily see which revolution you’re on, preventing costly mistakes when dialing out past a full turn. With 20 MOA of adjustment in each full turn, losing count of your revolutions is easy. Now, all you have to do is multiply the number in the window by MOA, and you’ll know exactly where the scope is set.

Swarovski also added a “sub zero” option that allows you to dial 10 MOA below your set zero. The sub zero feature increases the versatility of this scope, allowing you to shoot accurately beyond your zero without sacrificing short range accuracy.

If you need a long-distance scope for a high-powered rifle, the X5i has you covered. Built with thicker walls in the main tube and integrated steel parts in the turrets and inversion system, this scope provides maximum stability, even atop the most powerful calibers. If you want to use this long range scope for deer hunting, it works as well for .30-06 as it does on your .338 Lapua.

 8   Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50

Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II First Focal Plane Riflescopes

Vortex Optics isn’t usually considered one of the heavy hitters when it comes to rifle scopes. However, they do produce respectable optics at prices most shooters can manage to squeeze into their budget. Priced right around $1000, their Viper PST Gen II riflescope delivers considerable value for the money.

This scope has surprisingly brilliant glass quality. With extra-low dispersion glass, fully multi-coated lenses, and Amortek protective coatings, you get the type of crisp resolution and color fidelity you’d expect from a much more expensive optic.

Long range shooters will definitely appreciate the Viper PST’s laser etched turrets, adjustable parallax, and RZR zero stop. These tactical style turrets deliver crisp, clean, audible clicks with the perfect amount of resistance. Even if you’re a turret snob (and what long-range shooter isn’t?), these turrets will not disappoint.

The Viper PST has a finely detailed illuminated FFP reticle that really shines at maximum magnification. It may be a little cluttered for some shooters, but those regularly shooting extreme distances will appreciate its detail for holdovers, ranging, and windage corrections.

 9   Steiner T5Xi 5-25×56

Steiner T5Xi Tactical Rifle Scope - Close Compact Riflescope for Hunting

Steiner’s optics feature battle-proven technology that has served US military shooters for more than 70 years. The company’s T5Xi is built for tactical applications. This thing is crazy rugged and built to survive tough conditions.

The main scope tube is milled from solid high-grade aluminum. With no welds or seams, you get serious strength and durability that endures rock slams, freezing cold, and gritty sand without breaking a sweat. You could drag this scope 100 miles through the mud, and the view will be crystal clear (and the zero dead on) when you get there.

The T5Xi has a generous 34mm main tube that provides plenty of room for adjustments. The windage and elevation knobs are refreshingly stiff and tactile, so you can trust them for military precision and accuracy, even at targets beyond 1000 yards. To help you keep track of your revolutions, the numbers on the scale change automatically.

We really love Steiner’s exclusive illuminated reticle on the PX4i. It’s called Steiner’s Special Competition Reticle (SCR), and this etched glass FFP is designed for serious precision shooting. Plus, it has an extended illumination area, so you can easily engage targets in low light. 

 10   Burris Xtreme Tactical XTR II 8-40×50

 Burris Xtreme Tactical XTR II 8-40x50mm Precision Rifle Scope

Unfortunately, Burris Optics are often ignored in the presence of long-range heavy hitters like Schmidt & Bender, Swarovski, and NightForce. However, once you look through the Burris XTR II, we promise you’ll never overlook this company again. This is definitely one of our long-range favorites. With the right shooter behind it, this scope easily busts bullseyes at 1000 yards.

The Burris XTR II features exposed turrets and parallax adjustments. The scope even has a handy zero stop function that allows you to make quick, easy adjustments without looking up from your rifle.

This optic maxes out at an extreme 40x, although you’ll probably never need it. Dial it down to 20x, and the clarity and resolution will easily help you reach targets at extreme ranges.

The XTR II is built with an ample 50mm objective, which provides a generous field of view (FOV) for scanning and tracking targets.

 11   NightForce ATACR 7-35x56mm

ATACR - 7-35x56mm F1 - ZeroStop - .1 Mil-Radian- DigIllum - PTL - TReMoR3 C571

The NightForce ATACR is THE long-distance precision riflescope for shooters with money to spend. While the price tag may be enough to frighten off most, it is well worth the investment. In the world of optics, it is generally true that you get what you pay for, and it is certainly true in this case.

The ATACR has everything you would expect from a high end optic, including an illuminated FFP reticle, fully multi-coated glass, an incredible FOV, and what might be the best zero stop on the planet.

If you’re looking at that price tag and feeling a little skeptical, consider this. Five of the top seven open-class winners in the National Rifle League’s 2019  NRL22 division ran this optic. It’s hard to argue with results like that. This scope may be the perfect optic for 10/22 shooting, especially in serious competition.

However, if you’re thinking this might be overkill for a rimfire .22lr, keep this in mind: The United States Marine Corps recently adopted this riflescope for their sniper system. If it’s good enough for elite military snipers, it will definitely make a fine coyote scope. Although it really shines on the competition field.

Long Distance Tips and Tricks

When shooting long distance targets (especially those out past 1000 yards), precision is key. Even the smallest inconsistencies can have negative effects that intensify with every yard of distance. Here are a few tips and tricks to help improve your long range shooting.

Don’t Skimp on Your Scope

You might find it hard to spend big bucks on a riflescope, but quality is essential in long distance shooting, and quality costs. Your scope is the most fragile and complicated piece of shooting equipment you will own. You just aren’t going to find a decent long range riflescope for under $500.

If you want to really excel at long range shooting, plan to spend more on your optic than you did on your rifle.

Learn to Breathe

Every time you take a breath, your body moves. Although slight, every inhale and exhale creates a shifting of your rifle sights. To minimize the effects of these tiny movements, squeeze the trigger on the natural respiratory pause (the space between breaths at the bottom of the exhale).

Follow Through

It can be tempting to jump off the weapon after the shot. However, after the shot breaks, stay with your weapon. Maintain your cheek weld and continue the trigger squeeze. Follow the shot all the way to the target.

Zero to a Higher Standard

Most deer hunters making shots under 300 yards are happy if they can get three shots in an 8-inch circle (about the size of a deer’s vital area) at 100 yards. Precision long range shooters won’t be happy with that level of precision.

If you want to be a successful long range shooter, hold your zero to a higher standard than the average hunter. The goal should be 3 consecutive rounds within a 1-inch square at 100 yards.

Choose the Right Ammo

Consistent accuracy requires consistent ammunition. Many serious distance shooters choose to hand load their own ammunition to ensure it is loaded to very exacting standards.

If you don’t have the time or desire to load your own, at least opt for loads that feature a Sierra MatchKing projectile. These are some of the most precise bullets ever made.

6.5 Creedmoor vs .308 vs .30-06 for Long Range

Which cartridge is best for long range shooting is another regularly debated topic. Three common cartridges used by snipers, hunters, and long range target shooters is the 6.5mm Creedmoor, .308 Winchester, and .30-06 Springfield.

Let’s take a closer look at these popular cartridges and their capabilities.

6.5mm Creedmoor

A relative newcomer to the shooting world, the 6.5 Creedmoor was first introduced in 2007. Designed specifically for long range competition, the cartridge is basically a .308 cartridge necked down to accommodate a smaller 6.5mm bullet.

6.5mm projectiles are well-known for their superior ballistic performance, allowing it to stabilize in flight over longer distances. And since this smaller, lighter, more aerodynamic bullet is pushed by the same powder charge as the .308 Winchester, it achieves some impressive velocities and remarkably flat trajectories.

Aside from unmatched long range accuracy, the 6.5 Creedmoor has one more bonus for competition shooters.  6.5mm Creedmoor has less recoil than either .30-06 or .308. That might not seem like a big deal, but once you’ve sent 50 plus rounds downrange in one afternoon, you’ll understand the benefit.

.308 Winchester

Introduced in 1952, .308 Winchester is currently the most popular cartridge used for long range shooting. It is also the most popular short-action, big-game hunting cartridge in the world.

The .308 has the same case head diameter as the .30-06, but the case is shortened so it can fit a shorter, handier rifle.

When .308 cartridges were developed, the .30-06 dominated competitive rifle shooting. Shooters quickly discovered that the .308 had an accuracy advantage over the traditional .30-06, and it became a favorite of competitive marksmen. In fact, thanks to the .308’s precision, competition organizers reduced the size of the standard bullseye to avoid ties between .308 shooters.

.30-06 Springfield

The .30-06 cartridge was born for military use. Introduced to the United States Army in 1906, the .30-06 Springfield cartridge remained the U.S. Army’s primary rifle cartridge for almost 60 years.

This is the cartridge famed Marine sniper, Carlos Hathcock II (nicknamed White Feather), used to make his second longest recorded sniper shot (1200 yards) in his service weapon. He also used a .30-06 rifle to win the Wimbledon Cup.

The .30-06 has a reputation for dishing out some punishing recoil. However, it remains a favorite cartridge for hunting whitetail deer and other large game animals.

Final Thoughts

Shooting long range targets is a thrilling challenge. Whether you’re busting paper bullseyes, pinging metal targets, or dropping big game animals, long range shooting is incredibly addictive.

While professional snipers and serious competitors make hitting marks at 1000 yards look like a piece of cake, accurate long-range shooting isn’t nearly as easy as it looks. However, choosing the best long range scope for your shooting discipline will make it a whole lot easier.


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