Are you looking for the best scope that will be great for shooting targets from 500 yards out? If so, you’re in the right place. It takes a pretty good scope to hone in on your target of choice so you can hit it with precise accuracy each time you pull the trigger.
But let’s not forget one thing: these scopes aren’t just for hunting. You can find a scope that will give you an advantage over your competitors in a shooting contest or for the sake of making your sharpshooting abilities a lot better.
What Constitutes As Long Range?
It’s a matter of debate about what distances are considered long-range. Especially the distance that might be considered the “low end”. A starting distance of 500 yards might be ideal (which means any distance beyond that will be considered long-range).
Any kind of shooting guru will have a different answer. But for the sake of argument, we will say that any distance of 500 yards or farther is long range.
Why do you need a scope for shooting at 500 yards?
It can be tricky to find the ideal scope for shooting at 500 yards. You do not need a long-distance scope capable of shooting out to 1000 yards or beyond. And you do need a scope that can help you in the medium-range shooting too.
A good scope for 500 yards will be one that can easily adapt to shooting conditions that might rapidly change. You do not want to be changing out scopes in the middle of your hunt; especially since you will have to re-zero it before using it again.
Most hunters who are sighting deer or other small game will most likely be doing most of their shooting at 500 yards or less. So, a good, flexible scope that can work for any distance within the 500-yard range is ideal. In addition, having a scope with range flexibility will also eliminate the need to bring along extra accessories. This will only add weight which is not welcome. You need to find the sweet spot.
What makes a great scope for 500 yards?
Before heading out to purchase a new scope, it is important to keep several factors in mind. Accessories and optics can cost a bit of money, so it is helpful to understand what you should be looking at when making your purchase.
If there is a feature that might be a bit overlooked at times, it’s the magnification power of a scope. If you want a really close look at the target you are locked in on, you can magnify the image picture so you can make the determination of whether or not it’s the target you want to take out.
For instance, you can easily make the determination by making sure you are shooting a buck rather than a doe (if such conditions apply). You can take advantage of higher levels of magnifying power if you do intend to take out targets from a longer distance. If the target is less than 500 yards away, lower power may apply here.
Keep in mind that there are two types of magnifications that you may work with fixed and variable. You may have a scope with one level or a range of magnification levels. You can choose one that is more comfortable for you. But keep in mind that some scopes will have various magnification powers.
2. Size Of Objective
Here’s the thing about objectives: they determine the size of the image picture. As a rule of thumb, the larger the objective the better. This means you’ll get plenty of land to cover just by looking through the scope.
You’ll see more with a scope that has an objective measured at 40mm compared to an objective that’s measured at 30mm.
Also, a larger objective will also give you a better chance of acquiring your targets rather quickly. This will give you an excellent advantage in a hunting situation. Especially if you are looking to hit a hunting target from 500 yards or thereabouts.
3. Which Reticle Is Better For You?
The reticle is one of the most important aspects of a scope. That’s because it has the ability to lock on your targets and will also provide accurate precise shooting at any given distance. There are different types of reticles that will help you improve your shooting ability.
4. High-Quality Materials
If you truly want a scope that will last you a long time, then you really want it to be made from high-quality materials. That’s because it will provide excellent durability and provide additional protection against shock, bad weather, and anything that may damage the scope.
5. Image Quality
Another important element of a great scope is the image quality. It’s no secret that a hunter or target shooter will want a scope that provides a crystal clear image picture that will look crisp, clean, and high in definition. It will also be a plus if you have a scope with the ability to gather in light for low-light usage.
6. What Eye Relief Is Better?
The eye relief of the scope will depend on the kind of rifle you are using. If you are using a rifle that is known for having some heavy-hitting recoil, you may want to consider purchasing a scope with a generous amount of eye relief. If the rifle has recoil that you can manage, then a scope with shorter eye relief may be sufficient.
An often overlooked aspect of optics is the weight factor. This is pretty important. Your rifle already weighs something, as do your camo and other gear you are wearing and anything else you are carrying on your person. A heavy scope mounted onto your rifle adds to this number.
User fatigue is a real concern, especially when out in the field for long periods of time. This fatigue and extra weight will cause your shot to be off. Nothing is more frustrating. Be sure to pick a scope that will do the job, without weighing a ton.
How to choose your scope for 500 yards?
One factor that you should definitely keep in mind when choosing a good scope for 500 yards, is that higher glass quality is going to give you a better image. This is crucial for getting a clear sight of your intended target.
If you want to have a better target image, then you will need a scope that has a higher glass quality on it. This is not as important if you are shooting shorter distances. However, better quality glass can be one of those factors that give your scope greater flexibility.
You will also need to factor in being aware of wind and elevation when shooting out longer distances. Larger ranges for windage and elevation are necessary if you want to have more accuracy shooting further out. This is especially true if you are a newer hunter or not used to shooting out to 500 yards.
Other key factors to consider are light transmission and field of view. Any hunter from beginner to expert should take every possible advantage in the field, and this includes the field of view and light. A good scope for shooting out to 500 yards will give you the ability to make these adjustments.
At a closer range, you may not these factors as much, but you definitely will for 500 yards. In this case, it makes sense to spend a little more money in order to have these features. You may not need to use them every time, but they add to your scope’s flexibility.
In this case, it will be better to spend a little more in order to guarantee that you can shoot anywhere within 500 yards.
Top 5 Scopes For 500 Yards
1. ATN X-Sight 4K – Very Good Scope for Ar15
First, on the docket, we’ll be taking a look at the Vortex Optics Crossfire II. This is a scope that will definitely win over a good number of hunters and target shooters for a few good reasons.
Reason number one, the durability is probably second to none. Number two, it’s affordable for most budgets. This is the scope that will hit the sweet spot if you are looking for a scope and you are not looking to spend a lot of money.
As a rule of thumb, you should always invest in the best quality that you can afford. And believe us when we say that it’s way better than having to go for something cheap and disappointing.
If you want fast target acquisition, you’re in luck. This scope will have exactly that so you can lock on your target and knock that sucker down at the drop of a hat.
And for a scope that can reach out and touch something from 500 yards out, your jaw will hit the ground once you put through a few rounds. If you want a scope that will last you a long time and will definitely do some damage at some pretty impressive distances, you’d be insane to pass up the opportunity to give this a go.
2. Burris Fullfield II
The Burris Fullfield II will in all likelihood be a direct rival to the Vortex Optics II in at least one category: affordability. In fact, you’re bound to find both of them within the same price range.
But what makes the Burris Fullfield II stand out over its competitor anyways? Well, you may notice the parallax adjustments are a bit smoother and more fluid than the Vortex Optics II. And the reticle might be just a tad sharper in accurate shooting. It might be a photo finish in that regard. But nonetheless, it’s going to reach well up to 500 yards in a hunting or target shooting situation.
But it can give you a certain edge over the targets you are trying to hunt down. That’s because it has an eyepiece that allows for quick target acquisition.
That’s pretty much what you are looking for in a scope where you can be able to get a quick shot off and call it a day of successful hunting. But if you come up empty-handed, well there’s always another day.
Rest assured, the Fullfield II will certainly be a high-performing scope that will be your best hunting buddy. Especially when you want it to go much farther than some other scopes are allowed. For all your long-range hunting needs, there may be no other scope that can do better than a Burris.
3. Nikon Monarch 3
Let’s kick off this review with an analogy: Vortex is to durability as Nikon is to image quality. Once you look through a Nikon scope, you will be amazed by how awesome the image picture is in terms of definition.
It’s crisp, sharp, and it’s something you never want to look away from. We won’t be surprised if you let out a bit of a “whoa” when you look through it the first time around. It’s that dang awesome.
On top of that, the lenses are coated to ensure that you get the best image quality in low-light settings and broad daylight. It’s a scope that will also give you excellent durability and protection from shock, fog, and bad weather.
Oh and one more thing, this scope won’t even allow any glaring from the sun to impede your vision. It’s a scope that will definitely pull through in the clutch when you are in a hunting situation. And when this beast is able to consistently reach 500 yards, you’ll know for a fact that this scope was certainly worth the investment.
4. Leupold VX-3i
There’s always going to be something that will be flying around the shooting community about which scope will be better in durability. Imagine Vortex and Leupold in an arm-wrestling match.
Who would come out on top in a battle of really tough customers? Well, you might be the judge of that. But let’s say that Leupold is more of the higher-end version (and probably the more pricer) of the two. Think Apple vs Microsoft (if you are technically inclined).
Enough of the comparisons. We know it can go 500 yards. Maybe more depending on the settings. And furthermore, you get more light in the image picture for a bit longer than almost any other scope if you are in a low-light setting. That means you can see more when there is barely even sunshine outside.
Can a Vortex scope do that? It can do low-light image quality, but it won’t hold long enough. Also, the adjustments for windage, elevation and parallax are easier than some scopes. So if you need to make on-the-fly adjustments, you can do exactly that.
Whether you are hunting or target shooting, this scope will prove itself beyond a shadow of a doubt that it deserves a closer look. If you got the cash to swing for this bad boy, you might be in for a treat.
5. Nikon Black FX 1000
Nikon makes the list again, this time with the Black FX 1000. Do we dare repeat what a Nikon is best known for? You probably know already.
But you can also get some pretty cool additional features out of the whole deal. What about easy adjustments for windage and elevation? Once you are able to make the adjustments at the snap of a finger, your shots will be back in the straight and narrow.
The good news is you are going to get a pretty good performance overall with a scope like this. It will be like any other Nikon scope on the market (or slightly better than some).
The not-so-great news is you may need to spend a bit more than usual (which is fine if you can afford it). If not, don’t fret. We still have another Nikon scope that you’ll enjoy on this list.
The prices of scopes can vary widely. Sometimes the difference is in the materials used and other times it depends on the variety of features the scope may have. A general rule of pricing is as follows:
Less than $500
Scopes that are under $500 will have standard features and capabilities. Almost all of them will have a protective coating or materials of some kind, with many of them being water, shock, and fog proof.
Between $500 and $1000
Scopes in this price range will have a few more features and advantages compared to the less expensive ones. In general, scopes in this range will offer a slightly better quality of construction. Many scopes here will also come with other accessories and options.
Scopes that are $1000 or higher are definitely going to be top-of-the-line. You can be sure that they are constructed with the best materials, and many of them come with lifetime warranties. Generally speaking, these scopes are among the best in terms of long-range accuracy.
The type of scope that you purchase depends on your budget and your shooting needs. It is a good idea to know both of these before heading out to make your scope purchase.
It is helpful to have a budget in mind that also takes into account your experience level, how often you go hunting and how often you expect to be shooting at 500 yards or further.
For occasional use, it does not necessarily make sense to purchase a super-expensive scope. However, if you are a competitive shooter or hunt long-range quite often, you want to be sure that you have a scope that will allow you to have the best experience and outcome.
A good guide when it comes to spending on optics is, your accessory should cost ½ as much as your firearm.
1. What magnification is ideal for 500 yards?
You need to have the right amount of magnification in order to make shots at 500 yards out. The ability to zoom in and sight your target is crucial. In order to have greater success with your accuracy, you must be able to properly sight your target.
At a minimum, shooting at 500 yards will require 5X magnification. And this is even on the lower end. Most experienced hunters feel that a level of 10X magnification is ideal when shooting out to 500 yards. And if you will be ever shooting out further, you will need more magnification.
Remember that smaller targets are going to require higher magnification. So small game hunters who need a scope for 500 yards or less will still need to have ample magnification levels to ensure hunting success. The only caveat is that at higher magnification levels, your field of view is going to be reduced significantly.
You also need to balance your magnification levels with the overall versatility of the scope. Having high magnification can be beneficial, but not if you are always going to be taking shots at 500 yards.
You should at least purchase a variable scope with a minimum magnification of 2X or 3X. An ideal scope for this range should be able to go up to 14X or 16X, which will ensure that you have the flexibility needed to shoot anywhere within 500 yards.
2. Do you need to zero scope for 500 yards?
Yes. Anytime you add a scope to your rifle, it needs to be zeroed. In fact, if you remove your scope and put it back on you will need to re-zero it. When you zero your scope, you are ensuring that your point of aim and point of impact are in alignment. This is done to ensure accuracy when sighting targets.
To zero your scope, you will need paper targets, lots of extra ammo and some time. The process is not hard, but time-consuming. To begin, set the first target at 100 yards. Fire 3 shots.
Then when the area is all clear, go study the target. See where the bullets hit in relation to the bullseye. Make the necessary adjustments on your scope and rifle, and go back to 100 yards. Fire another round and hopefully, you are pretty dead center.
Once you are successfully hitting center at 100 yards, repeat the process at 200 yards. Then you can move out to 300 yards, 400 yards and then 500 yards.
Shooting out to 500 yards is a pretty versatile distance. You can still get larger game, and at the same time, be able to hunt smaller prey that is closer. Be sure to get a solid scope that allows you to have some versatility and you will be all set for success in the field or on the range.