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Warning: Must keep hands in pockets and away from wallet.
If you're already sweating buckets in nervousness that you might buy something today that will land you in the dog-house, tread on carefully.
If you're ready for jaw-gaping, heart-pumping prices for the best rifle scopes in the world, let's continue. You're about to be exposed to what luxury rifle scopes really are, and how much they really cost.
You've been warned.
QUICK LIST: Best High-End Rifle Scope in 2023
- NightForce SHV 5-20X56 - Best Under $2000
- Maven RS.1 2.5-15X44 - Best Under $1500 & Best FFP Scope
- Swarovski Optik Z5 3.5-18X44 P - Best Lightweight Hunting Scope
- NightForce NXS 5.5-22X56 - Best Long Range Scope
- Vortex Razor HD Gen III 1-10x - Best for Combat LPVO
- Leupold VX-6HD 4-24X52 - Best Motion Sensor Rifle Scope
- Swarovski X5i 3.5-15x50 - Best Under $4000
- Zeiss Victory V8 2.8-20X56 - Best Lowlight Scope
Best Rifle Scopes Under $2000
|NightForce SHV||CHECK PRICE|
|Maven RS.1 2.5-15X44||CHECK PRICE|
|Swarovski Optik Z5 3.5-18X44 P (BT) L||CHECK PRICE|
|NightForce NXS||CHECK PRICE|
Now, who can benefit from a premium rifle scope? This is your cue to raise your hand, along with practically everyone else's hand too.
These are the scopes that have you researching and reading every single review about it online. These are the scopes that have you obsessing about whether or not you should spend this kind of cash on one.
So, again you hit the search engines to read everything until there is nothing but that purple highlighted title from Google telling you you've read all there is to read on this heck of a brilliant scope.
This is all of us. From the varmint hunter to the extreme long-range precision shooter, the best high budget scopes are going to require some deep pockets that will prove to be money well spent.
In deciding what scopes made this top 4, we had to slim down the margins - a lot. We considered the availability of multiple reticles, illuminated options, and a few extra perks that you'll discover with the top 5 reveal!
Our 4 Top Rifle Scopes Less Than $2000
1. NightForce SHV 5-20X56 - Best Under $2000
The NightForce SHV 5-20X56 is not a scope to be toyed with. This $1300 rifle scope has the illuminated MOAR reticle on pristine and incomparable glass that sits in a gorgeous 30 mm tube body that hunters are seduced into loving.
For a world-renown tactical brand, NightForce sure pumps out a more than decent rifle scope specifically for us hunters. The wide range of variable power, the large objective lens, and the glass etched reticle speaks volumes in hunter-speak.
If you want to fall in love with everything this scope has to give, our fully detailed review will make those sparks fly.
2. Maven RS.1 2.5-15X44 - Best FFP Scope
I'm biased with good cause when it comes to the Maven RS.1 rifle scope. It's a scope I will highly recommend every single day, all day long. It has my every backing behind it because I've tried and tested it in person.
It's a high-performing scope from an up and coming brand, and it's the best of what they have to offer - that is until the powerful, exceptionally awesome field-tested Maven RS.4 came, but I digress.
- FFP reticle
- 30 mm tube
- Excellent quality
- No illuminated reticle
Any good shooter knows a scope is only as good as its internals, and optically, the RS.1 is right up there with the big players. The 30 mm tube body offers a whopping 100 MOA in elevation and 70 MOA in windage travel. Hitting steel at extreme long ranges will be an addiction with the Maven scope.
This model has the SHR (Simplified Holdover Reticle) that is our choice for all hunting applications. Easily get out to 600 yards with the reticle and dial it in for more distance. Speaking of dialing in, turret clicks are audible, consistent, and very tactile. Expect 100% tracking consistency from this high-end scope. Plus, the reticle is in the FFP (first focal plane) - just like the RS.4 5-30x56, so you can use hashmarks at any magnification.
Build quality is excellent. It has to be durable, drop-proof, and weatherproof to withstand the harsh abuse a hunter can put it through. Drop, freeze, pour water over this scope and it'll hold its zero and stay watertight. You can cringe while you do it, but good thing you don't have to. This scope is legit.
It's a solid, well-made hunting and target scope that is well-worth its price tag. Its simplicity and ease of use works seamlessly with its highly-accurate and well-constructed design. There's a few scopes that would make stiff competition for the Maven RS.1 scope, but we dare say the Maven is our favorite.
3. Swarovski Optik Z5 3.5-18X44 P - Best Lightweight Hunting Scope
The Swarovski Z5 3.5-18X44 P is a souped-up rifle scope that is worth giving up your arm and leg for, and although its only around $1600, it's quality is that of a higher price range. Its 4-coil spring system, ballistic turret technology, and light weight and compact build make it a winner in every field.
The Z5 has a generous power range and side focus system that will enable you to adjust your scope settings for various hunting conditions - the open plains, or wooded forest areas.
It also has a super low profile and weighing in at just under a pound, is lighter than most other rifle scopes in this power range with a 1" tube.
If value for money is the aim of your search, you won't be disappointed with this sweet Swarovski.
4. NightForce NXS 5.5-22X56 - Best Long Range Scope
The NightForce NXS 5.5-22X56 has earned the number three spot in this price range. The amount of abuse this rifle scope is capable of is the first and foremost reason that this NightForce scope made the top 3.
Forget its incredibly wide power range, the glass etched reticles, the Hi Speed 20 MOA turrets, and the list of reticle options available - even getting you out past 1000 yards no problem.
The most impressive feature of the $2000 NXS is the harsh, punishing, and brutal abuse this scope can take. Do I dare say bullet proof? You'll have to read the entire review to discover the answer to that.
Best Rifle Scopes Under $3000
|Vortex Razor HD Gen III 1-10x24 FFP||CHECK PRICE|
|Leupold VX-6HD||CHECK PRICE|
Overall, the $2000-$3000 price range is what is usually referred to as high-end quality, and these scopes meet the definition. That is, crystal-clear glass, crisp and true tracking turrets, illumination, and performance and quality that meets the price point.
So, this is what I looked for, but even more specifically, I had to closely examine these features. Why? Overall user-friendliness is a big reason since an excess of high end features can easily complicate things.
Though user experience is subjective, you can get an idea of how complex a scope can be to use or if it's going to streamline your tactical, competition, or hunting setup for the better. With that said, I set a criteria for ballistic turrets, FFP reticles, illumination, and fat tubes for tons of travel.
Our 2 Top Rifle Scopes Less Than $3000
1. Vortex Razor HD Gen III 1-10x24 FFP – Best for Combat LPVO
The Razor HD series of riflescopes from Vortex have never been what I have called affordable. With the best in glass, performance, and warranty, and recommended for law enforcement and competition, I can see why Vortex values it so highly.
- APO glass
- FFP illuminated reticle
- Throw lever & sunshade
- Eye relief at max power
As is expected, the eye relief shortens at 10x magnification. If you’re using the eyepiece as it should be used (for sharp clarity at 1x power), you’ll also find that it may not be as sharp as it can be at 10x. These are some downsides of LPVOs in general.
With an FFP reticle, you don’t have to max out magnification to use holdover anyway. And, a quick twist of the eyepiece will improve resolution at 10x. However, you will need to go back and adjust again if you want to eliminate that fish-bowl effect at 1x.
The glass is actually very, very good in my opinion. With an APO triplet and HD glass, a crystal-clear sight picture is promised.
The Razor HD Gen III LPVO has the EBR-9 reticle in MOA and MRAD. Like the Strike Eagle EBR-8 reticle, only the center dot and segmented ring are illuminated.
The turrets are low profile and capped. Parallax is fixed at 150 yards, and it’s pretty lightweight at 21.5 oz considering it’s a full-size LPVO.
I like that a sunshade and power throw lever are included in the box. I think for the money, maybe some flip-up lens caps would have been nice.
2. Leupold VX-6HD 4-24X52 - Best Rifle Scope with Motion Sensor
This Leupold VX-6HD 4-24X52 is your ultimate pure-blood, American-made, long range rifle scope that can get you out past 700 yards with ease.
The Xtended Twilight Light System, Diamondcoat 2, illuminated reticles, and Twin Bias Spring Erector System gives this optic an unparalleled edge in quality, light transmission, and shockproof-ability.
With Leupold's Custom Shop only a shipment away, the modularity of this scope offers extreme versatility to fit the needs of the extreme long-range shooter, the low light hunter, and the serious varmint and big game regulator.
At a killer $2000, I can guarantee that you won't regret a penny from the golden child brand, America's favorite - Leupold & Stevens.
Best Rifle Scopes Over $3000
|Swarovski X5i||CHECK PRICE|
|Zeiss Victory V8 2.8-20X56||CHECK PRICE|
Now these are the rifle scopes that we mere hunters only wish we could afford. One or two of us might just give up both kidneys to sport one of these babes on our rifles for just one day - they're definitely worth it. But, if money is the only variable in this "who's it for?" equation, then these rifle scopes are reserved for those with even deeper pockets than previously needed or for those willing to mortgage their house - for a second time.
Trying to determine which scopes earned a spot in my premium listing was relatively easy since scopes in this range represent a considerably smaller market than more affordable ones.
I took into account high-end features such as fluoride glass, daylight bright illumination, and exceptional light transmission quality. It also helps that these are renown manufacturers wth reputations that precede them.
1. Swarovski X5i 3.5-18x50 – Best Under $4000
Overall, the X5i 3.5-18x50 is one of Swarovski’s best hunting scopes with secondary all-purpose functionality. The upgrades in the X5i will cost you in cost and weight (30.7oz). Even so, for hunting, long-range, and many applications in between, the X5i is worthy as a wish-list upgrade.
- SFP reticle
- Reticle illumination
- Excellent optics
- Zero stop
Extreme long range (ELR) shooting is preferred with a FFP scope and given that the X5i has the reticle in the SFP, it might not be your first choice let alone for PRS competition.
However, the oversized, exposed turrets that sit on a fat 30mm tube offer extreme 122 MOA elevation adjustment and 72 MOA windage adjustment (approx.) that is an abundance of travel for dialing in those long shots when needed. If you are dialing in often, you’ll appreciate the well-built zero stop system and the side focus with a minimum distance of 55 yards.
Obviously with its SFP reticle, it’s a purpose-built hunting champ. With 91% light transmission and large 50mm lens with high twilight factor specs, it’ll be a lowlight scope you can rely on during first and last light with pick-apart-detail resolution. Little convincing is needed of Swarovski’s phenomenal optical quality. The proof is in the pudding, so to speak.
The X5i comes in either MOA or MRAD models with reticle designs specific to the turret system all of which are illuminated with 10 brightness settings. Rather than doubling up function of the third turret for illumination, it has its own location with a button interface on top the ocular bell.
Though expensive, as is expected from the esteemed brand, the X5i is not intended to be an admire-from-afar scope. It’s mid-range priced for a Swarovski scope and is sometimes seen on sale to turn that “wish-list” into an “I bought it” reality.
2. Zeiss Victory V8 2.8-20X56 - Best Lowlight Scope
If you're anything like the normal person, the first thing you do when shopping is look at the price tag. "Ouch" is the first remark that comes to mind. Is this a serious offering we have listed in the lineup? Yes. We must be joking, right? No. Indulge us and check out what the Victory V8 has that any other scope under $4000 doesn't.
- Wide zoom range
- HT Schott glass
- Fluoride lenses
- Huge aperture
- Close to extreme long range use
It's borderline ridiculous what some rifle scopes can cost, even if it's from a brand such as this. But, we still lap it up. How can we not when it features the optical brilliance and excellence that only German glass can provide? You'll know it's a masterpiece to look through when you see T* coatings, LotuTec, and Fluoride lenses (FL) on High Transmission Schott glass.
You can use this scope for everything from close to extreme long range from dusk till dawn with its extremely wide zoom range from 2.8-20x magnification. The enormous 56 mm aperture will see you through low light conditions effortlessly.
Want to see exactly how far you can shoot out? If you have a caliber that can go the distance, feel free to max out adjustments with the ASV Bullet Drop Compensator (BDC) and huge 36 mm tube body. An exposed tactical-style elevation turret is also equipped with a Ballistic Stop to get you back to your zero without thought. Top this baby off with the favorite #60 illuminated dot reticle.
With specs like this, who cares that it weighs about 2 pounds. If you can get past the extravagant price tag, you'll likely never want to mount this scope anyway. What do you think? Too expensive to want to realistically use and abuse?
What to Look for in a Premium-Priced Rifle Scope
Is there really a way to justify spending this kind of money on a rifle scope? If so, we'd love to hear your legitimate excuses, as we're sure your other half will too. But, if your heart is set on giving up a limb, organ, or whatever it takes to get one of these scopes, then I'll help you.
I'll start by preventing the aneurysm you might have when you start shopping for one by giving you some much needed info first. Make sure you look for nothing but the best when it comes to:
Overall, the optical quality must be the best of what the manufacturer has to offer whether it’s APO triplet lenses, ED or fluorite glass elements, light transmission coatings, and exterior lens coatings. It’s the glass that gets compared in this price range even if people judge it subjectively.
|NightForce SHV||Non-ED glass||FMC|
|Maven RS.1||ED glass||FMC|
|Swarovski Z5||Swarovski (fluoride)||SwaroVision|
|NightForce NXS||Non-ED glass||FMC|
|Vortex Razor HD Gen III||APO & HD glass||XR FMC & ArmorTek|
|Leupold VX-6HD||Professional Grade Optical System||FMC & Guard-Ion|
|Swarovski X5i||Swarovski (fluoride)||SwaroVision|
|Zeiss Victory V8||SCHOTT fluoride||Zeiss T* & LotuTec|
In general, most scopes in these price ranges will be high magnification scopes or high magnification LPVOs. This calls for long range work and long range means you’ll need this feature for sharp resolution and parallax correction. You’ll see more side focus turrets than adjustable objectives.
|NightForce SHV||5-20x||Side focus|
|Maven RS.1||2.5-15x||Side focus|
|Swarovski Z5||3.5-18x||Side focus|
|NightForce NXS||5.5-22x||Side focus|
|Vortex Razor HD Gen III||1-10x||Fixed 150 yards|
|Leupold VX-6HD||4-24x||Side focus|
|Swarovski X5i||3.5-18x||Side focus|
|Zeiss Victory V8||2.8-20x||Side focus|
It’s unlikely to find a simple duplex reticle at this price point as it’s all about maximizing accuracy across the board from CQ to extreme long range. The real choice about choosing a reticle is whether it’s scaled in MOA or MIL and that is a personal preference.
Most will be illuminated at this price point and should be daylight bright.
|Vortex Razor HD Gen III||EBR-9||FFP||Yes|
|Leupold VX-6HD||Multiple reticles||SFP||Yes|
|Swarovski X5i||Multiple reticles||SFP||Yes|
|Zeiss Victory V8||#60 Plex||SFP||Yes|
Size & Weight
On average, premium scopes will have high magnification for long range, thick tubes for more travel, and larger objective lenses for more light. This equates to a riflescope that’s big and heavy but highly desirable.
|NightForce SHV||15.2 inches||30.5 oz||30 mm|
|Maven RS.1||14.05 inches||24.5 oz||30 mm|
|Swarovski Z5||14.29 inches||15.9 oz||1 inch|
|NightForce NXS||15.2 inches||32 oz||30 mm|
|Vortex Razor HD Gen III||10.1 inches||21.5 oz||34 mm|
|Leupold VX-6HD||14.7 inches||25.5 oz||34 mm|
|Swarovski X5i||14.4 inches||30.7 oz||30 mm|
|Zeiss Victory V8||13.8 inches||28.04 oz||30 mm|
For the high prices having a quality warranty can mean all the difference. Since these are premium scopes, they’re likely to come with the best warranty a manufacturer can offer, but not all warranties are equal. The best hassle-free warranties are lifetime, unconditional, and fully transferable.
|NightForce SHV||Limited Lifetime||Transferable, 3-year warranty on electronics, registration required|
|Maven RS.1||Unconditional Lifetime||No-fault, unconditional, transferable, lifetime|
|Swarovski Z5||10-year warranty||5-year manufacturer + 5-year good will warranty|
|NightForce NXS||Limited Lifetime||Transferable, 3-year warranty on electronics, registration required|
|Vortex Razor HD Gen III||VIP Warranty||Unconditional, lifetime, fully transferable|
|Leupold VX-6HD||Lifetime Guarantee||Lifetime, fully transferable, no registration, no proof of purchase|
|Swarovski X5i||10-year warranty||5-year manufacturer + 5-year good will warranty|
|Zeiss Victory V8||Limited Lifetime||No registration, no proof of purchase, optical system covered, electronics covered for 5 years|
You Don't Need to Trade in a Limb!
You might think you need to trade in a limb, an organ, or even your first born to justify buying a high-end rifle scope, but you don't. You just need to know how to maximize value in your buy.
While name brands definitely have the upper hand in this arena due to their very-deserved reputations, there's always a brand that can offer it a better price. You've just got to be prepared to the skinning and the gutting when it comes to comparing the scopes side by side. Keep your bodily parts and family intact and check out our reviews instead. You might yet be allowed to sleep in the house after all!
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