Best High-End Rifle Scope: These Are 2021's Ultimate Hunting Optics for Quality & Power

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Scopes More Than 1000

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 2021

  1. NightForce SHV 5-20X56 - Best Under $2000
  2. Maven RS.1 2.5-15X44 - Best Under $1500
  3. Swarovski Optik Z5 3.5-18X44 P
  4. Leupold VX-6HD 4-24X52
  5. Burris Eliminator III 4-16X50
  6. Leica Magnus i 2.4-16X56 - Best Under $3000
  7. NightForce NXS 5.5-22X56 - Best Under $2500
  8. Zeiss Victory V8 2.8-20X56 - Best Under $4000

Best Rifle Scopes Under $2000

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!

tt-table__imageNightForce SHV
  • Magnification: 5-20X 56mm
  • Reticle: MOAR-20 MOA Center Illumination
  • Eye Relief / Exit Pupil: 3.15–3.54 inches/ 8.7–2.5mm
tt-table__imageMaven RS.1 2.5-15X44
  • Magnification: 2.5-15X 44mm
  • Reticle: SHR
  • Eye Relief / Exit Pupil: 3.4-3.9 inches / 28.5-2.93mm
tt-table__imageSwarovski Optik Z5 3.5-18X44 P (BT) L
  • Magnification: 3.5-18X 44mm
  • Reticle: 4W
  • Eye Relief / Exit Pupil: 3.74 inches/ 10–2.4mm
tt-table__imageLeupold VX-6HD
  • Magnification: 4-24X 52mm
  • Reticle: Illuminated Varmint Hunter
  • Eye Relief / Exit Pupil: 3.70 inches/ 13–2.17mm
tt-table__imageBurris Eliminator III
  • Magnification: 4-16X 50mm
  • Reticle: Plex, Ballistic Plex
  • Eye Relief / Exit Pupil: 3.1–3.8 inches/ 13–5mm

Our 5 Top Rifle Scopes Less Than $2000

1. NightForce SHV 5-20X56

NightForce SHV 5-20x56 rifle scope
Image Credit: NightForce

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

Maven RS.1 2.5-15x44 Riflescope
Image Credit: Maven Built

We're biased with good cause when it comes to the Maven RS.1 rifle scope.  It's a scope we will highly recommend every single day, all day long.  It has our every backing behind it because we'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.


  • Price
  • FFP reticle
  • Long-range
  • 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), 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

Swarovski Optik Z5 3.5-18x44 riflescope
Image Credit: Swarovski

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. Leupold VX-6HD 4-24X52

Leupold VX-6HD 4-24X52 riflescope
Image Credit: Leupold

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.

5. Burris Eliminator III 4-16X50

Burris Eliminator III
Image Credit: Burris

The Burris Eliminator III 4-16X50 is a beast of a rifle scope, but I think that's what makes it such an intriguing device. To have such large dimensions, 15 inches long and 30 ounces, it's got to be jam-packed with loads of cool and advanced technology, right? Well, to make into our top 4, it's a must.

This whopping $1400 Burris scope took everyone here at Target Tamers for a pleasant ride. The laser rangefinding button and remote switch literally eliminates the need to carry an extra device in the field... seriously you read that right - a remote cable switch!

The X96 reticle works on any magnification, and of course you've got a built-in integrative inclinometer to compensate for angle shots uphill or downhill... of course, right?

Best Rifle Scopes Under $3000 & $4000

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 our top 3 was relatively easy since scopes in this range represent a considerably smaller market than more affordable ones. We took into account high end features such as FFP reticles, ballistic turrets, and even better glass with exceptional light transmission quality.

Even more specifically, we 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.

We also scrutinized the one feature that makes these high-end scopes worth paying for to see if they actually improve your hunting experience.

tt-table__imageLeica Magnus i 2.4-16X56
  • Magnification: 2.4-16X 56mm
  • Reticle: Illuminated L-Plex BDC
  • Eye Relief / Exit Pupil: 3.5 inches / 12.4-3.5m
tt-table__imageNightForce NXS
  • Magnification: 5.5-22X 56mm
  • Reticle: #60
  • Eye Relief / Exit Pupil: 3.9 inches/ 10-.2–2.5mm
tt-table__imageZeiss Victory V8 2.8-20X56
  • Magnification: 2.8-20X 56mm
  • Reticle: Plex #60
  • Eye Relief / Exit Pupil: 3.7 inches / 9.9-2.8mm

Our 2 Top Rifle Scopes Less Than $3000 (Plus a Scope Under $4000)

1. Leica Magnus i 2.4-16X56

Leica Magnus i 2.4-16X56 riflescope
Image Credit: Leica

When you didn't think a Leica rifle scope could get any better than it already is, Leica goes ahead and gives it a face lift.  What's new on the second generation of Magnus scopes?  Let us tell you!


  • Illuminated reticle
  • Quality coatings
  • Quality glass
  • Upgraded features
  • 30 mm tube body


  • Price

This Magnus scope features the new upgrades: slim eyepiece design, revamped battery operation and battery replacement, and tool-less scale zeroing.  It has an extremely wide magnification range starting from 2.5x and ending at 16x.  With a huge 56 mm aperture, you can stay out longer and optimize the scope's low magnification range.  To reach out further, crank up the power and positively identify the rack from a pile of twigs.

What's the i in the product name for?  It's an illuminated model meaning this scope has an illuminated reticle.  This featured scope has the Plex reticle with an illuminated center dot.  Even though it has some of these tactical features, it also has some hunting features too.

It has capped turrets, simple Plex reticle, and a slim 30 mm tube body.  You know 30 mm has become the standard tube size when you can refer to it as "slim."  So, the Magnus is quite the crossover between a tactical and hunting scope that any shooter will find appropriate for his needs.

As is standard for Leica, there's no such thing as an affordable price.  However, no one has ever complained about build or image quality on a Leica.  Worth the bucks?  You tell us.

2. NightForce NXS 5.5-22X56

Image Credit: NightForce

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.

3. Zeiss Victory V8 2.8-20X56 - Best Under $4000

Zeiss Victory V8 2.8-20X56 rifle scope
Image Credit: Zeiss

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


  • Price

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 is too. But, if your heart is set on giving up a limb, organ, or whatever it takes to get one of these scopes, then let's help you. We'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:

  • Quality glass: Includes premium glass elements Ex. ED, HD, etc.
  • Quality glass coatings: Includes layered coatings, mirror and phase-correction coatings, and weather, scratch, and debris repellent coatings.
  • Ballistic reticles: Premium usually means long range, and long range tends to include all those necessities like holdovers, wind compensation, and the like. Shop for the most practical and accurate reticles you can find.
  • Eye relief 3"+: Without decent eye relief, your rifle scope is going to let you know what a real black eye is.
  • Ballistic turrets: You never go without ballistic turrets if you're shooting out to extremely long distances.
  • Parallax correction: Premium scopes can mean long range, and long range means you're going to need a parallax correction turret or objective. Don't skimp or you'll miss the bull's-eye.
  • Quality warranties: Have the assurance that your premium rifle scope is fully covered for any unforeseen damage.

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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5 thoughts on “Best High-End Rifle Scope: These Are 2021's Ultimate Hunting Optics for Quality & Power”

  1. I went through the agony of choosing my rifle scope a few years ago. I spent over $4000.00 on my rifle and justified the cost of the scope that way. It wasn't so much the cost after awhile but picking the best one for the job. It boiled down to Swarovski or Nightforce. At the time Swarovski was having some problems with repeatable so I went with a Nightforce 7×35×56. Cost...$4200.00. It's a great rifle scope with a great warranty that I have not had to use. I am very happy with my choice. Expensive yes but a great rifle deserves the best scope you can afford.

  2. I battled that concept for years, spend more money on the rifle, and study ballistic charts/ammo to wring to most out of it! Bottom line u can’t hit what u can’t see or see we’ll be it game or long range targets. When I finally broke down and started purchasing a NF nxs and a zeiss V6, would u know, my shooting actually got better, eye strain was less, confidence increased, and I knew I was finally getting “ my moneys worth!”

  3. I'm surprised that you don't consider Schmidt Bender into the high end scope.
    I have Zeiss V 3 x 12 x 56 T* and 1.5 X 6 X 42 mm that I love but also own two Schmidt Bender klassik, 3 x 12 x 50 and 2.5 X 10 X 56 illuminated reticle.
    Honestly both brands are super and offer me the same result.

    • Hi Alain,
      Schmidt & Bender are definitely on our radar and something we want to look at testing in 2022.
      Thanks for your feedback on both brands.


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