Long Range vs Sniper vs Competition Riflescopes: Differences

If you’re a seasoned shooter who knows your way around weapons and how best to use them, you’re probably looking to diversify or specialize your game. There’s a shooting ground for everyone – whether it’s the harsh backcountry that beckons all thrill-seeking hunters, or the target range to give you a high speed, competitive edge. But picking out your rifle is just the start of assembling your gear. For the perfect shooting experience in your specialty, you need the perfect riflescope that’s made especially for your shooting preferences and style.

In our previous articles, we’ve covered the differences between fixed and variable riflescopes, and popular riflescope subcategories including target, tactical and hunting riflescopes, the specialty of the ZeroTech riflescopes range. There’s all kinds of shooters out there, and if you’re highly skilled with your weapon and looking to turn it to more serious pursuits, this article is for you. We’ll be taking a look at sniper, competition, and long range riflescopes, and if there’s some truth to the belief that they can be used interchangeably.

Competition Riflescopes: How Are They Unique?

Out of the three types of riflescopes covered in this article, competition riflescopes are probably the more unique of them because of the highly specific requirements they need to approach targets. If you’ve watched a rifle shooting competition either live in person or on YouTube, you’ll notice that the competition riflescopes used are on the larger side, with large objective lenses and multiple turrets for adjustments. As you can imagine, these riflescopes would not be very practical to use in hunting or other outdoor situations, and they do tend to be less durable than a standard hunting riflescope. But seasoned pros will be able to best handle them in high intensity matches.

The ideal parameters for a competition riflescope are fixed magnification with very large objective lenses for light transmission (33-40x, some go as high as 55x) crisp and clear, and reticles that allow for windage and elevation holdovers while identifying targets (as some matches do not permit the use of rangefinders). Ideally, the holdover reticle also requires an FFP competition riflescope, the most popular pattern being the Christmas tree reticle. Perfect tracking turrets are essential when making multiple adjustments between quick follow-up shots, though a larger objective lens may also come with an AO (adjustable objective) to adjust the focus from the front rather than the side.

Can I Turn My Long Range Riflescope Into A Sniper Riflescope?

As opposed to competition, long range riflescopes are all mostly variable powered scopes which use medium to large objective lens sizes with exposed and locking turrets, high light transmission and magnification in the 10-25x range, ideal for picking out targets at distances over 200 yards both in range shooting and hunting. They’re also highly rugged and durable, ideal for harsh backcountry conditions where you may have to pick out targets at safe distances for hunting, such as the Trace Advanced ZeroTech riflescopes range that meets all the ideal requirements for a good long range riflescope focused on hunting.

Sniper riflescopes are also one class of long range riflescopes and are mostly called such because they’re preferred by snipers, but military applications generally prefer very specific requirements on their scopes. Sniper riflescopes are much lower powered than you’d expect, with fixed power of 10x and medium objective lenses, best suited for shooting at 250 to 1000 yards. Most of the time these are paired with sniper red dots for increased target acquisition; the primary feature of the sniper riflescopes are to provide information through their highly specialized mildot reticles, set for accuracy at the highest power. So while an average civilian may not be able to get their hands on regulation sniper riflescopes, long range riflescopes with fixed power in a similar range can allow you to simulate the experience to a degree.

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