It can be tricky to select an optic for the 500 yard line. On one hand, 500 yards is far enough that it warrants a more capable scope than most hunting shots call for. On the other hand, 500 yards isn’t quite far enough that you’d want a dedicated optic for it.
An optic that’s got the power for good shot placement at 500 yards, but is versatile enough for stress free shots at shorter hunting ranges is ideal. This way you’ll get performance in most shooting contexts, and might save some money by purchasing an optic that’s handy on the competition bench and out in your favorite hunting spot.
To help you hit that sweet spot, here are the scopes that’ll get you hits at the 500 yard mark, and won’t end up sitting in the safe when you’re out hunting or plinking:
Top 3 Best Rifle Scope for 500 Yards
Our Best Choice
For those who need info fast, here’s the punchline: the Nikon Prostaff 7 SF M BDC is the best overall scope for 500 yards. You’ll get the most use in all shooting contexts out of this optic.
Best Rifle Scopes for 500 Yards You Need To Get
1. Nikon Prostaff 7 SF M BDC Riflescope
The Prostaff line is a staple in Nikon’s offering of rifle scopes. The Prostaff comes in configurations for every type of shooting, and even some setups designed for specific rounds. The Nikon Prostaff 7 SF M BDC is the Prostaff model designed for strong all around performance, without specializing in any one context.
The Prostaff is built with Nikon’s photography grade glass, which delivers up to 98 percent of collected light to the shooters eye. Additionally, Nikon’s full multi-coating increases anti-reflective properties by up to 92 percent. That’s a lot of technical speak, but it means that the Prostaff delivers an exceptionally bright, high definition image in all light conditions.
To supplement the lens technology, the Prostaff has a 50mm objective lens, which collects enough light for solid dawn and dusk performance, and spotting shaded targets.
Nikon fitted the Prostaff with a versatile 5-20x magnification range. This is a broad power band that’s strong enough for more than 500 yards, but also perfectly viable for the shorter ranges common in hunting. The high end might not be ideal for extreme long range, but—with good shooting fundamentals—20x is enough for 700 yards.
The reticle is Nikon’s BDC reticle, which provides all the markings you need for range and windage estimations, and also gives aiming circles specifically for overhold shooting at varying ranges without making adjustments between shots.
This reticle is non-illuminated. However, the Prostaff has an etched reticle, which retains its sharpness in low light.
Nikon did their due diligence and gas purged the Prostaff and o-ring sealed it, so the scope will stand up to water, moisture, and hard knocks for years of use.
Lastly, the Prostaff includes Nikon’s Spot On ballistic matching software that helps you calculate the zero for any round you shoot, so you can easily hot swap the Prostaff between rifles.
The Prostaff is an excellent value that will work for nearly any shooting context. If you’re looking for an optic that will make your shooting life better, the Prostaff should be at the top of your list.
2. Mueller Target Rifle Scope 8-32×44
Mueller manufactures affordable options for those who need a solid long-range optic, but don’t want to pay exorbitant prices.
The Mueller Target Rifle Scope 8-32×44 is an excellent option for shooters who want a scope that’s capable enough for precision at the 500 yard mark for less than $300.
Mueller produces some of the clearest glass for the price. The Mueller Target Scope has fully multi-coated lenses and a solid, single tube construction that deliver outstanding image clarity at all magnifications, so you can pick out just where you want your round to strike at long ranges.
8-32x magnification is perfect for long-range shots, and is more than adequate for hitting small game and competition targets at 500 yards, or more. Hunters may find that the Mueller Target Scope is a bit much for some of the shorter hunting distances, but will be well served if a longer shot is mandatory.
The 44mm objective lens is larger than your classic hunting scope, so you’ll get an even brighter image in a greater range of light conditions. This is especially useful when hunting at dawn or dusk, or when the targets are shaded out on the competition range.
The reticle is a very simple mildot reticle, with dots along the vertical and horizontal posts for range and windage estimation. The reticle offers excellent functionality without cluttering your sight picture.
For those who spend a lot of time behind their scope, the Mueller Target Scope has a long 4-inch eye relief that minimizes eye strain during long shooting sessions, and protects your brow from high recoil rifles.
Mueller nitrogen purged and sealed the Mueller Target Scope for waterproof, fog-proof, and shock-proof durability and performance in any weather.
The Mueller Target Scope is a versatile scope that competition and tactical shooters will find is delightfully capable, given the price. Small game hunters will appreciate the high magnification, but others may find that the lowest power is just a tad on the high end for bagging medium to large game at short ranges.
3. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 6-24×50
Great For Tactical Use
The Vortex Optics Crossfire II 6-24×50 is the Crossfire model designed to meet the needs of tactical and long range competition shooters.
The Crossfire is built using Vortex Optics’ high density, low dispersion glass, which provides a high definition image that will help you see even in challenging atmospheric conditions. Vortex’s proprietary full multi-coatings increase light transmission and minimize reflection, so you get less glare in full light situations and more brightness in low light conditions.
To bring your target closer, the Crossfire offers a 6-24x magnification range. This is plenty of power for precise hits at 500 yards and more, but mellow enough that hunters can use this scope for medium and large game hunting at short ranges.
The 50mm objective lens collects a ton of light and makes dawn and dusk hunting, or picking out shaded targets easy. This is ideal for competition shooters who often shoot in overcast weather, or tactical shooters who need reliable performance in poorly lit tactical environments.
Vortex fitted the Crossfire with their Dead Hold BDC reticle, which has all the markings you need, and none of those that you don’t. It’s essentially a mildot reticle, with no hash marks above the horizontal line. There’s zero clutter in your field of view, but you still have everything you need for shooting estimations and holdovers.
The eye relief is set at 4 inches, which is great for reducing eye strain and keeping your optic from popping you in the eye if you’re using a high recoil round.
As is standard, the Crossfire is nitrogen purged and sealed for waterproof, fog-proof, and shock-proof operation that will hold up for those who are the roughest on their gear.
Overall, the Crossfire is an excellent scope for tactical and competition shooters, and one that hunters will find elevates their long-range precision without impeding their performance at short ranges.
If you’re looking to get the most use out of your scope at all ranges, the Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9×40 BDC is the way to go. You’ll get excellent performance, and a one-size-fits-all optic for all your rifles. If you're short on budget, we have a comprehensive list of rifle optics which are cheap but high-quality.
If you’re looking for the absolute best buy you can make for a 500 yard setup, the Nikon Prostaff 7 SF M BDC is your best bet. It covers the widest range of applications, and is built to Nikon’s exacting standards.
Now that you know the best scopes for ringing steel at 500 yards, get yourself an optic, and take it to the bench!
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But of course, having a rifle scope doesn't make you a great marksman. You also need to learn how to adjust your scope depending on the distance and other factors.