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best long range night vision rifle scope

Best Long Range Night Vision Scope: Top Picks, Reviews & Buying Guide

Shopping for a Long-Range Night Vision Scope?

You have come to the right place!

Hunting big game at night in wide open spaces can be exhilarating.

That said, you won't get very far unless you invest in a high-quality long-range night vision or thermal scope.   

But finding the best long-range NV rig for your particular weapon, game and environment can be tricky.

This is where this guide can help. 


What's in This Buying Guide

There are hundreds of night scopes available today, and choosing the right one can be a daunting task.

To help you pick one, this article reviews some of the best night vision scopes available for hunters and shooters and explores their various features.

We have also included a buying guide along with some tips to help you find the perfect unit.  


Best Long-Range Night Vision Scopes

Disclaimer: All links below go to Amazon.com

  1. 1
    Best Overall: ATN X-Sight-II   
  2. 2
    Longest Range: Pulsar Digex N455
  3. 3
    Most Reliable: Sightmark Photon RT 6-12x50
  4. 4
    Best for Hog Hunting: Bushnell Equinox Z Monocular

best long range night vision rifle scope
  • ATN X-Sight-II Smart Rifle Scope

  • Best Overall
  • Magnification
    5x - 20x

  • Objective lens diameter
    85 mm

  • Resolution
    1080p

  • Weight
    4.5 pounds

  • Video Recording Capability
    Yes

long distance scopes
  • Pulsar Digex N455

  • Longest Range
  • Magnification
    4-16x

  • Objective lens diameter
    40 mm

  • Resolution
    1024 - 768 pixels

  • Weight
    4 pounds

  • Video Recording Capability
    Yes

best long range tactical scope under
  • Sightmark Photon RT 6-12x50

  • Most Reliable
  • Magnification
    6 - 12x

  • Objective lens diameter
    50 mm

  • Resolution
    768 x 576 CMOS

  • Weight
    2.5 pounds

  • Video Recording Capability
    Yes

best long range tactical scope under
  • Bushnell Equinox Z Monocular

  • Best for Hog Hunting
  • Magnification
    4.5x

  • Objective lens diameter
    40mm

  • Resolution
    480 x 640 pixels

  • Weight
    1.38 pounds

  • Video Recording Capability
    Yes


1. Best Overall: ATN X-Sight-II

best long range night vision rifle scope

One of the best night vision scopes manufactured by ATN, the X-Sight-II comes with many advanced features that are especially useful for long-range hunting.

First of all, the X-Sight II has a magnification range of 5x to 20x.

This is a 100% high definition scope that uses HD lenses, HD sensors and HD displays.  The X-Sight II's 1080p HD resolution provides crystal-clear imaging and  information.  

You can of course record videos and take pictures in high resolution while you are on a shoot using the Recoil Activated Video feature - or stream it to your smartphone via the WiFi connection.

This 2.55 lb scope is also equipped with an onboard ballistic calculator to help you land the perfect shot.  

ATN X-Sight II night vision scope high resolution display

ATN X-Sight II night vision scope high res display

Another great feature is the included smart rangefinder that accurately identifies range to target.

The X-Sight II NV scope also features in-screen GPS, barometer and compass readings to maintain situational awareness at all times and make ballistic calculations easy - just enter the wind speed and the rig does the rest. 

The single battery is easy to recharge and provides up to 12 hours of continuous use - or 22 hours with the optional battery pack.

In short, if you are looking for an exceptional feature-rich long-range scope for hunting at night, you can't go wrong with the ATN X-Sight-II.  

Other Notable Features:

  • Remote control provides access to wide range of feature
  • Long-range infrared illuminator  
  • SD card slot, to keep your pack light
  • Picatinny mount, interchangeable
  • Save settings profiles for each rifle

All in all, the ATN X-Sight II is an outstanding modern NV scope that provides all the features you want for long-range hunting from dusk til dawn.

Like most of the NV scopes reviewed in this guide, this scope isn't cheap - but the value for money is exceptional.

Pros

  • All the latest features
  • Clear day and night time vision
  • High resolution imaging, video
  • Complete situational awareness

Cons

  • Don't drop it in a creek (it's weather resistant only)

2. Longest Range: Pulsar Digex N455

long range rifle scopes

The modern feature set of the Pulsar Digex N455 make it very popular among long-range hunters.

First off, it is compatible with a wide range of rifles.

The Digex 455's large 1280x720 HD Sensor provides incredible nighttime visibility and the optics provide 4x to 16x magnification.  Combined with the latest rangefinder technology, the Pulsar Digex N455 can help you detect a target up to 2,000 yards away.

The built-in IR illuminator means that you will not have any problem shooting even on the darkest nights, as it illuminates the background up to 550 yards away.

The built-in video recorder will help you record your best efforts, and you can live stream on YouTube using a cellphone and WiFi connection.

This unit features revolutionary electronics that give a super-fast start-up, which helps save energy and longs the battery life.

You can also connect the Pulsar N455 to your smartphone with the help of the free mobile application, Stream Vision.

Stream Vision can transfer images in real-time to your smartphone’s display, live streams video to YouTube and keeps you informed about new firmware updates and automatically installs them.

The Pulsar Digex N455  features an IPX7 level of protection which makes it fully waterproof.

It can also operate in high humidity, survive a 1-meter deep and 30-minute long submersion, and can handle extreme rain and snow conditions.

Other Notable Features:

  • “Picture-in-Picture” mode for high-precision aiming
  • More than 10 different reticle types in 8 color options
  • Enhanced nighttime sensitivity
  • All-metal housing

Although this scope is chock-full of technology, it is not fragile. That said, it is a bit heavy.

But if you need the extra range, there are very few affordable night vision scopes that can give you a 2,000 yard ambient light range.  

Pros

  • High-quality scope
  • IPX7 waterproof rating
  • High recoil resistance
  • Lowest possible mounting point
  • Fast startup
  • Modern video-out features
  • Flexible mount

Cons

  • Big, heavy
  • Expensive

3. Most Reliable: Sightmark Photon RT 6-12x50

ong distance scopes

Be it night or day, the Sightmark Photon RT delivers unmatched performance with the help of digital technology.

It has an impressive after-dark detection range of almost 300 yards. A nice magnification range of 6x-12x and a 2x digital zoom make it easy to hone into small targets.

Designed with 6 different reticles, this unit is suitable for bolt action rifles, rimfire, shotgun, and even crossbows.

The Photon RT features an upgraded 768x576 CMOS sensor and a crisp 640x480 LCD display.

The built-in video/sound recording allows you to record your hunt and share it via the Stream Vision App.

Equipped with a built-in 850nm LED IR illuminator and 2x digital zoom, the Photon RT allows you to detect targets in total darkness that are 280 yards away.

It has 6 reticle options with 4 interchangeable colors to provide you with a more customized and effective unit.

Moreover, this scope is IP55 water-resistant and is designed with a one-shot zero function that makes zeroing the Photon RT very simple.

Some of its Other Notable Features Include:

  • Quick-change battery pack
  • Upload videos directly to your desktop with a MicroUSB
  • WiFi remote view
  • Resistant to bright light exposure

The Sightmark Photon RT 6-12x50 is an economical and user-friendly unit; however, it goes through batteries very fast. Therefore, it is best to have a few replacements at hand.

Regardless, the Sightmark Photon RT 6-12x50 is a reliable and compact product that does not cost much.

Pros

  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Constructed from metal and glass-nylon composite
  • Shockproof
  • Comes with a Waiver rail for accessories

Cons

  • Short battery life

4. Best for Hogs: Bushnell Equinox Z

long range night vision scope

With a 4.5x magnification and 40mm objective lens, the Bushnell Equinox provides a clear view of up to 750 feet.

You can adjust the brightness of the IRwhich is a helpful feature as it ensures a clear and crisp image. You can also use this scope even during the daytime.

Just turn off the IR, and you will be able to see colored images.

You can also record the unforgettable moments of your hunt while hunting with this scope.

The Equinox Z comes with a built-in mount that makes it easy to set it up on a tripod, while the carrying case that comes with this unit keeps it safe when transporting it from one place to another.  

The Bushnell Equinox Z has a decent battery life to avoid disruptions while you are hunting.

Some of its Other Notable Features Include:

  • Picatinny rail for accessory mounting
  • Rugged, water-resistant housing
  • Outstanding optical clarity

Although you can adjust the brightness of the LCD screen, it can still be quite intense even if you use it at the lowest setting. 

Overall, the Bushnell Equinox Z Monocular is a worthwhile investment as it comes with many outstanding features. 

Pros

  • Sturdy
  • Integrated video recorder
  • Fast shutter speed
  • Can capture images

Cons

  • Heavy

Long-Range NV Scope Buying Guide

best long range rifle scopes for the money

How Does a Long-Range Night Vision Scope Work?

A high-quality night vision scope allows you to see animals, objects, and people up to 500 yards away on a dimly lit night.

Such scopes generate a clear and crisp image by intensifying the light from the moon, stars, and other light sources. 

Night vision scopes use a combination of optical lenses and an electronic intensifier tube to collect and amplify the infrared and visible light reflecting off nearby objects. 

Also known as the photons, the objective lens is the first lens in the system that captures the light particles reflected from any object.

The images produced by a night vision scope are green because the human eye is sensitive to this color, making it the easiest color to view in the dark.

What to Look for in a Long-Range Night Vision Scope

Choosing a long-range night vision scope that is perfect for your needs requires careful research and consideration.

Here are the most important key features and limitations to bear in mind:  

Range

Night vision scopes are designed with lower magnification and narrower field of view than daylight scopes.

Therefore, the range is of utmost importance as it can affect the clarity of the image that a NV scope produces. 

For long-range hunting at night, a minimum useful detection range is about 200 yards.  

For seeing at long range, it is best to go for night vision scopes with a higher magnification (4X+), higher sensor resolution (640x384 or better) and use an infrared illuminator, because this combination improves visibility at range the best.

In addition, it's important to note that even the most powerful portable infrared illuminators have an effective range of ~500 yards, but most can't light up a target beyond 200 yards.  This is critical to know if you're planning to hunt in very low-light conditions such as during a new moon or cloudy night, where an IR illuminator is required.

Magnification

Magnification is (obviously) one of the most important factors to consider in a long-range night vision scope.

Typically, night vision scopes do not have the high magnifications found in some optical scopes; however, there are a few exceptions to this rule.

This is actually helpful, because of how night vision scopes function. Shorter range scopes offer cleaner lines and better image generation. The quality of the image depends on how much light a scope can collect, and it is easier to collect more light from up close.

Generally, night vision scopes either come with a fixed magnification value or only a few settings to switch between preset options.

In most NV scopes, magnification is between 3x to 5x.

However, you can find NV scopes with magnification as high as 20x for greater accuracy at range.  

Just make sure the night vision tube and sensors are up to the task, or all that extra magnification will only be useful in daylight.

Resolution

best long range scope

Night vision scopes work differently than optical scopes.

You must consider the resolution of the sensors and imaging system to match the longer range - generally a 640x480p or higher resolution is required to support long-range game detection.

Some NV scopes today offer true 4K resolution. This will provide you with the clearest and crispiest video footage possible.  But the limited range of background light and reflected infrared light prevent 4k sensors from adding much value in terms of extending useful hunting range.

For these reasons, 640x480p is more than enough for a long-range NV scope.

That said, at shorter ranges a higher resolution NV pipe (sensor + display combination) will improve your accuracy and improve your ability to identify the target.

NOTE: The resolution of night scope visions is also sometimes specified in LP/MM or lines per millimeter. Choosing a unit with a higher LP/MM value means that your image will be clearer.  A value of 50-100 is typical with modern NV scopes, but some get as high as 150-200.

IR Illuminator/Laser

Using an IR illuminator with your night vision scope will increase its effective range and improve the brightness of your target.

Many hunters use a laser sight with their night scope to enhance visibility down-range.  Unfortunately, some prey can detect laser light (even in invisible spectra), so make sure your targets aren't sensitive.

An Infrared illuminator is not visible to the naked eye and is highly recommended for long-range hunting at night, as most prey cannot detect IR light.

An illuminator can be a lifesaver when hunting in open ground during a new moon or a cloudy night.

Some night scopes are equipped with onboard IR illuminators that are tuned for the scope.  

But it's easy to find a separate IR or laser illuminator that will work, too.

Recording Capability

Some night vision scopes are equipped with onboard media recording that captures pictures or video footage while you are looking through the lens.

In more advanced scopes, the captured images and video also capture environmental parameters including GPS location, range to target, elevation, atmospheric pressure, ballistics and more.

A video camera attached to your scope also lets you monitor the environment using a separate monitor or on your phone, which can be a real back saver.

Video proof of your hunt can also help you avoid legal issues in case your local game warden mistakes you for someone else.

Another cool feature is recoil-activated recording (RAR).  This feature uses an onboard gyro sensor to detect rifle recoil and automatically begin recording or capturing images.

Battery Life

best long range night vision rifle scope

The worst thing that can happen on a night hunt is for your NV scope to lose juice right before the perfect shot.

So make sure you understand how long the batteries will last - and look for optional battery packs to ensure you can hunt all night without worry.

Many of the most advanced military-grade optics rely on expensive batteries that are not rechargeable.  Most hunting scopes avoid this technology for that reason.

For hunting, we recommend buying a scope that uses common AA batteries or high-grade rechargeable lithium ion batteries.

And, of course, always bring a fully charged spare set when you head to the field.

Durability

The last but most important factor to consider is the durability of a scope.  This includes weather resistance.

It is vital to buy a unit made of high-quality materials like aircraft-grade aluminum that can withstand precipitation, hot humid conditions and snow.

You should also look for a scope that is fog-, shock-, and waterproof.  

In our opinion, IPX4- or IPX5- rated scopes are just fine for most hunting conditions. An IPX7 rating is not necessary, but nice to have.

Some night vision scopes also use anodized coatings, making them more corrosion resistant. Moreover, the coating reduces sun glare and aids in camouflaging your position.

Pros and cons

best long range scope

While long-range night vision scopes have many purposes, they have their limitations as well - including:

Pros

Stay Safe

A primary benefit of a long-range night vision scope is to keep you far from danger.  The longer the useful range of your NV scope, the safer you will be.

Hunt Prey Without Alerting Them

Night vision scopes use moonlight or invisible IR illumination to work, so your prey is not alerted to your presence.

Improves Accuracy

The latest night vision scopes provide a wide range of features to help improve shot accuracy at long range. 

Most provide a choice of reticles and high-resolution sensors that will help you spot and identify prey at 200 yards or more.

More advanced NV scopes also provide onboard ballistic calculators, GPS sensors, magnetometers, barometers and other sensors to help you make your first shot the perfect shot.

Day and Night Use

Night vision scopes that use older generation intensifier tubes are sensitive to light, which means you can only use them at night. 

On the other hand, you can use almost all new models during nighttime as well as daytime.

Cons

Expensive

There are a lot of budget night vision scopes - some today cost less than $500 - but almost every one has significant limitations that make them unsuitable for long-range hunting.

In short, high quality Gen 2 and Gen 3 models that can effectively spot and identify prey at 200 yards or further are not cheap.

You should expect to pay in the low $1,000s for a high quality long-range NV scope.


Frequently Asked Questions

best long range scope

What images can you see through night vision scope?

Most NV scopes produce green-colored images. Compared with other colors, our eyes are highly sensitive to green and can differentiate better in this light.

How far is it possible to see with a long-range scope?

The range of a night vision scope varies depending on the model as well as the amount and quality of light available.

First and second generation night vision models have shorter ranges of about 100 yards or so. 

Third generation night vision scopes offer greater range - detecting prey at up to 500 yards is possible in ideal conditions.  

That said, identifying prey accurately is limited to about 300 yards.


Final Verdict: What is the Best Long-Range Night Vision Scope?

We think the ATN X-Sight-II Smart Rifle Scope is the best long-range night vision scope due to its exceptional useful range, its 100% HD optics pipeline and its many hands-free features that make spotting, identifying and landing prey at long range a breeze.

About the Author Rob Carson

I work in commercial construction, in Dallas, TX.

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