Re: Best $500 Long Range Scope
Dollar for dollar you can not beat a Nikon Monarch, period.
They been tops in photography for a looooong time because they make the best stuff. If Nikon made a $1500-$2500 rifle scope you could read a book at 1000-yards and you'd have to wear sunglasses when looking through it or the brightness would blind you - even at dusk.
In all seriousness - I once purchased a cheap Pro Staff scope for a 45-70 I was working up a load for and I was completely surprised how crystal clear, bright, crisp, and rock solid tough that scope was, compared to the Leupold VXIII and Mark4 scopes I had at the time - I no longer have any Leupold scopes because they are all Nikons now.
Better scope, less money, lifetime warranty.