Spotting scopes are a must have item for any hunter or hobbyist. From the first-timer hunter to the seasoned pro, every hunter and hobbyist knows the overwhelming feeling of trying to decide which spotting scope would best fit their needs. Below we discuss five of the best products we have found out there on the market today.
1 (Editor's Choice)
You may feel like your head is swimming with all the input and tips you’ve received recently from well meaning friends and family. While opinions from seasoned scope users are always helpful, it will serve you best to know exactly what you are getting into when purchasing your spotting scope. Here are some of the most common questions regarding spotting scopes:
How Do I Know Which Scope Is Best For Me?
There are several different types of spotting scopes available to consumers. First, you should determine what you will be using the scope for. Are you an avid birdwatcher? Or perhaps you are a sharpshooter looking to hunt? Maybe you love spending time at both indoor and outdoor gun ranges? Once you have determined what you will be using the scope for, you can start looking at specifics on different scopes. For instance, most hunting scopes come with built in cross-hairs, making it easy for the user to determine where their shot will be landing on the target. Birdwatching scopes tend to focus more on comfort for the user and weather-resistant coatings.
Why Should I Bother Purchasing A Scope?
A scope may seem like an unnecessary purchase, however, as many users will tell you, it will only benefit you as you pursue your hobby to own one of these scopes. Think back on the last time you went out for a weekend to seek out that rare bird, or maybe to finally nail that 10-point buck. Most people find it difficult to get the results they are looking for without a little assistance from some sort of binocular or scope system. The human eye is a great tool, however it inevitably falls short when trying to see things at a great distance. While binoculars are great, and generally cheaper, scopes offer a clarity and ease that no other product can.
Do I Need To Purchase Any Additional Equipment To Use My Scope?
Typically, the only additional equipment you may choose to purchase with your scope is a carrying case, however most scopes come standard with a case. Another common extra that people purchase when buying a spotting scope is a tripod—particularly those customers that are looking to buy a scope for nature photography and videotaping purposes. Of course, the deeper you get into the world of scopes, the more you will discover add-ons and extras that, while not necessary, are available to own.
How Do I Know How To Properly Attach My Scope To My Rifle?
Safety is always important when dealing with any sort of firearm or other weapon. Lucky for you, there are many videos and instructions available online to aid you in properly attaching your scope. Most videos will instruct you to first become familiar with your scope. What is the proper orientation? Does the scope come with all the necessary mounting gear? The next step is to ensure you have all the hardware necessary in addition to your rifle being scope-capable. One particular video from Ryan’s Range Report (video below) gives viewers a step-by-step guide on everything you will need to know from attaching to leveling your scope. The creator of the video takes a practical approach to instruction, leaving behind a lot of the jargon that may confuse people that haven’t attached a scope before, making this video one of the best instructional films available. Once you have your scope attached according to the directions you’ve found, you’re ready to take it out for a spin.
Should I Purchase An Angled Or A Straight Spotter?
The major difference between an angle and a straight spotter is what you will be using it for. Spotting out of a truck or on flat land is usually when people use straight spotters. A straight spotter makes it easy for the user to locate the target as it is essentially a point-and-shoot type model. The angled spotter tends to be used a lot more in mountain or similarly rough terrain. Typically with straight spotters, the user has to crane their neck to see up steep terrain and around weird angles. The angled spotter reduces the neck strain and makes it much easier for the user to spot their target in rough terrain.
What Do All The Numbers And Letters On My Scope Mean?
If you are not familiar with scopes, then it can be very confusing to know exactly what all the numbers and letters mean when browsing potential purchases. One of the first things you’ll notice is the product title will typically include at least two numbers (e.g. 4×32). The first number refers to the magnification power of the scope. The second number refers to the diameter of the scope. The higher or lower the number for either measurement will determine just how much magnification you have and how easy it will be to transport. Typically, higher end scopes have either an abbreviation of HD or ED also in the title or on the scope itself. This refers to the type of glass used in the production of the scope. HD (High Definition) refers to the most expensive type of glass that can be used and typically provides users with the best viewing experience. ED (Extra Low Dispersion Glass), while on the lower end of high end glass, still provides the user with markedly better viewing at higher magnification than the run-of-the-mill glass put in the lower end scopes.
1 (Editor's Choice)
Spotting Scope Reviews
This scope has quite a few features that will pique the interest of even the most seasoned scope user. The Konus is an angled spotting scope, which helps reduce neck strain and makes for ease of viewing. It also has multi-coated optics that help prevent internal ghosting and glare when in use. If the special optics weren’t enough to sell you on this scope, it also comes with a case, a camera/smartphone adapter for snapping pictures through the scope, and 3 JZS CC-20 micro fiber cloths.
The Konus is a solid spotting scope choice for anyone looking to use the scope in a mountainous terrain while simultaneously capturing stunning photos of your target. One of the few downsides to this scope is its size. While 100mm lens diameter may not be a bulky size, other scopes offer the same 20-60X magnification with a noticeably smaller lens diameter. However, for the brand, this is a relatively small scope, making it easy to pack up and take with you on various hunting or birdwatching adventures.
This spotting scope also does not come with a tripod included in purchase. While this is not uncommon among scopes, a tripod does offer a level of stability and ease of setting up that handheld scopes do not. It is difficult for anyone to hold completely still, which leads to rocky videos and occasionally blurry photos. A tripod would completely eliminate these problems, making the Konus an unlikely purchase for anyone looking to photograph or videotape local wildlife and how they behave.
- Great optics
- Small scope making it easy to pack and carry
- Angled Spotting Scope
- Comes with a Case
- Does not come with a Tripod
- Bow speed may disappoint professional archers
The Trijicon is also a straight scope and is engineered to be attached to a rifle. This scope comes with a variety of features that hunters and sharpshooters will find tantalizing, including crosshairs, 3.25 MOA RMR sights, and .223 ballistic reticles. While this may sound like a bunch of random letters strung together to a hobbyist, any professional rifle user will appreciate the Trijicon’s daytime and nighttime red crosshairs.
The advantage of red crosshairs over any other color is that red will never fade into the background. Users don’t have to worry about their crosshairs being camouflaged by foliage or other objects in the field of view. The forged aluminum housing also keeps the scope’s delicate interior safe from the wear and tear associated with recoils, drops, and mishandling. If the precision manufacturing that comes standard with any Trijicon product isn’t enough to sell you, this scope also comes with a sturdy case and all hardware needed to mount to your firearm.
There are very few drawbacks to this spotting scope. One common issue is that this scope tends to sit high when mounted on a rifle, causing some users to need to install a cheek raiser as well in order to use this scope comfortably. There is also the possibility that the optic could be too bright for its user when being used outdoors in direct sunlight. While this is only a mild inconvenience for most buyers, other people may be turned off by the lack of shading at the top of the scope to counteract against direct sunlight. Despite its few drawbacks, this is a highly accurate and satisfying product for anyone looking for a scope to serve their long-range needs.
- Can be attached to a Rifle
- Comes with a Variety of features
- Red Crosshair
- Comes with a Sturdy Case
- Tends to sit high when mounted to a rifle
- Could be too bright when used in direct sunlight outdoors
The Gosky spotting scope is a great product for the average scope user. It offers a standard range of magnification while still going high enough to be used on a variety of shooting ranges as well as outdoors. The multi-coated green lens, eyepiece, and quality prism all ensure the user will get only the highest quality clarity when using the scope.
The creators of the Gosky have also ensured the scope’s ability to withstand multiple types of weather activity through a tight-fitting framework, a rubber shock-absorbing exterior, o-ring seals, and nitrogen gas purging prior to being sent out. If the quality craftsmanship isn’t enough to sell you on this scope, the Gosky also comes standard with lens covers, a tripod, a carrying case, easy-to-use straps, a digiscoping adapter, and cleaning cloths, making it easy to care for your new scope.
One of the drawbacks to the Gosky spotting scope is that it is on the lower-end of scope manufacturing. While this is obviously not a deal breaker, if you are a seasoned scope user—particularly one that uses a scope for long-range viewing or hunting—your money would be better spent on a higher end scope. This scope will certainly more than fulfill your need, particularly if you are using it at a typical gun range or photographing nature, but there are better scopes out there in relation to clarity, size, and magnification ability.
- Great for the average user
- Withstand's multiple types of weather activity
- Includes a Tripod and many other features
- Not for a seasoned user
While being the first straight scope on this list, the ROXANT scope has more than earned its place. The straight scope makes it very easy for the user to start utilizing the scope on short notice and allows for ease of movement when searching for a variety of targets. The ROXANT scope also features a retractable eyecup—a first on this list. The retractable eyecup makes this scope a perfect fit for users that wear eyeglasses, or even users who are outdoors and need to wear sunglasses.
The small size of this scope also makes it perfect for traveling along to a variety of outdoor activities, from concerts to target shooting. The high definition glass that is used in creating this scope guarantees that light transmission and brightness will never be an issue when using this scope. This wide view scope also comes with a neck strap, carrying case, and cleaning cloths. Straight scopes do come with their downsides, however.
One of the biggest issues with the ROXANT scope is the lack of magnification. While little-to-no magnification isn’t typically an issue for casual scope users such as those that use a scope for concerts or hobby nature watching, those who are looking to use a scope for sharpshooting or other strong magnification needs. Another common issue with this scope is the small exit pupil, making it very easy to lose your image if you move around too much behind the scope. This can be very frustrating to someone who is trying to keep track of a certain bird or shooting target. Overall, this product is best suited to those who are looking to use a scope for leisure purposes.
- Super easy to use
- Features a retractable eyecup
- Small in size - perfect for traveling long distances
- Comes with neck strap, carrying case and cleaning cloths
- Lack of Magnification
- Small Exit pupil (very easy to lose your imagine when moving around too much)
The Vortex spotting scope, unlike others, does come in varying degrees of magnification and size. Not only does this make it convenient for shoppers to get the product they really want, it also assures the buyer that they will have the Vortex name backing up their purchase no matter what size or magnification they purchase at.
This scope boasts dielectric prism coatings and XR anti-reflective lens coatings. This is to ensure that the viewing is as clear as possible. In addition to the specialized coatings, the spotting scope is also designed and manufactured to be waterproof and fogproof, allowing the user to take this scope out in all weather conditions. This is a nice perk to have as weather can be unpredictable when out in the wilderness for any extended period of time. The Vortex is an angle bodied scope with an ArmorTek exterior, making viewing easier and, in turn, reducing neck strain. The Armortek exterior is another perk with the Vortex scope, putting the user at ease, knowing that if the scope takes a fall or is otherwise compromised.
However, not every user is always pleased with their purchase. One of the biggest drawbacks to the Vortex spotting scope is the marked inability to have a clear image when using the scope up to the top magnification power. Clarity is never a problem when being used at the low to middle end of the magnification power, but the higher you go, the more clarity you sacrifice while trying to view a target. The clarity issue is likely to keep long-range target or sharpshooters from purchasing the Vortex spotting scope, however it remains a good purchase for those looking to stay in the middle to low range of magnification.
- Varying degrees of magnification
- Waterproof and Fogproof
- Angled Body Scope, making viewing even easier
- Built Tough due to the Armortek exterior
- Long range clarity is a issue, not for long range target shooters.
So Which Spotting Scope Takes The Cake?
While many different types of scopes have been included in this article, there is a clear winner for most buyers. The Konus 7122B 20x-60x100mm Angled Spotting Scope is a fantastic scope for the average user. From the multi-coated optics to the digiscope adapter, any scope user will be pleased with the multitude of terrains in which this scope can be used. The angled design will also reduce neck strain, allowing you to stay out the extra time needed to be sure you get the photos and shots you desire. This scope offers a great range of magnification and clarity, making it a smart choice for hobbyists and hunters alike.
The Konus also comes standard with almost every addition a scope user could need. The case, cleaning supplies, and more make it easy to take great care of your new scope. If you’re looking for guaranteed clear photos 100% of the time however, it is recommended that you purchase a tripod with your scope. A quick search will yield you with many choices on tripods that are compatible with your brand new Konus Angled Spotting Scope.
Now that you know five of the best scopes out there, you are ready to begin the hunt for your next favorite toy. Good luck and happy scoping!