8 Best Spotting Scopes Under $500

best spotting best spotting scope for the moneyscope for wildlife viewing

In general, you're going to get about 100 yards for every dollar you put into a spotting scope. That is a loose estimate. But it tends to play out quite close to reality after taking several of these systems into the field and spending some time using them.

More than one friend of mine did not pay attention to this rule and found himself quite disappointed in the result of a scope that he had just paid $300 for on the internet. In this case, the shooter expected great results at 400 yards and didn’t get it.

Here we highlight the important features of several products to help you get the best spotting scope for your money.

Name

Magnification

​Diameter

Price

Bushnell Legend HD

20-60

80mm

​Vortex Optics Diamondback ​

20-60

60mm

Vanguard Endeavor HD 82A 

20-60

82mm

Celestron 52305 

20-60

‎80mm

Leupold

20-60

80mm

Redfield Rampage 

20-60

80mm

Nikon Prostaff 5 

20-60

60mm

Bushnell Prime 

20-60

65mm

1. Bushnell Legend HD

best spotting scope under 500

I checked out the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD on a hunt with the company two years ago. I found that indeed this little cut down monocular spotting scope brings in clear images well beyond 200 yards.

Game identification or lighter service (22 rim fire or handgun) target shooting are areas in which this scope gets the job done. Don’t expect to see bullet holes at 500 yards or anything close to that. That is not this scope's purpose.

This scope retains a 10X magnification so limited range is to be expected for this scope.

Using bak-4 prisms, multi-coated optics, RD prim glass, and PC- 3 glass, the scope is well designed as a mono system for light use. The 10X power is a solid operation level if the shooter knows how use it.

Remember this, snipers like 10X as a setting for real time field use. It is a good mix of balance and fast visual consideration with quick results.

top spotting scopes under 500

Vexlar in the field. This scope is a step above the $500 models but not top of the pile by any means.

The unit retains a Weaver style lower rail for attachment to a tripod or other bases. The scope uses twist caps on the eye piece. The lens is a 42 mm objective design with a roof mounted prism.

Be advised that Bushnell has a customer buy back system in the event the scope is not exactly what you want. Within the past several years, Bushnell has upgraded their product quality and performance level.

The unit is 100 percent waterproof and fog proof.

Available at Amazon

The price of Bushnell Legend HD varies, so check the latest price at Amazon.

2. Vortex Optics Diamondback Spotting Scope

vortex diamondback spotting scope review

Vortex builds a wide range of optic systems for sport shooting. Included in their lineup is a mid-priced spotting scope returns good results on the range or in the deer blind to about 400 yards on targets and 600 yards on game animals.

This scope makes use of a 20-60X60 angle designed tube system. The scope features XR multi-coated lenses and is combined with a retractable built in sunshade. The high-quality lenses on this scope handle light transmission well.

best spotting scope for 1000 yards

The scope has a twist and lock collar that allows the shooter to move the scope for various glassing positions. The unit includes a powerful zoom eye piece and features an easy to use focus wheel to focus on quality images. These wheels offered by Vortex make fine tuning a glassed sight picture easy.

The scope is set up with an o-ring installed for a total gas seal. The scope has a rubber armor coated exterior surface.

best hunting spotting scopes

Using scope to spot and scout whitetail deer for the next day's blind setup.

The included tripod attachment allows the scope to be mounted on a tripod or truck window mount for spotting while on the move.

This well-built unit hits the shooting world with a real bang in terms of applied performance. This is nice gear at a reasonable price.

Available at Amazon

The price of Vortex Optics Diamondback varies, so check the latest price at Amazon.

3. Vanguard Endeavor HD 82A Angled

under 500 spotting scope

Keeping the price tag around the $500 and under mark, spotting scopes like the Vanguard Endeavor just about hit the limit at $419.

This scope is an extra low dispersion glass unit (ED) for accurate color rendition with minimal fringing at the reticle edges.

The bak-4 prism is fully coated. The scope includes fully multi-coated lenses.

Rubber armor guard is applied to the exterior surfaces of the main tube body. The scope features an angled design instead of straight pipe housing.

1000 yard spotting scope

Glasses help when viewing game at a long distance, but a spotting scope beats all hands down.

The scope features the dual focus wheel for fine tuning spotting targets. This angled eyepiece spotting scope features a soft comfortable rubber eye cup. The eye relief on this scope is generous.

This zoom magnification power is 20-60X which pushes this spotting scope well out to 500 or 600 yards on small target viewing and 1000 yards on game size targets. The range depends on the light values at the time of scope use.

The lens diameter is 82mm (wide and sharp) with a field of view of 110-52 ft/1000 yards.

This scope carries a lifetime warranty.

Available at Amazon

The price of Vanguard Endeavor HD 82A varies, so check the latest price at Amazon.

4. Celestron 52305 Regal M2 80 ED

best tactical scope under 500

Pushing a bit over the price point of the reviewed scope bracket, the Celestron Regal is a scope with some added features that return some serviceable results in the field.

The scope retains an ED objective lens that sets a minimum regarding chromatic aberrations. Or, stated in working man's terms, this scope produces clear, bright images.

Even though I will give you some hard data on specific component configurations, the fact is simple, you need to do some detective work. Get samples of these scopes out in the real-world day light conditions and check them out for yourself. Check out their operation in bright light and low light conditions.

Want to shop the net? Well, that just fine, but know what you're looking at to some degree. At least take a walk through the best scopes in this price range.

compact spotting scopes

The Regal has XLT coatings (fully multi-coated lens) and a 20-60X magnification zoom feature eyepiece. This high-quality scope's close focus is 21.3 ft and 20X. This scope carries a focal length of 480mm (18.9 inches).

The main tube is built of a magnesium alloy material making the tube's construction excellent for the rugged outdoors. The scope is both waterproof and fog proof.

The scope comes with a rotating tripod mount with detents.

This scope's field of view is 110-52 feet @ 1000 yards. The scope features a bak-4 prism.

The scope features a twist style eyepiece.

An included T-mount adapter permits the shooter to mount a to the unit making a nice digiscoping platform. The rotating tripod mount has detents at several positions to give the shooter an alternate view.

Available at Amazon

The price of Celestron 52305 varies, so check the latest price at Amazon.

diamondback spotting scope

Setting up Vortex glass to spot a wide valley at over 800 yards.

5. Leupold SX-1 Ventana 2 20-60X80mm Spotting Scope

1000 yard spotting scopes

This Leupold spotting scope is a full set system. You will be able to buy it, pack and go!

The scope features a 20-6-X80mm lens and features a straight tube design. Included with this scope is a tripod, carrying case, straps and lens covers.

This scope is totally waterproof, fog proof, and shock resistant. Leupold Guard-ion lens coating sheds water and dirt. The unique coating even prevents fingerprints to ensure a clear, sharp image.

The scope features a twilight management system and adds up to 10 minutes of glassing time during the low light of morning and evening.

The operations on the control surfaces are smooth and easy to operate. The scope has a system for fine focus adjustment to pick up the small details down range.

spotting scopes for hunting

The scope has good wide eye relief for comfortable extended viewing. Shooters know what it's like to fight a scope to pick up a subject down range. The problem gets old in one heck of a hurry!

The scope has good wide eye relief for comfortable extended viewing. Shooters know what it's like to fight a scope to pick up a subject down range. The problem gets old in one heck of a hurry!

The lens provides solid edge to edge sharpness with no rainbow glints in the glass.

The scope's length 17 inches. A Tripod and adapter mount are included as accessories for this awesome scope.

Available at Amazon

The price of Leupold varies, so check the latest price at Amazon.

6. Redfield Rampage 20-60X80mm Angled

redfield rampage 20-60x60mm spotting scope

Redfield builds a general-purpose spotting scope that runs in the mid $500 price range. This scope is armored with a polycarbonate for hunting and carries a 20X60X high magnification level.

The 80mm objective lens is multi-coated and will be protect against dust and light scratching.

The unit is offered with a tripod body and comes with a case.

This imported scope features an angle viewing housing that is inclined at 45 degrees.

The glass on this scope is bak-4 prism. The eye relief measures 19-17mm.

The scope is nitrogen filled to make it fog proof and waterproof offering excellent performance in any weather conditions.

Available at Amazon

The price of Redfield Rampage varies, so check the latest price at Amazon.

7. Nikon Prostaff 5 

best spotting scope for 100 yards

This spotting scope is in line with others costing about $500. This scope is built with a sliding sunshade and carries a 60 mm objective lens.

Multicoated glass makes the lens surface easy to maintain and provides bright, clean image quality.

The ergonomic structure carries a light weight Porro prism that minimizes reflective light loss inside the scope housing.

This high-quality scope is waterproof and fog proof, features sealed with o-rings and is nitrogen purged. With these features, you have a scope is weatherproof.

This is a well-priced scope that delivers good results for general spotting use. The maximum range with the system should be around 400 yards on target and 600 to 800 yards on big game subjects.

Available at Amazon

The price of Nikon Prostaff 5 varies, so check the latest price at Amazon.

8. Bushnell Prime 

top rated spotting scopes

Bushnell scope in the field for long-range shooting school. (Elite Series)

This scope is a good mid-range unit for glassing inside 400 yards on targets and over watch use to 1000 yards down range. Not to be considered a long-range system, but a good general-purpose scope.

The scope makes use of EXP “barrier technology" that fights grit and dirt against the lens surface.

The unit has a 45-degree eye piece for viewing targets or game animals. The scope is tripod adaptable with an attachment housing. The main body housing on the scope has a hard rubber coating for a reinforced level of protection.

good spotting scope

Spotting scopes in the under $500 price range that have been listed are workable to a degree, but the issue seems to be that the rifle and bullet are out running the ability of most scopes to keep up down range.

The scope comes with a hard case, a tripod, cleaning supplies, and a quick start guide to field use.

Today, shooters are pushing bullets two and even three miles. A single scope can’t help. This type of shooting takes spotters at varied distance to help with the observation and scoring of the shots.

Available at Amazon

The price of Bushnell Prime varies, so check the latest price at Amazon.

L.P.Brezny has been writing and reviewing products as well as how to projects for the past 50 years. He has authored four books on shooting with three on long range, and one covering shotgunning.(Amazon) With 26 years in a metro police department as a street officer and the rank of SGT / training L.P. has covered all the bases regarding weapons and street survival.

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