Depending how you are planning to use a spotting scope, the selection is massive in terms of size, power, and cost. Here are some of the best scopes to consider when selecting a spotting scope for target shooting whether you are aiming at paper or steel plates in more long-distance applications.
Vortex Optics Viper HD
Vortex Razor HD
Bushnell Trophy Xtreme
Celestron 52306 Regal M2
Leupold Spotting Scope GR
Barska 30-90X100 WP Gladiator
11 Best Spotting Scope For Target Shooting
1. Vortex Optics Viper HD Spotting Scope
The Vortex Viper is a go-to spotting scope in my camp. I own one and have used it for about 2 years with solid results. The Viper is a whole lot of things to a shooter; however, it is not everything. Carefully consider your options when buying this or any other spotting scope.
This scope is not a low budget system. On the other hand, it is not at the top of the pile either. This HD product can be purchased as either a straight line or an angled spotting scope.
The power settings are 20-65 or 20-85. This gives the following results based on the 20-65 during my real-time field events evaluations.
The scope returns good results on bullet holes in white paper to 400 yards and positive results on steel plate painted white and fired on to 800 yards. At 1000 yards, the scope shows hits against steel, but detailed MOA measurement viewing of bullet impacts will be difficult.
The data presented here is accurate for most scopes in the same price range as this optics system. Move up in price and results will increase too.
What you never want to do is buy a spotting scope after just viewing it in the store. Don't put down your hard-earned money for the system until you've taken it for a test drive.
Always ask to take the scope outside. Pick a distant object then adjust the scope to see clear images. Now you are seeing what the system will or will not do. This method also puts away some over the counter sales talk in a hurry.
The Vortex scope has good quality glass installed, is built like a tank, and features the company's XR reflective coating for great light gathering ability. The smooth focus on this system allows the user to dial in an object easily and quickly.
The multi position eye cup allows the user to rotate the eye piece for the best position when viewing.
The scope is O-ring sealed and argon purged to make it waterproof and fog proof. Armor coating on the outside saves surface damage in the field. Armortek coatings protect the lens surfaces.
Performance depends on lighting conditions down range. Viewing quality varies depending on time of day, sky conditions and general weather in the area.
2. Redfield Rampage
When considering just the price, the Redfield Rampage is a budget system. This rifle scope is not designed for long range work by current shooting trends. For shooters working on 100- to 200-yard ranges, this scope gets the job done. Don’t expect $500 results from a $200 system.
The spotting scope will return 20-60X magnification. The retractable lens shade is a nice addition to a window mount for bright day target shooting.
The main body of the scope is made of poly-carbonate protective material. This material will stand up to rough atmospheric conditions.
This scope starts to fade at ranges beyond 400 yards and requires good light at that range. We tested and tried these units for professional uses. We found them best left to the part time shooter that wants to cover a 200-yard range.
The scope uses a twist-up eye cup, tripod adaptable mounting foot, and a tabletop tripod. All of these great accessories are included with the scope.
The weatherproof scope is nitrogen filled making it fog proof as well. The armored body features a textured grip surface. The total weight of the scope is 37 ounces. The length of the unit is 14 inches.
This scope's prism glass is listed as BAK4.
3. Vortex Diamondback Spotting Scope
This Vortex spotting scope is a mid priced target scope that does well at ranges of 350-yard average for white paper and bullet holes. The scope has enough power as it is a 20-6-x60 unit. Price and range are everything in this business.
There is good glass and there is great glass. The great glass is going to cost a bundle. The scope will advance its range in group shooting if white steel plate Action Targets (AT) are used. They print a black or dark gray bullet “splash” impact mark upon bullet impact.
I state this fact because I don’t want any buyer going away less than satisfied with the scope's results. If your long-range target shooting at 800 to 1000 or more yards, you need to step up your game. Better grade scopes cost you $800 to $1,000.
You will notice that manufacturers do not specify an exact performance range of a spotting scope. Why? Because the variables are just too great to set a limit on performance.
I will provide additional information on this aspect of spotting scopes later.
The Vortex Diamondback scope is a dependable choice for the shooter going to his local or private 200-yard range or other general use. With back lighting and early daylight, this range can increase, but weather conditions dictate long range spotting results.
The Diamondback utilizes a straight tube design. This is a good style for use on a truck window, but I like it all around. I use the design on my Vortex spotting scope.
The XR multi -coated lens and retractable sunshade built into the scope's body are additional features on this unit. This scope is tripod adaptable and uses a quick release attachment plate, The body is lighter weight than some making it easy to use the range or in the field.
Be advised that Vortex builds a very solid product. You will get many years of service out of this spotting scope. Just remember to keep your expectations within the limits of the price range and you will be satisfied with the end results.
4. Vortex Razor HD Spotting Scope
Staying with Vortex here because they do build a range of spotting scope with excellent options. The Razor HD comes to the front of the pack as a high-end and moderately priced optical system for even longer-range shooting.
This scope pushes the effective range beyond the limits of the scope we've reviewed so far. Shooters can expect white paper target backers to show clear holes at about 600 yards and painted steel targets will show splash at 1000 to 1400 yards depending on light conditions.
I have run a scope of this type to 1000 yards under good lighting.
The Razor is an 11-33X50 angled scope that is light weight and easy to carry. The scope is equipped with Triplet Apachromatic lens combined with high density extra low dispersion glass. This will transmit quality resolution and color fidelity. All these options produce positive bullet impact on a target range.
Focus wheel adjustments are broken down to macro and micro adjustments allowing the shooter to rapidly focus while at fine tuning the image for maximum viewing and study.
The scope includes a zoom style eye piece that functions smoothly and features a fully adjustable eyecup.
Because this scope is O-ring sealed, it is protected against water and reduces fogging. Special coated lens safeguard the glass surface against dirt and oil.
The scope makes uses a rubber armor coating to increase the protective qualities of the spotting scope.
5. Bushnell Trophy Xtreme
Bushnell's Trophy Xtreme carries a limited lifetime warranty and has a number of good features useful when spotting from a truck window or on the range. The magnification runs from 20-60 x 65mm with an objective lens that is large and carries light well.
The close focus limit is 12 feet. The scope provides a field of view of 240 feet at 1000 yards. In my opinion, this is a bit over the scope's intended working range limit.
The eye relief on the eye piece is 1.4 millimeters. The scope's carry weight is 21.5 ounces.
The total length of the main tube is 9.4".
6. Gosky Spotting Scope
The Gosky 20-60 X80 Porro Prism spotting scope mounts a multi-coated 80 mm film objective lens. The unit states that there is a quality prism and eye piece inside the housing. The view with this system is clear and bright.
Based on price, I would regard this as a general purpose glass useful for shooting at closer range targets. Rimfire and 100 yard rifle shooting seem to be best. Experimental testing produces the best answer.
In general, use this guide when selecting a spotting scope: 100 for 100. In other words, for every $100 you put into that glass the range will increase 100 yards. Not by the book, but take it from an old varmint field shooter. My method works!
This scope has a durable “magnalium” framework and is rubber armored to fight rough conditions.
The scope comes with a digiscope adapter for digiscoping. This scope allows the user to take photos with a smart phone. I believe this is a nice feature for bird watching, but not necessary for target shooting with firearms.
7. Vanguard Endeavor HD 82A
Here we have a scope that is moving back up into the 400 to 500 paper bullet spotting range limits and further against steel targets.
The scope has extra low light dispersion glass (ED) for accurate viewing and minimal fringing. This area of viewing is always an issue with low grade glass or even plastic lenses which are a real "no no" among shooters.
This scope features solid precision controls for very exact image clarity and a soft eye piece. The scope is fully waterproof under all conditions.
This durable scope is rubber coated and features a magnesium body for a strong, well-built housing.
8. Swarovski ATS
Swarovski is the king of the breed. The price says it all.
I have used and tested this scope for three years. I have actually tried to bust it or even slow it down. No luck my friends. It has been a leader in one mile shooting when no one was doing that down range. This scope has been a big help in writing three books on the subject of hitting something in the next zip code.
This scope has the very best European lens crafting, body construction, and light control for seeing bullets hit a target even at one mile or more. When shooting competition with a spotter shoot combination, I have used the Swarovski spotting scope that mounted the very same subtensions in its reticle as the rifle scope.
The spotter was seeing what the rifle shooter was seeing as the spotter called out corrections at 1000 yards or more. It was as simple as call it and shoot it.
The scope length 15.8 inches. The weight of the unit is 59.1 ounces.
The scope features a max power 50X objective lens 80 mm with an eye relief of 17 mm and an exit pupil diameter of 3.2-1.6 mm.
The field of view at 1000 yards is 126 feet and at max power setting, it is 42 feet.
The Austrian built scope has a straight main tube.
9. Celestron 52306 Regal M2 100 ED
ED objective lens will minimize chromatic aberrations. This means you will see bullet holes a bit better than when you use some other systems.
The XLT lens coatings produce fully multi-coated optics. This method yields better light transmission. The eyepiece on the scope retains a 22 to 67X zoom setting. The spotting scope comes with a fully rotating tripod.
The magnification is 22X-67 ED with a field of view developing at 1.8 degrees X 0.9 degrees. The field of view in feet is 94 feet X 47 feet.
This scope features a bak4 Prism material with an eye relief of 18-15.
The T- mount adapter with a tripod allows the scope to rotate.
10. Leupold Spotting Scope GR 1 HD Gold Ring
Leupold spotting scopes run from the low end of a few hundred dollars to the higher end at over $1,200. This supports the statement that more money means more range and better optics involved in the finished product.
This spotting scope is light weight and is set up nicely for a target spotter recording your hits and advising you of changes in your sight picture.
The system is unique in that it is designed as a “folding” light path design. Built shorter with the seemingly stacked tube design. this scope actually increases magnification with fewer parts than conventional spotting scopes.
The scope is totally water proof and carries an edge to edge clean picture lacking the dull edges found on some scope systems. The scope's rugged construction makes it ready to take on open country pack sack carry or to be set up in nasty weather during a competition that is going to go on anyway.
This is an American built and designed spotting scope to the last piece of glass and screw. The lens system in this scope is made from high quality glass. This glass allows this optical system to give the shooter as much as a full half hour of additional time spotting down range.
This scope is effective for 1000 plus yards.
11. Barska WP Gladiator
I selected the Barska scope system in the Gladiator series because of the bell systems over size design. Size matters here! Light gathering can make the day just a bit brighter down range. This is a budget scope system.