Choosing the Top 5 Best Spotting Scope for Target Shooting

Top 5 Best Spotting Scope for Target Shooting

A spotting scope is a piece of equipment that you never need until you use one. When you first start shooting you think that everything can be seen through a pair of binoculars or scope until someone brings along and spotting scope and you see what a difference the extreme high magnification and excellent optical quality that spotting scopes of ford and you realize that you just can't live without one.

You probably can't wait to have one, that is until you go online start shopping and see how expensive it can get. You can literally spend what you might on the down payment for a car on a spotting scope. With literally dozens of models out there and hundreds of cheap Chinese import models to boot, it can get difficult to shop for a spotting scope. The best spotting scope for target shooting blends in with the models that you definitely don't want.

Here are five of the absolute best spotting scopes for target shooting that money can buy both in terms of quality, usefulness, and bang for your buck.

5 Best Scopes for Target Shooting - Comparison Table​

Product Name

Objective Bell

Magnification

Price

Our Rating

Leupold Mark 4 12-40x60mm TMR

60mm

12-40x

$$$

#1
​Editor's Choice

Leupold SX-1 Ventana 2 20-60x80mm Kit

80mm

20-60x

$$

#2

Vortex Optics Diamondback Spotting Scope

60mm

20-60x

$$

#3

Bushnell Trophy Xtreme Spotting Scope

65mm

20-60x

$

#4

Celestron 52250 80mm Ultima Zoom Spotting Scope

80mm

20-60x

$

#5

Why you Should Have a Spotting Scope for Target Shooting?​

Having a spotting scope for target shooting does a few things for you. Mostly, it allows a spotter to help call corrections for your shots with a high degree of accuracy. That degree of accuracy comes with the large objective bell and high magnification that spotting scopes afford. If you're going to buy a second optic for a spotter it might as well be a spotting scope. They can help you identify the bullet splash and judge targets. Remember you’ll also need to balance your spotting scope with your rifle scope. If you’re shooting at long range a lot, try out one of these best scopes for 300 win mag.

Spotting Scopes can also be outfitted with specialized eyepieces and ballistic reticles similar to those found on rifle scopes to help you communicate better between the spotter and the shooter. Make sure when you're buying your spotting scope that you balance out the capabilities of the spotting scope with the overall size and weight that you're willing to carry around.

The best spotting scope in the world won't do you any good if you can't afford it or if you simply can't carry it around with you all day while you're shooting. Spotting scopes are made to be used for hours on end with superior optical quality and very bright glass, better than you'll find on any rifle scope, but they can still give you a headache if you don't have a proper amount and tripod to keep it from shaking.

If you’re starting from scratch with a long range shooting set up, look at these best scopes for remington 700s. They’ll serve you well in the field. Also, when you're planning on buying a spotting scope remember that there are things that you will have to buy to make the spotting scope usable, mainly a tripod mount and specialized eyepiece if you decide you need one, so don't blow your entire budget on the spotting scope alone.

Best Spotting Scope for Target Shooting

Product Name

Objective Bell

Magnification

Price

Our Rating

Leupold Mark 4 12-40x60mm TMR

60mm

12-40x

$$$

#1
​Editor's Choice

Leupold SX-1 Ventana 2 20-60x80mm Kit

80mm

20-60x

$$

#2

Vortex Optics Diamondback Spotting Scope

60mm

20-60x

$$

#3

Bushnell Trophy Xtreme Spotting Scope

65mm

20-60x

$

#4

Celestron 52250 80mm Ultima Zoom Spotting Scope

80mm

20-60x

$

#5

#1 - Leupold Mark 4 12-40x60mm TMR​

Leupold Mark 4 12-40x60mm TMR

If you want the no-holds-bar, absolute best spotting scope on the market, this model from Leupold is extremely hard to beat. It has some of the best optics they've ever made with a compact housing and extremely clear magnification to bring the bullet holes in the target closer end since you can judge them with absolute precision.

With this spotting scope you get the best civilian grade optics on the planet combined with a form factor that's easy to carry around whether it's just from the truck to the range or round public shooting land all day. It can even serve double duty and other areas where you need and exceptionally clear and bright spotting scope to judge precision measurements.

The magnification range of this spotting scope reaches all the way out to 40x power and despite its small 60 mm objective Bell you get an extremely clear and bright image well out past a mile between you and the target. If you need the absolute best spotting scope for target shooting this is about as good as it gets.

Pros
  • Extremely high quality
  • Very bright
Cons
  • Heavy
  • Expensive

#2 - Leupold SX-1 Ventana 2 20-60x80mm Kit

Leupold SX-1 Ventana 2 20-60x80mm

If you are more focused on and all-around performer that is exceptionally high quality but doesn't break the bank this model from Leupold is one of the best. This model particularly shines well when it comes to benchrest shooting because the straight eyepiece combined with the gigantic 80mm objective Bell allows you to have a clear image with up to 60 power magnification.

This model shines anywhere you need a straight eyepiece because the length of the unit lends itself well to being stable on tripods or set up where you will do a lot of sitting and panting to hunt for targets that you're shooting at. The weight and length goes a long way to making sure it doesn't shake too much when you move it giving you a straight and headache.

The only real downside of the spotting scope is the fact that it is extremely large to be able to put out that level of magnification and gather as much light as the spotting scope manages to do. If you can deal with the weight and bulk of this unit it'll never let you down no matter what you plan on doing with it.

Pros
  • Great value
  • Excellent optics
  • Excellent brightness and light gathering
Cons
  • Very large
  • Heavy

​#3 - Vortex Optics Diamondback Spotting Scope

Vortex Optics Diamondback Spotting Scope

Vortex keeps its reputation going with this excellent spotting scope that is great for a dedicated target shooter who won't be carrying around their unit too much. This is a very large unit with an almost awkwardly placed eyepiece but the value and warranty it holds makes it well worth the investment.

You can depend on this spotting scope to take more abuse than just about any other on the market and still hold the level of performance and clarity this unit had out of a box. What does unit you get an exceptionally clear 60mm objective Bell that allows you to see targets with a magnification up to 60x power.

Small amenities like a tripod mount zoom ratio and adjustment wheel are present on this unit and well-thought-out and if you can get over the extreme angle of the eyepiece this unit will serve you well no matter what you plan on doing with it and take more abuse that just about every other spotting scope on the market.

Pros
  • Anti reflective coating
  • Awesome warranty
Cons
  • Bend angle of the eyepiece is very high

​#4 - Bushnell Trophy Xtreme Spotting Scope

Bushnell Trophy Xtreme Spotting Scope

Bushnell is known for making low-cost high-quality optics for people on tight budgets. This model is no exception brings together an excellent designed with decent optics and a bomb-proof body that makes an ideal spotting scope for target shooting when you're going to be carrying your gear around all day and different shooting positions.

It is a straight eyepiece offset body set up that pushes the adjustment knob to the right side. That can be a slight problem if you're a lefty but is not a huge deal to work around. The entire body is set up around massive rubber bumpers that protect the glasses side from getting bumped or shocked when you drop it.

The 80mm objective bell performs well in low-light and the 20-60x power magnification works well on man size targets out past a mile. While you can't expect the same level of quality from the models costing sometimes twice as much, this is a completely usable scope for a ton of different options but the straight eyepiece no-nonsense design lends itself well to target shooting. You shouldn't have any problems with this scope it is highly recommended over all of the cheaper brands mostly due to Bushnell's track record and customer service.

Pros
  • Awesome value
  • Ruggedized armor
Cons
  • Adjustment knob is off to one side

​#5 - Celestron 52250 80mm Ultima Zoom Spotting Scope

Celestron 52250 80mm Ultima Zoom Spotting Scope

If you're looking for one of the best low-cost spotting scopes in the market this offering from Celestron is definitely hard to beat. It combines a well-thought-out design that was purpose made to be inexpensive with decent quality of materials and workmanship that you can depend on in the field.

It's over 18 inches long and weighs 3.6 lbs because of the huge 80 mm objective bell and variable magnification from 20-60x power. This common specification for spotting scopes means that there are plenty of competitors out there to compare them to. Which you'll quickly find is that this scope gives many of the brand name spotting scopes a run for their money in terms of quality and usability in the field, but does so at a fraction of the cost.

You can have this spotting scope in a number of different configurations but for target shooting the straight eyepiece is going to be the most comfortable from the bench. other features are pretty devoid on this spotting scope, all you get with this model is a dependable and easy-to-use scope that brings targets closer interview since you can judge them. If you aren't an “optics guy” or you don't like spending a ton of money on your equipment, this is definitely the scope you should get. It performs well for the price and definitely deserves a role either as a backup or for someone on a tight budget.

Pros
  • Available in different configurations
  • Multi-coated optics
  • Sight tube for quick targeting
Cons
  • Not as polished as other scopes, dim optics

​Buying Tips

  • Size & Weight - The size and weight appropriate for a spotting scope is dependent on how much you’re going to carry it. The simple fact that these things are heavy, and the ones that are really useful and excellent, are very heavy. If you shoot at the range, it’s irrelevant, if you shoot on open tracts of land and are highly mobile, you’re going to want to spend some cash to get a lightweight model.
  • Mils & MOAs - When you buy your spotting scope make sure you match the measurement system and radical style to the rifle scope and binoculars system that you're currently using. If your current scope uses Mils make sure you buy a spotting scope with a radical design to work on the Mils system of measurement. if you buy a scope based on Moa every time you call a correction you will need to convert it back and forth. If you shoot multiple styles of radicals make sure the model that you buy has an interchangeable eyepiece that allows you to change the reticle of the spotting scope. You may even want to consider buying a spotting scope with interchangeable eye pieces if you will use the spotting scope for hunting that way you can completely remove the reticle when the time comes to hunt.
  • Magnification - There’s no such thing as too much magnification on a spotting scope. Just don’t bog down the optical quality by buying a cheaper scope with more magnification. You’ll likely be looking through a spotting scope for hours, make it a pleasant shift!
  • Bent vs Straight Eyepiece - Depending on how tall you are and if you’re going to use a tripod exclusively, you might want a bent eyepiece. The straight eyepieces are more comfortable from the bench, as well as being more compact.
  • Warranty - Get a good warranty. These things are expensive and be 100% you buy from a company that will take care of you when a vital piece of equipment like your spotting scope goes down.

Conclusion

Spotting scopes play a role that can't be duplicated with any other piece of equipment when it comes to target shooting. The simple fact of the matter is that if you need one there is no substitute and you will need the best you can afford. The best spotting scope for target shooting are out there and with the number of products available on the market today it can be hard to identify which ones will work best.

The five listed here are among the best sellers and will serve you well for target shooting. No matter what though get your hands on a spotting scope and get in the field and use it, it won't do you any good sitting on a Shelf.​

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About the author

    Mckinley Downing

    Mckinley is a gunman & instructor. He shoots, hunts and is a patriot in the sense that he enjoys pissing off gun grabbers and anti-hunters. He writes for several online outlets on the use of guns and ammunition to solve all sorts of problems from the 'hoods to the woods.

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