Choosing a spotting scope is no easy task. The prices vary from a few hundred dollars for a compact, bare-bones model all the way to $1,500-plus for an optic built to military specs.
Below, in order of cost, are five great choices for a spotting scope to use in competition. One thing to remember, although some models are pricey, in general with proper care a spotting scope can last a lifetime.
Konus 20-60x 80 mm Spotting Scope
Popular with NRA High Power Rifle shooters, the Konus 80 mm model includes multi-coated lenses that deliver a bright image. The large 80 mm objective lens allows for clear reading at 600 yards. The lens hood helps block glare when shooting in direct sunlight. Eye relief is a generous 18 mm. Total length is 16.5 inches and the weight is 54.6 ounces. Konus offers a two-year warranty. MidwayUSA offers the Konus 80 mm in a kit that includes a small tripod and a smartphone adapter. $230. www.midwayusa.com
Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 20-60x 80 mm Angled Spotting Scope
The Bushnell 80 mm Legend Ultra HD Spotting Scope combines precision optics with powerful zoom magnification imagery for clarity. Eye relief is 18 mm, and the eyepiece is angled 45 degrees. The dual-focus controls permit simple fine-tuning and adjustments. The lenses include Rainguard HD water-repellent coating, for a clear image when condensation persists, or in rainy weather. Total length is 16.5 inches, and weight is 80.1 ounces. A waterproof, rubber-armored will keep this scope protected from the elements. $579. www.opticsplanet.com
Kowa TSN-82SV 82 mm Standard Spotting Scope
Walk the firing line at any NRA High Power Rifle match, and you will identify many Kowa scopes in use by competitors. This Kowa 82 mm has an angled body, convenient for shooting prone. The 82 mm objective lens provides a bright field of view. A sliding sun shade protects the objective lens from hazard, including stray light. The TSN-82SV is 15.1 inches long and weighs 52.2 ounces. There are multiple eyepieces available for purchase separately. $815. sportingoptics.kowa-usa.com
Leupold Gold Ring 12-40x 60 mm HD Spotting Scope
The Gold Ring 60 mm HD Scope has what Leupold calls the “Extra Low Dispersion Optical System” for high color fidelity and contrast. Best in class eye relief (30 mm) allows for easy viewing with or without eyeglasses. The prism-less Folded Light Path system utilizes mirrors to compress the optical system length in half. A lightweight magnesium housing makes this compact spotting scope easy to take to the range. Total length is 12.4 inches, and the weight is an even 37 ounces. Includes a soft carrying case. $1,165. www.amazon.com
Trijicon 20-60x 82 mm HD Spotting Scope
Trijicon’s 82 mm scope has a body manufactured from lightweight magnesium with rubber armor. Eye relief is 18.5 mm. An angled eyepiece allows for 225 degrees of indexed vertical rotation. Large, easy-to-manipulate dual focus knobs make it easy to make both coarse and fine adjustments, even with gloved hands. The included carrying case has two carry handles, a zippered eyepiece and focus knob opening, and they are all secured using hook and loop fasteners. An extending sunshade for protection is integrated into the body. Total scope length is 15.13 inches, and without caps and case the Trijicon weighs 63.9 ounces. $1,900. www.trijicon.com