Spotting scopes


December 26, 2005, 12:24 PM
I have a need for a good spotting scope. I will be using it on the rifle range at the club I have just joined. 100 yards will be the average distance I plan on shooting, but the club has 200 and 300 yards ranges. What power magnafication works for these distances.

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December 26, 2005, 12:30 PM

December 26, 2005, 12:56 PM
I like 15-45x power scopes..good website to look

December 26, 2005, 12:57 PM
I like a minimum of 25X. Leupold's 12-40X variable is great. If you're looking for scope dedicated to the range instead of the field, Kowa (IMHO) makes the best. Check out Jim Owen's page ( He used to have some good deals on used Kowas. I bought a new Kowa from him a couple of years ago and he was a pleasure to deal with.

December 26, 2005, 01:03 PM
You'll hear people shreeeek about price the minute someone mentions Swarvoski, but few argue with the quality. If you have the money, buy a really good one. When all the other shooters pack up their cheap scopes and go home because of low light I can still see bullet holes at 200 yards and more. It's simply amazing how clear the optics are. Mine is a 25-40X with rubber armour coating, compact and great for backpack hunting trips.

December 26, 2005, 01:37 PM
I was doing research on the same topic on THR recently, with the goal to find a decent inexpensive spotting scope, mostly for 100m. The trend of the board on inexpensive SS seemed to be Bushnell Spacemaster. 15-45x50 models go for under $100 on auction sites. I understand it won't stretch to 200m, and it seems that you need something huge/expensive to go for 300m and beyond. Please correct me if I'm off here.

If the Bushnell Spacemaster is not a good idea for 100m smallbore, it'd be great to know that before I buy. Not sure what dbracin's price-range is, but mine is pretty low.


One of Many
December 26, 2005, 03:11 PM
Burris makes a several variable power spotting scopes, and a fixed 20 power as well.



Their web site is

I have a Burris scope on my deer rifle, and it is the best scope I have ever used. I can not afford the really expensive scopes, and this one was a bit of a stretch financially, but well worth the money. It is priced similarly to the Leupold scope, and I believe is as good as (probably better) than the Leupold. The problem with Burris brand optics is locating a dealer that has them in stock. Cabelas has sometimes had Burris, othertimes not.

December 26, 2005, 03:24 PM
+1 for Burris. 20 +60 - 80mm are an excellent buy for the price.

I just bought one of their spotting scopes - 15 +45 - 60mm - 149.00$ - Good for my needs while shooting at our local rifle range.


December 26, 2005, 05:40 PM
I see Jim Owens has a new spotting scope line, he gives it a pretty good recommendation and the price isn't bad.

December 26, 2005, 07:39 PM
I have a 15X45 Nikon I purchased in the late 80s/early 90s,,,great glass, not one of the newer cheapos from Nikon....Its worked well for me.

Standing Wolf
December 26, 2005, 09:26 PM
It's been my experience that when I buy low budget optics, they end up taking up closet space after I replace them with the optics I should have had sense enough to buy in the first place.

Ol` Joe
December 26, 2005, 10:07 PM
Look at the bird watching web sites for recommendations, they are the most critical glass users out there. Keep in mind they aren`t carrying a rifle, ect along with their binoculares or spotters and weight and compactness are not a real concern to them as they are to hunters and shooters. Their choices for back yard watching would be excellent for range use though.

I`ve a cheap Burris 15x45 Landmark
and the 15x will show 6.5mm + caliber holes out to 200 yd with no trouble. ( the farthest I`ve tried it) 22 cal shows if the sun is right and the bullets are in the white, hits in the black can be a problem at times. I don`t think you should need more the 20-25X for most centerfire cartridges at ranges to 250-300 yards. The mirage from higher powers will start to effect the picture at higher powders and too much is very possible to get. The benchrest rest boards would also be a good place to ask your question reguarding this.

rust collector
December 26, 2005, 10:26 PM
Seems that there are three primary divisions in the ranks of spotters. You can get in the game for $200 or less, and this will meet 75 to 85% of your needs and desires. Pentax, Kowa and Nikon make some nice midrange glass in the $500 to $650 range, and that's where I'm aiming. Maybe 90-95% mission accomplished. Then you have the Swarovskis, Leica, Zeiss echelon that will get you to 98% for $1k and change.

There will always be room for improvement, and the big glass with high resolution and twilight capabilities carries a big price not only in $$ but in weight and wield. Check better view desired and other birding sites, 24 hour campfire optics threads, consumer reports, and try them at Cabela's and other sporting goods stores. SWFA has good prices as do the New York camera stores, but I've been impressed with the service and advice of Gr8fulDoug at cameraland

Good luck in your quest.

December 27, 2005, 03:09 AM
I've had a scope from Champions Choice (not sure who made), a Bushnell, Nikon, Kowa and now a variable Leica (20x to 60x). The Leica is the best I've owned. Indoors I use a small Kowa, it wouldn't work for what you're describing. Leica isn't cheap, but if I'd bought it initially and not stumbled my way up the optics cost ladder I'd have saved a lot of money. Don't scimp on optics.

December 27, 2005, 07:12 AM
Thanks for the replys. I got a gift card for Gander Mountain and will be visiting there Thursday. Their website doesn't showcase their products like the other major Outdoor places.

December 27, 2005, 02:18 PM
I have a Nikon and love it. Nikon makes a smalll video monitor that attaches to it so you and others can watch the monitor as the holes are made in the target. this feature was made so several birdwatchers could benefit from the scope at the same time.

For the best information on spotting scopes, google up some birdwatching sights. Good glass is these folks primary concern, unlike us whose primary concern is usually the firearm. You'll find the most comprehensive reviews about scopes on these sites.

Buy the best you can afford., in the long run it will pay off. Don't forget a good tripod also, the best glass on a wobbly, difficult to adjust tripod is useless.

December 27, 2005, 08:13 PM
I've been eyeing one of these for a while. It'll work for astronomy as well as a spotting scopy. Nice big objective, three magnifying lenses.

I still haven't made up my mind yet.

December 27, 2005, 08:35 PM
I know a lot of folks who shoot competitively go with Kowa because they supposedly have the best long eye-relief eyepiece for the $$.

I personally got a cheap 12-36X x 50 Bushnell on eBay ($70 I think) so I can figure out what I really want. It works better than the binoculars or old scope I used to use, but I recommend getting a better quality to start if you can afford it.

It also depends what you are shooting. Benchrest vs. service rifle you'd probably choose a different scope and definitely a different tripod/stand.

December 27, 2005, 08:40 PM

I don't think you can beat the "Rent a Scope" deal at this guy's site if others have had good experiences as mention above.

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