Latest advice on a spotting scope


June 12, 2011, 09:39 PM
Hey fellas- I know there are ump-teen gajillion threads on spotting scopes but the offerings change so often I thought it wouldn't be rude to ask for a new thread right now.

I need to see .22 holes at 300 yards and I'm not willing to pay a lot extra for any advanced features such as laser range finders. Strictly for seeing holes and not for being part of a sniper team or anything. While I don't mind any extra features and would pay a couple of bucks for some cool features just good clear clean glass capable of spotting .22 holes at 300 yards is my immediate and pressing need.

My starting point would be known glass manufacturers like Nikon and my budget is under $400 unless there is some must-have feature I'm thinking of.

Just for going to the range, not hunting or anything. Like I said I'd pay a few bucks for a really good feature but I don't have any use for one while hunting, I am in the East where a 50 yard shot on a deer is far for us.

I would appreciate any comments or advice - there are SOooOO many of them it is hard to know where to start the search!

This is an urgent matter for me as I have the next couple of months off and need to put in a LOT of range time!

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June 12, 2011, 09:49 PM
for under $400.....this may be tough

ive got a 20-60X60mm scope.....and its difficult to make out .22 holes at 100 yards.......for 300 yards....your going to have A LOT of trouble, even with top quality glass.

since most spotting scopes dont really go above 60X......i honestly think youll have better luck with a small telescope

June 12, 2011, 10:01 PM
No problem seeing tiny holes at 200 yards with this.....haven't tried it at 300 yards.

June 13, 2011, 02:47 PM
The only advise I can give is to pay more attention to glass quality than the rated magnification. Provided that I use targets with the right background, I can make out .22 hits at 200 yards with my 22X Nightforce and 24X Vortex PST. The hits are easily visible at 100 yards. I guess my point is that I'd take a quality 40X over a 60X of lesser quality. It isn't just about magnification. Resolution is more important.

June 13, 2011, 03:53 PM
good point, and one I have been thinking about since some decent manufacturers like Nikon don't even offer a 100x ... in fact most reputable glass tops out at around 60X it seems.

Now to look for a good deal. Man it sucks having to either wait for everyone to be done before I can check my target or drive/walk 300 yards every 5 rounds !

June 13, 2011, 07:18 PM
Check out a place called

They have a pretty weird policy about getting price quotes. You have to sign up to become a "member" or something and they email you the prices. A bit of a PITA, but I've bought a few scopes from them and the prices that I got were significantly lower than I could have gotten any place else.

You might also want to check and see if Vortex Optics offers any spotting scopes. I've shot quite a few of their rifle scopes, and the ones in the Vortex line and up have been quite a value. As a rule of thumb, I just try to avoid the stuff labeled with "made in China."

June 13, 2011, 08:04 PM
Are you trying to see black bullet holes in white paper, or are you trying to see holes in a black bullseye against a dirt backstop?

The former is well within reach.
The latter almost unattainable.

June 13, 2011, 08:12 PM
In the quest to see tiny holes at long range, has anyone experimented with using an actual telescope of any sort?

What might the pro's and con's of that be?

I see used telescopes selling for peanuts fairly regularly.

June 13, 2011, 08:43 PM
Konus. Check out

June 13, 2011, 10:17 PM
Several things to consider...mirage that plagues us with our scopes also plagues the spotting scope....while power is great it may not help if the heat is on...

If you have a local Cabela's..check out their bargin cave... They usually have some nice spotting scopes in there and they have a 90 day layaway...

Got my Nikon with 82mm objective kit (with tripod) for $ was like brand new and a customer returned it for some reason...complete with box and all paperwork.. Great thing is I got the full Nikon warranty too.

Now if I could just attach it to my Nikon DSLR.........

June 13, 2011, 11:20 PM
One helpful item for seeing .22 holes from far away is Shoot-N-C targets. Maybe you already have them, but I just wanted to mention it. With my eyes they're needed for this, even with the spotting scopes at the range.

June 26, 2011, 02:40 PM
Konuspot 20-60x100- It looks like this might be a good choice for $300 shipped?

Unlike rifle scopes where I would limit myself to about 20 manufacturers and then maybe 2-3 models from each there are ten times as many choices with spotting scopes. Out to 500 yards maximum and getting the best quality glass, magnification, and features for the money is easier said than done. If anyone has a spotting scope they think is perfect I'd like to add it to the list...

June 26, 2011, 04:32 PM
You will need to save up an addition $300 to $500 to get you the kind of scope you need to see 22lr holes at 300 yards. That is not to include a good solid tripod and head that can run another $300 or more. Do yourself a favor and save. Buy cheap and you will buy twice. Read the following article from this very knowledgeable person, she is great.

June 26, 2011, 05:19 PM
Thanks... I have a decent tripod, it is for pro camera work and I have to say I am a little shocked at the $300 for a tripod suggestion I've seen all over the place.. maybe for super light carbon stuff, but a plain old tripod with lots of durability and a simple head are no more than $100-150.
Anyway I have learned the buy twice lesson a few times and wouldn't go that route again. Of course there is always the buy twice and return one if it sucks method as well : )

Friendly, Don't Fire!
June 26, 2011, 05:26 PM
Don't buy a Bushnell 787325, I have one and it is junk. Cannot focus to save my life.

June 26, 2011, 05:42 PM
I need to see .22 holes at 300 yards

This is one requirement that won't come cheap-if at all. To clearly distinguish .22 size holes @ 300 yards is a very difficult thing to accomplish and will require high-buck optics to pull off. If anybody is aware of an "affordable" spotting scope that will do this, please advise. I'm all ears. :D

Friendly, Don't Fire!
June 26, 2011, 05:52 PM
I agree, you will need good optics with a really good adjustment for focus. That is where my Bushnell (pictured) falls way short. The focus knob is so touchy, you cannot lock it into focus on anything when the scope is zoomed all the way in. So, basically, it is worthless. It is only good at looking at things that are close. I bought it about 15 years ago and paid about $160 then from what I recall.

It was a ripoff, that's for certain!

June 26, 2011, 05:59 PM
Another vote for Konus. We've used them (60mm) for years at our gun club shooting programs. I have a 20x60-80mm, purchased new this year for less than $250. Darn good glass for the money.

One advantage with the Konus 45 degree eyepiece scopes, is the ability to rotate the scope body 360 degrees within the mounting ring. Makes them far handier when used in the truck w/window mount.

June 26, 2011, 06:20 PM
not that it makes too much difference but it's actually .223 holes and up.
A friend of mine has a $75 Mead telescope and we are going to try that out because it is available and just to see - it's only a 60mm but maybe the optics are different enough in telescopes that it makes a difference.
I'll drop a note here when we do.
Our range only allows a "single point of aim target" or I'd solve this whole problem by shooting at bright orange water balloons. I'm going for "minute of man" accuracy at this point and not bullseyes.

June 27, 2011, 12:49 PM
I suggest using those targets that show a ring of color around the bullet holes. I doubt you will be able to see .22 holes at 300 yards otherwise. As for scopes, I have a Celestron that has very clear optics (albeit it quite large), and a solid bench top tripod with micro aim adjustments. But if you are willing to spend $400 you can do better.

June 27, 2011, 05:39 PM
With a Cabela's Tri-Stand 2 tripod and a Leupold Sequoia 20-60x80mm spotting scope 223 caliber holes at 300 yards is easy, using a light blue or light pink background paper with a white address label as the target point. I set it a 50 power where my wife likes the 60 power for this distance. Your eyes may require some other setting.

June 27, 2011, 07:31 PM
For spotting .22 holes in white w/ black bulls with ground back drop I don't even need a spotting scope. My 32 power rifle scopes spot bullet holes just fine.

I do own a Winchester 60 power spotting scope that works just fine for spotting, got it on sale for $75 bucks. IMHO if you can not spot .22 cal. holes with a 60 power scope at 100 yds, its time for an eye check-up.

Heck I can even read the scoring ring numbers with my spotting scope and see them with my rifle scope.

Yes I do wear glasses, tri focals for a matter of fact.

June 27, 2011, 09:45 PM
yeah we were thinking 300 yards

June 27, 2011, 09:50 PM
How the heck did I miss that. Sorry.

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