Spotting Scope Recommendation

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Dec 16, 2005
Tired of using my binoculars to see how I am doing. Could I get some spotting scope recommendations please?

I will be using it for the range 100 out to 100 yards.

Have $100-$150 to spend on it, I guess.

Maybe the Winchester $99? Or the Vanguard also for $99? A Barska?

Secondly, is there a straight or angled eye preference?

thanks and have a great day

edit: Or are all scopes in this price range the same quality?
it's really hard to appreciate until you actually use it,
but good glass is a long way from awesome glass.

i was recently at a precision rifle class and got to use
a Schmidt & Bender 5-25x rifle scope; set on the same power as
my Leupold there was no comparison. the S&B was orders of magnitude
better than my Leupold. i never understood the difference until i had the
opportunity to actually use high quality optics in the field

i have an inexpensive (Winchester) spotting scope which is
barely better than my rifle scope; in retrospect i wish i had waited;

i recommend to save your pennies and wait and then consider
the Brunton with ED glass ($600, rather than $1200)

but in that price range ($100-200) you best deal is just that.
good luck
You won't need ED glass for a spotting scope unless you are doing birding or
other nature type work where correct color is very important. On a target
type spotting scope it is a waste of coin.

A reasonable scope for High power type work is the Eagle Optics housebrand.
It's called Raven IIRC, around $370.

Probably the most common scopes used for High Power comp are the Kowa with
angled eye pieces. Angled eye pieces are generally just a High Power comp

I don't shoot High Power myself but look to them for what works at their ranges
and targets.

You can go lower of course but resolution and eye relief will be sacrificed.

Buying something more than the Kowa's may get you better performance and
maybe not.

Depending on what you want to see at 100 yards and under what light conditions
at $100 bucks good luck.


If all you want to do is see bullet holes in paper at 100 yards, your stated budget will fill the bill. There will be some downside, but the bottom end Simmons, Winchester, whatever, will do it.

Don't expect good eye relief, or easy focusing. Do expect flare, & eyestrain from second-rate glass. You can hold the eyestrain to a minimum by just getting in focus & then peep to see what you need to & get off the glass. Don't gaze.

An angled eyepiece is generally easier to use from a bench for target work. Hunters using the scope for game spotting seem to prefer the straight eyepiece. However, if you try to use a low-end spotter for game, you are going to hit its limitations head-on. Expect a headache, literally.

I finally purchased a Winchester Wt-5 a few weeks ago. I am really amazed on how well it works for checking targets at a difference.
I am not sure why, but the price seems to be going down on these. Maybe it is due to the Winchester plant closing. I bought mine for 68.00 brand new.
It came with the hard case and bi pod.
It is no Burris or Leopold, but if I break it or it gets stolen, I can handle the loss.
I use a Burris 20x60. I can see .22 holes at 300 yards. Probably not the very best, but I'm pretty particular on optics and this one is fine. IIRC it was around $150 from Midway a few years ago. Sometimes they have them marked down quite a bit. Comes with a little tri-pod. If you ever PD hunt or target at longer ranges, the extra magnification will really help
Seeing is not the same as resolving. I've a cheap 90mm 20x60 Brunton from (~$240) and I can see .223 holes at 300 yrds. What it can't do is tell if its two nearly touching .223 holes or one .30 hole at that distance. The resolution on this scope is such than magnification more than about 25X is "empty" -- image is larger but there is no improvement in image details. Meets my needs, but if I was serious about long range shooting I'd want better.

Works very well at 100 yrds however where I can read the smallest print at the bottom of the target.

But for only 100 yards, a bottom of the line Leupold 3x9 on your rifle will be good enough you won't need a seperate spotting scope and much more convienent.

Guys, you're recommending optics costing much more than he's willing to pay.

For up to $150,

Burris is very good. Probably the best in that price range (can be had for $145). The 15-45x would be the choice. However, it has short eye relief and it doesn't angle.

If you want a spotter that tilts and angles AND has generous eye relief (enough to where you can use your shooting glasses with it), consider the Bushnell Spacemaster. Optically, it is pretty darn good for the money. Can be found for under $150.

I have one. Works great. You can see .223 holes at 230 yards (furthest I've tried) so long as you're shooting a white target like a piece of paper with a dot or something. In good conditions, I think it could go a little further. 60x is useless, but that's true of 90% of the spotting scopes out there unless you spend huge money and get a huge objective.

In my opinion, if $150 was the LIMIT. Burris and Bushnell are the clear choices. Pardon the pun.

It seems that $150 will cut it for a spotting scope as long as I stay within my 100 yard range. Currently I am just in the beginnings of my "shooting career", and the range that I attend has several areas but the longest is 100 yards. So that is my working distance.

I have only iron sights and a pair of binoculars. So although the rifle scope is a good recommendation, that is not really where I am going as I will also be using the spotting scope for 50 yard practice with my .22 and .45, both of which again are iron sights, in addition to 100 yards with my .30-30

I guess that if I wanted to get better, especially for Nature watching and the like, the higher quality the better!

Financially I could go as high as $350 but I thought that that was a lot of money so I could see a hole in a piece of paper.

thanks for all the suggestions,
Get the Spacemaster. It will see ANY holes at that range clearly.

You can use a small tripod on the bench, and it will tilt towards you, then you can angle the eyepiece up, so that you can be perpendicular to the spotting scope. Almost like a parascope. All you have to do is turn your head from your shooting position to look through it. No need to get up out of your position and get behind the spotter. Most of the times it is not convenient to have the spotter infront of you. Most ranges don't have a lot of space infront of you depending on the space between the stations and the design of the benches. The best gadget is what a lot of folks at my range do. They mount an optics mount to one of those large carpenters C-clamps. Then they can just screw it down to the bench. Very steady, cheaper than buying an expensive shorty tripod to sit ontop of the bench.

If you have any desire to use it to your side, you must get one that angles. It is absolutely worth the money. In fact, even if you are not going to be to the side, one that angles will be 100x more convenient to use as you can angle the eye piece to suit you even at a shallow angle.
Appreciate the mentioning of the Spacemaster and angled eye piece.

I have the "theory" that I would have it to my left side on the front side of the table, both when I am standing and shooting my pistol as a lefty, as well as also to the left when I am sitting shooting righty with the .30-30.

The areas to work with are ~4'x8' and ~3'x3'

So if I understood you correctly, that means it is suggested that an angled scope is better and is what I would use in my hypothetical set-up?

Also, are angled ocular lenses movable or fixed?

I have been fortunate to buy several bausch & lomb senior spotting
scopes off ebay in the 100-150 range. Get the 20x eyepiece.
The 30x is not suitable for spotting at the range.
The B&L senior was the standard in the 70's and still beats most
until you get into 600-750.
the winchester that goes up to 45 power actually looks pretty good, has clear glass, and the adjustment for focus is decent. so that if you move it a micron, it doesn't suddenly go out of focus.
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