A spotting scope is a small and portable telescopic sight that is ideal for observing terrestrial objects like birds, game, shooting targets, and landscape features. In fact, spotting scopes are used extensively in birdwatching, hunting, and target shooting for tactical ranging and surveillance. Paired with the right rifle shooting tips, you can use a spotting scope to make you an amazing shooter.
Spotting scopes are more powerful than rifle scopes. They tend to have much greater magnification range (up to 60x) and bigger objective lenses for gathering light (up to 100mm). This enhanced resolution and ability to acquire targets at very far distances makes them a valuable asset for hunters and long range shooters.
The compact and portable design of spotting scopes also makes them ideal for hiking, camping, and hunting excursions that cover a lot of area. Basically, a spotting scope is best suited for any activity that requires higher magnification and resolution than a binocular.
The magnification and objective lens size will likely be the most important features that influence your purchase decision. For example, a “10-20x40mm” means the scope is capable of a 10-20x magnification range with an objective lens that is 40mm in diameter. This would be a smaller and less powerful spotting scope compared to others, and it will be able to fit nicely in the palm of your hand.
If you’re a hunter, keep in mind that a higher magnification will decrease your field of view. If you’re just wanting to cover your immediate surroundings then a lower magnification will give you a better overall picture.
The Best Spotting Scopes Reviewed
Burris Signature HD Spotting Scope
This next-level spotting scope has been on the market for just a couple years and is probably one of the best spotting scopes you can buy for under $2000. The Burris Signature HD Spotting Scope takes glassing to another level.
Complete visual command of the landscape is at your hands. You will be evaluating prime targets from a mountain away with the 20-60x magnification range and HD apochromatic lens system provided by this amazing spotting scope. Premium HD glass for optimal resolution and light transmission from early morning to sunset — it delivers crystal clear edge-to-edge resolution and eliminates color fringing at any magnification. Burris scopes are always made of the highest quality materials.
You can see .30 caliber bullet holes at 300 yards. Additionally, the Burris Signature HD Spotting Scope features a built-in sun shade to reduce glare and provide protection from the elements, an angled eyepiece and rotating tripod, a forward mounted focus knob for coarse or fine adjustments, and a lightweight and durable design with an armor-protected magnesium body for toughness in the field.
Another great feature of this spotting scope is its ability to attach a Burris FastFire red dot sight on either side of the body to assist you in performing incredibly efficient target acquisition and verification. An optional fixed power 30x eyepiece is available with a SCR Mil or SCR MOA reticle (or no reticle) while still keeping the overall price of the scope below $2000.
The Burris Signature HD probably has the most features and best clarity for its price point. You can even view the craters on the Moon or adapt this optic for photography if you desire.
Konus KonuSpot-100 20-60×100 Spotting Scope
A great spotting scope for birdwatchers, the KonuSpot-100 is a powerful angled spotting scope that offers the best high image resolution and clarity/brightness in its category at a reasonable price.
This glass optic has multi-coated lenses and a special 2” high-definition eyepiece that can connect to any reflex camera. This spotting scope has a wide 100m objective diameter and powerful 20-60x magnification range.
The metal body has an anti shock rubber covering and a high precision mechanical construction guarantees precision and stability. Additionally, the Konus KonuSpot-100 has an eyepiece located at a 45° angle with respect to the optical axis and has extendable sun shades complete with a photo adapter (to be used with an optional T2 ring).
Excellent spotting scope for birding.
Sig Sauer Victor 3
The Sig Sauer Victor 3 10-20x30mm is a revolutionary mini spotting scope featuring all the advanced technologies you would expect from Sig Sauer’s riflescopes.
This remarkable piece of glass has a rugged and compact, lightweight polymer body design with durable rubber armor that gives a strong grip and fits snugly in the palm of your hand like a canteen. Unlike a lot of spotting scopes, the Victor 3 features advanced electronic image stabilization that eliminates the need for a tripod.
This proprietary technology utilizes gyroscopic stabilizers to maintain optic focus and cancel out shaking and vibrations from hand movement. A low dispersion multi-coated glass with BAK4 prism offers maximum, crystal-clear optical clarity and ultra-crisp resolution. The optical focus on the front lens is about 1.5 times the size of an average range finder.
The Victor 3 is ideal for backpacking, hunting, and wildlife observation, or military reconnaissance. Sig Sauer considers everything that a professional or civilian would use and develops it into a compact and sophisticated device.
This rock solid spotting scope is dependable and provides a stabilized image at all times for easy target acquisition. Its small size and extended range capabilities make it light enough to hang around your neck and ideal for scouting.
Leupold Gold Ring 10-20x40mm
The Leupold GR 10-20x40mm Gold Ring is a compact spotting scope that delivers relentless performance and quality that is comparable to larger, more expensive models. Check out more optics reviews.
Designed for professionals and civilians in mind, the Gold Ring is easy to use, has a wide view, and offers superior low-light performance and premium edge-to-edge clarity in a rugged body that is fully weatherproofed. Up to 30 minutes of extra glassing light at dawn and dusk is offered by the Twilight Light Management System.
Makes a great gifting idea for gun lovers.
A proprietary multi-coated lens system delivers optimal clarity, crisp resolution, depth, and color fidelity at all magnification levels. Assembled in the USA, the rugged and reliable Leupold Gold Ring will lighten your load wherever you go with its carbon fiber construction and scratch resistant lens.
Leupold pioneered waterproofing technology in their optical devices and the Gold Ring spotting scope is an example of extreme water and fog proofing, making it great for backpacking and scouting.
Bushnell Sentry Spotting Scope 12-36x50mm
The Bushnell Sentry Spotting Scope is a very affordable and ultra-compact optic that provides full-range brightness and clarity. With a 12-36x magnification range that makes it ideal for hunting or target shooting and multi-coated lenses to deliver great visual awareness from dawn to dusk.
It is designed for hunting applications where compactness is important. It is not the best option for long range glassing but it stays sharp and reliable up to 200 yards (you may need to make some adjustments beyond that distance to maintain focus). Other than that, the Bushnell Sentry Spotting Scope 12-36x50mm is an overall great quality package for the price.
This is a great budget spotting scope for casual hunters, shooters, or birdwatchers needing to verify shot placements without buying an expensive rifle scope; and it fits perfectly into a hidden gun coffee table.
Best Selling Spotting Scopes on Amazon
- Variable 20x to 60x magnification and dynamic lens focusing system - makes it easy to zoom in. Perfect for archery, bird watching, wildlife watching, hiking, camping, scenery, outdoor sporting, astronomical observation etc.
- Fully multi-coated 80mm green film objective lens provides a field of view at 82.9-48ft/1000yards. The quality BAK4 Porro prism optics increases light transmission and make your view brighter, clearer and delivers crisp images
- Nitrogen filled waterproof and fog-proof design enables the scope to withstand the toughest environments. Durable Framework and Rubber Armor provide non-slip grip, shock-proof grip and durable external lasting protection. The eyepiece shield can be stretched out to protect the eyepiece
- A smartphone digiscoping adapter included enables you to take photos and videos of what you have observed. Bring the nature closer to you and you can explore the distant world easily through the phone screen. A tripod provides you a more stable observation from any angles. A carry case, eyepiece and lens protection covers, cleaning cloth make you more convenient to carry and maintain
- Includes tabletop full metal tripod and tripod mount for steady observations. The carry case, eyepiece and lens protection covers, cleaning cloth make you more convenient to carry and maintain.
- 25-75x zoom;SV28 spotting scope is easy to focus and change magnification;easily set up when looking at birds and scenery;A great spotting scope for beginner to novice
- 70mm large object lens;More powerful light gathering ability;70mm tube allows plenty of light and decent view of the target once set;extendable sunshade built onto the main barrel to reduce glare
- IP65 waterproof;Can avoid sudden environmental changes to damage the SV28 spotting scope;The finish is made of a seamless Non-Slip material so it doesn't feel like it would slip out of your hands if wet
- Includes phone adapter and portable desktop tripod;the desktop tripod is perfect for range spotting;Phone adapter makes it easier to share videos and photos
- Lightweight and portable weight;Very suitable for carrying when going out for observation; can also be easily put into the car for use in family camping
- 1/4 inch -20 tripod mounting shoe/tabletop tripod with window mount
- The redesigned Diamondback HD spotting scope has all the optical horsepower the western hunter needs, and excels in low light. It features a streamlined exterior for a sleeker profile and a built-in helical focus wheel for fast and fine adjustments.
- HD optical system delivers exceptional resolution, cuts chromatic aberration and provides outstanding color fidelity, edge-to-edge sharpness and light transmission. Multiple anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces increase light transmission
- Adjustable eyecups twist up and down for comfortable viewing with or without eyeglasses. The built-in sunshade reduces glare and shields the objective lens from raindrops and snow.
- The scope is tripod adaptable allowing use on a tripod or car window mount. Arca-Swiss compatibility allows it to be mounted to Arca-Swiss tripod heads without using additional plates. Also accepts 1/4-20 threads for use on alternate style tripod heads.
- O-ring sealed and argon purged, the scope delivers waterproof and fogproof performance. Armortek coatings protect the lenses from oil, scratches, and dirt. Rubber armor enhances both durability and grip for the user.
- POWERFUL 20X-60X MAGNIFICATION - Our high-definition spotting scope provides an exceptional experience for any outdoor activity. The wide range (20X-60X) of magnification brings ease to your favorite hobbies. The 45-degree angled eyepiece adds the luxury of comfort to your experience for bird watching, astronomy, etc.
- WIDE VIEW RANGE WITH FOGPROOF DESIGN – Our multicoated 60mm green film objective lens not only ensures a bright and crisp image but also provides a wide field of view (131-66ft/1000yards).
- BAK4 HIGH TRANSMISSION PRIMS – Our spotting scopes are manufactured with the BAK4 prism which has a smoother texture and higher refractive index than the BAK7, creating a brighter crisper image.
- ACCESSORIES INCLUDED - 12” Tripod, cell phone adapter, cleansing cloth, carrying/storage bag, eyepiece and objective lens protective cover. The spotting scope's screw base is a standard ¼-20 tapped hole which is the universal size of most floor length tripods. The cell phone adapter is expandable to fit most phone models.
- ANTI-SKID RUBBER ARMORED STRUCTURE – The high-quality rubber armor structure provides an effective non-slip grip. The main barrel has a large “smooth glide” texture focusing ring in addition to the non-slip comfort molded grip; retractable eyepieces can be used with or without glasses; retractable sun visor built into the main lens barrel to reduce glare.
- ✅【High Magnification】This spotting scope features a powerful zoom magnification range that adjustable 20x to 60x magnification,45 degree angled eyepiece ergonomic design allows more comfortable viewing. Field-of-view is 39-19m/1000m, brings nature closer to you than ever. Perfect for target shooting, hunting, bird watching wildlife, spotting moon, traveling, hiking, camping, archery, astronomy etc
- ✅【Fully Multi-coated Lens】The lens are all fully multi-coated and features BAK4 roof prism to increases light transmission and delivers bright, clear, high-contrast images even in low-light conditions. For long range viewing, a dual focus wheel system enables fast and fine-tuning focus adjustment,allows you to lock onto your target and zoom in for more detail clearly
- ✅【Durable Construction】High-quality rubber armor provides non-slip grip, shock-proof grip and durable external protection. Built-in retractable sunshade reduces glare, come with tripod allows rotation of the eyepiece to a sideways position, providing adjustable viewing angles
- ✅【Waterproof Fogproof 】The waterproof spotting scope provides exceptional performance in the most rugged conditions. the spotter scope optics are sealed with O-rings to prevent moisture, dust, and debris from getting inside the spotting scope, fogproof barrel is filled with nitrogen gas to inhibit internal fogging, completely protection for all weather conditions
- ✅【Emarth VIP Customer Service】 - Emarth offers lifetime VIP customer service for our customers, you are welcome to contact us if any problem with our optics products, our special line service will work hard to put a smile back on your face
- The Viper HD 20-60x85 Angled Spotting Scope is packed with features for incredible glassing and high end optical performance.
- The HD optical system comprised of premium components generates vivid high-definition images. XR anti-reflective coatings on exterior surfaces help obtain brighter views in low-light situations.
- The smooth helical focus helps dial in your image for ultra-sharp viewing and maintains a trim profile for ultimate packability. A built-in sunshade pulls out to help reduce glare.
- A multi-position eyecup provides proper eye relief while a locking collar allows the scope to rotate into different viewing positions.
- O-ring sealed and argon purged, the Viper delivers waterproof and fogproof performance. Armortek coatings protect the lenses from oil, scratches, and dirt. Rubber armor enhances both durability and grip for the user.
- Trophy Xtreme 20-60x65 is built on the same great platform as our previous model but now comes in black rubber armor and it provides a cheaper option for those not needing a tabletop tripod. Best-in-class brightness makes it an easy choice as well as a top-performer
- Fully Multi Coated - Multiple layers of anti-reflective coating on all air-to-glass surfaces deliver bright, high-contrast images.
- Extra power for extra range, this is the ultimate portable, all-weather spotting scope for trophy hunting and birding
- IPX7 waterproof construction with nitrogen purged and o-ring sealed optics protected by 100% waterproof rubber armor makes sure you can see your target in any condition
Spotting scopes can really take your hunting to the next level. And they’re essential if you’re an avid birdwatcher. These devices are supposed to be versatile and rugged optical tools that can be used in any terrain and consistently provide the user with optimal clarity, resolution, and depth. These best spotting scopes will deliver those features and more.
Remember to consider things like eye relief, magnification power, and glass quality when budgeting for one of these best spotting scopes. Some of the models may require a tripod and others can fit in your hand. The more expensive scopes tend to be the best, but there are perfectly capable budget scopes as well.
Surprised to see that the Bushnell Sentry Spotting Scope is such a lower price, it’s a nice spotting scope. I would highly recommend it for beginners because of cost, but otherwise I think it does the job fine. Couldn’t believe how light it was when I tried out my friend’s last year. He had brought it camping just to have on hand, in case we wanted to do some hunting.
We have a Konus and it is very reliable.
Good to know, was planning on getting something by them for my .270