The 4 Best Spotting Scopes To Improve Your Next Hunt

Everybody seems to have an opinion on the best red dot or traditional optic, but you rarely hear anyone mention spotting scopes. Spotting scopes are quickly gaining popularity in both the hunting and long range competitive shooting communities. When regular binoculars won’t work a spotting scope can quickly mean the difference between a trophy hunt and going home with your tail between your legs.



What’s The Best Spotting Scope?

Due to the varying income levels people have I’m going to try to include a few options at different price levels. All of my readers have different income levels so what’s best for me might not be what’s best for everybody.

1. Vortex Optics Razor Hd 27-60 x 85 Angled Spotting Scope

The Vortex Optics Razor Hd Spotting scope is easily the most expensive spotting scope I’ve ever used in the field. Luckily a friend of mine won a fully stocked gun safe at a gun raffle that we both attend. The overall price of the gun safe and contents was 25k dollars. It was filled with 3-4 thousand dollar guns, but the only thing the raffles sponsors were talking about was this spotting scope. Nobody could believe the quality of this vortex scope. If it wasn’t for my firsthand experience with this scope I don’t think I could ever recommend something this expensive.

The Vortex Optics Razor HD spotting scope is easily the nicest spotting scope I’ve ever used. Vortex easily competes with even the most expensive optics that cost $1000 more and blows away the competition at this price point. This scope is available in both the angled and Straight spotting scope design. It performs way above it’s price range and has amazing clarity. This is comparable to some of the most expensive swarovskis on the market. Until you compare this scope side by side to a 700-1000 dollar scope you won’t know what your missing. Offering a 27-60x magnification you could probably spot a quarter from 1000 yards away. This is an extremely durable unit and Vortex offers a lifetime replacement warranty if you somehow manage to destroy. Though it’s probably out of your price range it is easily one of the clearest spotting scopes on the market.


2. Vortex Optics Razor HD 11-33×50 Angled Spotting Scope

The Vortex Optics Razor HD 11-33×50 Spotting scope is another excellent product in their lineup. This Vortex spotting scope is offered in both a angled and straight design. You might have noticed that I really like Vortex Optics. Vortex offers outdoorsmen an amazing amount of quality at a reasonable price. It’s hard to find a comparable optic at this price point.

If you’re looking for a mini spotting scope the Razor HD is well worth a look. The optical clarity on this scope is amazing, on par with every other similarly priced scope. Even at 33x magnification(which is farther than most people will ever need) you get a crystal clear picture. The only real difference between this sight and Vortex more expensive models is the magnification level. I’ve never actually dropped one of these but they look like they can take a beating. I have one of these Vortex spotting scopes setup on my back porch and use it almost everyday. I’ve never been disappointed with mine and I highly doubt you’ll be disappointed with yours.


3. Bushnell Trophy Xtreme Spotting Scope 16-48 x 50mm

Honestly most people don’t have a need for the worlds most expensive spotting scope. It might get used a couple times a year during hunting season, or be used to occasionally look at trees in the backyard. If this sounds like you than the Bushnell Trophy Xtreme is the perfect fit for you. It is available in both 16-48x50mm and 20-60x65mm. Either one of these spotting scopes will fulfill most peoples needs.

This Bushnell Spotting Scope comes with everything that you need. The package in includes the spotting scope, window mount, tripod, soft case and hard case. If you are looking for a straight spotting scope this will be hard to pass up for the price. This is a very well made solid scope that seems like it will last forever. If it doesn’t last forever there is a lifetime warranty that should cover any damage. The only real downside to this spotting scope is the lens cover. It seems a little bit cheap, which it probably is. This Bushnell Trophy Xtreme Spotting scope is an extremely nice scope for the price.


4. Bushnell Sentry 12-36x50mm Ultra Compact Spotting Scope

Most people would agree that hauling a full sized scope through the woods can start to get tiresome. There’s a time and a place for a full size spotting scope, but miles into the woods it’s nice to have an ultra compact. The Bushnell Ultra Compact Spotting Scope is perfect for times when you need to keep things light. You get an extremely nice spotting scope in a very small package.

It’s hard to picture that a scope this small and cheap can work well. Actually it exceeds most users expectations and has a surprisingly strong magnification level. It can be adjusted from 12-36x magnification so you can easily spot game farther than you can probably shoot. The image isn’t as clear as some of the more expensive models but it’s very good for the price. The unit comes with the scope, tripod, soft case and a hard case. The only real use for the hard case will be to protect the scope while traveling. The only real downside to this spotting scope is the eye relief. You need to put your eye directly up to the optic to see anything. This is perfect for the budget minded hunter that needs a small spotting scope to fit in their pack.

Choosing The Best Spotting Scope For Hunting

Finding the top spotting scope can get very difficult. The price and features of spotting scopes vary almost as much as traditional optics. Every hunter or target shooter will eventually find a time when their traditional binoculars are simply not powerful enough. This is the time that a spotting scope really comes in handy. A spotting scope works much like a very compact telescope. Like with normal telescopes spotting scopes can cost anywhere from 25 dollars to 3000 dollars. Most hunters will be happy somewhere near the bottom third of this price range.

The two biggest differences you will immediately see is in their basic design. Some spotting scopes use an angled design while others use a straight edge design. Both of these designs have there positives and negatives.

  • Angled Spotting Scope- The main advantage of an angled spotting scope is that they are easier for groups to use. The raised eye point means that you can use a shorter tripod which makes it lighter to carry. These spotting scopes are better for spotting animals in treetops.
  • Straight Spotting Scope- Straight spotting scopes are much easier for beginner to use. Simply aim at the target and adjust the magnification. They are better for viewing animals on the ground and are easier on your neck.

Which Spotting Scope is Best For You?

There’s a huge difference in price between all of these spotting scopes. It would be ignorant for me to recommend that everyone purchase the Vortex Razor Hd spotting scope. The Vortex Razor HD is easily one of the best options on the market but if nobody can afford it what’s the point. Most people will do perfectly fine with the Vortex Razor Hd11-33×50 spotting scope or the Bushnell Trophy Xtreme spotting scope. Both of these are fine scopes that should give you a lifetime of use. If you plan on doing a lot of hiking you might want the Bushnell Compact Spotting Scope.

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