Choosing a Spotting Scope for Target Shooting

Choosing a Spotting Scope for Target Shooting

In general, a spotting scope can be usually used to score targets at different distances. However, choosing a right spotting scope for target shooting is always a problem, especially for new hunters.

In fact, a lot of shooters or hunters are not sure of what is required when it comes to magnification, objective size and particularly, optical quality in order to shoot at a certain distance.

Before we get into details, you should know that there are several observing conditions to take into consideration. They are air turbulence, dust, humidity, heat mirage, haze and other atmosphere conditions. They all affect the image quality of a spotting scope when you use it.

Furthermore, remember that these conditions can completely change by hour.

Why you have to choose the right spotting scope

Therefore, it is no doubt that no matter which product you choose, you always have to consider many observing conditions like I have just mentioned above.

Specifically, a very expensive or high- quality spotting scope for targeting shooting can be even considered useless under some severe conditions of mirage and heat waves and adding more distance of magnification can only make things worse.

Trust me!

Because I have already experienced this feeling, to be honest, it is such a waste of money.

Spotting Scope for Target Shooting Buying Guide

In short, before you pass judgment on any product, it is very important for you to make test under different conditions. This can help you make sure that the spotting scope can work at its best.

But as far as I’ve known, a lot of shooters blame their scopes for the poor performance when actually. The atmosphere is the exact culprit.

However, just assume that all the conditions are favorable. So, it will be much easier when we move into features as well as quality issues.

Basic Features

Let’s talk about features. It is the fact that most shooters expect an eyepiece with a lot of eye relief. This is because those shooters are usually not in a position to get their eyes close to the eyepiece while shooting.

Most shooters expect an eyepiece with a lot of eye relief

Image source: 365Astronomy

In details, 15mm is a minimum. But almost every shooter is obviously comfortable with a bit more than that. For the same reason, a lot of shooters also want angled bodied spotting scopes, Yet, rotating tripod collars that can allow the scope body. Thus, the eyepiece to be rotated to different positions.

If you need to increase your shooting distance and try to upgrade your rifle, a good spotting scope can be the best choice for you.

To help you get the most out your time in the wild or on the range with your new steel shooting targets, here are some common tips for choosing the most suitable spotting scope.

Consider Shooting Distance

One of the most important factors you should consider when choosing a new spotting scope is the distance you usually shoot from.

Overall, when it comes to more than 100 yards, it will be more complicated. So, you will have to be more selective and take optical quality into serious consideration.

Here are more specific options for you when choosing the right shooting distance which can meet your demand.

Up to 100 Yards

If you are choosing an Out to 100 yard spotting scope, you may not need a product with a large objective, premium grate optics or a lot of magnification to get your job done.

Actually, 18-36x or some sort of that can be plenty of magnification for you to see small things like bullet holes  at 100 yards. Furthermore, even a good 50mm objective can totally have enough resolution so that you can see 22 bullet holes.

Choosing an Out to 100 yard spotting scope, you may not need a product with a large objective

Image source: ThruMyLens

However, a 60 mm objective will offer you more margins for error and it is still affordable as well as portable. In case you are scoring targets for rim fire or air rifle competition, just be sure to check minimum focus.

Also, don’t forget to close focus under a scope’s specs. Not every target shooting scope will focus as close as 10 m( 33 feet).

From 100 to 200 Yards

As I said, over 100 yards, you need to be more selective. And here is the reason why the optical quality starts to become a problem for you.

In fact, as distance increases, shooters need more magnification so as to see target more clearly. Nonetheless, what a lot of you don’t realize is that when magnification goes up in a scope, the optical demands on the optical system will also increase quickly.

300 Yards

Let’s move onto 300 yards, it is much more demanding than the extra yards indicates.

Optical quality becomes the only determining factor at this range. Just forget cheap scores with large objective lenses.

For this shooting distance, we highly recommend for you to choose a large 89 mm objectives to handle the magnification needed more properly.

400 Yards

This distance puts severe demands on the optical system and obviously. You should choose the premium grade scopes so that you can finish the job easily. At this distance, you will also have to battle various observing conditions.

Specifically, you may see the bull for a couple of seconds and then lost it for an ever changing battle with observing conditions. It is likely that you may see a bull for a few seconds.

And immediately you lose it a few seconds later once the atmosphere shifts gears. After all, you have to look through a lot of more air, which is quite uncomfortable to shoot the target.

500 Yards and Beyond

500 yards and beyond is the exclusive province of those last distances. You can use premium spotting scopes at this distances more to judge air currents as well as atmospheric quality  when compared to scoring.

But, remember that…

…at this extreme distance, even a premium spotting scope heeds help for scoring, commonly in the form of a tagger or spotter at the target.

Consider Shooting Position

Besides, how you shoot can also play a very important role in the way you choose a spotting scope.

If you frequently move back and forth from a prone to sitting position, just consider an angle bodied spotting scope. It is associated with a rotating tripod collar. Therefore, you can rotate the eyepiece to different position more easily and quickly.

Consider Shooting Conditions

Last but not least, it is also necessary for you to take into consideration the environment in which you shoot.

Consider Shooting Conditions

Image source: Dinosaur Cowboys

Heat mirage, air turbulence, dust, humidity, or other atmosphere environmental conditions can completely influence the image quality when you use a spotting scope.

Thus, you need to pay more attention to the shooting conditions you encounter most frequently. Then the final step is to choose a scope that suits those conditions.