How to Choose a Spotting Scope for Target Shooting?

Undoubtedly, our eyes function miraculously in terms of visualizing, targeting, and concentrating. However, our eyes have a limit, after which we cannot see clearly. As a photographer, surveillance person, or athlete, you must have felt the necessity to see beyond human capability.  Now is when a spotting scope comes into action.

A photographer or any random person can use a binocular as a magnifying object. But if you are an athlete whose primary job is target shooting, then a spotting scope can change the game for you.

Unfortunately, beginners make a mistake in choosing the right scope for their purpose. There are many aspects of a scope that can drastically change the formed image.

Important Factors to Look for

Before buying a scope for your shooting rifle, you should always check for the factors presented below.


A crucial reason to choose a scope instead of a binocular or a telescope is its magnification. This object can provide more magnification at a more considerable distance than binoculars. At the same time, telescopes can score a significant range, but it is not ideal for shooting.

For better target and accurate assumptions, your shooting scope should have a magnification of 20-60x. The variable zooming option will range from 20x to 60x, and you can adjust in-between like a camera.

Standard scopes usually have 20-60x magnification; however, the higher the range, the better view you will get. On the contrary, if the glass and body are of poor quality, then even 60x magnification will not be enough. So, it is wiser to choose an object that is well made and has the standard magnification option.


Knowing the area that you have to cover gives you a better idea about the scope. If you are in nature most of the time, then you cannot possibly tell how much distance you cover at an average. It can be 100 yards or 500 yards before you find a beautiful bird.

However, as a trained shooter, you will know the distance you have to cover. For 100 yards, you will not need an excellent scope. Magnification of 18-36x will be more than enough. 200-400 yards is a bit tricky, and you should have a well-made product with a magnification of 20-60x. Besides that, the optical quality should also be standard.

A lot of factors such as atmosphere, dust, heat waves come into play when we are considering beyond 500 yards. So, you have to use premium quality scopes if you want to score that brilliant of a distance.

Size and Weight

The diameter of the cylinder will determine the size of the scope. It also depends on the size of the lens and the thickness of the material. So, the bigger the width, the larger will be the scope. A bigger diameter certainly helps with sharper image formation.

Weight of the scope does not matter because you will ultimately use a tripod to balance the product. However, if you intend to travel a lot with the item, then a lighter scope will be ideal.

Construction Body and Design

The material used to build a scope is very important. You do not have much scope to take the product apart and clean it. So, to ensure its durability, the material needs to be robust and sturdy.

There are two types of scopes- Straight and Angled. For a shooting scope, using an angled item is more suitable for several reasons. You can share with other viewers easily when you use an angled model. The design adds to eye relief. You also get the option to attach a camera with an angled scope.


A reticle is mostly used in a rifle scope. However, the addition of this feature has been gaining traction among shooting scopes as well. A reticle allows you to estimate the size and distance of your target. So, you get more accuracy for a bulls-eye shot.


One of the essential parts of the scope is probably the lens. An excellent lens should be able to work past dust, heat, and light fog. Objectives lenses are more suitable for scopes. A bigger objective lens will offer better detail and focus.

Although, lens coating also plays an important part here. It allows for better light transmission and helps remove refraction. The lenses have three types of coatings- full coat, multi-coat, and full multi-coat.

Eye Relief

A newly adopted feature in most shooting scopes and rifle scopes is adding an eye relief option. It allows you to visualize from a distance. So, you do not have to place the scope right by your eye.


Extended use of the scope without an eye relief can cause stress on the eyes. To avoid that, you need at least 14 mm of eye relief on your lens. Besides a comfortable view, this feature also allows you to observe the entire field of vision.

If you happen to use spectacles or thick glasses, then you will need more than 14 mm of distance on your lens.


You need a tripod firstly because you have to provide support to the object. There are smaller scopes that you can hold with your hand, but they will be less powerful. So, a tripod is a must.


Secondly, a scope uses high magnification, and without stabilizing the item, the images will be blurry and useless. So, investing in one of the best tripods for spotting scopes will not only enhance the picture but also help you manage your items.

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Any product that involves lenses and reticles need close protection and preservation. If steam or heat enters the scope and creates vapor, then you cannot clean it in any way. It might stain and compromise image quality. So, you always have to be cautious about how you store the product.

There are many spotting scope cases available in the market. Get one that can protect the scope from humidity and moisture. If the container holding the scope has separate compartments, then it will be even better. You can organize other items in the case with ease.


Once you know the important points about a shooting scope, you should be able to decide which model suits your needs. You should be very clear that a regular scope used for photography is not suitable for shooting. So, choose wisely, and we hope with your new scope, you hit a bulls-eye every time!

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