The most common and often asked topic when it comes to buying spotting scopes is what magnification you’ll need for your hunting or target shooting technique.
And, thankfully, the solutions aren’t as black-and-white as you would expect.
We’ll go over the most essential things you should know before purchasing a quality spotting scope to give you a better grasp of one of the most misunderstood aspects of sport optics.
We’ll talk about the truth regarding amplification and other aspects of distance clarity.
We’ll also provide some recommendations for the best spotting scope magnification for hunting to give you a head start before making a purchase.
Let’s get this party started.
How to Choose a Spotting Scope
When you’re combing through the ocean of scopes on the market, knowing all the statistics, acronyms, and optical terminology connected with sports optics will give you a leg up. And, in most cases, the first inquiry is.
On a spotting scope, what do the numbers mean?
Spotting scopes, binocular scopes, and rifle scopes, on the other hand, are distinguished by their magnification ranges and objective lens diameters.
We call this combination of magnification and objective lens size the magnification and objective lens size combo or platform.
20-60 is the magnification/power range
The magnification/power range is shown by the digits to the left of the “X.” Your picture will be magnified 20-60X bigger than what you perceive with the naked eye at the distance you are at, as indicated by the symbol “X.”
80 is the objective lens size
The numbers to the right of the “X” indicate the objective lens size. This measurement is in millimetres (mm)
Additional magnification ranges may be set, which means they won’t increase or decrease the zooming capability of the picture.
So, if the platform of a spotting scope eyepiece is 30X60, the vision will be 30 times larger than what you see without it.
Truth About Magnification
Let’s go through some of the typical magnification misconceptions that may hold you back while you’re out in the field or on the range now that you know how to read and analyse the numbers on a spotting scope.
1. Myth: Bigger is Better
What are the advantages of a power spotting scope for hunting? Isn’t it true that bigger is better?
Yes, that motif is frequently promoted as superior in the usual marketplace, but it isn’t always the truth.
However, although viewing a picture 60 times larger seems appealing, there will be drawbacks when magnification is increased. What exactly are they?
▪︎Decreased field of view – you see less of an area
▪︎Reduced brightness – light is needed to be spread over a larger area of the entire image
▪︎Increased image instability – vibrations will degrade image quality
▪︎Degrading image quality as atmospheric conditions are enhanced
▪︎Few spotting scopes have the optical build required to provide the needed quality for images at high magnifications of 60X and more.
2. Fixed vs. Zoom Eyepieces
Fixed eyepieces do, admittedly, provide superior optical performance than zoom eyepieces.
This is owing to the fact that they provide a wider field of vision, as well as increased clarity and brightness. However, they are widely used for a variety of applications.
Consider this: if you need exceptional picture quality and your hunting involves some kind of photography or digiscoping, the fixed eyepiece is the way to go.
You’ll also need to keep track of the time it takes to change out eyepieces if you want additional power, as well as the time it takes to adjust the scope for focused pictures.
A zoom eyepiece is an excellent hunting and shooting equipment for scanning, locating, and zooming in on details. You’ll save time, weight, and money if you don’t have to purchase, pack, carry, or swap out eyepieces.
3. Quality Optics vs. Mother Nature
How many times have you gone to the range only to discover that you couldn’t see through the scope and that it was effectively useless?
You think it wants to collaborate on certain days and not on others. Yes, it is not the fault of the spotting scope, and it has nothing to do with magnification.
Even the most expensive and high-quality spotting scopes will be rendered worthless if the circumstances aren’t ideal, which is one of the reasons why spotting scopes are more difficult to operate than binoculars.
They are very sensitive to environmental circumstances such as a heat mirage, wind, humidity, and anything else Mother Nature has in store for you.
And when the magnification is increased, the problem becomes worse. To really appreciate a spotting scope’s strength and potential, you must see it in action under perfect circumstances.
What Power Spotting Scope For
This is the bit you’ve all been waiting for: our suggestions for the finest spotting scope for target shooting and hunting at various distances. To get the most out of your spotting scope, we’ll assume ideal atmospheric conditions.
Best Spotting Scope for 25-75 YardsBest Spotting Scope for 25-75 Yards
You don’t have to search far for a spotting scope that will function between 25 and 75 yards.
If you’re searching for a spotting scope to use between 25 and 75 yards, your binoculars or rifle scope will suffice.
You’re either performing some really close-range hunting or sighting in for air guns or rimfire rifles at the range, after all.
However, if you prefer the steadiness of a tripod, your binoculars are almost certainly tripod-adaptable as well, and they’re simpler to look through since you can use both eyes.
If you’re still not persuaded and need a spotting scope at these distances, consider a very low-powered spotter that specialises in clarity and tight focus rather than high magnification and big objectives.
Best Spotting Scope for 200 Yards.
At the range, you’ll need a little more power than you desired for 100 yards. The magnification ranges, on the other hand, will most likely be the same as what’s required at 100 yards; you’ll be utilising the upper end of the power range.
At 100 yards, though, you’ll probably just need to be at 24X to see. 22LRs on white at 100 yards, but to see it at 200 yards, you’ll need to be close to maxed out – particularly if you’re using a low-cost spotting scope.
And being at the extremes of the power spectrum will put the scope’s optical design to the test.
Where the Earth 20-60X60 worked well at 40X for 100 yards, it will appear like a jumble of washed-out hues and blobs at 60X at 200 yards.
If you’re at the range, start thinking about the objectives you’re using to enhance your ability to see bullet groups.
However, if you’re out in the field, you’re probably wondering what kind of power spotting scope you’ll need for elk or even deer hunting.
The majority of elk shots are taken between 75 and 200 yards, depending on where you are hunting and your hunting technique.
Low power for tighter range is the name of the game if you’re still hunting on a ridgeline or from a tree stand.
Best Spotting Scope for 300 Yards.
The optical quality of the spotting scope needs to be improved for a few additional distances. When sighting from 200 to 300 yards, a bit more force and clarity are required.
It has been shown that at a distance of 300 yards or more, a hunter can distinguish between optical quality and the identical optical specifications.
A $100 20-60X60 scope that can provide you with good views at 100 yards is not the same as a $1000 20-60X60 scope.
Because 300 yards is also considered long-range by many hunters, optical performance must be excellent in the field. Fully multi-coated coatings, 60 mm or bigger targets, and excellent focusing characteristics are all required.
Best Spotting Scope for 500 Yards
The best spotting scope for long-range shooting has the best coatings, glass, big objectives, and magnification that is reasonably high.
We’re looking at more money for premium brands with these sorts of specifications.
If you want to see groups on white at the target range, you’ll need not just the finest scope with good glass, but you’ll also need perfect circumstances.
Raise your scope higher to get over mirage, or better yet, go to the range early before mirage knows you’re taking advantage of the cool weather.
Best Spotting Scope for 1000 Yards and Beyond
This kind of extreme long-range shooting necessitates the finest optical performance a spotting scope can provide. It can’t afford to be without any feature that improves clarity, resolution, or contrast
But seeing.30-06,.243, 7mm, and.308 groups at 1000 yards without a camera or a spotter at the target would be a tale in itself.
Only those who are fortunate enough to be in near-perfect and optimal circumstances when they need it most, with the finest glass available, will be able to tell.
To be able to see elk, boulders, animals, and anything else at 1000 yards, much alone 1500 yards, you’ll need every bell and siren available.
I’ve heard of people being able to glass out to a distance of two miles and still have near-perfect clarity. It is possible; you will simply have to pay for it.
As you can see, although magnification is important for spotting scope performance, it’s the glass quality that really distinguishes it as an optical masterpiece.
However, looking for a good deal on a spotting scope is crucial; otherwise, the scope’s distance capabilities would be compromised.
The most affordable scopes will suffice for distances of 25 to 100 yards, but expect to spend more for each additional hundred yards.
The highest magnification spotting scope is the one with the finest glass you can buy.