How to Choose the Best Spotting Scope for Target Shooting (and Our Top 8 Range Spotters)

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Target Range Spotting Scopes

One of the most tedious aspects of range shooting is walking to see your targets after a set of shots - every time!

Please don't do that anymore. You just need a spotting scope.

Save your precious time at the range for more shooting and less time being a gofer. For those long range shots, it becomes even less practical to pound the gravel to your targets.

A spotting scope can save you time, money on targets, and your breath from the trek to and fro. Check out our lineup of spotters that can change the way you experience the range!

8 Top Target Range Spotting Scopes (Comparison)

tt-table__imageLeupold Mark 4 with Mil-Dot Reticle 110825
  • Magnification: 20-60X 80mm
  • Configuration: Straight
  • Price Range: Under $2500
tt-table__imageBurris Signature HD with SCR-Mil or SCR-MOA reticle
  • Magnification: 20-60X 85mm
  • Configuration: Angled
  • Price Range: Under $1500
tt-table__imageMaven S.3A 20-40x67
  • Magnification: 20-40x 67mm
  • Configuration: Angled
  • Price Range: Under $2000
tt-table__imageVortex Viper HD
  • Magnification: 20-60X 85mm
  • Configuration: Angled
  • Price Range: Under $1000
tt-table__imageCelestron Regal M2 65ED
  • Magnification: 16-48X 65mm
  • Configuration: Angled
  • Price Range: Under $500
tt-table__imageVanguard Endeavor HD 82A
  • Magnification: 20-60X 82mm
  • Configuration: Angled
  • Price Range: Under $500
tt-table__imageCarson Everglade HD SS-560
  • Magnification: 15-45X 60mm
  • Configuration: Angled
  • Price Range: Under $200
tt-table__imageHuicocy 20-60X60
  • Magnification: 20-60X 60mm
  • Configuration: Angled
  • Price Range: Under $100

A spotting scope dedicated to only meeting the needs of shooters at a range have a leg up over a hunter's needs. Weight and size aren't a big issue since the scope will be mounted and stationary most of the time in that one location. Consequently, a target shooter can enjoy very high magnification power for intimate details at the range.

However, not all high-power spotters are equal. When a hunter or a shooter unequivocally depends on seeing target performance downrange or the trophy bull several miles away, a spotting scope has a lot to live up to.

This is where cost comes in. Better glass, regardless of magnification range, will always outperform high magnification on bargain-barrel spotters - there's no debate. However, better glass is always so much more expensive. Where's the trade off? Spend more money on a spotter and less money on expensive shoot 'n see targets? Or, spend less money on a spotter and guarantee frustration, blurry image quality, and wasted breath back and forth because you couldn't see?

We will cut you some slack and offer some affordable spotters that can get the job done, but only after you allow us to list the top brands that offer high-end spotting scopes. Those brands include Leica, Leupold, Meopta, Swarovski and Zeiss. Yes, they're expensive, but high-quality and dependable spotters are in a unique class of optics. Expect to pay more for every 100 yards you want to add for distance clarity. So, just how serious are you about being an expert marksman?

The Best Spotting Scopes for Target Shooting in 2024

1. Leupold Mark 4 20-60X80 - Best Overall

Leupold Mark 4 with Mil-Dot Reticle
Image Credit: Leupold

The U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps have depended on the Mark 4 spotter for exacting clarity and usable detail at unbelievable ranges. As a spotter that is perfectly suited for use in a sniper team, it must have something other spotters lack, right? The Mark 4 is available with a Mil Dot and TMR (Tactical Milling Reticle) to really get dead-on when marksmanship is crucial.

As expected for a Leupold, you can be assured it has the latest glass coating technology, is fully weatherproof, and if it's durable enough for the military, it's definitely going to hold up at the range!

2. Burris Signature HD 20-60X85

Burris Signature HD with SCR-Mil or SCR-MOA reticle
Image Credit: Burris

The Signature HD is a brand new spotter from Burris when they re-entered the observational optics scene once again. It's definitely no cut-rate spotter to feel out the buying crowd. Burris went all out and equipped this scope with everything you need to get intentionally-placed bullet strikes at long distances. If they're going to dish it, they're going to do it with style.

With the interchangeable eyepiece system, you can also have a MOA or Mil reticle on a fixed 30x eyepiece. Top the spotter with a FastFire red dot sight, and you have everything you need to hit the 10 ring every time.

3. Maven S.3A 20-40x67

maven s3a spotting scope
Image by Tina Fa'apoi (Own Work) for Target Tamers

The Maven S.3A is the angled spotting scope for the new S.3 line from Maven Optics. I’ve been field testing it for months and am beyond impressed by its optical performance. What’s new about it and that makes it stand far apart from the crowd is its interchangeable eyepiece system.


  • Cost
  • Interchangeable eyepieces
  • Flourite glass
  • Extendable sunshade
  • Eyepiece included


  • Heavy

The S.3 spotting scope is heavy at 60 oz considering it has a 67 mm objective lens, but it’s still around the same weight as some of the most high-end spotters with the interchangeable eyepiece system. Tripod mount it and you’re set. It’s not like you’re hiking with it as it gets set up in a stationary position at the range.

Though almost $2000, it’s still a heck of a lot cheaper than comparable spotters with the same features. Maven is yet to release some higher-powered eyepieces for it, but at least this purchase comes with an included eyepiece! It’s a 20-40x eyepiece with 5 groups and 7 elements in its ocular assembly.

The glass is also made with fluorite crystals. The results are fantastic and is why I could max out to 40x magnification and expect tack-sharp resolution every single time. Its off-axis performance was extremely impressive and there was practically no chromatic aberration at all.

Though it doesn’t feature a reticle, I could clearly see .22LR holes on paper at 100 yards. Taking it further with shoot ‘n see targets will be a game changer.

4. Vortex Viper HD 20-60X85

Vortex Viper HD
Image Credit: Vortex Optics

Another brand new spotting scope to the 2018 market! The Viper also made it on our Best Long Range Spotting Scope lineup. With a complete transformation, it's definitely appropriate to hit the range with.

The new Helical focus ring with both course and fine adjustments in one control makes it a more than appropriate feature at the range. Get course adjustments for focusing the target range and then fine focus it to get viper-sharp clarity to see your groupings.

Under $1000, the quality is all there from the glass coatings to the construction. Vortex is definitely a brand where their spotters are moving ever so close to being in the exclusive club of the best of the best spotting scopes.

5. Celestron Regal M2 65ED

Celestron Regal M2 65ED
Image Credit: Celestron

The M2 65ED model of the Regal spotters the most versatile one of the series. For use at the range, you know you already have those 50-200 yard distances under your belt. To up the optical quality by a lot, this Regal has both XLT coatings and ED glass.

Equipped with both dual focus and interchangeable eyepiece systems, you're getting the potential to experience high-end features for the lowest costs possible.

Want a little more distance reach at the range? Change out the eyepiece for a higher power one and you're good to go. Why spend more if you don't have to?

6. Vanguard Endeavor HD 82A

Vanguard Endeavor HD 82A
Image Credit: Vanguard World

When it comes to shopping for a cheaper spotter, expect to lose out on distance clarity. While the 20-60x specs might sound ideal, you'll be compromising on glass quality.

However, it's an affordable spotting scope with a few premium perks that might give it an edge in your shooting spree. With ED glass, dual focus, and phase-correction coatings, the optics are your side when it comes to seeing what it looks like down range.

For standard target shooting ranges to spot groupings at 100-200 yards, the Endeavor is up to the job. It even has the interchangeable eyepiece system so if you want more range, you have the option of switching out the eyepiece.

7. Carson Everglade 15-45X60 - Best Budget Option

Carson Everglade HD SS-560
Image Credit: Carson

For the price, many of you might skip over the Everglade and you'd be doing yourself a disservice. This spotter has a lot to offer if you're on a strict budget even though it may not be anything fancy.

Its strengths lie in its lightweight and indestructible design - we're not kidding when we say this spotter can take a beating! While the power range may be on the low end, you'll be able to identify groupings up to 200 yards. The included table top tripod is one worth keeping.

Even better, this spotter can be used anywhere and everywhere. Pack it up for a day hike, haul it in the hunt, or set it up at the range!

8. Huicocy 20-60X60

HUICOCY Spotting Scopes, 39-19m/1000m Spotting Scopes with Tripod, FMC Lens,...
  • POWERFUL 20X-60X MAGNIFICATION - Our high-definition spotting scope provides an exceptional experience for any outdoor activity. The wide range (20X-60X) of magnification...
  • 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...

Need a budget spotter just to get sighted-in?  Don't want to spend much on a scope that you're casually using around the house or ranch?  A generic, cheap spotting scope is sometimes the best option when your budget is tight but you can't afford to go without the optic.  The Huicocy spotting scope is just that.


  • Price
  • High magnification
  • Lightweight
  • Accessories included
  • Lifetime warranty/money back guarantee


  • Generic Chinese brand

Right off the bat, don't set yourself up for disappointment if you're expecting the kind of scope $500 can buy you, especially from a well-known optics brand - it's just not realistic.  However, as a simple, easy-to-use, short-range spotter, it'll get the job done.  But, with 20-60x magnification, why did we just say it's a short-range spotter?

Nearly always, it's not the amount of magnification that allows the user to resolve details at faraway distances, it's about glass quality.  As a generic scope, you can realistically get 100 yards and maybe push it to 200 yards for sighting-in at the range.  Anything further than that to resolve bullet holes may prove to be futile.

It's about 21 ounces in weight which is pretty fantastic for a scope of this size.  It also comes with a bunch of freebies that includes a digiscope adapter, table top tripod, and carry bag.  With an angled design, it can cater to birdwatchers for easier, aerial viewing.

So, the Huicocy scope turns out to be a decent, multi-purpose scope.  Restricting its use to just the shooting range would be a waste.

How to Choose a Spotting Scope For Target Shooting

There are many variables in play that can affect your visibility down range through a spotter: types of targets being used, atmospheric conditions, and the distances you want to see tiny bullet strikes. While many factors can fall within your control, conditions like snow, mirage, and wind bow to no-one.

Always try to ensure a successful range session by appropriately preparing your equipment such as types of targets and high-quality tripods. You might want to plan your trip to the range when wind and mirage aren't at their most active.

You should also look for specific features that may help with your target shooting needs. Would you benefit from a spotter with a reticle, the interchangeable eyepiece system, or extra lens coatings? Let's get you started with a few things to think about.

  • Design: Straight may be the default design for range use, however, angled will provide more versatility for other activities.
  • Glass Quality: High-end glass will always outperform low-end glass with higher power ranges. This is the most important feature that determines optical performance at long ranges.
  • Len Coating Quality: Prism-correction and external lens coatings help to enhance light transmission and protect the glass.
  • Magnification: 20-60x and higher is ideal for long range target shooting. However, going down in magnification to a range of 15-45x and improving glass quality can provide better optical performance than a poorly-made 20-60x spotter,and it will be good for intermediate ranges.
  • Eyepieces: Going premium might mean you have to pay extra just for the eyepiece. However, interchangeable eyepieces provide the option to change power range for versatility in various activities.
  • Reticles: Reticles in spotters are nothing new, but they're beginning to set a popular trend. Ensure the reticle system matches the one in your rifle scope. Look for additional features such as illuminated or the ability to turn the reticle on/off.
  • Size/Weight: Stationary use at the range weight won't be too much of a concern. However, if you're using the same spotter for multiple applications like hunting and backpacking, you'll have to consider weight and size dimensions for more versatility.
  • Quality tripod: A high-end spotting scope can't provide maximum performance without a solid and quality tripod system.
  • Warranty coverage: Protect your spotting scope with a warranty that's fitting for the scope or better. Get familiar with what to expect warranty-wise before purchasing a scope.

Rewards Fit The Risks!

It's really hard for many buyers to shell out thousands of dollars on a high-end spotting scope. What it comes down to is if you want to be able to see past distances of 300 yards, how serious you are about precise and tight groupings, and if you want the spotter to be in perfect unison with the shooter.

These scenarios legitimately call for a quality spotting scope, and the more serious you are about your shooting, the more you'll come to terms with the costs. If the scope is for the occasional trip to the range within 300 yards, go easy on yourself and your budget and take a cue from our lineup. Again we ask, just how serious are you about being an expert marksman?

Further Reading

Photo of author

Simon Cuthbert - Founder

Simon is an avid outdoor enthusiast and the founder of Target Tamers. He is passionate about bringing you the most up to date, accurate & understandable information on sports optics of all kinds and for all applications. Simon has contributed to notable publications online and teaches beginners the technical side of optics through his extensive library of optics guides.

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