Best Spotting Scope for Hunting2018-12-06T12:47:35+00:00

Last Update: January 2017   Our list of the Best Spotting Scopes for Hunting broke into price ranges from under $200 to over $2000.  Scroll down the page to find the hunting spotting scope that fits your budget best.  Please go through the links on this page before buying any products we recommend so you get the best price possible and we get credit for sending you.  Thank You!

#1 Rated Best Spotting Scope for Hunting:

Best Spotting Scope for HuntingSwarovski 65mm 20 x 60 Power Spotting Scope: Swarovski makes some of the best hunting optics money can buy.  If you can afford to drop a couple thousand dollars plus on the best spotting scope for hunting, then the following spotting scopes need serious consideration. After comparing this scope with others of higher value and larger size, the image is just as clear, if not better, plus its the perfect size with the right magnification of 20-60 power. We like to stay mobile, so size and weight is a big consideration.  You get to choose between 60mm or  80mm.  The 80mm is obviously bigger in all aspects (including price), but will provide better low light performance.  For use near the vehicle or from a stationary location, the 80mm might be worth the extra size and cost. For those who stay mobile and hunt on foot will likely prefer the 60mm.

This scope is described more in its respective price range further down the page.  You may scroll down or follow the links below.

For more info, customer reviews, or to buy, Click Here:

Swarovski 20-60x65mm Spotting Scope @               Price: $2,268
Swarovski 20-60x
80mm Spotting Scope @                Price: $2,948 +

Be sure to check all sites as prices change often.


***Can’t Afford the Best of the Best*** Of course, most hunters cannot justify a spotting scope of Swarovski caliber.  That’s okay; there are many options available in different price ranges from $100 – $4,000.  We at Artifact Outfitters have narrowed down the best hunting spotting scopes in each price range.  Scroll down to find a spotting scope that fits your budget.

What a hunter needs to know about Spotting Scopes

Spotting Scopes have become an invaluable tool for hunting and shooting.  While hunting, a spotting scope can be used to find game and or to determine the size once the game is found.  Spotting scopes are especially useful when hunting open areas.  The best Spotting scope for hunting is going to depend on your budget.  Like all hunting equipment, you get what you pay for.  That’s why it is important to go with the best spotting scope that you can afford, as there is quite a difference between the top and bottom models. One thing to remember is that the difference between cheap and mid-priced is huge, while the difference between the mid-priced models and the very expensive is not quite as great – it follows the law of diminishing returns.  Still, there is definitely a difference, and you get what you pay for.  So just make sure you go with the best you can afford and you will not regret your purchase.

Angled Body vs. Straight Body Spotting Scopes

On most spotting scopes that are not considered “cheap” you will have the option of an angled or straight body.  This is a very important option to consider as both have their pros and cons.

Angled spotting scope

Angled Body Spotting Scope

  • Angled Body: Best for situations when standing as it requires less height of a tripod and will be best for multiple users of different size as it requires less height adjustment.  Harder for beginners to find game due to the angle.  While good for standing in the field, it is harder to pack.  Does not work well at all for viewing in a car with a window mount.
Straight body spotting scope

Straight Body

Straight Body:Easier to find intended object.  Easy use with window mount and sitting in a car.  Better for packing.  Slightly less expensive then angled.  Taller tripod needed and more adjustment required for multiple users of different height.

  • Authors Preference: Straight is the only way to go for my style of hunting and wildlife viewing.  I spend a lot of time throughout the year viewing wildlife (scouting, hunting, and watching) from a vehicle with my spotting scope on a window mount.  I also cram my spotter into my back pack a lot when hunting on foot.  I do not go anywhere without it so I need all the space and pack-ability possible.
  • Objective size:

    Spotting scope magnification consists of two measurements.  It will usually look something like this: 20-60x80mm.  This means the magnification has a 20 – 60 power zoom and an 80mm objective.  The zoom is what pulls the object closer (60x=tighter) or further (20x=wider). The objective measurement is the size of the objective lens – the big end opposite the eyepiece side.  It determines how much light a scope is able to gather.  A bigger objective allows more light for better glassing in low light conditions but also results in a larger, heavier scope.  Most scope manufactures make a 60mm and 80mm objective of each model.  The choice is yours to make and will mostly be based on how much you will be packing it around.  We do a lot of hiking while hunting, so we prefer a spotter with a 60mm objective lens. If the spotter will not be going far from the vehicle or is stationary, then an 80mm objective might be ideal.

    Best Spotting Scope for Hunting: Under $200 – Under $300

    Best spotting scope for hunting $200

    The Bushnell Trophy 15-45 x 50mm is a quality spotting scope for a person that is on a tight budget. As long as you do not look through a high dollar scope, you will not know what you are missing.

    Bushnell Trophy 15-45 x50mm  or 20-60x65mm  Spotting Scope:  I’ve been a proud owner since back in ’95.  It was, as far as I knew at the time, the top of the line and the best combination of size and quality.  Well, times have changed over the past 20 years and there are 100 times more models to choose from. Yet, still to this day, if you are looking to buy an inexpensive spotting scope around $200, you will likely be considering the Trophy.

    With the Bushnell Trophy you get a very inexpensive spotting scope that you can take in the car or backpack.  Its light, small, and well made. With a spotting scope of this caliber, you are definitely getting what you pay for, so obviously don’t expect the best image quality, but for about $200 this is a great value, and if you never look through a high dollar spotter, you’ll never know what you’re missing.

    Bushnell Trophy Spotting Scopes are waterproof and feature a rubber armor coating to protect it from the riggers of the outdoors.  With premium multi-coated optics and a porro prism design, you can bet you are getting one of the clearest spotting scopes for hunting in its class.  The Trophy includes a hard and soft case, as well as a tripod. Don’t expect much out of this cheap tripod.  To get a better one, check out our page on the Best Tripod for Hunting.

    For more info, reviews or to buy, Click Here:

    Bushnell Trophy Spotting Scope @              –     Price: $201
    Bushnell Trophy Spotting Scope@       –     Price: click to check


    Best Spotting Scope for Hunting under $400


    spotting scope hunting

    Vortex Diamondback Straight Spotting Scope

    Vortex Diamondback 20-60 x 60mm:  For a value priced spotting scope, it performs ideally for hunting – the perfect size, shape, and colors.  The feel and the clarity of the optics could lead a person on thinking its an expensive unit, but the price tag says otherwise.  Vortex has done very well in the optics market by producing fantastic products at a price the average hunter can afford.  They brought high grade optics to the people who could not otherwise afford them (thank you China), and they build on that with a customer for life.


    Hunting spotting scope

    Vortex Diamondback Angled Spotting Scope

    The warranty that Vortex offers is worthy of its own paragraph.  The Diamondback has the same warranty as all Vortex products: Unlimited, Unconditional, Transferable.  That is right!  If you have any problem regardless of who’s at fault, Vortex will take care of you; that’s offering a lot for a scope that’s less than $400.


    If you are on a tight budget, but still want many of the perks of a higher end spotting scope for hunting, the Diamondback is the scope you will most likely be happy with.  You, nor anybody else will be able to believe what you spent on it.  At about a foot long and 36 oz, it is the perfect size to stuff in you pack.  It comes with a see through case to keep it protected.

    For more information or to buy, Click Here:

    Vortex Nomad 20-60 x 60 & 80mm  Straight  @                               – Price: $379
    Vortex Nomad 20-60 x 60 & 80mm  Angled    @                               – Price: $393

    Vortex Nomad 20-60 x 60 & 80mm  Angled & Straight @     – Price: $400 

    Check both sites as prices change often.


    Best Spotting Scope for Hunting Under $500

    best for hunting spotting scope nikon

    Nikon Prostaff 5 comes in a straight or angled body, and 16-48X60mm or 20-60X82mm size. A great spotting scope in the value priced range.

    Nikon Prostaff Spotting Scopes – Nikon is a brand that has always been known to offer fine quality at great prices.  The Prostaff series has got value written all over it.  You will have a hard time beating the combination of price and value that you get out of the Prostaff, plus it is the perfect size for hunting on foot.  At under 2 lb its half the weight of many of the more expensive options and at under 1 foot long it can be easily placed in or on a backpack.  There are two different models, the 16-48x65mm and 20-60x82mm, each available in angled or straight body.  The 65mm model is suited more for a backpack than the 82mm, but it is hard to beat the light gathering ability of an 82mm objective and the zooming power of a 20×60.  The 16 power of the 60mm can come in handy as well when trying to find and stay on a moving object or scanning looking for game.  The design and image quality are hard to beat by anything close in the price range, plus made by a trusted manufacture that nearly all hunters can identify as to stand behind their products with a great warranty (25 year, no-fault, limited). I have used it before – they replaced a Prostaff Spotter I used and abused because the eyepiece got damaged. The replacement has held up very well.

    There is quite a price range between the different models that all come with a view through case, or you may choose to buy the spotting scope in a package with a case and tripod.  The tripod is of marginal quality (at least the one that came with mine was), but it is definitely better than none.  You will want to upgrade it eventually, but it will get the job done if you don’t buy a new one right away; you wont find a better one for under $30.  Spotting Scope Tripods here.

    For more info, reviews or to buy, Click Here:

    Nikon Prostaff 16-48x60mm Angled & Straight @            Price: $445 – $480
    Nikon Prostaff 20-60x82mm Angled & Straight @           Price: $450 – $596
    Nikon Prostaff 16-48x65mm Angled & Straight @    Price: $500 – $600

    *** Check all sites as prices change often ***

    Best Spotting Scope for Hunting: Under $1000

    Spotting scope under $1000 hunting

    Welcome to high end spotting scopes. The luxury is noticeable!

    Vortex Razor HD 16-48X65mm  & 20-60X85mm: The Razor HD utilizes several glass features many high tech systems and procedures such as a triplet apochromatic lens system to eliminate chromatic aberration. The result is sharpness clear to the edges.  The body itself is made of magnesium alloy (lightweight and strong) and is sealed so its water, dust, and fog proof. Throw in the Vortex VIP warranty and you have a spotting scope that will last for decades of hunting. One favorite aspect of the Razor is a dual focus adjustment.  This allows for macro adjustments to focus on objects quickly, then allows for micro adjustments for fine tuning.

    It is important to know that once you get in to the $1,000 range, you’re entering the high end of spotting scopes. Of course spotting scopes can cost 4 time that amount, and quality continues to go up, but high end hunting spotting scopes tend to be bigger and heavier than the inexpensive and value priced models.  For instance, the Vortex Razor HD weighs in at 48 oz, which is on par for this price range and higher.  If your needs will mostly be for hunting on foot, then you might want to consider saving some money and weight and consider the Nikon Prostaff above at about 26 oz. The reason for the extra size is the premium components – they are heavy but also result in a tough unit that feels tight and smooth.

    One great thing that these high end spotters provide is comfort.  For a hunter who may find himself glassing all day, the Razor HD will not stress the eye like inexpensive models will. When compared to lesser scopes, the Razor is effortless to look through; put your eye up to it and you instantly have a full, crisp visual.

    For more info, reviews or to buy, Click Here:

    Vortex Razor HD 16-48x65mm  @                Price $1000
    Vortex Razor HD 20-60x85mm  @               Price $1189
    Vortex Razor HD All Models @              Price $1000

    *** Check all sites as prices change often ***


    Best Spotting Scope for Hunting under $1500, under $2000

    Hunting Spotting Scope under $1500 $2000

    The Vortex Razor is equally equipped for hunting as spotting scopes that cost twice the amount.

    Vortex Razor HD 16-48X65mm  & 20-60X85mm: Yes, this is the same spotting scope suggested in the $1000 range.  If your budget is over $1000, then we suggest either saving money for the Swarovski Spotting Scope (listed below) or spending less on the spotting scope and using the rest to invest in a high quality tripod.  Its our opinion that the spotting scopes which fall into the $1000-$2000 range don’t have much more to offer than the Vortex Razor HD, and none in the upper limit compare to the Swarovski in size, magnification and overall performance when it comes to hunting.

    For more info, reviews or to buy, Click Here:

    Vortex Razor HD 16-48x65mm  @                Price $1000
    Vortex Razor HD 20-60x85mm  @               Price $1189
    Vortex Razor HD All Models @              Price $1000

    *** Check all sites as prices change often ***



    Best Spotting Scope for Hunting over $2000

    Swarovski 65mm 20 x 60 Power Spotting Scope: This scope gets the Artifact Outfitter’s “Best Spotting Scope for Hunting” Award!  It has many of the features a hardcore hunter is looking for.  Its light weight at just over 3 lbs and compact at just over a foot long, so fits in a backpack, works well out your window, and looks extremely good sitting on your deck.

    Best spotting scope for hunting

    The Swarovski 20-60 X 65mm Spotting Scope wins the overall “Best Spotting Scope for Hunting” award due to its perfect size, shape, and viewing image. This is the best spotting scope a hard core hunter can buy.

    What’s on the inside is what really counts.  I have been impressed by all of Swarovski optics I have put my eyes up to, but their spotting scopes are where their true talents come out.

    Best Spotting Scope for Hunting

    The whole line up of Swarovski scopes showing the size difference between the 65mm and 80mm objectives.

    They use the best of all components and the most high tech processes to deliver the best clarity and light gathering abilities that you can buy in a spotting scope.  I could go on and on about all the components that are put into the Swarovski spotting scopes like Swaroclean, Bak-4 Prisms, Fully Multi-coated lenses, and many more,  but I’ll let you get that information at the link below.  All I need to tell you is that this is the best spotting scope for the hard core hunter who’s addiction is year round and all over the place.  The Swarovski 65mm 20 x 60 Power Spotting Scope does it all very well.

    When purchasing the Swarovski Spotting Scope you have a few decisions to make:

    • Body design: either straight or angled.
    • Optics: The Fluoride-containing HD lenses minimize color fringing and deliver high contrast images with razor-sharp outlines.  This is ideal for digital photography through the spotting scope.
    • Objective Lens: This depends on your style of hunting.  The “Best Spotting Scope for Hunting” Award goes to the 65mm, but if your style of hunting will allow a bigger scope, then the 80mm objective might be better for you as its clearer and gathers more light for those low light conditions.  The 80mm is also a bit more expensive, bigger and heavier, so keep this in mind.  I prefer the 65mm right now, but if I ever have a deck with a view of wildlife, I will surely have an 82mm objective Swarovski  sitting near the door.

    For more info, customer reviews, or to buy, Click Here:

    Swarovski 20-60x65mm Spotting Scope @               Price: $2,268
    Swarovski 20-60x
    80mm Spotting Scope @                Price: $2,948 +Swarovski 20-60x65mm Spotting Scope @       Price: $1,779 +

    *** Be sure to check all sites as prices change often ***


    Are you interested in taking pictures and images through your spotting scope.  With a camera adapter you can connect your camera to your spotting scope and get surprisingly good photos and videos. Its called Digiscoping and we do it all the time.  It is nice to go scouting and take video of the animals we see, then be able to watch them at home.  Then when the hunt is all over we have video of the game when it was alive.

    So far the best and least expensive spotting scope -camera adapter I have found to work well with most spotting scopes and cameras is the Zhumell Universal Digiscoping Adapter.  It is sturdy, easy and efficient to use, and is very inexpensive at under $30.00.

    For more information or to buy, click here: Zhumell Universal Digiscoping Adapter

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