Choosing the Right Spotting Scope for Archery

Header for Spotting Scope


For archery enthusiasts, precision is key. Whether you’re a competitive archer or a bowhunter, having the right equipment can make all the difference in hitting your mark. One indispensable tool in your arsenal is a spotting scope. In this blog, we’ll delve into the importance of choosing the right spotting scope for archery, discussing key features and considerations to help you make an informed decision.

The Role of a Spotting Scope in Archery

Before we dive into selecting the ideal spotting scope, let’s understand its role in archery. A spotting scope is essentially a high-powered telescope that provides clear, magnified views of distant targets. In archery, it serves several crucial functions:

1. Target Identification – Spotting scopes help archers identify their target accurately, especially in long-distance shooting scenarios like target archery or 3D archery. This is vital for scoring point.

2. Shot Placement – Precise shot placement is essential for consistent accuracy. A spotting scope allows archers to closely examine where their arrows hit the target, helping them make necessary adjustments to improve accuracy.

Spotting scope in the field
Using the Spotting Scope on the field
Photo: Jordan Sequillion

3. Scouting and Observation – In bowhunting, spotting scopes can be used for scouting and observing games from a distance without spooking them. This helps hunters plan their approach and make informed decisions.

What type of Spotting Scope is suitable for Archery?

When it comes to choosing a spotting scope for archery, there’s a lot to consider. One key decision is whether to go with a straight scope or an angled one. While both have their merits, let’s dive into why many archers prefer straight scopes. 

1. Intuitive Targeting – Imagine you’re on the field and your arrow hits the target at a distance. With a straight scope, it’s a breeze. It’s incredibly intuitive and feels like second nature to line up the straight scope with your target. While angled scopes can be mastered with practice, there’s something inherently straightforward about a straight-line view.

2. Versatile Height Adjustment – Straight scopes shine at a higher position compared to an angled scope, allowing you to clear obstructions without fiddling with the eyepiece rotation.

3. Easy Packing for Your Adventures – The convenience of packing your straight scope can’t be overstated. Straight scopes fit snugly into scope sleeves, making them a hassle-free addition to your gear. Their shape also lends itself to effortless packing and unpacking in any type of case.

4. Viewing Position: If you are at a very low level to the ground the straight spotting scope is preferable.

5. Effortless Downward Viewing – While angled scopes excel at looking upwards, the story changes when you need to peer downward. With a straight scope, angling it downward is much more comfortable, especially if you’re dealing with one that has a fixed eyepiece. It’s a smooth and natural motion that keeps you in control.

In the world of optics, the choice between straight and angled scopes often comes down to personal preference and the nature of your outdoor pursuits. However, if you value simplicity, versatility, and ease of use, a straight scope might just be your ideal companion for your next adventure.

Choosing the Right Spotting Scope

Selecting the perfect spotting scope for archery involves considering several factors to ensure it meets your specific needs:

Magnification scale
Photo: SVbony

1. Magnification – The magnification power of a spotting scope is crucial. For archery, a scope with variable magnification (e.g., 20-60x) is often recommended. This allows you to zoom in on the target for detailed observation while also offering a wider field of view for tracking moving game or assessing your shots.

2. Objective Lens Size – The objective lens diameter determines the amount of light the scope can gather, affecting image brightness. A larger objective lens (e.g., 80mm) is better for low-light conditions, which can be advantageous for early morning or late evening bowhunting.

3. Lens Coatings – Look for spotting scopes with multi-coated or fully multi-coated lenses. These coatings improve image clarity and brightness while reducing glare and reflections.

4. Durability and Portability – Consider the scope’s build quality and weight. A durable, waterproof, and fog-proof construction is essential, especially for outdoor archery activities. However, you also want a scope that’s easy to carry to your shooting spot or hunting location.

Eyepiece relief
Adjustable eye relief

5. Eyepiece Design – A comfortable eyepiece with an adjustable eye relief is crucial for extended use. It should also be compatible with your personal preferences and any eyeglasses you wear

6. Price Range – Spotting scopes come in a wide price range. While it’s tempting to opt for the most expensive model, choose one that aligns with your budget and needs. There are excellent options available for various price points.

7. Accessories – Look for scopes that come with accessories like a tripod or carrying case. These extras can enhance your overall archery experience and save you from buying additional equipment separately.

Spotting Scope Acessories

8. Brand Reputation – Research reputable brands known for their quality optics and customer service. Reading reviews and seeking recommendations from fellow archers can be helpful.

While brand preferences can be subjective and may change over time as new models are released, several reputable brands have consistently produced quality spotting scopes.

Here are some brands that you might consider when looking for a spotting scope for archery:

1. Kowa – A Japanese brand recognised for its high-quality optics. They offer a range of spotting scopes suitable for different budgets and applications.

Kowa Spotting Scope
Kowa Spotting Scope

Leica Spotting Scope
Leica Spotting Scope

2. Leica – Offers premium spotting scopes with excellent optics and build quality. Their scopes are often favoured by discerning outdoor enthusiasts for their clarity and durability.

3. Zeiss – Is a respected name in the optics industry. Their spotting scopes are known for their outstanding optics and user-friendly features.

Zeiss Spotting Scope
Zeiss Spotting Scope

Vortex Spotting Scope
Vortex Spotting Scope

4. Vortex – Offers a range of spotting scopes at various price points. They are known for their value for money, durability, and wide field of view

5. Vanguard – The Endeavour HD spotting scope has an impressive field of view and has a central dual focus wheel for fine and coarse adjustment.

Vanguard Spotting Scope
Vanguard Spotting Scope

Celestron Spotting scope
Celestron Spotting Scope

5. Celestron – This is known for producing affordable spotting scopes that still provide decent image quality. Celestron also makes the Regal M2 line use high-quality ED glass and XLT coatings that maximise light transmission for brighter images and increased resolution and contrast.

What type of tripod do you require?

Selecting the right tripod for a spotting scope used in archery is essential to ensure stability, accuracy, and comfort during target observation.
Here are some considerations when choosing the right type of tripod for your archery spotting scope:

Stability: Stability is paramount when using a spotting scope for archery. Archers need a tripod that can hold the spotting scope steady, even in windy conditions or when making fine adjustments to aim. Look for tripods with sturdy legs, preferably made from materials like aluminium or carbon fibre, which offer a balance between stability and portability.

Stable tripod

Adjustable Height: Archers often find themselves in various shooting positions, such as standing, sitting, or kneeling. Therefore, a tripod with adjustable height is essential to accommodate these positions and ensure the scope’s eyepiece is at the appropriate level for comfortable viewing

Smooth Pan and Tilt: Archers need to smoothly pan and tilt the spotting scope to follow their target or track arrow placements. Tripods with fluid or smooth-operating heads allow for precise adjustments without jerky movements, ensuring that you can maintain a clear view of your target.

Weight Capacity: Be sure to check the tripod’s weight capacity to ensure it can support the weight of your spotting scope and any additional accessories like a smartphone adapter or a digiscoping ring. It’s better to choose a tripod with a weight capacity at least 20% higher than the total weight of your equipment for added stability.

Portability: While stability is crucial, portability is also a consideration, especially if you need to transport your tripod to various shooting locations. Look for tripods that are lightweight and have features like quick-release leg locks for easy setup and breakdown.

The right tripod for a spotting scope used in archery should provide a stable, adjustable, and smooth platform for accurate target observation. Consider your shooting style, preferred positions, and the weight of your equipment when selecting a tripod to ensure it meets your specific needs. Investing in a quality tripod will enhance your archery experience and help you make precise shots with confidence.

Tripods to consider

Saxon TX210 Heavy Duty Tripod

Celestron Trailseeker Fluid Pan Tripod

In Summary

The best spotting scope for you depends on your specific needs, budget, and preferences. Before purchasing, try out different models if possible, and consider factors such as magnification, lens quality, and durability to find the spotting scope that suits your archery requirements best.

In archery, ‘precision is everything’, and a spotting scope is a valuable tool to help you achieve it. By selecting the right spotting scope based on magnification, lens quality, durability, and your specific needs, you can enhance your archery experience, whether you’re a competitive target archer or a passionate bowhunter. Remember that investing in a quality spotting scope is an investment in your accuracy and success on the archery range or in the field. So, take your time, do your research, and choose wisely to ensure that every shot counts.

Here is a list of Archery Clubs in Australia, it might be worth considering contacting your local club and asking a few questions about the Spotting scope you are interested in or listening to their recommendations too.

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