Best Spotting Scope for Hunting 2019

By Austin Miller

Spotting Scopes – a tool in a hunter’s pack that can be overlooked by a lot of people. You spend any amount of time outdoors hunting and having a spotter is just as important as having your binoculars. I learned this the hard way not knowing any better. I want you (the reader) to have as much information before spending a bunch of money and ultimately not being satisfied. The key factors to look for in a spotting scope for hunting include cost, quality of glass, magnification, functionality in low light, ease of making precise adjustments and comfort in handling and looking through the scope for hours.  Let’s dive into it! 

RedField Rampage Angled 20x60x80

Weight: 2.7.lbs

MSRP: $299

Link to purchase the RedField Rampage Angled spotting scope.


Who needs this spotting scope: The hunter looking for an entry level spotting scope that is very affordable.

RedField Rampage Angled 20x60x80: RedField is a brand made by Leupold, my first Binoculars were Leupold and thought this would be a good option for out in the field. It started out great not knowing anything about what was good and what wasn’t. I loved this scope at first, it zoomed in and out and at the time was affordable. As time went on I started noticing subtleties.  The first thing I noticed was at full zoom looking further than a mile it started getting really hard to make things out in the distance. This made it difficult when trying to find certain animals. The focus knob wasn’t great which made micro adjustments really tough at full zoom.  At 20x it was no big deal, but when you really try and get zoomed in on something it gets frustrating not having quality glass.  The scope was fairly lightweight for an 80mm objective, but it just wasn’t performing once I really dove into it.  The scope would also fog up on occasion. For a very entry level scope you can’t go wrong.  These scopes are very affordable for anyone’s budget.

Vortex Diamondback Angled 20x60x80

Weight: 2.9lbs

MSRP: $499

Link to purchase the Vortex Diamondback Angled spotting scope.

Who needs this spotting scope: the hunter looking for an entry level spotting scope that is very affordable.

Vortex Diamondback Angled 20x60x80: This spotter is basically the same scope as the RedField but different glass is used in the Vortex. This spotting scope also d has some differences in functionality, the focus knob is a better design and easier to get a better focus while being in full zoom. The sight picture at full zoom is a touch better in this scope due to the better glass used. I didn’t notice as much fogging up with this spotter as much as I did with the RedField. One thing I find very annoying when in the field is looking through fogged up optics. Compared to the RedField, this spotter seems to provide a much crisper functionality – from the knobs to adjust things to the zoom and the eye relief.  The size and function of the Redfield and Vortex are darn near the same, but the Vortex is put together a little better in my opinion.  One great thing with Vortex is they have the VIP warranty. To me, this sets anything Vortex apart from a lot of the others and gives you that piece of mind if anything were to go wrong.  If I didn’t want to spend over $500 on a spotter, this is the optic I would select.  The pros far out weight the cons with this spotting scope.

Vortex Razor HD 22x48x65: Top Shelf Spotting Scope

 

Weight: 3.6lbs

MSRP: $1,199

Link to purchase the Vortex Razor HD 22x48x65 spotting scope.

 Who needs this spotting scope: the hunter looking for a high quality HD spotting scope in a good price point.

Vortex Razor HD 22x48x65: I had a lot of expectations before getting my hands on this spotter. When I finally did, my first impressions were right on with what everyone else was saying.  The Vortex Razor HD wasn’t big or bulky and felt really good in the hands.  The first thing that caught my attention was the eye piece was much bigger that on the other scopes.  I took the Razor HD outside and set it up to look through it and loved it.  I didn’t have to squint or move my head around to find the sweet spot. The zoom knob was very well constructed and felt like butter zooming in and out; a really big step up from the Vortex Diamond Back and Redfield. The focus is very similar to a Swarovski, big and easy to use.  This spotter makes micro adjustments with ease in 22 power all the way up to 48.  The clarity difference is night and day compared to the RedField and Diamondback.  I’ve also been skeptical with “HD” glass. I didn’t think it would be any different until I looked through this spotter. It is well worth the money if that is what you’re looking for from a scope.  In full zoom this scope performs very well.  In fact, I haven’t had any headaches while looking through this scope for long periods of time and it is very stable on the tripod.  I have yet to find anything I haven’t liked with this scope.  I haven’t experienced any fogging while in the field. Everything about this scope is quality. With the high dispersion glass used in the razor HD, glassing in low light is incredible.  This gives you a huge advantage when trying to find game in the early AM and putting animals to bed at night.  Anything to get the upper on public land makes all the difference in the world.

Zeiss Dialyt 18x45x65

Weight: 2.6lbs

MSRP: $1,699

Link to purchase the Zeiss Dialyt spotting scope.

Who needs this spotting scope: the hunter looking for a high quality HD spotting scope in a good price point.

Zeiss Dialyt 18x45x65: With the reputation Zeiss has, I was a little antsy to give this scope a try in the field. I’ve always liked angled spotters (my personal preference) over straight, but was excited to give this scope a shot.  At first glance I liked how sleek but robust it was.  This spotter has a really nice rubber finish around the scope as a whole.  It seemed to be a little more rugged then the other spotters in the line-up while still being relatively light-weight. It took me a minute to get used to this scope because it is so different from the others I used. The zoom on the eye relief was standard and par for the course with the others, but what threw me off is the focus was where I’m used to the sun shade being. Once I got it worked out in my head it was as easy to use. I didn’t care for the eye piece as much as I liked the Swarovski and Razor, it wasn’t as comfortable to me as the others. The glass Zeiss uses is nothing less than awesome, the sight picture was crisp and clean with no blurring around the edges. The focus made very nice and precise adjustments in 18 power all the way up to 45 power. The Straight eye piece made it really easy to pull  out and get set up on game. I haven’t had any trouble with the scope fogging up in wet conditions at all (seems to be the case with the higher end spotters). Again, this scope was another good option for low light situations. Although being different then what I am used to, this spotter delivers on everything needed for being in the field.

Swarovski STS 20x60x65 Straight: Top Shelf Spotting Scope

Weight: 3.03lbs

MSRP: $2,268

Link to purchase the Swarovski-20-60×65-sts-hd-straight spotting scope.

Swarovksi STS 20x60x65 Straight: Through-out the years Swarovski has been top-of-the-line for optics. Superior glass, design, light-weight and chosen by tons of hunters and outdoor enthusiast all over the world.  Getting to use this scope has been a privilege; I never knew what the hype was all about. I soon realized what everyone was talking about with the Swarovski glass. This was the first high end scope I used in the field, and this started a ton a research on my end. I love everything about this spotter.  The focus is where it should be and the eye piece/relief are wonderful.  Looking through this scope is great on top of the right tripod (see my review on tripods).  I didn’t get any headaches while glassing all day. The glass never fogged up once in wet and cold conditions. There was never a question of what was in the scope.  The glass in this scope is top notch.  With this spotter, you can easily identify game with no problem from any distance within reason. The zoom is smooth and steady. The sight picture stays clear and crisp all through the zoom. On the lower end spotters I reviewed the sight picture gets fuzzy around the edges at full zoom and makes it tough on the eyes at any time of the day. Early mornings and late nights are no problem with this spotter.  In low light, it’s amazing how much light still comes into the sight picture, which makes those early mornings after putting something to bed great!

Conclusion

I want to end this review by saying these are all great spotters for their price points and when making your decision get the best glass you can afford. These all do a great job, but it is clear that spending a little more you can get a phenomenal product you won’t regret buying. The Razor, Swarovski and Zeiss spotters are top of the line in today’s standards. To me there was very little difference between them from a sharpness and functionality standpoint. I ultimately made my decision bases on a price point I could afford while also looking at the warranties.  These pieces of gear get beat up in the field and I wanted that extra guarantee, so I ended up with the Razor since Vortex offer their V.I.P. warranty and will replace anything they sell, no questions asked.  Of course, if money wasn’t an object I would be looking into the Swarovski and Zeiss.  -Austin Miller

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “Best Spotting Scope for Hunting 2019

    1. You’re welcome, make sure you continue to read and comment. Let us know if you have any recommendations.

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