SCOPES

Spotting Scope with Built in Rangefinder: A Double Threat

Spotting scope with rangefinder
Nick Stucker
Written by Nick Stucker

When hunting in the open country, you need a reliable optical backup that is twice the magnification strength of ordinary binoculars. Coming in as a minute telescope, the spotting scope makes an excellent fit for all nature explorers and game hunters.

Swarovski rangefinder spotting scope

Adapted to the naturalist activity, spotting scopes feature bigger magnification with wider objectives that capture more light for better upright images. They are quite heavy both on the price and weight. But the best kind to invest in is a spotting scope with built in rangefinder.

Features to consider when choosing a spotting scope

When choosing a spotting scope, it is important to consider the following features:

  • Aperture size – The aperture is the diameter of your telescope’s main optical component. This important feature determines the amount of light your spotting scope can capture. The larger the aperture the more object you can see. However, this is not the best way of selecting a telescope. Large aperture telescopes tend to be larger and is not portable as small aperture telescope. That’s why it is important to consider where your astronomical studies will be mostly occurring – if it’s in your backyard or away from city lights.
  • Magnification – The magnifying power is dependent on the eyepiece. This is an important factor to consider but not the main decision-maker when it comes to the selection of a spotting scope. That’s why it’s important not to go for spotting scope brands that brag mostly about their high magnification power.
  • Type of spotting scope – There are different kinds of spotting scope each with its own strength and weakness. You might want to consider each type before making the final decision.
  • Type of mount – Remember, the mount type great affects the performance of your telescope. So, select a spotting scope that has a mount type that features your terrestrial or astronomical observation needs.
  • Budget range – Another key factor you need to consider is your budget. For beginners, it is important to go for less expensive scopes as they tend to have less complicated features.

Spotting scope on mountain top

Top 10 Products on the Market

BARSKA 15-40×50 Colorado Spotting Scope

BARSKA Colorado Spotting ScopeWeight: 15.8 ounces

Dimension: 2.6 x 9.5 x 3.5 inches

Special Features: Magnification of 15-40x, objective diameter of 50mm, fully coated optics, BK-7 Puro prism system, shockproof rubber armor

Packaging: Includes table tripod stand, spotting scope, carrying case

Best use: Bird watching, terrain navigation, and nature observation

Absolute ruggedness, unsurpassed optical quality, lightweight construction, and waterproofness are the key components of Barska 15-40×50 Colorado Spotting Scope.

Coming in with a ranging magnification of 15 to 40, the scope maintains bright contrast rich images throughout the entire zooming range of up to 150 yards. Its BK-7 Puro prism system guarantees you of upright image viewing that are a minus to the big celestial telescopes.

You can easily mount the scope using its table top tripod that is easy to transport. This optical system is fortified with a solid rubber armor casing that is shockproof. The anti-fog and waterproof systems ensure the durability of the spotting scope.

The Colorado 15-40×50 comes in a nice black finish.  Barska offers a limited lifetime warranty for this amazing spotting scope.

Some of the major highlights that make this spotting scope an amazing selection include, its stylish black finish, fair price, superb resolution with unmatched clarity, waterproofness, shock-absorbing casing, the included mini table tripod and carrier case.

Even though a favorite, this scope doesn’t come minus its flaws. For a ranging scope, images tend to become fuzzy when in full magnification. Furthermore, it doesn’t come with its own lens covers and the included tripod does not offer uttermost stability.

When you take into account the design, ergonomics, and overall performance, this Barska spotting scope passes the test. Even though it suffers a major fallback in its include tripod and fully coated optics instead of the standard fully-multi coated optics, it makes up for it with is amazing crystal clear mid-range viewing. An ideal selection for bird watching enthusiasts.

Check the price on Amazon

Meade Instruments 126002 Wilderness Spotting Scope

Meade Instruments Wilderness Spotting ScopeWeight: 4.31 pounds

Dimension: 7.09 x 4.72 x 21.25 inches

Special Features: Magnification range 20-60x, objective diameter 100mm, sliding sunshade, BaK-4 Prisms, Antireflection Fully multicoated optics

Best use: bird watching or hunting

Packaging: Meade 126002 spotting scope, nylon carrying bag, lens cleaning cloth, camera adapter

The 126002 Wilderness spotting scope from Meade Instruments is an ideal spotter for nearly any midday outdoor spotting activities. It offers high variable magnification power while still maintaining quality bright clarity.

This variable scope comes with a ranging magnification of 20-60x. Its large 100mm objective lens allows enough illumination for clear images. The lenses are also fully multicoated with anti-reflection coatings for optimum optical performance. You can view upright images thanks to the preinstalled BaK-4 Prism system that convert inverted images to upright ones.

The solid rubber armor exterior shields the spotting scopes from bumps or impacts that would otherwise damage the scope. This scope comes with a lens cleaning cloth and a camera adapter. However, it lacks its own tripod stand which you can complement using your own camera stand.

This spotting scope comes with a one-year limited life warranty.

The advantages of using this scope include glare-free images thanks to the sliding sunshade, nitrogen purged casing that eliminates chances of fog build up, waterproof and shockproof casing, included a lens cleaning cloth and camera adapter.

Even with all the advantages, the main drawback of this scope includes the lack of a T-mount stand that is included in most scopes packaging.

The Wilderness series is a mean scope that features most if not all the highlights need for an all-around scoping experience. Though it comes without its own tripod, it is adaptable to any camera stand available.

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Celestron C5 Spotting Scope

Celestron C5 Spotting ScopeWeight: 9.6pounds

Dimension: 13 x 6 x 10 inches

Special Features: 5-Inch Schmidt-Cassegrain Optical Design, StarBright XLT lens coatings,

Packaging: The Celestron C5 Spotter, One 25mm Plossl Eyepiece (50x), One 6×30 Erect Image Finderscope, Photo Tripod Adapter, Lens Cap, Warranty Certificate, Soft Sided Case.

Best use:  photography with SLR cameras, serious bird watching, studying nature,

The very fast of its kind, the Celestron C5 52291 easily goes from being a powerful spotting scope to a high-performance telephoto lens. Its high optical quality is what makes it NASA’s fight choice for several space shuttle missions.

The C5 features a Schmidt-Cassegrain optical design with Starbright XLT lens coating for superb views. Its 5inch aperture allows enough illumination for crystal clear images. This scope allows a magnification of 20x for clear plant and insect viewing.

The C5 is one versatile scope you don’t want to be missing. It can be used as a spotting and astronomical telescope. At the same time, you can take advantage of its amazing optics by turning it into a photography set. Simply attach the correct T-Adapter and T-Ring for your SLR camera at the hind end of the spotting scope.

Its included tripod adapter block located on its tube makes mounting a breeze on a standard tripod with 1/4 mm thread, Synta or Vixen dovetail.

For a scope of its magnitude, you get a variety of benefits. These include astrophotography support, amazing price range, vibrant crispy clear images, ease of use, an adaptable scope with many attachments, and a limited lifetime warranty.

Even with its flashy highlights, the scope suffers some minor defects. The scope’s mount is delicate and features no tripod for stability. Knobs and other pieces are constructed from low-quality plastic. The scope is not weatherproof and when used to observe celestial objects, images tend to get blurry.

The Celestron C5 52291 is worth every cent. Though a terrestrial scope, it can extend to celestial bodies viewing, however, the clarity won’t be as great as that of a Newtonian telescope. Its astrophotography dimension that gives clear and vibrant pictures makes it overall an amazing selection.

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Bushnell Elite 15-45x 60mm Roof Prism PC-3

Bushnell Elite Roof Prism PC-3Weight: 2.6pounds

Dimension: 5 x 5 x 16 inches

Special Features: magnification range 15-45x, objective diameter 60mm, roof Prism PC-3, waterproof & fog proof, fully-multicoated optics

Packaging: protective case, Bushnell elite spotting scope

Best use: Hunting, bird watching, nature observing

Experience amazing details in a compact size with the Bushnell elite spotting scope. The scope is combat tested and is used in a range of tactical assignments. This solid build features a sleek black finish design that is highly durable. It is great for all outdoor activities. You will be sure of crispy clear images all day long thanks to the ED Prime fluoride glass.

The scope comes with a rubber armor that shields its interiors from shock. Its optical design consists of a PC-3 phase corrected-BaK-4 prisms with water-repellent RainGuard HD lens coating. The eyepiece has a magnification strength that ranges from 15-45x for high HD resolutions.

Its standard 60mm aperture size allows enough illumination for bright images. The scope is also waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof.

Some of the advantages of this powerful scope include a waterproof and shockproof casing, compact size, bright images, included carrier casing, adaptability to most outdoor activities, fair price, and an easy to handle scope. Even with all its might, the scope lacks a tripod.

Bushnell Elite 15-45x 60mm is an amazing fit for any serious hunter and nature enthusiast. When you put its design, ergonomics, and performance to the test, it comes out as a solid compact spotting scope with excellent optics.

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Vortex Optics Diamondback Spotting Scope

Vortex Optics Diamondback Spotting ScopeWeight: 2pounds

Dimension: length- 14.8 inches

Special Features: Dielectric Prism Coatings, Porro Prism, XR Anti-Reflective Lens Coatings, Waterproof and Fogproof, ArmorTek exterior

Packaging: Eyepiece cap, Objective lens cover, View-through carry case

Best use: Bird watching, hunting, nature observing

A true Diamondback bloodline, the Vortex 20-60x60mm spotting scope delivers outstanding performance in a light compact package. Throughout its magnification range, you are sure of crispy clear images. This rugged spotter can withstand the harsh environs and still overperform.

It features a ranging magnification of 20-60x with an objective diameter of 60mm large enough for properly illuminated objects. The spotter has fully multicoated optics that increase light transmission, multilayer prism coatings for an upright, bright and clear image. The Porro prism design also offers exceptional performance and image quality in a traditional design.

Its angled body design allows for a lower mounting height for maximum stability in wind, extra comfort when glassing for long periods and use of a small tripod.

The scope’s O-ring seals block dust, moisture, and debris from accessing the spotting scope for adaptability in all environments. Its nitrogen gas purging ensures a fog and water free view.

The inbuilt sunshade minimizes glare and protects the objective lens from snow and raindrops.

Some of the major advantages of this scope include an angled body design that offers extra glassing comfort, use of a small tripod, and maximum stability in wind. The scope is also waterproof, fog proof and shockproof with a rubber armor casing that shields the delicate optics.

You get bright crispy clear images throughout the ranging magnification and the featured sunshade reduces glare while shielding the lens from rain.  Some of the cons include its high price tag and the lack of a tripod.

Heavyweight performer in a light compact package. Though quite expensive, it is worth every penny due to its high superb optical design.

Check the price on Amazon

Gskyer Spotting Scope, 25-75×75

Gskyer Spotting ScopeWeight: 5pounds

Dimension: 18.4 x 8 x 5.5 inches

Special Features: Ranging magnification of 25x-75x, 75mm objective diameter, Dynamic focusing lens design, BK-7 Prism with fully multicoated optics, Fog proof & waterproof

Packaging: Carrying Bag, Gskyer spotter, portable tripod, tripod handle, user manual, and cleaning cloth

Best use: hiking, traveling, bird watching, target shooting

The Gskyer 25-75×75 spotting scope is an angled spotter that comes with a varying magnification of 25-75x. It offers sharp views throughout the magnification range thanks to its oversized 75mm objective lens diameter. The scope features a BK-7 prism construction that is fully multicoated for upright precise detailed images.

This scope is also nitrogen purged to reduce cases of fogging. As a waterproof case, its exterior armors shields the delicate lens from harm. The scope also comes with a lens cleaner for removing fingerprints and dirt on its aperture.

Some of the pros that feature of the scope include, one-year limited warranty with 30-day money back guarantee, special carrying casing for safe keeping, a lens cleaner for removing dirt, a tripod stand and handle for stable viewing, waterproof and fog proof casing, bent design for maximum comfort when glassing for long hours, and sleek black finish design.

The main flaw of the Gskyer 25-75×75 is the lack of rubber armor for protecting the interior.

The Gskyer 25-75×75 is an outstanding performer when put to the test. It comes backed with all features that make an incredible spotting scope. For its price, it is leveled enough for each of you to have a grab and experience what clear optics is all about.

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BARSKA 20-60×60 Waterproof Straight Spotting Scope

BARSKA Waterproof Straight Spotting ScopeWeight: 8.8 ounces

Dimension: 13.5 x 2.8 x 4 inches

Special Features: 20-60x magnification power, 75mm diameter objective lens, fully multicoated optics, Porro prism, attached lens cover

Packaging: Carrying case, pan-head tripod

Best use: hunting and bird watching, nature exploring

For the optimal view, you may want to try the Barska 20-60×60 spotting scope. It features a 20-60x ranging magnification that allows you to lock your subject and zoom in for precise details. Its 60mm objective lens captures enough illumination need for bright contrast images with vivid color and sharp resolution. The scope comes with a Porro prism design that gives you upright clear images.

This Barska model is nitrogen purged for a fog-proof housing. The scope also has a waterproof feature that blocks any slight chance of moisture buildup that is likely to ruin your scoping experience.

The scope features a straight body design that enables head on viewing for better comfort. Its purged rubber exterior shields the optics from damage. Overall, it is an ideal spotting scope for hunters, nature enthusiasts, and bird watchers.

When using this scope, you get to experience some advantages like rubber armor exterior that shields the delicate interiors from shock and elements, user friendly eyepiece, packaging inclusive of all necessary accessories need for an outstanding performance, lightweight scope for easy portability, non-slip rubber housing for excellent grip in wet conditions, and lifetime warranty. The weak tripod stand is its only main flaw.

The straight bodied scope features a sophisticated optical design that enhances your hunting experience. Overall, it is a cheaper option if you are looking for a lightweight spotter for long range outdoor application and one that comes with its own tripod stand.

Check the price on Amazon

Bushnell Trophy XLT 20-60x 65mm

Bushnell Trophy XLT 20-60x65mmWeight: 2.6pounds

Dimension: 13.6 x 5.4 x 6.6 inches

Special Features: 20-60x magnification, 65mm objective diameter lens, rubber armor case, Porro prism design, premium fully multicoated design

Packaging: premium hard-sided casing, compact tripod

Best use: hunt

A rugged design built for the wild. Bushnell Trophy XLT 20-60x65mm spotting scope offers you an amazing viewing experience like no other. It is a stable choice for long range shots with the need of precise clear viewing.

The scope comes with a 20-60x magnification that lets your zoom in on your target for better details. Its 65mm objective lens diameter allows enough room for light capture to illuminate your views. For an upright image, the scope highlights a Porro prism design fully-multicoated to increase contrast for the least amount of eye strain.

The product is also O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged to eliminate chances of fog and moisture development inside the casing. Its fortified rubber armor casing shields the scope from harm when dropped on the ground. For overall protection, use the premium hard-side and compact soft side carrying case.

Some of the scope’s benefits include, fully multi-coated optics for bright high contrast images, rubber armor for interior shielding, angled design for comfort during long eye viewing, included carrier casing and tripod, easy setup and fog proof, waterproof and shockproof casing. However, some customers find the scope quite expensive.

It offers crispy clear upright images even with the highest magnification on. However, it comes with a hefty price tag that accounts for the amazing optical design put in place.

Check the price on Amazon

Redfield Rampage 20-60x60mm Spotting Scope Kit

Redfield Rampage 20-60x60mmWeight: 5.1pounds

Dimension: 16 x 7.5 x 5.8 inches

Special Features: 20-60x magnification, 60mm diameter objective lens, BAK-4 Prism design,

Packaging: Redfield rampage spotting scope, soft storage casing, lens covers, tripod stand, tripod adaptable mount

Best use: hunting scope

The Redfield Rampage 20-60x60mm Spotting Scope Kit offers an unmatched display of optics, functional and performance features that are common to more expensive options.

The scope features an all-in-one glassing construction with fold-down objective and eyepiece system for extra comfort for eyeglass wearers. It is suited for both intermediate and long range observations thanks to its 20-60x magnification power. The fully-multicoated path incorporated BAK4 prism construction for maximum contrast and brightness.

Its nitrogen filled polycarbonate casing gives the scope its lightweight while shielding it from all elements. Complementing the durable casing is the rubber armor with slip-proof ridges that come in handy when in wet areas. The scope is covered by a full lifetime warranty from Redfield.

The pros that complement the scope include full lifetime warranty, best in class for durability, field of view and image quality, nitrogen purged casing to eliminate cases of fog build up, waterproof and shockproof casing, compact tripod for extra stability, included carrying case for safe keeping, and cheap option for a scope of its caliber.  The only flaw is that the scope is heavy in size.

The Redfield Rampage 20-60x60mm Spotting Scope is built for unmatched strength and performance. An ideal selection for folks who wants a ‘best in class’ spotter in an affordable price range.

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NcStar 20-60×60 Green Lens Red Laser Spotting Scope

NcStar Green Lens Red LaserWeight: 38ozs

Dimension: measures 13 11/16 inches long

Special Features: 20-60x magnification, 60mm diameter objective lens,

Packaging: tripod and carrying case included

Best use: Nature exploration, hunting

For nature enthusiasts, the NcStar 20-60×60 Green Lens Red laser ensures you of a great way to bond with nature. As your ticket to crystal clear viewing, you can study the slightest aspect of an insect without disturbing its habitat stay.

All these is made possible with its high-quality precision ground fully multicoated optics. The adjustable laser beam comes as a bonus as it gives you a reference point for better spotting.

This NcStar scope is O-ring sealed and purged with nitrogen to eliminate chances of fog and moist build up within the scope. Its interiors are shielded away inside the rubber armor casing. In addition, the casing is slip-proof to eliminate chances of the scope sliding off when viewing in wet areas. You can always keep the spotter safe in its solid casing that is also shockproof.

The scope’s main advantages include rubber exterior armor for protection against falls, fair price range, a flip-up objective lens for protection purposes, built-in sunshade that eliminates glare, inclusive tripod, and shockproof fog proof casing.  The huge size of the scope acts as its main flaw.

Check the price on Amazon

Final Words

Rangefinder spotting scopes are the best for any hunting expedition. They give you the freedom of different magnification powers that let you lock down your target and zoom in for further details. Spotting a good brand is like find a needle in a haystack.

Though the availability of many brands claiming to offer superb optics, few actually deliver on their promise. But with the highlighted best ten spotting scopes with built-in rangefinders, you don’t have to worry about quality.

RLC spotter with rangefinder

Feel free to select any as your final option. Then let us know which option you went with in the comments section below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nick Stucker
Nick Stucker

Nick is passionate about weapons. He likes history of companies like Colt or Lockheed Martin, but also latest scopes, binoculars and laser sighters on the market and everything in between. Nick writes about different gear that could be useful during hunting, astrophotography, night vision or just for self-defence.

  • Carl Agner

    The Barska 15-40×50 range finder seems like a perfect fit for me. I’m looking forward using it in both hunting and for general nature gazing. This is just the ideal spotting device for the price. My only concern would be the clarity of the image and how long it can endure. I’ve heard the case isn’t highly durable.

    • Nick Stucker

      The optics are remarkably resourceful for such an affordable price. According to most users, the clarity is okay. You can actually depend on this scope.

  • Anthony Gonzalez

    My wife loves bird watching when we go camping. She gets all set up with her chair, umbrella and binoculars. She’s been doing it that way for years. I want to get her a spotting scope for her birthday and I feel like the Redfield Rampage 20-60x60mm Spotting Scope might be the perfect fit for her. Could anyone verify the durability with regard to water and fog proofing?

  • Nick Stucker

    The polycarbonate body of the Redfield Spotting Scope is highly waterproof for durability. So, you can depend on this product in extreme conditions.

  • Jessica Wilson

    My son begs me to buy him a spotting scope. I believe that his first device of such kind shouldn’t be too expensive. Thanks to this great article I was able to settle for the BARSKA 20-60×60 Waterproof Straight Spotting Scope. My son is just 10 years old, so I wonder, if he will be able to use it by himself, or he will need my help?

  • Nick Stucker

    The BARSKA 20-60×60 Waterproof Straight Spotting Scope is somehow technical. Therefore, you will have to guide your kid on how to use it.

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