Last Updated on December 7, 2020
We spent some time looking at spotting scopes for ranges starting at 100 yards and wrote reviews of some of the top models on the market. At the end of our reviews, we included a buyer’s guide based on how we ranked the scopes. We hope this will help you in finding the right scope for your needs.
Choosing a scope starting at 100 yards might seem like an arbitrary number, but it’s actually a pretty good one. It’s a decent range to plink away with a .22 rifle. If you live near a lot of trees, it’s good for another reason. If you hunt around a lot of trees, your maximum line of sight will always be limited. Being able to hit a nail on the head at 1,000 yards is great for the shooting range, but in real life, you’re probably talking about much shorter distances, especially if you have to worry about shooting into places where people spend a lot of time.
|Best Overall||Konus 7120B||
|Celestron Ultima Zoom||
|Best Value||Roxant Blackbird||
|Bushnell Trophy Xtreme||
You can definitely pay a lot more money and get a scope that delivers sharper, more colorful images at the 100-yard range. But at some point, you have to ask yourself whether you’re spending too much money on a scope that’s overqualified for the job it’s meant to do. The answer to this question is the Konus 7120B. It gets the job done excellently and for a price that won’t leave you woozy.
It has the optical features you’d expect from a much more expensive, higher-end scope. The magnification range works well, and it delivers good images out to about 400 yards. The objective lens is large enough for use in low-light conditions, and it’s got coated glass to help reduce light lost to reflection. It’s also durable enough to take a whack or two without falling apart.
The irony is, that while talking about how inexpensive it is compared to much more expensive scopes that would over-deliver at this range, it also happens to be the most expensive compared to the other scopes in this field. If you want something cheaper, you can go cheaper and get competitive quality.
Celestron’s 52250 Ultima Zoom is a good runner-up because it does a flat-out good job at 100 plus yards. If you’re target shooting, you’ll have little problem seeing groupings of bullets through this scope, and it does this at a price that you’ll find right.
The Celestron has a lot of features that people look for in great scopes. It’s waterproof so that moisture won’t creep into the unit while you’re using it. It’s got coated optics and a high-end prism to recreate images. It’s also easy to use, fast to focus and, for the money, is a great value.
We dropped it in rank because as much as we like it, at higher magnifications it has problems with color aberration. These are issues related to the timing of how different peaks and troughs of lights of different colors in the visible light spectrum are processed. Really high-end scopes address this through low-dispersion glass. This one has none, so there are some problems with colors.
We are big fans of the Roxant Authentic Blackbird. It’s a great little scope that is lightweight and flat-out fun to use. In our estimation, it’s the best purchase available for its cost. It does quite a bit based on what you pay.
It’s a durable little scope that you can use at the range or pack up for a day hike with the kids to watch wildlife. Its angled design makes it comfortable to look through and its eyepiece is adjustable for use with prescription or safety glasses.
As a spotting scope, its utility starts to fall off after about 100 yards. You can spot groupings of .22 holes at that basic range, but beyond that it’s a matter of atmospheric conditions, the size of the round your gun chambers, and how precise you can get the measurements.
The Bushnell Trophy Xtreme is a serviceable spotting scope that works up to about 100 yards, and not much further. If you’re dealing purely with short ranges, this one will do the job. But beware, the Bushnell name doesn’t come cheap.
Like a lot of comparable models, this one is designed for use outside. It’s got an excellent prism and multi-layered coatings, and a waterproof design to maintain a moisture-free interior.
Its primary flaw is that its effective range drops off pretty quickly after 100 yards. By about 400, you might as well bring out a bigger, more powerful scope because this one’s effectiveness is shot. Even closer in, at greater magnifications, the Bushnell Xtreme shows reduced quality.
There are a couple of pretty hard parameters by which the Barska 20-60×60 would make a great purchase. If you have a very tight budget and you’re shooting at no greater than 100 yards. If you can afford to spend a little more, then do so because you’ll get superior performance elsewhere.
Of the models we reviewed, this one is the most affordable. For what you pay, its performance isn’t all that bad. You can see pretty clearly to 100 yards and can tell which bullet hit the target and which ones were close misses. Beyond that, and you start to get into territory that borders on guesswork; you’ll have to walk down the range to take a look-see. It also has a pretty big footprint on your firing bench, so you might need to account for its whereabouts so you won’t inadvertently knock into it.
Here are some more of our popular spotting scope posts:
In our reviews, the Konus 7120B is our top choice as a scope that can spot excellently at 100 yards and well beyond that. The Celestron 52250 Ultima Zoom is a pretty good option but has issues with color aberration; this prompted us to give it the runner-up rank. We like the Roxant Authentic Blackbird, and really like its price, but found it limited beyond being a great value. The Bushnell Trophy Xtreme does a good job up to 100 yards, but its quality drops off after that. The Barska 20-60×60 is serviceable if you’re limited by budget and a range of only 100 yards. If you can spend more, however, we suggest you look to do so.
We hope you find these reviews helpful in making the right choice in a spotting scope. We wish you luck on the range, or in the field, or wherever your passion for the outdoors takes you.
If you didn’t find what you are looking for, then there are also some great spotting scope guides on YouTube and here.
Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.
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