19 Best Spotting Scopes For Hunting | Insane Spotter Showdown

Looking for the best spotting scope for hunting? Maybe you are looking for the overall best spotting scope on the planet or maybe the best spotting scope for ultralight, backcountry hunting. Here at Backwoods Pursuit we love optics, so getting the opportunity to test so many spotting scopes side by side was a real privilege.

For some people, the best spotting scope for hunting means one that is ultralight, pack-able, and able to be used when sitting down. For others, it is one that sits atop a large, steady tripod and isn’t carried around all day in your pack. No matter what your preference is, you probably have some type of budget and are looking for the best spotting scope for the money you have allotted for this purchase.

With that in mind, we set out to gather up as many test subjects that we could get our hands on to find the best spotting scope for hunting, as well as the best spotting scope for the money. For the 85 mm spotting scope class, we started at the $1,000 range since that is the price point where the good glass starts. In the 65 mm class, we started at the $600 price point to try to find any bargains that might be out there.

18 Best Spotting Spotting Scope Review

When you are trying to decide what the best spotting scope for hunting is, there’s simply nothing better than getting to put them to the test in the field. Better yet, if you can put one side by side with a number of other spotting scopes, you can really start to see the differences. But who gets the chance to do that? Well, that’s exactly what we were able to do which was pretty remarkable, so we could give our findings to you. This was a MONUMENTAL TASK, be we were able to assemble almost every quality spotting scope on the market today, assemble a team of folks to give their opinion, and start testing.

For us here at Backwoods Pursuit, we were looking for the best spotting scope for hunting purposes, but hopefully these results will help you narrow down your search for whatever purpose you use it for in the backwoods.

No matter what features make up the best spotting scope for hunting for you, we all want a few things:

  • A nice crisp image
  • Good low light performance
  • As good of edge-to-edge clarity as we can afford
  • Easy, comfortable use
  • A good warranty
Best spotting scope for hunting

DON’T FORGET TO MAKE SURE THAT YOUR SPOTTING SCOPE IS SITTING ATOP A NICE TRIPOD! A steady tripod really does make a HUGE difference. Check out our Ultralight Tripod Review to help narrow down your search.

Best Spotting Scope for Hunting: The Testing

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Best spotting scope for hunting

We categorized the spotting scopes into a 65 mm class and a 85 mm class. Each spotting scope was put on the same tripod model (a Field Optics Research Pro Max with one of their FVH300 heads), pointed at the same object, and each of the 14 participants spent time going down the line making notes and ranking each scope. I wanted to get more than just my own opinion for this big of a project, so I called in the troops! A huge thank you to all of the guys who came out to help with this!

Best spotting scope for hunting

Each participant was given a worksheet of things to look for and ranked them to help us find the best spotting scope for hunting in each category. While most of us were looking for the best spotting scope for hunting purposes, all of these can certainly be used for many other purposes. Each of these were ranked from best to worst in the following categories relevant to its respective price range:

  • Overall image clarity
  • Edge-to-edge clarity
  • Low light performance
  • Focus wheel functionality
  • Overall score

I want to make one thing clear: finding the best spotting scope for hunting in each category requires that we set out to be nit-picky and not sugar coat these results. None of these spotting scopes are bad, but we wanted to help you find the BEST spotting scope for hunting that fits your specific needs, so we’ll bring you our honest feedback of what we liked and didn’t like about each one. Make sure you check out the chart below to see how the team ranked each spotting scope.

Want a more detailed rundown of ALL of these spotting scopes? Become a Backwoods Pursuit Member and check out the detailed data chart used to put this review together.

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The Short and Sweet Results

Ok. If you don’t want to read all the details on each of the scopes we tested, here’s the overall average score from the testing team with their respective price points. None of the participants knew the price point of the spotting scopes when rating them in an effort to be as objective as possible. There were a couple of real surprises! Make sure to read through the details below for why each one excelled and where each one fell short.

65mm Class: Overall Best Spotting Scope For Hunting


85mm Class: Overall Best Spotting Scope For Hunting

As you can see, finding the best spotting scope for hunting doesn’t necessarily mean just picking the highest priced one you can afford, however, there is absolutely a correlation between price point and optical performance. A couple of the surprises, ones that way out-performed their price points, were the Athlon Cronus UHD 86 mm, the Kowa Spotting Scopes (all three of them) and the Athlon Ares UHD 65 mm. The fact that the Kowa TSN 883 was just BARELY edged out by the Swarovski ATX yet costs a grand less, is incredibly impressive. The majority of the group also thought the Kowa TSN 773 out-performed the Swarovski ATX 65 mm, again coming in at $800 less.

The Athlon Cronus was the biggest surprise to the testing group as it received the most 1st place votes and out- performed, not only every other spotter in its price class, but several other scopes that cost hundreds of dollars more as well. The Kowa TSN 773 and Swarovski ATX still won the day in the 65 mm category, but if you can’t spend that kind of money, the Athlon Cronus was the best spotting scope in the “bang for your buck” category.

You Get what you Pay for – The Old Adage

This principle applies all the way up the price points as well as the lower price points. As you’ve probably heard, the law of diminishing returns is very apparent in buying good glass, meaning, you spend a lot more to get just a little better quality the higher up in price you go. It’s kind of cruel, but it’s just the way it is.

12 of The Best spotting Scopes For Hunting: 85mm Class

$1000-$1500 Category

Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope

Category Rank: #3

85mm- $1,000-$1,500

Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope

The Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope kicks off our lineup in this extensive search for the best spotting scope for hunting. The Bushnell Forge Spotting scope features a 20x-60x zoom and an 80 mm objective lens that comes in either a straight or angled eye piece. With a price tag of $1099, the Forge is the least expensive in this group and is really, what I’d consider, an “entry level” price point for good spotting scopes. It performed admirably in the testing and, quite frankly, much better than I thought it would.

Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope

In my time testing the Bushnell Forge Spotting scope, I was impressed with it given its price point. I have to be honest that I didn’t expect a lot from a spotting scope just over $1,000, but the Forge really gave a nice image and decent edge-to-edge clarity. As you’d expect, you lose clarity when you move to the outer edges of the image with the Forge, and the image has a warmer tint to it, which is very pleasant during bright daylight hours, but seemed to cause a loss of clarity and brightness in low light.

Group Testing- Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope

So, how did the Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope fair in its price category? While it came in 3rd place overall, behind the Sig Oscar 8 and the Athlon Cronos in the $1000-$1500 category, the group of reviewers ranked the edge-to-edge clarity and low light clarity in a 2nd place tie with the Sig Oscar 8. The Forge also earned the most 2nd place votes in its focus wheel functionality.

Dual Focus Wheel

Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope

The Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope features dual focus, which proved to be the preferred style of this group of testers over the barrel focus style. Why? Well, most (but not all) felt like the dual focus gives you more precise control of the fine focus when you are really honing in on an object. That proved the case with the Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope, but most testers thought the fine focus of the Bushnell Forge was good but a little too fine. In other words, it took too much rotation of the fine focus wheel to get the job done vs other spotting scopes with a dual focus system, like the Athlon Cronos and Kowa spotting scopes.

Tunnel Feel

Another thing our testers noticed with the Forge was having that tunnel vision feel, particularly at lower magnification. As you’ll see throughout this review, that’s the case with pretty much every spotting scope that doesn’t feature a wide-angle lens, which is the case with the Bushnell Forge. It’s not a deal breaker, but it is noticeable.

Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope Pros:

  • Great price point & value ($1,099)
  • ED prime glass
  • Dual focus

Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope Cons:

  • Fine focus is too fine
  • Tunnel feel
  • Large/heavy
  • Good but not great image clarity
  • Good but not great edge-to-edge clarity
Buy Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope

Sig Sauer Oscar8 Spotting Scope

Category Rank: #2

85mm- $1,000-$1,500

Sig Oscar8 Spotting Scope

The Sig Oscar 8 Spotting Scope comes in at the a mid-range price category and performed very well in relation to the others in this category. It offers a nice, crisp image, a great rubber armor coating, a 27x-55x zoom, and an 80 mm objective lens which only comes in an angled eye piece. The Sig Oscar 8 didn’t quite keep up with the Alpha Glass we tested, but that was no surprise given the price point.

Sig Oscar8 Spotting Scope

Edge-to-edge clarity was good on the Sig Oscar 8 Spotting Scope, but we did notice a bit of a blue/grey ring around the outer edge of the field of view in brighter light. We also noticed a little bit of chromatic aberration, (blurring on the edges of images) but it was fairly minimal. Our group really liked the barrel focus mechanism of the Sig Oscar 8 as it was nice and smooth with no noticeable play.

Sig Oscar8 Clarity

Sig Oscar8 Spotting Scope

The group was impressed with the clarity the Sig Oscar 8 Spotting Scope produced, both in low light and brighter light. A warmer tone made daytime viewing very pleasant, but like others with a warmer tone, it made low light viewing slightly less clear and contrasted. The Sig Oscar 8 was really impressive during testing, particularly at its price point of $1,499. You get a very nice spotting scope that will do pretty much everything you need it to.

Group Testing: Sig Oscar8

The Sig Oscar 8 Spotting Scope was impressive and showed that it is a great value within this price range. While the majority ranked it #2 overall in its price category, a number of testers ranked it #1, and many ranked it #1 within the clarity and brightness categories, while coming in second to the Athlon Cronos in the image clarity, edge-to-edge clarity, and low light clarity departments. The Sig Oscar 8 took the top spot in the focus wheel functionality department. Overall, the Sig Oscar 8 Spotting Scope received the most 2nd place votes for the $1,000-$1,500 price point.

Sig Oscar8 Spotting Scope

Sig Oscar8 Tunnel Feel

The group also noted that, like the Bushnell Forge (and the Athlon Cronus in this category), the Sig Oscar 8 gives you a bit of that “tunnel” feel, particularly at the lower zoom range. Although not as much as the Bushnell Forge, that feel is still there. This is primarily due to the Sig Oscar 8 not featuring a wide-angle lens.

Check out Our Sig Oscar8 Video Review!

Sig Sauer Oscar 8 Spotting Scope Pros:

  • Nice crisp image
  • Good low light performance
  • Great value
  • Very nice rubber armor
  • Neoprene case included

Sig Sauer Oscar8 Spotting Scope Cons:

  • Slightly heavier than others in its class (67.2oz)
  • Edge-to-edge clarity wasn’t the best
  • Tunnel feel
  • Blue/grey ring around outside edges (in some lighting)
  • A little chromatic aberration

READ OUR FULL REVIEW OF THE SIG SAUER OSCAR8 SPOTTING SCOPE HERE

Buy the Sig Oscar 8 @ Amazon

Athlon Cronus UHD Spotting Scope – Best Spotting Scope For Hunting

Category Rank: #1

85mm- $1,000-$1,500

Athlon Cronos UHD Spotting Scope

Next up is the one our group voted as the best spotting scope for hunting in the $1,000-$1,500 category. The Athlon Cronus UHD 20-60×86 mm spotting scope really impressed the group. The Athlon Cronus Spotting Scope was a model not many of us had any experience with prior to testing. I’m sure glad we were able to test the Athlon Cronus Spotting Scope to see how it stacked up in our search for the best spotting scope for hunting!

The UHD glass not only held its own, but was a standout in its class. With a price tag of $1,499, the Athlon Cronus Spotting Scope pushed the envelope, and quite frankly, even out-performed a couple in the next price category up from it (see above).

A couple of things are instantly obvious with the Athlon Cronus Spotting Scope when you look at it.

Athlon Cronos Spotting Scope
  1. The shape is more linear than other angled spotting scopes, making it easier to get in and out of the side pocket of your pack.
  2. You get a nice dual focus system with the Cronos.
  3. The zoom mechanism and eye relief adjustment are buttery smooth.

Group Testing: Athlon Cronus Spotting Scope

Athlon Cronos Spotting Scope

The group voted the Athlon Cronus Spotting Scope #1 in its price category, and it wasn’t particularly close. With a butter-smooth eye piece, super smooth twist-up eye cup (no clicks), unique linear design, and most of all excellent image clarity, edge-to-edge clarity, low light performance and focus wheel functionality, the Athlon Cronus Spotting Scope easily earned it the top spot in every category except in the area of focus wheel functionality, where the Sig Oscar 8 took the top spot. We did note a little bit of chromatic aberration in the Athlon Cronus UHD, but very little and noticeably less than others in its group.

Athlon Cronos Spotting Scope Pros:

  • Super crisp image, beyond its price point
  • Great ergonomics
  • Super smooth focus wheel, eye relief, and zoom adjustment
  • Linear design
  • Excellent value

Athlon Cronos Spotting Scope Cons:

  • Weight (66.5oz)
  • Tunnel feel/smaller field of view

The Athlon Cronus Spotting Scope is a fantastic value and delivers a super sharp image well beyond its price point. I really wish it had a wide-angle lens, though, for a larger field of view. That is the only small downside to this spotting scope.

Buy the Athlon Cronos UHD Spotter

12 of the Best spotting Scopes For Hunting: 85mm Class

$1,500-$2,500 Category

Vortex Razor HD 85mm Spotting Scope

Category Rank: #4

85mm- $1,500-$2,500

Votex Razor HD 85mm Spotting Scope

The next price category in our search for the best spotting scope for hunting is the $1,500-$2,500 price point. The 20x-60xx 85 mm Vortex Razor HD spotting scope kicks off this category coming in at a price point of $1,600. Being the least expensive in this class, it’s no surprise that it didn’t quite hang with the others and came in 4th in all categories in this group. As we all know, price point is often times an indicator of optical quality.

This was the case with the Vortex Razor HD 85 mm spotting scope. While the Razor by no means was bad, most of the testers didn’t think it had quite that crisp, clear image, good edge-to-edge clarity, and good low light performance as some of the others featured did.

Votex Razor HD 85mm Spotting Scope

The Vortex Razor HD more than does the job for most hunters and is by no means a poor performer, but the competition in this price bracket is fierce. The grayish tone also really seemed to decrease its low light performance. One final thing noticed by the group of testers was the eye cups on the Razor HD. While they were comfortable and provided a multi-click adjustment, the clicks were quite loose and very disappointing.

Eye cups are typically one of the first points of failure in optics in general. The eye pieces in both the 65 mm and 85 mm Razors were just not good. The eye piece isn’t a deal breaker, but we all certainly wished they would have been tighter. The Razor HD 85 mm has a top notch warranty so if something did go wrong it would be covered.

Vortex razor HD 85mm Pros:

  • Great warranty
  • Smooth zoom mechanism

Vortex Razor HD 85mm Cons:

  • Low light performance
  • Overall image clarity
  • Loose eye cups
  • Grayish tint

Overall the Vortex Razor HD 85 mm spotting scope is a very nice spotter with a killer warranty, as I’m sure you already know. The group thought it was a little disappointing in image quality, but it will more than get the job done for most of your big game hunting needs.

Buy Razor HD Spotter @ Black Ovis

Leupold Santium SX-5 Spotting Scope

Category Rank: #3

85mm- $1,500-$2,500

Leuupold Santium SX-5 Spotting Scope

The Leupold Santium SX-5 is Leupold’s best spotting scope for hunting featured in its lineup. Leupold has long been a brand that has produced excellent optics, but the Leupold Santium SX-5 received the most votes for 3rd place overall, the most votes for 3rd place in the image clarity, edge-to-edge clarity and focus mechanism categorizes, while coming in with the most votes for 4th place in the low light performance category. The Santium gives you a nice crisp image, but the group was left wanting a little more in the image clarity department given the price point of $1,800 for the Santium SX-5. To be clear, it was very good, and we are being nit-picky here.

Leuupold Santium SX-5 Spotting Scope

The group loved the smooth focus mechanism of the Santium SX-5, and the eye piece is nice and crisp. The zoom mechanism is also very nice and smooth and the rubber, armor covering on the Santium is perfect for keeping it safe for your backcountry hunting trips. You know you are getting a very well-made product with this Leupold spotting scope, and one that is backed by a warranty that has a long history of standing behind its products.

The Leupold Sanitum SX-5 ranked 3rd overall in our panel, as well as 3rd in image clarity, edge-to-edge clarity and focus wheel functionality, while tying the Vortex Razor HD for 4th place in low light performance.

Leupold Santium SX-5 Pros:

  • Rubber armor
  • Great warranty
  • Smooth focus mechanism
  • Nice eye piece and zoom mechanisms
  • Fast focus

Leupold Santium SX-5 Cons:

  • Image clarity
  • Edge-to-edge clarity
  • Price point

Overall the Leupold Santium SX-5 is a very nice spotting scope that is well-made and produces a nice, clear image. It fell right in line within the rankings relative to where its price point fell, so that principle stayed consistent. You don’t get as much zoom with the Leupold Santium being that it’s just 27x-55x magnification, which is a bit of a bummer.

READ OUR FULL REVIEW OF THE LEUPOLD SANTIAM SX-5 SPOTTING SCOPE HERE

Buy the Leupold Santium SX-5

Maven S1.A Spotting Scope

Category Rank: #2

85mm- $1,500-$2,500

Maven S1.A Spotting Scope

Next up in our search for the best spotting scope for hunting is the Maven S1.A. This is Maven’s top of the line spotting scope featuring a nice rubber armor, awesome customizable design, nice comfortable eye piece, and most of all, top-notch image quality. The Maven S1.A comes in a straight or angled eye piece as well.

Maven S1.A Spotting Scope

During testings our team had an interestingly wide range of insight. Most folks absolutely loved the image quality, and it decisively took the #2 spot in image clarity, focus wheel functionality, low light performance, and overall rank. The results were a little more varied in the edge-to-edge clarity category with the Maven taking the #3 spot there just behind the Leupold Santium SX-5 in that department.

The Maven S1.A features a 25x-50×80 mm objective, the least amount of magnification of this group, which was a downside. The group also didn’t care for how stiff the focus wheel was and thought that it hampered your ability to fine-focus the image, particularly at high magnification. Some testers also commented that the grip on the focus wheel was a little unpleasant to the touch and almost felt sharp. The grip was excellent though.

Maven S1.A Spotting Scope

Maven S1.A Pros:

  • Customizable
  • Super crisp image
  • Super smooth zoom and eye piece mechanisms
  • Exceptional value

Maven S1.A Cons:

  • 50x max zoom
  • Focus wheel too stiff

At the end of the day the Maven S1.A was a standout in value, image quality, low light performance, and most of the important aspects of finding the best spotting scope for hunting. The Maven S1.A could be considered the best spotting scope for the money in this class, however, it didn’t quite take the top spot to our group.

READ OUR FULL REVIEW OF THE MAVEN S1.A SPOTTING SCOPE HERE

Buy the Maven S1.A Spotting Scope

Kowa TSN 773 – Best Spotting Scope for Hunting

Category Rank: #1

85mm- $1,500-$2,500

Kowa TSN 773 Spotting Scope

According to our team, the Kowa TSN 773 was the best spotting scope for hunting that we tested in this category. It excelled in pretty much every category and took the top spot in every single category decisively by a large margin. It wasn’t even close. This is pretty amazing given that it is only a 77 mm objective lens yet it so definitively beat out every other 80 mm-85 mm contender we tested.

When you are looking for amazing clarity, low weight, and great value, look to the Kowa TSN 773. At just 59 oz, the performance you get from this spotting scope is quite incredible. It is $200 more than the Maven S1.A, so if you are reaching the top of your budget to be able to purchase the Maven, the Kowa TSN 773 might be a bit too much so keep in mind, the Maven would be just fine as it is absolutely incredible as well. Again, at this level of glass, we are being super nit picky here.

Kowa TSN 773 Spotting Scope

We tested the Kowa with the 25x-60x wide-angle eye piece as that’s the one best suited for our western hunting need, and it did not disappoint. It has a buttery smooth operation with the perfect amount of resistance, a fantastic eye piece, and dual focus that is absolutely perfect. The Kowa dual focus was the favorite consensus among our group of testers.

Kowa TSN 773 Spotting Scope

One thing noted about the Kowa TSN 773 was how long the eye piece extends, making it a bit tougher to get in and out of your pack. While this is a small thing, it’s one you’ll likely be just fine putting up with because of the amazing glass and functionality you get.

Another thing that might strike you as odd is the lack of rubber armor on the Kowa TSN 773. At first you may think this is a real bummer, but in all reality, the magnesium alloy body is more than durable enough to handle about anything you throw at it. Sure, I’d like rubber armor on it, but that also adds some extra weight. At the end of the day, during testing and using it in the field, I didn’t even miss the rubber armor.

Kowa TSN 773 Pros:

  • Crystal clear image
  • Edge-to-edge clarity
  • Silky smooth zoom and eye piece adjustment
  • Amazing dual focus system

Kowa TSN 773 Cons:

  • Long eyepiece
  • No rubber armor

READ OUR FULL REVIEW OF THE MAVEN S1.A SPOTTING SCOPE HERE


12 of the Best spotting Scopes For Hunting: 85mm Class

$2,500+ Category

Meopta Meostar S2 (Standard Eyepiece)

Category Rank: #5

85mm- $2,500+

Meopta Meostar S2 spotting scope

Kicking off the next section for our price category of $2,500+ is the Meopta Meostar S2 with a standard eye piece. If you are looking for the best spotting scope for hunting, this is the class you want to be looking in. The prices are steep, but you can expect to pay a bundle to find the best spotting scope for hunting. Again, we are absolutely splitting hairs to say which one of these is the “best spotting scope for hunting” and it’s still very subjective, but we’ll take the average as we’ve done for this whole review.

The Meopta Meostar S2 is considered one of the best spotting scopes out there, so we were anxious to see what the group thought of it. Being an 82 mm spotting scope and weighing in at 66 ounces, it’s not a lightweight spotting scope, but if you are looking in this category, you know you will be packing some weight, and it’s right in line with the others in this group weight wise.

Meopta Meostar S2 spotting scope

The Meopta Meostar S2 features a crisp, clear image, incredible edge-to-edge clarity, a nice smooth barrel focus wheel, and fantastic low light performance. In our group testing, the Meostar S2 standard lens version received the most votes for the 4th place spot, however, it was extremely close between 3rd, 4th, and 5th place rankings, really almost indistinguishable. One of the main differences with this standard eyepiece is that you get much more of that tunnel vision feel vs a wide-angle lens. The Meostar also features a warmer, slightly yellow color temperature which is awesome for daytime viewing, but caused a little loss of brightness in low light.

The focus wheel is nice and smooth and decisively took 3rd place in that category while receiving the most votes for 5th in image clarity, 3rd in edge-to-edge clarity, 5th in low light clarity, and 4th overall in this category. The Meopta Meostar S2 is an incredible spotting scope and even received a couple votes for #1 in edge-to-edge and image clarity departments. That’s just how close this was.

Meopta Meostar S2 Pros:

  • Image clarity
  • Great focus wheel
  • Edge-to-edge clarity
  • Armor coating
  • Comfortable eye piece
  • Warm color temperature

Meopta Meostar S2 cons:

  • Tunnel vision/narrow field of view
  • Low light brightness (due to warmer color temperature)

Meopta Meostar S2 Wide Angle Lens

Category Rank: #4

85mm- $2,500+

Meopta Meostar S2 spotting scope

Next up in the best spotting scope for hunting options in the $2,500+ category is the Meopta Meostar S2 built with the wide-angle eyepiece. Like the Meopta Meostar with the standard eyepiece, the wide-angle version offers the same amazing optical quality, but with a much wider field of view. Why wouldn’t you want that? Well, to get the wide-angle viewing, your zoom range lessens from 20x-70x offered in the standard eyepiece, down to 30x-60x.

One of the comments folks made about the Meostar S2 Wide Angle version was that it gave them that “roller ball” or “fish tank” effect when panning with it. The field of view isn’t flat like others. Some folks really disliked this aspect, even though the optics were excellent. After using the Meostar S2, I can say that do get used to it, but when side by side with others, it’s much more noticeable.

Meopta Meostar S2 spotting scope

The Meostar also features a warmer, slightly yellow color temperature which is awesome for daytime viewing, but caused a little loss of brightness in low light. The Meopta Meostar Wide Angle version received the most votes for 4th place overall, while coming in at a tie with the Meostar S2 with a standard eye piece as expected.

Meopta Meostar Wide angle Pros:

  • Wide field of view
  • Crisp, clear image
  • Great focus wheel
  • Armor coating
  • Comfortable eye piece
  • Warm color temperature

meopta Meostar wide Angle cons:

  • Roller ball affect
  • Edge-to-edge clarity slightly less than others in the group

Nightforce TS-82 Spotting Scope (Standard Eyepiece)

Category Rank: #3

85mm- $2,500+

Nightforce TS-82 Spotting Scope

Next up in our search for the best spotting scope for hunting is the Nightforce TS-82 with a standard eyepiece. While the Nightforce TS-82 is optically identical to the Meopta Meostar S2 with a standard eyepiece, our group seemed to just ever so slightly prefer its image over the Meostar. The margin was so narrow, (it was effectively a tie) as it should be since they are basically the same spotting scope. However, the group did not like the focus wheel or zoom eyepiece mechanism of the Nightforce TS-82 as much. Both were a bit too stiff, and the “spikes” used to provide grip were pretty aggressive and not the most comfortable to use.

While these certainly aren’t deal breakers since optical clarity is why you spend this kind of money on a spotter, it’s something to consider. Basically everything said optically about the Meopta Meostar S2 applies to the Nightforce TS-82, but with the Nightforce you get a different package on the outside. It all comes down to personal preference.

Nightforce TS-82 Spotting Scope

Nightforce TS-82 (Standard Eyepiece) Pros:

  • Crisp, clear image
  • Armor coating
  • Comfortable eye piece
  • Great edge-to-edge clarity
  • Warm color temperature

Nightforce TS-82 (Standard Eyepiece) Cons:

  • Narrow field of view
  • Uncomfortable focus wheel and zoom mechanism
  • Focus wheel and zoom mechanism too stiff
Buy the Nighforce TS82 Spotter

Kowa TSN 883 Spotting Scope

Category Rank: #2

85mm- $2,500+

Kowa TSN 883 Spotting Scope

We’re down to the final two best spotting scopes for hunting options that we tested. These last two were so incredibly close, it really does come down to personal preference, but there were a few distinct difference in function and performance. The Kowa TSN 883 is considered by many to be the best spotting scope on the planet. I must admit, during my personal testing of the Kowa TSN 883 I was so impressed, I really thought it would come out on top for the group. Let’s dive into why it came in 2nd behind the Swarovski ATX.

The Kowa TSN 883 has absolutely no noticeable chromatic aberration, incredible edge-to-edge clarity, low light performance that is off the charts, and beloved dual focus system. The Kowa TSN 883 ran away with 2nd place in every category other than the focus wheel functionality, where it placed 1st. The Kowa TSN 883 has a warm color temperature, similar to the Meopta, and when built with the wide-angle lens, gives you a 25x-60x eyepiece that is a dream to use. It gives you 4 position options, but the group preferred the smooth function of the ATX over the multi-position feature overall.

Kowa TSN 883 Spotting Scope

Some would say that the Kowa TSN 883 could use some rubber armor, but I didn’t find it a problem at all during my field testing. The Kowa TSN 883 also saves you a few ounces over the others in this group, which is incredible given that it features an 88 mm objective lens (the biggest of the group) and pure fluorite lenses, giving you that crystal clear image.

Kowa TSN 883 Pros:

  • Unreal clarity
  • Unreal edge-to-edge clarity
  • Silky smooth dual focus system
  • Top notch low light performance
  • Weight (65.4 oz)

Kowa TSN 883 Cons:

  • Long eye piece
  • No rubber armor

It’s pretty simple. Buy a Kowa TSN 883 and you don’t have to wonder if you have one of the best spotting scopes out there. It really is that simple. One last factor that really is a consideration is the price point. At over $1,000 less than the Swarovski ATX 85 mm and 2.4 ounces lighter, the decision might be easy. It’s truly incredible that Kowa is offering a spotting scope of this quality at a price point that’s much less than the ATX!

Swarovski ATX 85mm Spotting Scope

Category Rank: #1

85mm- $2,500+

Swarovski ATX 85mm Spotting Scope

Do you want the best spotting scope for hunting, regardless of the price? Well, the Swarovski ATX could be considered that spotting scope. While we unfortunately weren’t able to track down a Leica Geovid Spotting Scope or a Zeiss Harpia Spotting Scope for this review, this group of 14 testers crowned the Swarovski ATX 85 mm the best of the best from this group of 19 spotting scopes. We really wanted to have those other two spotting scopes in this test to review and compare side by side, but unfortunately, we weren’t able get our hands on them. Hopefully we will in the future, and we’ll have another review in the making!

Swarovski ATX 85mm Spotting Scope

So what makes the Swarovski ATX the best spotting scope for hunting? The image clarity and edge-to-edge clarity are insane! One thing that stands out about the Swarovski ATX is the high contrast image quality. You get a much whiter image than the Kowa or Meopta spotters, which seemed to be the reason the ATX edged out the Kowa in low light situations. The Swarovski ATX 85 mm decisively took the top spot in every category except the focus wheel functionality, where the Kowa blew the competition away.

Swarovski ATX 85mm Spotting Scope

I do want to mention though that in some situations, I definitely gave the low light edge to the Kowa TSN 883, but in others, like when we were doing our group testing with broken snow in the distance, it wasn’t close. The ATX was brighter and more clear when it got to the last minutes of daylight. I even changed my vote for best low light performance right at the last light. I was really surprised on this last test because I’d personally tested the Kowa TSN883 and Swaro ATX side by side a couple other times in low light and thought the Kowa edged out the Swarovski ATX.

Swarovski ATX 85mm Spotting Scope Pros:

  • Amazing edge-to-edge clarity
  • Unreal image clarity
  • Super comfortable eye piece
  • Silky smooth eyepiece
  • Smooth focus system

Swarovski ATX 85mm Spotting Scope Cons:

  • Barrel focus system (harder to fine tune image)
  • Weight
  • Price point

The Swarovski ATX is simply an amazing spotting scope. There’s really not a lot more to say. The group loved the smooth eye piece, silky smooth focus wheel, and smooth twist up eyepiece (no clicks). Its low light performance was incredible! Buy the Swarovski ATX, and you won’t be disappointed!


8 Best Spotting Scopes For Hunting: 65mm Class

Under $1,000 Category

Best spotting scope for hunting

For this test we lined up all the 65 mm spotting scopes and went to work. Here are how the results played out.

Bushnell Nitro Compact 65mm Spotting Scope

Category Rank: #4

65mm- Under $1,000

Bushnell Nitro 65mm Compact Spotting Scope

First up in our search for the best spotting scope in the 65 mm category is the Bushnell Nitro Compact 65 mm. This group of 65 mm spotting scopes in the sub $1,000 price point is smaller as finding quality spotting scopes under $1,000 generally isn’t where you’d start if you are looking at the best spotting scopes for hunting. However, there is a place for this category when budget is a restriction, or you simply don’t want to drop several thousand dollars on a spotter.

The Bushnell Nitro Compact 65 mm spotter is nice and compact like the name implies and weighs in at 46.6 ounces. While still lightweight, the group would have liked to see it weigh a bit less given its great compact size. 46.6 ounces isn’t heavy, but it’s almost double the weight of the Kowa TSN 553 that we’ll look at in a moment.

Bushnell Nitro 65mm Compact Spotting Scope

The construction of the Bushnell Nitro with a straight eyepiece wasn’t well-liked by our group as several testers commented that it was uncomfortable to use. Obviously, this is a personal preference thing as some people prefer a straight eyepiece and some prefer an angled eyepiece. The Bushnell Nitro Compact spotter came in solidly ranking #4 overall and in every other category except the focus wheel functionality, where it tied at #3 with it’s bigger brother, the Nitro Full Size. Folks really seemed to like the dual focus system Bushnell offers, other than the fine focus wheel of the dual focus system was too fine and took too much movement to bring it into fine focus.

Bushnell Nitro Compact 65mm Pros:

  • Nice, crisp eye cups
  • Compact size
  • Dual focus system

Bushnell Nitro Compact 65mm Cons:

  • Image quality
  • Low light performance
  • Fine focus wheel too fine
  • Weight (for a compact spotter)
  • Chromatic aberration
Buy the Bushnell Nitro Compact

Bushnell Nitro 65mm Full Size Spotting Scope

Category Rank: #3

65mm- Under $1,000

Bushnell Nitro 65mm Spotting Scope

Next up in the 65 mm class of the best spotting scopes for hunting is the Bushnell Nitro 20-60×65 mm full-size version. Similar to the compact version of the Nitro, this full-size model features a nice dual focus system. While our group of testers liked Bushnell’s dual focus system, most thought the fine focus wheel was far too fine as it took too many revolutions to bring the fine focus to where you wanted it.

The Bushnell Nitro full-size version came in 3rd in every category tested. The edge-to-edge clarity and overall image clarity were decent, but left a bit to be desired for our group of testers. The group generally liked the fit, feel and image quality of the Nitro full-size over the Nitro Compact version though. The Bushnell Nitro full-size version received several 1st place votes in every category as some folks preferred it over the Maven CS1.A, which took the 2nd spot in this category.

Bushnell Nitro 65mm Spotting Scope

Granted, when you are looking at a spotting scope just over $700, you certainly can’t expect the performance of some of the best spotting scopes that command a higher price point. I liked that the lens caps come with a quick detach, so you can either leave them hanging during use or quickly and easily remove them. Another nice thing about the Bushnell Nitro full-size vs the compact model is the extra zoom you get in the 20-60x. You pay a small weight penalty of 9 oz though vs the compact version. You do get that tunnel feeling during use, but again that’s because the Nitro doesn’t feature a wide-angle eyepiece.

Bushnell Nitro Full Size Pros:

  • Comfortable eye piece
  • 20-60x zoom
  • Angled eye piece
  • Nice, smooth zoom
  • Crisp eye cups

Bushnell Nitro Full-Size Cons:

  • Image clarity a bit lacking
  • Edge-to-edge clarity a bit lacking
  • Tunnel view feeling
  • Fine focus too fine
  • Chromatic aberration
  • Weight (55.2oz)
Buy the Bushnell Nitro Full Size

Maven CS.1 65mm Spotting Scope

Category Rank: #2

65mm- Under $1,000

Maven CS.1 Compact Spotting Scope

The spotting scope receiving the most overall 2nd place votes in the 65 mm class of the best spotting scopes for hunting was a new compact spotting scope from Maven; the CS.1 The Maven CS.1 only comes in an angled version and is a solid spotter for an affordable price point of $650 given how well it performed.

Our group of testers gave the Maven CS.1 the 2nd place spot as the best spotting scope for hunting in the sub $1,000 category of 65 mm spotting scopes.

Maven CS.1 Compact Spotting Scope

The focus wheel was a little awkward at first as it is placed in front of the collar, but once you get used to it, it’s very nice and is super smooth without noticeable play. Edge-to-edge clarity was just ok as you lose a lot of image quality as you move to the edge of the field of view. It easily took home 2nd place among this group in this category though. The eyepiece on the Maven CS.1 is especially impressive and rivals the smoothness and the feel of quality that you get with the Swarovski ATX.

Maven CS.1 Pros:

  • Smooth focus wheel
  • Crisp image (especially for its price point)
  • Nice compact design
  • Weight (40.4 oz)
  • Silky, smooth eye cup
  • Super, smooth zoom mechanism

Maven CS.1 Cons:

  • Edge-to-edge clarity
  • Odd focus wheel placement
  • Some chromatic aberration
  • No sun shade
Maven CS.1 Compact Spotting Scope

The Maven CS.1 performed well for its price point in every category, and our group was impressed with the size and clarity of the center of the image with this little spotting scope. It does lose significant image quality as you move to the edge of the field of view though. If you can’t or don’t want to drop a lot of money on a spotting scope, and want something that is easy to pack around, this little Maven CS.1 is one of the best spotting scopes for hunting in the compact, budget category.

Buy the Maven CA.1 Spotting Scope

Athlon Ares UHD 15-45x65mm

Category Rank: #1

65mm- Under $1,000

Athlon Ares UHD 15-45x65 Spotting Scope

If you are looking for the best spotting scope for hunting in the sub $1,000 category, you’ll want to take a good, hard look at the Athlon Ares UHD 15-45×65 mm. This was a last minute add-on to the review, but man we are glad we got to include it! The Athlon Ares UHD spotting scope blew away the competition in this category in image quality, edge-to-edge clarity, color contrast and low light performance. It also took first place in the eyepiece smoothness and focus wheel functionality as the focus wheel is super smooth and free of any unwanted play. The eyepiece is also silky smooth and isn’t a click style, which our group preferred overall.

Athlon Ares UHD 15-45x65 Spotting Scope

Like the Maven CS.1, the focus wheel is a bit awkward being in front of where it attaches to the tripod, but it’s something you get use to quickly. The Athlon Ares UHD 15-45×65 come in a straight model or angled version and features a very nice rubber armor, sun shade and collar to adjust the angle of your viewing. I just can’t say enough how impressed we were with the value you get with this little Athlon Ares UHD Spotting Scope. This thing is a true gem and the very reason we love doing these types of reviews: helping you find not only great glass, but a great value as well.

Athlon Ares UHD 15-45x65 Spotting Scope

If you take note in the above rankings, you may have noticed that this little Athlon Ares UHD 15-45×65 mm compact spotting scope even ranked higher that the Vortex Razor HD 65 mm which was shocking, especially given the massive price difference. This was unquestionably the best spotting scope for hunting in the sub $1000 price point category. Here are a few of the things we liked and didn’t like about the Athlon Ares UHD.

Athlon Ares UHD 15-45x65mm Pros:

  • Image quality
  • Color contrast
  • Edge-to-edge clarity
  • Compact size

Athlon Ares UHD 15-45x65mm Cons:

  • Weight
  • Slightly awkward focus wheel
Athlon Ares UHD 15-45x65 Spotting Scope

While there is a ton that makes this Athlon Ares UHD the best spotting scope for hunting in its respective category, there is one main downside: the weight. It comes in at 49 oz (including both caps). It’s still significantly lighter than other 65 mm spotting scopes, but not quite as light as the Maven CS.1 (40 oz) and is significantly heavier than the Kowa TSN 553 (28 oz).

For the reasons above, our group of testers voted the Athlon Ares UHD 15-45×65 mm spotting scope the best spotting scope for hunting in the sub $1,000 category, and it wasn’t particularly close. Well done, Athlon Optics!

Buy the Athlon Ares UHD

8 Best Spotting Scopes For Hunting: 65mm Class

$1,000+ Category

Vortex Razor HD 65mm Spotting Scope

Category Rank: #4

65mm- $1,000+

Vortex Razor HD 65mm Spotting Scope

The first in this category of the best spotting scopes for hunting in the $1,000+ category is the Vortex Razor HD 65 mm. The Vortex Razor HD 65 mm is right on the cusp of this category at $1,099, so could have been included in the first price bracket, but really, the Vortex Razor is the only spotting scope within hundreds of dollars of the next one in either direction.

Like the larger 85 mm version of the Vortex Razor HD, the 65 mm Razor featured a nice focus mechanism, nice smooth zoom function, and great, rubber armor. The Razor HD 65 mm is backed by a warranty that’s as good as there is in the industry as well, so your investment is well-protected.

Vortex Razor HD 65mm Spotting Scope

Like the larger 85 mm Razor, our group of testers found the eye cup to be very disappointing as it was very loose and quite sloppy, not providing nice, tight click stops at each eye relief position. Optically, the Vortex Razor HD 65 mm came in 4th in every category, but that’s not particularly surprising given the price gap between it and the Kowa TSN 553 that comes next after a substantial price jump.

What was surprising was how the Athlon Ares UHD 65 mm we mentioned above easily out-performed the Razor HD optically according to the group. The Vortex Razor HD 65 mm was decent in image clarity and edge-to-edge clarity, but noticeably lost edge-to-edge clarity and color contrast vs the others in its group according to our group of testers.

Vortex Razor HD 65mm Spotting Scope

The Vortex Razor comes in either a straight or angled eyepiece. The Vortex Razor HD 65 mm gives you a wide-angle lens, which is nice, and gives you a wider field of view than the Kowa 553 in this class. Weighing in at 56.8 ounces, it’s a bit heavier than most 65 mm spotting scopes and weighs considerably more than the Maven CS.1 noted earlier (40.4 oz) or the Athlon Ares UHD 65 mm (49 oz) and features a similar zoom in a 16-48x magnification. Our group of testers commented that the overall performance of the 65 mm Razor HD was a little disappointing in low light as well as overall clarity, but again, it was the least expensive in its price category.

Vortex Razor HD 65mm Pros:

  • Great warranty
  • Smooth focus wheel
  • Smooth zoom mechanism

Vortex Razor HD 65mm Cons:

  • Image clarity
  • Edge-to-edge clarity
  • Sloppy eye piece
  • Greyish tint
Buy the Vortex Razor 65mm

Kowa TSN 553 55mm Spotting Scope

Category Rank: #3

65mm- $1,000+

Kowa TSN 553 Compact Spotting Scope

This little Kowa TSN 553 could be the best spotting scope for hunting if you are looking for something that is lightweight, compact, and provides a crysta, clear image. Yes, it came in ranking just behind its bigger brother, the Kowa 773 and the Swarovski ATX 65mm spotting scopes, but dang this little spotting scope is impressive!

Weighing in at a scant 28 ounces, the Kowa TSN 553 is the backpack hunter’s dream spotting scope. It’s super compact in size, light as a feather, but most of all, gives you an uncompromising image in a small package which could make it a best spotting scope for hunting. It’s so clear and bright, even with its smaller 55 mm objective lens, it hung in with the Swarovski ATX 65 mm and the larger Kowa TSN 773 into the darker minutes of evening. This Kowa TSN 553 dropped off sooner than the other two in low light as expected, but it was right there with the larger spotting scopes right until the very end.

Kowa TSN 553 Compact Spotting Scope

The Kowa TSn 773 is super easy to use and very comfortable. The signature Kowa dual focus mechanism was once again a highlight to our testers, and across the board, the group commented on just how incredible of an image this little spotting scope produced. The Kowa TSN 553 solidly took 3rd place in every category behind only the larger Kowa TSN 773 and the Swarovski ATX 65 mm spotting scopes. To hang with that group of glass is saying something. And it only weight 28 ounces! That’s just ridiculous!

One downside the group noted was the narrow field of view you get with the Kowa TSN 553. With such a small objective lens, even a wide-angle eye piece isn’t going to provide a large field of view, but that’s a downside most people who are interested in this style of spotting scope are happy to put up with.

Kowa TSN 553 Compact Spotting Scope

Kowa TSN 553 Pros:

  • Incredible clarity
  • Super, smooth dual focus
  • Awesome edge-to-edge clarity
  • Ultra lightweight
  • Super compact

Kowa TSN 553 Cons:

  • Narrow field of view

If weight savings is what you want without giving up much of anything in clarity, low light performance, or edge-to-edge clarity, you need to look into the Kowa TSN 553. There’s nothing quite like it out there on the market right now that I’m aware of.

READ OUR FULL REVIEW OF THE KOWA TSN 553 SPOTTING SCOPE HERE

Buy the Kowa TSN 553

Swarovski ATX 65mm Spotting Scope

Category Rank: #2

65mm- $1,000+

Swarovski ATX 65mm spotting scope

This is where finding the best spotting scope for hunting gets really hard. The Swarovski ATX 65 mm spotting scope has long been a favorite among hunters, and many consider it the best spotting scope for hunting because of its incredible image clarity, top-notch low light performance, and modular eye piece. Swarovski is very well-known and makes a fantastic product.

The Swarovski ATX came in 2nd in the overall ranking only to the Kowa TSN 773, and it was by the thinnest of margins. In fact, the Swarovski ATX tied the Kowa TSN 773 in first place votes when at the “minimum zoom” testing, but the Kowa TSN 773 edged out the Swarovski ATX under maximum testing and low light testing, giving the Kowa the ever-so-slight, overall win. However, if you were to say, “No, your group is wrong. The Swaro is better,” I wouldn’t argue with you as they are both incredible.

Swarovski ATX 85mm Spotting Scope

The only area where there was a definitive win by the Kowa TSN 773 over the Swarovski ATX was in the focus wheel functionality. As we’ve documented earlier on the Kowa TSN 553 and the Kowa TSN 883, our group of testers loved the Kowa dual focus system over the barrel focus system of the Swarovski ATX. Other than that, the differences were so small it left our group going back and forth many times to pick their winner.

One other noticeable difference, and I think a slight advantage for the Swarovski ATX, is the highly contrasted image with a little bit whiter tone to it. The Kowa TSN 773 offers a slightly warmer tone than the ATX, which certainly didn’t hurt its low light performance, but some testers thought the whiter color temperature of the ATX was better in low light. One other thing some of the testers mentioned is that they didn’t prefer the barrel zoom quite as much as an eye piece zoom, but again that comes down to personal preference.

Swarovski ATX 65mm pros:

  • Insane clarity
  • Modularidy
  • Incredibly smooth eyepiece
  • Silky, smooth focus wheel

Swarovski ATX Cons:

  • Price point
  • Barrel zoom

The Swarovski ATX is an insanely good piece of glass as you probably already know. If you can swing the price point and want to have a modular system where you can just purchase a larger objective lens (that’s the cheaper part of the system), then the Swarovski ATX is for you.

Kowa TSN 773 77mm Spotting Scope

Category Rank: #1

65mm- $1,000+

Kowa TSN 773 Spotting Scope

By the absolute narrowest of margins, the Kowa TSN 773 edged out Swarovski ATX 65 mm for the best spotting scope for hunting with its balance of size, weight, clarity, low light performance and price point. There are few better than the Kowa TSN 773 and our group of testers voted to affirm that. The voting was absolutely neck and neck between the Kowa TSN 773 and the Swarovski ATX 65 mm, but at the end of the day, our group of 14 voted in favor of the Kowa in clarity, low light performance, edge-to-edge clarity, and focus wheel functionality by a slim margin.

You really can’t go wrong with either, but the fact that the Kowa TSN 773 saves you about $800 vs the Swarovski ATX might be the final push for some. Yes, you don’t get the incredibly awesome modularity of the ATX system, which is fantastic. Is the modularity of the Swarovski ATX worth the extra coin? That’s a decision you’ll have to make.

Kowa TSN 773 Spotting Scope

You could argue that the Kowa TSN 773 shouldn’t be in this category because of its 77 mm objective lens, but that’s why we put it in both the 65 mm class, as well as the 85 mm class to see how it stacked up in both. Surprisingly enough, it also took the top spot in the 85 mm class in its price category. Impressive all the way around!

Kowa TSN 773 Pros:

  • Crystal clear image
  • Incredible edge-to-edge clarity
  • Price point
  • Group favorite Kowa Dual Focus system

Kowa TSN 773 Cons:

  • No rubber armor
  • Longer eye piece
Kowa TSN 773 Spotting Scope

Bottom line: If you are looking for the best spotting scope for hunting and can only afford one, the Kowa TSN 773 was the top pick of the group and deserves a good, hard look. It performed well beyond its price point, keeps the weight down for such a large spotting scope, gives you a crystal clear image with no noticeable chromatic aberration, has excellent edge-to-edge clarity, and is flat out amazing.

READ OUR FULL REVIEW OF THE KOWA TSN 773 SPOTTING SCOPE HERE

Our Picks For Each category

Best 85mm Spotting Scope:

Swarovski ATX 85mm Spotting Scope

Swarovski ATX/Kowa TSN 883

This one was as close to a toss up as possible for the best spotting scope for hunting. One out-performed the other and vise-versa depending on the conditions, but the Swarovski ATX 85 mm got the nod from the group by just a hair. The value win easily goes to the Kowa, though.

Best Compact Spotting Scope:

Kowa 553 Spotting Scope

Kowa TSN 553

This little thing amazed the group. While the price tag is up there for such a small spotting scope, the Kowa TSN 553 is pretty amazing. If you can’t quite spend this much, the Athlon Ares UHD 65 mm is one heck of a value in the compact division.

Best Overall 65mm spotting Scope:

Swarovski ATX 65mm spotting scope

Swarovski ATX / Kowa TSN 773

If we put the Kowa TSN 773 in this category, it easily took first place as we noted above, but it is a 77 mm spotter rather than a 65 mm, so you could easily argue that it shouldn’t be in there. It’s your call there, but both of these are fantastic!

Best Value – 65mm Class:

Athlon Ares UHD 15-45x65 Spotting Scope

Athlon Ares UHD 65mm

If you are looking for an incredible value, take a good, hard look at the Athlon Ares UHD 65 mm spotter. It’s super compact with a smooth focus wheel and eyepiece, incredibly good color contrast, edge-to-edge clarity, and low light performance for its price class. This one was a diamond in the rough, especially at just $599!

Best Overall Value – Alpha Glass:

Kowa TSN 883 Spotting Scope

Kowa TSN 773, Kowa TSN 883

Another tough one to call, but the Kowa TSN 773 is our pick for best overall value. The Athlon Cronus UHD and Maven S1.A were others that offer a fantastic value in their respective price point. In the top of the line category, the Kowa TSN 883 takes home the best value award.

Best Overall Value – Not-Quite-Alpha Category:

Athlon Cronos Spotting Scope

Athlon Cronus UHD 86mm

The Athlon Cronus UHD 20-60×86 mm was one of the big surprises as it performed well-above its price point. It brings you a fantastic spotting scope at a great value. While it’s not quite up to par with the “Alpha Glass”, it’s also a fraction of the cost. If you want excellent glass, a great warranty, and a great value, look at the Athlon Cronus UHD.

Best Spotting Scope For Hunting: Conclusion

PHEW!! That was a lot of spotting scopes, but it was also a TON of fun. Putting these all side by side to help us find the best spotting scope for hunting was such an amazing experience, I’m pretty sure we are all ruined for life when it comes to glass. No matter what you use it for, hopefully you can find a spotting scope from this in-depth review that perfectly fits your needs. I know I’ve found one… or a couple.

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8 thoughts on “19 Best Spotting Scopes For Hunting | Insane Spotter Showdown”

  1. I appreciate all the work that went into this. Its a great review – very well written. Having previously joined the Swarovski camp, I was happy to see they continue to place well against their competition. You touched on it, but I felt it was worth further mentioning that the modularity of the Swarovski system is in large part why I decided invest in that path. While the 85mm ATX does cost $4100 – it’s much less if you already have the 65mm (and its eyepiece). Therefore having an 85mm (or 95mm even) AND a 65mm is actually very close or cheaper ($3400 + $1700) in the Swaro line, than buying say, a big and a small Kowa ($3150 + $2300 or $1800) for example. Just one more factor for your readers to consider.

    Reply
    • That’s a great point Matt and thanks for bringing that up! We could certainly write an entire article on just the ATX system as the modularity is definitely one of the benefits of the ATX! Thanks for taking the time to write a comment!

      Reply
  2. A spotting scope system with the SWAROVSKI BTX Eyepiece Module, Green beats all these examples and have to wonder why it was not included in this review.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the comment Richard. We did our best to include as many as possible, but certainly couldn’t include them all. We were able to get two of ATX options in there, but would have been awesome to get the BTX with some of the other objective options as well. I guess we’ve got more reviews to do 🙂

      Reply
  3. This was an amazing review, came here after watching the YouTube video. Thoroughly impressed. I agree it would be great to see you guys put the Zeiss And Leica in there too.

    Additionally I’d like to see a comprehensive review of all the objective sizes of the Swarovski line by themselves. 65mm vs 85mm vs 95mm and what the magnification accessory does to the image quality on those as well.

    Reply
    • Thank you very much Clayton! We really appreciate the kind words and glad it was helpful! I agree….a comprehensive Swarovski review would be awesome to put together. We might have to look into doing that. Thanks for taking the time to comment as well!

      Reply

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