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About the Author

Steven L

Steve has never not known guns. Before motorcycles, money, or girls, they have always been part of his life. He was tenured as General Manager of one of the country's largest gun stores and ranges, a buyer in a big box outdoor sporting goods store, and is currently OpticsPlanet's Director of Product Intelligence. He was a US Navy nuclear gunners mate, a private investigator, and is an NRA certified instructor in ten categories, as well as an Illinois CCW instructor. He shoots competitively and has hunted from Alaska to Africa. He thoroughly loves life with his beloved wife, Shirley, and together they live with their three wildish dogs Tinker, TranRek, and Crash Almighty. He is a stubborn stage 4 cancer survivor and isn't ready to cash in his chips yet.

Continue following Steve's gun-laden lifestyle with never-ending firearm excursions and experiments with related products! Visit his blog page at


  • spotting scopes

1. Spotting Scopes 101



Steve L with an OPMOD 20-60x60 Spotting Scope

Spotting scopes are commonly used to score targets at varying distances, but many shooters aren't sure of what is required in terms of magnification, objective size and, especially, optical quality when shooting at a given distance. How good a spotting scope is needed for 100 yard scoring as opposed to 400 yard scoring?

Before getting down to cases, there is the matter of observing conditions to consider. Air turbulence, heat mirage, dust, humidity, haze and other atmospheric conditions all affect image quality when using a shooting spotting scope and these conditions can change by the hour. There is no escape from this. Even a premium grade spotting scope for targeting shooting can be rendered useless under severe conditions of heat waves and mirage and adding more magnification or distance to the target just makes the problem worse. Before passing judgment on any spotting scope, then, it is important to make test under a variety of conditions. A lot of scopes get blamed for poor performance when, in fact, the atmosphere is the culprit.

Assuming favorable conditions, though, we can move into features and quality issues.

Basic Features

As for features, most shooters want an eyepiece with plenty of eye relief, because they are typically not in a position to get their eye close to the eyepiece when shooting. 15mm is a minimum, here and most shooters are happy with a bit more. For the same reason, many shooters like angled bodied spotting scopes and rotating tripod collars, which allow the scope body and hence, the eyepiece, to be rotated to various positions.

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