Head to Head Review: Best Spotting Scopes of 2013

Head to Head Review: Best Spotting Scopes of 2013

This test isn't all-inclusive. We attempted to obtain a sample from every known manufacturer. In the end, we were provided with more than $40,000 in optics for a comprehensive roundup that's never been attempted by another hunting or shooting publication.

To keep a level playing field, this test was designed to compare spotting scopes that featured 80mm or larger objectives and an angled eyepiece. A number of well-regarded brands were left '¨out for not meeting these requirements, which left us with the 14 contenders you will find discussed in this gallery.


For neutrality while performing this evaluation, we set out to provide the consumer with a measureable guide. A spotting scope can be a once-in-a-lifetime investment for many, so '¨making an informed decision before the point of sale is critical.



The specific features of each spotting scope such as country of origin, eyepiece magnification range, objective diameter, length, weight, exit pupil, eye relief, and field of view were not taken into consideration to determine the final score since each of these details can be subject to a user's preference. '¨Instead, we analyzed perceived qualities like color fringing, edge sharpness, usable magnification, and resolution, which can be more difficult for the consumer to quantify.

As we discovered, what you can afford does not necessarily meet the needs of quality or value you may seek. Therefore, this test included two respected optic resolution tests as a measurable and repeatable control. A MIL-STD optics resolution test chart (1951 USAF) and an industrial magnification range test were used as scientific controls in determining the quality of detail provided by each scope. Each of these tested the resolving power against groups of horizontal and vertical bars. The smallest bars the imager can discern is the limitation of its resolving power.


Rather than attempt to describe in infinitesimal detail each optic, we will introduce each with a brief synopsis '¨followed by our sincere appraisal. Here's the best spotting scopes of 2013.


Recommended for You

We put the best boots for late-season hunting to the test. Here are the results. Clothing

Field Tested: Cold-Weather Boots

Kali Parmley - April 22, 2019

We put the best boots for late-season hunting to the test. Here are the results.

Check out these top choices for building out your reloading bench. Ammo

Roll Your Own: Best Reloading Supplies

David Draper - April 19, 2019

Check out these top choices for building out your reloading bench.

A record crowd of more than 67,000 people fell upon the halls of the Sands Expo & Convention SHOT Show

HUNTING's Booth Babes of SHOT Show 2014

David Draper - January 21, 2014

A record crowd of more than 67,000 people fell upon the halls of the Sands Expo & Convention

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 12: High Plains Elk

David Draper teams up with Fred Eichler to hunt elk on the high plains of southern Colorado.

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 13: Forest Buffalo

Craig Boddington returns to Mozambique's fame Coutada 10 for a shot a forest buffalo that's eluded him for 10 years.

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 7: Beginner's Luck

Host Kali Parmley takes first-time hunter Danae Hale of CZ-USA to Wyoming for a mule deer hunt. After covering all the basics with Danae, the girls head into the field and what happens next goes way beyond either of their expectations!

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

My deer-hunting seeds were planted and nurtured as a youngster on my family's small farm in North America

Best Units for Hunting Western Mule Deer

Josh Dahlke

My deer-hunting seeds were planted and nurtured as a youngster on my family's small farm in

These rounds have proven themselves most worthy in the field. Ammo

America's Top 10 Big Game Cartridges

Joseph von Benedikt

These rounds have proven themselves most worthy in the field.

Since the first explorers and pilgrims landed, the inhabitants of this glorious country have been Shooting

7 Favorite Truck Guns

Joseph von Benedikt - May 11, 2015

Since the first explorers and pilgrims landed, the inhabitants of this glorious country have...

See More Stories

More Optics

You may not immediately recognize the FLIR name, but you're familiar with the company's work. FLIR Optics

FLIR ThermoSight Pro PTS Series: Thermal Optics for Hog & Predator Hunting

Brad Fitzpatrick - May 23, 2018

You may not immediately recognize the FLIR name, but you're familiar with the company's work....

The trend in riflescopes today is toward larger, more-capable scopes with a wide magnification Optics

5 Reasons This May Be The Ultimate Riflescope For Hunters

Keith Wood - August 22, 2017

The trend in riflescopes today is toward larger, more-capable scopes with a wide magnification

With incredible light gathering potential, a versatile reticle and precision-ground German glass, the Steiner H4Xi should be on the top of every hunter's wish list this year. Optics

Steiner H4Xi Rifle Scope

Brad Fitzpatrick - August 27, 2018

With incredible light gathering potential, a versatile reticle and precision-ground German...

See More Optics

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×