Hunting and long-range shooting are outdoor activities that require precise accuracy and judgment of environmental factors. One of the most important tools for achieving success in these outdoor activities is using a rifle scope. However, even the best riflescopes have limitations in terms of target identification. This is where the use of a spotting scope comes into play.
By using a spotting scope in conjunction with a rifle scope, hunters and shooters can greatly improve their ability to identify targets, judge environmental factors, and ultimately increase their shooting accuracy. In this article, we will explore the benefits of using a spotting scope with your rifle scope and why it’s a tool that should not be overlooked by anyone serious about hunting or long range shooting.
A. Explanation of Spotting Scope and Rifle Scope
A spotting optic and a rifle scope are two important tools hunters and shooters use to improve accuracy and precision in aiming at targets.
A rifle scope is an optical device mounted on top of a rifle, which magnifies the target and aligns it with its barrel. The shooter looks through the scope to get a better view of the target, which makes it easier to aim accurately. Riflescopes come in different magnification levels, and a higher magnification power can give a better view of what the target looks like.
On the other hand, a spotting scope is a high-powered telescope used to view distant objects. It is a portable, handheld device that magnifies the target, allowing the shooter to get a better look at it from a distance. Spotting scopes are particularly useful in long-range target shooting and hunting, where targets may be difficult to see with the naked eye.
The primary difference between the two devices is that you can mount a riflescope on the rifle to provide a close-up view of the target, while the spotting optic is handheld and provides a long-range perspective. However, both tools are essential for hunters and shooters who must make accurate shots at a long distance.
Take a moment to picture yourself as a hunter perched on a hillside, trying to catch a good glimpse of your prey. However, you don’t have a superhuman vision. Fortunately, you have a riflescope at your disposal. With this device, you can aim and fire more accurately because you can magnify your target. However, how do you find your target if it’s far away or partly hidden? This is where a spotting scope comes in handy.
Think of a spotting scope as a telescope on an all-purpose level. This handy tool lets users get a closer, more detailed look at their target, even if it’s hundreds of yards away. With a spotting scope, you can identify your target, check for antlers, and even count the number of points on those antlers.
Now, imagine combining the powers of a rifle scope and a spotting scope. You’re a superhero now, able to see targets with crystal-clear image quality, even at a long distance. This combination gives you all the information you need to make a clean, ethical shot without taking unnecessary risks or guesswork.
So, to sum it up, a rifle scope is like your trusty sidekick, while spotting scope is your superpowered ally. Together, they make an unstoppable team, helping you hit your target precisely and accurately.
B. Types Of Spotting Scopes
When we talk about spotting scopes, there are two main types: straight spotting scope and angled spotting scope. The difference between a straight scope and an angled scope lies in how the eyepiece is positioned in relation to the objective lens.
A straight spotting scope is designed with a straight barrel, which means that the eyepiece is in line with the objective lens. This makes it easier to quickly locate and follow moving targets, as there is no need to adjust the angle of the scope. It is also easier to use a straight scope when observing ground-level objects, such as looking at plants.
On the other hand, an angled spotting scope has an angled eyepiece positioned at a 45-degree angle to the objective lens. This makes it more comfortable to use for extended periods, as it reduces neck and eye strain. It is also easier to use an angled eyepiece when observing targets at an elevated position, such as when viewing birds or wildlife from a hilltop or tree stand.
Angled spotting scopes are preferred by hunters and birdwatchers who need to observe targets at different angles and elevations, as they offer more flexibility and comfort. However, straight spotting scopes are still popular for their simplicity and ease of use.
Choosing between straight spotting scopes or angled spotting scopes depends on personal preference and the intended use. Both types have advantages and disadvantages; the best option depends on the user’s needs and preferences.
C. The benefits of using a spotting scope with your rifle scope
- Improved Target Identification
A spotting scope is a high-powered magnifying tool that hunters and shooters use to get a closer, more detailed look at their targets from a distance. By using a spotting scope, hunters and shooters can identify targets more accurately and make more informed decisions about whether or not to take a shot.
A spotting scope can help identify targets by providing a closer view of the animal’s physical features, such as its size, color, and movement. This can help hunters and shooters identify the species of the animal and determine whether it is a legal target.
Spotting scopes can also help hunters identify the gender of the animal. For example, by using a spotting scope to examine the antlers or horns of a deer, hunters can determine whether it is a male or female, which can be important for hunting regulations.
In addition to identifying the target, spotting scopes can help hunters and shooters identify potential obstacles or hazards in the area, such as other animals, people, or buildings. This can help ensure that hunters only take safe and ethical shots. Combining a spotting scope with a rifle scope provides a complete view of the target, increasing the chances of a successful shot.
Importance of accurate identification for hunting and long-range shooting
Precise identification of targets is extremely important for:
Hunting and long-range shooting should always be done ethically and responsibly. This includes ensuring that the target being shot at is the intended game animal or target. In addition, accurate identification of the target helps prevent the accidental shooting of non-target animals, which is important for conservation efforts and responsible hunting.
In many jurisdictions, some laws and regulations dictate which animals can be hunted and under what circumstances. Misidentifying a target can lead to legal consequences, fines, and even the loss of hunting privileges. Accurate identification of targets helps ensure compliance with these laws and regulations.
Misidentifying a target can also pose a safety risk to hunters, hikers, or nearby individuals. Therefore, it is important to ensure that only the intended target is being shot at to avoid accidental injuries or fatalities.
- Increased Shooting Accuracy
When using a rifle scope alone, it can be challenging to accurately judge the distance to the target. However, by using a spotting scope, hunters and shooters can measure the distance to the target and adjust their rifle scope more precisely. This results in greater accuracy and more successful shots.
How does a spotting scope improve shooting accuracy?
Spotting scopes offer high magnification power, allowing shooters to see their target more clearly and in greater detail. This level of detail can help shooters identify the exact spot they want to aim at, leading to more accurate shots.
Spotting scopes are typically mounted on a tripod, providing a stable viewing platform. This stability can reduce shaking and movement, allowing shooters to focus on the target without being distracted by hand tremors or other movements.
Spotting scopes can view targets at much greater distances than a rifle scope. This allows shooters to view the target from a safe distance and make more informed decisions about the shot rather than having to rely on guesswork or assumptions.
Examples of shooting scenarios of improved accuracy
Using both a spotting and rifle scope together can improve accuracy in a wide range of shooting scenarios. Here are a few examples:
When shooting at long ranges, it can be difficult to see the target clearly with the naked eye or with just a rifle scope. By using a spotting scope to identify the target and a rifle scope to take the shot, shooters can get a more detailed view of the target and make more precise adjustments to their aim.
Hunting in dense cover
When hunting in dense cover, identifying game animals and making accurate shots can be challenging. Using a spotting scope to scout the area and identify potential targets, hunters can make more informed decisions about where to aim and when to take the shot. You can then use a rifle scope to take a more accurate shot.
Shooting in low-light conditions
It can be difficult to see the target clearly when shooting in low light conditions, such as at dawn or dusk. A larger objective lens diameter scope will allow more light transmission and a brighter image for better target identification.
- Better Judgement of Environmental Factors
Spotting scopes can also help hunters and shooters judge environmental factors like wind direction, temperature, and lighting conditions, which can affect the accuracy of their shots. By using both tools, hunters can get a complete picture of the environment and make better-aiming decisions. The following are some environmental factors:
Wind can cause bullets to drift off course, making it difficult to hit the target accurately. Spotting scopes can help shooters identify the direction and speed of the wind by observing the movement of objects in the wind, such as grass or leaves. You can use this information to adjust the aim and take more accurate shots.
Rain or fog
Rain or fog can obstruct the shooter’s view of the target, making it difficult to take accurate shots. Spotting scopes can help shooters see through these obstructions and get a clearer view of the target. Also, spotting scopes have waterproof or fog-proof coatings that can ensure the scope remains clear even in wet or foggy conditions.
Light can affect the shooter’s ability to see the target by creating glare or reducing visibility in low light conditions. Spotting scopes with a larger objective lens diameter will have better light transmission. Additionally, spotting scopes with adjustable eyepieces can reduce glare and improve visibility in bright light conditions.
- Greater Confidence in Shooting
By having a complete view of the target and the environment, hunters and shooters can feel more confident in their ability to take accurate shots, even under difficult conditions. This can lead to better performance and more successful hunts. You may not be confident enough to take a shot if the target is too far away or if you cannot see parts of the environment. A spotting scope takes that away and boosts your overall confidence.
Importance of confidence in hunting and shooting
A shooter’s confidence in their ability to hit the target directly affects their accuracy. When a shooter feels confident, they are more likely to take the shot, aim carefully, and hit the target. On the other hand, a lack of confidence can lead to hesitation, which can negatively impact a shooter’s accuracy.
In hunting, safety is always a top priority. When a shooter feels confident in their ability to handle their firearm safely and responsibly, they are less likely to make mistakes or take unnecessary risks that could put themselves or others in danger.
Spotting scopes can be used for various purposes. You can use them for birdwatching, wildlife observation, and even astronomy. By investing in a high-quality spotting scope, shooters can get more use out of the tool beyond their hunting and target shooting activities.
When hunting or competitive shooting with a group, having both a spotting scope and a rifle scope allows shooters to work together more effectively. For example, one person can use the spotting scope to identify targets and guide the shooter using the rifle scope. This can be particularly useful when hunting in groups or participating in competitive shooting.
Mike has been shooting, reloading, and bullet casting for over 40 years. He lives in rural Indiana where he has a backyard target range. Married for almost 40 years, Mike and his wife teach adult education in their home county and have four sons with their families, totaling 10 grandkids.