Some of the best archery spotting scopes

Bow takes a close up view at the current market of Spotting Scopes

Spotting scopes are not essential to an archery career, but can definitely assist in both training and competition, for checking arrow positions in a target face. Archers’ requirements are generally more modest than those of birdwatchers; for example, and a 20x zoom will usually be enough for checking a face at 70m. 

A larger lens – the ‘objective diameter’ – will usually provide a better, clearer image, especially in low light, though this will also make the spotting scope bigger, heavier, and potentially more expensive. Spotting scopes for archers are usually used at lower than head height with an angled eyepiece, and that’s what we will be looking at in this article.

Most archers were keen to note that you shouldn’t skimp on a tripod if you want a nice steady image of the target face, although issues of size and weight soon come into play with the heavier ‘professional’ tripods.

(Psst: there is a big second-hand market for spotting scopes, so sneak a look on eBay and the usual places if you want to grab yourself a bargain.) 

Opticron Adventurer II

Magnification: 15x-45x
Objective diameter: 60mm
Weight: 1kg

A favourite among British archers is the Opticron Adventurer II. It’s compact, lightweight and durable, which makes it great for travelling. The Adventurer II has a 60mm lens with 15-45x zoom, multi-coated optics, textured rubber armour and a rotating tripod sleeve. It also comes with a two-year guarantee. A seriously excellent balance of quality and price. 

Price: around £130

Celestron Hummingbird ED

Magnification: 9x-27x
Objective diameter: 56mm
Weight: 590g

The Hummingbird is incredibly small and light, making it the ideal travel companion. Waterproof and nitrogen filled to prevent fogging, it doesn’t have the longest magnification range but will deliver what you need at 70m. Not the cheapest price to performance ratio, but if you’re obsessed about saving weight, it’s the lightest quality scope on offer. Available in other sizes and specs too. 

Price: from around £259

Opticron MM3 60 GA ‘Mighty Midget’

Magnification: 15x-45x (other combos are available)
Objective diameter: 60mm
Weight: 700g

The MM3 60 GA series is the latest evolution of the popular ‘travelscope’ concept pioneered by Opticron with the original Mighty Midget, still used by many archers. Available with different eyepiece combinations, it is just 25cm long without the eyepiece and weighs only 718g. Constructed from polycarbonate and lightweight alloys, if you are keen to save the most weight and not skimp on quality, this is what you need. 

Price: MM and eyepiece set from around £399

Vortex Viper HD

Magnification: 20x-60x
Objective diameter: 85mm
Weight: 2.2kg

A rugged, high-quality spotting scope that’s built to last, this is the heaviest scope on our list, and comes with ArmorTek coating. It promises “knockout colour fidelity, superb light transmission and edge-to-edge sharpness”. For this price, so it should! Uniquely, Vortex offers an unlimited life warranty on its scopes, so if you really are in this game for life, and you want the best, it might make a lot of sense. 

Price: from around £900

Zeiss Conquest Gavia

Magnification: 30x-60x
Objective diameter: 85mm
Weight: 1.7kg

At the nosebleedingly expensive end of the scale is the Zeiss Conquest, from one of the best-known names in optics. This has an extended magnification range and superb image quality, although it is heavy as well as expensive. That huge lens sucks in light and will work at 90m in the gloomiest field conditions. Fogproof, nitrogen-filled construction as standard. You only live once, right?

Price: from around £1,699

Celestron Ultima 80

Magnification: 20x-60x
Objective diameter: 80mm
Weight: 1.6kg

Several archers recommended this scope from the popular Celestron brand, which are commonly seen on the line at shoots. Super-clear even up to 90m, it will enable you to tell nocks apart really easily. It comes with a waterproof cover and a cap you can put on to keep the rain out, but does well even if it’s pouring down. Reasonably heavy though, so a good tripod is essential. 

Price: around £160

Bushnell Prime

Magnification: 20x-60x
Objective diameter: 65mm
Weight: 1.1kg

A solid performer designed for serious birdwatchers, this comes in both straight and angled eyepiece versions. A slightly larger than normal aperture will suck in just a fraction more light. This spotting scope offers IPX7 level waterproof construction with O-ring sealed optics, ensuring everything stays reassuringly dry in all weather conditions. Comes with a travel tripod and soft case. 

Price: from around £356

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