How to Use a Spotting Scope for Shooting

When using a spotting scope for shooting purposes, the benefits can be great than just using your guns scope. You can opt to have a second person around who will be doing the actual viewing or you can simply do it yourself.

Here, we will look at why spotting scopes make exceptional shooting accessories and why in our opinion they are a must have for hunters who wish to score game at long ranges.

The first step towards shooting with a scope is to have everything at the right level. Whether lying down or standing up, ensure that both the gun and the shooting scope are at a comfortable viewing position facing the target.

Why use a spotting scope?

Before looking at how to use the spotting scope as a shooting tool, it is important to understand why you are doing it. A spotting scope offers a secondary option for viewing the target. Forhunters, this could be that plump white tail deer or moose 1000 yards away.

Thanks to the high magnification levels achieved by spotting scopes,it is possible to view the actual trajectory of the bullet as well as the impact. With rifles, this may not be possible as the guns recoil will make you lose focus. When you are only using the guns scope, the only way to know that you have hit the target at such a long range is if it tips over.

Using the spotting scope

When shooting, the barrel of the gun and the spotting scope need to be next to each other in close proximity facing the target. Some hunters prefer the scope lying slightly above the barrel of the gun. Before making the shot, the target needs to be clearly visible through the spotting scope. You will need to adjust the focus knobs to acquire a clear image setting.

Once you have achieved this it is time to make the shot. Looking at the target and pulling the trigger, you can only hope that the line of fire is correct.

What happens when you don’t hit the target?

This is the main challenge faced in long range shooting. When hunting big horn ship on the other steep slope of a mountain range, the gun may indicate that the target is in line, but when you take the shot it misses. This is caused by weather conditions. Wind speed, wind direction can alter the projectory of the bullet as it flies towards your target making it curve right, left or downwards.

And this is where the spotting scope proves its worth. You will be able to follow the vapour trail formed as the bullet leaves the barrel of the gun and flies through the air. This will give you valuable information on how the weather conditions are constantly shifting helping you adjust your aim accordingly. It is possible to estimate how much tilt you need to put on the gun in order to hit the target.

Does this mean you will need multiple shots?

Not necessarily, shooting using a spotting scope does not mean that you will have to miss your target to make the necessary adjustment. This only happens IF you miss.

The clarity offered by the spotting scope allows the shooter to see the mirages, as well as how plants in the area are moving due to the wind direction and speed. This allows them to constantly judge the right shooting conditions.

When itis required for the shooter to wait then that is exactly what he will do. If the conditions do not however change and the wind is moving in a particular direction constantly, then it’s up to the shooter to make a decision on when to best take the shot and how to align his gun barrel.

There are plenty of advantages of using a spotting scope for hunting least of which is to make those long-range kills. Any hunter knows that one of the greatest things to master is patience. Unlike shooting in a range where the target is stationary, animals will almost always be moving. This makes hunting extra difficult. However, by learning to use the right type of equipment, you will be well on your way to being an excellent shot.



Eric John is the founder of This blog focuses on hunting/shooting/survival. As in his experienced, He will guide you through the Do’s and Don’ts of the hunting world and transform you into a better hunter. Whether you are an experienced hunting or an absolute beginner, you will find a gem!


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