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Spotting scopes are excellent tools, but unfortunately, they are not cheap. If you want to buy a brand new spotting scope, then you will have to spend a handsome amount of money which can be hard for someone who has a tight budget.
So, you might think of buying a rifle scope and using it for shooting as well as for viewing distant objects like you use a spotting scope. OR you might already have the rifle scope and want to use it as a spotting scope.
But the question that needs answering is: Can you use a rifle scope as a spotting scope? The answer is YES, you can use a rifle scope as an alternative to a spotting scope, but it won’t give you the ideal viewing experience. In fact, rifle scopes won’t be effective when you use them as a spotting scopes.
Look, I have done extensive research and found very useful information for you. I suggest you stay till the end so that you don’t miss any useful info.
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Difference Between the Rifle Scopes and Spotting Scopes
Keep in mind that rifle scopes, and spotting scopes are totally different from each other, and both are used for different outdoor activities. I agree with the fact that they both look similar to some extent, but their specifications and overall dimensions are totally different from each other.
What are Rifle Scopes? They are the tools that are used in shooting, and hunting. You mount them on the rifle and see the target more clearly. In simple words, it helps in shooting the target accurately. They are used with the rifles, and you will have to mount them on the top of the rifle.
Rifle scopes usually have a reticle, which indicates the exact target and when you shoot, the bullet is in the exact same place where the reticle will be. These are made to help the shooters in hitting the targets.
What are Spotting scopes? These are tools more like binoculars, and you will use them to view the target’s visuals more clearly. It cannot be used to hit the target. Most people use them for bird watching as they allow them to get zoomed or bigger visuals.
Keep in mind that the spotting scopes consist of straight or angled eyepieces, which allows the user to adjust the focus and magnification of the scope. Different spotting scopes are available in the market and they can have different features as well. You will be able to use them while holding hands.
If you ask me their difference in one line, then I would say that the rifle scopes cannot be used by holding them in hands. They will have to be mounted on the rifle. On the flip side, the spotting can be used by holding them in hands.
Can You Use a Rifle Scope as a Spotting Scope?
Yes, it is certainly possible to use the rifle’s scope as a place of spotting scopes, you won’t face any issues. But you won’t get perfect performance when you use the rifle scope as an alternative to the spotting scopes.
I have explained their difference in the above section and you must read that to get complete insight about these two scopes types. One thing that you consider while using a rifle scope as a spotting scope is the magnification power.
The spotting scopes have lower magnification power, but wider FOV which allows you to see everything clearly. But the rifle scopes have very high magnification power, but less field of view which makes it hard to see the birds or other scenery.
Do I recommend using a rifle scope as a spotting scope? The answer is a big NO! I don’t suggest you use a rifle scope as a spotting scope because it would not give you an optimal viewing experience. Although you can use the rifle scope as a spotting scope, the visuals that you will get will be disappointing.
Do you want to know why I don’t recommend you to use the rifle scope as a spotting scope? Don’t worry, I am going to explain and justify my answer.
As I said earlier rifle scopes offer more magnification power so you will see everything zoomed, but you won’t be able to see the area. For example, if you use the rifle scope to view birds, you won’t be able to see birds collectively because of the higher magnification. However, you will get very zoomed visuals if you are going to shoot the birds. Spotting scopes gives you more space to look at.
2- Field of View
The field of view and the magnification power are inversely proportional to each other. Higher magnification of the Rifle scope means that you will get a compromised field of view. This is where the rifle scopes fail. I want to get a wider field of view, and more space to look at the birds. Spotting scopes offer more FOV, and you will be able to see more area.
3– Weight of Rifle Scope
I have noticed over the years that rifle scopes are heavier as compared to spotting scopes. So when you use the rifle scope as an alternative to the spotting scope, you will have to carry extra weight which will make you tired. This is another reason why I don’t recommend you use the rifle scope as a spotting scope.
When Should You Use Rifle Scope as a Spotting Scope?
As you know, I don’t recommend using the rifle scopes as an alternative to the spotting scope. But there are a few cases when you can use that to view.
I am sure that you have heard the proverb ‘‘Something is better than Nothing’’.
If you don’t have a spotting scope and don’t have to spend money to buy a separate spotting scope, then you should use the rifle scope.
If you are traveling, and carrying a backpack that doesn’t have much space, then you should use either a rifle scope or spotting scope so that you can save some space.
When it comes to choosing one either a spotting scope or a rifle scope, I would suggest you choose the rifle scope as you can somehow use it as a place spotting scope. But If you carry a spotting scope, you won’t be able to use it as a rifle scope.
However, ideally, you should have both of them as both serve different purposes. With rifle scope, you will be able to achieve maximum accuracy whereas with the spotting scope, you will be able to enjoy the distant object with clarity. They are useful for bird watching etc.
If you are still confused, then I am going to give you some pros, and cons of using the rifle scope as the spotting. You should read the table given below to understand their difference.
|Advantages of using rifle scope as a Spotting scope||Disadvantages of using rifle scope as Spotting scope|
|Rifle scopes are less expensive than spotting scopes.||Rifle scopes offer higher magnification power which won’t give an ideal viewing experience.|
|You won’t have to carry both a rifle and a spotting scope when going out. It will save you some space||Rifle scopes have a narrower field of view, which will be less suitable for bird watching etc.|
|Rifle scopes serve both shooting and spotting purposes||You will easily get tired due to the heavier weight of the rifle scope.|
I would say that you should use both rifle and spotting scope according to their purpose, and usability. I don’t suggest you use the rifle scope as a replacement for the spotting scope.
However, if you’re a poor person with a limited budget, then you can use it and you will still be able to get decent visuals – not ideal though. However, if you have a handsome budget, I highly recommend you to buy both spotting, and rifle scopes and enjoy them according to their usability, and purposes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, a rifle scope can be used as a spotting scope, but I don’t recommend you use that because it won’t give you an ideal viewing experience.
A rifle scope is made for aiming at a target and has a narrow field of view, lower magnification, and a reticle or crosshairs. On the other hand, a spotting scope is used for observing targets at long distances and has a wider field of view as well.
Yes, it is possible to mount a rifle scope on a tripod for spotting.
I’m a passionate outdoor activist who has got special love for optics. The school studies in optical mechanics and the travelling experience has made me an expert in optics like binoculars, scopes, and other devices. Stay connected with us for in-depth knowledge!