What a Day: Testing Out My Buddy’s 1000 Yard Spotting Scope

It’s not secret that I spend most of my time either at the workshop or at the shooting range. Last Friday, my good friend Derrick called me up to say he’d bought a new spotting scope from Leupold, and said we should go test it out to see if we could actually see any bullet holes at 1,000 yards out.

“No way”, I said, “bullet trace – maybe, but bullet holes, no way.”

In any case, it looked like an exciting thing to try. The only issue is, our local range looks like this:

It’s only 200 yards, wooden targets – kind of crap basically.

We drove out to Brookneal – the closest long range shooting range in the vicinity. You can shoot up to a mile out there and you have the occasional ex-SEAL snipers coming out to practice. Good stuff.

When Derrick produced his new spotting scope, it was a marvel to look at. Solid build, amazing optics. Nothing like my crappy old one.

The first issue was actually hitting a target at 1,000 yards out. Neither of us two has had that much practice at this range and grouping the shots is pretty damn hard at this distance.

Since we wanted to test out the optics, we instead used the target that another local guy was firing at. It was placed at exactly 1000 yards, just what was needed.

Basically, what we found out was that if you have a paper target, then seeing a tiny hole at that distance is pretty damn difficult. And it’s not even about the optics. The main issue is mirages and the heat rising from the ground. Even the best spotters can’t do anything about it, since it’s the air wobbling, not the optics distorting the image.

However, when you use a steel target with black paint, the paint will spall (chip off) – and you can definitely make out the mark, even at that distance. You definitely need the best optics possible for that. A $200 spotting scope won’t do it. You’ll zoom in and see a big blur.

As fun as it was, I realized that to get a spotter like that for myself, I’d need to shell out big bucks. The Kowa, Swaro and leupold stuff costs an arm and a leg.

So I’ll be saving up.







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