When you’re a serious hunter, you need high-quality equipment to match the demands you face when out in the field or at the shooting range. Those bargain-priced scopes may be okay for those other guys, but you need something that can take a beating and still give you high performance every single time.

Whether you’re tracking trophy whitetail through the marshes of the Midwest, trekking across the high plains for pronghorn, or hiking through the Rocky Mountains after bear, you need a high-quality spotting scope from names you can trust and with a proven track record dedicated to high performance and durability.

When you’re looking for the best spotting scope under $500, these bad boy scopes are sure to get the job done:

Our Pick: Celestron Regal M2 65ED 52304 Spotting Scope

Whether you’re headed to the shooting range, out on the hunt for trophy elk, or simply doing a little casual observation of the night sky, this scope has what it takes to get the job done. The Celestron Regal M2 65ED Spotting Scope has fully multi-coated optics with 16-48x magnification and a dual focus knob for course and fine-tuning adjustments.

With Celestron’s reputation for commitment to premium quality optics, it should come as no surprise that this spotting scope comes with a few features that you’d expect only on more expensive scopes, such as ED glass that provides sharp, clear contrast and color during the day and night, as well as a solid metal eyepiece cover that screws onto the body of the scope, covering the entire eyepiece and affording extra protection when not in use.

And since this a Celestron, you can trust that you’ll have a perfect view the moment you look through the eyepiece, with no distortion or shadowing from your face touching the eyepiece. This scope also has a sighting line along the lens shade that makes sighting in a breeze.

While this scope doesn’t come with a tripod or hard carrying case, it has a unique magnesium alloy body that is not only extremely tough, but 14% lighter than traditional aluminum housings. This means that while it is a good length of 13.1 inches, it weighs in at only 4.5 pounds.

Runner-Up: Bushnell Legend Ultra HD BN786081ED Spotting Scope

This scope comes with all the quality you’d expect with a big name like Bushnell backing it. With 20-60x magnification and a large 80mm objective lens that lets in a ton of light, the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 786081ED is great for hunting or the range. It has a field of view of 110 feet at a thousand yards at 20x magnification and 51 feet at a thousand yards at 60x magnification.

If the dual-focus controls for quick adjustments and fine tuning as well as fully multi-coated optics weren’t enough, this scope comes with more features than you can shake a stick at.

This is truly one of the best spotting scopes for hunting under $500 as it was designed with all of the demands that hunting can and does throw at you.

Inclement weather is no issue, as this scope is 100% waterproof and fog proof with Bushnell’s patented rain guard HD coating, which reduces the size of water drops so that you will still have exceptionally clear images. It’s also rubber armored and comes with ED (extra low dispersion) glass, offering exceptional clarity and sharp color contrast in even low light conditions and providing less distortion at higher magnification power.

The only drawbacks to this scope are that it doesn’t come with a tripod and that it is a little on the large size, weighing just over 7 pounds and being 16.5 inches long. Although, with an 80mm lens, a larger size and length are to be expected. This scope is sure to make a difference in your hunting experience, helping you to quickly fill up your trophy wall while still providing years of high performance.

Also Great: Leupold SX-1 Ventana 111363 Spotting Scope

The Leupold SX-1 Ventana 111363 spotting scope comes with Leupold’s proprietary nitrogen fill process, providing you a fully waterproof and fog proof scope to handle whatever nature throws at you. 

With multi-coated optics, 20-60x magnification, and a wide 80mm objective lens, you should have a clear and bright image whether you’re sighting in your new rifle down at the shooting range or watching your quarry take its final run after you nailed that impossible shot.

This rugged rubber armored scope comes with a compact adjustable tripod perfect for bench or table top use or when you need to lay down low in the prairie to take that shot without being seen.

This durable scope also comes with a hard side carrying case that comfortably and safely holds both the scope and tripod, as well as a soft case with neoprene straps, retractable lens shade, and removable lens covers. This scope also comes with Leupold’s limited lifetime warranty, affording you a little extra peace of mind, and is 20.9 inches long.

Honorable Mention: Vanguard High Plains 561 Spotting Scope

This product has been discontinued.  Check out the new  Vanguard Endeavor HD 65A.

The Vanguard High Plains is a great spotting scope for the shooting range and is plenty tough enough for that big upcoming hunt that you have been waiting for all these years. This scope easily proves it is one of the best spotting scopes for under $500.

It is waterproof, able to handle that adverse weather you may be facing, and the fog proofing will take care of all the varying temperatures that are bound to happen when out on the hunt all day. Its fully multi-coated 15-45x 60mm lens will give you a clear and brilliant view of your target hundreds of yards out.

A cleaning kit is included to keep those lenses clean and your view clear. It also comes with a soft case that is great for when you’re out in the field and a hard case that is perfect to keep it safe when in the truck or on the plane. The table top tripod will keep your scope stable when you use it in the stand or at the range and this is really a great scope for the money with its five-year warranty.

Final Thoughts on Best Hunting Spotting Scope Under $500 2024 

A serious hunter needs serious equipment from high-quality manufacturers that understand the demands hunters face when out in the field. There are key features that truly make the difference between the best hunting spotting scope under $500 and just another forgettable can’t-get-the-job-done bargain brand spotting scope.

Remember to keep in mind the conditions under which you’ll be using your spotting scope to make sure that the one you choose has all the features you need to truly make it your best hunting spotting scope.

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