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Straight Vs Angled Spotting Scope

Written by Erik Himmel

Spotting scopes give you better magnification than binoculars. Their magnification range is from 40x to 60x. Generally, they are used mounted on tripods because it is tough to hold something with more than 10x magnification in your hand in a steady position.

Straight Spotting Scope

Applications

The design of a straight spotting scope keeps the objective lens and eyepiece mostly in a straight line, or at least parallel to the land or ground. Many Straight spotting scopes contain variants known as the Porro prism in which its eyepiece is placed in-line with, but a little above its objective lens. Straight scopes can be used for these specific activities.

  1. Hunting and target shooting: Since you require shooting at a specific point for hunting and target shooting, these spotting scopes can be conveniently used for these activities.
  2. Car Mounts: You are able to use it to trace the target while moving on a car or even from a parked car.
  3. To shoot from blinds: If you want to make a career as a professional sniper such as in a law enforcement department or agency, you will get a straight spotting scope rifle for the job.
  4. To shoot from a tree stand: This spotting scope will help you shoot your target from a tree stand.
  5. Nature observing: A straight scope can be the best choice for you to observe nature.
  6. Marine watching: If you love to view what is happening under the deep sea, a straight spotting scope serves the best.

Who Can Choose a Straight Spotting Scope?

All professional hunters, especially beginners, can easily use this spotting scope. Because they are user-friendly and convenient.

Where You Can Use the Straight Spotting Scope?

Straight spotting scopes are specifically beneficial to use for any type of hunting and target shooting. They are convenient for regular hunting and shooting from ridge-lines or blinds, and car mounts. It can be helpful to observe the sea life or nature too.

straight Spotting Scope Advantages

Advantages:

1. Easy to use

It is much easier to use a straight spotting scope than an angled one. You will adjust your angled scope to have a better view of your target, but you will be able to apply your inbuilt direction sense while using a straight scope.

2. Faster and easier target acquisition and tracking

As mentioned above, they are easy to use, your target will be easily acquired and tracked faster using this spotting scope. As you will always face in the same direction, you are able to easily look up from your scope, see with the naked eye, and again switch back to your scope without turning away from your target.

3. The eyepiece can be more protected from dust, debris, snow, and rain

The eyepiece remains in a straight direction so it doesn’t collect dust, debris, snow, and rain so easily.

4. Convenient to track moving objects

When you are tracing moving objects such as in professional snipping training or hunting, it is easy to use because it makes you track and find your target easily.

5. Convenient to use from a hiding place

Again, when you are spotting or shooting from a hiding place, you can carry this spotting scope conveniently.

6. Convenient to use from a higher place

If you prefer using it from higher places such as from tree stands, you should use this type of spotting scope because that is more natural.

7. Same tripod height can be kept while switching from binos to scope

Experienced and seasoned observers will first have an overall view of the landscape with binoculars to get a target applying their wider scope of view. Then they will switch to the spotting scope to have a closer look. If you use a straight scope, you don’t need to adjust the tripod height after this switch.

8. Easy to pack

Hunters packs and day packs often come with scope sleeves. Your straight scopes will fit more easily into these. They can be packable as well as unpackable in any type of case because of their convenient shape.

Disadvantages

1. Difficult to view at a severe higher angle

It is painful to view at a severe higher angle, to target things at high altitudes or altitudes above the sea level.

2. Neck discomfort for prolonged use

Neck discomfort if you need to constantly bend.

3. Inexpensive but lacks advanced features

These scopes are generally inexpensive but don’t have advanced features like the angled ones.

4. Difficult to use for digiscoping

This scope is tough to carry for digiscoping because it can sway sideways and become unstable because of the heavy weights of the camera and adapter. This can also damage the scope’s eyepiece.

5. The accessories are inevitable

The use of accessories is a must. For instance, when you’ll need to spot something from above the ground, you’ll need a tripod. You surely know tripods are expensive and difficult to carry.

6. Tripod needs to be taller

Tripod needs to be higher or taller to scope effectively which increases movement because of wind. It is specifically true while you are using the tripods standing up.

Angled Spotting Scope

Angled Spotting Scope

Applications

The angled spotting scope is designed in such a way that its eyepiece is placed at a specific angle with respect to its barrel. Mostly, the angle ranges from 45 to 90 degrees and this angle is not adjustable. But the eyepiece can be rotated around your scope that gives a versatility in specific positions.

This spotting scope can be applied for activities like:

  1. Astronomy: Astronomers require watching the distant things from different angles and distances. They use this spotting scope for this purpose.
  2. Birding: Angled scopes are easy for a keen bird-watching.
  3. Hunting: The hunters prefer the angled scope because they require chasing down the targets, and watching them from various angles and places.
  4. Tall people: Angled spotting scopes are more suitable to use for tall people.
  5. Digiscoping: These spotting scopes can be easily used for digiscoping.

Who Can Choose the Angled Spotting Scope?

These devices are difficult to use because the line of sight always remains on a slope angle and it becomes difficult for you to track the moving things. Professional hunters who have prior experience of using this spotting scope can choose it to use in the right way.

Where You Can Use the Angled Spotting Scope?

You can choose this versatile spotting scope to use in astronomy, birding, bird hunting, other hunting, and digiscoping.

Advantages

1. Easy to share

An angled scope is set like the classic telescope because you place this scope on your tripod and align its eyepiece upwards. So, you will need to bend over for looking into the scope. The advantage of this is people of various heights can easily use it without changing the setup.

2. They don’t require to be highly-mounted

You can mount angled scopes on tripods much lower than the straight ones to have the same look, i.e., you don’t require a tall tripod. A small tripod means less room and less weight in your pack.

3. Easy and comfortable for looking upwards

It is both easy and comfortable to bend it upwards and view objects in the sky and high terrain, since normally you are above this scope watching into its eyepiece.

4. Comfortable for long observations

That tilt over the head in a forward direction is more convenient to use for long or prolonged observations specifically because you can either be seated or lying down.

5. Lower tripods stay steadier in wind

You need lower tripods to mount this scope, and so it can be easily used outdoors on windy days. Because the center of gravity works closer to the ground and makes your tripod steadier in windy situations.

6. Convenient for using without tripods

Put your pack on a raised part of the ground, and set the scope on it’s top. Then you will be able to conveniently lie down and have a nice angle on your scope for viewing than you can have while using a straight angled one.

7. Better for Astronomers

The angled eyepiece and the reason that the scope makes looking upwards more natural like a telescope indicates that this scope is better for astronomers to use. A magnification scope of 60x on a clear sky at night can help you view the moons of Jupiter.

8. Easy switching option for long-range shooters

Suppose, you have taken part in a competitive shooting, and your setup position is well, you can easily switch from a rifle scope’s eyepiece to a spotting scope by moving your head just a little bit. Competitive shooters apply their spotting scope’s wider fields of view for checking shot results and wind directions regularly. They do not want to move out from their position of shooting for doing so.

9. Easy to support a digiscoping setting

These spotting scopes can easily support a digiscoping setting.

Disadvantages

1. Difficult to use for beginners

Angled spotting scopes require some handling experience. So, it is difficult to use for beginners.

2. More Expensive

Generally, these scopes are more expensive than the straight ones.

3. Difficult to use from hiding places

It will be a bit difficult to use from any hiding place because of its angled eyepiece.

4. Difficult to use from a higher place

If you want to observe from a higher place such as a tree stand, you can’t use this device. Because the barrel and eyepiece are placed at a certain angle.

5. Difficult to use from a moving vehicle

Generally, using this device from a moving vehicle is difficult because the device’s collar needs to be adjusted to view in the right way.

6. Difficult to carry

It will be difficult to put into your pocket, and also can be troublesome to put into the backpack when it is full.

7. Difficult to protect from dust, snow, and water

Since the lens is angled at about 45 or 50 degrees, it is easily exposed in dust, snow, and rain. Just throw your hat on the eyepiece or keep the eyecap closer to put on the eyepiece when not in use.

Straight vs Angled Spotting Scope for Hunting and Target Shooting

The better option for the hunters and target shooters is the straight spotting one. These scopes remain at your eye’s horizontal level, and no need to change the settings or set the angle, as in the case of angled ones. All types of hunters including the beginners can easily use this device.

Angled scopes are for expert shooters, where distance measuring and angle setting are the major two concerns.

Straight vs Angled Spotting Scope – Based on Purposes

  • For Birding

The first and foremost thing in viewing birds is comfort. Angled spotting scopes can give you this comfort in viewing birds without any neck pain. Because for looking at an angle around 80 degrees or the like, you can simply look at the device’s eyepiece while maintaining zero degree from your head.

You don’t require looking upwards, stressing your neck. A straight spotting scope cannot give this comfort.

  • For Astronomy

Using a straight spotting scope for astronomy will give you neck pain and make the task difficult. So, the exact choice should be the angled spotting one. You can see long-distance things at a specific angle with this device without pain in the neck.

  • For Digiscoping

The optical quality of both the scopes are somewhat the same. An angled one will keep your camera at a downward angular position to you. It will make it more convenient to see and share what you are doing from a suitable position.

Whereas a straight one can turn it quicker to find out a target or subject and can avoid more glare of sunlight on the camera screen.

If you use a heavyweight adapter that can swing away your camera from the eyepiece, you can use an angled scope. It will keep your camera “at rest” in a downward angular position and help to keep it strongly against the device’s eyepiece.

  • For Car Window Mounts

If your car is big and you are a small guy or lady, you will have enough space for moving around in the seat and angling a straight spotting scope right the way you like it.

An angled scope with its adjustable eyepiece allows you to set the scope for observing more angles than is possible with a straight one. Directly point it in-front-of the car and don’t need to keep your head out of the car window for using it. The same thing applies for behind and upward. You are able to position these angled scopes more comfortably.

Which is Right for You

Now when you know all the applications, advantages, and disadvantages of both the spotting scopes, you can easily choose which one is right for you depending on your experience, and situation.

 Still, an angled one can be preferable for these reasons:

  • Stability and versatile eyepiece positions

These angled scopes can be more stable due to that fact that the tripod height can be kept lower making it easier and stable to use in windy situations. Requiring a small tripod can save weight well if you are hunting with a backpack.

You have the options to use angled spotters in many awkward eyepiece positions. Mostly, these scopes come with a rotating collar for making adjustments.

These features work extremely well while hunting bucks and trying to keep yourself hidden. Just rotate your angled head of the tripod indicating down toward the land or ground. It allows you to view and keep your head hidden under the skyline.

  • Neck relief

The angled one is right for the situations when you are watching straight in front of you when sitting down or even viewing from a small stool or chair. These scopes make you bend your head a little downward that is comfortable for prolonged sessions. You can often also enjoy turning the eyepieces to the two to three o’clock position or the ten to eleven o’ clock position. These positions also feel natural and changing from one side to another gives one of your eyes a break in turn.

  • The waiting for an animal to stand situation

Suppose, you are waiting for an animal to stand. Then you will keep the spotting scope next to the rifle. An angled spotter is ideal for such a situation because you have the option to just turn your head to the left while you are looking through your spotter. This will be much easier than looking through the rifle scope for hours while waiting or having to bend upward to look through the straight spotter.

  • The same tripod height for all

As mentioned earlier, the same tripod height can be used by people of different heights.

  • The speed can’t be a problem in targeting animals with experience

Locating animals will be difficult and time-consuming using an angled scope for beginners. But you will be able to locate animals with this scope as quickly as you can with the straight scope with much more experience. Even the beginners won’t find it difficult after some hunting trips.

About the author

Erik Himmel

A Part-Time Firearm Instructor

Hi, this is Erik. We all know firearms are dangerous, but only when one doesn’t know how to use and care for them. I have 15+ years of experience with different types of guns and for the last 10 years, I have taught numerous people how to hold and shoot a gun while staying safe and keeping the surroundings unharmed. My neighbors are some of my biggest admirers who enjoy talking to me about their guns, firearms safety and maintenance.

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