LRF vs Spotting Scope for long-range, $1500 to spend

OK, maybe that should be "LRF AND Spotting Scope".

I have ~$1500 to spend on a LRF and a spotting scope. Distance used would be up to like 1200m, maybe further in the future, punching paper and ringing steel at unknown distances. I would like the LRF to be compatible with the Kestrel 5700 link. Can I get some suggestions on what to spend that on? I have _heard_ that I am better off spending more of it on the LRF than the spotting scope, due to the spotting scopes kinda running out of steam in picking up holes and drift much past 200-300. I currently have a trashy spotting scope that works acceptably at 100. I am trying to do a buy-once cry-once sort of deal here.

I will start the discussion off by saying I'm leaning towards a Sig Kilo 2400BDX for the LRF. I don't know anything about decent spotting scopes. Thanks!
The Sig options are a good choice for the mid level price point. From there the jump seems to be to Terrapin (despite the CS gong show of recent years). Regarding Spotting scopes, sky is the limit, but you can get a Vortex Razor HD on sale for 800 or so. Lastly, figure on a well built (doesn't need to be super expensive) tripod. If you spend the money on glass but cannot keep it steady its money wasted.
Unknown distance paper/steel out to 1200m, I am guessing without a large nearby backdrop (berm, tree, boulder) that can reflect a cheaper LRF beam? Likely in poor LRF conditions such as bright mid-day sunlight? In that case get the best you LRF you can afford. When I was in the market for an LRF I got a gen 1 Terrapin and it can do perform at that level. I don't know about the Sig products but I would be looking hard at the new Terrapin.

Forget using a spotter to resolve paper target bullet holes at long range. Mirage will prevent that ability no matter how good of a spotter you buy. Get a wireless target camera for that task.
In my experience between leupold, sig, bushnell, and Leica, the sig seems to be a little faster to pick up targets and is better at extended ranges past 800 yards in optimal conditions. My personal preference would be getting as good of a range finder as you can afford as getting a good range to target is a big part of good hits. I am just as likely to spot using my rifle scope as a dedicated spotter unless it’s a situation where that’s not viable (on the line at a PRS match). The vortex spotters are great glass for the money but for my uses the bushnell legend T is a better cheaper option and has a mil reticle to help call shots. It can be had ~$400 and has very useable glass along with rails for accessories. Most of our shooting is done in the hills/mountains vs the range, my only range time is at a club PRS match.
I have zero input on the LRF, but do know something on spotters. Pick well and spend the time to compare. I bought a mid-range ($800) Vortex and was very disappointed with it. I sold it at a loss and bought a new generation big Razor. It was outstanding. I have since moved to a Meopta and it's even better. There are a lot of spotters available out there. Go somewhere that will take you outside and let you set them up to look through them. Take the time to compare, pick your top three and then go back in two weeks to look them over again.

Remember, as previously mentioned, mirage will blur the image at long distance and there is not much you can do about that.
Thanks for the advice, guys. The Terrapin X is tempting, but the budget is just not going to stretch that far. It sounds like I am best off forgoing the new spotting scope and just buying a Sig 2400BDX and a Kestrel Elite 5700.


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Consider pairing the two into rage binoculars. You settle a bit on glass quality compared to a $1500 set, but you gain the ability to range and use both eyes.

I have used the Sig Kilo series a good bit, and had good results beyond 1200 on 16” circle steel targets. Once gripe is that it is a 7x optic. With the introduction of the Sig Kilo 300 (talks to Kestrels) or the Vortex (not kestrel friendly), you get mid tier binos, and a range finder in one. Less to carry, and easier to use.

I have scored PRS matches with both binos and spotting scopes. Inside of 600, even with 12” targets, I would gladly take the binos because of the reduction in eye fatigue. If you want super high magnification and low FOV, the spotter offers a bit more resolution, but to really use the 25+ magnification, you have to pay for good glass, which would eliminate the ability to buy a LRF.


Regular Member
Certainly both, but I'd save up for a really, really good spotter. Think about cheating your way there with the budget with a good monocular and a mount for it, so you have a halfassed spotter for smaller ranges, and so on.

I love, love, love my Leica LRF, and the new ones (e.g. 2700 B) will pair to some of the Kestrels. I use the LRF to spot to about 100m, and as a general monocular for stalking around the woods. The LRF is unbeatable, and I only have a 1600 model.

I have never used them in the field, but I was not as impressed with the SIG LRFs for ranging or optics when in the rural Indiana store comparing some of them out into the nearby field.