Leupold Golden Ring Compact 15 to 30x50mm Spotting Scope


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn

March 23rd, 2007




Spotting scopes have many uses in the field, particularly out in the wide open spaces of the American West, or while hunting over the expansive bean fields of the Mid-West and the prairies of our Plains states.  They are much easier to use than a handheld high-power binocular for me for glassing over great distances.

While pretty handy in the hunting field, a good spotting is a very valuable asset at the shooting range.  A good scope allows shooters to see tiny bullet holes, or the lack thereof, in distant targets without walking downrange to do an inspection. At a public range, calling a ceasefire every few minutes to go downrange is almost as detrimental to one’s health as dodging bullets to inspect the target without calling for one. It is inconvenient, and wastes the time of everyone trying to shoot.  Occasionally, I shoot at a range with other shooters, particularly while at the NRA’s Whittington Center near Raton, New Mexico.  A good spotting scope is a valuable asset at such a place, saving time and energy for all the shooters on the line.

The vast majority of my shooting, however, is done at my own shooting range that is built on my property. I have a covered position with a sturdy bench, several good shooting rests from which to choose, a comfortable seat, and target positions at twenty-five, fifty, and one hundred yards.  Seeing tiny bullet holes at a distance is difficult with a hunting scope of normal power, and impossible when using open sights.

Above, when referring to a spotting scope, I qualified the noun  with the adjective "good".  A good spotting scope is an asset. A cheap one is an aggravation.  Before getting the Leupold spotting scope reviewed here, I have had for a couple of years a compact Burris spotting scope that was included free when I purchased a Burris rifle scope a couple of years ago. The rifle scope is a good unit. The spotting scope is worth less than it cost me, and it cost me nothing. Trying to see through that thing and focus it to see bullet holes on targets is an exercise in futility. I hate it, and after trying to use the abomination a few times, I reverted to just walking downrange to look at bullet holes in the target, or around the target as the case may be. This is detrimental to good shooting, and a waste of valuable time. I needed a GOOD spotting scope, and placed an order for this Leupold.

To mount the scope to the shooting bench, I ordered a mount from Sinclair International. Sinclair has many really useful and high quality products for shooters, and Pat Mundy at Leupold is the fellow that recommended the Sinclair mount to me. It is everything that he said it was, and the perfect choice for the Leupold scope. The Sinclair mount is easily adjusted to  securely clamp the scope to any bench, and has a wide range of adjustment for elevation, and 360 degrees of lateral adjustment. It is strong, sturdy, and perfect.  Thank for the tip, Pat!

The Leupold Golden Ring scope chosen has a power range from 15 to 30 and a 50mm objective lens. It is also very compact in size, and comes with a strap for carry afield, and a padded belt-attachable case. It has a brown synthetic rubber coating, with a textured surface for a secure grip in any weather. It has Leupold’s Multicoat 4 lens coating to enhance image quality, and lens caps for protection on both ends.  It would be a very good unit to carry afield.

However, my main purpose for the Leupold spotting scope is on the range, and that is where it has proven very useful to me. The image quality between this Golden Ring and my other spotting scope is like the difference between looking through a professional camera quality lens on a beautiful clear day and looking through a muddy water balloon with a sharp stick poking you in the eye.  Harry Houdini couldn’t get a clear image through that cheap giveaway scope, but the image looking through the Leupold is wonderful.  It is a great addition to the Gunblast shooting range, and will travel with me whenever I shoot on any other range in the future.

As I get older, I am still learning that it is always wise to buy quality. Life’s to long to use crappy equipment. For anyone needing a good spotting scope, check out this Leupold Golden Ring unit.  It is built in the USA, and has Leupold’s famous lifetime guarantee. It is compact, light, easy to use, and I highly recommend it.

Look at Leupold optical products online at:  www.leupold.com.

For the bench mount and other useful products for serious shooters, go to:  www.sinclairintl.com.

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.


Leupold's Golden Ring spotting scope on the Sinclair International bench mount.



Focus knob is conveniently located and easy to operate.



Leupold's Golden Ring spotting scope can be mounted on a standard camera tripod.





Power adjusts from 15X to 30X.





The Golden Ring spotting scope is very compact, as shown in this comparison to a 1911A1 pistol.



Scope comes with a padded belt-attached carrying case.



Sinclair International Spotting Scope Mount is just the ticket for using a spotting scope at a shooting bench.