Trijicon 20-60 x 82 Spotting Scope
- By Chris Parkin
- 2 Comments
- Last updated: 31/07/2017
Although a name we often associate with low magnification CQB and battle sights, the Trijicon HD™ Spotting Scope is supposedly designed with the hunter in mind but perhaps the tactical shooter is a better ‘target’ market. Again, those in true tactical markets will probably seek straight eyepieces and smaller objectives than the 82mm on offer here but objective lens size cannot be bettered in low-light conditions.
A separate eyepiece clicks into place on the rear end of the Trijicon’s angled body but is not an extra cost item as it is on other brands. It rotates anti-clockwise to raise the magnification level from 20-60x, with relaxed grip from the rubberised collar around the impressive 56mm diameter. A 25-50x wide angle eyepiece is also available as an extra accessory, although I don’t particularly see its specification suiting a large bodied unit like this for shooters addressing fixed locations. It is probably more suitable for tracking moving targets or at least those unlikely to be stationary for long periods.
Motion is totally smooth, with only fingertip pressure required to adjust matters, which is crucial, as high magnification optics, regardless of support system, need as little physical interaction imposed upon them as possible. The slight flipside to this is the requirement for eye relief to space your eye socket and brow from the ocular body, which here is quite large and doesn’t fit ‘inside’ your eye socket, rather against your eyebrow in fact.
There is a twist up eyecup to giving 10mm of extension but I always try to use scopes with this all the way in, to keep any physical movement of my body away from a scope, which can be targeting objects over 1500-metres away. On 60x magnification, this amount of wobble can destroy your image and even on 20x, that split second of unwanted motion will cause you to miss the equally split second of bullet vortex or trace making its way to the target.
The scope shows a 385mm overall length, with an extra 30mm extension available from the telescope sunshade. A clip-on cap protects the huge 82mm objective lens that shows a dark interior to the tube with no internal reflections visible from either end.
This inner ‘darkness’ is very gloomy and a nice showcase of how internal reflections have been dampened. Light transmission through the glass is rated at 80%, which may look a little less than figures of 90-95% relating to riflescopes but bear in mind the amount of light entering an optic with this 82mm objective lens, rather than the 50-56mm unit on a scope, and you get a wonderfully relaxing bright image. A rubber cap covers the eyepiece with a perfect fit for slide on-off usage without disturbing settings, or accidentally dropping off.
The body is magnesium, to save on weight and, has an encircling matt green cover which aids grip and gives a little bit of protection, but I wouldn’t want to treat an item like this roughly, as with 1800-grams, it will land with a serious thud. The whole body can rotate within its central saddle support with detents felt at vertical, horizontal and 45-degree intervals between the two.
These are nice for tactile feel and repetition in use, but a thumbscrew to the right of the collar wrapping the tube locks everything tightly in position with half a turn of the rubberised knob anyway. This is especially important in situations where you want to get low to the ground to avoid wind or when shooting prone at low level, where physically being above the scope is undesirable. The foot has a central 5/16-inch thread, which is the larger of the two commonly found sizes seen on tripods but the whole foot actually fits directly into my own Manfrotto tripod. Just as a note, I see so many shooters ignore the benefits of quality tripods to support their optics. Fractional quivering of a unit like this in the wind, or from vibration of people walking close by ruins the image quality it is capable of transferring to your eyes, so don’t scrimp. Lightweight is good for transport and I love carbon fibre for travel but weight is to some extent your friend with 1.8kg of optic on top. Mass dampens movement!
Sited directly above the central saddle for optimised balance, support and minimal interference from the physical manipulation of the control, sits the focus knob. This is a twin speed unit with the larger base knob quickly adjusting for target distance and subsequent close focus with a smaller inner knob extending beyond the outer, geared at 1/7th of the ratio for ultra-fine control. This is a great compromise of speed and precision that a high-end scope like this can really benefit from, especially as 60x magnification gives a very short depth of field. Both wheels have rubbersied serrations and give wonderful lightweight fingertip control.
The internal glassware is marketed as fully ‘broadband’ multi-coated fluoride glass for superior light transmission, hopefully of all spectra? I’m sure It’s most likely to be weighted toward visible daylight colours and I will say the image is razor sharp, focusing easily down to just below the promised 5.95-metres. Fine detail was exemplary, with brightness hard to imagine, and tiny 17 cal bullet holes visible at 300-yards in optimum conditions. Colours did seem a little flatter than the absolute ultimate I have seen but were by no means dull, with shades of greens and brown still well defined at range. This spotting scope is dry-nitrogen filled and fully submersible waterproof for 30-minutes at one-metre depth. A carrying case is included, allowing for ease of transport in the field with added protection for storage. A zipper conceals the eyepiece/focus knob opening with Velcro objective opening.
This allows access to all controls on the scope, even when the case is on, but I nearly always remove such cases when shooting to minimise wind induced vibration. I found the scope to be utterly superb for spotting fall of shot on target and the wide field of view (35-21- lateral metres visible depending on magnification at 1000-metres), very capable or tracking misses. I tend to remain at 20x magnification for long ranges on steel as the hit is heard yet the visible trace of the bullet in flight is a very helpful suggestion of track before the bullet arrives and the depth of field on this Trijicon at 20x was excellent at longer ranges, picking up the trace early in its flight. On stationary targets, a flat focus spanned the entire visible image. Winding up to to 60x reduces the size of the exit pupil and shortens the eye relief a little, which paradoxically means that you are more likely to find yourself physically nudging the ocular body and transmitting vibration, at full magnification when you require the most stability. I can’t help thinking the 18.5mm of eye relief would be better a few mm longer and those wearing glasses will find physical contact to occur even at lowest magnification.
This spotting scope is a pleasure to use in all target shooting conditions with broad field of view and focal depth. The eye relief is a little short for spectacle wearers but the rotating body and reassuring weight both aid great ergonomic positioning and dampen vibration.