Even though I am new to the world of spotting scopes, the Leupold GR 15-30x50mm Compact spotting scope is easy to use. It is very effective, relatively small, and enabled my half-century-old peepers to see hits at distances I had never been able to before. I can now easily see impacts at 500 yards+ with a spotting scope not much bigger than many binoculars. That seems pretty impressive to me.
Size, Weight, and Balance – Compact, relatively light, and well-balanced. Using my uncalibrated home tools, I measured it to be just shy of 1.5 pounds and approximately 3"L x 3"W x 10.5"H. It seems to be a great compromise of size, weight, and quality for the person who is counting ounces and square inches.
Main Body – Rubberized. This feature is important to ensure a good grip and dampen possible noises when bumped against other items.
Eyecup – "Folding" rubber flap. I like this because it allows me to "unfold" it for easy, comfortable viewing and "fold" it up for storage. Since I am new to spotting scopes, I am not sure if it has this feature for those reasons or not, but I like it anyway.
Eyecup Cap – Protects the glass in storage and afield, but still releases quickly and easily.
Focus Adjustment Knob – Full range of focal adjustment in one-half turn. That makes focal adjustments very quick. Just a tiny bit of turn on the knob makes a big difference in focus. It is made of hard plastic, but I think it would be better if it were rubberized.
Lens Cap – Maybe a couple of issues here, but nothing we can't overcome. It is metal, thin, has very fine threads, and untethered. Metal construction is excellent for durability. Being thin might be an issue with some types of gloves or if your hands are cold or wet. I did notice it was somewhat difficult to unscrew it after I unintentionally overtightened it, just a tad. I am not sure if temperature or pressure changes would cause the same issue or not. The fine threads could present a challenge when you're shaking (either from cold or excitement) or if you get sand or dirt in them. It is also not tethered, so it could be dropped, collect debris, or even get lost. So, with all that said, if you take the cap off before heading out and place the body in its included padded case, you could forgo all these issues. "Adapt and overcome," right?
Zoom Adjustment – Large, smooth, easy-to-use, rubberized knob. This is nice because it makes it easy to use with and without gloves, in dry and wet weather, and enables you to zoom in quickly and precisely before your potential target darts out of sight. Keep in mind, the more you zoom in, the more noticeable the "shake" becomes. At full zoom, I needed a stable support, like a tripod. I used the Leupold – Compact Tabletop Tripod. They make quite a lovely, compact couple.
Case – As usual, Leupold included a nice case. It is padded and comes with an attachment loop on the back and a hook and loop closure on the front. The front closure also includes a large, easy-to-grab pull tab to aid in opening and closing the case, even with gloves.
Shoulder Strap – Nice stretchy, padded strap for comfort. It has a quick detach (QD) point installed, but I could not figure out how to install it, possibly due to my lack of spotting scope experience.
Tripod Mount Adapter – Small, untethered piece required to attach the spotting scope to a tripod. It would be easy to lose in the field. I needed a long, slotted screwdriver, along with a good deal of wiggling, to install it on the main body. If you just attach it at home and leave it on, you can leave all your worries behind. Well, at least these worrisome things.
Tripod Mount Adapter Cover – Effective, but small and not tethered. It might prove to be challenging to use with gloves and be easy to lose. Quick Fix – remove it before going afield.
Glass - Excellent glass. I was able to read two-inch letters at 350 yards, without using a tripod, and easily see hits at over 500 yards. It produced a very clear view with a sharp focus. However, I noticed the glass in this spotting scope seemed to not enhance the light as well as the glass in the Leupold – BX-2 Alpine 12x52mm binoculars. I don't know if that's normal for spotting scopes or not since I have never used one before, but it was just something I noticed.
I would like the focus adjustment knob to be rubberized, like the rest of the unit.
I would definitely use and recommend the Leupold GR 15-30x50mm Compact spotting scope on the range, in the field, and for any other situation I may come across where I need to identify things at a distance. It offers excellent value for the size, weight, and quality.
I had planned on trying it out on an elk hunt this season, but that dang virus laid claim to our trip, as it has countless others. Fortunately, our outfitter was gracious enough to refund our down payment. So, to return the favor, we plan to help them by hiring them next season and offering a larger-than-normal tip to show our appreciation. ~ Scott
Scott is a liberty/responsibility minded, retired enlisted military dude who is relatively new to the benefits of being involved in firearms, hunting, self-reliance/defense, and politics. As such, his understanding of how these things interrelate and strengthen every American is constantly evolving. These experiences fuel his passion for not just "gun rights", but for ALL rights and what it takes to defend them.