Needing a tough spotting scope with a MIL reticle for long distance shooting, I got hold of the Trace Advanced 20-60×80 from ZeroTech. Used for helping correct shots at the range, in competitions and even spotting trophy animals when hunting a spotting scope has many uses across shooting disciplines.
A spotting scope allows the shooter or spotter to see a target in greater detail than can be seen with the naked eye or through a rifle scope. This is particularly important in long distance shooting and in competitions where the targets are at a greater distance.
Spotting impacts is primarily where I use a spotting scope, this involves seeing the point of impact of the rounds on the target and calling out corrections so the shooter can make adjustments to their aim. Spotting scopes are also useful to help read wind conditions by observing the movement of grass or trees, to estimate the wind speed and direction helping make adjustments for the shooter.
ZeroTech Optics are an Australian company that produce high-quality optics for all budgets, including rifle-scopes, binoculars, and spotting scopes. ZeroTech Optics offer a range of optics designed for casual hunters all the way to professional shooters and I have been impressed with the value on offer in the 4-24×50 and 4.5-27×50 rifle scopes previously reviewed.
Depending on how far you are shooting or how much detail you want to see when spotting trophy animal, you want to select a spotting scope with enough magnification for your shooting needs. Usually using a 20-60 magnification spotting scope, I wanted the same high magnification range for a spotting scope with the MIL reticle.
There isn’t a huge variety of spotting scopes available with MIL reticles, however the ZeroTech Trace Advanced is on the higher side for the magnifications in those available.
|Horus HoVR 6.5-40×50|
|Vortex Viper HD 20-60×85|
|Burris Signature HD 20-60×85|
|ZeroTech Trace Advanced 20-60×80|
Balancing the size of the spotting scope with functionality, I found the magnification range to be a perfect fit for the shooting and hunting I had planned.
The objective lens size in a spotting scope directly affects the scope’s light-gathering ability, image brightness, and resolution. The larger the objective lens, the more light it can gather and transmit to the eyepiece. This is important in low-light conditions, such as dawn or dusk, where a larger objective lens can make the difference between being able to see the target clearly or not at all.
Additionally, a larger objective lens can also improve the scope’s image brightness and resolution, allowing for a clearer and sharper image of the target. This is especially important for long distance shooting, where the target may be a small steel plate at 800 meters or more. Luckily the ZeroTech Trace Advanced 20-60×80 packs a large 80mm diameter lens that helps gather light and provide the optical quality you expect at the price point.
However, it’s worth noting that a larger objective lens also means a heavier and bulkier spotting scope. So, when choosing a spotting scope, it’s important to strike a balance between the objective lens size, weight, and portability, depending on your specific needs. For me, the balance has been achieved with the compact size and clear image.
The reticle is in the angular measurement of ‘milliradians’ which for those new to long distance shooting is also known as MRAD or MIL. This is the most common unit of measurement in the long distance shooting world and a must have for me when selecting a ranging reticle.
The spotting scope uses the Optimised Spotting Reticle (OSR) in the First Focal Plane (FFP). This means that the reticle will change size when your change magnification, ensuring the angular measurements are the same at all magnifications. The reticle sits offset in the scope which is to maximise the observation area available to the spotter. The measurements are in 0.2 MRAD and ZeroTech has also included a section of 0.1 MRAD measuring bars on the elevation and windage axes for precise range estimation.
The reticle is glass etched meaning its carved into the glass. This is important as glass etched reticles don’t break or shift and are more precise.
With the reticle out of the main view it has been easy to pick up trace and splash at the target without being obscured by the reticle.
Having a strong interest in sports shooting optics a must have for me is a clear and sharp image, even at high magnifications. The glass in the ZeroTech Trace Advanced is extra-low dispersion with fully multi coated lenses, meaning that its built with high quality glass. The contrast, colour and resolution are all on point and helped to see bullet trace when spotting.
Compared to my Vortex Viper HD, the ZeroTech Trace Advanced resolved detail better when looking at targets in shaded or dark spots. In a side by side comparison in the field, the glass outperforms my Vortex Viper HD.
The focal range is very broad from 10m out to infinity, beating the Viper HD by a couple of meters.
In The Field
The past few months have seen the scope carried between stages in Precision Service Rifle matches and hauled out to many long distance sessions. At the first match I thought I was having issues with focusing but quickly realsied the 38 degree Celcius/100 degree Fahrenheit weather was causing huge heat wave and mirage effects which cant be overcome no matter what optic you have.
The rubber armour coating does a great job protecting it against bumps and scratches and absolutely make this a tank of a spotter. There is also a neoprene cover included but I would only fit that when hunting, just for extra protection in case of a fall. Another feature worth mentioning is that it does come with a lifetime warranty that is transferable between owners.
There are three sections for M-Lok rails, on the top and each side of the scope which are underneath the plastic covers. The bottom has a short Picatinny Rail which is mounted in screw holes. The scope also has a separate mount for a standard 1/4-20 attachment to a tripod.
Looking for a spotting scope that is easy to set up and adjust, with intuitive controls I found the in line magnification, focus and dioptre adjustment suited my needs for quickly making adjustments. Changes are stiff enough that they won’t be accidentally bumped or move but not so stiff as to be annoying to use.
Overall its a lot shorter and more compact in size in comparison to the Vortex Viper HD. The durability and ruggedness of the spotting scope have been impressive, particularly in the harsh outdoor environments that I have used it.
When selecting a spotting scope, consider your specific needs and shooting scenario, and look for a spotting scope that provides the features and performance you require. The ZeroTech Trace Advanced 20-60×80 spotting scope ticks all the boxes for me, being in the First Focal Plane, having a MIL reticle, straight design and decent glass.
|Focal Plane||First (FFP) OSR MRAD Reticle|
|Reticle calibrated magnification power (SFP only)||N/A|
|Objective Lens Diameter||80mm|
|Parallax Adjustment Range||10 Meters – Infinity|
|Exit Pupil Diameter||Low: 4mm; High: 1.3mm|
|Field Of View @1000 Meters||Low: 38.4m; High: 12.6m|
|Available Reticles||Optimised Spotting Reticle (OSR) MRAD|