I recently decided to expand my styles of hunting and picked up a shotgun for turkey and coyote hunting. I wanted to test out a red dot scope on it and decided to give Vortex a try for this setup. Red dot scopes are a staple in the industry when it comes to firearms and crossbows. There are various brands and models on the market, but today, let’s take a look at the new Vortex SPARC SOLAR red dot.

Vortex SPARC Solar Red Dot

Vortex SPARC SOLAR Red Dot

The SPARC SOLAR is a very interesting red dot as it incorporates a new feature in its line of red dot scopes. The name says it all. Solar…..that’s right, this red dot has solar capabilities to ensure you never have to worry about having a dead battery with a boasted 150,000 hours of battery life! Once activated, the red dot will be powered by solar power thanks to a small solar panel on top of the scope and will switch to battery power once it senses that there is not enough light to power the red dot. Not only that but it is motion-activated to ensure it is always ready.

Brightness and Reticle Settings

The SPARC SOLAR has ten daytime illumination settings and two night-vision compatible settings. It has a 2 MOA dot and comes in red illumination with 1 MOA graduation adjustment. The sight is parallax-free and has 100 MOA of adjustment within the scope. It is said to be able to take recoil and impact well, so a shotgun will be a great test. Read full specs here.

View through the SPARC SOLAR.

First Impression and Use

I opened the box and was impressed with their packaging and attention to detail, as always. The scope comes with a battery, pic mount, attached scope covers, and reticle tool for adjustments. It is small and will fit many applications with a length of 2.6” and weighs in at only 5.9 ounces. It comes out of the box with a mounting base that allows you to mount it at the highest height of 40mm above the mounting location, or you can take that base off and have it mounted at 22mm above the mounting point. This gives you an option depending on what you are mounting it on.


I decided to remove the mount base as I intended to use the scope on a shotgun that will be primarily used for turkeys and coyotes. I had to buy a Picatinny base for the shotgun to mount the scope in my desired location. It is easy enough to do and installed super easy.

I did a simple bore sight by looking down the barrel of the shotgun and lining up with the middle of a target at 25 yards. Then, I moved the red dot to the desired location. Next, I shot at the range to make final adjustments to the red dot to get me shooting like I wanted.

As this is the first time I am using a red dot on a shotgun, I’m still determining the range I want the shotgun sighted in for. I started with a 50-yard zero for heavy loads. I’ll likely make adjustments as I do more hunting with this setup.

Shotgun with Red Dot

Easy To Use

Adjustments of the scope were easy, and it took no time to sight in. The red dot was ample with brightness and easy to locate when pulling up the shotgun. The automatic activation was fast and readily available each time I raised the shotgun.

It is also easy to adjust the brightness, and the time of day determines which brightness I want to use at any given time. In low light conditions, it will automatically draw power from the battery; in daytime use, it will switch over and draw power from the solar panel. The red dot auto times out as well, so worrying about forgetting it on and wearing your battery down isn’t an issue at all. At a claimed 150,000 hours of battery life using solar and battery power, I likely will never need to buy another battery in my lifetime!

Fast Target Acquisition

Using the red dot scope was a breeze, with easy target acquisition at all times. I did try it on flying clay pigeons and pheasants with success, but finding the red dot quickly was a bit more difficult but not impossible. Target acquisition in these settings does take a bit longer, but for coyote and turkey hunting, this would not be an issue for the most part.

View of Solar Panel

Lens Covers

With this scope mounted on a semi-automatic shotgun, the attached scope covers can get in the way of the action and like to bounce back up in the way after some shots. I will remedy that at a later time and likely use a small rubber band to keep them out of the way while hunting. The caps also like to fall off and don’t seem to fit snugly enough to stay secure while on the move. Minor issues, really.



After getting it sighted in after several shots and burning through another box of ammo, the point of impact remains true, and the scope remains sighted in to show that it will withstand the recoil from a shotgun.

With an MSRP of $399.99 and all its features, it makes it a great option for turkey and coyote hunters mounted on a shotgun, but you are limited to only that. This would also make a great red dot for AR-style rifles for short-range target engagements as well. Read more and find a dealer here.

Comment or ask Jared questions here.

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Jared Bloomgren
Jared was raised to appreciate the outdoors and everything that Mother Nature has to offer. He strives to better himself in the hunting community and to also help those that are looking for the insight that they wish to acquire when it comes to hunting. He plans all his own hunts and is very proud of being a "Do It Yourself" hunter who hunts mostly puclic land. Jared is fortunate to have gained the support of various companies in the hunting industry. While he enjoys various styles of hunting, 90% of his hunting is done by spot and stalk. Jared says "Spot & stalk really pits your knowledge and experience against that of your prey on their terms. It levels the playing field more than any other style of hunting." He takes extreme pride in the knowledge and experience that he has gained over the years. As a freelance writer, he enjoys reliving hunts and passing on tips and tactics information in prose to readers. He is the proud father of two, Emmalynn and Jackson. He will teach them many of the same things that he was lucky enough to learn from his late father.