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Old 05-09-2005, 09:21 PM   #1
BrianMaguire
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Default Spotting scope suggestions

I will be getting a spotting scope this year and essentially know little about them, other than the aspects they have in common with scopes. I want something fairly light since I pack in quite a bit but need something good for distance spotting in sage steppe. Thoughts? I am willing to spend a little money but nothing like a grand. I also would like, if possible something that has a way to hook up a camera. I may go used so somewhat older models may be in the cards.

Do you go 40, 60 or 80MM on the lens?

What magnification is best for spotting mule deer? Range up to a mile or more.

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Old 05-09-2005, 09:55 PM   #2
trizzie
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Default Re: Spotting scope suggestions

Do you know anyone who owns a spotting scope? I'd try to take one out in the field before you make the investment. In my experience they are good for judging racks at great distances and not much else. I've used a Leupold Wind River (I believe this is the low end Leupold line manufactured in Asia) 15-45 x 60 and they gathered minimal light and had poor overall clarity.
Have you considered looking at a pair of high power binoculars? Placing a good pair of 20x's on a tripod is much more conducive to glassing open country in my opinion.
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Old 05-09-2005, 10:13 PM   #3
BrianMaguire
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Default Re: Spotting scope suggestions

Good advice. i will take one in the field this weekend.

Thanks
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Old 05-09-2005, 10:28 PM   #4
billc_sbio
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Default Re: Spotting scope suggestions

I have a Bushnell "Spacemaster" scope that I've had for years.

It's not the "latest, greatest", but it's still a great scope for the $$$

This is a good, solid, 60mm Objective scope with pretty good optics for the price.

I think, these days, they sell for something over $300.

The other day I saw one on auction on eBay and I think it went for close to the starting bid of $60!

I forwarded the auction info to a friend who I know doesn't have a scope. I don't know if he did anything about it or not. But someone got a GREAT deal!

I also have an older Leupold "carry" Spotting Scope. It too is not the latest, but hey it works as well now as it did 15 years ago! It's a lot lighter and more compact. I sometimes carry it and a lightweight tripod afield also when scouting.

http://community.webshots.com/photo/...8273vUoaUKQJkS

The Bushnell seems best when used with a window mount for a vehicle, (It gets MOST of its work at the rifle range) where it works very well on spotting waterfowl and big game animals a long way away.

Must be why guides and game wardens alike favor them so much?!! :grin:
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Old 05-10-2005, 05:49 AM   #5
Bait O' Eggs
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Default Re: Spotting scope suggestions

Being a guy who spends a lot of time looking thru glass I have some opinions on spotting scopes.

When I am rifle hunting you wont find me without the binos around my neck, and a spotting scope in the pack, but I want to be able to count points at several miles.

I have hunted over the 80mm objective Swarovskis which are pretty nice, but to big to pack in my opinion, and I am a guy who packs a 42 ounce binocular.

I have used cheaper scopes and the problem is field of view, weight and amount of light. When you get the power turned up to around 60 there isnt much light left.

If you wear glasses you will need some eye relief so you can look thru them with your glasses, I dont wear glasses but my hunting partner does and we both have settled on the same scope.

We both pack a Leupold scope and I dont remember the name of the model, but it is the one that looks like 2 tubes stacked on top of each other. This gets the overal length down so it fits in the pack. The eye relief is probably as much or more than any other scope, adjustable from 15 to 40.

And you will want it to be adjustable. Anything below 15 and you might as well be looking with your binos, The all peak out between 40 and 60, I rarely find myself wanting more than 40.

A longer scope is harder to balance on a small pack tripod. Some scopes dont have the tripod hook up at the weight balance point and only work well on big stand up tripods. The shorter leupold due to the double tube to get the required length of light refraction as they bounce the light back and forth balances nicely on a tripod.

Get a tripod with a quick disconnect piece so you can put it on the tripod with a flick of a lever and it takes only a couple seconds to get set up.

It will run you around $7 or $800 I think last time I checked. You might find a better deal, I have not priced them in quite a while.

Brian, if you want to borrow my scope for a field test your more than welcome to take it out and see what your think, nothing better than looking thru one at dusk/dawn in the field, rather than under the flourescent lights in a store. You can even take my Bausch and Laumb discovery 15 - 60 along to compare.
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Old 05-10-2005, 06:51 AM   #6
saltwater only
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Default Re: Spotting scope suggestions

The may issue of American Hunter has a good write up on that very subject. PM me your address and I will send you my copy.
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Old 05-10-2005, 07:00 AM   #7
Salmo trutta
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Default Re: Spotting scope suggestions

What do you need a spotting scope for? You told me you had 20/200 eyesight!
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Old 05-10-2005, 03:57 PM   #8
BrianMaguire
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Default Re: Spotting scope suggestions

Quote:
What do you need a spotting scope for? You told me you had 20/200 eyesight!
Beatys Butte Deer this year! 20/15 LOL I thought my eye sight was going and had it checked out recently. I guess I must have been 20/10 before it started to go :smile:. BTW I can also hear unlike some of us
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Old 05-10-2005, 04:02 PM   #9
BrianMaguire
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Default Re: Spotting scope suggestions

Quote:


I have hunted over the 80mm objective Swarovskis which are pretty nice, but to big to pack in my opinion, and I am a guy who packs a 42 ounce binocular.
Do you think 60mm would be fine? I would like a 20-60X and I am a guy that is in the field from dawn till dark so the eve/morn light would be something I would like to be able to see in. so 80 may be over kill except for scouting from the road because of the weight.
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Old 05-10-2005, 04:04 PM   #10
Salmo trutta
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Default Re: Spotting scope suggestions

Say What?

Seriously I have used a Bausch and Lomb Discovery scope for 18 years. I have hunted elk with it in the Tioga in downpours and antelope in the heat. We even use it for birding in Malhuer. Two weeks ago we had it at Cape Meares watching the Falcon. I cranked it up to 60 power and watched the momma roll her egg. It has never failed me. (60x can be a little shakey sometimes.) For the price I would say it is a good scope. John has a Leupold gold ring 30 X ??? you could probably try out next time we go "outin"
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Old 05-10-2005, 04:28 PM   #11
Reel Handel
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Default Re: Spotting scope suggestions

I agree with BOE pretty much in fact we have looked through the same scope at some very nice bulls at times. I have a Bushnell Spacemater that is a fixed 15x and it works great when the heat waves are bad and it is raining hard. I also have a B&l discovery 20 to 60 and i dont like it very much, it was given to me by the company i worked for my retierment. I think that living in Ore there is no reason to buy anything but Leupold they are a great company. that is my opinion.
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Old 05-10-2005, 05:19 PM   #12
Steve L.
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Default Re: Spotting scope suggestions

I agree the Leupold gold ring scopes are sweet. I guess I got lucky with my Windriver 14-45x60. Bright edge to edge and gather light well, BUT if you can swing the extra $$ the Leupold gold ring is lighter and offers amazing optics.
Happy shopping
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Old 05-10-2005, 08:45 PM   #13
billc_sbio
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Default Re: Spotting scope suggestions

Hmm...just went "shopping" for you on some online sites that have nice prices on optics etc.

Looks to me like a 60mm Bushnell Spacemaster will run you right around $300.

The Preferred Leupold Gold Ring 60mm is going to run around $900!

The 10-20X x 40mm small Leupold Gold Ring, what is a more modern replacement for my older Leupold "carry" spotter runs right around $300 also. This one might be a option, all things (price & weight) considered.

The "In Thing" in the world of Highpower Rifle shooters these days is the big KOWA TSN-821-M, which has an 82mm Objective. This is what the serious shooters and spotters use for looking at bullet holes in targets at many hundreds of yards away. I think that scope runs around $850 with a 27X eyepiece standard. A zoom eyepiece is available, for around another $350.

The Kowa, or something like it would be great...trouble is, it's Big...and HEAVY!
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Old 05-10-2005, 09:03 PM   #14
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Default Re: Spotting scope suggestions

I have a Kowa with a 60mm objective and a 25x eyepiece. A zoom eyepiece is also available for it. I can't remember how much it cost, right around $400 if I recall correctly. It's been a good scope at the rifle range. Haven't had a chance to really try it out when hunting. But it is a big improvement over the Leupold 30x60mm spotter I had previously.
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Old 05-10-2005, 09:42 PM   #15
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Default Re: Spotting scope suggestions

I too did alot of looking over the last couple years looking for something bright, clear, and compact. I used to have a Cabelas private label scope, and sold it due to poor eye relief and mediocre quality. Last year I bought a Leupold Sequoia, bit didn't like it much better, and returned it.
I was trying to find a great scope for 250-300 dollars. What I found was that you get what you pay for (darnit).
I ordered the scope I really wanted, the Nikon XL-II, which is about $450. Its a 16-48 with a 60mm front end.
Its small, light, compact, and super bright and clear.
I've never regretted spending a little more. The only other one I'd look at is the boxy Leupold scope but its bigger, heavier, and more money yet. Burris also makes one just about identical but I've never seen one locally and when I'm spending this much money I want to see more than a picture.
Hope this helps
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Old 05-14-2005, 11:54 AM   #16
jmcvo
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Default Re: Spotting scope suggestions

I don't have a spotting scope currently so I can't speak from experience, but my research (I'm in the market for a scope, too) suggests that for hunting, getting a scope with a straight eyepiece (vs. angled) is preferred. Reportedly makes it much easier/more intuitive to locate items in the scope. Angled eyepieces seem to be favored for benchrest shooting.

Which type do you experienced spotting scope users prefer for hunting, and why?

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Old 05-15-2005, 07:44 AM   #17
Bait O' Eggs
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Default Re: Spotting scope suggestions

The problem you will find with an angled eye piece is it will get rain on it. You can live with a few rain drops on the front lense, but a drop on the eye piece and you will be looking for a dry rag so you can see thru it.

A straight eye piece is not turned up to be rained on so easily.
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Old 05-15-2005, 08:28 AM   #18
Maverick Maxcat
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Default Re: Spotting scope suggestions

I am also a serious optics user, typically spending hundreds of hours looking through glasses each year. I found a store that would let me take a selection of scopes outside, for real-life side by side comparisons on distant hillsides. I discovered several important things there and in previous years.
---for shorter distances you can't beat binoculars. 10x40 class aroung the neck, 20x60 & tripod in pack. Nothing more needed for distances up to 1 1/2-2 miles.
---bigger is better for lenses. A compact is fine if all you do is evaluate animals spotted with binoculars, but small field of view and limited light/clarity limit effectiveness for initial spotting.
---angled eyepieces are great. Your neck will thank you for all time. A cowboy hat keeps rain off while you're looking. If it's raining/snowing hard enough to matter, you won't be able to spot that far away anyhow. To use a straight scope you either lay down behind it, or have a tall tripod, which is hard to stabilize. I frequently lay the scope on my pack without a tripod. It is very comfortable and stable.
---quality matters. I have looked through almost everything available in side by side comparisons. Swarovski and Leica win, hands down. Everything else is an evaluation of how good the scope is. With those 2 you forget you're looking through glass. It's like having 60 power eyesight. IMPORTANT TIP!!! Whatever you buy, look through several samples of the product you choose. The lower the price, the more quality varies between individual units. We have a "cheap" pair of glasses in every vehicle. I reject about 90% of the glass I look through in the $100-150 range, but even Leupolds will differ a little.

My last .02 worth----good glasses are the most important part of my hunting gear, even when bow hunting. I save and sacrifice a lot to get the best (swarovski 10x42 SLC and ATS 80 w/ 20-60 eyepiece), but it pays big dividends. I routinely spot and evaluate deer and elk at distances measured in miles. My wife's first buck was spotted in the Owyhee unit, over 5 miles out, as measured on a map. I can see .223 holes in a target at 400 yds, and watch a coyote's facial expressions at 1200. Try looking for high quality used glass. Even 20 year old stuff is better than most mediocre new production.
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