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Tell me about spotting scopes.

Discussion in 'Gear & Accessories' started by twoclones, Nov 10, 2011.

  1. twoclones

    twoclones Tri-Cities, WA Well-Known Member

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    I just bought a S&W 629 for handgun hunting and my first 100 yard practice session involved a lot of walking to and from the target... I need a spotting scope.

    I'd like to buy a good spotting scope without blowing a lot of cash by buying the wrong one first. I see lots of Barska spotting scopes for sale on Craigslist so I'm assuming they're NOT what anyone needs. I've been a fan of anything Nikon since the 1970's but the sales guy at Wholesale Sports insists there is more bang for the buck in a Vortex spotting scope.

    So,,, for 50 - 200 yard use, what do I need for magnification? Are there any 'features' available which I'll regret if I do or do not spend a little extra money one? What do you recommend for my use?

    BTW - before someone asks for a pic of the new {to me} revolver, here it is:
    model629ClassicDX.jpg
     
  2. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Florence,Ore ah gone Well-Known Member

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    my friend and I went scope shopping about 2 years ago,and at wholesale sports,vancover,we were able to set 3 or 4 up on a countertop and look in the store and outside.the Nikon won hands down for clarity. Might be others just as good,but not that day.
     
  3. Simonpie

    Simonpie Portland Active Member

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    My experience is a bit limited, but I'll give what I have. I started shooting a 45/70 at 100 yards, which is pretty similar to the holes you're looking at. I bought the el cheapo scope from Harbor freight ( 60X but poor quality) and it worked just fine for that. When I started to compete at 200 yards, it still worked, but was marginal. Sometimes there'd be a fair amount of mirage and I was done for. My girlfriend got me a Leupold for my birthday. Same power, just crisper quality. It really works, but the truth is, if there's heavy mirage you're still hosed. It isn't the scope causing the problem. I haven't shot out at the 300 or 600 ranges yet. I'm pretty sure the scope will handle 300 fine.

    I guess my main point is that for big holes at 200 yards, you don't need a lot of scope.
     
  4. chase

    chase Wilsonville, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I really like my my Redfield Rampage.

    Redfield Rampage Spotting Scopes

    However its only really good till 200 yards in my opinion with that magnification. Comes with good starter accessories and gets the job done well. Redfield is owned by Leica and gets the same unlimited warranty. They hold their value. Not kicking my self that I bought a inexpensive scope. Good scope for the cost. Of course I would love to have a high end Leica or Swarovski but they are unreasonable for me at this time.
     
  5. twoclones

    twoclones Tri-Cities, WA Well-Known Member

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    I had no idea that Harbor Freight had spotting scopes. :)
     
  6. 2506

    2506 Seattle Well-Known Member

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  7. chase

    chase Wilsonville, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Remind me not to use that scope, I dont think your supposed to spit in it. :)
     
  8. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    I bought a cheapo and that's what it is like.Bounces around on the tripod that came with it.Just a cheapo Simmons POS
    Yeah I can see stuff at 100 yards and OK at 200 but I wish I would have doubled the $100 and got a lot nicer one

    Get as much spotting scope as you can afford....then a little more.You'll like yourself more for it.

    Wholesale had some sweet deals on Leupolds last time I looked.
     
  9. PDXSparky

    PDXSparky Keizer / Hillsboro Well-Known Member

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    Straight or angled eye piece? I can't decide. Anyone offer an opinion?
     
  10. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    My El Cheapo from HF has the angled eyepiece and I do NOT like it. I am planning on a getting another soon and it will have the straight eye piece. Actually I think my next spotting scope will be a broken rifle scope I can hopefully pick up cheap IE something where the adjustment no longer works but the optics are ok.
     
  11. Natty Bumpo

    Natty Bumpo Clackamas County Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    With optics, you are better off buying the best you think you can afford, and then add a little. That keeps you from wasting money. Consider not only present needs but projected future needs.

    You are paying for the quality of the glass and for the coatings. Even half way decent optics and coatings don't come real cheap. If you are on a budget, you might be able to get something nicer than you think you can afford by buying used....that's what I do. There are always those that are selling good stuff simply in order to upgrade to better stuff.

    Definitely stay away from Barska, and most likely, from Harbor Freight. These are every bit as good as cheap tool usually are. I am familiar with Barska, and I can just imagine HF.
     
    mjbskwim and (deleted member) like this.
  12. twoclones

    twoclones Tri-Cities, WA Well-Known Member

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    Have any of you tried the Vortex scopes? The salesman sure likes them ;)
     
  13. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    I have two that are great.One is a 6-24X50 and the other is a 3-9X40 Both have great FOVs
    Now I did look at their 1-4X and it just wasn't right for me.Seemed to drift the image around.
    But I think the quality is fine for my ARs that won't see much rain and won't get much abuse on top of the ARs
    For the prices of their better stuff I would buy Nikon or Leupold
     
  14. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    My HF is satisfactory for 100 yard or less stationary target spotting. It was a freebee but I would not have bought it out of my pocket. I think a 'real' tripod will help it with stability as opposed to the wiggly thing that came with it.
     
  15. erslll

    erslll Hermiston OR Active Member

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    I tried one of the Vortex Viper HD spotters and wasn't impressed. Ended up sending it back.
     
  16. twoclones

    twoclones Tri-Cities, WA Well-Known Member

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    Last night I went in to Wholesale Sports to do a little comparing of a Nikon Spotter XL II and a Vortex Nomad.
    - Nikon Team Realtree Spotter XL II – 16-48 x 60 – fogproof, waterproof – camouflage, Lifetime full warranty.
    - Vortex Nomad - 20-60 x 60 - fogproof, waterproof, Lifetime unconditional warranty.

    Looking at a sheep head across the greatest distance in the store, it was easy to see details of the hair and eye on the mounted head with either scope. Each appeared to give an equally bright image and each had telescoping hood for lense and eyepiece.

    I bought the Vortex Nomad...
    The deciding factor in my buying the Vortex was the $210 price difference AND the unconditional vs limited warranty. Two sales clerks each told me of a Vortex scope being replaced free of charge after being damaged through user negligence.

    opplanet-vortex-namad-20-60x60mm-straight-spotting-scope-nmd-60s.jpg
     
  17. halmbarte

    halmbarte PDX Active Member

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    Optics follow some simple rules:

    A bigger objective lens buys you a larger exit pupil and more light collecting power.
    Magnification buys you ability to see smaller things.

    Too much mag with too small a objective lens will result in a exit pupil that's too small to be usable.

    Better optics have better lenses and better coatings on those lenses. That glass and coatings mean more light actually gets transferred to your eye and the resolution (ability to see detail) is better. Optics from better companies will also be, generally speaking, better made: better waterproofing, better able to stand up to shock and temp extremes, and so on.

    How big a objective lens and how much mag you need depends on what you're trying to do. See .30 caliber holes at 100 yards on a bright, sunny day? 45x and a 60mm lens on a sub $100 scope will do.

    But don't get pissed off when you can't see .22 holes at 200 yards on a overcast day. Or when the interior of your scope fogs.

    H
     
  18. bulzeye

    bulzeye scappoose Member

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    I would look at the konusspot 20-60x80. i think it might be one of the best scopes for the money. if the x80 is too big they make a x70 as well for a little cheaper. haven't really seen any bad reviews on them and the one I looked through was much clearer at 200 than the nikon my buddy had.

    Konus 20-60x80 Konuspot Spotting Scope
     
  19. Denwhit

    Denwhit Salem, Or Active Member

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    Thanks for the Konus Konuspot 20-60X 80 tip. I just found a NIB one on Ebay for $185 with free shipping. He had 4 left last night. He was asking $229 I think but his ad stated make offer. So I made a low ball offer and he came back with $185 which is >$30 cheaper than Opticsworld or SWFA so I felt pretty good about my purchase.
     
  20. Browncoat

    Browncoat Clackamas, Or. Member

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    Found the Vortex Nomad on sale at Cabelas for $200. They also have a shipping discount that expires tonight. I couldn't resist.