Yet Another Spotting Scope Thread


July 19, 2007, 02:03 AM
OK, I'll keep it simple. Is there any reason I should not go for the Konus 20-60x 80mm spotting scope (either via or someone else), given the following usage: range use for .223 holes out to 300 yds, but mostly used at 100 yds or closer, or with .30 cal.

I'm looking at the Optolyth scopes from the IOR Group buy, but wow...spendy. I generally subscribe to the "buy quality once" school of thought, but really...I think that the Optolyth would be a bit more gear than I need. :rolleyes: If that proves to not be the case, I can always use the Konus as a loaner or backup.

Anyone have a better suggestion?



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July 19, 2007, 02:14 AM
I have the Konus, and it is awesome. I was looking at .223 holes at 100 yds. in both a heavy rain and once in a good snowfall. I can't see how you're going to beat that for anywhere near the same money. Plus, you can use it at as little as 50ft. Very versatile.

July 19, 2007, 02:21 AM
Forgive me for hijacking this thread, but the Accessories forum is slow to pick up on this issue.

I'm a firm believer that you get what you pay for when it comes to scopes. I want a quality optic because looking through crap glass makes me queasy, however, my pocket book is limited...

I have been looking for a surplus M49 (as I own a M15 tripod already) and they are respectable enough for my needs, if new-ish.

But when I searched on ebay and the like, I am seeing crazy auctions...are these really worth this? What's the deal with this optic?

July 19, 2007, 02:23 AM
Yeah, I noted that about gear/accessories. And I have no idea about that auction. Seems expensive to me, but who knows?


chestnut ridge
July 19, 2007, 02:30 AM
I have used several spotting scopes for high power rifle matches
over the years. My favorite is the Bausch & Lomb senior in 20x.
These usually sell on ebay for under 150; often with a bipod or

July 19, 2007, 09:07 AM

I'm in a group of respectable 'recreational' high power shooters. Recreational means that we don't have the shooting coats, nor the ground mats, nor the gloves, etc.

The exception is the optics. Almost to a man I see Kowa on the line. So I think you are on track looking there. I'd point out though that many are very happy with the 25X extended relief eyepiece on the Kowa's. They like not having to put the safety glasses so close.

I've looked through them and they're fine to 300m.


July 19, 2007, 09:20 AM
Mike, no question the Kowa is the gold standard for HP. they are impressive

July 19, 2007, 10:11 AM
Optics are VERY important. Especially with scopes on your weapon.
My personal favorite, and minimal recommendations would be anything from the Bushnell Elite line.

July 20, 2007, 11:58 PM
The Konus is a great deal for the money, especially through Jim Owens will buy it back for $100 and donate it to a junior team if you ever decide to upgrade down the road. For the use you describe it should do you just fine. Keep in mind that there will be days(foggy, rainy, hazy, heavy mirage, etc.) that you will not be able to see .223 holes at all - particularly on black. This holds true for all optics I have seen. I have heard the Optolyths are nice, but have not had first-hand experience. They are very expensive - probably due in no small part to the weak dollar vs euro these days. The Kowa 821M is tough to beat if you aren't too worried about size and it's quite a bit cheaper than the Optolyth - under $800 delivered with 27x LER eyepiece & padded cover. That is what I use for HP comps and it is definitely the "gold standard" as others have mentioned. Probably 20-30% of the shooters at our local matches use this scope. The 661M is even less if you are looking for a smaller scope. The Kowa LER eyepieces are truly awesome. Field of view is huge, too. I'd say the Konus is basically 80% of the scope that the Kowa is for 35% of the cost...

Good luck,

July 21, 2007, 12:08 AM
Thanks, guys.

Quintin Likely
July 21, 2007, 03:51 PM
I use a Kowa 661 with the wide angle/LER 25X eyepiece, and honestly on days where there's any heat in the air throwing mirage up, seeing .22 caliber bullet holes at 300 yards is hit and miss. 200 yards and closer, no problem. 300 yards on a cool, overcast day, I can do that but I really have to look hard for it. 300 yards on a sunny, 90+ degree day - forget about it. Same goes with the bigger scopes and especially on higher magnifications, anything past 27X or so is useless if there's mirage in the air.

The Konus is not a bad scope for the dollar. It's brighter than my 66mm Kowa, but the Kowa is clearer to me.

July 21, 2007, 04:35 PM
In 1983 I organized and ran the highpower rifle competition (NRA Cross the course) for our local gun club. Our range was limited to 200 yards and we had no pits, so targets had to be shot and scored "on the frames". That is, the entire 22 rounds slow fire prone (2 sighters and then 20 shots for record), then we would go downrange and score the targets.

Therein lies the problem in that, often, the bullet holes in the black could not be seen at 200 yards with even the best scope on the line. Shooting blind was not conducive to decent scores, so we (individually and collectively) began to experiment in upgrading both individual and club equipment.

To make a long story short, I went through 3 scopes(Inexpensive Bushnel, Unertl,and what many HP shooters at that time considered to be the top of the line, Kowa). The results, no silver ring. The clarity of the Bushnel was nearly as good as the Unertl but had a bit less light gathering ability and the Unertl was an excellent scope, but was not extended eye relief and the Kowa was, as well as having the 45* eyepiece; much better for prone shooting. None of these scopes, however, would reliably spot .30 caliber holes in the black @ 200 yds. The problem was the heavy mirage we experience in S. Texas.

The quest did not end w/my personal scope. I convinced the club to invest in a Unertl 100mm Team Scope. Now this was the scope used by US All Army Team, so it must be the very best; right? It was about 3ft. long and came in a chest the size of a footlocker. The tripod is of the type used for surveyor's transits and came with 15, 20 & 30 power eyepieces IIRC. Still no prize! Can't see .30 cal bullet holes @ 200 yards. Yes, there were days when we could see the holes with the team scope, and I have even seen .30 holes in my target @300 yards with both my Unertl and Kowa, but not in S. Tx.

The solution was the club sold the (expensive) team scope and a few years later, we built a 600 yd. range, complete w/target pits. Problem solved.

As Quinten Likely said,
300 yards on a cool, overcast day, I can do that but I really have to look hard for it. 300 yards on a sunny, 90+ degree day - forget about it.

Sounds like the Konus would be a fair place to start, however.

Hope you find a good scope that will serve you well up north, but don't expect too much if you bring it to S. Tx.


PS For what it's worth, the closer the scope is to the ground (prone, for instance), the worse the mirage distorts your view.

Quintin Likely
July 21, 2007, 07:54 PM
hps, what for it's worth, at our 300 yard club matches we hang white plastic bags behind the targets. It really helps accentuate bullet holes in the black.

Hope you find a good scope that will serve you well up north, but don't expect too much if you bring it to S. Tx.
Or Georgia in the summer. ;)

July 21, 2007, 08:54 PM
We thought about that, but figured some of the shooters would not be able to see any shots in the white w/white backers. An orange tarp might have solved that problem??

Apparently not all areas experience the mirage problems we do in the south.:confused: Our state matches used to be held at Camp Bullis near San Antonio and quite often I have seen .30 cal. holes @ 300 yds in the black with same scope(s) that did not work at home.

The 600 yard range w/target pits resolved that problem, though.


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