binoculars for spotting from 300-500 yards


May 12, 2012, 03:31 AM
I was using a spotting scope for precision rifle but it is a real pain to pack up to change distances 4 - 5 times in an afternoon.
I was wondering if there were a good pair of binoculars that would do the job instead and I was hoping I could get some recommendations.

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The Lone Haranguer
May 12, 2012, 06:52 AM
If I am reading your question correctly, I don't think any binocular is going to have sufficient magnification or "resolution" for tiny objects at such distances.

May 12, 2012, 07:08 AM
The outfitter I use to book my SoDak prairie dog shoots has a saying that's applicable here:

"use your binoculars to find the critter, your rifle scope to target the critter, and your spotting scope to prove that you missed the critter"

May 12, 2012, 07:09 AM
even if you find a binocular with enough power you are still going need a tripod because they will be just as hard to hold steady.

May 12, 2012, 07:33 AM
Even if you could find binos of the quality and power to "see " with you will still need a pod of some kind to hold it steady enough to use.

May 12, 2012, 07:50 AM
Yes you can use binoculars for those long distances quite effectively....Swarovski makes a "doubler" (2X) device that screws onto one eyepiece and makes a 10X into 20X magnification. You can also attach the binocs to a tripod or similar mount just like a spotting scope. Holding a 20X can be done without a lot of movement in the sight picture. (I know, been there and done that)

May 12, 2012, 08:34 AM
There was a guy spotting at our last shoot with :
but they are really expensive and I thought there might be an alternative

May 12, 2012, 08:54 AM
I suppose it depends on what you're trying to see. Remember that 10x binos at 500 yards are the same are unaided eyes at 50 yards.

If you're trying to see normal bullet holes, it's gonna be pretty hard. If you're using something like Shoot-N-See, then it would most likely work.

May 12, 2012, 09:19 AM
I was shooting at 500 YD and tried using the Govt surplus X50 binos and with 30-06 I could not see any holes in that target. You might have better eyes and have it work for you but---------?? With a shoot-n-see target it might work better but the spotting scope is a better option IMHO even with the added work involved.

Vern Humphrey
May 12, 2012, 12:48 PM
It is the bent rays of light that determine how well your optics resolve tiny things like bullet holes. The greater the magnification, the more the rays of light around the edges of the lens will be bent. The more bent they are, the less resolution your optics will have.

And to get high magnification, you have to have more curvature in your lens -- hence more bent rays.

Consequently, you need very large objective lenses to get the kind of resolution you're looking for.

Interstingly enough, you can compare various optical devices by looking down the street and trying to read automobile license plates or street signs. You will often find that a lower power device will give better resolution than a higher power device, given equal objective lenses.

May 12, 2012, 01:09 PM
I own some Steiners, they are very good, but for real long distance the best is a pair of Zeiss stabilzed. They are the only 20 power bino (20X56) that I know of that you can actually look through without a tripod or getting seasick. However, Steiners are extremely inexpensive compaired to those 20 power stablized Zeiss.

BTW: objective lens diameter and quality make a bigger difference on resolution than power. That is, a 10X50 will let you see more detail than a 10X40 assuming equal quality lenses and coatings.

May 12, 2012, 09:18 PM
I have a pair or Canon stabilized binoculars. Not powerful enough for the use you are citing, but I do believe that they do make ones that have amazing magnification. Better prices than Steiner tool.
No question though that the only type of binoculars I would ever buy in the future would be the stabilized kind. Without that feature they require some solid mount and thus you might as well use a spotting scope. When you hit the 'stabilize' button after a scan, it's a miracle.

May 13, 2012, 11:33 AM
Very difficult to see bullet holes on targets at those kinds of ranges. If you are going to seriously try, I would go Zeiss binoculars. Mucho $.

May 13, 2012, 11:38 AM
Yes, for any magnification much above 10x, it will require a tripod or stabilization. Stabilization doesn't come cheap. Here's a link to a selection of stabilized binocs:

If you're interested in any of these, PM me for a THR discount.

May 13, 2012, 09:33 PM
Such glasses do in fact exist, but they are extremely expensive, as in thousands of dollars. And if you go with the couple of inexpensive zoom glasses on the market, the image quality is pathetic and will quickly produce head aches from severe eye strain.

I use a Leupold spotting scope and a light weight tripod for the long range work. For just picking up my quarry, I use a pair of 10x42 Leupolds on a tripod, and have the spotting scope ready and set up to take a closer look when I've spotted my game. This method has worked very well for a very long time.

Swarowski and Ziess make some big boy glasses I think?

May 14, 2012, 02:30 PM
Less expensive optics have a lot of flare that obscures small objects at distance.

It sometimes shows as an overall 'fog' in the view.

When you pick up a good binocular with minimal flair it is like looking at a picture up close they are so sharp.

The 10x40 Pentax set I have is like this.
It is also in the middle of a large price range.

There are folks that use a pair of spotting scopes to create binoculars (often for astronomical observation).

Even in the spotting scopes the presence of flair destroys the resolution.

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