Spotting Scope- Expensive Worth It?


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chiltech500
April 9, 2014, 03:50 PM
There are so many choices for spotting scopes in a pretty wide range of prices, and in sizes 15-45 or 20-60, that it becomes a headache trying to make a decision. Prices range from $70 through, well you know how that goes up to $3000.

I have read opinions (on Amazon) where folks say the 20-60 x 60mm scopes in the bottom of the price range work well enough for shooting scopes up to 150 yards.

I would probably be satisfied with a slightly better 15-45 x 60mm scope (rather than the 20-60) that takes a camera - cost range $250-$300.

Will that price get me any better than the $100 models?

Can anyone comment or offer an opinion? Thanks

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dennymac
April 9, 2014, 04:20 PM
Good afternoon. Optics is one place where you WILL get EXACTLY WHAT YOU PAY FOR!! If you pay for crap, read that as CHEAP, you get crap. The Konus 20X-60X scopes are medium in price and quality. Buying a spotting scope is like buying a bench vise. Always get at least one size larger and better quality than you think that you need. Buy the best and never look back. DennyMac

Rembrandt
April 9, 2014, 07:44 PM
Agreed with above......get what you pay for. My Swarovski will pick up bullet holes at over 200 yards when everyone else has packed it in for the day because of low light. Clarity and color brilliance has to been seen to understand how good it is. Cheaper and medium priced scopes will get the job done for less, but the quality is considerably less.

badnova
April 9, 2014, 07:49 PM
I've got a Konus and it works great at 100 yds.
the tripod is weak, so plan on getting a good one

chiltech500
April 10, 2014, 09:36 AM
Anyone familiar with the Leupold Ventana SX1 about $350 or the Bushnell Trophy around $200?

Kayaker 1960
April 10, 2014, 10:06 AM
I have a Bushnell "Stalker" 10-30. I bought it over 35 years ago, paid about $200.00 for it at the time.
30x magnification is plenty of power for 100-150 yards. A few years ago my wife and I visited Yellowstone N.P. where I had plenty of opportunities to view Grizzly bears through my scope as well as several very large and VERY expensive scopes. At about 75 degrees the larger magnification was of little use because of heat mirage. No question, the multi thousand dollar scopes were better than mine, but not all that much.

chiltech500
April 11, 2014, 09:15 AM
Upon advice from another Bullseye shooter 10-30 was enough and the smaller the better to fit in a pistol box, I spent $60 at Amazon on a scope that was reviewed by shooters as good enough to 100 yards for 22, which really is the most I would need. Most of my shooting will be at most pistol to 50 yards so I can do with less.

jrdolall
April 11, 2014, 09:21 AM
IMO it is the light conditions that will dictate how good a scope you should buy. If ALL you will be using it for is shooting at a range in good light at 100 yards or less then you can get by with the cheap ones from Walmart. Once you move into lower light conditions you can really tell the difference between a $50 scope and a $300 or more spotting scope. I have some very expensive scopes that we use when we hunt out west but for the range here at the farm just about anything will do.

Husker1911
April 11, 2014, 02:13 PM
Consider your spotter can be used for far more than simply shooting. As an avid naturalist, hunter, wildlife-watcher, birder, and amateur astronomer, I use my quality Vortex spotter for many more uses than shooting (at which it excells).

Thinking along those lines might help justify putting a few more dollars into your spotting scope purchase.

chiltech500
April 11, 2014, 03:59 PM
Thanks guys, a couple of years ago I would have bought a $500 or more scope because I would have used it exactly as you describe. I know that lower lighting conditions will show a scopes' flaws quickly.

I shattered my right thigh bone at the knee a year and a half ago and hiking and walking a lot to hunt won't happen anymore. That's the main reason I chose Bullseye to compete in. Plus the scope needs to fit easily inside my pistol box so less powerful = smaller in the cheaper scopes. Not to mention I am spending a lot of money to have all the Bullseye equipment.

BullfrogKen
April 11, 2014, 04:11 PM
If you are going to compete in Bullseye, go out to the matches and see what they're using. You'll get a chance to form your own opinion that way.

jcwit
April 13, 2014, 11:44 AM
A few years ago I purchased a Winchester branded "Chinese made" spotting scope, 20 x 60 power IIRC. Paid $75.00 bucks for it.

What is the job of a spotting scope? To locate where the bullets hit on the target I believe. This inexpensive "cheap?" scope does its job just fine, in fact I can even read the printing on the target. Want more? I fail to see what for.

The old adage, "You get what you pay for." fails to take into account that there times where value for money spent comes into play. Not everyone has the need to drive a M/B or a Rolls for that matter, Ford's & Chevy's fit the bill for many folks.

jcwit
April 13, 2014, 11:48 AM
Every Bulls Eye match that I've worked as a Range Officer at max distance is only 50 yards. No need for super expensive or super power at that distance, but then bragging rights may come into play also.

hartcreek
April 13, 2014, 03:35 PM
It really depends on how you will be using it. Range only and for 200m on up spend some money. In the field Tasco.

I use a cheep Tasco in the field in addition to binos when I am hunting long distance.

Peter M. Eick
April 15, 2014, 01:31 PM
Having now bought a couple of them, I can only say, you get what you pay for. Cheap optics is cheap optics.

I am now saving up for either a good Leopold or Nikon. I figure I will drop 3 to 4 k on my last spotting scope I plan to buy.

cowtownup
April 15, 2014, 02:13 PM
I keep hearing 100-200 yards. is that what range these spotting scopes are used for? I was thinking they were more for 500+ yards for seeing holes in paper. I'm just curious because I can see holes with my scope at 150 and less easily...

rdhood
April 15, 2014, 04:06 PM
I use a Meade 60 ETX 60 Astronomical Telescope with a couple of different eyepieces. Cost me about $80. I can see mars with it... or a few hundred yards downfield. No, it doesn't look as cool as the 3-4k Leupold or Nikon.

I have a MUCH bigger Meade 200lx 8" telescope. The Meade 60 was a starter some 15 years ago. When I got the new telescope, this etx60 went IMMEDIATELY into my range "to go" box. Now, all of my "junk" eyepieces are used with the 60 at the range. I have to view the image upside down and backwards, but that is not a problem.

And to the OP: YES it is worth it. Beats a good pair of 7x or 8x binoculars at distances over 75-100 yards. One does not need to drop 3k-4k (more than even a FANTASTIC telescope and mount) to see 200-300-1000 yards sufficiently to tell where the bullet went.

Peter M. Eick
April 15, 2014, 09:13 PM
Yes my 60x can see at 100 yrds a 22/250 hole. It is just not that clear. Eyestrain is a big deal when you are trying to focus on it. I thought the 60x would be great and it is in terms of power of magnification, but the quality of glass is where it matters. I want a nice clear image like I get in my scope and not the fuzzy sort of hazzy one I get with my off brand spotters.

jcwit
April 15, 2014, 09:43 PM
Sure it doesn't just need to be focused?

I have no issue even close to that.

Peter M. Eick
April 15, 2014, 10:47 PM
Yeah I am sure. I have played with the focus a bunch and parallax and they just don't have good optics. I won't name brands, but I have slowly progressed up the scale of costs that I firmly believe optics is pretty linear. More money, better image. I want a better image.

BullfrogKen
April 15, 2014, 11:01 PM
Again as in everything else, when it comes to spotting scopes how much clarity do you want?


There are Bullseye shooter's spotting scopes that I just couldn't use in High Power rifle matches. And what I use would be inappropriate for that sport. If you want to shoot in a sport, go find out what the sport uses and make your decision among those choices.

jcwit
April 15, 2014, 11:17 PM
Yeah I am sure. I have played with the focus a bunch and parallax and they just don't have good optics. I won't name brands, but I have slowly progressed up the scale of costs that I firmly believe optics is pretty linear. More money, better image. I want a better image.

Parallax in a spotting scope? What are you talking about?

http://www.opticstalk.com/what-exactly-is-parallax-anyway_topic5026.html

Above link explains what parallax is and its not about spotting scopes.

Bullseye comp.? You sure don't need much as far as power for 50 yards.

smokey262
April 16, 2014, 12:24 AM
When you get to 200 yards and up with small diameter bullets is where better optics comes into play. With poor quality optics you will have to look for awhile to find the hole in the paper. In some conditions you may not see the hole at all. Light brightness, clouds, shadows, mirage, etc all affect how well you can see the target.

Don't do the $12.99 tripod. Way to weak and unstable. When the wind blows you don't want your scope falling over.

If you buy a $60 spotter and only shoot at 50 yards it will do. If you can swing the $200+ spotters you wont regret it. If you can swing the $400+ spotters you wont regret it.

If you can afford one of these

http://www.cameralandny.com/optics/swarovski.pl?page=swarovski49618

Please let me borrow it once in awhile :)

You really should look through these in person so you can make your decision based on how they seem to you. Don't be surprised if a $450 name brand scope does not look as good to you or the same as a $300 unknown name one.

jcwit
April 16, 2014, 01:01 AM
YUP, that's what one needs for bulls eye competition.

Husker1911
April 16, 2014, 01:05 PM
The term for having enough focusing ability to make out small bullet holes at distance, or any details at distance, is "resolution."

Most any spotting scope will have the magnification to see objects in the distance, but only quality spotters have the resolution to allow one to focus properly and make out details with a crisp, sharp image.


BTW, I work for an online optical company and sell spotters, binocs, riflescopes, and telescopes.

About a year ago, I sold a good quality Celestron spotting scope to a gentleman whose wife is an avid birder. And when the sale was completed, I had to ask if he was "the" James Taylor. He was, and we had a chat. He was gracious and appreciative of a fan.

About five years ago, I sold a relatively inexpensive spotter to another gentleman, it was a Christmas present for his wife. And I had a nice conversation with All-Pro Defensive End Ben Davidson. I could tell his gravelly voice. When we were done, he told me "Thanks for remembering."

jcwit
April 16, 2014, 01:43 PM
Then my Winchester brand, made in china, spotting scope must be "quality", all for the price of $75 bucks, as the resolution allows me to read the fine print on my targets at 100 yards as long as the mirage is not to bad on a hot humid summer afternoon.

Elkins45
April 16, 2014, 09:52 PM
I'm firmly in the "you get what you pay for" camp with riflescopes and camera lenses. For spotting scopes I'm in the "good enough" camp. My low end Tasco was sufficient to see 22 holes at 150 yards, well at least it was until I knocked it off the bench.

My new low end Burris accomplishes the same task just as well, maybe a little better. If a riflescope fails in the field I might miss a lifetime trophy. If my spotting scope fails at the range them I might have to walk out to the target. Not the same level of consequences, and one I'm willing to risk in the case of the spotter.

wgp
April 16, 2014, 11:04 PM
I have come to the conclusion that a cheap spotter is not much use and a good one is very expensive. Happily, I also find that for the deer hunting (woods mostly) I do a good pair of binoculars is more useful. Should I venture to really big country or the mountains I may have to break down and buy a good scope but I fear I'm talking more than 1K.

jcwit
April 16, 2014, 11:50 PM
wgp--The OP is asking about using a spotting scope for bulls eye comp. That's at a max of 50 yds. Doesn't take a $1,000 buck scope to pick out 45 cal. holes at 50 yds.

docsleepy
April 20, 2014, 10:37 PM
funny you should mention the cheap winchester -- I have one of those also, and it is unusally good. Must have paid $75. At 200 yards, I can generally make out .224 or .284 holes in white paper (not so easily in black).

At 300 yards, it is harder.

At 400-800 I have sometimes been able to see the "splat" on an AR500 target.

Wished there were some way to measure resolution and have it printed in the ads.....

jcwit
April 21, 2014, 12:54 AM
funny you should mention the cheap winchester -- I have one of those also, and it is unusally good. Must have paid $75. At 200 yards, I can generally make out .224 or .284 holes in white paper (not so easily in black).

At 300 yards, it is harder.

At 400-800 I have sometimes been able to see the "splat" on an AR500 target.



With my old eyes and old body shaking, there is no way I could even begin to shoot at those distances. Unless the bull was 12 feet in dia. LOL

tuj
April 21, 2014, 06:22 PM
I have used several high quality (ie $1k+) spotting scopes, and yet I have a Barska 20-60x. Why? Well I don't shoot much further than 100 yards usually, and often times my rifle scopes have enough magnification to resolve holes in paper that far. When shooting irons or with a lesser scope, I have found that 60x will resolve bullet holes in a low quality optic like the Barska, out to about 100-150 yards.

Higher quality optics are nearly essential for longer range shooting and spotting. This works especially well if you are shooting with a partner. You also need a good, steady tripod to mount the spotting scope on.

The biggest problem, even with high quality optics, at long ranges is mirage. But some spotters use this to their advantage and can see the vapor trail of a shot. I personally cannot do this, but I know shooters who can, especially in the right conditions.

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