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Budget Minded Spotting Scope

Discussion in 'Long Gun Accessories and Optics' started by BigBL87, Apr 6, 2020.

  1. BigBL87

    BigBL87 Member

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    Recently I purchased a spotting scope from Harbor Freight on a whim. Being as I paid $45 for it, I wasn't expecting much and rightfully so. Its ok for looking at birds on the back edge of our yard at low power, but not much else.

    Messing around with it, though, made me want something a bit nicer. I don't need an optical powerhouse and don't have alot to spend. I MAY end up with $150 or to spend. Obviously, for a spotting scope that's not good, but it's where I am.

    To be fair, I don't have high demands. 22 caliber holes from 50-100 yards, and maybe for trying to spy distant coyotes when my father in law and I start hunting them. The HF spotter might be able to accomplish those if I really tried, but it makes a good excuse to buy something firearm related. I'm big on quality budget optics, never spent more than $200 on a scope. I'm not a glass snob to be fair but I've been happy with everything I've gotten, mainly due to the fact I research the crap out of stuff before I buy

    These are the two I'm looking hard at:

    Athlon Talos 20-60x80
    Celestron C70 MiniMak

    Both seem to have very good reviews for their price range. The Mak, my main concern is that the design seems to be inherently less weather resistant but supposedly the trade off is the image tends to be better quality for the price?

    Curious if anyone has any experience with these, or any suggestions in my price range that I haven't found. The one thing I MAY save up a tad more for would be a Konus as they have a great reputation around $200, but any more than that would be wasted on me given the very occasional usage it would see.
     
  2. BigBL87

    BigBL87 Member

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    FWIW, the Athlon now comes up $147 shipped+taxes for me at MidwayUSA thanks to their birthday pricing (regular price from them is $199). First time a birthday price has actually shown up as a significant discount for me.
     
  3. badkarmamib

    badkarmamib Member

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    I have one of those $60 "spotting scopes". Useless past 100 yards. I got to look through an Athlon at the range. Get it. At that price, you WON'T be disappointed. After looking through the one, I told my father, he ordered one when they were on sale for $180, and he likes it. Again, if you can swing it, it is definitely worth it.
     
  4. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    Just ordered that Athlon from cameralandny.... actually got the Talos bundle with the 3-12 scope and 8x42 Binos.....needed all three anyway lol. They got it shipped this am, so should have it begining of next week.

    The spoter is 124 on sale from them right now.
     
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  5. BigBL87

    BigBL87 Member

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    Just checked that out. With shipping, it's about the same as MidwayUSA. I'm getting close to pulling the trigger, so to speak. Haven't yet, though.
     
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  6. BigBL87

    BigBL87 Member

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    Well, went ahead and ordered the Athlon from CameralandNY. Went through the checkout and found out they didn't in fact charge me sales tax (which was showing up before) so it ended up being a little bit cheaper than MidwayUSA.
     
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  7. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    thought there standard shipping was free for the mainland also?
     
  8. BigBL87

    BigBL87 Member

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    I didn't see anywhere to enter a code or anything, and it was 9.99 for standard ground shipping so I dunno. Price was still the best so I won't complain. :thumbup:
     
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  9. paulo

    paulo Member

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    Konus makes a decent spotting scope as well. Just saying.
     
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  10. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    Might have changed it, first few times I ordered I forgot to change the shipping service to priority. I havnt made that mistake for a while so it might be gone.
     
  11. BigBL87

    BigBL87 Member

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    Ya, I double checked by starting another order and there was no free option. Like I said, still the best price though!

    My best friend will be happy as well, I told him I'd give him the Harbor Freight scope if I bought a nicer one, he doesn't have one period so even the HF would be an improvement for him.

    I'm really excited about the Athlon one. Haven't really read a truly bad thing about them so far. Even the lower rated reviews aren't that negative, usually just comparing it to more expensive scopes or saying it's fine for the price.

    Already picking out a weatherproof case to cut some foam for. :D
     
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  12. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    I've been very happy with the Athlon products I own, and have owned. I expect this spotter to do exactly what I need, which isn't particularly challenging lol.
     
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  13. BigBL87

    BigBL87 Member

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    @LoonWulf, how long did it take them to ship yours, and did you get an email notification? I didn't create an account until after, so I can't see a status on mine. Dumb move on my part. :oops:
     
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  14. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    sorry just noticed the alert.....uhh.....less than a day, which is about what its taken most of the time when ive ordered from Doug guys....unless i screwed up and they had to call me which usually STILL happened the next day and they shipped the same.

    Ive forgotten to log in on a couple orders, and honestly i cant remember if i got a shipping alter or not.....im 90% sure I didnt, but i did get my stuff all the same.

    Yeah, order evening of the 7th shipped midday the 8th.....Maybe check your email for a message from either Doug or Endicia, the shipping notifications dont actually come from camera land.
     
  15. BigBL87

    BigBL87 Member

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    I checked, no notification but I'm not too concerned. It'll just be a pleasant surprise when it shows up, haha. Our facility shut down for 2 weeks due to a COVID outbreak among our staff (our county's language) so I'll be home to keep an eye out for it. Just ordered this case to match it:

    https://www.harborfreight.com/merch...rproof-protective-case-x-large-tan-56864.html

    And, I think I'm going to get fancy and order this foam to make the cutout:

    https://www.amazon.com/FastCap-Kaiz...ywords=kaizen+yellow+57&qid=1586553843&sr=8-1
     
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  16. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    NICE! I may do the same. I gave away my pelican cases that size, and don't have any gun cases large enough.
    We'll see how I like it and if it goes to the range as often as I think it will......
    I got no use for it hunting right now, cause if the 8x binos arnt enough to find what I'm looking for, I'm sure as hell not walking that far for it.
     
  17. BigBL87

    BigBL87 Member

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    Ya, I need to invest in some decent binos eventually. Those Apache cases from HF are nice. They're no Pelican, but for 98% of uses they'll function just as well. I just wasn't feeling a soft case, and I'm always looking for a reason to cut up some foam, haha.
     
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  18. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    that case looks really nice for the cost. I can't remember what the pelicans cost, but even considering how much the paintballs guns cost that they carried, they were pretty serious overkill for what I do. That HF case looks more my speed.

    Oh my orders at the postoffice, but I couldn't pick it up today because I have the kids. Hopefully tomorrow I can go get it in the am...or after my wife wakes up today, if I'm sneaky enough......
     
  19. BigBL87

    BigBL87 Member

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    Awesome. I imagine mine should be getting here in the next couple days then, I ordered mine the day after you. Was excited to see a box on the porch today, but ended up being something my wife ordered. :(

    I wouldn't get the HF someone wanted something you could literally throw around, but if you just want something tougher than the average case, it's hard to beat value wise.
     
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  20. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    Gottem.....Optics are much better than the equally priced (list price) Simmons my buddy got....not to mention i had to take that thing apart the day after he got it to dry it out and clean the grease that ran down one of the prisms off.
    All three items i got are Talos series, and again very happy especially for the cost.

    IMG_20200410_150414.jpg IMG_20200410_151348.jpg IMG_20200410_151401.jpg IMG_20200410_151444.jpg
    IMG_20200410_151448.jpg

    The bags got a divider and is actually pretty nice. I Still think ill do the hard case....this things big lol.
    IMG_20200410_151517.jpg IMG_20200410_151521.jpg IMG_20200410_151851.jpg

    Sorry for the horrible pictures, the image is better than that, but its the best my phone can do.


    10x 60x
    IMG_20200410_151902.jpg MVIMG_20200410_152148.jpg
     
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  21. BigBL87

    BigBL87 Member

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    Nice! I do think I'm going to replace the tripod with something a little beefier, looks like it works but with such a beefy spotter it'd ease my mind a little bit.
     
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  22. BigBL87

    BigBL87 Member

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    @LoonWulf If you do decide to go the kaizen route, they make it in white and red as well in addition to the yellow I posted above and the black I've used before. Could make for some pretty snazzy cases, I went with the yellow because I think it'll look good with the tan case and scope. That red would probably look really nice in a black case.

    kaizen-foam-feature01-1500x1360.png
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2020
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  23. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    Things actually sturdier than it looks, and much sturdier than any of the ones that ive seen on these "cheap" spoters so far. I leaned on it pretty good, and I weigh over 300lbs, and it didnt fold.
    Its really only ment for sitting on a flat table tho, and Im with you Ill probably get a bit nicer tripod...tho i do have one.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2020
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  24. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    oooo, that yellow would go well with the case AND the scope....
     
  25. BigBL87

    BigBL87 Member

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    That's impressive. Being just south of 300 myself, you're braver than I to test it!

    I ended up ordering this tripod along with my foam a little while ago. Great reviews and killer price. Lots of videos on Youtube too, so not just potentially fake Amazon reviews. I really like the idea if the QD plate.

    https://www.amazon.com/RetiCAM-Tabletop-Tripod-Release-Carrying/dp/B00MT0SKAQ

    This is what happens when I get spendin' money, haha. Probably would have ended up with another gun for as much as I've spend lately, but no more room in the safe. Mighta bought ammo too, but not at these prices.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2020
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