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Spotting Scope- Expensive Worth It?

Discussion in 'Shooting Gear and Storage' started by chiltech500, Apr 9, 2014.

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  1. chiltech500

    chiltech500 Member

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    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
     
  2. dennymac

    dennymac Member

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    Spotting scopes

    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
     
  3. Rembrandt

    Rembrandt Member

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    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.
     
  4. badnova

    badnova Member

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    spotting scope

    I've got a Konus and it works great at 100 yds.
    the tripod is weak, so plan on getting a good one
     
  5. chiltech500

    chiltech500 Member

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    Anyone familiar with the Leupold Ventana SX1 about $350 or the Bushnell Trophy around $200?
     
  6. Kayaker 1960

    Kayaker 1960 Member

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    Spotting scope

    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.
     
  7. chiltech500

    chiltech500 Member

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    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.
     
  8. jrdolall

    jrdolall Member

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    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.
     
  9. Husker1911

    Husker1911 Member

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    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.
     
  10. chiltech500

    chiltech500 Member

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    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.
     
  11. BullfrogKen

    BullfrogKen Moderator Emeritus

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    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.
     
  12. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    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.
     
  13. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    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.
     
  14. hartcreek

    hartcreek member

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    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.
     
  15. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Member

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    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.
     
  16. cowtownup

    cowtownup Member

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    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...
     
  17. rdhood

    rdhood Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2014
  18. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Member

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    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.
     
  19. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    Sure it doesn't just need to be focused?

    I have no issue even close to that.
     
  20. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Member

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    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.
     
  21. BullfrogKen

    BullfrogKen Moderator Emeritus

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    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.
     
  22. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    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.
     
  23. smokey262

    smokey262 Member

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    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.
     
  24. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    YUP, that's what one needs for bulls eye competition.
     
  25. Husker1911

    Husker1911 Member

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    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."
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2014
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