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Spotting scope: glass or camera

Discussion in 'Shooting Gear and Storage' started by devils4ever, Aug 26, 2016.

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  1. devils4ever

    devils4ever Member

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    I'm not sure if this has been covered here before, but I'm trying to decide between getting a higher quality spotting scope versus a remote wireless camera for target shooting.

    I have a cheap spotting scope that I'm having trouble seeing the bullet holes in the target as I get older. I've been considering getting a high quality spotting scope for better resolution. Then, I realized that there are wireless camera systems that seem to be a better solution such as: Bullseye Camera Systems and Target Cam.

    Can anyone comment on the pros and cons of optical spotting scopes versus the camera systems? And for the camera systems, where is preferred? Are there other ones out there?

    Thanks.
     
  2. rjrivero

    rjrivero Member

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    A spotting scope is infinitely more useable. If you have any inclination to go hunting, bird watching, start gazing, etc a spotting scope will serve you MUCH better.

    A target camera, meh. You can look at targets, but not ANY targets, paper targets only as steel will catch spall and destroy your target cam.

    For my $$ it's a good spotting scope and maybe a camera mount for it.

    YMMV.
     
  3. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    If I were still active in mid- and long range rifle shooting, I would definitely have a camera setup. Bullet holes just don't show up in a scope at any great distance.

    I have a good scope for 100 yard targets and BPCR MS to 500 metres. 600 yard high power steel demands good lighting and frequent painting.
     
  4. Sav .250

    Sav .250 Member

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    Look at the Natchez site. Their spotting scopes cover a wide range.

    Prices are good as well. Certainly you can find one in price and power that will meet your needs.
     
  5. Bart B.

    Bart B. Member

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    You'll need a spotting scope focused about 2/3rds down range to see the mirage (heat waves) wrinkling across the bullet's trajectory path so you will know which way and how much to correct for crosswinds.

    That said, a wireless remote at the target would really help see bullet holes in the black when the mirage through the scope looks like a raging river.
     
  6. devils4ever

    devils4ever Member

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    Seems to be the consensus is to go optical. My local range is 100 yds. I rarely shoot over 300 yds. Can I get a decent one in the $200 - $300 range?
     
  7. buckhorn_cortez

    buckhorn_cortez Member

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    Spotting scopes are relatively simple pieces of optical design. The difficult part of the optical design for a spotting scope is the eyepiece. The eyepiece for my spotting scope was $450 - and that's really not an expensive eyepiece.

    Can you get a spotting scope for $200 - $300? Yes you can. You can start with an inexpensive spotting scope, and if it has interchangeable eyepieces, you can upgrade the eyepiece at a later date and that will improve the image quality.

    You might want to look at the Leupold SX-1 Ventana, Celestron Ultima, Konus, and Redfield Rampage. They should all be in the $300 or less price range.

    I'm sure there are other scopes available, but this will give you a start.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2016
  8. X-Rap

    X-Rap Member

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    I've bought some very good Leupold, B&L spotting scopes on the used market for under $200.

    Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk
     
  9. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    I have an Celestron Regal 80MM with ED glass I bought a few years ago. Pentax makes an eye piece that I could upgrade with. It's nearly the price of the scope. I almost did it, but overall am happy with the scope as is.
     
  10. taliv

    taliv Moderator Staff Member

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    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=753241

    my brief review of target cam (watch video in next to last post too)

    i have both and use both. if you're trying to hit a target, like bart said, you need a spotting scope. if you're trying to see holes on paper at long range, use the target cam.

    although the target cam is very nice, several people have told me it's practically impossible to get ahold of the guy and buy one. so if you don't have any luck with it, i believe there are several alternatives and if you look at ar15.com i think they have an extremely long thread on do-it-yourself target cams which could probably save you some $$


    while that target cam is cool, today i wonder if a better solution wouldn't be a drone...
     
  11. Bart B.

    Bart B. Member

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  12. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I have both, I use spotting scopes the most because they are handy, use on batteries and there is little set up. Even have a cheap one on one of my rests that's always ready to go, fine for .22 caliber out to 100 yds and easy to use as I set it so I just move my head to the left at the same eye relief as the optic on the rifle.

    IMG_20150903_113627_584_zpsd1ajinmi.jpg

    Video TX/RX is a bunch more stuff but gets more worth while the further you are from the target.
     
  13. devils4ever

    devils4ever Member

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    Thanks for the ar15.com link. Is this the thread you are talking about?
    http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_1_5/17...setup_Walkthrough_Pg2__UPDATE_pg3.html&page=1
     
  14. taliv

    taliv Moderator Staff Member

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    actually, no i don't think so. i'm guessing there's a lot of them. i saw one on snipershide a couple days ago too
     
  15. Savage99

    Savage99 Member

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    Last edited: Aug 31, 2016
  16. Savage99

    Savage99 Member

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    konus spot 80

    opplanet-konus-konuspot-20-60x80mm-spotting-scope-7120-main.jpg
     
  17. Nature Boy

    Nature Boy Member

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    I have a friend that has one of those remote target cameras. He says the problem is maintaining a signal out past 400 yards.

    I'm still looking for an affordable option for a spotting scope that can support 500 yards. I'm liking the one you have there Savage99
     
  18. taliv

    taliv Moderator Staff Member

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    he doesn't have one of the target cams or he is using it wrong. They work well past 1000 ayrds with the standard antenna and come with a directional antenna that will go several times further
     
  19. Nature Boy

    Nature Boy Member

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    Maybe he doesn't have a good one. Not sure what brand it is, but it is a target camera.

    And, as you say, maybe he's not using it right
     
  20. dwjwin50

    dwjwin50 Member

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    Get a Meade ETX 90mm telescope, they're small, have more light gathering ability and "power" than a spotter and are about $400. If you don't like the included eyepiece, you can always get a better one.
     
  21. ToolAA

    ToolAA Member

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    It sounds like I started down the same road as you. I had a father’s day present coming my way and the Pursuit X-1 from Bass Pro for $200 seemed like it would be more than I could even need. http://m.basspro.com/Pursuit-X1-Comp...1205040859416/





    http://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20160722/c7ec3ebc693cbbae4a1e8e4c92abca4b.jpg


    However, during my first trip to the range I realized that the tripod was so light and unstable it was totally unusable even at 100yds let along 200yds which was my goal. I had a small cheap tripod that I had picked up from Amazon and it was a big improvement but still totally awful. I ended up beefing up tripod and also attaching my phone to the eyepiece with some camera adaptor from Amazon as well. so that I didn’t have to touch it, which would keep the image from shaking. The end result was OK at best.


    http://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20160722/450b50c27c986f45e6bd7d07e824597b.jpg


    Here is a shot at 200 yds. This was just before sundown at the range, in the shade and when I touched my camera to take the shot it made the photo slightly blurry. You can see my 3 .223 shots at the bottom right target.


    http://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20160722/d7e93f1f2335355d47c21fe09b5b1a49.png


    So for $250 it was usable I really discovered that I liked being able to see the shots on my phone without having to stick my face up the scope. I also got an app that let me transmit the screen shot from my phone to a small tablet and this was even better in that I could setup the scope on the ground in front of where I was shooting but keep the tablet for viewing the shots on the bench.


    Shortly after I set this all up I was cleaning my basement and I found my old surveyor’s theodolite. I hadn’t used it for 20 years but I remembered that the optics were pretty good. So I connected my camera adaptor up to it and found that it was better than the cheap scope I had purchased. The thing weighs over 10lbs and it’s solid as a rock so it doesn’t vibrate at all.

    3d6e8406df72ba42dad67ba7ddc49a44.jpg

    Here is a shot also at 200yds also using the AirSnap app to broadcast the image to my tablet. I hadn’t fired any shots yet. The nice thing about these scopes is that they have a built in gimbal so you can finely adjust the horz and vert position and also measure Arc Minutes with the device. The two vertical lines are exactly 1 MOA apart. Technically if you weren’t shooting at a scaled target like this you could actually measure you shot grouping from the bench.


    http://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20160725/137205775d1c6a93b90abd6e380d129c.png


    At this point I decided to take back the Pursuit X1 and use my survey transit. I got some strange looks at the range, but it suited my needs well.


    Being the DIY guy that I am, I decided to see if I could build my own target cam. I found some info on other forums where a few people had made some homemade systems. After some experimentation with an Foscam security cam and old router sitting in my closet, and 3D printing a few parts, I ended up with a system that works reasonably well for $220.


    http://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20160731/6f76e20af67a3dcc948b23412ab3fddf.jpg


    http://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20160803/ef192ee7013f6573ca3d48fd089bfe15.jpg


    http://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20160803/be48bc24236daadb8a44cab99d7ea660.jpg


    I used the Foscam iPhone app to broadcast the target to my phone real time. Here is a screen shot at 100yds


    http://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20160807/c37724359b60b49cadc826f68237f935.png


    Here is the Foscam App in landscape mode on my phone and the image zoomed to the max. The outer circle is 6” dia for some scale.


    http://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20160807/47b12121de7e418075e50d8dd84ac81d.png


    Here is a shot of an SR-1 target at 200

    693b2b8d9feb100a98970df628bed5bb.jpg

    Other nice features are that I can zoom in close to the actual target I’m shooting and then tilt/pan to the other targets. The battery last for more than 8rs which is really longer than I could ever need at the range. I take snap shots of sessions and record my shooting progress in the Balistic AE iPhone App. http://ballisticapp.com





    While testing out my cam at the range one of my club members shows up with a new Bullseye Target Cam the 1000yd model. He noted that he paid $620 online. Obviously we were comparing notes and I was very interested to check out their system. There was really nothing to it, but it worked flawlessly at 200 yds. The software is great because it causes you shots to blink after each round fired. It also allows you to keep a record of your shooting over time. I checked out their website and they do sell a unit for around $350 which is good for 300yds. Its real value is the software.





    So here is what I’ve learned this far.


    Cheap scope is probably ok for 100yds.


    Several guys in our club have the Konus Spot 80 and it really is a good scope in the $230 range. One of the guys on the High Power team has a Pentax ED which I believe he said was about $1100 with the eyepiece. He uses it at the 200yd range but says it’s solid out to 500yds. If you are considering any competitive shooting you won’t be able to use any electronic scope so this may be the best option. There is no reason you couldn’t easily attach a cell phone cam to one of these any make life even easier on your eyes.


    Like others mentioned if you are just shooting at the range the electronic target cams are very convenient, but limited. I disagree with some of the comments that you cannot read the wind, I just attach some survey flag tape to my target and I can easily see the direction in the camera. If you do want to shoot targets over 500 yards it actually may be the best value.


    If I built my own again, I’m sure I could make a 1000yd cam for less than $220 I spent. After spending time looking closer at the Bullseye the heart of their system is appears to be two Ubiquiti LOCO5 5GHz CPE Outdoor 802.11a wireless access points at $50ea. https://amzn.com/B004EZ87ES there is one in the base station and one in the receiver station. They use a fixed 720p IP cam. I think it’s this one https://amzn.com/B00T7NX6SY for $50, and two 12v/USB Li Batteries like this https://amzn.com/B00MHNQIR2 which are about $25ea. Add in two ammo cases an you could have yourself a 1000 yard target cam for $225.


    I really do not want to take anything away from the Bullseye system, like I said the software is the real value in what they have to offer and for this reason I would still like to own one.





    I hope this helps you make your decision.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2016
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