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  #1  
Old 04-20-2021, 7:46 PM
devster55 devster55 is offline
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Default Good spotting scope

Hey everyone I was wondering what you guys use for glassing while hunting. I currently have a set of vortex kaibab 18x56 binos for glassing off a tripod but I am looking for a spotting scope this year. My budget is around $1500. Iíve been looking at the nightforce TS-80 20-60x but I wanted to see if there were any petter options around that price before I buy it.
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Old 04-20-2021, 8:08 PM
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Leupold work just as good.
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Old 04-20-2021, 8:39 PM
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Do you cary those 18x56 around with you while hunting? Thatís some pretty high powered and heavy glass. In my opinion that setup off a tripod is as good as most $1500 spotting scopes. Good spotting scopes are big money, Iíve been down the road of not so good ones and itís a waste. Explaining what your hunting and where will help everyone give better input.
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Old 04-20-2021, 8:56 PM
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Wyoming deer this year and possibly elk. Definitely hunting elk next year in Colorado or Wyoming. I have a nice backpack and you don’t really feel the weight in it.
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Old 04-20-2021, 8:59 PM
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I like to go to areas and glass for the first day or two to figure out a game plan and go from there. I’m just tired of cheap dark glass and would rather pay a good amount now instead of replacing it down the road. I’ve been looking at Swarovski setups as well but I’m not sure if I want to spend that much. From the reviews the night force seems like a fair compromise.
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Old 04-20-2021, 10:46 PM
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Check out Pentax. Seriously.
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Old 04-21-2021, 4:08 AM
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Kowa is an excellent brand that stands behind their products, their TSN-550 is in your budget and is a compact design, https://www.kowaoptic.com/optics-ran...sn-550-series/

I have a larger and now 23 year old Kowa TSN-831 that I’ve used for NRA Highpower shooting. I had a problem with the outer tactile finish getting sticky about 3 years ago. I talked to Kowa’s USA rep in SoCal and they took it back, shipped it to the factory in Japan and completely refurbished and refinished it and all it cost me was the freight to SoCal, I have little doubt it will serve me for another 23+ years.
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Old 04-21-2021, 5:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeatyMac View Post
Kowa is an excellent brand that stands behind their products, their TSN-550 is in your budget and is a compact design, https://www.kowaoptic.com/optics-ran...sn-550-series/.
Second vote for Kowa scopes. Excellent and affordable.
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Old 04-21-2021, 5:56 AM
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Check out Pentax. Seriously.
Yes, Pentax. I have the Pentax PF 80ED 21-63x80. This is some very good glass.

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Old 04-21-2021, 6:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chancey View Post
Do you cary those 18x56 around with you while hunting? That’s some pretty high powered and heavy glass. In my opinion that setup off a tripod is as good as most $1500 spotting scopes. Good spotting scopes are big money, I’ve been down the road of not so good ones and it’s a waste. Explaining what your hunting and where will help everyone give better input.
This. 8x on my chest and the high-powered bino for judging antlers or glassing really far away. Using a scope for an extended period of time is far less preferable than binoculars.



OP: How often have you needed more magnification on your hunts?
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Old 04-21-2021, 1:21 PM
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Maven is getting a huge push on various western fb groups, rokslide, etc.
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Giving lewdogg21 advice on hunting. Thatís like David Hogg giving advice to the NRA.
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Disagree. Been trying to teach lewdogg21 how to hunt. It's like trying to teach Steve Wonder how to see. Not sure we're ever going to get there.
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Old 04-21-2021, 4:13 PM
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Thanks everyone for the suggestions.
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Old 04-22-2021, 4:43 AM
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Thanks everyone for the suggestions.
If you make a purchase come back and let us know how it worked out.
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Old 04-22-2021, 6:17 AM
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Originally Posted by lewdogg21 View Post
Maven is getting a huge push on various western fb groups, rokslide, etc.
Probably the clearest glass for the money from what I have seen. Crazy good.

However, they have a small FOV which killed it for me. This is probably less critical in a spotter than binos.
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Old 04-22-2021, 6:30 AM
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You can spend a lot of money on a spotting scope, and stand'





This Pentax is optically good. The more expensive scopes come with better, more durable cases and lens protectors.

Now I have this Monster



Optically it is excellent, great field of view at distance. It is not long eye relief, which I like. The storage case is cheap, thin materials, zipper tabs pull out. The lens covers are cheap. The front lens cover is a cheap flimsy design: the locking tabs have broken, the springs missing. The cover itself, so thin that I added layers of coffee can lid plastic circles and glue, to keep it from breaking in half. The rear lens cover, I have been looking for a plastic cap or cup to replace.

Other issues, the attachment point is way off the center of gravity. On the stand you see, the weight of the scope is all front, it is hard to fine adjust with one hand. Also, no rotating ring, it has a fixed ring. I was lucky to find a scope stand head that accommodated a fixed ring. This one is out of production. However, with it I can adjust the scope eyepiece to where I do not have to break position to look through the scope.

But, given all those issues, it is optically good and I am using it, till I break it.

This is a Celestron fixed ring on a small Freeland Tripod. Aftermarket scope cover. Good scope cover.



Notice the bottle cap cover over the lens. The original lens cover cracked, it was made of materials inferior to a bottle cap.



Also notice the kluge attachment to the Freeland stand. This is what you have to find to use a fixed ring scope. This scope is optically excellent, I have used it out to 600 yards a number of times, very clear. Price was good.

This is a better scope attachment.



Notice that the rotating adjustment ring allows the scope to be more centered on the stand, which means the stand is more bump tolerant. I have front eyepiece damage from the scope stand toppling over. It happens. This is an excellent 65 mm scope.

better scope cover too



All of my scopes are 45 degree offsets, because I use them in prone shooting. I want the scope offset so I won't bump it. Had straight scopes, was always whacking the things with my rifle barrel. If you are only using it to observe, a straight tube might be better. You line up the straight tube and acquisition will be faster.

You know there are lots of very good scopes in the $400 range. Take a look a Kronus, I see a lot of them. Go handle spotting scopes. A 65mm scope can be a bulky item hunting. My 1000 mm scope is the size of a bread loaf, too bulky to pack. That 65mm Pentax is nice and compact.

This Minox 16-30 X is an excellent scope for the size.



I want a compact scope for my pistol box





I painted the covers so I might find them better in the back of the box. Maybe I should have sprayed them orange or white.
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Old 04-22-2021, 6:56 AM
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I’m using 12x50 binos off an RRS tripod right now. I plan on adding a spotter this year. I am looking at the Leupold offerings or might just go the expensive Swarovski route with a BTX.
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Old 04-22-2021, 7:51 AM
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Nice set up on that box.

I thought long and hard about going the Swarovski route for a spotter but went with their Binos w/range instead.
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Old 04-22-2021, 8:00 AM
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slamfire1, that first Pentax you posted is the one I have. Excellent spotter for my needs.

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Old 04-22-2021, 9:07 AM
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You're all going to get a laugh here.

About four years ago on a hunting trip in Northeastern Nevada, we did a bake-off using three different spotters. The guide had a nice Zeiss that IIRC was 60 power with an 80mm objective. I have a Vortex Razor HD 16-48x60. My hunting buddy's wife had their ancient Bushnell that's been dragged literally all over the world and desperately needs an overhaul.

We could all see the horns on a goat sitting atop a mountain that was probably four miles away.

I spend most of my time glassing with 10x binos. The spotting scope is only for deciding whether the critter is wearing suitable headgear. What may be more important than the quality of the glass is the quality of whatever it's going to sit on. IMHO you need a sturdy tripod so the scope doesn't end up jiggling if there's a breeze.
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Old 04-22-2021, 10:09 AM
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Here's the "tripod" I use at the range. I wanted something heavy and very stable. Plus, I wanted the scope easily adjusted and the weight of the scope centered on its support. What I made does all that.



It's a Pentax 20-60x80 and it's mounted on a block of Delrin with adjustable feet and for adjusting the scope itself, there's a 3 axis screw head from Manfrotto that makes minor adjustments a breeze.
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Last edited by sonofeugene; 04-22-2021 at 10:13 AM..
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Old 04-22-2021, 10:58 AM
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Nice work. Very clean.

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Old 04-22-2021, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackEllis View Post
You're all going to get a laugh here.

About four years ago on a hunting trip in Northeastern Nevada, we did a bake-off using three different spotters. The guide had a nice Zeiss that IIRC was 60 power with an 80mm objective. I have a Vortex Razor HD 16-48x60. My hunting buddy's wife had their ancient Bushnell that's been dragged literally all over the world and desperately needs an overhaul.

We could all see the horns on a goat sitting atop a mountain that was probably four miles away.

I spend most of my time glassing with 10x binos. The spotting scope is only for deciding whether the critter is wearing suitable headgear. What may be more important than the quality of the glass is the quality of whatever it's going to sit on. IMHO you need a sturdy tripod so the scope doesn't end up jiggling if there's a breeze.
I have a sturdy carbon fiber tripod that has a hanger for weight to be added for stability.
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Old 04-22-2021, 11:17 AM
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Nice work. Very clean.

MLC
Thanks. I took the photo before I had the spacer between the block of Delrin and the Manfrotto head anodized black. Looks better now.
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Old 04-22-2021, 7:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackEllis View Post
You're all going to get a laugh here.

About four years ago on a hunting trip in Northeastern Nevada, we did a bake-off using three different spotters. The guide had a nice Zeiss that IIRC was 60 power with an 80mm objective. I have a Vortex Razor HD 16-48x60. My hunting buddy's wife had their ancient Bushnell that's been dragged literally all over the world and desperately needs an overhaul.

We could all see the horns on a goat sitting atop a mountain that was probably four miles away.
Even cheap optics are better than they ever have been.

I had a cheap $100 Barisaka 20-60 spotting scope, it might have been the 60mm instead of the 80mm, don't remember. I took that to a 500 yard match and compared it to my Pentax.

At 500 yards I could see the color difference between the pasters and the black. With the Pentax, I could see the white on the edges of pasters. When you tear a paster the white shows. The image in the Barisaka was greenish till you got to the edge. I don't think the edges of the lens had any coatings, what was in that section was fussy.

Back in the 1970's-80's, a $100 Tasco would not see 30 caliber holes in the 100 yard target. Cheap spotting scopes were horrible. But $100 now, and while the image is not perfect, it is surprisingly good.

The Club President purchased a Zeiss rifle scope and tried to compare grids and patterns at 200 yards with other scopes. Then he asked a teenager to look through the Zeiss, and the kid was seeing stuff President was not.

At some level of optics, it takes an optical interferometer to tell the difference in the quality of the optical train. You eyeballs, especially old eye balls, while it is all you see, you actually don't see that well.

It is aggravating to have teenagers tell you they can see the spotters at 300 yards with just their eyes. I told those smarty pants that if I could stick my thumbs in their eyes, then their vision would be just as good as mine! Arrgh!
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Old 04-22-2021, 8:11 PM
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I have that little Minox. That guy Ely or whatever his name is (I know Ely isn't quite right) on Optictalks/Opticthoughts recommended it.

I don't hunt horns much and only range to 200. It came down from I think $300 to $200 and I bit.

Edit: Ilya Koshkin
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