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Joined: 05/19/2013
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New Rifle Scope or New Spotting Scope

I am in the middle of a delima and need you alls opinions if you dont mind. I am in the Coast Guard and am currently stationed in Kodiak, AK. One of the problems I am running in to is the fact that I will be transferring in 1 year and dont know where to. Enter problem, I have no idea if I will be in a city, in a thick wooded area, or in some open country. Now, let me tell you what my current hunting set up is. I currently have a Ruger M77 Hawkeye in .338 win mag topped with a Leupold VX-2 3-9x40. I have some money to play with and cant decide between getting a better scope or a spotting scope. The scope I have does not have a mil dot reticle, which I want, and I am looking to get a little bit better quality glass along with better low light glass. I need to choose between the Leupold Mark4 M1 6.5-20x50 scope or the Leupold Gold Ring HD 12-40x60 spotting scope. That being said, I have been hunting black tail deer, and brown bear. In the fall I will be hunting mountain goat as well. Right now I feel confident on taking shots out to 200, and maybe would take a shot out to 300. The last 2 seasons I have seen, or thought I have seen bears, but I dont really know because I couldnt see them that far away with my binos, so that is why I think it would be good to have a spotting scope, but I also feel like I will have no need for it if I transfer to somewhere where this is no open country. I also want some better glass for my rifle, and of course I have to get the best, but I feel like the Mark 4 would be overkill. If you guys could please help point me in the right direction I would appreciate it. Thank you

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Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 3867
Welcome to the forum and

Welcome to the forum and thanks for the service that you do.

If it was me I would forget about the spotting scope and put the money to wards a great pair of binoculars. I also believe that the scope that you have on your rifle is quite adequate for the caliber. One problem that I see with your scope selection is it only goes down to 6.5 power which can be a large problem for close in shots or if you are in heavy timber. I have a .340 Weatherby and it carries a Leupold VXIII in 3.5x10x40 and feel comfortable shooting it out to 600 yards and a bit further if the need arises. I have looked through optics with the 50mm lense and personally don't believe that they let in that much more light than the 40mm ones do and you will loose light gathering capabilities as the power of the scope goes up.

One reason that I suggest to forget about the spotting scope is that very seldom will you pack it with you while hunting. Even the smallest one turns into a bulky paper weight after you start to get away from roads. That is where I suggest a real good pair of binoculars such as some Swarovski 10x42 EL's. Also from what I understand you can pick up a pair of Cabela's Euro's which are supposed to be made by Swarovski for less than half the price.

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Joined: 05/19/2013
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Critter, thank you for your

Critter, thank you for your input. Question for you, does your VX-3 have the CDS turret on top? If so, how much did that cost and how do you like it? Currently I have a pair of Leupold Cascade 8x42 binos. I absolutely love how good of a picture I have, just wish I had some more power. If you had to choose between the spotting scope and the scope in my situation, which would you choose. Thanks again

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Location: Western Colorado
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Posts: 3867
It all depends on what kind

It all depends on what kind of hunting you are doing. Sorry to be so vague. If you don't mind packing around the extra weight that the spotting scope and tripod is going to put in your pack then go with the spotting scope. The only time that I even use mine is when I am scouting and then it is usually from a road or trail that I can get my 4 wheeler on.

My scope it the standard scope. I am old school and don't like to be tinkering with nob's and other things when it comes time to shoot. I feel that you need to get to know your rifle scope combination and learn how to tell range without a rangefinder. I have friends that by the time the range the animal and set the scope up the animal is gone and in all the 40 or so years that I have been hunting I have only had a couple of shots where you could take your time to est up a shot. Also I don't believe that 6.5 is a low enough power for a big game hunting rifle. It just offers too small a field of view in close situations. I have a 6.5x20 on a varmit rifle but the closest shots that I usually take with that one is 100 yards on parrie dogs.

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Joined: 05/23/2011
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Binoculars

I hunt in an optic dependent region.

By that I mean a lot of sitting and glassing, sometimes days, before taking a long shot. I would encourage you to invest in a tripod and a good set of binoculars. Something like a 15x Minox, 15x Vortex Kaibab, or the Swarovski or Zeiss equivalent.

I always have my binoculars but seldom my spotting scope.

BleuBijou's picture
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Location: Loveland , Colorado
Joined: 03/22/2010
Posts: 447
I would

I would not put a 6.5 by 20 scope on a gun hunting dangerous critters. Your shot may be 10 feet and in the heat of the moment. You could go with a 2.5 by 10 or 3.5 by 10 with a 50mm Objective instead of the 40. Even a 44mm objective will give you more light. Pull some strings and stay in AK!!!!!!!!

tim
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Location: north idaho
Joined: 06/11/2004
Posts: 601
spotting scope, binoculars

spotting scope, binoculars can not see as far as a spotter,
Than in a couple of years, upgrade the scope on your rifle.

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