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Location: madison,wisconsin
Joined: 07/20/2008
Posts: 31
Spotting scope question

Im in the market for a spotting scope, to be used at the range and for hunting out west. While i cant justify spending big money on Zeiss or Swarovski, I do plan on spending $500-$600 on a nice scope.

I'm not sure what magnification I should go with. Is a 20x60x80 too much? I've read some reviews, that say you can pick up a 'mirage' effect once you get to that high of magnification. Would a 15x45 or 18x36 be a better choice. I will also purchase a tri-pod with this scope.

I plan on using this scope more for hunting/scouting than at the range. I can shoot roughly 300 yrds. at our target range, but I also dont mind walking down to check the target if needed. Here in the wooded flatlands of central wisc. its not an issue, but I may be hunting North Dakota with a buddy, and we will be able to glass for a couple miles in each direction from a lookout point, and am also planning on going elk hunting in Co next year.

Just looking for any advice/recommendations from you guys/gals with experience with spotting scopes may have. Thanks for your time

Take care, jayjay

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Location: Sequim, WA
Joined: 07/29/2009
Posts: 22
spotting scope

Mirage effect will be seen at most powers, but the higher the power the more noticeable. Also depends on the distance and what kind of ground you are glassing over, time of day and weather.
A couple of other considerations are for weight and accessories. You may like the weight of a 65 mm vs an 80 mm, especially when packing/carrying. Some have removable eyepieces and you can put in a doubler (20-60x becomes 40-120x). Higher powers reveal vibrations/movement much more. You may also want to look at the size of the exit pupils, to determine how much picture you will see.
Research the company. For example-if memory serves correct, when I was looking to get one-I figured I would look a a certain company that produces really good riflescopes. I figured brand name was good, but then found their spotting scopes were made overseas to not the same quality--and lots of product reviews revealed many dissatisfied buyers.

Critter's picture
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Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 3921
Spotting scope question

As far as a spotting scope I believe that the 15-40 would be the most power that you would really need unless you plan on finding an animal 5 or 6 miles away and then putting on a stalk. But my question to you is do you have a good quality pair of binoculars? A spotting scope is nice if you are driving around and just looking but when you have to get out and hoof it in the mountains they get heavy in a hurry. As for hunting elk here in Colorado the ranges are short or just across a canyon to where a quality pair of binoculars would win hands down over a spotting scope.

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Location: madison,wisconsin
Joined: 07/20/2008
Posts: 31
Spotting scope question

Thanks for the replies guys, I do appreciate it. I've been researching different brands and have decided on the brand I want, but was just unsure of the size I may need. I wasn't aware of a 'doubler' for the scopes, so that has solved that issue for me. The reason I mentioned the 80mm obj. was for light gathering at low light.

I did keep an eye on scope weights for the reasons you guys had mentioned about carrrying them up and down the mountians. Granted, most of the time I would use it, would probably be driving around and glassing from a long ways off. (N.D. whitetails and Wyoming speed goats) but the day may come where I want to carry it with me as well.

Critter, at present time I have a set of Bushnell 10x50 bino's which work okay for me around here, but am planning on upgrading before that elk trip. I'll be down south of gunnison, I've heard thats a 'tall' area, so I wont want to drag along anymore weight than I need to.

Thanks for your input guys, I do appreciate it. Good luck in your hunting seasons this year Thumbs up

Thanks again,
jayjay

Don Fischer's picture
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Moderator
Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
Posts: 3183
Spotting scope question
jayjay wrote:
I did keep an eye on scope weights for the reasons you guys had mentioned about carrrying them up and down the mountians. Granted, most of the time I would use it, would probably be driving around and glassing from a long ways off. (N.D. whitetails and Wyoming speed goats) but the day may come where I want to carry it with me as well.
jayjay

Seeing as I don't use a spotting scope, but am on my third, I'm probably not the guy to listen to. I did try carrying one once, just once. That'll never happen again! But then I got a deal I couldn't pass up while I was in Alaska and ,,,well,,got another. I loaned it to my old horse shoer and have never seen it since. Well time seem's to heal wounds so when I found one on sale in Salem, well I could use it at the range. Ya right. Figured I could look at target's out a long ways and see bullet holes without walking down. 200 yds is no my idea of a long ways and much beyond that, mirage rendered them useless. But I do have one and plan on keeping it. That way I'll never feel the need again.

As for binoculars, I tried a set of 10x once and wow, you can see to far. Find something looking thru them then put them down and try to find it again without them, I could rarely do it. Add to that that they are usually big and heavy and cumberson. My favorite binoculars ever was a pair of Tasco's I got at the rod and gun club in Germany about 1967. 7x35 and I never found another set of Tasco's that were as good. I've tired those small fold up one's you carry in your pocket. Very chick but my eye's are to far apart I guess, I always saw double thru them. Now I use an inexpensive pair of Bushnell's, 7x35. They have all the power I want or need. Carry fairly easy and I often forget them in the truck or at home!

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Location: Misouri
Joined: 11/30/2005
Posts: 365
Spotting scope question

Get a good set of binos over a spotting scope (for what your wanting to do).

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Location: SW Mtns. NM
Joined: 05/04/2008
Posts: 227
Spotting scope question

I have very good 10x50 Alpen Binos that I use mostly and now have Alpen 735 spotter,scope and Manfrotto tripod less than 4lbs. But I will not take it all the time,just long distance glassing.60 power in good spotter is good for light. Still rather put my Binos on rest and use them till after dark....

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Location: madison,wisconsin
Joined: 07/20/2008
Posts: 31
Spotting scope question

Thanks for all the input guys. I will definately be picking up some new bino's.....as well as a spotting scope. I'm kind of funny that way, once I get it in my head that I 'need' something, I'll end up buying it. Even if I dont use it as much as I had planned I will still have it and (maybe) not have the urge to get another.

I'm going to head over to EagleOptics and do some comparing. Hard to believe that I've been in spitting distance of them for 5 years now and didnt even know it, lol.

Thanks again for all your advice guys

jayjay

WesternHunter's picture
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Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2368
Spotting scope question

I only like spotting scopes when pre-season scouting or observing herd movments a day or so before the hunt. For spot and stock I prefer binos. While hunting a spotting scope is just too much stuff to lug around.

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Location: SW Mtns. NM
Joined: 05/04/2008
Posts: 227
Spotting scope question

I agree, the spotter is for spotting, the binos are what makes it on a hunt IMHO

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Joined: 08/15/2009
Posts: 15
Dedication to spotting

The challenge to an upgrade and brand new purchase is that it will really require you to spend a lot just for an additional equipment. But it's a very important piece of equipment for many hunters who wanted to have a very, very good aim.

I tend to follow the recommendations of those to stick to your current scope and get a good binos. I'm not really a scope person (close range 1911) so I use the binos to spot my target.

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