I did some research and read some reviews of the Vanguard spotting scopes and they are very good overall.
One thing jumped out at me - everyone raved about the fact that the scope was built like a tank!
There were numerous refences to how well built the cases and tripod were, also... which really adds value to the overall package.
The optics were rated as very good although some degradation was noted at the very highest power of the scope, which is certainly to be expected.
I notice the 661 (that will be a prize here shortly) has fully multicoated optics - and I also noted that some of the scopes that compete in this price range are not treated to that level of coatings.
I am sure that whomever gets this scope will be delighted!