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Thread: Spotting Scope

  1. #1
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    Default Spotting Scope

    Looking at buying a new spotting scope for hunting. I've been researching for quite awhile and just can't pull the trigger on anything yet. I have my own opinions on brands but was interested in what other people recommend.

  2. #2

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    What is your budget and intended uses? For obvious reasons, your budget will affect recommendations greatly. Also, intended usage will play a role as you probably don't want to hike in a 15-45x80 5lb scope on a sheep hunt

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    Member bnkwnto's Avatar
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    My advice is don't go cheap. I would look at Leica, Zeiss, or Swaro. You can sometimes get a good deal on a used one or on a demo from Doug at camaraland.com. If one of the top three is not in your budget I would also look at Vortex. Good luck.

  4. #4
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    It will be used on backpack trips so weight is key but at the same I realize that 1-2 lb difference in scopes can be the difference in walking more miles than you need to. No real budget on this one this is an investment I never want to second guess when in the field.

  5. #5
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    Buy the Leica 65mm spotter or better yet get the 62mm version if you can find a used one. Optics are second to none and these scopes are much more portable than the 77mm or 80mm models. They are very expensive but worth every penny.

  6. #6
    Member oakman's Avatar
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    I'm sure you know that there are a few top brands (Swarovski, Zeiss, Leica) and then the rest. BIG difference in price too. I get what everyone says about how the big three are worth the money, but I don't get the guys that suggest forgetting about the price and JUST GET ONE THE GOOD ONE...

    You have a budget too, and money spent on a scope might short you on something else like a good tent, a 4 wheeler, etc.

    My first scope was a zeiss 85mm that I got off craigslist locally from a couple getting divorced. It was a great deal, but I got tired of lugging the beast around in the sheep mountains. So I sold that I "downgraded" to a Nikon Fieldscope. It was lighter (mission accomplished), but the glass wasn't quite as good as the Zeiss 85mm. That being said, I didn't have any problems with the optics on the two sheep hunts that I used it on.

    Then after a few years I sold that scope (that I bought used) on craigslist locally and actually made a small profit. I then "upgraded" to the same scope but a newer version. I got this newer version of the fieldscope on ebay. I think I spent about $400 on this one. I used that on one hunt. Sold it the following year for the same price.

    I used a little spare money I had to upgrade again, this time to a zeiss 65mm. I bought this on ebay for $800. Screaming deal again. Lucky me.

    Finally, last year after I had a little more money, I sold the zeiss 65mm for $1000 on craigslist locally. I used that and my extra money to buy a new swarovski 65mm HD for $1775 on ebay. So now I'm really happy with my scope. I don't plan on moving away from this one for quite a while.

    BUT....what I would say is all of those other scopes served me fine. In my opinion, it all depends on your budget and where you want to spend your money. I would suggest figuring our your budget and then looking for the best scope you can find for that money. The top 3 are certainly worth the money. If you can afford a few grand for a spotter, then just look around for a good deal on one.

    Good places to check are:

    http://anchorage.craigslist.org/

    http://alaskaslist.com/

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...p-n-Sell-Forum

    http://www.samplelist.com/

    http://www.ebay.com/

    http://www.cameralandny.com/ (make sure to check the demos as well)

    Another good suggestion would be to just be patient. Keep an eye on ebay, craigslist, etc. Get a feel for what they are selling for. Then if you buy a stepping stone spotter, you have a good idea what you can sell it for later. Keep in mind that ebay takes a cut of your sales (as does this site). So factor that into your calculations.

    Good luck,
    Richard

  7. #7

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    Vortex offers a lot of scope for the money. The New Vortex Razor HD 11-33X50 MM might be the best light spotter out there. Sure its not cheap but you get a pretty good spotter that is very portable.

    I have a Zeiss 65mm and 85 mm Diascope and they both work great. Zeiss optics are easier on my eyes that Swaros. I don't know why in particular but I see better with Zeiss.

    Sincerely,
    Thomas

  8. #8
    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Simply put.....if you want to put out the high $$$ then just go with any of the "Big 3". If not, then either a Pentax or Nikon or pretty good glass for the money....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by kaboku68 View Post
    Vortex offers a lot of scope for the money. The New Vortex Razor HD 11-33X50 MM might be the best light spotter out there. Sure its not cheap but you get a pretty good spotter that is very portable.

    I have a Zeiss 65mm and 85 mm Diascope and they both work great. Zeiss optics are easier on my eyes that Swaros. I don't know why in particular but I see better with Zeiss.

    Sincerely,
    Thomas
    Thomas, I have a Zeiss 85mm and I'm hoping a 50mm Vortex Razor at the PO Box this morning. Gonna use it on a overnight bear hunt today/tomorrow I'll let ya know what I think...maybe sell the Zeiss 65mm Zeiss buy the Razor 50mm and have one big and one little spotter

  10. #10

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    We used a Nikon xl for about 16 years before I picked up a Leica. Then my friend brought up a swaro 85 HD last year and was like wow! But I am not going to go that big. I have been VERY impressed with Vortex stuff and now Thomas got me interested in that 50mm Vortex Razor! Thanks Thomas!

  11. #11

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    Mike. You know where my night job is. Pretty easy to cherry pick products as they come in. Congrats on Alexis. She is an awesome young lady and it was a high point to read her name at graduation last week.

    Sincerely,
    Thomas

  12. #12

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    Looking forward to seeing some reviews of the 50mm Vortex Razor

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by kaboku68 View Post
    Mike. You know where my night job is. Pretty easy to cherry pick products as they come in. Congrats on Alexis. She is an awesome young lady and it was a high point to read her name at graduation last week.

    Sincerely,
    Thomas
    Thanks Thomas! Next time in town I will stop by and chat! Sorry didn't see you at graduation. She is pretty awesome! Time to plan her first sheep hunt! I need another career as I don't have enough time to hunt!!

  14. #14
    Member honeybadger's Avatar
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    Bought a used Howa and I am very happy with it. I looked at the Leica's and Swaro's but didn't want to shell out the money... Howa has done everything I've asked it to and I wouldn't waste the money on any of the top three, (maybe a leica if I was into photography). I have a feeling plenty of sheep have been spotted with a second hand cheapo scope. There is other gear you could spend the money on... like an alpacka these things are sweet!

    Zach

  15. #15

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    I have never heard of Howa spotting scopes. They make pretty nice rifles in Japan and I even think that they make the Weatherby Vanguards. Kowa Spotters are very good with the Prominar Fluorite Glass Spotter right in the running with the best.

  16. #16
    Member honeybadger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaboku68 View Post
    I have never heard of Howa spotting scopes. They make pretty nice rifles in Japan and I even think that they make the Weatherby Vanguards. Kowa Spotters are very good with the Prominar Fluorite Glass Spotter right in the running with the best.
    You're right, thanks for correcting me. It was duracoated for whatever reason and I thought it said Howa. Its the 20-60x straight scope, its very clear/bright and I love it (seemed comparable to a zeiss I looked at, but I never looked at them side by side as I bought it used). I picked it up for 400, best 400 I ever spent on glass!

  17. #17
    Member honeybadger's Avatar
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    Kowa TSN 664 ED Straight 66mm Spotting Scope

    This is the model I have, looked like you can find them new for around $1000

  18. #18
    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    When you do get it nailed down on the scope that you want, I would definitely suggest looking at eBay. I just purchased a like new Swaro 65 HD with the soft case, caps, a Manfrotto carbon fiber tripod, head, and window mount for $1775 with shipping. I basically saved around $1000 with this outfit by buying used through eBay. I spent about two months or so looking before I finally got it but if you're patient, and you have a little time, there are good deals to be had on eBay.

  19. #19
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    i've got the swaro 85hd and its like looking through better versions of your own eyes, just really far away. just be careful not to look through any of the top 3 for bvery long, because tehn it will be very hard to step back to less

  20. #20
    Member kahahawai's Avatar
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    Get the Swarovski STS-80 HD in straight for quick aquisition, and don't look back ......you'll be happy !!!!
    My buddy has the swarovski angled 65HD and was quite intrigued it wasn't drastically heavier than his.

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