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Thread: Sheep Hunting Spotting Scopes

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    Member Arctic Sapper's Avatar
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    Default Sheep Hunting Spotting Scopes

    I've been researching spotting scopes for sheep hunting and i really like the Vortex Razor HD 11-33x50 I'm open to other suggestions anyone else has. What good/bad/ugly experiences do you all have that can help me decide on a quality spotting scope?

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    Member Yellowknife's Avatar
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    I think you will find a 33x top end to be way light on power. 45x works significantly better, and in top quality glass 60x+ doesn't hurt.

    Good glass is pretty critical for sheep hunting in my experience, and if on a budget (like I always am), I've had good luck buying used alpha (zeiss, leica) glass at a fraction of new price.

    As far as bad experiences, I had terrible luck with a Minox 62 spotter. The glass was decent, but the construction simply wasn't durable enough for rough country hunting, and it went back to the factory three times before I got rid of it.

    Yk

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    Member Sobie2's Avatar
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    I like the angled style of spotting scopce vs the straight tube or style where you are inline with your target. This is because if you are trying to keep a low profile it is easier to setup. For price I like the Bushnell/Bausch&Lomb Elite scopes for AK because their Rainguard coating works (fog/rain/breath). For more money you can't go wrong with the known top end brands but those are $3k plus.

    Sobie2

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    The minimum for sheep would be the Vortex Viper HD 60x. There are sales on them all over the place right now. This scope will work in most sheep hunting situations. You will have issues in low light and haze or in bright sun with haze. Few scopes can overcome extreme environmental issues. You will just have to get closer.

    Get the best glass you can afford, going used on good glass from europe is a grand idea.

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    Member Arctic Sapper's Avatar
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    Never thought of looking for used spotting scopes. That might bring some of the higher quality products to an affordable level. Thanks for the input. All of your comments help.

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arctic Sapper View Post
    Never thought of looking for used spotting scopes. That might bring some of the higher quality products to an affordable level. Thanks for the input. All of your comments help.
    Never been a better time to pick up a Swaro, with the release of the new ATX line the prices have really dropped on the ATMs, and ATSs. The benefits of good glass for sheep hunting can't be overstated. The time and effort saved by being able to quickly discount sub-legal rams is worth the cost. Can you kill a Ram without a spotter, sure you can, do they give you an advantage? Absolutely!! I started with cheaper spotters and slowly worked my way up to a HD Swaro, and the older my eyes get the more I appreciate the clarity it provides, plus if you plan on digi-scoping with one the Alpha glass really makes a difference when filming through a spotter.

    The best non Alpha scope I ever used and the best bang for your buck on a budget is the Pentax PF-65ED-A II Angled 65mm ED.

    Steve
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    Member Yellowknife's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arctic Sapper View Post
    Never thought of looking for used spotting scopes. That might bring some of the higher quality products to an affordable level. Thanks for the input. All of your comments help.
    Besides the good deals on Swaro's, another light weight scope on the used market is the discontinued Leica 62 APO. They don't have the metal body and armored construction of the Swaro, but are very light and compact and (with patience), can be had several hundred dollars cheaper. I acquired one this year, and like quite a bit thus far.


    Yk

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    You should be able to find a bunch of old threads with this subject. It's a pretty common topic. That being said, I've had really good luck over the years upgrading spotters. I would buy one off craigslist or ebay, use it for a year or two, then sell it for about the same or in some cases more than I bought it for. Then add a few more bucks and upgrade again. A little over a year ago, I finally upgraded to a Swarovski 65HD. LOVE IT! Patience and extra money saved finally paid off.

    Check out Camera Land (forum sponsor), they have good deals on demo glass from time to time, and also check out www.samplelist.com. And as mentioned, ebay, craiglist, and the swap and sell here. Anytime you can find a good spotter at a good price, you have a good chance at selling it for about the same amount. I have found that they don't depreciate like cars do. There is a drop from new to used price, but the price difference on a 2 year old scope compared to a 3 year old scope isn't much....as long as it's in good shape.

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    Agree with those who mentioned the swaro as a wonderful scope. I have the 65 HD and can't count how many hours and miles of hiking it has saved while sheep hunting. I have the straight version and am not sure I agree that the angled lets you "stay lower." In my experience peering over objects while trying to stay out of site, the straight version allows me to keep my head down better...fwiw. Good luck and watch the online sites - there have been some great deals on this scope recently.

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    Member mossyhorn's Avatar
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    That's too low of power for a sheep spotter in my opinion. There is a nice swarovski 65mm in the outdoor classifieds that appears to still be available and for a good price too. This is what I have and am happy with the money I spent.

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    There's a lot of decent glass out there now. I think the best advise is to buy the highest quality you can afford. That one that you think is a "little" out of your range is probably THE one to get. Try not to skimp.....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    I learned this lesson all-too-well. That low-end Vortex is great for watching cranes at Creamer's Field, but it's not much more than a boat anchor in the sheep mountains... and why would a person carry a boat anchor to the sheep mountains?
    Passing up shots on mergansers since 1992.


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    Member Yellowknife's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinnyD View Post
    ... and why would a person carry a boat anchor to the sheep mountains?
    Ha! Speaking as a guy that started with a Bushnell boat anchor.... you speak much truth.

    Yk

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arctic Sapper View Post
    I've been researching spotting scopes for sheep hunting and i really like the Vortex Razor HD 11-33x50 I'm open to other suggestions anyone else has. What good/bad/ugly experiences do you all have that can help me decide on a quality spotting scope?
    While I disagree that that scope is a boat anchor good optics are great! That razor scope is a sweet compact scope but for hunting I think you want something with a bigger objective and a little more zoom. The big three are great but you should spend what you are comfortable with. For a midline scope I would go with the vortex razor HD 16x48x65, or the pentax with ED glass stid mentioned, or I would try to find a nikon fieldscope III 20x60x60 with ED glass on sale. I found my Nikon ED fieldscope III 20x60x60 for $750. As of now I'm not interested in upgrading after using it side by side with a zeiss and a swaro.

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    Member Arctic Sapper's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the advice everyone.

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    Member SkinnyD's Avatar
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    Allow me to clarify that the Nomad is the low-end model and the Razor is more of a mid-grade scope.
    Passing up shots on mergansers since 1992.


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    Member kahahawai's Avatar
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    For a few dollars more and few more ounces, get the Swaro 80 HD straight for quick aquisition and don't look back.....

    The only draw back to the ATX/STX is they aren't ridgid and the weak point is in the center between the Eye piece and lense, thus, carrying in a pack in the Spotter pocket you have to be careful when you set your pack down, plus they haven't made a protective cover for them yet. Get the 80 HD with the protective cover and it can take a beating. Mine sits in the spotter pocket of my pack and when I sit to break, I lean into my pack against everything from shale, alder branches, to large rocks. Yes, its pricey, but it will be the last spotter you'll have to buy.

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kahahawai View Post
    For a few dollars more and few more ounces, get the Swaro 80 HD straight for quick aquisition and don't look back.....

    The only draw back to the ATX/STX is they aren't ridgid and the weak point is in the center between the Eye piece and lense, thus, carrying in a pack in the Spotter pocket you have to be careful when you set your pack down, plus they haven't made a protective cover for them yet. Get the 80 HD with the protective cover and it can take a beating. Mine sits in the spotter pocket of my pack and when I sit to break, I lean into my pack against everything from shale, alder branches, to large rocks. Yes, its pricey, but it will be the last spotter you'll have to buy.
    The ATX does have a cover...

    http://www.sportoptics.com/swarovski...953-49950.aspx
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    Member kahahawai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    Then they just came out with them this year.

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    I had a Leica 77 "Big Bertha" a number of years ago. After drawing a limited sheep tag a couple years ago I decided to upgrade to the less bulky/lighter Leica 62. I set it up next to a Swaro HD and the Swaro was a bit brighter in low light conditions. If $ wasn't an option I would definitely go with Swaro but I REALLY like how small and light my Leica is...and it is pretty close to Swaro. I got my Leica on sale for $700 so it was a no brainer for me!

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