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Thread: Looking into purchasing new glass

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    Default Looking into purchasing new glass

    I'm considering my options for new glass. I have a few different spotting scopes, and one pair of decent binocs. All of them not even approaching the mid range of quality.

    I'm ready to spend some money on some GOOD glass, mostly motivated by the desire to gear up for sheep hunting.

    My question; spotting scope, binocs, or both? If I buy a good pair of binocs, will I find myself wishing I had brought a spotting scope also, or instead of? It seems obvious that, given the potential mass of a sheep hunting pack, one would choose just a single option. However, my lack of experience inspires me to ask your opinions.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    For sheep, i'd leave the bino's and take the spotter if i had to pick just one. looking at inches at a quarter mile the spotter is priceless.
    swaro has some 10x30 bino's that are light and would make a awesome set of glass to accompany the spotter. go light weight sub par bino's and don't skimp on the spotter if sheep is your plan.
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  3. #3

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    Optics are one thing that can make you a more effective hunter. Knowing how to use your binoculars and how to effectively use a "good" tripod with a Spotter are extremely important for success in sheephunting.

    Jake has good advice but I would push you to select a very good compact 10X25 oz Swaro CL Pocket that has 17 mm of eye relief and weighs 12 ozs vs. the 10X30 CLs that are heavier and do not have as much eye relief. Look at them and compare. The compacts are actually less money.
    The Vortex Razor 65mm is a great minimum level high end spotter. You are going to hear people with the Vipers or Pentax ED spotters chime in but my view is that the Razor 65MM is minimum level of quality for dedicated sheep spotter.

    Now I could tell you that I have gone on sheep hunts with other hunters that have Vortex Viper Binoculars and I have found Sheep with my Zeiss Victory's that they couldn't find. I like a very comfortable pair of full size binoculars and work with them. I use binoculars to find game and find that finding game to me is most important.

    My advice to you would be buy a full size pair of Leica HD Trinovids from Internet and then buy used or demo spotter 65mm from Zeiss, Leica or Swaro. The Optics companies will have salesman's demos for SHOT and ATA and both Cameraland and SWFA will have them for sale shortly. Here comes the secret to the Kingdom(Cameraland, SWFA and Sportsman's Warehouse offer Layaway Plans) They will give you time to pay off that top tier binocular or spotter over time.

    Swaro tells salespeople that you will never get a customer to come to the optics counter and buy a pair of Swaro EL SVs straight but you will get customers who come in who have borrowed their friend's binoculars while out hunting and have observed things that they couldn't find with their binoculars. Really good binoculars really do make a difference. Really good binoculars perform and are soft on the eyes. That means that you can spend a huge amount of time behind them without any problems.

    You get what you pay for with optics. But there are also some good deals if you dig.

    I don't want to scare you but I am going to list the optics that I presently have.

    10X25 Swaro CL Pockets
    8X30 Swaro CL Companions
    8X30 Steiner Safaris
    12X50 Vortex Razors
    10X42 Zeiss Victory FL
    10X42 Swaro SLC HD

    Vortex Ranger 1000
    Leica 1000 Rangefinder

    10X42 HD-Y Leica Geovid

    11-33X50 Vortex Razor
    15-45X 60 mm BL Spotter
    15X45X 65mm Zeiss HD FL Diascope
    20X60X85mm Zeiss HD FL Diascope

    Now if I told you that I have spent less than 3000 on all of that because I took a part time job at a sporting goods store and "earned" a good share of that Optics equipment from sales incentives and employment discounts I might give you a very good hint on getting what I feel is useful for hunting.

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    Member Carlak2fl's Avatar
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    keep an eye out on ebay. if you know what you want, and watch regularly you can find deals. That is the only way my wife has "allowed" me to afford the high end glass. I found my spotter, and more recently binos at substantial discount from new. Many people seem to have the latest and greatest as soon as its available. My Swaro spotter was bought for 1400, and the EL 10x42 binos for less than that. Both were well taken care of, and perform great.
    its better to be silent and thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt...

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    I'd second what has already been said. I have found pretty good deals online. Ebay, cameraland, samplelist, etc. Don't get too big with your spotter, and make sure you have a tripod that can hold it well. My first spotter was a big zeiss. Too big and heavy for the mountains. Needed a bigger tripod too. Now I have a 65mm HD Swarovski with a tiny little carbon fiber tripod. Great for spotting sheep with. And for binoculars, I've been pretty happy with Nikon. I have a full size set and a compact set. The compact binocs can fit in my shirt pocket or in a small pocket on my backpack belt. Pretty handy for just seeing if something is worth digging the spotter out for.

    Good luck.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    If sheep is your game, I'd skip the binoculars all-together. I had no problem finding sheep with my naked eye from ridiculous distances.

    If you're close enough to differentiate a 7/8s from a full curl ram with a pair inexpensive, compact binos, you're better off looking through your rifle scope- you're likely in range.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Member mjm316's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hodgeman View Post
    If sheep is your game, I'd skip the binoculars all-together. I had no problem finding sheep with my naked eye from ridiculous distances.

    If you're close enough to differentiate a 7/8s from a full curl ram with a pair inexpensive, compact binos, you're better off looking through your rifle scope- you're likely in range.
    I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with you on this one but to each is own as they say...
    Tomorrow isn't promised. "Never delay kissing a pretty girl or opening a bottle of whiskey." E. Hemingway

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    Member AK Wonderer's Avatar
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    I think if you were to leave your binos at home on the sheep hunt you'd be cussing yourself an hour into your hunt. Can you imagine how many times you'd be dropping your pack every day so you could pull out your spotter just to check out a white rock or a patch of snow. It would be a total pain in the ...


    Do you have a budget? There are a lot of great binocular options in the $1,000 price range. The competition in this price category has pushed manufacturers to step up the quality of their glass and features offered. Pretty easy to find sales to save you a little more money too. The gap between mid range and alpha has closed in recent years.


    A good spotter is hard to beat on a sheep hunt. I've been using a Pentax ED spotter for quite a few years now. For the price it is a good spotter and has served me well. I think this would be the minimum quality of spotter I would feel comfortable with on a sheep hunt. Honestly my spotter is 7-8 years old so there are probably better options for a mid range spotter these days. Cheap spotters are terrible so the jump to mid range for you is going to be huge but really an alpha spotter is the way to go.


    My vote is to upgrade both bino and spotter. And definately take both on your hunts.

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    Member akrstabout's Avatar
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    Use to b the optics sponsor sold demo prices for new optics to forum members. Where I got my $1000 binos for $600, minox 10-42 HG. Love them, tho now they are are scratched up pretty bad but just lightly on front lenses. Back when I bought those, they were lighter than any other brand in the higher end category and price range and lighter by far than the $2500 swaros


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    Quote Originally Posted by BRWNBR View Post
    For sheep, i'd leave the bino's and take the spotter if i had to pick just one.
    Yeah, I guess if a guy HAD to pick just one I'd probably just take the spotter too. But luckily I don't have to, as I think my eyeballs would fall out if I had to actually spend as much time behind a spotter as I do my glasses. I really never go anywhere without my old Swaro binos....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    I use both binos and a spotting scope. Binos to help spot distant sheep and a spotting scope to see if they are worth going after.

  12. #12

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    I use leica 10 x 42 binos and I have a leupold 12 x 40 spotter. That being said, if I was on a budget, and looking to go on a sheep hunt, I think I would go with Vortex Diamondback binos for less than $250. Then you could invest in a quality spotting scope as well. I love my leicas, but those vortex diamondbacks are really hard to beat for the price. I personally wouldn't go sheep hunting without binos and a spotting scope. Yeah you can see most sheep with your naked eye, but sometimes those big rams can be hard to spot if they are up hiding in the nosebleed section in all the little cracks and crevices. Having some binos really helps find the rams. Then you need the spotter to tell if he is legal.

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    I would suggest you look at Vortex, I'm with Bushwack Jack. I have some Vortex Diamond backs that I take everywhere. Great glass, and won't cost an arm or leg like other brands. I'd start with the binos and if after a few hunts you feel the need for a spotting scope then invest. Again Vortex has great options there as well. They have fantastic customer service and an unbeatable warranty. My friends hounds got ahold of mine last season and vortex replaced them for free. No questions asked.

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gibbs2120 View Post
    I'd start with the binos and if after a few hunts you feel the need for a spotting scope then invest.
    He did say his reason for wanting new glass is because of the desire to go sheep hunting. If he's going sheep hunting, he'll want a spotting scope. You actually can manage without the binos if need be, but on a sheep hunt it's really not that fun to walk 5 miles only to find sublegal rams or ewes just because you saw them with your binos. Plus, most guys I know usually don't have the time to be trapesing all over hell and gone needlessly trying to find a legal ram.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    I would buy on Ebay, Rockslide, 24HRCampfire, this site, etc. for great used deals on high end glass. I'm guessing that you hunt for more than just sheep. I have, really like, and recommend Swarovski 10x42 binos and a Swarovski HD 65mm scope. I use both for all big game hunting in AK including sheep hunting. Buy once - keep them forever. I bought my Swazi 10x42 SLC's about 10 years ago for $800 and I'll bet they would easily sell for over 1K today. Good glass holds it's value - especially if you buy used avoiding the initial sticker price.

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    Lots of good advice. It seems more clear to me now that taking both is the best idea. Also, I will most likely have a partner along, who would be able to take one or the other in their pack. Now there's just the matter of allocating the funds (convincing the wife).

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    Member slimm's Avatar
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    Theres an old saying that your spotting scope is only as good as the tripod it sits on, a lot of truth in that old saying.
    Not much out there that can beat Zeiss or Swaorvski glass,but for mid level bino's you might want to look at Vangaurd endeavor
    IMO they beat the heck out of the mid level Leopould and Nikon glass and are basicly the same price.
    I have the Vortex razor hd 11-33x50 spotter it is very lightweight and compact and decent glass out to 500 yrds but I wish I would of spent the extra and got a Swaro.

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    I guide full time, the european bino's are hard to beat. I have a good spotter, but rarely use it. I've done a ton of backpack sheep hunts without one, but always have my bino's.

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    Sheep hunting and great (not good) glass. Yep. You know it. Get a really good spotting scope. There are probably three best choices. The Leica, Swarovski and a Zeiss. I would pick the 65mm Swaro my self. I have looked at sheep through "good" glass and then through a Leica scope (great) and there was a night and day difference. To judge sheep at 1000 yards confidently takes good glass, good atmospherics and some time. But, it can save you days of hunting time on going after a sub legal ram. Worth it.

    Good binos will let you see white dots off in the distance that are sheep. A good spotter will tell you if it is a ram or not. A great spotter might tell you if it is a full curl, broomed, or sub legal and therefore worth pursuing.

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