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Thread: Spotting Scopes and Sheep Hunting

  1. #1
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Default Spotting Scopes and Sheep Hunting

    I am curious to know what kind of spotting scopes all of you serious sheep hunters take up the mountain. I own a Bausch & Lomb 15x - 45x and also just recently purchased a used Swarovski 80mm 20x - 60x. Of course the B & L is much lighter in weight but the quality of Swarovski is so much better.

    Is it worth the extra weight to take the Swarovski?


  2. #2

    Default Spotters

    I use a Nikon XL II, works much better than my old Bushnell Spacemaster and is much lighter. I don't know what the weight difference is between the 2 but if your no concerned with it, i'd take the Swaro.

  3. #3
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Chugiak, AK

    Default View and hunting

    It's much easier to hunt something you can see! For sheep would want the best one I could afford, could be of the highest importance when juding a sheep. Can you really notice a few more ounces.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2005

    Default Depends

    I would say it depends on a lot of factors. First off what is the weight difference?
    B&L about 26 oz about 1.5 lbs
    SwaroScope about 40 oz
    Swaro Eye Piece about 9 oz.
    About 3 lbs.

    Tripod? Big scopes need bigger tripods.
    Lots of tripods for B&L that would work about 16-25 oz. Mine is 26oz
    Minimun for the Swaro?? 3lbs? Anything less and you probably cannot hold it steady at 60x or 20x in a stiff wind.

    So approx total weights
    B&L w Tripod 3 lbs
    Swaro 6 lbs

    Then the question. How often can you use anything over 45x? Last sheep hunt I was on we had lots of mirage at 20x. Most guys say that you need ideal conditions for anything over 30x. So, is it worth the extra 3lbs (two days worth of food) for a "maybe once in a while"? If you are socked in for two unexpected days I would rather have the food and the B&L. It will do the job.

    The Nikons, B&L Elites, and Burris scopes all resolve very good out to 45x but most spotting is probably done at 30x.

    Then, how far do you have to pack it? I'm not sure I would want to pack it and the tripod on a long walkin 10 day hunt. Every ounce really does count. Not to mention 3 lbs. Now, if you are flying in, setting a base camp and doing the bivy thing up the mountain that's different.

    Either way, you have a great "problem"!!

    My .02
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

  5. #5

    Default spotting scopes

    this sept i will be on my second sheep hunt inside chugach state park.

    snyd , is correct. big scopes need big tripods, read heavy, to stabilized them.
    i use a swarovski st80. it is as big as a bread box and about as heavy as a 6 lb. brick. however, i cut down on wieght in other areas. i do not mind packing the extra weight for optics , as it is a key part of the success of the hunt depends on. take one less pair of socks and one less shirt...

    i can count the hairs on a sheeps chin with this.

    good luck.

  6. #6

    Default Spotting scope

    I've been using a Swaro 20-60 65mm for the last couple years and love it. I find the 60X to be quite usefull. I used it quite a bit last year to size up a couple rams. As far as tripods, I use a light weight Nikkon (1lb). It would be nice to have a stouter tripod but I'm not willing to pack it and the Nikkon one has worked good enough for me. Good luck to you.

  7. #7

    Default Ever seen a Kowa spotting scope?

    I use a Kowa 60mm objective spotting scope with a 45 degree eyepiece. The angled eyepiece makes using a daypack or compact tripod very feasible because weighing in at about 1.5 lbs, its pretty light.

    Kowa optics are superb. I need to replace the variable eyepiece with a fixed power job. Much above 40x I notice too much mirage and degradation for the extra range to be of any use at distance anyway.

    Kowa has a really nice case that allows you to use the scope almost fully protected. Mine is not armored all over but is rugged, offers great image quality, is light enough to backpack, and for under $500 is not so blamed expensive that I worry about it taking a ding.

    I haven't done any sheep hunting. But I have watched sheep and goats up on the mountain across the river from Eagle River nature center and on the cliffs along Turnagin Arm. Really nice to have that angled eyepiece rather than a straight one. Pretty easy to cradle the scope in your hands and look down into it. If trying to stay obscured from game, you could be fully hidden and still survey your quarry. A very versatile piece of gear.

  8. #8
    Member shphtr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Smile Sheep spotting scope

    Used a B&L 15x45 for almost 15 years with good results. Recently purchased a Leice 62mm with 20x60 eyepiece - cost a lot more but does a much better job esp at long distance when I would have been pushing the limits of the B&L as well as increased resolution at the periphery. As the years have rolled by I have converted from a "walk now and look later when closer" to a "look now and decide if I want to walk closer" type of guy. "Know what I mean, Vern?"

  9. #9

    Default The Swarovski take it

    Is it worth the extra weight to take the Swarovski?

    Last year used a B+L 15 x 45 watched sheep for hours almost a full day. A lot of smoke in the air too. Light was poor so could not tell for sure if double broomed or not. Returned home, purchased Swarovski 60mm compared the two in low light, will be carrying the Swarovski in a month, weight not an issue when only have a few days.

    Got a nice case for it at SWFA too.

    I agree with Snyd though, after about 30X gets a little mirage and that extra food can come in handy.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Quality Makes The Diff.

    Went sheep hunting last year with cabelas best spotting and my other bro has a swarovski. No comparison don't skimp on optics.

  11. #11

    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by brookssheep
    Is it worth the extra weight to take the Swarovski?

    Returned home, purchased Swarovski 60mm compared the two in low light, will be carrying the Swarovski in a month, weight not an issue when only have a few days.
    if you like the 60mm, then try the 80mm. i beleive it is discontinued now? i think they did away with it as too many guys did not want to hump the weight.

    optics are not the place to save weight. see my above post. leave the twinkies, extra shirt and socks and take optics that will let you see what you came for.
    if your fitness is what it should be, you won;t even notice it.
    Cold Zero
    Member: S.C.I., N.R.A. Life Endowment Member & L.E. Tactical Firearms Instr.


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