Questions about spotting scope for sheep hunting
I was thinking about getting a Konus 80mm spotter for the range, but began thinking about sheep hunting and am wondering if I should spend a little more than $200 on a better scope that could see double duty at the range and in the mountains.
Are guys using 60mm scopes mostly for sheep or 80mm? I was looking at the Vortex Badlands 20-60x 60mm, would this be decent if I ever went on a sheep hunt?
I know everybody says get a Swaro or Leica or Zeiss or go home, but I'm not spending $1,500-$3,500 on a scope right now, maybe $400-$500 tops.
I would suggest spending a little more money on a better quality 60mm scope than a less quality scope of the same price in 80mm. A more quality 60mm scope will give you the same or better clarity than a cheaper quality scope in 80mm. Not to mention the 60mm will be lighter and more compact for hunting. I currently use a Pentax PF65 ED, 65mm scope, for all my hunting including sheep and goat.
Spotting scopes are one optic where you can see a very big difference in definition, clarity, and quality between a $250 spotter, a $500 spotter, or a $700 spotter. I wouldn't say the same differences are as blatantly apparent when comparing binos or riflescopes that are seperated by a couple hundred dollars.
I set my Pentax side by side against a $400 Leupold Green Ring Sequoia while hunting this year. There was absolutely no question that the extra $300 I spent for my scope was worth it. You definately get what you pay for when buying spotting scopes. So if you don't want to spend more than $400 don't even look through a more expensive spotter because you'll be pulling a few more hundred dollar bills out of you wallet once you see the difference. And looking 40 yards across the store saying you don't see a difference doesn't count, 300, 500, 800 yards is where the difference is.
Keep an eye on the classifieds, my partner bought a Leupold 15-45X for $135!
I think some of the Kowa spotters start in the $500 range. Barney's Sports Chalet carries these scopes, but I haven't priced the models Bob carries. I have found virtually everything in Barney's worth owning...though spendy sometimes. Definitely quality items though.
Two other thoughts: online comparisons in your price range might help narrow the field. This site is useful for that: http://www.eagleoptics.com/spotting-scopes. They carry some Leupolds in that range. Some on this AOD/OSA aren't keen on Leupold spotters, but I think Buck Nelson used one on his 700 Miles Across AK DVD and it seemed to work OK for him.
Also many AOD members have done well just by giving Doug at CameraLand a call. Doug sponsors the Optics forum many AOD members have been pleased with quality and price on optics from them.
Thanks for the input so far. I have owned the Leupold Sequioa spotter and found it to be sub par. I also have the Leupold compact 10-20x and think it's great, just too small for long distance stuff.
I really like my Nikon Spotter XL II. It is light and compact, and has pretty good clarity compared to much more expensive scopes. I got mine for just over $200 slightly used, and have never felt the need for something else when looking at sheep. Yes, a Swarovski would be better, but like you, I cannot justify laying down two grand on a scope.
If that was a Leupold Sequoia, your partner paid about what it was worth, if it was immaculate...
Originally Posted by DoughNut
Yep, +1 for sound advice...
Originally Posted by Brian M
I have the same scope and it has served me well.
I had the Nikon XL II. Great little scope for what it is. Also had the Leupold Sequoia as well. The Nikon XL II is WAY more the scope than the Leupold IMO. Ended up selling both scopes as I already had a nice scope for my backpacking adventures and really just wanted a semi nice one to leave in my cabin to scope out the mountains around there from time to time.
Since weight and space was not an issue for my intended uses for this scope I figured I would go with the 80mm objective. After talking over several options in with Doug at Cameraland to get the most bang for my buck with in that price range of sub $500 I ended up with a Vortex Skyline 80mm. Which now can be had for a open box demo for as low as $380 which better than what I paid for it. The difference between the Leupold Sequoia and the Nikon XL II is about the same as the Vortex Skyline being that much better than the Nikon XL II.
However you are wanting a sheep hunting spotter I guess so weight and size will be a consideration. If that is the case I would take a hard look at Doug's demo Vortex Nomads as if my Skyline is that impressive the Nomad can't be much of a slouch either.
I sold both my Leupold Sequoia and Nikon XL II when I found a Swarovski 65mm HD with 20-60 power eyepiece demo from Doug for only $1199. To me the extra $1K was worth the vast improvement in glass. That said guys get it done with lots of scopes of less quality, I am just a novice sheep hunter and determining legality is still very much a struggle for me at times so I figure I would stack the odds in my favor a little and the $1K spent on a spotter could keep me from a $1K fine . Or that is atleast how I justified it. HAHA So deals on Swarovskis can be found without spending much over $1000 at times if you keep your eyes open and ready to pounce on the good deals.
Good luck man.