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Longrange hunting spotting scope help!

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Old 11-04-2012, 11:34 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Washington
Posts: 650
Longrange hunting spotting scope help!

I need a new spotting scope! I was hunting elk and have a minox md 50, which I though would adequetly ID animals, well it doesnt! I was looking at two elk at almost 900 yards, which I feel I will be able to hunt at next year, in a true spike area (only smooth spikes on both sides are leagal). At that range I was 100% one of them was legal but wind and needing more practice I passed. I noticed that at that range the horns looked a little tall but was still certain he was legal. The other one looked like he had some curve of his horns and I wasnt quite sure about him. I had watched the first one for 10 minutes and was sure about him, the second stepped out right as I decided to move so I didnt spend much time looking at him. After working around and coming over a lower ridge between us cutting the distance to 300 yards, he had a small fork on one of his antlers that I never saw, or could see because of my limited scope. I was pretty shocked that I couldn't see it and had I gone for it would have been in a bit of trouble. So I need a new spotting scope! I need a scope that can possitively with absolutely no doubt ID even the smallest point at a 1000 plus yards. I wanted a 60/65mm objective for weight but Im thinking to get the best scope possible I going to have to step up to the big boys, the 80/85 class spotter. My number one choice right now is the zeiss 85mm diascope with the 20-75 eyepiece, second choice is the vortex razor hd or maybe a swaro. What are your thoughts about my options, is the 65mm even an option? I dont think it is but correct me if Im wrong. Also what would the best scope be? If I don't have it listed let me know. These scope are a significant investment for me so I need to get this right the first time. Thank you
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Old 11-05-2012, 12:01 AM
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Ventura CA
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I would try a good 60/65 mm scope first. My current favorite for backpacking is the Leupold GR 12-40x60 HD. I doubt any 80-85 scope will be better at that range in full daylight. A good one may have an advantage at dawn and dusk, however, due to the larger aperture.

The reason I prefer a 60/65 scope for daytime spotting at over 800 yds is that atmospheric turbulence will usually limit image resolution, not the scope. The 80/85 aperture will actually have more turbulence blur, but the higher magnification will give the appearance of a better image. In reality, the resolution will be no better, or even worse than the 60-65 mm image, all else being equal.

On rare occasions when the sun first peeks over the horizon or first disappears, the turbulence drops and the 80-85 mm scope will give a spectacular view. Then the turbulence picks up again. This condition lasts for only a few minutes, however. Unless you happen to be looking at a game animal at that exact moment, you will miss it.

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Old 11-05-2012, 03:32 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Montana
Posts: 10
Re: Longrange hunting spotting scope help!

If you hike a lot and have to carry your spotter for the majority of the time then you won't probably want to go with an 80/85 of any brand, even the lightest of 80s tend to be a little too much when you can get most of the function out of a 60/65.

On the other hand if you want to positively ID an animal then in most cases you should probably go with an 80/85 mm. The more light hitting your eye the better, especially when increasing power because your exit pupil will get smaller.

I've compared a Swaro 65mm HD vs. an 80 standard Swarovski during mid-day and it was still easier to pick out the details with the 80mm - that was probably about 1500 yards and it was just picking out branches on a treee, but kind of the same idea.

I do think though that most high-end (Swaro, Zeiss, Leica) 60/65mm spotters at 900 yards should be able to get you those details, and sometimes things like that can just be hard to see. Keep in mind everybody's eyes are different and what works for some guys might not work for others, but I think that you're going to have an edge with and 80mm over 60mm in almost any given situation as far as the view anyhow.
<a href="http://kauffmanknivesandoptics.com/">www.KauffmanKnivesandOptics.com</a>
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:56 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: NW MT in a remote quiet area
Posts: 242
Re: Longrange hunting spotting scope help!

I have a Meopta H75 20 - 60 With the Best coated lenses they have. They had 2 options at that point in time, It has been a great scope at long range and in the middle for weight to pack and cost. 2+ years ago pricing was incredible with their intro to the USA Pricing. I believe they have larger lense models now too. The quality of the scope is extremely fine, optics also. I am very pleased with it and have friends with much more expensive models that this performs head to head with. Mine is lighter also. Meopta USA has been very good with support also.
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Old 11-05-2012, 04:06 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: OHIO
Posts: 2,419
Re: Longrange hunting spotting scope help!

I bought a Swarovski with the 85mm objective about 8-9 years ago and have no regrets. For me it would ONLY be another or a Leica and that is it.
Derek M.
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Old 11-05-2012, 09:38 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: north Alabama
Posts: 283
Re: Longrange hunting spotting scope help!

I have found that a fixed power eyepiece usually give me a clearer picture with my 65mm Pentax . This might be worth a try and save a few bucks before making a major purchase. ymmv.
Good Luck,
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Old 11-05-2012, 10:08 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Washington
Posts: 650
Re: Longrange hunting spotting scope help!

I couldnt get the zeiss down to where I thought I could and it sits at 2400 to get the zeiss, a little out of my leauge. So it looks like its between the 65mm swaro and the 85mm vortex razor. Im leaning pretty heavily toward the razor at this point.
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