Any suggestions on a quality spotting scope? I will be hunting Coues Whitetail, elk, and mule deer in AZ. I have been looking at the Leupold but am unsure as to wether I really need to spend $800.00. Also, I would appreciate any feedback on stores that sell these scopes at a good price.
You may want to do a search on bird watching scopes. Bird watchers are just as picky as us and they outnumber astronomers 12 to 1.
The market for spotting scopes for birdwatchers is very lucrative. And they use them for looking at things much like we do.Astronomy is nothing like long range hunting.Try this link.It is a review of spotting scopes. Spacemasters were ok but not at the top of the list. http://birds.cornell.edu/publication...ScopesWI98.htm
IMO, you couldn't go wrong with Leupold. I don't need to reinterate their benefits as the name speaks for itself. With regard to needing it, again IMO, a spotting scope is an essential piece of gear for the hunter. It allows the hunter to cover a farther piece of area as well as selecting/identifying game.
Stores that I have done business with include: riflescopes.com and bearbasin.com. Both have a very large selection of spotting scopes and service is first rate.
If you are an ebay.com user, there are always people selling the Leupold Golden Ring spotting scope. Typical prices in the $500-600 range.
As an alternative you may want to look into the Wind River (Leupold) variable spotting scope for about $250-300.
The Leupold 15x45 is a good scope, I had one and it was very clear. But I did sell it and went for a scope with more power so I could see them 22 caliber holes on the paper at 200 yrds.
The Leupold is very compact and that I liked also.
One more thing, do a lot of searching for different sites that may carrier them. I had bought mine about 3 years ago and paid $603 shipped to my door and that was the cheapest I could find them then. I got them from aaacamera. There ad was in the Shotgun News and it still might be. I just checked for a web site and it looks like they will be having it up and running soon.
I use the 12-40x60 variable Leopold too. I wanted a scope with the lower power setting of 12 for a large field of view and power beyond 40 is rarely even used anyway. What 40 power sees, 60x only sees dimmer and with more heat waves to distort the picture and unless your into a Swarovski or the like, you won't even have the clarity to begin with even though the Leopold is as close to them as any will get.
Forget the Burris 18-45 Signiture too, it's eye relief and strain is ten times that of the Leopold at the same setting although the glass was clear. The Nikon seemed to be it's twin. I used the Burris for two years before buying a Leopold for the extra field of view. I wish I would have glassed around plenty with both before buying the Burris at first, as it was no small chunk of change either. Once focused at 40x, the Leopold stays focused while adjusting the power ring up or down. The Burris was said to do the same but always needed to be fine tuned in the end, not the case with the Leopold. Much of these great little details I learned about the Leopold were just a bonus and not even noticed until later after using it in the field.
A spotting scope up here for moose hunting is very important now days. For several years now we have had to see well enough to count the brow tines of the antlers and estimate overall width too. They must have 3 or 4 brow tines depending on the area being hunted or be wider than 50 inches. You can shoot spikes or forks too but let them have one too many points and your ***** is grass. If you don't have a great spotting scope, your range is severely limited and even if you do it sometimes can be in many circumstances. You can't just shoot any bull in most areas like we could just ten years ago.
Thanks for all the respones. One more question before I make the purchase. Has anyone had any experience with high powered binoculars and a tripod. I was told that this is easier to use regarding eye strain.
I have tried many spotting scopes and a single tube just doesn't cut it for my needs. Within minutes, one eye is twitching and the other is strained. The only benefit to a regular spotting scope is that they are light and can be thrown into a back back. If you will be hunting long range style, from a stationary position, a "big eyes" set up is the only way to go. This is 2 spotting scopes in a bracket and mounted on a tri-pod. Bushnell SpaceMasters are very popular for this and work well, they can be bought ready to go in a bracket for around $750. I recently purchased a set of Swift tubes in a bracket for $900 and can't believe I ever went without them. You can get either pair with various power eye pieces from 12x all the way up to 40x or higher. The field of view is tremendous and there is no eye fatigue. I have looked at high power bino's and didn't like them as much.
These would not be the way to go if you are hunting in a typical fashion and need to remain mobile. For long range shooting though, they are very, very nice.