Light weight spotting scope?

Discussion in 'Backpack Hunting' started by Guy M, Oct 20, 2009.

  1. Guy M

    Guy M Well-Known Member

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    What do you use/recommend for a lightweight spotting scope for a backpacking/hiking hunter?

    I was a little frustrated at a half mile yesterday when I couldn't tell if this young buck was legal or not. Has to have three tines on one side to be legal. For optics I had my 8x Swaro rangefinder and the 6x scope on my rifle.
    [​IMG]

    I stalked to 175 yards, and waited for an hour and a half for him to wake up and pull his head out of the brush where he was napping. Then saw that he was clearly a legal buck and put one through his shoulders.

    Would have liked to have known when I saw him bedded down, but looking around and I was a half mile away.

    Which scope/binos would you suggest - keeping in mind that I do a LOT of hiking as well as some backpack hunting and would like to keep the weight down...

    Thanks, Guy
     

  2. Ernie

    Ernie <strong>SPONSOR</strong>

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    Leupold has a compact spotting scope. My mountain spotting scope is the Leupold 12-40. Nice long eye relief and a great field of view. I bought one the first year they came out but updated to the HD version recently.
     

  3. Moman

    Moman Well-Known Member

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    +1 on the Leupold 12-40 HD. Great optics. Weight is about average I think around 36-37 oz for the scope itself. The 12x has a nice field of view for close in and the 40x is good for longer ranges. Occasionally on those long days I wish it was a tad lighter but hate to sacrifice the quality of these optics.

    For Binos, I use the Pentax HD 10x40 and they're pretty decent. I like them a little better than the comparably priced Leupolds but not too much difference. 10x works good for me and I hike a lot along with one handed glassing when on the move. Anything higher than that would move around too much. A lot of guys even prefer the 8x but I'm sold on the 10x.

    One thing though, get the best quality you can afford. Clarity of the better glasses is a lot more important than magnification.
     
  4. jeff 300

    jeff 300 Well-Known Member

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    Thats why i got the 15x56 Swaro binos and a doubler witch makes them 30x56. some may say there to big but i love them and no need for a spotter
     
  5. jmden

    jmden Well-Known Member

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    Bushnell - Elite 15-45 x 60 mm, Matte [781548P]

    At 26.5 oz. with fully multicoated optics, bak-4 prisms and a very slim straight, easily stowable in a pack, profile--this spotter was hard to pass up for the price. Lightweight and small. Not sure you'll find anything that's more lightweight and/or smaller. Certainly not the optics of a Swarovski scope, but I had little trouble a couple of years ago counting the tines on one side of a muley buck to ensure his legal status during the high hunt at just under 1100 yds. And that was exactly the reason I bought it. Combined it with this Manfrotto tripod for a small, lightweight but quite versatile package:

    Manfrotto by Bogen Imaging | 785B Modo Maxi Tripod | 785B | B&H
     
  6. Scot E

    Scot E Well-Known Member

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    Agree, I do a lot of hiking over tough terrain while hunting and I like the idea of a multipurpose binocoular over a spotting scope for many situations. The way I look at it I will never leave my binos at home so I may as well make use of them for a multipurpose concept. Saves a lot on weight.

    The switch style binos are a decent option as well. I happen to be a big fan of the higher end Alpen optics. Great price and very good glass. They have a new 8-16x42 that looks intersting. Obviously Leupold has their switch power options as well.
     
  7. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    I like to have both binoculars and a spotting scope for these reasons;

    8x40 binoculars have a good field of view and can be used for hours with out discomfort
    and are great for covering large areas. also they don't weigh a lot.

    Then if I am set up and stationary I use the spotter to take a closer look, I like the spotting
    scope to be a compact variable model with around 14x40 power and a 50 to 60mm objective
    lens for light gathering abilities at max power. I use the lower power to find the game after
    spotting it with the binos and zoom up to get a really good look.

    I never use the rifle scope as a spotter even though it would work because I don't like
    pointing a loaded rifle at anything until I am sure what it is and I am ready to make the shot.

    This combination works well for me and staring through a spotting scope all day is very tiring
    to these old eyes and I want to save them for the shot.

    If you look for a spotter that is compact and light weight with power from 10x to 14x on the
    low end and 20x to 40x on the high end with large objective lens (50 to 60mm) you can find
    Lot's of brands that will work.

    J E CUSTOM
     
  8. WyoRanchHand

    WyoRanchHand Active Member

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    GuyM, what kind of a budget you have?
     
  9. HUAINAMACHERO

    HUAINAMACHERO Well-Known Member

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    Guy M, thanks for the thread.
    I am in the process of looking for a spotting scope also.
    I use as binos a set of Pentax PCF 20x60, yes they are big and heavy, but I use them strapped to my chest with an elastic strap that I bought years ago and has proved to be very useful. But for the long range deer glassing I find that I need a spotting scope, also for bakcpack hunting, not heavy, and not in the swarowski price range. Have looked at the Bushnell Trophy 20-60x65. Any other suggestions???
     
  10. Scot E

    Scot E Well-Known Member

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    I have tried upper, mid and lower end optics in binos and spotters and my eyes have turned me into a 90% performance for 1/4 of the price kind of guy (maybe 95% for 1/2 the price sometimes. :)) With all of the technological advancements in optics of late it is hard to find a bad pair of optics with some basic research on sites like this as well as optic forums.

    For me a spotter like you mentioned needs to be as light as possible, another negative for the high end stuff often times.

    I would look at the elite 15-45x60. A very useful power range and very nice glass for the money. It is maybe $150 more than the trophy but well worth it in glass, durability, and other features like rainguard. Their excursion 60mm is getting very good reveiws as well. I have heard a couple different weights regarding it so I am not sure about that. It is either 38 or 48 oz. It was designed to compete with Leupolds FLP style scope and sounds like it does so very well. That leads me to believe it is in the 38oz range. Still that is over 10oz heavier than the Elite, if that matters.

    There are other good spotters out there but the elite is one that I think has one of the best price/performance ratios for the lower priced spotters.

    Hope this helps
     
  11. sp6x6

    sp6x6 Well-Known Member

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    Ihunt w/10 x swaro's and a doubler for my ultra light set up bino 20 oz. dbl. 6 oz. FOR more scoping the nikon 15-30x50 @ about 12" and 16 oz. is great.
     
  12. shimoda

    shimoda Well-Known Member

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    Nikon ED is a great scope in a small package
     
  13. jmden

    jmden Well-Known Member

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    Which scope are you talking about specifically?
     
  14. sp6x6

    sp6x6 Well-Known Member

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    same one above that I metioned , think it is field ED 15-30X50 SHORT and 16oz. I use the leupold 12-40x45, but it is 2x wieght , on sshorter hikes. Also some of my rifles have up to 14 or 20x so I use them to judge