Longrange hunting spotting scope help!

Discussion in 'Long Range Scopes and Other Optics' started by pyroducksx3, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. pyroducksx3

    pyroducksx3 Well-Known Member

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    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
     
  2. bruce_ventura

    bruce_ventura Well-Known Member

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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.
     

  3. KauffmanKnivesAndOptics

    KauffmanKnivesAndOptics Member

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    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.
     
  4. mtntrapper1

    mtntrapper1 Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  5. Derek M.

    Derek M. Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  6. bb204

    bb204 Well-Known Member

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    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,
     
  7. pyroducksx3

    pyroducksx3 Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  8. Scot E

    Scot E Well-Known Member

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    I am not sure what kind of hunting you do but if you do a lot of hiking you aren't going to like the 80's in any brand. They are bulky and very heavy especially the high end glass.

    If you do go 80 the Razor deserves a hard look. It is very hard to tell the difference between it and the Swaros, Zeiss, and Leica. The much lower price is just a great bonus! I owned the Swaro STS 65HD and currently own the 80HD and if I would have been able to look through a razor I wouldn't have owned either.

    I would personally look at some 65's if you can. In everything but very low light they will be just as good for what you described. I am not sure what your price point is but the new Leica 65 is incredible but very pricey! Around 12 inches, 38 ounces and tremendous glass!

    Another often overlooked spotter which is surprisingly good is the Leupold 60 HD. It is about 12 inches and 38 ounces and provides very good picture. I actually prefer to have a lower power like this scope offers as it gives some options when low light is an issue. Plus 12x gives a very nice field of view.

    The Pentax 65 is very nice as well, as are the old Nikon field scopes. I haven't tried the new ones.

    Good Luck!

    Scot E.
     
  9. Bman940

    Bman940 Well-Known Member

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    I used to borrow a buddies Nikon 82 mm Fieldscope, 25-75x82. This spotter was great for long range spotting of animals across wheat fields in early morning and late evening setting's. I was very impressed with the anount of light gathering and the clarity of glass giving me excellent detail on whitetail bucks. This is not what I would call a light weight spotter or inexpensive ( $1500-$2000), but it will do what you want it too.
     
  10. gamehawker

    gamehawker Well-Known Member

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    I really like my Zen-Ray ED2 20-60x82mm Angled Spotting Scope. The price is pretty reasonable for what you get and the spotting scope is very comparable to the Vortex Razor HD 20-60x 85mm Angled Spotting Scope for less than 2/3 of the cost.

    I got my Zen-Ray ED2 20-60x82mm Angled Spotting Scope from Wayfair.com

    They are only $1,022.99 right now and I think that price is the cheapest I've seen.

    Zen-Ray 20-60x82mm Angled Spotting Scope with Dielectric Prism Coating | Wayfair

    If you want the Zen-Ray ED2 Wide Angle 25-50x82mm Angled Spotting Scope

    it is only $1,013.99 right now. For that price, it's a real steal.

    Zen-Ray 25-50x82mm Angled Spotting Scope with Dielectric Prism Coating | Wayfair
     
  11. Sully2

    Sully2 Well-Known Member

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    Im not saying some of the "other brands" of scopes arent nice..because most are. Look at the price tags to semi-confirm that!!

    There are TOP echelon scopes ( Swaro, Zeiss, Kowa, etc) and there are dammed good scopes....Nikon, Pentaz, etc. BUT...dont fool yourself into thinking a Nikon is "just as good" as a Swaro.....'cause it isnt! Not to say a second tier scopes wont do you and last you more than the rest of your life, because they will. A lot has to do with the "Look at what Im using" concept....which never impressed me 1 iota. I use a Pentax 65mm that set me back about $700..??...and then the eye piece was another $300 bucks. Is there better?...You bet your bottom dollar there is.

    When I get to take a peek thru a $3500 Swaro setup...I get teary eyed......:)

    Right now a man can buy a 65mm Pentax WITH a 20-60 zoom eyepiece from Eagle Optics for a DANDY price
    http://www.eagleoptics.com/spotting...m-st-spotting-scope-70966-w-20-60x-zoom-70530
     
  12. TH

    TH Well-Known Member

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    I'm also looking for a new spotting scope does anyone have any experience with the US OPTICS spotting scope? It appears to be affordable and they have great glass.
     
  13. Bman940

    Bman940 Well-Known Member

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    Sully, I always respect other's opinions even if they are different from mine. Go figure....Have you ever looked at a Nikon EDG Fieldscope? That is about apples and apples in price. I have and truely thought the Nikon was better to my eyes. If you really want to check out something top of the line check out Nikon's EDG VR, this thing is about as incredible as they come, in my opinion. Just so you know, while I do some free lance work for Nikon, my opinon is not swayed because of it. I absolutely understand that not everything Nikon makes fits everyone's needs. Just the way it is, but I think Nikon tries to have quality made products at many different price points from entry level to top tier. At the end of the day, I tell folks to buy what you thinkis going to serve your needs the best.

    Just for fun check out the new EDG VR.
     
  14. Bravo 4

    Bravo 4 Well-Known Member

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    I was going through the same thing a few weeks back. There is an older model 85mm Zeiss on the sample list I mulled over. It is a discontinued model but after calling Zeiss it is good to go, it's $1650 compaired to $1900 it went for. No matter what model, it's still a Zeiss! I had also hung out on the range for a day with the Sniper School looking through their Swaro 80's (some HD). Even considered the Razor and Zenray. I was blessed off with around $1500 by the wife. I was really considering a Kowa 66, but don't like to spend money on something unseen. I called Scott @ Liberty Optics and told him I wanted the best for my money. Without me mentioning it he recommended the Kowa 66, even told me he guaranteed I would like it. So I bought it and couldn't be happier. Took it to the schoolhouse and compaired it tithe Swaro side by side and the big difference was size, I am totally satisfied. Just got back from a successful elk hunt in Colorado and was counting points on bulls several miles away right up to dark. You should add it to your list of considerations.