Spotting Scopes for Less than $1000 (or thereabouts)

Discussion in 'Long Range Scopes and Other Optics' started by bweber, Feb 4, 2008.

  1. bweber

    bweber Well-Known Member

    Dec 30, 2004

    I saw a thread on this board that was similar to this. But it was from back in 2004, so I was wondering if you all would be willing to do an update.

    Here's my situation. I have a budget right around $1k and want to get a good spotting scope. This scope will end up getting used for long-range/tactical target shooting and hunting. I'll probably use it 90% of the time at the target range and 10% of the time for hunting, so my emphasis will be more on features for the former. I'll want to be able to scope paper targets at least out to 600yds (maybe longer).

    I'm leaning heavily towards the Kowas and Meoptas. I really like the idea of the Meopta TGA 75 and have heard good things about it. It's my current odds on favorite. But I'm also looking closely at the following:

    Kowa TSN821M/TSN822M
    Kowa TSN661/TSN662
    Pentax 20-60x65 ED
    Meopta Hermes HA 70

    I guess if I came across something really worth it I could increase my budget a bit. But I would also love to save money if there's something cheaper out there that's just as good.

    I'm not sure that I really need variable power. I would think that a fixed 50x or 60x eyepiece might work fine and save a little money?

    Any thoughts on these or other scopes that I should look at?


  2. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

    Jun 12, 2001
    I have the Kowa 821 straight body. Obviously, at times I think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence and sometimes wish for the angled body. I am happy with it. I can count elk tines at 2500+ yards.

    Here is what I do not know. I was advised to get two fixed power WA lenses which I did, but many experts claim that the biais away from the variable lenses is outdated because the new computer designed lenses are so much more clear (?? engineer not an english major) than in the old days that there is no longer a reason to shy away from them. Nonetheless, I have the 22WA and the 32 WA and carry them both when hunting. I can change a lens in about a minute while being very careful not to scratch it.

    I definitely would not get a single fixed lens of 60X because I mostly hunt and as the light fades you have to drop down in power to keep on the animal.

    I did not do any comaparison shopping. I got advice from one of the premier long range elk shooting experts (Darryl Cassel) and just did what he said do.

  3. milanuk

    milanuk Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    If I might... you might want to throw a 663 (angled eyepiece, w/ ED glass) into the mix. The ED glass can make a surprising difference, especially in marginal conditions. They want a fair chunk of change for it, though.

    I'm not sure the fixed power scopes are that much clearer than the variables... but if you look at the numbers for FOV and eye relief... the variables (at least from Kowa) have a hard time matching the fixed lenses. On the flip side, the variable looks like it might be a little brighter under low light conditions. I admit, I am looking to add a variable eye piece to my gear this year, simply to have that extra zoom available. Like everything else, it is a trade off.

    As an example:

    Kowa 20-60x eye piece to fit a 66mm scope (TSN-660 series:
    Model TSE-Z9B
    Magnification 20x-60x, Zoom
    Real Field of View 1.9-1.4 degrees
    Apparent Field of View 38-56 degrees
    Exit Pupil Diameter 3.3-1.7mm, 3.0-1.5mm
    Relative Brightness 10.9-2.9, 9.0-2.3
    Eye Relief 18.5-15mm
    Field of View at 1000yds/m 33.2-24.4m/yds

    Kowa 25x LER for the same scope
    Model TSE-17HD
    Magnification 25x, LER
    Real Field of View 2.1 degrees
    Apparent Field of View 52.5 degrees
    Exit Pupil Diameter 2.6-2.4mm
    Relative Brightness 6.8-5.8
    Eye Relief 32mm
    Field of View at 1000yds/m 36.7m/yds