Spotting scopes

Discussion in 'Long Range Scopes and Other Optics' started by lefty15, Feb 17, 2009.

  1. lefty15

    lefty15 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    168
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    I have finally convinced the wife that I need to get a spotting scope for myself. My price range is a max of $400.00-$500.00. The spotting scope will have to be a multipurpose scope, that I can use to spot out of my truck as well as hiking the hills.
    What are some of the good spotting scopes in this price range that I should be looking for?
    I realize that this is not alot of money to spend on a spotting scope, but at this time this is what my budget will allow.
    Also should I be looking for one with an angled or straight eye piece?
    The power range I have in mind is 20 x 60 x 80 or 15 x 45 x 60 or 20 x 60 x 60.
    I know that alot of you guys have owned many different brands. What are some of your likes and dislikes in some of the scopes that you have.
    Any advise would be great, and thanks for the help.
     
  2. ZSteinle

    ZSteinle Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    920
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008

  3. lefty15

    lefty15 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    168
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Bump.
     
  4. yorke-1

    yorke-1 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    352
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2008
    I'm in the same boat, looking for something in the $4-500 range. I keep coming back to the Bushnell Excursion like ZSteinle recommended. If you wear glasses, the Excursion seems like the only choice. The eye relief on them is amazing.
    I looked at the Excursion 20-60x80, Leupold Compact 15-30x50, and the Nikon Spotter XL II 6-48x60, and the Alpen 788 20-60x80. So far, the Excursion is the top pick for me. Plus the Excursion is the only one in this price range that comes with ED glass. If you have a Cabela's or somewhere similar around you, go check them out. The Excursion can be found for less than $400 with a little searching. Good luck

    Andrew
     
  5. yobuck

    yobuck Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    853
    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2008
    im from pa. and do all of my hunting there.
    most pa. long range hunting is from a stationary position, so packing isnt much of a problem.
    its rare to see someone using a single spotting scope. everybody uses binoculars, and most are twin spotters in a bracket.
    hands down the most popular is the bushnell spacemaster.
    certainly kowa, or swarovski, are better scopes. but they are also far more expensive.
    ive bought dozens of used spotters on ebay.
    at this moment, i have 4 bushnell spotters ive bought used on ebay. i will eventually be putting them in brackets, as i did all the others.
    last night i saw one go for $80 with a 15x45 eyepiece.
    i can guarantee that scope will do all you are asking for.
    a window mount will cost about $15 also on ebay.
    for spotting from a vehicle, a straight thru eyepiece is a must. also, for mounting in pairs, that would be better.
    as a rule, zoom eyepieces arent as sharp as standard ones of same power. eye relief is due to the eyepiece, and not the scope itself.
    a zoom is fine for single spotter use.
    there are lots of good spotters out there today. but very few are better than the older bushnell spacemasters.
     
  6. WildcatB

    WildcatB Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    461
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    I have a Nikon Prostaff Spotting scope. Great optic for the price. It's lightweight, sharp, contrasty, performs well in low light, and is in your price range. I can see bullet holes on cardboard at 600 yards on overcast days. I've used it for hunting the last 3 years. Nikon's customer service isn't the best though. The tripod mount stripped out and Nikon was going to charge me to have it fixed. I complained and they fixed it for free. It took 4+ months to get it back.

    I've never looked through the Bushnell Excursion so I can't give you a comparison. However, I've heard good things about them and had really good luck with everything I've bought from Bushnell. Their customer service is top notch. I lost a turret screw to a scope. I called them to order a replacement and they sent it free of charge, even after I told them I lost it. It was in my hands 3 days after I called them.

    I'd find a store that has both and take them outside and compare them side by side.
    If the optics where equal, I'd go with the Bushnell.

    If you where to up your top price just a little, I'd take a serious look at the Nikon Fieldscope ED50. The optics are very impressive and it's ultra light and small. It weights 16oz compared to the Bushnell that weights 48oz.

    There's a store on ebay that sells one for $550. Here's a link to their current auction: Nikon Fieldscope ED50.

    Good luck.

    Paul
     
  7. lefty15

    lefty15 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    168
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    I have been cruising the net a bit looking at a few different spotters. I am sorta starting to get things narrowed down a bit, but there are so many choices. What about a Bushnell Elite 20 x 60 x 70 would this be better than the Bushnell Excursion 20 x 60 x 80, or is the ED glass in the Excursion better than the Elite without the ED glass? I have also looked at the Nikon Prostaff 16 x 48 x 60 and the 20 x 60 x 82, but I am unsure if the 48 power will be enough magnification. Also what about Vortex how does there glass compare? I have to say that I am leaning to the Bushnell Excursion 20 x 60 x 80, from what you guys have said I can't go wrong with this scope.
    I see some spotting scopes offered with the body only, with having to purchase a eye piece extra. Is this something that I would have to do with the spotting scopes listed above? I know this is a dumb question, but why sell a spotting scope without the eye piece with the scope already?
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2009
  8. yobuck

    yobuck Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    853
    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2008
    what you use the scope for and where you use it will determine the ideal power.
    in western states with lower humidity, higher powers work better.
    in the east, or high humidity areas, 48x would be hard to use on a regular basis.
    thats why the varieable power eyepieces have become popular.
    also, an eyeglass wearer might consider a long eye relief eye piece.
    those of us who use twin spotters as binoculars dont use varieable eyepieces for several reasons.
    for most users using a single scope, the varieable would work best.
     
  9. ejones338

    ejones338 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    145
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2009
    Several of us at work brought in our spotting scopes to compare them. Leica, leupold, nikon, etc.. The decision was unanimous that the nikon was the overall winner for the bang for your buck. The leica was BARELY clearer, but not enough to justify the cost.
     
  10. lefty15

    lefty15 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    168
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    I live and hunt in Saskatchewan. We typically do not get much fro humidity. I will be using the spotting scope for whitetails as well as mule deer, and other general hunting.
     
  11. bwaites

    bwaites Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    480
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2007
    My shooting partner and I have this scope:

    Vortex Optics - Vortex Skyline 20-60x80 (Angled) Spotting Scope

    We have been MORE than happy with it's performance and reliability over the last 18 months.

    I took it to a shooting clinic last year and we compared it with Kowa's, Nikons, Bushnells, and several others. We could not see any significant difference at ranges out to approx. 800 yards, and interestingly, my sons, both who have better eyes than I, kept coming back to the Vortex over the more expensive Kowas and Nikons. Both said they liked the Vortex better.

    It does not have the best eye relief in class, however, so if you need more eye relief, there may be better options.

    It also comes in an ED version for approx. $300 more, but we have been very happy with the non-ED version.

    Bill
     
  12. lefty15

    lefty15 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    168
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    I have decided to go with either a Bushnell Excursion 20-80ED or a Nikon Nikon 20-60x82 ProStaff Outfit. In your experinece which is the better spotter for the money. I can get the Bushnel brand new for around $400.00, and the Nikon is around $500.00 reconditioned which does scare me a bit. I am leaning towards the Bushnell.
     
  13. jmason

    jmason Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,527
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2008
    I also have a Bushnell Excursion 20-80ED. I am very happy with it. I can resolve bullet holes in white paper @ 600 yards also. I do wear glasses and think the eye relief is lacking a bit, but I got it very cheap at a store closing. The image at the far edges is also a bit blurry but doesn't hinder you at all with the 80mm OBJ. I have read others say the same about the blurry extreme edges and eye relief as well. I have no intention of sending it back for repair because I'm afraid it won't come back with the high quality imagery it currently has. In other words I think it's so good I'm afraid to mess with it. I haven't looked through anything else other than a BSA so my in put is very subjective.
     
  14. lefty15

    lefty15 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    168
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Thx for the help very much appreciated. I haven't been able to compare any of the models side by side either, so I am shooting in the dark so to speak.