what is a good spotting scope for elk hunting

Discussion in 'Long Range Scopes and Other Optics' started by reltor, Oct 30, 2008.

  1. reltor

    reltor Member

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    I live near the Missouri breaks here in Montana and recently watched many people spotting elk from their vehicles with spotting scopes. I underestimated the value until I partnered up with some and witnessed what I was missing. Most use would be off a vehicle window.

    I am wondering what objective size, zoom range, and versatility different brands have. I have been told that a scope that is good for spotting targets is not necessarily a good animal spotter.

    I am looking at

    Leica
    Zeiss
    Optolyth
    US Optics
    Swarovski
     
  2. Scott S

    Scott S Well-Known Member

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    I believe a scope with a 15-45 power range and 60-80mm objective would be perfect. If you plan to do more back country backpack hunting then I would go with a 15-45 x 50mm or 60mm
     

  3. CS T

    CS T Official LRH Sponsor

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    I like Leupold and USO for most of my spotting needs.

    Mike @ CSGW
     
  4. reltor

    reltor Member

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    I like the looks of the US optics spotter, how is the optical quality? How is the eye relief? I wear glasses and do not like to take them off.

    Thanks for the input!
     
  5. CS T

    CS T Official LRH Sponsor

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    Yes on all accounts.

    Mike @ CSGW
     
  6. ScottBerish

    ScottBerish Well-Known Member

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    Put the largest and best spotter on your window mount you can afford. If you don't have Kowa at or near the top of the list you are selling yourself short. I will have to disagree with Mike on this one and say the USO would not be on my short list.


    Scott
     
  7. bigg_sexy1

    bigg_sexy1 Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely... if you are not going to be packing the spotting scope around might as well get the best. I think that most would agree that Swarovski is probably on the top of the heap when it come to spotting scopes. My hunting partner has a Zeiss and it is pretty awsome as well. One point I have I guess is that on higher magnfication all scopes will have a problem with heat shimmersjust something to keep in mind when your shopping.
     
  8. squirrelduster

    squirrelduster Well-Known Member

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    My buddy just bought a Kowa scope from Scott at Liberty and the resolution is amazing.

    His neighbor has a Llama in the field and we were watching the flies on his head at 264 yards.

    The difference between a good scope like a Leupold and a great scope like the Kowa is amazing. It's like you are switched from a 17" TV to the 50 inch big screen in HD.

    You are able to look into the shadows of the trees on the mountains and make sure the buck or bull you are looking at is worth making the hike to get him. We do a lot of glassing for deer here and a lot of times all you see is an ear or an antler tip so you need all the resolution you can get.

    Give Scott a call at Liberty and he will take good care of you.
    Steve
     
  9. Alan Griffith

    Alan Griffith Well-Known Member

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    Reltor,

    I've dealt with and looked through all the above except the US Optics. I could have bought any of them though I might have had to eat a few more "Cup of Soups" for lunch to buy a larger scope. They all have great glass. I think only the very discriminating user who spends days and days behind a spotter could tell the difference between them. What it boiled down to me for me was the ease of "fine" focusing. When you get down to that nth degree of focus, where you're trying to acertain that last 2" of horn of xyz animal, you'll find the scope you might pick is the one most easily focused.

    I'm not going to tell you which brand I picked because I think you need to handle "all" the scopes if you can and determine for your self. I did choose a European model;). I do think an 80-85mm objective lens will be much better if all it were ever going to be used from is your truck; but where is the reality in that? A good 60-65mm scope will work for "boots on the ground" hunting.

    Good luck!

    Alan
     
  10. reltor

    reltor Member

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    I know what you are saying is true. At a distance with 10/42 binocs I could see elk butts and only knew what they were because they were moving, but some people with a good spotter could see the tines of some rag horns with the standing elk that were laying amongst the junipers. It amazed me.
     
  11. WildcatB

    WildcatB Well-Known Member

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    For the same money you are planning to spend, I'd get BOTH of following:

    1. Leupold HD 12-40 (for packing and general use)
    2. Pentax PF-100 (for looooong range spotting)

    Here's why.

    1. The Leupold, while not the best optically of those you listed, is very very good. But most importantly it's THE most comfortable to use. Hands down. For long glassing sessions this is very important. This is why a lot of sheep hunters use them (as told to me by a guide in Montana) Both the exit pupil and eye relief is the largest that I know of - 5mm for the exit pupil and 30 mm of eye relief. For comparison the top of line Lieca has an exit pupil of 3.3mm and 18mm of eye relief. It is also the most portable of those mentioned.

    2. The Pentax because it has the highest power you can get. Optics are rated as good as the best on your list. You can get a 90x eyepiece as well as many zooms. As opposed to 60x tops for most in the list. You can also use very high quality telescope eyepieces with it. This is ideal when glassing far distances from the truck. This isn't a very portable scope, but you'll have the Leupold if you need a portable option.

    Again, you can get both of these, for about the same price one top of the line Lieca, Swaro, Kowa, etc...

    This is the combo that I'm saving up for.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2008
  12. reltor

    reltor Member

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    I have a pair of Leupold Mojove 10x42 and a pair of swarovski pocket 8x20's. The reason I have the leupold mojaves is that the image looked the best with my glasses on. With the Swarovski 10x42's I could not see the edges. I also looked at Pentax 10x42 DCF SP's, but liked the open bridge (swaro copied) design of the mojaves.

    Thanks for the info about the leupold spotting scope, the eye relief is very important to me.
     
  13. squirrelduster

    squirrelduster Well-Known Member

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    I have the Leupold and it is a great scope for short range ie 1000 yards or so.

    There is no comparison in image quality between the high end glass like the Kowa, Zeiss, or Swaro and the little Leupold.

    You have said it is mainly for the truck so weight and size are not an issue. If you are ok with spending the money the high end scopes are definitely worth it. You will see things people with cheaper lower end scopes will not.

    Find a good optics place and look through them all outside. Good luck with your decision.
     
  14. CS T

    CS T Official LRH Sponsor

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    Scott,

    I really like Kowa for glass at the range they are great for seeing bullet holes. As for the Leupold and the USO I like them for the size they can be put in a backpack and they have a ranging finding reticle in them.

    Again I would prefer a Kowa for the range especially an angle eye and a Leupold or USO for field.


    Mike @ CSGW