what power spotting scope for hunting

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by ballistx, Mar 8, 2011.

  1. ballistx

    ballistx Well-Known Member

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    I drew on a 1-in-a-lifetime Oryx hunt in NM this fall. It is pretty open country so I am considering what to do for a spotting scope.

    My main question is just what maximum power spotting scope is needed for long range hunting/spotting. Apparently the highest power if you can afford the quality. Well, I can't afford that quality, so the tradeoff is just how much power is actually needed. I have a good pair of 8-24 Nikon binnoculars, an old B&L 20X and an elcheapo 20x60x60 spotting scope that is a bear to focus at the 100 yd range target shooting. Most of the spotting will be done reasonably close to the vehicle so packing isn't the issue.

    This won't be a trophy hunt where it is critical to analyze the horns for exact length.

    So, from your experience, what power would you settle for?

    Thanks.
     
  2. ballistx

    ballistx Well-Known Member

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    Interesting. 41 views and not one opinion. I even showered before I posted.
     

  3. liltank

    liltank Well-Known Member

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    How good is the clarity of the B&L scope? The reason I ask, is that my brother-in-law how hunts out west and in PA, uses a homemade set of binoculars utilizing to 2 B&L 20x spotting scopes. I got to use them this year they worked rather well. Maybe just use your scope you have a long with the binoculars. I use a set of Nikon binoculars up to 22x. 20x and above on mine are useless, but I am able to spot ground hogs to 1000+yds on 18x.

    Tank
     
  4. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    I have never tried to spot oryx but elk and deer and antelope I know something about.

    The first things you wish is a high quality image delivered to your eye. This is most easily and cheaply obtained with a single power eyepiece. I use a 22 X wide angle and it is good for finding animals out to about 1500 yards and further if there is good contrast. It is difficult to count or assess the quality of horns beyond 1000 yds with the 22X so I will change in a 36X for assessing antlers. This takes about 30 seconds or so to do. I have a variable eyepiece and it is the most worthless thing.

    I have not bought a spotting scope recently so I do not know the quality of the different ones. If you can afford a Kowa large objective and two eyepieces then that is going to be a good scope. Perhaps there are better scope for less money. But I can count the tines on a bull elk at 3000+ yards

    My advice is to go down to the optics part of the forum and start paging backwards as this question is asked several times a year and sometimes it gets more response than others.
     
  5. yobuck

    yobuck Well-Known Member

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    the old b&l spotting scope is still an excellant scope.
    even when compared to far more costly modern scopes.
    the older dark green version had no tripod lug. the later lighter green version has a lug. both are identicle as for quality of optics. an inscription on the focus knob will indicate bausch&lomb rochester.
    one of those with a 20x eyepiece will do all you need.
    the standard 20x eyepiece is actually clearer than the wide angle versions.
    i also have a set of those in a bracket as well as a set of 77 mm kowas.
    i use the b&ls at least as often as the kowas.
     
  6. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    I had heard some of them and some Spacemasters were very good but did not know which ones.
     
  7. ballistx

    ballistx Well-Known Member

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    The B&L is excellent. The el-cheapo is actually a 12x45, not a 20x60. It is OK but the focus is on the eypiece and is very crude and touchy. It works but that is about the best that can be said.

    I went down and looked through some at the sporting shop and there is definately a difference. But I was quite impressed by the $300 dollar range scopes. For someone who doesn't use on full time or under real extreme conditions, they seemed they would be quite adequate.

    I think I am going to have to go out and do some actual field testing with what I have and see just what they do.

    Thanks for the inputs.
     
  8. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    Here is a link from Boss Hoss that I found helpful.

    http://www.usoptics.com/video/cln1.wmv

    The hard part is getting oil free tissues and Q-tips. Unscented tissues are about as close as I could come. Be very careful and test a small area as the older coatings may not be the same as modern coatings.
     
  9. ballistx

    ballistx Well-Known Member

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    I have always been told by opticians to NEVER use ANY wood based product when cleaning a lens, EVER.
     
  10. cabinfever

    cabinfever Well-Known Member

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    Since a spotting scope is used for nothing more than to get a closer look at a critter you have initially spotted with your bino's, you don't need the most expensive one on the shelf. As for magnification, I like a a variable power scope in a 20-60 power. 20 power is ok for 500-800 yd looks, but beyond that you are going to need more power.At 60 power you are naturally going to get some distortion from heat waves or low light conditions, however, through those distortions you will still get a pretty good idea at what you are looking at. A good spotting scope will save you lots of wasted boot leather. I give the Vortex Nomad a big thumbs up for optical quality and affordable price point.
     
  11. fly4fish

    fly4fish New Member

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    A spotting scope is essential when hunting areas like NM where you will be looking for animals way above you. A good spotter can save you a lot of miles on your feet if you can fist spot them and then judge them. I suppose you will shoot the biggest horned animal you see, so make sure you have at least some type of functional spotting scope before you go. Here is an excellent site that lists the best spotting scopes for hunting in several different price ranges from cheap to expensive: Best Spotting Scope for Hunting | Best For Hunting
    Good Luck. Sounds like fun!
     
  12. Sully2

    Sully2 Well-Known Member

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    Go here...http://www.eagleoptics.com/....and give the man a call at 800-289-1132 and tell him straight out what you need. A top qality piece of glass for $$$ dollars. Basically the best scope that $$$ will buy.


    He'll set ya straight and treat you right.
     
  13. Barry08

    Barry08 Member

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    No idea if it is available in the US, but my combination for hunting is a 8,2x42 EL Swarovski binokular for finding animals and than a 20-60x85 CTS Swaro for spotting.
    Both are in the high price range but they aere some of the best optical pieces you can get on the market.