who uses a spotting scope?

Discussion in 'Long Range Scopes and Other Optics' started by Kiwi Nate, May 21, 2010.

  1. Kiwi Nate

    Kiwi Nate Well-Known Member

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    Question for the guys who hunt in pairs past 1000 yards- do any of you use a spotting scope in the field to track shots and make corrections. Am wondering how the field of view is at long range in variable winds.

    Where we shoot in our area of NZ, the terrain is steep and the winds are hard to read. To make a shot past 1000 yards, the bullet will often encounter a left right prevailing wind, a right left catabatic (temperature driven down a valley) wind, a head on down draft or updraft, and rapid changes in air temp causing up to11MOA difference, sometimes more, elevation.

    For a long time, I have used my 10 power Leica bino RF's and a camcorder. The camcorder at 20 power optical really fast tracked my learning when I first started serious LR hunting. Now however, as I push my own limits and am finding myself a beginner once again at ranges of 1300-1400 yards in hard to read winds, I would like to be able to read shots better. The good thing about steep country and open bluffs is that shots, especially with VLD bullets, make a small 'explosion' against dirt, easy to read inside 1000 yards but very difficult to see a 3-6 inch impact/dirt/dust cloud out further with my current set up.

    What are you guys doing? Do you ever use a spotting scope or do you tend to rely on 20-24 power rifle scopes to track your buddies shots?




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    Last edited: May 21, 2010
  2. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    Nate.

    I am not all that experienced at hunting at those distances (Not by choice) but I do have/use
    a spotting scope for all hunting/shooting scenarios and find it invaluable for all long range
    shooting.

    I like a variable spotting scope 14 x 45x 60mm+ and position the spotter behind and above
    the shooter. This allows the spotter to see the bullet trace (Shock wave) and follow it to the target.

    Set the power low to find the target/game then zoom in with the target in the bottom field
    of view of the spotting scope. you may not be able to follow the bullet all the way (It will
    go above the field of view but drop back in before impact.

    It should make it possible to spot the hit and See the drift caused by wind effect.

    While shooting 1000 to 2000 yard matches you can see the target strike most of the time
    so an impact on dirt should be possible most of the time.

    The trick for the spotter is not to blink of flinch when the round breaks and lose sight of the
    bullet trace.

    It does take some practice but is it very effective and will help a lot.

    Where I hunt there are size restrictions on game and a spotting scope is invaluable in
    preventing a screw up.

    Spotting scopes are like a lot of things and you get what you pay for. a quality spotting
    scope will cost $600.00+ but are well worth the money spent.

    Once you use one you will wonder why it took you so long to make this decision.

    J E CUSTOM
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2010

  3. Kiwi Nate

    Kiwi Nate Well-Known Member

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    "Once you use one you will wonder why it took you so long to make this decision."

    That is the kind of sentence that says it all.

    I have been viewing the bullet trace at home once the camcorder image is expanded. A problem I find with the fast magnum cartridges is that the trace goes so quickly its hard to track, I have yet to see it properly in the field. My position must be wrong, need to get behind and above the shooter as you say, not beside his hip.

    Thanks, I appreciate the detail you went into to describe this. Always learning.
     
  4. tom m.

    tom m. Well-Known Member

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    spotter in a spotting scope is definately needed for seeing trace, but tof is long enough after a grand, the shooter can usually get back in the scope and see impact. regardless of what the math says, i firmly believe any headwind cause impact to be high at looong range. i have been burned by that damn 1 oclock wind, several times, and by several moa. i am talking front range winds 20,30 plus. i don't know how skidish your game is, but the does we shoot don't really mind us taking sighter shots on objects near them. sometimes they look up, sometimes they keep eating, then they fall down on the second shot. this is the easiest thing to do if you have an unpredictable, vertical component to the wind.
    tom
     
  5. Kiwi Nate

    Kiwi Nate Well-Known Member

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    Yes, we can often get away with sighter shots past 1000 yards. Its definitely the more ethical method when the winds are at play. It can be just as rewarding (sometimes more rewarding) to forget about game hunting hunting past 1000 and practice on field targets. Will have a play with a spotting scope as soon as I can out again.
     
  6. kiwi3006

    kiwi3006 Well-Known Member

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    I am like J E Custom and use a 15 -45 x 60 spotting scope. With it I have been able to see trace from my mates 7mm mag at ranges from 380 - 650 yds.
    I find it easier to see the trace in bright sunlight.
    Sitting directly behind the shooter i tend to see a fuzzy black circle moving towards the target. Once when shooting a tahr and sitting behind and off to the side I saw a golden yellow line head straight into the tahr's shoulder, very impressive.

    Stu
     
  7. trebark

    trebark Well-Known Member

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    +1....spotting scopes are nice. Big-Eyes are better!

    Ultimate Optics: BigEyes? System from SWFA Daily Bulletin
     
  8. yobuck

    yobuck Well-Known Member

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    i doubt there is anyplace on earth where more so called bigeyes are used than here in pa.
    if they werent invented here, for sure they were perfected here.
    many of us build our own, and its easy to do.
    they are primarily used here for the actual finding of game, then used as an aid in the shooting.
    each hunter in the group has his own. there is no comparison between using one scope as compared to using two.
    the proceedure for calling shots as outlined by j.b. is dead on.
    just as in rifle scopes, the trend also is toward more expensive bigeyes.
    the swarovskis shown are common here, as are kowa and other pricy sets.
    i personaly have 6 sets of various size bigeyes.
    they are undoubtedly the most valuable tool a long range hunter can own.
    we cant hit what we havent found.

    now for the the shocking part.
    if i were forced to give up all but one pair of my glasses, the first i would give up are the most expensive set, my kowas.
    weve never found more deer because of high price glasses.
    we find and kill just as many with the old spacemasters, or bausch&lombs with good eyepieces.
    the same is true with rifle scopes
    you can argue with me all day about better glass. the point is are you getting more game since you got it.
     
  9. trebark

    trebark Well-Known Member

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    +1....the link I posted was the only pic I could find of a set of big-eyes. I've got a set (http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/f17/day-out-shooting-trebark-56872/) that are Bushnell Spacemasters with 22x eye pieces. They are awesome!