Review Of The Vortex Razor HD 10x42 Binoculars And The Vortex Razor HD 11-33x50 Spotting Scope - 2For a lighter weight spotter I went with their new Vortex Razor HD 11-33x50mm unit. I have used a Leupold 12-40x60mm spotter for quite a few years and have always been satisfied with its quality and compact size and weight. But I felt I now wanted something even lighter and smaller in size.
The Vortex Razor HD spotter is slightly better in sharpness and light gathering in my opinion than the more expensive Leupold unit and it weighs 13 ounces less with a smaller profile. The spotter has both a coarse and a fine focus wheel and they are very smooth. The protective carry case can be left attached while the scope is in use, something like with the Leupold case (but not as good) which I have always felt was the best in the industry.
Shooting sticks, Summit SS, Razor HD, Leupold, Outdoorsmans
I love my Outdoorsmans tripod and Jim White head but again, I wanted something sized more consistently with my new Vortex spotter. So I opted for the Vortex Summit SS tripod and head. It has a unique twisting lock mechanism that is very quick and easy to use. The new tripod works with the quick release adaptors attached to either my spotter or the base unit for the bino version.
The lower portion of the center post has a hook for hanging a weight to stabilize the tripod in windy conditions. That works well and yet sometimes I found I did ok by simply pulling my hand downward momentarily on the hook. On last month's mountain hunt I had LOTS of windy test opportunities. Used with my new lightweight optics this tripod was plenty stable for MY use.
Mule Creek Outfitters’ Jacob Berger with Vortex Razor spotter
I can also remove the lower portion of the center post and then get the optics down with me into a prone position. I do that often when hunting and also when shooting prone at a rifle range. Sometimes I will use a "tripod dual mount" with both optics and rangefinder attached to the tripod in this prone position. Leaning to the left side away from your rifle scope and over to the spotter or rangefinder is easy in this way. Again, when you have no spotter-partner on a solo hunt, you are looking for any advantage that you can get.
My new spotter and tripod together weigh in at about 3.3 pounds -- a half-pound lighter than just an 85mm spotter alone. And I can fit them both into a single shirt pocket. Well, maybe not quite but they are pretty compact.
If you hunt mostly within a mile or so of your truck it doesn't matter how much your gear weighs. But if you like to hike up to 5 or more miles in a hunt day as do I it makes a big difference. Especially in my beloved western mountains at high altitude.
If you need to count the whiskers on a trophy animal at 3.9 miles this article isn't for you. Instead, keep lugging along your 20-60x85mm spotting scope and 4 to 5 pound tripod to go with it.
This has been my third in a series of three articles on the subject of lightweight optics for backcountry hunting. Here are the first two articles:
Vortex Kaibab Binoculars And Outdoorsmans Tripod Review
Len's 2,150 yard spot and stalk Montana mule deer kill
Len Backus is the owner of www.LongRangeHunting.com. He has been a long range hunter since the 90's and is as likely to bag his game with a camera as with a rifle or a specialty handgun. His outdoor photography can be seen at LenBackus.com