Seeking Advice on Long-Range, General-Use Binos:

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by Comancheria, Jun 12, 2019 at 12:57 PM.


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  1. Comancheria

    Comancheria Active Member

    Messages:
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    May 14, 2019
    Folks,

    Let me begin with the parameters of how I will be using the binoculars:
    (1) They will be used for backpack hunting and/or hunting with a guide--all in the mountain
    west
    for mule deer, elk, and pronghorn.

    (2) I will not be carrying a spotting scope or big spotting binoculars. I will be after a quality
    buck, bull, or goat, but I am not going to be particularly picky--and couldn't handle the
    weight anyway.

    (3) The scope on my rifle will be a 5X25 power. I realize this is not intended for spotting, but
    the top end is available in a pinch.

    (4) I will be limiting my shots to an absolute maximum of 1,000 yards--and possibly "down" to
    800 or even 600, depending on my experience with myself and my abilities as I get more
    into long-range shooting and range practice.

    I currently have two hunting binoculars:

    (1) Swarovski 10X by 20 mm. Ultra-Light (10 oz)

    (2) Leica 8X by 42 mm. (2 lbs 4 oz) (chosen as a compromise between western hunting and
    seeing through the thick brush here in South Texas.)

    I have used both out west and of course, my experience has been, as you might expect:

    That while the little Swaros are a dream to carry, with excellent glass, the exit pupil makes
    very difficult to glass for long periods.

    The Leicas, though heavy--especially for an old fart that isn't getting any younger, are
    magnificent beyond belief, and you can glass with them for hours.

    I realize and accept that long-glassing will require more weight.

    I have never experienced any known difficulty locating game with the 8 power Leicas--but
    then, I have always limited my shots to 300 yards or so, with limited stalk distances at that. I
    am interested in the opinions of those with a lot more experience.

    So here are my questions:

    (1) Given the parameters I have set forth, and focusing only on magnification, and given the price of adding another pair of high-end 10X or 12X glasses to the mix, how comfortable would you be with the 8X Leicas as a general glassing binocular for my purposes?

    (2) Would any of you consider going with the 8-power a virtual show-stopper?

    Thanks, as always for your advice and best regards,

    Russ
     
  2. snox801

    snox801 Well-Known Member

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    Sep 19, 2012
    I would not. I do like the new hdb 3000 leicas I have though. I think that the glass quality makes up for lack of zoom. Especially for how you are hunting. You should be fine with the 8x find the game and like you stated if you need a better look get on target and zoom in to see for sure. I don’t think you would gain much from 8 to 10 x.
     
  3. dmj

    dmj Well-Known Member

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    663
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    Nov 16, 2013
    While all my better binoculars are 10 power and if I was in the market for a new pair of quality glass I would probably prefer 10 power, I believe that your 8 power will serve you fine. And yes you do have your scope. But please remember to ensure what you are pointing it at before making the decision to use it. Hunt safe and good luck
     
  4. Hunt1NM

    Hunt1NM Member

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    Feb 19, 2018
    Sell both and pick up the Swarovski SLC 10x42.

    Despite being a western bowhunter my Swarovski 15x56 are my go to binocular in all settings (weight doesn't bother me).
     
  5. Skidoo

    Skidoo Well-Known Member

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    Apr 23, 2019
    I have the Swarovski SLC 10x42 and find them to be the do it all bino. Love them, if I need more then I should have brought the spotting scope
     
  6. Comancheria

    Comancheria Active Member

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    May 14, 2019
    Thanks, everyone. Hunt1–I envy you! Weight never used to bother me either—once carried 90 pounds 10 miles up into the San Juan’s. No more! :(

    dmj: promise I won’t point it at anyone. Learned that lesson over 65 years ago—when I accidentally pointed my Crossman at my Grandfather. He never raised a hand to me—that time or any other. He just looked at me and said: “Boy, you could kill someone with that little gun. Someday soon you’re gonna say ‘Pa Pa, take me fishing. No more fishing for the rest of the summer.”

    But I never fail to thank a man for good advice!

    Best regards,

    Russ
     
    Hunt1NM likes this.
  7. Fin-addictions

    Fin-addictions Active Member

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    Nov 26, 2014
    I used to have a set of 8.5 Swaro EL’s that I used for years. They were a wonderful pair of bino’s, but I found when glassing with friends at distance, there were times when I couldn’t pick out the game they saw with the 8.5’s. I would ask to look through their 10 power glass and would be able to see the animal in question. This experience lead me to selling the Swaro’s and buying a new set of 10 powers. I’ve now owned several different brands of high end 10 power binoculars, but have settled on the Leupold 10x50 Santiam binos. The 10 power helps considerably when glassing at fairly long ranges.
     
  8. duckhunter175

    duckhunter175 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    403
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    Mar 4, 2015
    8 and 10x will not be enough if you aren't going to be carrying a spotting scope. There is on pair that is going to do what you want.

    The Swaro 12x50 EL is unparalleled for long range glassing from a tripod while still being useful in a chest harness and hand held.

    Get the Outdoorsman stud installed and you will never need another set of binos. I didn't see you mention a tripod. So make sure you factor a tripod and quality head into your equation. I'd recommend a Slik 624CF and the Outdoorsmans micro-pan head. It will keep your weight down but be rock solid with $2k binos on top!
     
    Chino Tom likes this.
  9. 340Wby-4-everything

    340Wby-4-everything Previously cloan

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    May 1, 2012
    I've had Bushnells to Leupold to Swaro and several in the middle. In Swaro, I've had EL8x42, EL10x42 and EL12x50s(currently) For what you are describing, the EL 12x50 Swaro can't be beat. The EL 10x42 is equally nice, but at 1000 yds or that neighborhood, the 12 is the way to go. As Duckhunter175 said you can wear, carry or pack them and a pair of them will last multiple lifetimes. There is also an EL 10x50 now as well, but I have no experience with them and they weigh the same as the 12x50. Only downside on the 12x50 is weight is 35oz vs 29.6oz for the 10x42. 5.5oz is not much, but to me is noticeable. You would not go wrong with either, but distance viewing goes to the 12. I haven't used any of them yet, but Zeiss makes excellent optics as well, so you may want to look at their binos. I have 2 Swaro rifle scopes and 5 Zeiss Conquests. For what its worth and for the money and feature vs. feature, imho the Zeiss is equally as excellent and as clear as the Swaro and much less expensive.
     
  10. ofbandg

    ofbandg Well-Known Member

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    Jul 26, 2015
    Mountain hunting means lots of glassing so first and foremost have something that is comfortable in your hands. Small and light are usually difficult to hold steady for any length of time. It helps if you wear a baseball type cap with a long bill on it so you can use it to brace the binocs. If you aren't taking a spotting scope I suggest you get the most powerful binoculars you can hold steady. Most shooters are good at holding things steady so I would go with 12 or even more if you think you can handle it. If you are going with a guide he (of she) will take you where the animals should be and then it becomes a matter of searching. Once you find the animals it comes down to the details of size and planning a stalk. Good binoculars help with both. As a further suggestion, I don't carry binoculars around my neck. They are uncomfortable and when they get hooked on something they can spin you right around. I take the strap off of them and put them in a bag or case, usually the one they come in, and I put that across my body so the bag hangs off to one side and is easily within reach. It keeps them cleaner and is more comfortable for me.
     
  11. cbobclark

    cbobclark Member

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  12. cbobclark

    cbobclark Member

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    Dec 22, 2012
    Really like the Leica 10×42 I've had for 20 years. We are in the East, but have 2,000 acres with a high percentage of flat land. The older you are the more you like good glass, even in a swamp.
     
  13. Comancheria

    Comancheria Active Member

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    May 14, 2019
    Thanks for all your considered replies, Gentlemen. The mix of opinion is pretty much what I expected, with the majority coming down on the side of "...the more magnification, the better..." (up to a point of course.)

    I am looking at tripods and will look at what the Outdoorsman has on offer. As a matter of fact that is where I purchased my dS scope, mount, and various other mounts for smaller scopes. I am leaning heavily to a Hog Saddle for mounting on top as a rest. Not certain what the stud is, but will check it out as well.

    My own opinion as to glass quality is based a lot of looking through a lot of much older models. What I have found is that for scopes, Swaro is without peer, whereas for binos, there is nothing to compare with Leica. Zeiss, back in the day, just didn't do it for me, compared to the other two. Could be different now.

    So the net effect of your advice on my dull brain is that I am going to look at 10X and 12X units...and consider whether to cough up the money for more power. But if I decide I can't, I will not consider it a tragedy if I have to fall back on the Leica 8X. They have done their duty for me out west in the past, during limited experience, but then again, as you point out, Fin-addiction, you don't notice what you can't see!

    Thanks again.

    Russ
     
  14. Remmy700

    Remmy700 Well-Known Member LRH Team Member

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    Aug 27, 2011
    Two things that are a absolute necessity out here hunting especially up in the Gila and are on my person 100% of the time unless I am asleep!
    Ol Garmin 62s with OnX chip and ol Leica 10x42 2200s!
    4193450A-F0AA-4EB1-B406-41C1827693F7.jpeg 92AB3835-37A2-4BE9-BDDB-0DE37C8CDA8C.jpeg