seeking long range binos advice


May 8, 2004
This is for spotting those hidden groundhogs and watching the show beyond 500 yards. Here are models I'm considering and I'd appreciate the advice of the board on them, as well as other ideas.

Power of about 20x is what I'd like, and clarity is just as important to me. Good glass comes with a cost, but I'm not terribly critical. I don't want the power to be wasted in a fuzzy image and would like to eliminate eye strain for all day hunts. I'm hearing that asronomy binos generally aren't good for terrestrial application.

The Steiner Senator 20x 80 would be the front runner if they weren't so costly. Zeiss Classic 15x 60 is even more over budget.

Because I haven't seen any of these models, I'm curious if the less expensive Asian optics' quality is as cheap as their price. I haven't yet seen a Nikon product that fits my needs.

Hart Long Range 25x 100. This might actually be the Zuhmell Tachylon, as the spec's are alike. How clear these are and country of manufacture are an unsolved mystery as of yet.

Oberwerk 20x 90 and 22x100. Possibly Chinese, as their website states their military model used to be available to no other country.

Pentax 20x 60 PCF. A 3mm exit pupil is getting on the small side.

If there isn't a good buy out there, I might just have to wait and save for the Steiner Senator.

Welcome to the board.

I don't have much hands on experience with any of these bino's but I may be able to get you a good deal on the 20x80 Steiner Senators or the Observors. Shoot me an e-mail if your intersted.


Thanks for the welcome. I've been lurking for a few years and have really enjoyed the info shared on this board -- especially when the "elders" speak.

I hope to cry only once with this purchase and will keep on researching...planning to give the Hart tech support folks a call next week.

With the average price of the Steiner Senator 20x 80 at about $990, it's hard to imagine anybody coming up with a deal that I could do!

I'll post my findings here.

Mach V,

Thanks for your input and the links. To be sure, the Sportsman's Guide price is by far the lowest. In fact, the price was so much better that I got suspicious and studied the details.

Someone I know on another shooting board deals in some expensive optics, and he advised me NOT to get astronomy binos for terrestial use. The Stiener Observer falls into this category. And there must be some reasons why it costs so much less than the Senator model.

The model with the best price is the Steiner Rallye. This is an unknown line to me, and it's not even listed on the Steiner website. And since it costs even less than the Observer, It's tempting to conclude that I'm going in the wrong direction with an even lesser line, like the Rallye might possibly be.

Even though I'd very much like to get a long range bino, it ought to be something that works well. Glass that turns my eyeballs inside out after a few hours of use isn't worth it to me, even if it's free. I'd much rather use my 10x50 B&L Legacy any day.

I'm not looking for a free lunch, but I still want to eat right.

If you've got good binos, I'd be tempted to just get a good spotter, and use it as needed. 20x binos are something you very seldom need. I can see all the prairie dog I want with 10x Pentax binos or even my 8x Swarovskis.
Sounds like you're pleased with your system and that it works well for you. The places I hunt groundhogs are surrounded by fences that have 3-6' of brush and overgrowth on each side, with the majority of the groundhog holes in these dense areas. The rascals will often stay in the cover and are hard for me to discern at distances of 500 yards and more. I see lots of hogs here close up, but I'm hunting more farms now that are new and am not seeing them but know they're present. I'd really appreciate it if they'd all go out in the field for me!

With binocular vision, I've learned that I "see" lots more with twice the information for my modest brain to process. From a nedical standpoint, we really see with our brains and not our eyes anyway. I work with microscopes for a living, and it makes a big difference to have two eyes in use on tissue...the depth of field advantage alone is worth it.

Also, I would like to see more detail in the hits when spotting for my son and shooting buddies. It may sound like using binoculars is excessive, but I've found it really increases the fun factor for me.

We don't have PD's in Va, so I just hunt what we've got on my kinfolks' farms for varmint control. You're blessed to be in a situation to hunt them.

Thanks for your reply.


I would seriously look at the mini big eyes sets that Jerry Phillips sells in PA. He takes different spotting scopes, mounts a pair in alum brackets and they work cheaper and better that the large binos. His small sets are around $400 and up. Mount on small or large tripods. He is often at the PA Williamsport shoots. His number is (215) 757-5037.

Danno, for the money the Nikons are hard to beat. A 10 to 12X in the higher grades like Monarch, Venturer, are absolutely amazing. In fact the Venturer (I believe that is the model) is the best rated binos in the world by any manufacturer, at any price.

Hunting last year with my ATB Monarch roof prisms 8X42. I could clearly make out the details of a Ford truck that drove by over 1500yds away. That includes door handles, stuff in the bed, accessories on the truck, etc. I shoot that ridge so know the distance. You don't need high mag when you have great glass. Low light vision is also amazing. Cost - under $300 US.

Next up is Pentax. Their porro prism binos are very good for the money. about 90% as clear as the Nikons but 1/3 the price. I own a set of 20X60 and they work fine in daylight.

Bausch and Lomb Elites are also superb but the better models are getting pricey. Would go Nikon if same price.

For the best reviews, check out the bird watching sites. They are the experts when it comes to glass. As a rule, the Pentax and Nikons are dominating this market.

The really high end Germans are also worth a look. My budget didn't allow and I don't think I have given up anything. Steiners are usually not well rated.

Hey Danno,

sounds like the makings of a win win situatiohn. If you got long range hogs and are in Va, I have the ultimate bigeyz and would be glad to put you behind them to spot for me on your hogs!
Bounty Hunter -- The mini big eyes is new to me. I ought to give him a call.

Jerry -- I always like to hear real world personal experiences like yours. Wish I could actually compare all these things side by side. I didn't know that Steiner isn't a very esteemed name in European glass. The ones you mentions all sound worthy, and it would be excellent to be able to afford the high end stuff.

Randy -- You've got a pretty nifty little idea to allow me to try out your glass! You know me as Dan in Va on GGVG, and Sam in Va is my #1 hoggin' buddy (after my #2 son). I might have to take your suggestion, as there are some pretty good hog fields over in the Shenandoah Valley (lots of kin between Staunton and Lexington).

I called Steiner today and found out the Rallye is a downscale Senator that isn't Nitrogen purged and the lenses have fewer coats - for $400 less, which seems a little odd. Will check back with Hart about their 25x100's, and they now have a 32x125 that sounds Chinese to me...I don't think I want to go that route.

Everybody's comments and suggestions are helpful, and I appreciate it. Will update on the findings later.

Have you looked at the Leupold and Zeiss binoculars yet. I've got a bunch of them listed on my website. I am still working on typing it all in. I used a pair of rangefinding leupolds a couple weeks ago and they were awsome for prairie dogs and other targets way out there. They also had the best optics I have ever seen in binoculars.
So sportsman guide has the best prices. We'll see about that!

Thanks for your reply. Didn't know Leupy made anything in the 20x range, and I can't afford anything that says Zeiss on it - even though they are superb. As for now, the 20x80 Steiner and 20x60 Pentax are leading the pack. Do you carry these?


I'd like to talk to some folks who repair binos about this. Any names and phone #'s that you could share with me?

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