Spotter choice Kowa Swaro

JMack

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Joined
Feb 20, 2017
Messages
474
Has anyone compared the big Kowa 883 to the Swarovski ATs 80? That’s about where I want to be price wise. The 773 is on sale right now which is really tempting but if I’m going bigger than a 65 I figure go big right? I’m not concerned about weight this isn’t for backpacking this is for “ranch” hunting it won’t go far from the truck. Or will the 773 be a noticeable jump from an ats 65? I always feel like the 65 gets darker when using 60x.

Thanks
 

gr8fuldoug

Official LRH Sponsor
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The Kowa 883 is the premium alpha spotter with amazing clarity and light transmission. Give a call, 516-217-1000, so we can discuss the differences
 

PC Python

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Feb 3, 2018
Messages
309
I have both the Kowa 663 and 883 and they're great scopes. I sold a Swarovski 80mm and replaced it with the Kowa 88mm. If you look at the birder forums you'll see that Kowa ranks right up there with the big three and many times it's at the top.
 

JMack

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Feb 20, 2017
Messages
474
I have both the Kowa 663 and 883 and they're great scopes. I sold a Swarovski 80mm and replaced it with the Kowa 88mm. If you look at the birder forums you'll see that Kowa ranks right up there with the big three and many times it's at the top.
Ya I was browsing the birding forums and I was surprised to see how many people sold off Swarovski for Meopta and kowa. There’s a lot of love for the Meopta meostar.
 

yobuck

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Aug 23, 2008
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1,498
Location
east central fl. /n.c. pa.
Remember this about all optics, (on a good day they are all good, on a bad day none are any good.)
The larger objective serves one purpose, allowing more light to enter into the optic.
On a good or even a decent day most wont notice much difference between a 60 and a 70 mm scope.
I know guys who sold 82 Kowa twin spotters and bought 65 mm because of the size and bulk.
Have you looked on Ebay for used 77 mm Kowas? If not then maybe you should.
 

JMack

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Joined
Feb 20, 2017
Messages
474
Remember this about all optics, (on a good day they are all good, on a bad day none are any good.)
The larger objective serves one purpose, allowing more light to enter into the optic.
On a good or even a decent day most wont notice much difference between a 60 and a 70 mm scope.
I know guys who sold 82 Kowa twin spotters and bought 65 mm because of the size and bulk.
Have you looked on Ebay for used 77 mm Kowas? If not then maybe you should.
Good point. last year on a mule deer hunt I was not overly impressed with a buddies ats 65 we had a few less than optimal days weather wise and I honestly felt my Leupold gr 12-40x60 almost as good and in one instance I was able to count tines whereas he struggled. This year we are headed into a great area for elk and I want to be able to Take my time and really look over the bulls That may sound selfish but I dont see me doing it with these smaller spotters.
 

P7M13

Formerly 'P7id10t'
Joined
Jan 5, 2016
Messages
142
Location
Orygun
Swaros are too rich for my wallet.
I'm not sure of the glass composition on them, but one thing that made the Kowa very attractive was their use of Fluorite crystal glass, which will give full IR transmission for thermal night vision.
If you're not averse to getting used optics, also check out astronomy clubs. I was set on getting a low end Kowa when an astronomy buff went from his spotter to a reflector. It was a 20-60x80mm Pentax. I took a look at it, and was reading the expiration tags on a license plate 350 yards away (confirmed via google earth). $500.
I laugh -- while I can see overlapping holes at 300, it stinks as a telescope. Bonus was the eye piece is compatible with the eye pieces I have for my 10" reflector.
Disadvantage to the Pentax eye piece, it's a variable plossl type, and has zero eye relief. Hence I have to take my safety glasses off every time I look through.
With the money I saved, I bought a Gen 2 NV setup (ATN), and I was still >$500 below my Kowa budget. Tee hee hee. That money went into an original Remington 550 (no dash) and a rebarreling.
 
Last edited:

yobuck

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Aug 23, 2008
Messages
1,498
Location
east central fl. /n.c. pa.
Im going to relate a true story, you can choose to believe or not as you wish.
Happened on Friday of the second week of the Pa buck season about 15 years ago.
There were four of us staying at our camp, and three staying at another belonging to friends.
All well experienced at hunting long range, and all having good large glasses.
We chose to hunt 2 separate locations looking across the same valley about a half mile apart.
4 of us at one spot and 3 at the other and staying in touch via walky talkeys.
Weather conditions could best be described as typical gloomy and dark as is common in Pa.
One guy had recently sold his twin 77 mm Kowa spotters in favor of twin 80 mm Swarovskis.
Another guy was using 80 mm Kowa Highlanders, and as a mater of fact was also a Kowa rep.
I was using a set of Oberwerk 100 mm binoculars with both 25x and 40x eyepieces on turrets.
Another guy was also using a set of those same glasses. The others were all using twin 60 mm Bushnell Spacemasters. So there were 2 sets of 100 mm glasses, 2 sets of 80 mm, and 3 sets having 60 mm.
About 2 hours into the glassing our group had seen nothing. After a radio check we found the other group had a buck laying down looking right straight at them at about 900 yards. PRoblem was that due to the conditions they couldnt tell if it had brow points. They knew it had decent size horns with a nice Y on both sides, but couldnt see brow points to determine it had al least 3 points on at least one side which would make it legal.
An hour later they still didnt know, and that was all my late buddy Ritch could take. He said to his son get me to hell over there, and ill put points on that thing with my Swarovskis. When we arrived there one guy was busy building a fire for cooking lunch, and he said to Rich there it is buddy have at it. Ritch said if i cant put points on that with my glasses ill kiss your arse. Well its a good thing he wasent held to that because an hour later with now 7 sets of good glasses we still didnt know.
But there became a second problem, in that within about 50 feet there was yet another nice buck laying that we couldnt tell was legal either.
After another hour or so for some reason the conditions improved slightly. Which was enough for everybody even with the 60 mm optics to see it had brow points. We did end up killing that buck which was a 7 point eastern count. We had assigned a guy to watch the second one while we were shooting at the first one.
But then decided to be happy with getting one of them.
So there you go, proof that conditions and not always optic size and quality is what makes the difference.
 

JMack

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2017
Messages
474
Im going to relate a true story, you can choose to believe or not as you wish.
Happened on Friday of the second week of the Pa buck season about 15 years ago.
There were four of us staying at our camp, and three staying at another belonging to friends.
All well experienced at hunting long range, and all having good large glasses.
We chose to hunt 2 separate locations looking across the same valley about a half mile apart.
4 of us at one spot and 3 at the other and staying in touch via walky talkeys.
Weather conditions could best be described as typical gloomy and dark as is common in Pa.
One guy had recently sold his twin 77 mm Kowa spotters in favor of twin 80 mm Swarovskis.
Another guy was using 80 mm Kowa Highlanders, and as a mater of fact was also a Kowa rep.
I was using a set of Oberwerk 100 mm binoculars with both 25x and 40x eyepieces on turrets.
Another guy was also using a set of those same glasses. The others were all using twin 60 mm Bushnell Spacemasters. So there were 2 sets of 100 mm glasses, 2 sets of 80 mm, and 3 sets having 60 mm.
About 2 hours into the glassing our group had seen nothing. After a radio check we found the other group had a buck laying down looking right straight at them at about 900 yards. PRoblem was that due to the conditions they couldnt tell if it had brow points. They knew it had decent size horns with a nice Y on both sides, but couldnt see brow points to determine it had al least 3 points on at least one side which would make it legal.
An hour later they still didnt know, and that was all my late buddy Ritch could take. He said to his son get me to hell over there, and ill put points on that thing with my Swarovskis. When we arrived there one guy was busy building a fire for cooking lunch, and he said to Rich there it is buddy have at it. Ritch said if i cant put points on that with my glasses ill kiss your arse. Well its a good thing he wasent held to that because an hour later with now 7 sets of good glasses we still didnt know.
But there became a second problem, in that within about 50 feet there was yet another nice buck laying that we couldnt tell was legal either.
After another hour or so for some reason the conditions improved slightly. Which was enough for everybody even with the 60 mm optics to see it had brow points. We did end up killing that buck which was a 7 point eastern count. We had assigned a guy to watch the second one while we were shooting at the first one.
But then decided to be happy with getting one of them.
So there you go, proof that conditions and not always optic size and quality is what makes the difference.
Good story. thanks!
 

Mrhounddog

Member
Joined
Dec 23, 2013
Messages
19
I know I am late to the thread, but here is my take. As a highpower guy I have looked through most of the top end spotting scopes. I like color clarity, but my main focus (yep, that is a good pun) is on resolution. The best resolution I owned was a Pentax PF80ED, which was stolen at Camp Perry. I could see .30 cal bullet holes at 600 yards more times than not. The color clarity was not as good as a Swarovski, but the resolution was unbeatable. I own an 80mm Zeiss, which never seemed to live up to its name. All that to say that the Kowa 88mm Prominar is a superior scope. The color clarity is top notch and the resolution is phenomenal. I was out at the Whittington Center back in February and while shooting the buffalo at 1123 I could catch glint off of splatter hitting the ground. That was a perfect day with the sun just right.
If you get one, be sure to get the 27 wide angle lens for one of your choices (20-60x is the other). The light gathering and resolution with the 27 is great. Whelp, there is my 2 cents...worth...2 cents... :)
 

JTB

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Joined
Jul 27, 2016
Messages
298
Location
AZ
I have been using the Kowa TSN 880 for several years and found it uncomfortable due to the short eye relief from the prominar zoom eyepiece. A year or so ago I picked up the 25x long eye relief eyepiece and have been very happy with it. Considering the clarity and brightness of the fixed 25x eyepiece it really doesn’t give up anything compared to the 60x zoom. I actually trimmed some of the rubber from the fixed eyepiece’s spacer/shade to get a little closer since I occasionally prefer to glass without touching the scope while wearing my tinted glasses. I think the Swarovski scopes have a little more depth of field but otherwise very comparable.
 

yobuck

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2008
Messages
1,498
Location
east central fl. /n.c. pa.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of scope makers today only offer zoom eyepieces with their scopes.
Kowa however still offers fixed power eyepieces as well as the zoom.
Clarity level will be slightly better with fixed power than with zooms.
It will also be better with standard power eyepieces as opposed to wide angle models.
Although the wide angle models are more popular for that very reason, they wont be as clear and sharp when compared with a same power model with standard field of view.
Better actually to use a lower power model in order to gain a wider field than to use a wide angle model as for clear viewing.
I had a 15x set of large occular telescope eyepieces made for my older 77mm Kowas, and prefer using them over my 20x wides or my 30x wides except at the extreme distances.
In the 2 seasons ive had them, 3 friends have had them made for their 77s also.
 

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