I prefer an angled spotting scope because it seems easy to use in any position.
When shooting prone- I can set the scope just to my left and not interfere with my shooting
position. the scope is angled so that all I have to do is move my head a little to the left to look
through it and never lose the position.
Shooting off the bench ether straight or angled work fine but again I like the angled spotter
placed to my right out of the way.
For spotting for another shooter for long distances I like to set up behind and just above so I
can see the vapor trail/shock wave and the angled head makes it possible to sit down and get
a good steady position so I don't move the scope.
The scope that I use has a fully adjustable head (Will go from straight to 90o) and is very handy
in any situation or position.
The fixed angle type scope would not be an advantage over the straight one IMO.
Several reasons I go with straight:
1. flexibility, I can put it on a window mount, a gunstock, or tripod
2. Less susceptable to rain interference on the eyepiece (big deal here in Or.)
3. Easier to look through in severe downhill angles
4. Height doesn't generally need to be reset for short vs tall people. (ie my grandkids)
I've used both angled and straight scopes and really like both -- in the right application.
Angled scopes are for competitive shooting and where the shooter is in a set firing position. For example, the shooter is in position to shoot and will just move his/her head far enough off the rifle to look at the scope to read the wind, to determine when the target will be in a position to be engaged or to determine if the target is sufficiently good (in some cases, you can only shoot at an animal above a certain size). The angled scope is especially useful when a shooter is in the prone position, on target and ready to fire but needs confirmation of wind or animal position. I was on an Army Reserve National Shooting team and angled scopes were used 100% by the shooters.
Straight scopes are best when used for non-shooting viewing such as spot and stalk. This allows for a very quick reposition of the scope in a rapidly changing environment by looking over the top of the scope toward the general area and then find the animal. It is almost impossible to quickly do this with an angled scope. By necessity, the shooter is not in an immediate shooting position but will have to move. (As a side note, the coaches on the Army Reserve team all used straight scopes because they were not in firing position. Also, straight scopes are used by the spotter in a two-man sniper team.)
Final analysis: for a serious hunter that has to move, get a straight scope. Mine is a Swarovski HD 80 with variable-power eye piece. The reason I use this scope is that I spot and stalk and because I need clarity to more effectively determine such things as the length of elk brow tines and horn mass from a greater distance.
From the shooting bench or when shooting prone, angled gets the nod.............
But when spotting game in the field or from a trucks window mount, you need to use straight. When you hunting partner says to look at the base of the big gray rock out a mile or so, you need to line up the scope and an angle mount makes it a bit more difficult.
I have straight as I use for more than just off a shooting bench and I just don't really like bending my head over all the time to look through the scope. The straight just keep my head and neck in a more more natural position IMO.
Angled. I shoot F-Class Target and Across the Course and can set up the scope to read wind and score by leaning my head left. It minimizes my movement off point of aim so I can take advantage of winds conditions as they change.
My scope also rotates on its axis and can be locked into position so I generally sit a little offset behind the shooter when I'm keeping score and reading his trace.
It's also comfortable when I'm sitting at a bench to check some loads and can just lean a little to see impact holes.
Straight is ok if you happen to be standing behind a friend who is sighting in his rifle. In most other positions it places you in an uncomfortable position when you really should be concentrating on "getting in the zone".
The straight scope gets my vote. The angled scopes have more parts to go out of whack. Was looking through a Leica Apo-Televid at the 2009 NRA Convention. Sharpness was unreal! Perhaps some attachment that makes angled use would work.
I do not have a spotting scope. The Leica Apo-Televid 82mm goes for around $3850+tax. You really get what you pay for with these scopes.
I wonder how Saturn looks through one of these? At a local planetarium, Saturn appears the size of the end of my thumb, fully extended. The scope is 155x, 20". (I realize spotting scopes are not best for star gazing.)
Leica seems to have dropped the fixed power eyepieces for the variables only. I wonder if a variable at 32x is as sharp as a fixed 32x?
I have a Zeiss 85mm angled and like it. My Dad has the 65mm straight. The angled gives you way more room to view. If I look out of the truck I can see all the way behind me and all the way around front of me. It is very hard to get used to though and tuff to see something then pick it up with the angled. The straight is nice for that as you can kind of line it up. The angled is a little easier on your neck as you can just look down into the eye piece as apposed to holding your head up