which spotting scopes for $600-$750??????


Well-Known Member
Sep 25, 2002
I have been thinking of the Meopta spotting scopes and was impressed with the one I evaluated at Quantico. I have however really only had that one chance to check it out. Chris has been a big help in this department,..thanks Chris.

What brands of spotters are you guys using in the "up to $750" range,..and how do they compare to others you have owned or used.

Also,..lets assume a 60x eye peice,...how far away on a bright sunny day can I see bullet holes on a white backer,..in let's say 6.5mm on up to 30cal? (mirage ?)

The only scope I can compare is my Nikon XL 16X47. I have been able to spot 30cal holes on a white page at over 600yds. Conditions were in the fall so light mirage.

I have read the 3" letters on real estate for sale signs at over 1 km....clearly.

Very happy with this as a hunting spotter too as it is light, small and waterproof.

Priced under $400 the last time I looked.

I really like the Steiner 24X80 spotter - bought mine back in 1994 for $500 from SWFA. Its the green rubber armored model. Glass is fantastic, scope is very durable, resolution, clarity and color are great. All in all, it has a lot of value for a "cheap" spotter, and you could probably find one within your price range.

Check out the Kowa TSN-821M--you won't find a better spotter in that price range.

[ 01-07-2004: Message edited by: Chris Jamison ]
60x magnfication is WAY too much, for any spotting scope that won't be locked into a heavy mount (like a barrel of concrete). There's no way to see anything at 60x if the scope trembles in the slightest.

For your budget, take a real hard look at Kowa and the Nikon Fieldscope line. The scope Jerry mentions (no offense) has about 1/2" of eye relief, which is just not enough, and only has a 60mm objective, and the eyepiece is not detachable.

Check here for competitive Kowa pricing from a heck of a nice guy and great American, Jim Owens: http://www.jarheadtop.com/kowa.html

For interesting reviews on all spotting scopes, go here: http://www.betterviewdesired.com

I have compared my Meopta 20-60x75 TGA with my Swaro ST80 HD. The Swaro was better as it should be by the price. I put up a newpaper at 100 yards and compared them side by side. I really couldn't read or see anything more clearly with the Swaro but it didn't seem to be effected by the mirage as much.

I have used the TGA out to 300 yards looking at 30 cal. bullet holes and it was no problem but at that range it wasn't a real test. Looking at deer at over half a mile away I couldn't see any difference between the two. I really like the TGA for hunting. It is just great for packing because it colapses. The rubbler armored case is just exellent.

Do to the price and the TGA being so user friendly the Swaro ends up setting at home. I use the TGA a lot more.

Most guys here know that I'm a dist. for IOR. So if your intersted in one maybe I can help you out.

Thanks guys. It appears maybe I should see if the guys at some of the upcoming matches will let check their stuff out.

Nate brings up something I hadn't considered,..the movement relative to magnification. Looks like I need to do some planning on how I can mount one to be stable enough for target work.

Q-Optics thanks for that offer too
I could see 50cal holes @ 600yards with the TGA75(30x eyepiece)the other day at the range.Have not had a chance to compair it to a Howa yet but its gota be close.As I remember it run me $650-700 but is compact and has rubber covers to take getting bumped around alittle.
Optical qualities and $ are important, but I have found the hard way that a really good spotting scope is very frustrating if you do not have a strong, stationary, easily adjustabe field tripod or support.
Gotta consider that when you buy a scope and some stands are costy.
Good luck in your search.
I noticed some Kowa's with 50mm obj. on the jarhead site. Are these lower quality or would they be a good low priced starter for use in the field and range. Particularly the 20-40X50 Long eye relief?

If I'm not mistaken, a number of people use them at the range for HP competition, but I think beyond 200yds (300yds on a good day), most people shooting less than .30 cal don't count on seeing the bullet holes in the black unless they have some serious glass, or the lighting is just right. Not just the 50mm Kowa's, but most of the 'budget' priced scopes, i.e. most that cost less than say a Kowa 661 or 821M. There's probably some eagle-eyed fellow out there that can see .224 bullet holes in the black at 600yds thru a Bushnell, but for the rest of us...

I'd say if it fits your budget, it should do OK. From the research I've done trying to find a 'budget' spotting scope, I've pretty much came to the conclusion that the Kowa's are the only game in town if you want LER. After that, the Nikon Sky & Earth 60mm w/ a 25x WA eyepiece (~$290) or a Meopta 70mm w/ 25x WA eye piece (~$350) are probably good choices. Some folks have had good results w/ some of the Chiwanese TSN-1 clones like the C-Star from the Sportsman's Guide or the Raven from Eagle Optics. They come w/ a 20-60x eyepiece, but apparently will take a 25x LER eyepiece for a TSN-1 or 661 if you can find one for a reasonable price on e-Bay.

I've about had it w/ my little 15-45x Bushnell Birder straight tube scope. I've beat the tar out of it, as it was meant (by me) as a 'carry' scope. Still has an amazingly sharp image. I've just got to the point where I want to be able to look thru the scope while in position from prone, and that's kinda hard to do w/o an angled eyepiece. Not impossible, just uncomfortable. One of our local Hunter BR guys has a Meopta scope and just raves about it. The few times I've looked thru it at the range it did seem pretty sharp, so I'm looking real hard at that 70mm Meopta. Not their 'better' 75mm model, cuz for those bucks I'd be getting a 661 or 821M Kowa!

Well, hopefully I helped a little w/ all that

Thought I would point out that Meopta now offers a 30x eyepiece with a variation of the MP-8 reticule for rangeing. Don't have a price on this one yet.

Exit pupil 2.5mm
Exit pupil distance 15mm

Hermes HA 70 $525.00 w/20-45x eyepiece & case
25x WA $90.00
40x $110.00
50x $110.00

Hermes HA/HS 75 $699.00 w/20-60x eyepiece & case
30x eyepiece $145.00

Other eyepieces can be subsituted in the package prices and it would be a little cheaper.

Just my luck!I was looking for a good used Kowa but when I couldn't find one a 75TGA was ordered with the 30X eye piece.While the TGA was in stransit a Kowa came up cheap.No problem the TGA works just fine but now I hear I could have gotten it with the MP2 reticle to compliment the four IOR scopes.
Now you know I'm gona have to have that eyepiece,wouldnt be right not to

Hey Q would you be interested in a 30X wide angle in trade?
Mach V,

I hear ya, just when I have it figured out they come up with something bigger and better. I don't know about the trade thing but we can talk.

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