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60 - 66 mm Kowa or 85 mm Vortex?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/07/2010 at 12:34
FireEMT5 View Drop Down
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Hello guys.  Noob here looking for honest opinions so that I may make a more informed purchase.  Let me preface by saying that I have been lurking both here at "the hide" for many months.  Yes, I've used the search function and have been reading, and then reading some more.  I decided to register here and post because it seems you all are easy going on most new folks..... so thanks in advance.
 
My budget is $1500.  I subscribe to the buy once, cry once way of thinking within reason.  I'm looking at better than average glass, but don't need or want to spend on the best.
 
My shooting consists of a S&W MP15 (.223/5.56) and a S&P MP15-22 for plinking.
 
The range I use is limited to 100 yards - wish to clearly see bullet holes in paper.  I also shoot out in the country at steel at 200 - 500 yards.  Glassing for coyotes and deer around SE Minnesota, and North Dakota will also be done.  If I can see critters at 1000 yards fine.  I don't need to count hairs at that distance.
 
Being able to rotate the angled eye piece is a must.  All I'm considering do.
 
The glass I'm looking at is:
 
Kowa TSN-603 Prominar ED Lens, Angled body w 20 x 60 zoom
I've read in other posts where 60 - 66 objectives just can't produce good images across the entire 20x60 zoom range?  Will the better glass in Kowa's help in this area or is it strictly a matter of physics?
 
function add_P299(type,temp){ addingToBsk=true;if(tf.coreLoaded&&tf.wm.pProp('P299')){return core.load_add(d,type,'P299','TSN-663 Prominar ED Lens, Angled Body','0.00','TSN-663','0',0,'','','','','',opt,isInSF(),s,'0.000',temp);}else{setTimeout('add_P299();',500);return 0;} } mfw(); Kowa TSN-663 Prominar ED Lens, Angled body w 20 x 60 zoom
Portablility is a slight factor.  Not a deal breaker, but I may tote this thing in the field some.  It will see alot of time at the range, but those distances won't be extreme.
 
Vortex Razor HD 20-60x85
This is the biggest of the lot.  Would no doubt shine in all areas, but could be a pain humping it along?
 
Eye relief is a consideration too.  I wear glasses.
 
I'm leaning strongly towards the Kowa 66.  Will this scope work well across the entire 20 x 60 range?  If so, it wins points for portablility over the Vortex.
 
So what say you?  I want to get it done and will go up to the Vortex price if necessary?  I realize I can't have it all and have good portablility too.  Am I on the right track going with a 66mm or am I missing something?
 
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/07/2010 at 12:38
FireEMT5 View Drop Down
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Appologies for the garbled mess on my first post.  Am unable to edit.  Not sure what happened.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/07/2010 at 15:27
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I have been playing with the Vortex Razor HD spotting scope for several weeks now and am pretty impressed.  To date I have only used the 30x Wide angle lens with the mil reticle in it
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/07/2010 at 16:02
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Welcome to the OT Fire!
 
I think for your needs the Vortex would be the better buy!I base this on the long distance you are trying to see holes,85 always trumps 66.........
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/07/2010 at 16:03
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For me it would boil down to what is most important......portability or the absolute best image.  The Kowa 663 can run with anything in it's class including the Swaro 65HD.  The Razor is reportedly a great value in the 85mm class glass.  That 663 is really fantastic, and the 60x is usable sometimes when the atmospheric conditions are favorable.  You'll get a little brighter, sharper image with the Razor.  If there's any way to try them both out I'd recommend it.  I was in your shoes when shopping for a spotter, but I prefer straight eyepieces.  I wound up with the bigger sibling to the 663, the Prominar 884.  All I can say is it is absolutely fantastic.  Kowa has world class glass.   
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/07/2010 at 16:09
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Welcome to OT, FireEMT5!
 
I think the decision all boils down to how much of a premium you place on weight. 
 
The Kowa wins on portability and the Vortex wins on optical performance at the higher magnifications.  The Vortex is pretty compact for its objective size, but it's still quite a bit heavier than a 60 or 66mm Kowa.
 
A 60mm class spotter can never give you the performance of an 85mm class spotter at higher magnification, given optics of equivalent quality, as is the case with those 2 scopes.  It's a simple matter of exit pupil size.  The larger objective scope provides better resolution and light transmission.
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/07/2010 at 17:43
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JG you are a lucky man to own the 884,got to agree that's the best spotting glass in the world,but the glass in the 663 is not as fine as the 884,but it's still a killer scope.Still think Vortex the better deal, when 85 vs.66 all things being equall.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/07/2010 at 17:52
FireEMT5 View Drop Down
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Thank you for the warm welcome and responses.
 
Unfortunately I don't know anyone who has either so I can compare.  Most of the shooters I know have under $100.00 scopes and think they are all that is needed.  The glass in my Leupold Acadia 10x42 binos seems to be better than their spotting scopes.  I want more magnification and this has led me on my journey to learn more about "good spotting scopes".
 
You have me on the fence between the 66mm Kowa and the larger Vortex.  The price difference comes down to  roughly $300.00 difference and is not the deciding factor.  Leaning towards the Vortex only because I'd rather have more than not need it, than buy and end up wanting more!
 
Kowa 66 pros - smaller, lighter, more portable and slightly cheaper.  However I give up some resolution.
 
Vortex pros - better resolution, comes with carrying case, most reviews rave about it for it's price.  Vortex warranty hard to beat.  Also seems to have slightly better eye relief according to the specs I've read.  Since I wear glasses this carries some weight in my decision.
 
Thank you for the responses - I think I see a another Vortex product in my future!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/07/2010 at 21:27
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It really depends on your use, fire.  There is no doubt that the Razor will out-resolve the Kowa.  It will also be better in low light situations.  The Kowa will be lighter and more compact. It will actually be 2 pounds lighter.

My recommendation would be the Razor if you will spend most of your time at the range, don't mind hauling two extra pounds, are primarily concerned about performance, want to digiscope, or will be viewing long distances.

If you are backpacking, but still want a nice range scope, the Kowa should work.

If you are an avid backpacker or are primarily concerned about weight, a Nikon Fieldscope ED50 would be the winner, and is not far behind the Kowa in sheer performance, either.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/22/2010 at 14:37
FireEMT5 View Drop Down
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Woohoooooooo!  I have the Vortex spotter and SS 3x9 inbound!!!!!!!!!  One happy camper!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/22/2010 at 14:56
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Lucky B*stard!

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/22/2010 at 15:24
FireEMT5 View Drop Down
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Sample list had too good of a deal to pass up on the spotter, especially with the Vortex warranty.
 
My credit card IS a little warm at the moment.  Momma isn't gonna be happy with me, but what the H#LL, X-mas is coming!Big Grin
 
Guess I'll be working a little overtime in the next few weeks.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/22/2010 at 15:33
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Lucytuma,
My appologies if I stole that spotter out from under you off the sample list.  It's been on there for several days.....?  Just couldn't pass it up.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/22/2010 at 15:33
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lol  Sounds like a good combo.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/22/2010 at 16:33
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Great choices!

You really nailed the bang-for-your-buck on those, especially at Samplelist prices.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/22/2010 at 16:46
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Thanks guys, especially for the coin I just dropped.  I hope I like them!  For the money spent,  I doubt I can be disappointed.  Great value on both.
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