New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - Rate your spotters under a $1000
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

Check GunBroker.com for SWFA's No Reserve and No Minimum bid firearm auctions.

Rate your spotters under a $1000

 Post Reply Post Reply   Topic Search Topic Search  Topic Options Topic Options Page  1 2>
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/06/2009 at 16:05
BeltFed View Drop Down
Optics God
Optics God
Avatar

Joined: February/12/2008
Location: Ky
Status: Offline
Points: 16067

I have been looking for a spotter in the 20-60 power range for about a year. I like most of you, am looking for a scope that can fairly reliably see 22 or 30 cal. bullet holes between 200 to 400 yards. I have found few reviews that were really useful. That phrase "It's a great scope for the money" adds more confusion about ability than quality. I don't want to include the alpha scopes in this because we know they are good, and most of us can not afford them anyway.

If you have a spotting scope that cost less than $1000.00 tell us about it. Do you like it? Give us an example of what you can or can not see with it. What conditions (daylight, weather, etc.) is it usable in. Is it easy to use? How is the eye relief, etc. What do you use it for, shooting, birding, spying on the neighbors, etc.. Don't be affraid to tell us if your scope is garbage or gold, just tell us why.
 
Thanks 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/06/2009 at 16:49
BeltFed View Drop Down
Optics God
Optics God
Avatar

Joined: February/12/2008
Location: Ky
Status: Offline
Points: 16067
Since I started this thread, I'll be first to review a scope.
The scope is a Bushnell Legend 20-60x80. I can't say much good about this scope, and I'm sure there is something cheaper that is better. It seemed like I could never get it focused on any power with either the course or fine focus. The course focus was sticky in places, and the fine focus was easy to turn, but the scope still never seemed to get a crisp clear image. Eye relief was very critical, and dificult to use. The object you are looking at has to be centered, because the image on the outer edges of the scope were just blurred.
I compared this scope to a Celestron, same power, size and price, at the range, at 300yds.. The weather was mid 70s and partly cloudy, with low humidity. The target was a sightin target with orange 2" squares. I had difficulty finding 30 cal. bullet holes with the Bushnell, but the Celestron had no trouble finding the holes even if a little blurred. I had to use 60x to see the holes with both scopes. I had to quit using the Bushnell because I could not find individual bullet holes, while the Celestron could still pick them out and even determine if I had two holes touching.
My rifle scope was a Zeiss Conquest and it had a clear image. If it had been a 20x I think I could have seen my bullet holes at 300. The Bushnell was worthless. The Celestron was usable at 300yds that day and another, but not quite as clear as I would have liked. Maybe more on the Celestron later.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/06/2009 at 16:50
Chris Farris II View Drop Down
TEAM SWFA - Staff
TEAM SWFA - Staff
Avatar
MODERATOR

Joined: August/13/2007
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 3063
Beltfed is there a particular one you would like me to do a write up on?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/06/2009 at 17:02
JGRaider View Drop Down
Optics Master
Optics Master


Joined: February/06/2008
Status: Offline
Points: 1431
Beltfed, I've recently read some rave reviews of a Celestron Regal ED spotter on a bird forum.  It was in this price range.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2009 at 06:34
silver View Drop Down
Optics Master
Optics Master


Joined: November/04/2005
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 2291
Get Your Popcorn Ready
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2009 at 09:20
jonoMT View Drop Down
Optics Master Extraordinaire
Optics Master Extraordinaire
Avatar

Joined: November/13/2008
Location: Montana
Status: Offline
Points: 4613
Beltfed, from what I've been reading, it all depends on the conditions. I am able to see .30 cal holes alright through my cheapo Bushnell refurb 18x36x50 that I got for $72. But that is because I'm shooting under conditions where mirage is not a factor...early in the day in the mountains. I feel lucky that I got a reasonably workable solution for so little money and somewhat puzzled that Bushnell could sell a spotter like the one you have that surely cost far more even new and have it be crap.

I'm divided on upgrading my spotter because even alpha glass can't get past mirage. But then if I keep shooting under the same conditions as I have and otherwise use the glass during our relatively cool hunting season, maybe it will be worth it. I'd like to see holes out to 600 yards...at least under ideal conditions. One spotter I have in mind is the Kowa TSN-602 with a 20x60 eyepiece, which could be had for around $750. I'd appreciate recommendations from anyone on a better spotter for that price.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2009 at 11:29
lucznik View Drop Down
Optics Master
Optics Master


Joined: November/27/2004
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 1436
I have posted this about the Bushnell Elite 20-60x80 ED before, but since it answers your question, I will post it [though slightly modified] here again...

[quote=lucznik]I want to first emphasize that I believe the Elite is a highly under-appreciated spotting scope.  Is it "as good" as a Swarovski ATS/STS 80, a Leica Televid 82, or a Zeiss Diascope 85?  No.  But, the differences are so very slight that, in my opinion, they don't make any real, practical difference. It wasn't that long ago that the big Bausch & Lomb Elite ED spotting scope was referred to by the "experts" as one of the "super spotters."  Even then it was made by Bushnell and just branded with and marketed under the B&L name. Then, around 2005 or so, B&L got out of the sport optics market and so; Bushnell had to re-brand everything with their own name.  It is still the same scope, made in the same factory, by the same people, with the same components, and with the same quality standards as before. The only difference now is that the badge just says Bushnell (well, that and the fact that the scope has been upgraded to include Bushnell's RainGaurd coatings). But somehow, in the minds of many, that Bushnell badge causes the scope to lose some of its quality.  I say "hogwash" to that.  Not long ago I was able to do some "head to head" comparisons of my Elite against a hunting buddy's STS 80.  I didn't walk away from that experience with any sense that I "needed" to upgrade to the Swarovski. In fact, all things considered, I found the Swarovski to be rather disappointing.

 

So, here is my basic take on it:

 

Bushnell 20-60x80 ED Elite (Mine is the straight model.)

 

Pros

  • Excellent image quality (helped greatly by inclusion of ED glass.)  Image is bright, flat, and optical abberations are very, very well controlled.  Color fidelity is excellent.
  • Lightweight (relatively speaking) The 80mm Elite is only 4 ounces heavier than the 65mm Swarovski STS (once you attach an eyepiece - which most people find necessary).
  • Inexpensive (again, relatively speaking).  I spent $650 on mine with the 20-60x zoom eyepiece included. Current, best price I can find for this same scope is $670.
  • Excellent accessories.  Stay on case and objective lens cap are both very nice. The eyepiece cap is just a plastic cup but, it fits tightly, stays on until you intentionally remove it, and does its job of protecting the glass from scratches.  What more can you ask for? 
  • Optional camera adapter (+ appropriate T-ring) allows the spotting scope to connect directly to a DSLR making digiscoping that much easier.  Cost ~ $80. Digiscoping with a point-and-shoot camera is also possible and made much easier with the use of one of several brands of "universal adapters."  These can be found at many shops, including SWFA; sometimes for as low as ~$50.
  • The retractable sunshade is very useful.

Cons (Of course there are some - you do have to give up something for the price difference.)

 

  • Fields of View (both real and apparent) are fairly narrow (real FoV = 98 ft @ 20x and 50ft @ 60x).  At the higher magnifications (> 49x) this scope's FoV is even a bit narrower than the oft-maligned FoV offered by the Nikon Fieldscope 82. In real-world, actual-use applications however, this has proven to be a complete non-issue and so I was happy to make the trade in favor of the more-than-$1500 in savings I received as compared to other so-called "Alpha" scopes.  Optional fixed magnification eyepieces (of 22x and 30x) are available and offer improved Fields of View. They can be difficult to find and I have yet to buy or test one of them so; I can't comment on their quality. (The 22x costs ~ $160.00 & offers a 131 ft. FoV, the 30x costs ~ $100.00 & offers a 118 ft. FoV.)
  • It may be relatively lightweight but, it's still too big and too heavy to pack around very far, especially considering that you need a fairly stable (and thus heavy) tripod to use with this size of spotting scope.

"Niether Here nor There" (Some things are different, even if they aren't "better" or "worse.")

  • Eye Relief is adequate.  I am able to see the full FoV while wearing my glasses and throughout the entire magnification range but, I do have to get right in close, especially at high magnifications. To be completely fair howe
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2009 at 12:01
supertool73 View Drop Down
Optics Jedi Master
Optics Jedi Master
Avatar
Superstool

Joined: January/03/2008
Location: Utah
Status: Offline
Points: 9510
I currently have a Meopta TGA spotting scope.  http://swfa.com/Meopta-TGA-75-Spotting-Scope-P8007.aspx

It is the collapsible version of the scope.  One of the main reasons I chose that scope was because it would collapse and is easier to fit into a backback when I am out hiking or hunting, while at the same time being a full sized spotter not some itty bitty thing that is hard to use.  Sometimes as well all know the bino's are not enough, so I thought this would be a great scope for my needs.

I had been impressed with the Meopta products I already own, binos and a rifle scope so I thought I would give them a try.  Optically I think it is quite good, I don't know all the fancy terms to explain it but up to about 45x it stays very clear and bright.  Once you hit that point the image quality starts to go down as the exit pupil decreases.  At 60x you can still see deer and elk at great distance pretty well, but the image is dark enough I don't care to use it that high.  Also as with all scopes at that power range it is very hard to hold steady.  Many times I just sit it over my knee or a tree branch or log, so I am sure that is part of the steady issues. 

I did have the chance to use it next to a Leica one day at the shooting range.  I don't remember what model the Leica was, but he claimed he paid over $2000 for it.  We were looking at bullet holes at 300 yards and I could see them with my Meopta as well as with the Leica.  Up until about 45x I could not see much difference in the image quality, at least for middle fo the day viewing.  At above that point you could see the Leica was a little better, but not $1,200 more.  At least not in my opinion.  I paid $800 for my whole package when I got it so I feel pretty good about it. Sane with my Meopta bino's the quality is so close to my eye's against the more expensive bino's it is pretty hard to justify the added cost.  Especially since I got a very nice pair of bino's and a very nice spotter for $1500

An issue some may have with it is since it is collapsable it is not water proof.  I talked to Richard at Meopta about that issue before I bought it and he told me if you happen to get the tube wet while it is extended just make sure to whipe it off good before you collapse it so it is dry and you will have no problems.  He said water will not leak into it if it is out only when you push it in it might get a little inside.  For me it is not much of an issue because if it is raining I will just not use it.

I was actually happy enough with it that I bought one of the other Meopta angle spottters and it was great as well.  But since I mostly used the TGA one I sold it to fund other gun project.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2009 at 12:06
BeltFed View Drop Down
Optics God
Optics God
Avatar

Joined: February/12/2008
Location: Ky
Status: Offline
Points: 16067
lucznik, and SuperTool this is the kind of stuff I'm looking for.
Thanks
 
Come on folks, lets hear what you got and what you think.
 


Edited by BeltFed - August/07/2009 at 12:10
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2009 at 12:20
supertool73 View Drop Down
Optics Jedi Master
Optics Jedi Master
Avatar
Superstool

Joined: January/03/2008
Location: Utah
Status: Offline
Points: 9510
One other thing I like about the TGA is you can get a fixed 30x wide angle eye piece for it as well.  And one version of it has a ranging reticle in it.  I am sure with some other scopes that is an option as well.  I have yet to buy the 30x fixed but it is on my list of wants.  For most of my uses 30x would be perfect and being wide angle would only make it better in my book.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2009 at 12:56
Duce View Drop Down
Optics Master
Optics Master
Avatar

Joined: September/19/2006
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 1231
http://swfa.com/Bushnell-20-60x80-Excursion-FLP-Spotting-Scope-P11601.aspx
I got one of these in a swap lately for one of my rifle scopes and I am impressed with it but so far my experience with it is limited to a few times at the range and pestering p dogs. For a under $500 its the best I have seen. It is not a Kowa or Leica but its not over $2000 either. I do wish it was available  with an angle eyepiece for benchrest but what can you expect for that price
Duce  Big Grin
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2009 at 14:36
JGRaider View Drop Down
Optics Master
Optics Master


Joined: February/06/2008
Status: Offline
Points: 1431
Duce, I'd love to hear your reiview of that Excursion FLP.  My buddy wants to pull the trigger on a spotter and I'm pointing him in this direction as we speak. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2009 at 14:50
Duce View Drop Down
Optics Master
Optics Master
Avatar

Joined: September/19/2006
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 1231
I really have not had enough time with it to give an honest review but I am impressed with the clearity of the ED glass. I spent some time last week at the lake & range using the 60 power setting and was suprised at how good it was at high settings for an under 500 scope
Duce Smile
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/14/2009 at 17:02
Trays 7940 View Drop Down
Optics Master
Optics Master
Avatar

Joined: August/09/2009
Location: Texas
Status: Offline
Points: 1149

Well, here goes.  I was looking for something to take to the rage and find 30 cal bullet holes at 100yds- at the time.  I got on line and found a winchester 12x50x50.  It had great reviews and so I dropped the $150.00 and got the spotter.  (I hear you laughing)  And you should be.  The scope is pretty good for picking out large animals at pretty fair distances.  It is clear as long as the sun is bright and you don't go any higher magnification than about 25 after that it becomes so dark it basically cant be seen through.  There is no eye relief.  You have to stick the lens right up to your eye.  Focusing at the higher mag is not even worth mentioning.  I took it out to see what would happen at 600yds.  I could see the target but then again, I could see it better with my SS 16x scope.  The really bad thing is, I cant pick out my shots at 100yds let alone any other distances. Boo Hoo

I am currently looking for a good spotter that I can use to find bullet holes 100yds to about 600yds. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/15/2009 at 07:51
NV Hunter View Drop Down
Optics Apprentice
Optics Apprentice


Joined: January/21/2009
Status: Offline
Points: 66
I have seen some good buys on the Leica 77 and 62 Televids.... the new 82 and 65 are  replacing them a some dealers are making some great deals on them.   Our local Bass Pro has the 77 and a 20-60 eyepiece for $1000.00.  I shuld buy it!!!   NV Hunter
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/17/2009 at 09:50
JGRaider View Drop Down
Optics Master
Optics Master


Joined: February/06/2008
Status: Offline
Points: 1431
I'm not going to sit here and tell you the Bushnell Excursion 15-45x60 FLP Ed spotter is as good as most $1000 spotters, but I looked through a couple with Chris when I was at his store last week.......amazing glass for the price.  It looks to be a carbon copy of the Leupy model. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/18/2009 at 14:44
Trays 7940 View Drop Down
Optics Master
Optics Master
Avatar

Joined: August/09/2009
Location: Texas
Status: Offline
Points: 1149
I went down and looked through the Nikon 20x60x65 prostaff spotter yesterday.
Chris, the nephew, and I looked through a couple of Nikons at several items around and various distances.  I ended up getting a deal on the above mentioned spotter.  I am very happy with this spotter.  It is crisp, clear, light weight and powerful enough that we were seeing window screws at over 300 yards.  I ended up getting this one from the sample list.  I can't wait to get it to the range.  Great deal, great service, great people.  Thanks Chris!  Yippee
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/18/2009 at 15:03
Chris Farris II View Drop Down
TEAM SWFA - Staff
TEAM SWFA - Staff
Avatar
MODERATOR

Joined: August/13/2007
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 3063
No problem sir and again thank you for serving our community day in and day out. Salute
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/18/2009 at 19:31
Bitterroot Bulls View Drop Down
Optics Master Extraordinaire
Optics Master Extraordinaire
Avatar

Joined: May/07/2009
Location: Montana
Status: Offline
Points: 3377
Beltfed,

I have spent some time behind the Pentax 80ED in your price range, and I think you could resolve whatever bullet holes you want at 300, 400, maybe longer.  It is one sharp scope!

If you aren't set on a 20-60, you can get a great deal from SWFA on the older diascope 65 ($900 body only), but it will stretch your budget when you add the eyepiece.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/24/2010 at 13:35
coyote95 View Drop Down
Optics Master
Optics Master
Avatar

Joined: January/24/2009
Location: michigan
Status: Offline
Points: 1042
I'm new to the big spotters and just picked up a new 20x-60x 80mm Bushnell Elite ED. Bought spotter on alot of research and readings of different forums and threads linked to this scope. Never got to compare or look at one before purchasing. All I can say is WOW this scope is awesome. Everything I was expecting and more. Still did not know how it compared to other makes until yesterday. My boss at work brought his 20-60x80mm Leica Televid in to do a little comparison also invited a few coworkers for this review. I can tell you the Elite got rave reviews from everyone including the boss... So for spotters under a 1000$ I don't think you can go wrong with the Bushnell Elite
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/26/2010 at 14:06
skywalker View Drop Down
Optics Apprentice
Optics Apprentice


Joined: January/16/2009
Status: Offline
Points: 149
Any review on the Minox MD 50?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/26/2010 at 15:00
Rancid Coolaid View Drop Down
Optics Jedi Master
Optics Jedi Master
Avatar

Joined: January/19/2005
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 7692
For not much more than $1000, you can get this

http://swfa.com/Pentax-20-60x80-ED-Spotting-Scope-P4402.aspx

It is money very well spent.  I bought it a few years ago on Koshkin's recommendation, couldn't be happier.

As I said in a recent review (soon to be up on product page) I ran it side-by-side with a Kowa TNS883 and it was not quite as clear or sharp and contrast wasn't quite as good, but really, really close.  And for 1/3 the Kowa price.

Haven't seen the Kowa on long range yet, but bullet holes with the Pentax at 300+ is no problem on a sunny  day (don't usually shoot 300+ in the rain.)  Can see the shoot-n-see at 600 on a good day (no mirage, clear air.)

Money very well spent!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/30/2010 at 00:53
Sparky View Drop Down
Optics Master Extraordinaire
Optics Master Extraordinaire


Joined: July/15/2007
Status: Offline
Points: 3190
+1 on the Pentax 20-60x80ED.

Or for backpacking or shorter distances a Nikon Fieldscope 13-30x50ED has an amazing image quality. It has become my scope of choice for shorter distances at the range. I find that I can resolve details that a number of 20-60x60 scopes can not.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/03/2010 at 20:28
tpcollins View Drop Down
Optics Journeyman
Optics Journeyman


Joined: January/12/2009
Status: Offline
Points: 325
Originally posted by JGRaider JGRaider wrote:

I'm not going to sit here and tell you the Bushnell Excursion 15-45x60 FLP Ed spotter is as good as most $1000 spotters, but I looked through a couple with Chris when I was at his store last week.......amazing glass for the price.  It looks to be a carbon copy of the Leupy model. 
 
 
I just got the Leupold GR 12-40x60mm and it is a great scope. However, I still have my Bushnell Excursion 15-45x60mm and I'm not convinced quite yet the $1000 Leupy is $700 better than the $300 I paid for the Excursion. The Bushnell does have a slight aberation around the outside but the center is pretty darn clear. The eye relief on the Leupold is fantastic for us eyeglass wearers but only a snitch longer than the Bushnell.
 
I have the option to return the Leupold within 30 days for a full refund so if it ever quits snowing I want to give them a good side by side comparison. I had a Stokes Sandpiper, and although it was nice and the 65mm was a tad brighter than the Excursion, I though the Excursion was a tiny bit clearer but the compact FLP design is a fantastic feature.  The 80mm Excursion looked like a monster when I looked at it but the 60mm Excursion has to be one of the best bargains out there.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/03/2010 at 23:47
koshkin View Drop Down
MODERATOR
MODERATOR
Avatar
Dark Lord of Optics

Joined: June/15/2004
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 10961
One nice thing about Pentax spotters that they use standard 1.25" astronomical eyepieces.  Besides, Pentax makes some of the best eyepieces themselves (XW).

As general guidelines for selecting an inexpensive spotter to be used at the range, I would suggest the following:
-Go with a fairly large objective lens if you can (80mm is common)
-Go with a spotter that looks pretty long compared to the lens diameter (easier to build)
-Try to find one that is available with fixed magnification eyepiece (not as common as it should be)

The rest really comes down to how much you are willing to spend.  I am currently testing a $1600 Vortex Razor HD spotter and I am very impressed with it.

However, for $750 Vortex Skyline is no slouch either.

For about $1200 total, you can get Pentax 80mm spotter and one of the fixed focal length XW eyepieces (XW20 is 26x, and XW14 is 36x).  This is an especially good combination if you wear glasses since XW eyepieces have very generous eyerelief.

The spotter that I use most of the time is a simple Pentax PF65A-ED.  I find that it has good combination of image quality and portability.

In the lower price bracket, Bushnell Excursion FLP is a surprisingly nice spotter if you pick a good one.  I saw quite a bit of sample variation with those.

I am generally cautious with low priced spotters because I have not seen a whole lot of good ones.

ILya
 Post Reply Post Reply Page  1 2>
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Similar Threads: "Rate your spotters under a $1000"
Subject Author Forum Replies Last Post
The $1000 question Adkrs Rifle Scopes 13
Best under $1000 bino cropslx Binoculars 16
FFP, matching reticle/turrets, under $1000? pointer Tactical Scopes 12
Scope for my 5r? Around $1000 Stoop14 Tactical Scopes 6
Best Spotting Scope @ +/- $1000 Golfcrazy Spotting Scopes 6
$1000 budget w/ moa lilryan Tactical Scopes 13
Illuminated dot, under $1000 hoser Rifle Scopes 23
Best Binocular Under $1000 for Low Light Hunting Outrider Binoculars 9
$1000 budget for 2 scopes? lucytuma Rifle Scopes 18
Zeiss Conquest, best scope for $1000? weatherby460 Rifle Scopes 5


This page was generated in 0.359 seconds.