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Spotting scope, 100 to 300 yard use on the range

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/09/2015 at 11:54
w squared View Drop Down
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Hello all. Thanks in advance for being gentle, I'm new here.

A little bit about me - I enjoy shooting recreationally (30 minute drive for a range with a 200 yard line, and over an hour to get to a 300 yard rifle range). I'm shooting a little bit of .223, but mostly .308 or 7.5 Swiss.  If I could get everything I want, I would love to be able to spot my hits at 200 yards with .223 and at 300 yards with the larger calibers. I am okay with using "splatter" type targets to do that if need be.

I am hoping that with wise input from the folks here, I can "buy once, cry once" for a spotting scope. I appreciate that there are scopes in the $1100 to $1500 range that will more than fill my needs in a compact package, but if I am going to spend that sort of money I will need to wait a while - and I can't help but think that those scope might be overkill for me. (If I'm wrong in that notion, please disabuse me of it!)

I've read what the search engine turned up on suggestions for spotting scopes, so I have a few directed questions:

#1. I have no interest in buying a Barska scope that makes me think I am looking through a drinking straw with a brown filer on the end of it. I know that I going to be spending multiple hundreds of dollars to get a usable spotting scope for my intended purpose.

#2. How much will light gathering ability (objective lens size) make up for less than perfect glass? I see that Celestron offers an "entry level" scope with a 90mm objective, and Konus has one with a 100mm objective - but am I fooling myself in thinking that running a scope with a larger objective can make up for glass of lesser quality? I won't have a big issue with a larger or heavier scope since it's really only being used at the range - I have good binoculars that serve very well for for field use, since I am seldom glassing animals beyond 200 yards.

#3. If I spend the few extra sheckels to get into something like the Vortex Diamondback, will a 60mm scope do what I'm looking for, or should I be looking at an 80mm objective? (I ask about the Vortex because I've had good luck with their products on rifles and they seem to have a couple offerings that are near the higher end of my desired price range)

#4. For my intended use, is it reasonable to stay within the $250 to $500 range? Do I simply need to suck it up and save some more money to get a scope that will do what I want it to?

#5. Is the a high-value option that I haven't noticed yet? Something that hits a "sweet spot" combining the right size of objective lens and reasonable quality glass?

Thanks in advance folks!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/09/2015 at 13:01
BeltFed View Drop Down
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First of all welcome to the O.T. w squared.

Second, your questions have been asked before. At least I have asked some of them. I'm not the expert here, but I can tell you about my experience.
I tried a $400.00 20-60x80 spotter to see .30cal. holes at 300yds. only to be disappointed, sent it back, and decided to save up for a Vortex Razor, or Kiowa. I stumbled on a deal for a used Pentax PF80 with 20-60 eyepiece. It does the job. Is the best out there; no, but it gets me out there except on hot sunny days, but not much will.

Go back through the spotting scope section and you'll find there is a wealth of information.
Don't forget a good tirpod and head for your scope too. The best scope out there is worthless if it's always moving when your trying to look through it.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/11/2015 at 21:37
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Thanks, Beltfed. I will continue saving some pennies.

Any input from the forum members on the Sightron offerings? I've purchased one of their rifle scopes in the past and I found that it was an exceptional value - does the same hold true for their spotting scope offerings? They are higher than my initial "target" price range, but still less than most of the true HD/ED spotting scopes that I have seen.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/12/2015 at 09:09
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I don't know about their spotting scopes, but I've read good things about their Blue Sky SII binoculars. I think I'm going to try a pair of their SIII Magnesium binoculars. Keep in mind that my requirements for binos are different from my spotting scopes. The Sightron may meet your needs, but then again they may not. The Pentax meets my needs, but just barely. The Vortex Razor was my goal, and I would have felt better it (buy once, cry once), but I couldn't pass up the deal.
You may want to check out the Zen-Ray 20-60x82. I've heard it rates with the Razor.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/09/2016 at 15:51
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Originally posted by BeltFed BeltFed wrote:

I don't know about their spotting scopes, but I've read good things about their Blue Sky SII binoculars. I think I'm going to try a pair of their SIII Magnesium binoculars. Keep in mind that my requirements for binos are different from my spotting scopes. The Sightron may meet your needs, but then again they may not. The Pentax meets my needs, but just barely. The Vortex Razor was my goal, and I would have felt better it (buy once, cry once), but I couldn't pass up the deal.
You may want to check out the Zen-Ray 20-60x82. I've heard it rates with the Razor.


I have to give a +1 for the Blue Sky SII as they're very well built and very light. I have dropped them twice on hard wood floor since I bought them and amazingly they still work fine. The SIII's are next on my list but I'm pretty impressed with the SII's and the price is not too bad either.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/10/2016 at 11:49
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The Pentax is a great spotter for the money.

On glass quality vs objective size: glass quality wins. Every time! For a spotter, get the b at glass you can afford.
And, wisely, avoid anything that says Barska.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/11/2016 at 08:48
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I have some slightly differing thoughts.
 
I don't do any target shooting but I do use spotting scopes almost daily for a variety of demanding activities but most often for birding and occassionally hunting. I have seen some very high performing models at very reasonable prices. That is the beauty of the current sport optics market...high performance has trickled down to reasonable price ranges.
 
Now, having said that the least expensive spotting scope I would suggest you consider is the Theron Optics Saker 60 mm. Excellent optical performance for the price. It is an ED glass scope that performs well above its price point. The straight version sells for around $280. Magnification range is 15-45x.
 
Next would be the Celestron Regal M2 series. They come in three sizes, 65, 80 and 100 mm and all feature ED glass. The 65 mm sells for $409 and the 80 mm for around $580. Both perform well against anything under $1000.
 
Just two that I have had experience with in the past and that are affordable for most folks.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/11/2016 at 10:41
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The Zen-Ray 20-60 ED2.  I principally use it at the range and use a Phone skope with it.  Very convenient setup.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/11/2016 at 11:01
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Years ago I bought a junky Russian el cheapo spotting scope with a 50X top end and it was okay to see bullet holes from the bench.  I wouldn't consider it to be a scope to take hunting, but it was okay to look at a target.  At 100 yards it looked Life-sized!   

I think I paid about $70 for it.  Strictly for looking at bullet holes on a budget....I stuck it on my camera tripod....
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/25/2016 at 15:34
w squared View Drop Down
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Well, it's time for me to wake this thread up again.

I just noticed that SWFA has the Vortex Razor 20-60X85 HD spotting scope as a clearout price. Yes, I know that they have a newer/lighter version of the same scope coming out....but that newly lowered price is very appealing to me. $1200 for glass that is close to alpha quality is sounding very good.

The other thing that I noticed is that they offer a fixed 30X eyepiece with an MOA reticle - that is very appealing to me. In order to get an combo of a useful reticle, that objective size, and the same quality glass I'd be looking at a Leupold Mark 4 20-60X80 at $2400....as opposed to $1450 for the Razor and the eyepiece. Even the 60mm Leupold ends up being a bit more than the Vortex 85mm, and I am fairly sure that the Vortex will outperform it (unless weight and size are a major factor)


So....this is an opportunity to tell me that I am complete putz for considering the purchase of a product that is being discontinued....or for being a Rambo wannabe and wanting the option to run an MOA reticle (shockingly enough, my main purpose for a spotting scope is shooting at long ranges, so there is a bit of method to my madness)

Am I completely out to lunch?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/25/2016 at 15:59
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Picked up one of the Razors when the price dropped. Also added the Mil 30X reticle. Love the scope. Spotting and calling shots using the mil reticle alongside the SS scopes is a dream come true.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/25/2016 at 16:08
w squared View Drop Down
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Yeah....there's going to be an SWFA scope on my RPR in the future. I had honestly planned on upgrading rifle and scope before spotting scope, but I think I may just jump on this and continue to shoot my K31 as I save my pennies.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/26/2016 at 14:26
w squared View Drop Down
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Originally posted by 3_tens 3_tens wrote:

Picked up one of the Razors when the price dropped. Also added the Mil 30X reticle. Love the scope. Spotting and calling shots using the mil reticle alongside the SS scopes is a dream come true.

Where did you find an MRAD eyepiece for it? All that I can find is MOA. Not the end of the world since I have not yet purchased the scope that I ultimately intend to use it next to, but there's a voice in the back of my head saying that mils may be the way to go in this case.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/02/2016 at 04:04
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Originally posted by w squared w squared wrote:

Originally posted by 3_tens 3_tens wrote:

Picked up one of the Razors when the price dropped. Also added the Mil 30X reticle. Love the scope. Spotting and calling shots using the mil reticle alongside the SS scopes is a dream come true.

Where did you find an MRAD eyepiece for it? All that I can find is MOA. Not the end of the world since I have not yet purchased the scope that I ultimately intend to use it next to, but there's a voice in the back of my head saying that mils may be the way to go in this case.

Mils is way better then MRAD in my opinion maybe i prefer it because i have been using it for a while now


Edited by Skylar McMahon - September/02/2016 at 12:44
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/02/2016 at 12:46
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Originally posted by emily emily wrote:

Originally posted by w squared w squared wrote:

Originally posted by 3_tens 3_tens wrote:

Picked up one of the Razors when the price dropped. Also added the Mil 30X reticle. Love the scope. Spotting and calling shots using the mil reticle alongside the SS scopes is a dream come true.

Where did you find an MRAD eyepiece for it? All that I can find is MOA. Not the end of the world since I have not yet purchased the scope that I ultimately intend to use it next to, but there's a voice in the back of my head saying that mils may be the way to go in this case.

Mils is way better then MRAD in my opinion maybe i prefer it because i have been using it for a while now


I agree with Mils(MRAD) being better than MOA?

For me, it is easier to make corrections that are base 10 scaling. I.E. 10,20,30,40, 50, ect...
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/02/2016 at 12:59
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Originally posted by emily emily wrote:

Mils is way better then MRAD in my opinion maybe i prefer it because i have been using it for a while now

??? Mils = Milliradians = MRAD.

All the same thing.

Did you mean MOA rather than MRAD, perhaps?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/02/2016 at 18:11
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Or maybe a lack of understanding the topic.

MOA rules...
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/04/2016 at 01:10
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Originally posted by RifleDude RifleDude wrote:

Originally posted by emily emily wrote:

Mils is way better then MRAD in my opinion maybe i prefer it because i have been using it for a while now

??? Mils = Milliradians = MRAD.

All the same thing.

Did you mean MOA rather than MRAD, perhaps?


No, no, no. I heard the president admiral general Aladeen of Wydia, changed the name to Aladeen adjustments and Aladeen adjustments.

So,


I for one love Aladeen adjustments?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/04/2016 at 10:17
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Originally posted by Kickboxer Kickboxer wrote:

Or maybe a lack of understanding the topic.

MOA rules...

Bease there are only two types of measurement, metric, and people that have been to the moon!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/04/2016 at 19:02
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Okay, two updates.

First, I had to get rather sneaky to find an eyepiece with the MRAD reticle. I was unable to find a single one in the US, so I reached out to a friend in Canada and we found one at a Canadian distributor. As an added bonus, I was able to pay with funny colored Monopoly money. Bandito

Second, I went to the range with the scope today. This is the sort of performance that I was looking for and then some. Conditions were note bad, but not ideal - 92 degrees, typical Houston high humidity, a bit hazy, and with mild mirage.

At 200 yards, I can easily read 30 caliber holes on white and orange paper.

At 300 yards, I can still read 30 caliber holes on white paper. Even when I pushed the range out to almost 400 yards I was still able to make out the 30 cal holes on paper, and "Shoot n See" targets meant that the holes jumped out like the holes in paper at 200.

I'll also say that this spotter provided better resolution, clarity, color fidelity, and overall build quality than anything else I have ever used. I will readily admit that I've never used a true "Tier 1" scope like Swarovski, Zeiss, or Optolyth...so that may be why I'm so impressed.

If the moons align tomorrow I'll be back at the range again, and we'll see how it does at 400 and 600 yards....and maybe I'll even start trying to educate myself at how to pick up bullet trace in a spotting scope if I can convince a friend to join me.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/04/2016 at 19:28
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If the conditions are good,picking up trace is easy. Mirage can make it difficult, but the single biggest factor in seeing it, is being right behind the shooter. I can spot it with my rifle scope while shooting now. Especially if shooting more than 700 yards.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/14/2016 at 12:40
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I am kinda new to this stuff, wasn't sure there was so much info out there. 

Thanks guys 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2016 at 06:06
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Or maybe a lack of understanding the topic.
Thanks guys
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