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Sub $500 Spot Scope

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/27/2010 at 18:17
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I admit it.  I didn't quite appreciate all of the ancillary gear necessary to actively get involved in medium-long range shooting.  Went to the range with my new .308 supporting an SS 3-9 and my buddy with a pair of touristy looking binocs.  No surprise that we couldn't see bullet holes beyond about 50 yards.  Not to mention we probably looked pretty silly.  Anyway, need to add a decent spotting scope to the arsenal and for the sake of my marriage I really need to keep it under $500.  If possible I'd like to be able to see 30 cal. holes at 300, but that's probably wishful thinking at that price.  Beyond 300 the range only has steel targets.  Wanted to see what everybody/anybody thought of the 3 below.  If you have any other suggestions I'd welcome those too.  Thanks.

Alpen 20-60x80
http://www.competitor.net/alpen-20-60x80mm-waterproof-angled-spotting-scope-tripod-case-788kit.html
Bushnell 20-60x80 Legend HD
http://www.competitor.net/bushnell-legend-ultra-hd-20-60x80-45-degree-spotting-scope-786081ed.html
Vortex 20-60x80 Skyline

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/27/2010 at 18:18
surfhawk View Drop Down
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Link for the Skyline
http://www.competitor.net/vortex-skyline-20-60x80mm-angled-spotting-scope-skl-80a.html
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/27/2010 at 19:32
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To go up to 60 power the glass must be a really good one. I am happy with my Leupold Sequoia. Have you looked at any of the Leupolds?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/27/2010 at 22:13
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Not yet.  I'll check them out.  What's the max distance that you can pick out bullet holes with the Leup?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/28/2010 at 07:21
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Surfhawk, as you can see the forum automatically omitted the name of the vendor you posted from.  SWFA provides this forum for use but it is against the rules (#3) to link, or try to link, to an outside, competing, vender.  SWFA has a 110% low price guarantee and they front the bill for this site's upkeep.  Please follow the rules and good luck on your quest for a good spotter.
 
SWFA
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/28/2010 at 09:08
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Originally posted by surfhawk surfhawk wrote:

Not yet.  I'll check them out.  What's the max distance that you can pick out bullet holes with the Leup?
I do see holes at 300 for sure. Beyond that I shoot steel. There are a whole bunch under $500 so I understand the choice is not easy...
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/28/2010 at 10:11
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Originally posted by SVT_Tactical SVT_Tactical wrote:

Surfhawk, as you can see the forum automatically omitted the name of the vendor you posted from.  SWFA provides this forum for use but it is against the rules (#3) to link, or try to link, to an outside, competing, vender.  SWFA has a 110% low price guarantee and they front the bill for this site's upkeep.  Please follow the rules and good luck on your quest for a good spotter.
 
SWFA

My mistake.  Ouch  Obviously I missed that rule.  Only used links from that vendor because they seem to have the most detailed info on the products they carry.  Since I was asking a question specific to certain products I thought it would be helpful if I could provide as much easily accessible info as possible.  Didn't even think about it from the other angle.  Again, my mistake.  Thanks SVT for pointing it out in a civil manner.  I will go forth and sin more.  At least not this specific sin.Wink    
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/28/2010 at 10:12
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NO problem.  again good luck with the search.  I have no real useful knowledge on spotters or binos so i will leave that to the pros.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/28/2010 at 10:29
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I'd go with good glass first, then worry about magnification. For example, I can put my my scope @ 15X with it's premium glass and see bullet holes @ 300 yards. But it's very hard to pick them out with the crappy refurb spotter that I have @ 36X. Problem is, most of the good glass is also in large-objective scopes now (60-80mm). So next best thing for your budget is to go with something like the Vortex 20-60X80 Skyline. I've used one that a friend has and it will do quite well out to 300-400 yards. Beyond that, mirage often comes into play, messing with even the best optics.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/28/2010 at 13:42
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I also like the Vortex Skyline in this price range.

However, I would look closely at the Celestron Regal ED line, as they are getting rave reviews from guys that know their stuff!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/28/2010 at 14:44
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Surfhawk, I can recommend the Celestron Regal 80F-ED very highly. I just received mine last Friday and took it to the range for the first time today. No problem at all seeing .223 holes at 220-230 yards, which is the max I have available. I never got above 40x and the temp was ~85 degrees, but always a very sharp, clear image. I'm guessing .223 would have been visible at 300 yards.

It was just over $500 delivered to my door--around $530 IIRC--but well worth the extra few bucks. When I checked for mine, SWFA did not carry them, but they are readily available.

I also have an Alpen 788 which does very well for a non-ED scope. It was around $380 delivered.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/28/2010 at 16:18
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Originally posted by jonoMT jonoMT wrote:

So next best thing for your budget is to go with something like the Vortex 20-60X80 Skyline. I've used one that a friend has and it will do quite well out to 300-400 yards. 

Jono - was that the ED or non-ED version?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/28/2010 at 20:04
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It gets complicated and frustrating reading product reviews from consumers.  One guy says he can see a nat at 1000 yards on 15x and another says everything past 200 is blurry.  How do you know if any of these people know how to use the gear?  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/28/2010 at 20:18
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Originally posted by surfhawk surfhawk wrote:

It gets complicated and frustrating reading product reviews from consumers.  One guy says he can see a nat at 1000 yards on 15x and another says everything past 200 is blurry.  How do you know if any of these people know how to use the gear?  


Are you referring to the answers you got to your original question in this thread or to product "reviews" on online sellers' web sites?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/28/2010 at 20:25
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Originally posted by onfinal onfinal wrote:

Originally posted by surfhawk surfhawk wrote:

It gets complicated and frustrating reading product reviews from consumers.  One guy says he can see a nat at 1000 yards on 15x and another says everything past 200 is blurry.  How do you know if any of these people know how to use the gear?  


Are you referring to the answers you got to your original question in this thread or to product "reviews" on online sellers' web sites?

Wasn't referring to the answers I'm getting here.  I'm just assuming that anyone taking the time to answer my question has a fair amount of experience.  The reviews on sellers websites is another story.    
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/28/2010 at 20:37
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These lines come from our well respected optics pro, Mr Koshkin.
 

60mm:

Bushnell Excursion FLP 15-45x60.  This is a pretty decent spotter.  The first production run last year seemed to have some QC problems, but the spotters that were working properly offered pretty good performance for the money.  This is also the cheapest decent spotter you can get with a ranging reticle.

 

80mm:

Conditional recommendation: Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 20-60x80.  I only saw this spotter briefly, but it seemed to be a decent scope for $400.

Hearsay recommendation: I heard that Alpen 20-60x80 spotter is quite good, but I have not seen it myself.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2010 at 14:29
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Ended up getting the Alpen 788 with a Manfrotto Bogen tripod.  Thanks onfinal for your recommendation and lucytuma for passing on Mr. Koshkin's hearsay recommend.  Those along with some very detailed and effusively positive reviews based on tests done by a couple birding groups helped me decide.  One where it soundly beat the Legend HD and one of the Vortex scopes.  (I'm assuming that birders are every bit as demanding of their optics as shooters).  Thanks to everyone who took the time to weigh in.     
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/11/2010 at 04:27
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Originally posted by WestOfPecos WestOfPecos wrote:

Originally posted by jonoMT jonoMT wrote:

So next best thing for your budget is to go with something like the Vortex 20-60X80 Skyline. I've used one that a friend has and it will do quite well out to 300-400 yards. 

Jono - was that the ED or non-ED version?

It is non-ED.
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