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  #1  
Old 11-16-2014, 12:57 AM
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Default $400 Spotting Scope - Help Me Choose

Hey everyone, I'm looking to get my first spotting scope. I recently picked up a Remington Model Seven in .300 SAUM that should be accurate past 500 yards, but I don't plan on shooting (or spotting) anything past that distance. For the most part I'll likely be shooting paper at 100-300 yards with either my new .300 caliber or my AR in .223, so the goal here is to be able to see .223 or .300 on paper at 300 yards. I'd like to be able to go further, but my eyes (and budget) won't really allow it. I will help myself by shooting at "shoot-n-c" targets.

I really don't know too much about spotting scopes. I used one for the first time a few weeks ago at the range... It was a piece of junk. I decided then that it was time to make the investment in a "decent" scope. Unfortunately by budget is around $400.

So, as I do with most purchases, I took to the Internet to see reviews on Amazon and Optics Planet. Here are the four that had the best reviews on OP. Let me know your thoughts. Oh, and I may be able to find better prices, but for now I just want opinions on each of these scopes or any other scopes in this price range that you think I should look at.

(these are in no particular order)

Bushnell 20-60 x80 45 Degree Legend Ultra HD Spotting Scope, Black, ED Glass

Leupold SX-1 Ventana 20-60x80mm Angled Spotting Scope

Celestron Ultima 100 Angled Spotting Scope, 22-66x100 Zoom

Alpen 20-60x80 Waterproof Straight Micro Adjust Spotting Scope




Thanks everyone!


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  #2  
Old 11-16-2014, 6:36 AM
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  #3  
Old 11-16-2014, 7:07 AM
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Old 11-16-2014, 7:07 AM
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Put that money into decent rifle scope (Leupold VX-3 for example) and you'll be able to see the holes without a separate spotting scope.
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Old 11-16-2014, 7:51 AM
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Thanks for all the "replies"

(1) I have a nice Leupold on the gun.
(2) You guys can "subscribe" to a thread without having to reply "tagged"

Anybody have any opinions about the above spotting scopes or others in the $400 price range that I should be looking at?
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  #6  
Old 11-16-2014, 8:52 AM
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This is a good value:

http://www.opticsplanet.com/celestro...ing-scope.html

I have an 80ED and it's a great scope. Warranty is unmatched...if you drop the thing and break it, they will fix/replace.

I'm pretty sure OP will put a 10-15% code up before too long.
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Old 11-16-2014, 8:53 AM
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BTW...a rifle scope does NOT take the place of a spotting scope.
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Old 11-16-2014, 9:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdben92883 View Post
BTW...a rifle scope does NOT take the place of a spotting scope.

----- +1
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  #9  
Old 11-16-2014, 10:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiRTY DOG View Post
Put that money into decent rifle scope (Leupold VX-3 for example) and you'll be able to see the holes without a separate spotting scope.
Says the guy that only shoots at 100y with too much magnification. :P
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  #10  
Old 11-16-2014, 11:24 AM
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*tagged = sorry, I can't help, but I'm interested as well

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  #11  
Old 11-16-2014, 6:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdben92883 View Post
BTW...a rifle scope does NOT take the place of a spotting scope.
Agreed... That's the reason I started this thread.

Appreciate the input about the Celesteon, I'll check it out. Do you have anything to compare the Celestron to?

-Scott
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  #12  
Old 11-16-2014, 8:42 PM
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Not really. I actually have the 100ED and only used an inexpensive Burris prior to that. Apple and orange. They seem to have gone up in price. I don't remember paying more than $600 for the 100ED. The warranty is what got me to pull the trigger. The Celestron makes for good low-power astronomy as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scbauer View Post
Agreed... That's the reason I started this thread.

Appreciate the input about the Celesteon, I'll check it out. Do you have anything to compare the Celestron to?

-Scott
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  #13  
Old 11-16-2014, 11:55 PM
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I cant give you a comparison to the others but I use the Alpen 20-60x80 but with the angled eyepiece.

So far its been a great scope. Zoom and focus controls are nice and smooth, optics did meet my expectations for a scope in this price range.

The spotter does get an occasional beating and has not presented a single issue.
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  #14  
Old 11-17-2014, 3:34 PM
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You may want to take a look at the Leupold Golden Ring http://www.opticsplanet.com/leupold-...ing-scope.html. It's a Leupold product so you know it's great quality and has an awesome warranty.

Mike C
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  #15  
Old 11-17-2014, 4:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OpticsPlanet View Post
You may want to take a look at the Leupold Golden Ring http://www.opticsplanet.com/leupold-...ing-scope.html. It's a Leupold product so you know it's great quality and has an awesome warranty.

Mike C
What would you recommend for 500 Yards, .308 Holes - obviously more expensive
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Old 11-17-2014, 6:33 PM
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Quote:
You may want to take a look at the Leupold Golden Ring http://www.opticsplanet.com/leupold-...ing-scope.html. It's a Leupold product so you know it's great quality and has an awesome warranty.

Mike C
Is that going to be good enough for .22 holes at 300 yards? Seems like awfully low magnification for that, even with Shoot-n-c.
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  #17  
Old 11-17-2014, 6:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunborder View Post
Is that going to be good enough for .22 holes at 300 yards? Seems like awfully low magnification for that, even with Shoot-n-c.
I haven't specifically used that spotter... but with the optics I use, I have no problems at all seeing 22 cal holes at 300 yards @ 20x magnification when using a high contrast target.
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  #18  
Old 11-17-2014, 7:30 PM
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I'm not much help I use fifty year old Leica spotting scope, but it's just super clear I can see my little .17 holes at 150 yards no problem, I bought it in Japan while on a cruise paid good money back then and well worth it buy quality won't let you down.
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  #19  
Old 11-17-2014, 9:56 PM
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Appreciate the input everyone! Keep it coming!


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  #20  
Old 11-18-2014, 8:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarhead View Post
What would you recommend for 500 Yards, .308 Holes - obviously more expensive
Hi Jarhead,

At 500 yards, you're going to be pushing the limits of a spotting scope's range, but something is definitely doable. More money also isn't a requirement. You might want to check out the Vortex Diamondback 20-60x80, http://http://www.opticsplanet.com/v...ing-scope.html
Vortex has great products too, and their VIP warranty is great. I know i mention warranties a lot, but they will pay off in dividends down the road. You don't get a tripod with the scope, but paying $500 for an optic worth a lot more and putting it on whichever tripod you want (you can cheap out on that one if you want to) is a better option, IMO. Hope this helps!

Mike C
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  #21  
Old 11-18-2014, 8:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunborder View Post
Is that going to be good enough for .22 holes at 300 yards? Seems like awfully low magnification for that, even with Shoot-n-c.

Hi Sunborder,

You may want to get a bit more magnification for .22s at 300 yards. If you're looking to stay around $500 too, you might want to take a look at a reply I just sent to Jarhead. I think the same spotting scope would work for both of your applications. I suggested the Vortex Diamondback 20-60x80. Starting with a higher magnification will give you a little more flexibility shooting a smaller caliber at longer ranges, and the 20x won't be too much for spotting shots dialed in a bit closer. Here's the URL to the scope that I'm talking about: http://www.opticsplanet.com/vortex-d...ing-scope.html.

Hope this helps!

Mike C
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  #22  
Old 11-18-2014, 4:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OpticsPlanet View Post
Hi Jarhead,

At 500 yards, you're going to be pushing the limits of a spotting scope's range, but something is definitely doable. More money also isn't a requirement. You might want to check out the Vortex Diamondback 20-60x80, http://http://www.opticsplanet.com/v...ing-scope.html
Vortex has great products too, and their VIP warranty is great. I know i mention warranties a lot, but they will pay off in dividends down the road. You don't get a tripod with the scope, but paying $500 for an optic worth a lot more and putting it on whichever tripod you want (you can cheap out on that one if you want to) is a better option, IMO. Hope this helps!

Mike C
How much of an upgrade is the Diamondback over a Konusport 80 ( 20-60 )?
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Old 11-18-2014, 9:28 PM
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If your target is ground level like most ranges, spending $5000 isn't even going to cut through mirage and past 200y mirage can be a real big problem. If your target is higher than you the effects of mirage are less but still there.

Seeing your holes at 500y is probably unrealistic. Shoot at steel so you hear your hits. Use a spotter to see your splash and help get you on the steel. Even cheaper spotting scopes can do that.
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Old 11-20-2014, 4:37 PM
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Thanks, still would like to know if the Vortex Diamondback 20 X 60 X 80 is superior to the Konusport 20 X 60 X 80, I am currently using the Konusport but am willing to upgrade especially per that price.
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Old 11-21-2014, 9:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiRTY DOG View Post
Put that money into decent rifle scope (Leupold VX-3 for example) and you'll be able to see the holes without a separate spotting scope.
^this^
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  #26  
Old 11-21-2014, 9:27 AM
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^this^
I have a Nightforce, US Optics, Leupold MK4 and Bushnell DMR on my LR Rifles ( all superior to Leupold VXIII ) and that is " decent " Glass ...............BUT my question is on Spotting Scopes because I am looking to upgrade over my Konusport
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Old 11-21-2014, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarhead View Post
I have a Nightforce, US Optics, Leupold MK4 and Bushnell DMR on my LR Rifles ( all superior to Leupold VXIII ) and that is " decent " Glass ...............BUT my question is on Spotting Scopes because I am looking to upgrade over my Konusport
If you are used to using rifle scopes which are of high quality... and don't have a problem making an investment into a good spotter, then I highly recommend the Vortex Razor HD 20-60x85.

http://www.vortexoptics.com/product/...spotting-scope

Eventually you can add a ranging eyepiece... a feature not found on many of the cheaper scopes.

http://www.vortexoptics.com/product/...anging-reticle
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Old 11-21-2014, 4:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ExtremeX View Post
If you are used to using rifle scopes which are of high quality... and don't have a problem making an investment into a good spotter, then I highly recommend the Vortex Razor HD 20-60x85.

http://www.vortexoptics.com/product/...spotting-scope

Eventually you can add a ranging eyepiece... a feature not found on many of the cheaper scopes.

http://www.vortexoptics.com/product/...anging-reticle
Thanks but if I'm going that high I was leaning toward a KOWA but this Vortex Diamondback caught my attention ........so my question

http://www.jarheadtop.com/KOWA.htm
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  #29  
Old 11-22-2014, 10:10 AM
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I have a Bushnell HD spotter and really like it. Not sure if Leupold quality hasn't dropped off somewhat since reading this: http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/s...d.php?t=983459
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Old 11-24-2014, 5:20 PM
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I bought a large telescope for use as a spotting scope . Unfortunately it didnt work as I had hoped . It made a poor spotting scope .

maybe check out scopes in use at your favorite public range, most shooters are happy to share their experiences .
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  #31  
Old 11-24-2014, 10:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scbauer View Post
the goal here is to be able to see .223 or .300 on paper at 300 yards. I'd like to be able to go further, but my eyes (and budget) won't really allow it. I will help myself by shooting at "shoot-n-c" targets.

[...]
(these are in no particular order)

Bushnell 20-60 x80 45 Degree Legend Ultra HD Spotting Scope, Black, ED Glass
Leupold SX-1 Ventana 20-60x80mm Angled Spotting Scope
Celestron Ultima 100 Angled Spotting Scope, 22-66x100 Zoom
Alpen 20-60x80 Waterproof Straight Micro Adjust Spotting Scope
Pretty reasonable question.

In my opinion the best of those four for your stated purpose will be the Bushnell. With shoot'n'c's you won't need more than about 20 power, but you will need decent glass, and for range duties angled eyepieces are just plain better. The Bushnell also happens to be the most expensive out of those four. You tend to get what you pay for with optics.

Without shoot'n'c's you may not be able to see smallbore holes at 300 with any scope in this price range. Depends on targets and lighting, field conditions and your eyesight, but that's just life...

The spotter I use is the 15-30 x 50 Leupold Golden Ring, the slightly bigger sister of the 10-20 x 40 mentioned in the thread. It's quality glass and has enough magnification to get the job done. However, it's a straight body... my decision was motivated by ruggedness and form factor as much as optical performance. I needed a spotter I could pack into the field, and that's what it does best. At the range, it works fine but I'd really rather have an angled scope. Someday I guess I'll have to get another one.

As for riflescopes doubling as spotting scopes, been there, tried that, not really a good idea. OP is asking the right question and making reasonable trades. Hope you find one you like -- report back once you've made the decision!
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Old 11-24-2014, 10:33 PM
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Thanks rocketman, I appreciate the honesty. I went shooting this weekend and had a cheap spoting scope and it was useless past 100 yards. My Leupole riflescope (VX-II 4-12x40 AO) was much easier to see at 100 yards. On the other hand, my riflescope was not very useful past 200 yards.

I was able to hit and see paper (Shoot-N-See) at 100 & 150 yards. I didn't get a chance to shoot 300+/- yards, just 150.

Bottom line, in order to see out to 300 yards, I've decided I need some good glass. I'm leaning towards the Bushnell or a 15-30x50 Leupold Gold Ring.

What do you guys think?

-Scott
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Old 11-25-2014, 4:42 AM
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Leupold Gold Ring 15X30X50 vs Vortex Diamondback 20X60X80

Anyone looked through both?
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Old 11-25-2014, 7:54 PM
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The Vortex will have a better image than the Leupold, and has the option of an angled body.

The advantage of the Leupold is that it weighs under a pound -- one third the weight of the Vortex -- even though it's quite well armored. I can literally carry mine in a belt pouch, about the size and weight of an old-school cell phone, and thread it onto a walking stick in lieu of a tripod. It's a good match to my compact rangefinder and lightweight binoculars.

When hiking, ounces are pounds. Shooting from the bench is a whole different ballgame.
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Old 11-26-2014, 4:56 AM
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I have that Leupold for my back pack but using the Konusport on the Bench, looks like I will upgrade to the Vortex Diamondback for the Bench though, pass on the Konusport
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  #36  
Old 11-26-2014, 7:12 AM
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I've always preferred straight bodied scopes for working off a bench. Angled would work better when prone, but I can make my straight work depending on shooting angle.

A good tripod is just as important and can make all the difference.
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Old 12-03-2014, 10:56 AM
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Nikon Buckmaster is prob. all you need inside 500. M308 w. BDC 800 is what I run, but it is $545 retail and vertical accuracy outside 500 is questionable anyway.
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Old 12-03-2014, 1:44 PM
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I have a celestron regal 65hd 16-48 and a vortex razor 85mm. 95% of the time I use the celestron unless I really need the extra mag on the vortex. I can see 6.5mm holes at 400 yds with the celestron. I also like the compact size of the celestron.
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Old 12-04-2014, 7:13 AM
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I love all the Vortex equipment that I have
Best bang for the buck


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  #40  
Old 12-04-2014, 7:35 AM
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I just picked this one up @ Camofire.com

BRUNTON ETERNA MID SIZE SPOTTING SCOPE Color: Black , Pattern: Straight, Size: 20-45X62mm, 1 $577.99

I have not had it to the range but have played with it in the neighborhood.....I think it would probably be suitable for your application.
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