AMK Sportsman

best spotting scope

Revharvey9576

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I am planning on another WY DIY antelope hunt this year and my 1st backcountry DIY mule deer hunt in the next 2-3yrs. So I am researching what spotting scope to buy....I've only used$ 300 windriver before on antelope and it was useless!

Should I buy Leupold HD Gold ring or Vortex HD???
 

JohnCushman

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Check out the Theron Saker from Predator Optics...he's a sponsor of the site. I bought one and the glass and quality of the scope is more like high end high price point scopes for a fraction of the price.
 

VAspeedgoat

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I have the leupold and love it. Never tried the vortex but people seem to like their stuff. The leupold would certainly do the job for half the cost of some european makers. Try to find some place that carries both scopes and talk them into letting you look through the scopes outside. Dial them up to the highest power and see which one is clearest. Good luck.
 

hank4elk

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I gave my Leupold spotter to a buddy for retirement,when I got my Alpen spotter.
It's way easier on my eyes. Lighter and cheaper too.
Best glass for the $ in my book.
 
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schmalts

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I am planning on another WY DIY antelope hunt this year and my 1st backcountry DIY mule deer hunt in the next 2-3yrs. So I am researching what spotting scope to buy....I've only used$ 300 windriver before on antelope and it was useless!

Should I buy Leupold HD Gold ring or Vortex HD???
You have not given much info, what price range? Objective size?
 

TimeOnTarget

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You have not given much info, what price range? Objective size?


X2,

Good, Great, Best are all very subjective words.

I worked in a sporting goods shop all through college and then a few years longer. After the shop closed up, I was allowed to take whatever optic I wanted outside and look through right at dusk or slightly after.

You will find none better than Swaro, and most don't even compare.

If you want the "best" spotter, be prepared to drop some coin.

BEWARE: once you one 1 piece of high end glass, you will become a glass snob and have to update every piece of glass on every rifle also:D
 

schmalts

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....I've only used$ 300 windriver before on antelope and it was useless!

It is sad you spent $300 on a spotter that was useless:(. that should not be the case. The Saker costs $279.00 and blows most other spotters away for under $500.00 but the money was spent on optics instead of advertisement costs for a company. If you are looking for the Gold ring, I can quote you a price that is way under advertised prices via PM, but would like to get model numbers of the scopes you are interested in first.
 
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Big Billy

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Feb 4, 2015
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I have had the Leupold gold ring 12-40 for 20 years and used it on everything from antelope to Mountain goats and it has served me well.
the only issue was the rubber eye piece split and was fixed by Leupold for no charge, their customer service is excellent. IMHO
 

fowl_minded

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Big Sky Country
you get what you pay for

I have a 20 60 80 swaro.... when I first started looking for a scope I looked through a lot of different pieces of glass. ... this was before vortex and some other brands were real big names. I have had the scope for six or seven years now and love it. I use it for everything from shed hunting to high country hunts. I can't even tell you how many miles this thing has saved my legs because I can judge an animal at much more of a distance. I'm not saying everyone needs to have a 3000 dollar investment in their backpack but my opinion is that in optics you get what you pay for. I have many friends that have bought 300 and 500 dollar scopes and they have ended up buying them more than once because they were not satisfied. Vortex is my recommendation to everyone unless they got the dough and want to pop for a lieca or swaro or something of the sort. Hope this helps
 

TimeOnTarget

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I have a 20 60 80 swaro.... when I first started looking for a scope I looked through a lot of different pieces of glass. ... this was before vortex and some other brands were real big names. I have had the scope for six or seven years now and love it. I use it for everything from shed hunting to high country hunts. I can't even tell you how many miles this thing has saved my legs because I can judge an animal at much more of a distance. I'm not saying everyone needs to have a 3000 dollar investment in their backpack but my opinion is that in optics you get what you pay for. I have many friends that have bought 300 and 500 dollar scopes and they have ended up buying them more than once because they were not satisfied. Vortex is my recommendation to everyone unless they got the dough and want to pop for a lieca or swaro or something of the sort. Hope this helps


I agree. With optics you get what you pay for, even more so than most other items.

I completely agree, My swaro has saved me many many miles.
 

MTborn64

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Jan 7, 2015
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For me the "best" scope needed to fit into a budget. I don't use a spotting scope often enough to justify spending upwards of a grand or better. I ended up buying a Redfield and have been very happy with it. (I have not used it for hunting in 2 years, mostly it goes to and from the rifle range). I must say though I did get to look through a $3000 Swarovski in the field once and I was very impressed.
 

schmalts

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fowl_minded;2420502. I'm not saying everyone needs to have a 3000 dollar investment in their backpack but my opinion is that in optics you get what you pay for. I have many friends that have bought 300 and 500 dollar scopes and they have ended up buying them more than once because they were not satisfied. Vortex is my recommendation to everyone unless they got the dough and want to pop for a lieca or swaro or something of the sort. Hope this helps[/QUOTE said:
Have to disagree that is not always the case. Too many buyers pay money more for a name. In that case you are getting what you pay for, a name. There are lots of bargains out there with very good glass without spending $3000 on a spotter. However, if you want the best of the best then yes that is the case and you need to drop huge coin for that extra tiny bit of performance gain. But if you are spending under $1000.00 you can get burned by buying from some brands because they are marking up Chinese optics far higher than others would. But they have to because they need to make up for all the advertising and marketing costs. I shake my head when I see what some brands are putting for a price on a certain spotter, or binocular when I know where it was made and the factory that makes it, and what it costs.
But, if I took a pair of binoculars that I would market usually $350 and sucker someone into paying me $900 well I guess it may not be such a bad deal... for me;).
 

mixedbag

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Nov 22, 2009
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I got a small field scope from Nikon recently that's pretty nice and got a great deal on them compared to retail.My scope is under 2 lbs and very small in size so it would be great for a backpack hunt for elk or deer or the hard to draw species.I got mine due to size and weight for my style hunting.I've bought some good binos from Schmalts and would recommend you calling him on the phone.I think the one John suggested would do you just fine,and very affordable.I could never justify a swaro unless I live in the west and at that point glass would be as important as my ammo.Doing occasional trips west just doesn't make sense in spending that
Good luck with your choice,and its not easy.A good start would be to call Schmalts first though
 

WRO

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As an optics snob, I'll give you my take.

A cheap spotter is about as useless at tits on a boar hog. The vingetting, loss of clarity at high magnification, and light transmission are all major factors.

I personally have a Swaro STX series with an 85mm lense. I have also used the 65 and 95 mm objectives. It rocks and absolutely blows the competition away. (even the S series). The only scope that I have looked at that is close is the Kowa Proimar 88. Very very nice scope for the money but the resale will be lower.

In the 1900-3000 range, I would look at hard at the S series Swaro and Meopta, Leica, and Zeiss.

The rest of it is just shit from Asia with different wrapper on it.

I've been through 4 spotters in the last 10 years, The full size gold ring, and the compact, Swaro M series HD, and my current scope.
 
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TimeOnTarget

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As an optics snob, I'll give you my take.

A cheap spotter is about as useless at tits on a boar hog. The vingetting, loss of clarity at high magnification, and light transmission are all major factors.

I personally have a Swaro STX series with an 85mm lense. I have also used the 65 and 95 mm objectives. It rocks and absolutely blows the competition away. (even the S series). The only scope that I have looked at that is close is the Kowa Proimar 88. Very very nice scope for the money but the resale will be lower.

In the 1900-3000 range, I would look at hard at the S series Swaro and Mepta, Leica, and Zeiss.

The rest of it is just shit from Asia with different wrapper on it.

I've been through 4 spotter in the last 10 years, The full size gold ring, and the compact, Swaro M series HD, and my current scope.


When you say swaro s series are you referring to the ATS/STS?
 
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WRO

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When you say swaro s series are you referring to the ATS/STS?

Yep, you really can't tell the difference that well in the store, but when you get them out and really stretch the distance (1 mile plus) its quite noticeable.

I will tell you that becoming an optics snob is a very expensive journey..

It starts with one piece of high end glass (nice spotter or binoculars) that you end up using a lot, then all of the rest of your glass is found lacking. Then you something better than the other glass you have and the next thing you know, you have 10K worth of optics that weigh 15 lbs that you pack everywhere..
 
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Gerald Martin

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I don't know what your price point is, but I'll second the Theron Saker from Predator Optics as a great sub $500 option. I am a Leupold rifle scope fan but I'll take my $279 Saker over the Leupold Gold Ring that I've looked through. I've been using mine for at least four years now and it's served me very well.
I would also trust Shmalt's advice as to what the best bang for the buck is.
 
H

hnt4life

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I personally have the swaro stm 65. My first spotter was a lower end Vortex, and I gave it to my dad after my first week out in the breaks with it. I really had a hard time finding something as compact that was in the 60-65 objective range and still had 60x eyepiece. This scope is amazing! All the way from 20-60 power is crisp and clear. I actually started to enjoy hours on end glassing. You are not just paying for a name. You are paying for great glass. Around $1700 for the non HD.
 
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