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Thread: Spotting Scopes: Cheap for <=300 Yards Work

  1. #1
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    Spotting Scopes: Cheap for <=300 Yards Work

    We poor hillbillies have short ranges. What's a cheap spotting scope that makes it easy to identify .22-sized holes at 300 yards?

    I'd like to spend $250, but would spend $500. My Viper HS can do double duty at 14x up to 200 yards, but doesn't help beyond that.

    Thanks for your help.
    Last edited by murfvol; 02-11-2018 at 07:58 PM.

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    Bloodstained brian y's Avatar
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    Leupold SX-1 Ventana 2 Spotting Scope 20-60x 80mm you can find them for sale right around $500 and will do the job you want.

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    Thanks Brian! That turned up in a search or two, and seems a good option for simple use.

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    Quote Originally Posted by murfvol View Post
    Thanks Brian! That turned up in a search or two, and seems a good option for simple use.
    murf:

    And you won't see .556 holes at 300 with one. You probably won't see them at 200 unless the background is light in color and the sun happens to be shining on the background.

    I have a Kowa that will run you about $1500 or more these days. Given absolutely ideal light and environmental conditions, I can see 5.56 holes at 200. You won't see .556 holes at 300. In fact, you can barely see 6.5 and .30 cal holes -- unless the sun is shining on the backstop. And if there is any mirage blowing, you won't see them. I use Shoot N See targets at 300 and have used them at 600 but unless the conditions are ideal you won't see .30 cal holes with them at 600 either.

    If your backstop is very light in color and you are shooting at a black bullseye, and the sun is on the backstop, and you have very little wind, and very little mirage, then the Leupold in question has a decent chance at 200. It has almost no chance at 300.

    Some things FYI about spotting scopes for marksmanship purposes.

    You wil find that the ideal magnification ranges are between about 20 and 30 X. Go over 30X and any wind will move the scope enough to make it useless for spotting. I think 20X is not enough so would get a fixed magnification of between 25 and 30 X.

    A straight eye piece is far more difficult to get behind when in position than an angled eye piece. Get an angled eyepiece.

    Get a optic and eyepiece that is water proof.

    60 - 80 mm objective is plenty. No need for anything greater and less than 60 you won't take in enough sun.

    The big issue with spotters is them staying steady in wind. In this case, heavier is better. Also, a scope stand that uses a trigger type of adjustment is way better than turning knobs to move the scope.

    Get some Shoot N See targets for your 200 and 300 work. Maybe 600 too but that depends on the conditions. I could barely make out some of the shots on a shoot n see at 600 with my Kowa due to mirage. I am sure that if you are in a desert and shooting in no wind, then you will have better results.

    When you see a spotter you like, test it before you buy it. Don't think that just because you can easily read a street sign a block away means you will see 5.56 holes at 200, let alone 300. You need to be able to return the thing when you find out it doesn't meet your needs.

    LR55

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    Thanks LR55! That information is super useful, and will end up making a few folks at work poorer, but happier.

    There's an optics-buying binge in my group for some reason.

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    Quote Originally Posted by murfvol View Post
    Thanks LR55! That information is super useful, and will end up making a few folks at work poorer, but happier.

    There's an optics-buying binge in my group for some reason.
    murf:

    Forgot one other thing. Get a long eye relief eyepiece. This is not a 'nice to have' but a 'must have' feature.

    LR55

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    Much appreciated. That was not on my radar.

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    Quote Originally Posted by murfvol View Post
    I'd like to spend $250, but would spend $500.
    Quote Originally Posted by LR1955 View Post
    Get a long eye relief eyepiece. This is not a 'nice to have' but a 'must have' feature.

    LR55
    Doing a little research on this I found that a popular mod to the Celestron Ultima scopes is the Baader Hyperion MK III zoom eyepiece. Comments I have read identify the eyepiece as the weakest link in budget scopes and this upgrade puts the Celestron up there with much more expensive scopes. Only thing is, I paid around $150 for the Ultima 80 a couple years ago and the Baader eyepiece usually goes for $289. Sounds silly at first but if the end result is a scope that outperforms other that sell in the sub $500 category, it might be worth looking into.

    Edit: As I'm reading more about this there may be an inexpensive adapter needed to help the Baader eyepiece focus at infinity, if I understand it correctly. I'm at work right now so I'll have to look into this a little more tonight
    Last edited by kcb38; 02-13-2018 at 07:08 PM.
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    Hmm, it doesn't seem that the Baader eyepiece gives you any longer eye relief...
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    Quote Originally Posted by kcb38 View Post
    Hmm, it doesn't seem that the Baader eyepiece gives you any longer eye relief...
    kcb:

    If it is a short eye relief eyepiece, good luck is all I can say.

    However, understand the conditions in which I use a spotting scope. When in position for High Power competition and when coaching shooters. This is mostly outdoors and rarely in decent weather.

    For those who wonder why I advise a LER eyepiece for spotting scopes (Short eye relief for a rifle is plain stupid). Short eye relief eyepieces for spotting scopes mean you will probably hit the eyepiece with your eye when trying to get close enough to see a full field of view. Then you wait for the scope to stop moving and try again. Unless it is cold and wet. In which case the heat from your face effectively fogs the outside of the eyepiece. So you bring some toilet paper and providing it didn't get soaked, you wipe the eye piece off, and wait for the optic to stop moving so you can bump it and fog it again with your eye.

    Most of this is solved by keeping your eye and face away from the eyepiece. However, I have fogged the eyepiece of LER spotters too in particularly nasty conditions -- rain / snow mix and hail. Its just a whole lot easier to use a LER eyepiece with a spotting scope.

    LR55

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    I understand the advantage of the longer eye relief and I was somewhat disappointed to read that it's 20 mm for the Baader eyepiece vs 32 for the Celestron LER EP. Still though, I think that's on the longer side for standard EPs. I wonder how serviceable it might be?
    Last edited by kcb38; 02-14-2018 at 03:14 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kcb38 View Post
    I understand the advantage of the longer eye relief and I was somewhat disappointed to read that it's 20 mm for the Baader eyepiece vs 32 for the Celestron LER EP. Still though, I think that's on the longer side for standard EPs. I wonder how serviceable it might be?
    kcb:

    I don't really know but I would opt for the longest eye relief I could find in the magnification I want. With optics, I go for the features I want over price. And what I want and know will work will be in the $1500.00 - $2500.00 range these days.

    I got a Celestron vari X spotter some years ago and it is a solid thing. Angled eye piece and water proof. SER. I did note with the Celestron that it in no way provided as clear and sharp an image as my Kowa. Not even close. Good for 100 yards and closer. Not good enough to read mirage or see bullet trace unless the lighting was exceptionally good. Solid, water proof, angled eyepiece. Biggest downfall was SER. Had to touch my eye to the eye cup to get a full field of view. Very frustrating. Gave it away to a fellow shooter whose only needs are 50 meters with .22 LR.

    I have a old M-49 scope whose glass I had replaced about 20 years ago. 20X, SER, and M-49's are not waterproof. It is twice as clear as that Celestron. Clear enough for High Power as long as it doesn't rain or get real cloudy, and if you want to crank your head around to see through it in the prone. Straight eyepieces are about useless for anything except standing or bench rest.

    I know that you can get decent spotters for about $1K these days but unfortunately, I have not see ones that I would buy for under about $1500 anymore. Kind of upsetting because with automation these days you would think the prices would come down.

    LR55

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    LR, do you know if anyone makes an adapter that would have a cable mounted camera that would / could attach to a spotter and then connect to a phone as a USB thing for display?

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    Quote Originally Posted by just_john View Post
    LR, do you know if anyone makes an adapter that would have a cable mounted camera that would / could attach to a spotter and then connect to a phone as a USB thing for display?
    JJ:

    You are talking to the wrong guy when it comes to these types of things. I never had the need for such a device so never looked into them.

    If I were in your shoes, I would contact the company that makes your spotting scope and ask them.

    May want to look at some outdoors places like REI or Cabellas for example.

    It would be pretty cool to have, say, a lap top or I Pad type of device laying next to you with a big screen taking in the view from your spotting scope. I doubt you could dope wind off of it but it would be way easier looking at a screen from a couple of feet than staring through a eyepiece. There is only so long a observer can stay on a spotting scope. Even a good spotting scope, a minute is probably max before he has to come off the scope and look at something else for a few seconds. Very tiring.

    LR55

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    Quote Originally Posted by just_john View Post
    LR, do you know if anyone makes an adapter that would have a cable mounted camera that would / could attach to a spotter and then connect to a phone as a USB thing for display?
    Start here for Phone Skope. There are other companies that also make adapters, etc....

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