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  1. #11
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    Agreed,

    Looking at digiscoped pics is a great way to evaluate a digiscoper, but a terrible way to evaluate an optic.

  2. #12
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    Thanks for all the good information coming. Very helpful.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The KOWA spotter I took along last fall was a 20-60x60mm TS-611 model.
    I purchased this spotter ~10 years ago at Camp Perry and it has been used primarily as a range spotter since.
    I believe I gave around $400 for it new, and I have had no complaints until its first hunting trip.

    To get any game images to be clear enough I couldn't use it on 60x, I had to back the power down in order to brighten the picture. I am also quite positive that I could not see anything close to what packmule has posted pictures of from his Swarovski at 1000+ yards. I guess I would consider my spotter a mid range optic and certainly not junk. But it wasn't anywhere close to capable of what I had visions it would be. I can remember thinking things like 'that's a heavy buck, that prong is above the ears, this other buck has longer prongs', but at no time did I ever find myself stating measurements, and I want to say it was because I couldn't see anything well enough to make an educated guess. Part of this I know comes with experience and understand what you're looking at, but another part of this also comes from being able to clearly see what the target looks like to start with.

    Based on whats been said previously, given the proper conditions, the high end spotters will indeed provide images clear and crisp enough to accurately field judge game at long ranges. My next question would be regarding magnification power required at which to do so. Is 45-48X enough? 60x better? 20-30x not sufficient? The analogy I will use is two pencils of slightly different length. If I hold them arms length away its harder to tell the exact difference, but if I hold them up to my face, its very easy to tell a difference. How close is close enough?

    I think the spotter is a piece of equipment that is super valuable to the hunting experience and is often under estimated in importance. Being able to determine at distance if the game is worth the boot miles to pursue could be a huge factor in determining a successful hunt and an enjoyable experience.

    Sure appreciate everyone's input and real life examples. This very much helps put my goals in perspective.

  3. #13
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    Your question asking if 20,40 or 60x is like asking. (your a long range shooter so this should equate) " should I use my .22 with the fixed power 8x bushnell, or should I pull out my 50 cal bmg with my razor 24x with ranging reticle for this 1,000 yard shot?" You previously stated that justifying tons of cash for quality and little use is difficult. It always is. But you also understand that having quality makes the difference in spending a day hiking after something that might be trophy quality, or hiking all day for something that IS trophy quality. Every man alive wants the best they can get, in anything. But narrowing down priorities typically suits ya fine. Optics have come quite a ways since you purchased your kowa. From glass design to lens coatings I think you will be surprised at the modern day alternative. The first place to look from this point is going to be your wallet. If your budget is the 5,6,7 hundred dollar range it may be more beneficial to look at a razor 50mm spotter and quality tripod. I only mention this because your giving a bit to get a bit. If you want clarity,quality and zoom those add up fast! Having quality glass with modern coatings is going to be the ticket to what ails ya. If your budget is a bit higher I think a 65mm will suit you well for distance shooting and hunting. If your in a position to go for the gusto look at the 85 mm. It will leave you wanting nothing, but will add some weight on your stalk for a giant. (Weight I never mind huckin' around the hills is glass weight!)

    Glad your getting your questions answered! Hopefully we can steer ya in the right direction.
    http://www.solooutdoor.com/ Contact me for used optic specials!

  4. #14
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    I like to do the quality testing on the side of I10 on the West side of Houston on a long straightaway during the summer. There's rd heat, high temps/humidity and bad glare off the lighter colored rd surface. Pick out a car's license plate and adjust focus until you can't read it anymore.

  5. #15
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    I'm certainly no expert on optics but I do have some thoughts regarding them. If I forget my binoculars when I go deer or elk hunting I feel naked. If I don't have my spotting scope when I hunt antelope I feel like I'm wasting my time. That being said I can''t afford what I want so I've made do with relatively inexpensive optics and have done just fine. In the past I've done a lot of horseback hunts and was only interested in a spotting scope that could be stuffed in a normal size saddle bag so big expensive scopes didn't interest me at all.

    When hunting antelope, experience in judging size is more important than the scope you use. As an example, I once hunted antelope and didn't see anything I wanted until the 5th day. I watched as a couple of hunters on a neighboring ranch drove into a field and shot an antelope. Another antelope that was within gun range of them ran off the property and on to my side of the fence where I then got a good look at him. I put the stalk on him and two hours later he was mine and he's in the all time book. Learn to judge the horn length to within 1/2'". Ninety percent of the bucks you'll see are 12"-13" dinks. Use them to help your judging. 14" is an okay antelope. 15s and 16s are good ones and they live in every unit in WY. Prongs are easy to judge, mass is difficult. Long horns look skinny, short horns look fat. Straight horns look long. Curved tips add a lot of length. Wide antelope are never as big as they look. Prongs curving in are good. Prongs that flare out look big. In post rut, lots of tips and prongs are broke. Look for a big black face.

    Often times the heat waves are so bad when antelope hunting that it doesn't matter what you've got, everything's a blur. I know I'm in the minority but I'm not a high power freak and I'm content with only 8x binos over 10x. My first spotting scope was a 20x Leupold I now have a 15 - 30x Leupold and wish I still had my old scope. An old outfitter friend of mine guided 100 sheep hunters to success including Jack O'Connor and his wife. He used a 20x Leupold and told me he never needed anything more powerful. His binos were 7 or 8x Zeiss or Swarovsky. I really like Leupold products and their warranty service (second to none) but don't buy the Leupold 15-30 like I have, I don't like it.

    If I had enough cash to purchase 1 really good piece of optics equipment I would spend it on binoculars. You'll use them 10 or 20 times more than a spotting scope even when antelope hunting. Make sure you have a window mount for your spotting scope.

    Spend as much as you can afford.

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  7. #16
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    Based on the great information shared on this thread, I am zeroing in on the Vortex Razor HD line.
    I think the 85mm version is bigger than what I need/want.

    For those with experience with the 65mm and 50mm version, please share your thoughts/reviews.

    16-48x65mm seems like a good middle ground of size/weight/performance.
    11-33x50mm looks really appealing. I love the compactness.

    Have heard back that some folks feel 30-35x is the 'sweet spot' in optical magnification.
    If thats true, then maybe the 11-33x is the way to go. Thoughts?

    Pretty well set on an angled eye piece, as I feel its probably more comfortable for longer periods of time, and it will also dual purpose for my competitive shooting interests.

    The 50mm has a fixed tripod mount, the 65mm has an adjustable mount. What kind of tripods do you all use? Is the fixed mounting location a hinderance? I can see an eyepiece 'cant' being a desireable feature for comfort over long periods.

  8. #17
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    I know of very very few people who ever utilize the "cant" feature on a spotter. It makes it very confusing when trying to locate an object if the scope is canted. Between the 50 and 65 debate i think you would need to spend a few moments behind a 50 to make sure its right for you. It has a pretty narrow field of view. I could never get use to a 50 and its designed for a niche of folks who utilize the minimalist mentality. There are a few advantages. But not enough to be beneficial at a bench while shooting.
    http://www.solooutdoor.com/ Contact me for used optic specials!

  9. #18
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    I use the tripod collar on my angled spotter frequently when i am at the range. I can set it up on the bench to easily view through when shooting. I also use it very often when using a window mount antelope hunting.

    As far as the 50mm, I agree with hardstalk that you should check it out first, but can't agree about the FOV. It actually has the widest angular FOV of the three Razors. What it lacks is magnification and resolution potential compared to the larger scopes.

    I have a 50mm Razor right now and I think it is the class of the 50mm spotters. I still think the 65mm would be the better choice for most people though.

    The "sweet spot" magnification range you speak of is hogwash, IMO, as different magnifications have their uses, and where an eyepiece is optimized is dependent of the particular eyepiece's design.

  10. #19
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    cycloneshooter,
    I have the 65 mm Razor and really like it. It packs well and has plenty of magnification and resolution for me. I use the Promaster 525 carbon tripod with the Promaster pan head. This tripod packs down small and is light, but more than stable enough for the 65 mm spotter. The head is pretty good too, but there are others out there smoother and better I'm sure.
    As far as the magnification 'sweet spot', I find myself using that range of magnification more often than the higher power settings, unless the atmospheric conditions are ideal. If the conditions aren't really good, the image can lose sharpness and can get a bit darker at the max magnification setting. It goes back to the discussion of atmospheric conditions and image quality I guess.
    I think you would be happy with the 65 mm Razor.

    Good Luck

 

 

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