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Searching for a better spotting scope

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james r chapman
CrankyThunder
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bruce martindale
CO1Mtn
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Searching for a better spotting scope Empty Searching for a better spotting scope

Post by CO1Mtn 9/11/2021, 7:01 pm

I want to upgrade my spotting scope to be able to see .22 holes better at 50 yards, since all I shoot is rimfire. I have a Bushnell Competitor 20 power with 40mm objective lens (20x40). It's just not cutting it and I need a little more zoom. I need something that can fit inside my Gun-Ho pistol box. I don't know if it's possible to get something higher quality that will fit in there, though. Seems to me if I go with a scope that is too much stronger, it won't fit in the box anymore.

Can someone please give me some advice as to what scope might work better than what I have?
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Post by bruce martindale 9/11/2021, 7:08 pm

Bigger objective lenses will admit more light. I have a garden variety 50 in a 20 to something zoom (which I don't use because it reduces eye clearance and seems dimmer.

I was considering the Champions Choice 60 mm version for under $200 but with optics, you mght get what you pay for. Better glass admits more light you seek.

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Post by CO1Mtn 9/11/2021, 7:49 pm

The alternative is that I simply start using a rifle spotting scope on a small tripod. I could set it up to my right hand side, with the pistol box being on the left as usual. I might have to go that route.
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Post by DaveT2R6 9/11/2021, 8:28 pm

I have been happy with a barska 18-36 that fits in my Gun-Ho 4 gun box.  I don’t keep big stuff under the gun tray. It’s not top of the line glass but I can see 22 holes at 50 yards so it fits my needs. Angled eye piece is a nice touch.  Bought it years ago, this looks to be the current model. 

https://www.barska.com/18-36x50-wp-blackhawk-spotting-scope-angled.html

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Post by zanemoseley 9/11/2021, 10:40 pm

I love my Vortex Razor 11-33x50mm angled eyepiece scope, it's what I would consider a mid price scope but depends on your budget. Seeing 22 holes at 50 yards takes some clarity and good light transmission. That comes from larger objectives and clearer glass. We can only fit up to certain objectives in our boxes, usually 50-60mm, then you gotta decide how much you wanna pay for good glass.

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Post by xman 9/12/2021, 1:40 am

https://www.opticsplanet.com/hawke-sport-optics-nature-trek-9-27x56-spotting-scope.html

This a GREAT scope. Good mag, large obj. All I shoot is .22 also. No problems at all in just about ANY lighting conditions. If you cant see some holes, just boost the mag and tweak the focus. Fantastic eye relief.

VERY compact. Fits my 3 gun Gun Ho box perfectly. Free returns if it is not the right one.. but it will be.
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Post by CrankyThunder 9/12/2021, 7:15 am

Hey CO1Mtn:

I recently moved and found myself at quite a number of new ranges shooting various matches, indoor and out, 50 foot to 50 yards, some with good lighting, some times at dusk, and other times with our trucks lined up behind the shooting line with the brights on to illuminate the targets downrange.  I quickly grew dissatisfied with my ancient Champions Choice angled spotter and began a quest to find the best spotter for the bullseye shooter that will fit into a gun box with the brackets on the lid.  

My requirements were that it has to be angled eyepiece, it has to rotate in the mount for convenience, and I have to be able to see 22 caliber holes at 50 yards under the illumination of a Ford Explorer with a dyeing battery at idle (bright beams).  

Seeing how I was (am) going to up to 4 different bullseye matches a week, I was able to inspect quite a number of spotters, and was able to try all of them at my home range at night with the aforementioned Ford Explorer.  

First thing I was able to determine was that to fit in a pistol box, the spotters objective lens has to be 50 mm or less, it just will not fit and still be attached to the lid.  So I started concentrating on any scope I could borrow and see how they performed. 

Second thing that I determined was that there is not a 50 mm spotter that I was satisfied with, there are a couple that were almost good enough as long as there were no doubles or triples in the black of the target, they were almost good but left me wanting something better.  And I tried them all, even if they did not have a rotating eyepiece, the NG, the new Champion Choice, a Nikon, a Vortex, A celestron, a Minox, you name it, if it was 50 mm or less I tried it.  Took advantage of cameraland new york's liberal return policy and sampled spotters that were 50 mm that cost upwards of $1,000.00.  Simply put, a 50 mm spotter is not good enough for the requirements that I have, it just does not exist.  

Granted, I am a optics snob and have the pleasure to own some of the nicest glass available so if I peer through a spotter and see a dull image, i am rather disappointed. 

So then I expanded my search to 60 and 60 mm spotters.  In the basement I have a Kowa 602 which I had been comparing all the 50 mm spotters against and the only reason that I did not put that in the box is that it does not rotate in its mount.  A rifle shooter at our local gun club had a Nikon 60 MM ED fieldscope  for sale, and he allowed me to borrow it to try out on my home range with the good old Ford Explorer.  It worked, matter of fact, the image that this scope projects is superior to the KOWA 60 mm spotter and compares favorably to my Athlon Cronus 85mm spotter which delivers a Brilliant and Breathtaking image every time I use it.  The Nikon came with a 20x eyepiece along with a 40x, 60x, and a 15-45x variable.  I use the 20x for bullseye because the 40x is too shakey on most bullseye shooting benches.  

I store the Nikon in my box, although it resides "upstairs" next to the Pardini.  it will not fit in the lower shelf.  

In summary, the Nikon ED Fieldscope is big, is heavy, and I do not care how big it is or how heavy it is because of the image it projects.  If you are interested in the Nikon Fieldscope, there is a big difference between the "ED" model and the "Non ED" model. 

Regards, 
George
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Post by CrankyThunder 9/12/2021, 7:22 am

Another thing that I found out was that eye relief varies considerably from scope to scope.  Some spotters eye relief is so short, using it with glasses or safey glasses is impossible.  This is especially true with the variable power eyepieces and is something that you need to watch out for.  the Fixed 20 power eyepiece on the Nikon ED Fieldscope is just about perfect.  

Regards, 
Crankster
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Post by james r chapman 9/12/2021, 7:29 am

Eye relief is an excellent point!
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Post by CR10X 9/12/2021, 8:04 am

Not as picky as "Cranky", but generally the Kowa 501 20X will get the job done and is not too big.  I've got 2 of them.  

I've never found perfection in a scope yet (fit in box, eye relief, ability to rotate, seeing .22 holes in near darkness, and a PRICE I can live with) so the 501 was the best compromise.  It does not rotate, but the Hebard mount takes care of my position needs pretty well. 

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Post by SteveT 9/12/2021, 9:12 am

Magnification alone will not let you see 22 holes. 20x with good quality glass will be better than higher magnification with poor glass. 

A larger objective will let more light in making shots in the black with poor lighting easier to see.

Any of the cheap scopes with be a crap shoot. You might get lucky and get some good glass, but a top brand is more likely to be clear.

If you really want to be sure you can always see 22 holes, a top brand rifle scope with a fixed 20 or 25 power eyepiece like a Kowa 82 or 88 depending on budget is the best solution.

If it's allowed on your range a target camera may be a better solution, but I've heard mixed reports about them.
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Post by troystaten 9/12/2021, 12:01 pm

I have a Minox 15x30x60 and it is a very nice scope and not too big.

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Post by RodJ 9/12/2021, 3:11 pm

I got an old Japan-made bushnell sentry fixed 20x power 50mm and can see 22 holes in daylight outdoors. Have not tried it in lower light. But it was $79 used on eBay. The eye relief is not great but it’s okay and I wear glasses. It’s an offset straight tube. Fits in an old Pachmayr box that I also got on eBay.

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