Cheap(er) spotting scopes

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Merlin
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Cheap(er) spotting scopes

Post by Merlin »

I have been using a Meopta and it's a great 60mm spotter ...but I want something different. Looked at a bunch of reviews and Celestron comes up pretty frequently as one of the top two or three lower/mid range spotting scopes. I might should say economy range as the 80mm Ultima is to be had at less than $200.00 at a number of places. You can get a Celestron 100mm for <375.00. I don't want to spend a ton on a scope that doesn't need to see holes at a thousand yards.

Please give me thoughts - good and bad.......
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Re: Cheap(er) spotting scopes

Post by atomicbrh »

What are you going to do with the "cheap" spotting scope?
Spot smallbore and centerfire silhouette matches or just see holes in paper on general range days?
That would help people answer your question.
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Merlin
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Re: Cheap(er) spotting scopes

Post by Merlin »

A little short with my wants list ... Thanks.

I shoot smallbore and HP Silhouette and play some with target shooting out to 300. Would also use it for all rifle divisions of lever action in practice and practice matches where we don't disallow it per the "real" rulebook. I looked at the 100mm scope and it weights 7 #. A real hog for sure but I would think that with even a fair set of lenses it would gather a bunch of light and should be really clear...

Of course my 60mm Meopta will read the fine print on an NRA small bore target at 50 yards so I am not sure that even if the 80mm Celestron is 15 years newer than my Meopta it would out resolve the Meopta...... Scopes and lenses have drastically improved in the last decade or two.... Look through a modern set of mid range ($200.00) binoculars compared to a set that cost $1,000,00 10 years ago.

I guess I'm just not satisfied unless I am trying to figure out something else I just absolutely must have to be happy...... :roll:
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"Merlin..Your'e a rimfire whore." God

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Re: Cheap(er) spotting scopes

Post by atomicbrh »

Merlin, you have made me curious about the 100 mm Celestron.
It would be beneficial to make a side by side comparison on the firing line with the spotting scopes in common use for silhouette to see which one might have a better image while experiencing changes in light and mirage. Also since safety glasses are required, extended eye relief is an important feature.
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Merlin
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Re: Cheap(er) spotting scopes

Post by Merlin »

Well I have now spent a few hours reading all kinds of information regarding the different things needed to make a truly great spotting scope. I now realize that I certainly would like to have a great spotting scope but I sure don't need one. Generalizations are generally something that come back to bite you on the ass butt..... (got in a couple there didn't I) My "needs" - not necessarily wants - is to be able to see bullet holes - in average atmospheric conditions free of excessive haze or mirage to 2 or maybe 3 hundred yards and clearly see bullet strikes on steel targets and (maybe) vapor trails out to 500 meters.

Still not quite to the point of pulling the trigger but I don't think I will be spending over 4-5 hundred for my choice.

Still plenty of time for you who have different opinions to tell me why I am a dumbass for thinking as I am now.

For those of you who know me please limit yourself to a single "because you are", if you please. ;)
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Re: Cheap(er) spotting scopes

Post by atomicbrh »

Amazon has the Celestron. 100mm with the 45 degree body on special for $239.99. Amazon was calling it a black Friday sale but now they are calling it a cyber Monday sale. Free shipping if you are a prime member. Over 700 reviews for you to read. Many complaints about chromatic aberration and coarse focus adjustment. A high quality UV filter might take care of the ca but that would add to your total cost and I am not seeing a lot of 100mm UV filters out there.
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Re: Cheap(er) spotting scopes

Post by acorneau »

I don't have any personal experience with any of these but I'll toss them out there for you to consider...

Vortex has a pretty good reputation and seems to be a popular option that comes up over and over.

Champion's Choice sells the Konus 100mm 20-60X for $350 and a Vanguard 80mm 20-60X for $400.

Good luck with your search.
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Re: Cheap(er) spotting scopes

Post by pdeal »

It's been a while but I went down this road myself. I used to coach a jr rifle club and so I was always looking for a real nice spotting scope for cheap. I was not impressed with the lesser spotting scopes. They are hit and miss as far as quality goes. The image is generally mediocre. I wound up buying a Kowa TSN-1 (77mm obj, 25 long eye relief eyepiece) used. These are sort of old news these days. I just did a check on ebay and looked at completed auctions and they generally go for $250-450. This is the angled eye piece model. The TSN-2 I think is straight. I suggest watching for one of these. The image is super, the quality is super. The 25x long eye relief eye piece is the one to have.
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Re: Cheap(er) spotting scopes

Post by Hawkeye7br »

I think the high power shooters (conventional, not silo) would be the ones to ask. seeing a bullet splash on a black target is one thing. Seeing a bullet hole in a piece of paper, especially a black bull or on a black scoring ring is much more difficult. I've tried spotting 6mm holes in a light green target with a Leupold 20x and while it can be done, it doesn't fall in the budget category.
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Re: Cheap(er) spotting scopes

Post by thauglor »

Cmp has a TS-501-20x for $294 new. Look up reviews, I don't have it.

I have a celestron 20-60x80 and it's nice but I regret not getting the slightly more expensive konus version that has the head that can rotate. My celestron does well for silhouette, I will eventually upgrade.
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Re: Cheap(er) spotting scopes

Post by Rsnatch »

I spent a great deal of time on the same search earlier this year. I wanted a spotting scope to use both for spotting smallbore silhouette and for PRS, which in my area goes out to 800 yards shooting steel plates (that do not get repainted).

I started with the Vortex Diamondback 20-60x60. Despite the outstanding reputation of Vortex, I wasn't impressed with the clarity or brightness of it, so I returned it. It didn't feel like a $400 product. I dropped down in price to the Zhumell 20-60x80, and it was hazy, and viewing targets at 300 was difficult. Returned it.

I want to point out that I am very hesitant to return products purchased online, so the fact that I did doesn't say much for the two products...

During this time, I began seeing raving posts about Athlon Optics, so I checked out their Talos 20-60x80. I bought it, and I haven't looked back. It's not going to hang with $1000 spotters, but it undoubtedly provided a better image than the Vortex, at a third of the cost. ($130 at Midway right now). I can see vapor trails with it at PRS matches and can easily spot smallbore silhouette. Although, I can't recall how well bullet holes on paper appeared at 300 yards.

Soon after that I began searching for a PRS Scope and called Athlon Optics directly. I talked to a guy named Jeff and told him what I was looking for. I mentioned how impressed I was with their Talos spotting scope. He chuckled and and although I don't remember his exact words, I remember taking away the notion that the Talos spotting scope isn't supposed stop be as nice as it is in its price range.

https://athlonoptics.com/product/talos- ... ing-scope/

I've since bought two of their riflescopes (Midas Tac and Ares BTR).
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Re: Cheap(er) spotting scopes

Post by Merlin »

You consider this scope to be equal/better to a 60mm Vortex? I have looked through a Vortex Diamondback and thought it was really nice. That's really nice info.
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Re: Cheap(er) spotting scopes

Post by ywltzucanrknrl »

I shot a bit of NRA, CMP across the course matches and used a Kowa TSN-1 and a Celestron---but I don't remember the model, plus an inexpensive Apline. The Kowa was the best scope of the three. But just for clarification, highpower XTC is four stages---OH @ 200, Sitting rapid @ 200, Prone rapid @ 300 and Prone slow @ 600. The only two stages that most shooters look for bullet holes are the two rapid fire stages and typically you are glancing (not spending much time on the scope) to see if your first two shots before magazine change are in the center. Depending on the rifle range and the direction of the sun, I could see holes @ 200 with the Kowa and generally see holes @ 300 with the Kowa---with the Alpine and the Celestron it was hit and miss and mostly miss. The OH stage and 600 yard slow fire stage use pulled targets with spotters, so you don't really need a good scope to see a 2" or 4" spotter or even bright orange golf tees @ 600---but I could easily see the spotters with all three scopes. Now with e targets and optics allowed on the rifle, I don't even use a spotting scope.
If you can get a Kowa TSN-1 for around $250, I would recommend one---mine was quite a bit more expensive than that when I bought it, I think I paid north of $500 used. The Apline and Celestron were scopes with similar objective diameter to the Kowa and were variable power, the Kowa was a fixed 25 or 27X. For around $100 the Alpine was a bargain---I still have it----I gave the Kowa to my son and sold the Celestron. These were all scopes acquired/made since 2005---so fairly recent models. They were all good scopes and worth the money. The birders and butterfly folks seem to know optics---I used to visit some of those sites for reviews when I was looking for spotting scopes.
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Merlin
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Re: Cheap(er) spotting scopes

Post by Merlin »

I read and listened until smoke started coming from my left ear then ordered a Celestron 100mm, To my house for 209.00. If it doesn't work out I will try for something else...

Thanks to all for the great response.
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"Merlin..Your'e a rimfire whore." God

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Re: Cheap(er) spotting scopes

Post by atomicbrh »

Do not forget to give us your opinion of it, once you put it through the paces. That was a good price to the door.
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