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Old 12-09-2016, 09:54 PM
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Research done, but need personal opinions!

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Im looking to get a spotting scope for under $500. So far Ive researched the Vanguard Endeavor HD, Nikon Prostaff 5, Leupold SX-1, Celestron Ultima 100, and Celestron Regal M2. The Regal is pushing my budget, but if its THAT much better, we'll see. Id like to see .223 at around the 300yd range, preferably with good eye relief. I dont plan on using it for birding or anything, but IQ is still somewhat important. I know Im asking a lot so...

The reviews Ive read are generally good with all units, but Ive seen complaints of dust in the Vanguard. I dont have access to try them out, and itll be a gift. Tried finding digiscope videos/pics with few results. I was originally leaning heavily toward the Nikon, simply because its a Nikon, but now Im all messed up. I do amateur photography so I know the importance of good glass. Id rather see 200yd clearly than 500yd at a blur. Thanks.
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Old 12-10-2016, 12:07 AM
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Welcome to the shooters forum.

Think its gonna be a struggle finding a spotting scope that does what you are wanting. Have no experience with the ones you listed.
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Old 12-10-2016, 12:14 AM
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Don't take this the wrong way, but you haven't done your research, you collected opinions already. Let's get some terminology straightened out for you, and then get you some help.

Research, is technical testing and numbers. Such as light transmission, exit pupil, etc. Those types of things tell you what is technically better for a given application. It is NOT reading random reviews from unknown baboons online, THAT is opinions from strangers. Which is what you are asking for, and you already have that.

Here is the problem:
You want to "see 223 @ 300". I shoot to a mile with a 14x Primary Arms scope and can see my impacts around the target. Not the holes specifically. Can you? I can't tell you how poor your eyes are or aren't. I have no clue if you know what C.A. is, if you can tell the difference between "Bright" & "Real" sight picture; or which you prefer.

So for real research, you need to either look at technical specs, and just choose. OR, and more preferably, go look through them and decide what you like better for whatever you do with it. If you can't look through one, then it may not be in the running for consideration.

I don't use spotting scopes, just my rifle scopes. But Nikon has good glass/coatings, and always have. Leupold is decent quality, but ALWAYS over-priced.
Beyond that, typically beware of any of the following terms:
HD, Ultra, Gen 2, Next Gen, ultimate, max, or anyone of a billion hip spellings & abbreviations such as razr, scalpel. These people had grandfathers who sat in canvas covered wagons, selling "Elixirs".

"Buy this and your wife won't leave you, unless you hate her then maybe it will make her leave, but it can also help your kids sleep and your hair from falling out. It's gluten free, GMO free, and organic just like the arsenic that's in it, and you morons will pay extra for those buzz words...I mean the curative powers contained herein, for a modest price".

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Last edited by Darkker; 12-10-2016 at 12:16 AM.
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Old 12-10-2016, 05:50 AM
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You really do need to look through them to make a decision. Your eyes, and I literally mean YOUR eyes, will be a big factor in deciding what to buy. I bought a spotting scope two years ago for very informal range use and had no expectations of using it for hunting. I needed one that would allow me to see bullet holes on targets out to two hundred yards. At that time I had early onset, very mild cataracts. This makes it like someone who wants a fantastic sound system but doesn't realize they've lost fifty percent of their mid range hearing. Sometimes buying the best just doesn't pay off. I can tell you that after looking through a lot of spotting scopes I ended up buying the Redfield Rampage, a low end unit which allowed me to do what I wanted to do at a very favorable price. Did it compare to the higher end units costing three to five times as much money? Not really, but it still did what I wanted it to do and after having cataract surgery it's even better. You pretty much get what you pay for in optics. Whether it be spotting scopes, rifle scopes, or binoculars. I'll voluntarily lump myself into the class of "internet baboons" here as mentioned above. All I can offer is an opinion of what I found that worked for me in a budget priced spotting scope. If you're anywhere near a Cabela's store I'd suggest you go and look at several units and decide for yourself. They have a decent selection of units at different price breaks and you can see what works best for you. One other thing: reading reviews is helpful, but always read the worst reviews first. Sometimes there's a nugget of truth in there besides someone just complaining for no valid reason. Good luck.
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Old 12-10-2016, 05:55 AM
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To resolve .2 inch at 300 yards is beyond a spotting scope' capability. Buy a remote video cam and set it up at the target frame.
There is no safe direction to point an unsafe gun.
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Old 12-10-2016, 05:57 AM
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I can tell you that I and a very good friend are both impressed with our Vanguard Endeavour ED binoculars and feel them among the best or the best in their $$ range. Both sets are 10.5x45
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Old 12-10-2016, 08:11 AM
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Get the Nikon or Vortex or Leupold and also get a small and large tripod, both of which you probably already have. If you're like me, you'll also get a vehicle window mount (because I sometimes go to a remote shooting spot and use my truck as a "bench"). If you don't get one of those, get ANY of the others in that price range, but don't get Barska, BSA, or SImmons, or any of the other low-rent scopes. What are you going to see? A clear picture of your groups that you can't see with the naked eye or even binos. The farther out you're trying to see, the more hazey, blurry, and light-refracted picture you'll have. Also, the more interference you'll have from heat waves (light refraction?).

Now, you must decide if you want the viewing lens angled upward. I do and got the Redfield. This way, you don't need the tripod extended as much for viewing. 20-60 x 60mm or 80mm is fine for your price range.

Get the best you can afford. Just stay away from the cheap stuff that might even look good when you look through them in the store, because they won't at the range. At $500, you can get a pretty nice scope - a lot nicer han the one I bought, and it works fine. Don't expect miracles at 300 yards though.
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Old 12-10-2016, 06:42 PM
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Alright guys thanks. Wound up ordering the Nikon 20-60x 82mm for $450 new. Deal was too good to pass up, even for a straight instead of angled. Got a table tripod to make up for it. We'll see if the price is too good to be true...
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Old 12-10-2016, 07:11 PM
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Jmo mind you

As the name SOTTING SCOPE implies I see them primarily for SPOTTING game. On a good day I can see 22 cal holes & the staples holding the target (from a solid bench) @ 200yards with a 24x fixed Leupold rifle scope. What do you 1,000 yard competitors use? I would imagine something of quality would go well beyond 500$.
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Old 12-11-2016, 06:38 AM
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I suppose if the "spot & see" or "dirty bird" type targets are used, 22 shot holes would be visible at 300 yds with a 20X or 30X scope. Mirage is the killer past that range and finding bullet holes out beyond it will probably cause a lot of eye strain!
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Old 12-12-2016, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by nachogrande View Post
What do you 1,000 yard competitors use?
If I ever get out to 1000 yards, I might just try using my kids telescope.
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Old 12-12-2016, 04:38 PM
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A spotting scope is used at 1000 to see the scoring disk first and to see mirage as a wind indicator second. Focus on a wind flag then swing the 'scope around to your shooting lane without refocusing and you'll see how the mirage is 'running' at that range and where your bullet is going to go soon.
There is no safe direction to point an unsafe gun.
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Old 02-14-2017, 06:23 AM
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I have a razor 60x85 I can see 223 at 300 on a clear day, no mirage
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Old 02-14-2017, 09:59 AM
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After a couple months of searching the web and reading the various pros/cons reviews of many scopes, including the Vortex line, settled on a Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 20x60x80 scope. It was on sale for $418 at B&H and was the lowest price for the item to be found. All reviewers praised the optic qualities - only knocks were the chintzy carrying strap rivets on the carrying case.

Just got it last night so really haven't had a chance to do more than setting it up and checking out the optics on the back yard golf course. As far as I have vision (about 600 yds) the clarity and ease of controls really impress me. The older scope is a Minolta 20x50x60 purchased some years ago and also has great glass. Just got the bug to get something a bit more spiffy.

This one is quite hefty at approx. 5 lbs, so a sturdy tripod is definitely a must. It is an angle body with the body mounting ring able to be adjusted for right and left viewing as well as the vertical. The greatest disappointment is the fact it is made in China, whereas all other Bushnell products I've purchased are made in Japan with quality similar to the old Minolta. During the web search a reviewer reported the scope was Japanese made, which is NOT the case. Had I known, would not have purchased. Oh well, live and learn, I suppose.
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Old 03-19-2017, 03:56 PM
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I know I have heard bad things about Barska, But what about the BARSKA Naturescape 15-45x60 Spotting Scope? It does have ED (extra low Dispersion) glass with BAK-4 prisms.
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Old 03-20-2017, 07:18 AM
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A cool addition to an angled spotting scope is a smart phone adapter . With it's added magnification a spotter can record and see your hits way out there. Then you can review the shot and see where it went. My long range competition brothers use these a lot. Even made their own.
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