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Discussion Starter #1
Whats your favorites? Ever notice how many pictures of game animals have the "Golden Ring" scope?
I like Leupold scopes. Can't beat the eye relief. I also have a B&L Elite 3200 3x9. The eye relief isn't as nice as the Leuold though. The B&L is brighter . Recently sent a Leupold in to have it checked out and it was back to me in 2 weeks. That's service.
My spotting scope is a B&L Elite 15x45x60. I love it, real clear, waterproof, and didn't cost a fortune.
My Bino's are Pentax 8x40's, the waterproof model. Their all right, but some day I'll own a set of Leica's.
 

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Beartooth Regular
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I've always had good results with the fixed power Redfields and Weavers I've used. I never had one internally fog or develop leaks in the rain.
 

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Binos

I just got a set of the Pentax 8x42 DCF-WP. Two visits to the dealer, comparing Zeiss Victory and Classic, Leica, Nikon Venturers, Kahles and Swarovski in the 8x40 class. The Swaros were the best, bar none. They were on sale for $1270. They are also 8.5x44mm, so that accounts for much of the minor clarity over the others. They are also very bright. Many criticize the Swaros as not the best, but it was obvious to me they stand above the rest.

The Venturers and Leicas were excellent, but not quite as good as the Swaros. Nice, rugged, well built though. The Zeiss followed, then Kahles.

The surprise was the Pentax. Wow. It matches the Nikon Venturer and Leicas in performance and runs only $369 (they have a $100 rebate running on top of that!). At $270, they are simply amazing. A total sleeper. I almost bought the Swaros, but came to my senses.

These are all top of the line goggles, so the differences aren't that big. If you've got a set of Leicas (I have two), or Kahles, great. You aren't going to miss anything in the field because you didn't get the Swaros. It's a very small difference. The top drawer goggles are generally built tough, which counts for a lot, too. I highly recommend you compare the Pentax DCF-WPs to the best.

For a hunting spotter, it's hard to beat the Leupold GR 12-40 60mm. It's compact and has excellent optics (probably best for waterproof), and it's tough.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The Pentax 8x42 DCF-WP are the ones I have. The complaints I have about them are the eyecups and the edge of the field of view. The eyecups just look cheap. The edge of the field of view is a little blurry. But your right, they are a great set of glasses, especially when you consider the price. I bought mine when they first came out and spent 450. They are lot more affordable now. I've used them 4 times in Alaska and have no complaints about durability.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I also think the B&L Discoverers are nice. They are Phase-coated now and I really like how they fit my face. Look very well built.
 

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Leupold

For rifle scopes, all of my rifles now wear Leupold's. In the past I've had Swarovski, Zeiss and Nikon. I've shot friend's rifles that wore Weaver, Baush & Lomb, Tasco, Redfield and Kahles. The European scopes are very high quality and there is no doubt of brightness, clarity and effectiveness. But, Zeiss, Swarovski and Kahles (at least the the versions I've tried) were considerably heavier, bulkier and had a bit less eye relief than Leupold. The Vari-XIII that Leupold makes are as clear and bright for all practical purposes as the Europeans and aren't as heavy or bulky. I haven't used any of the Target or Varmit scopes, so I can't speak about those. Comparable power ranges (my rifles wear the 1.5-5, 1.75-6 and 2.5-8 VariX-III's) I believe because of weight, overall size, clarity and brightness that the Leupold series are better HUNTING scopes. I suppose it would not matter as much if you predominately hunt from a stand or have a short walk, but for still-hunting and spot-stalk hunting, Leupold stands alone as far as I'm concerned. The larger scopes tend to change the handling characteristics of the rifle itself and make my use of it less effective. The other American manufacture scopes don't add as much weight, and I have not tested all the brands out there, but I'm completely satisfied with Leupold and have never had any problems with them. I haven't found another scope that has the qualities of clarity, brightness, eye relief and overall handling characteristics that Leupold brings to the table. Though I try to protect my rifles pretty well during the hunts and don't abuse them, they have been banged around after I've taken a fall and have been exposed to some of the wettest conditions imaginable. I've carried them when temperature changed from the high 60's down to the teens in an afternoon. I've never had one to fog up or malfunction in any way.

I have carried Leupold scope rifles for 20 years and as long as they don't change their quality, I'll continue to use them.

As for binoculars, I do carry a very old pair of Swarovski 8x that are lightweight and amazingly clear. They are a bit heavier than some other brands, but I haven't found another pair that provides less eye strain. I use an older Leupold spotting scope that has also served me very well.
 

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Don't short your Pens. I was really disappointed by the diff between the Leicas and the Pentax. I really couldn't detect any. To prove, bring your Pens to a store and pick up the latest leicas and "pan" a scene. (Be prepared for the smirking clerk).

The Swaro ELs did elict lust, but they're nearly 5x as costly! Binos are tools. Ones I usually break, lose or have stolen fairly regularly.

There's a decent website for birdwatchers that discusses good glass (www.betterviewdesired.com). The guy is convincing, but I've since discovered that his comments, as everyone's, are individual and after my own tests, I don't agree with all his findings. But, it's a good starting point as he positions the field well.

Optics have really changed in the past 4 or so years; lining them up and trying them side by side is the only way to figure out what's best for you. After reading up a lot, I thought I knew what I wanted -- and was completely wrong. The "taste test" really sorted them out.

Regarding the power of "labels," I showed the Pens to my Dad and he pulled out his 25 yr old Leica 8x32s for comparison. The Pens, back to back, we're obviously clearer, brighter, sharper, etc. - about what you'd expect with that much time. "Amazing isn't it?" Dad said as he took them from his face, "those Pentaxs are almost as good." ...Yea, Dad.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I agree with you about the Pentax glass. There excellent for the money. I know that Better view has them rated as the Best in class, and as Best Buy. For most of my uses they work great. The only time I've found them wanting is in Alaska. It's not uncommon to spend 6 to 7 hours glassing. I know, that sounds like a "Fish Story", but that's how we hunt up there. Climb to the top of ridge and glass. Every drainage and willow patch that you can see. I'm not the spotter my brother is, but I have spotted Moose and Bears 3 to 4 miles away. Anyway what I'm getting at is that after that amount of time behind the glass, you'll know where every imperfection in the glass is. My brother has a 20 year old pair of Swaro's that are incredible. The ability to pick out an antler at 4 miles is real, and they are brighter. They also are twice the money. 1000 clams is out of my league for now. That's almost 2 plane tickets:cool: to go chase those long haired pigs across the Tundra, because you know...(see note at bottom;) )
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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This has been interesting, especially about the binoculars.

Rifles -

Win M70 .30-06, 2.5x8 VX-III. Couldn't trade me out of this combo for anything.

Ruger 77 .257 Rob, 3.5x10 Vx-III. Prarie dogs, pigs, & deer, one combination that really does it all with light recoil.

Ruger 77 .338 Win Mag, 3x9 VX-II. Good enough to spotlight pigs at night, and that's plenty of a test for any optics.

Marlin 336, .35 Rem, 2x7 VX-II. Same comments as .338.

Mark X mauser, .458 Win Mag, 1.5x5 VX-III. Wouldn't give up the 5+ inches of eye relief if you held the gun to my head!

Used to have a 6.5x20 VX-III on a custom .22-250. Traded it for the 1.5x5 and some Warne rings & bases. Kinda fun to crank it up, but not the best in indoor ranges. Have an old steel-tube K-10 Weaver to put back on that gun. 40mm objective isn't really enough for 20x.

.22's - I used 4x and 6x Leupold scopes that have been sent back to the factory and adjusted to be parallax-free at 50 yards. Got tired of chasing zero around on cheap .22 scopes. Probably saved enough in ammo not re-sighting to pay for the scopes! They aren't too bad used, usually $100-$125 or a little more.

An extra 2.5x Leupold, and several 4x's, as spares.

Now you're gonna laugh.

With all the money I've spent on scopes, binoculars are an inexpensive pair of Bushness 8x compact, I think 26mm objectives. About $125 or so if I recall. And they have really proven themselves! Funny story, when I bought them the power went off in the gunstore briefly. During that time, I aimed several different brands back to the dark parts of the store, to check out the light transmission & picture. These were just great. I think that with cheaper stuff, sometimes you get a good one and sometimes not. The situation let me pick a good one.

Now they're NOT something that you'd want to use to glass all day. But so far they've been just fine for what I do, mostly stand hunting and low-light conditions at short ranges (pigs).

Good comments so far. I've learned a lot. My opinion for anyone looking to buy a new scope is that the Leupold's new low end line is tough to beat. 3x9 for $200 from several mail-order places, you just can't go wrong with that.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
When I sent my Vari X ll in I asked the service person about the new Vari X l. He told me that they are the exact same scope as the old Vari X ll. The new Vari X ll are "click" adjustable and are coated with better coating. Well you know which one this poorboy's buying;) .
 

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I have to agree with the Leupold votes here. I use M8 4X and VX-II 2-7 on the .308 and 30-06 and a VX-II 3-9 on the .223 when I'm not using the peeps. They have decent optical quality, good eye relief, are durable and lightweight. I especially like lightweight!
I use an old Redfield 20X spotting scope, got it because it was the only one I could find at the time that was waterproof. I don't think it has phase corrected optics because it has a somewhat hazy view. Very clear, but not much contrast compared to really good spotters. But again, it's waterproof and durable and didn't cost an arm and a leg.
Binocs are Burris 8X40. Excellent quality, my only complaint is they are heavy. Great for glassing pronghorns, kind of a drag in the steep hills!

ID
 

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I have a Leupold var-xIII 1.5x - 5x scope mounted on my M700 Classic .35 Whelen. While at the range for a final sight check 3 weeks before my hunting trip I accidently twisted the upper turret off of the scope! I sent it to Leupold to have it repaired and selected another rifle for the trip. Two weeks later the scope shows up completely repaired at no charge! Re-sighted it in and off we went! That's what I call service! I've had other scopes repaired by the maker free of charge but I've never had better service than from Leupold. Every one of my rifles wears a golden ring scope! CEJ.
 

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Most any will do - so long as it has a gold ring...

Actually i had good luck with a tasco on a light shooting .243 but the others all wear gold.


Eric
 

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KAHLES - 6x42 with duplex reticule. I have 3 of these on my hunting rifles. The otics are brilliant, adjustments perfect and will last forever with the heavy steel tube. Ecer wonder why you rarely see them second hand???
 

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Hey Guys,

Seems to be a Leupold fan club!! I've got an old Redfield Model 3200 in 16x on my 25-06 heavy barrel, but when buying a new scope over the past fifteen years have gone to the Leupold. I just bought the Vari-X III in 1.5 x5 for my wife's rifle. It was the lightest low power I could find at 9 ounces.

Lobo in W.Va.
 

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My Leupold vari-X IIs have served me well for over 25 years. Never a problem. I recently purchased a Simmons Whitetail 6.5-20 because it was too cheap to pass up. Haven't mounted it yet, though. It'll probably go on a varmint gun.
 

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I've really got only two "good" scopes.
The first, an old (1966) Weaver K4 60c that is excellent! I just had it rebuilt by Weaver, the whole upgrade was about $60.00 and it is like new. It sits on my Winchester model 100 in .308 and it makes a good combination.

The second is a Nikon Buckmasters 3x9 50mm that I got from Cabelas. It was a "demo" and I got it for a song!!!! Very clear optics, great workmanship.

Another to consider is the Valdada. www.valdada.com A friend has one on his 700 and the quality is outstanding!
 

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Best Price for Leupold

There are many merchants that sell Leupold scopes but which one(s) has/have the lowest price? I'll even consider a refurb.

Thanks,
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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If you can stand to buy used, check the gun shows & check e-bay.

I think that I have only bought a couple of scopes brand-spanking-new.
 
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