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Old February 13, 2012, 06:23 PM   #1
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Shopping for a spotting scope?

Not sure where to post this.It can be cornfuseing know where to post.

Anyway,I am looking for a spotting scope and am wondering,what
power I may need to see 45 cal or 30 cal out to 300 yards..

Haven't got a lot of cash to spend on one,but would like one that
is fairly good..I don't think I need one with too much magnafication..

Main issue is to see the 45 cal holes as this rifle is appeture sights..
I can use shoot and see targets I suppose..Most of my targets are
red bull on white,so they should be fairly easy to see,but then again
maybe not to easy..Thanks for all of your expert advice...John
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Old February 14, 2012, 07:29 AM   #2
Bud Helms
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Well, a spotting scope is an accessory.

Moving to Gear & Accys.
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Old February 14, 2012, 11:54 AM   #3
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There is a significant boost in optical quality and power needed to go from 200 yards to 300 yards. You will want an 80mm spotting scope (a high quality 65mm might do, but might not). ED glass would be nice, but pricey.

One good scope option is Celestron (Chinese, rep for good glass); either their Ultima line or perhaps the C90 would probably fit the ticket.
  • I have seen OpticsPlanet run specials on a Celestron combo spotter / tripod that was actually cheaper than just the spotter scope. Keep your eyes open.
  • The Celestrons allow you to change eyepieces, which gives you a LOT of flexibility.
Don't forget the tripod - you want something nice and stable, or every little vibration will ruin your view. A tabletop tripod will probably NOT be sufficient.

You may be able to find a good deal on a used tripod or scope; that could let you scare up better quality equipment for less money.

Most of what little knowledge I have is from an interest in astronomy when younger, and from the OpticsPlanet forums and target shooting FAQ. As you research what you want and find other good sites, please post!
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Old February 14, 2012, 11:01 PM   #4
Tim R
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There are no cheap spotting scopes which will always see 30 cal holes at 300. It will depend on conditions and light. Oh and by the way my $1k Kowa doesn't see holes past 200 yards. I would think 45 cal holes would be no problem at 300.
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Old February 14, 2012, 11:47 PM   #5
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I second the Celestron. I just bought this one. It was a whole $90 from Amazon.

At first I bought a Barska for $80 at Cabela's but it was a piece of crap. There was a sort of line of blurriness from top left to bottom right at all magnifications. And I never could focus it enough to make bullet holes look sharp. So I returned it.

The Celestron is great. I mean, I'm sure a Zeiss or Swarovski or even a good Nikon (which is what I buy for riflescopes) would make it look like junk, but it is clear and bright enough and all magnifications are usable. Eye relief is OK. Tripod is usable if inexpensive. Comes with a soft case and hard case. I can see .30 caliber holes at 100yards on the lowest magnification - easily. I imagine you could see them at 300 yards on higher mag - and it would be crisp.

Look on Amazon and read reviews. This is what I did and the Celestron is a real winner.

I also went ahead and bought a better tabletop tripod (Sony VCT-R100), but it has ended up being about 2 inches too tall to use on the benches at my range. But it was just $30, and it is a good tripod, so I kept it.


Last edited by frumious; February 14, 2012 at 11:55 PM.
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Old February 15, 2012, 05:53 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Tim R
There are no cheap spotting scopes which will always see 30 cal holes at 300
Tim has a good point; the longer the range, the more vulnerable your ability to see bullet holes is to atmospheric conditions. Don't get upset if sometimes your scope won't see what you want every time.

On a budget, the Celestron is one of your best bangs for the buck, but please don't mistake my recommendation for "this scope will see anything at any range, and its cheap too!". For a couple or three hundred bucks, it's among the best new spotters you can get; it's what I would go for at that price point.

As it stands, I saved up and purchased a Pentax 80mm with ED (extra low dispersion) glass and a good zoom eyepiece. That runs north of a grand, but it also gives me the ability for some minor astronomical use, interchangeable eyepieces, and long eye relief. My wife also can use it for birding and viewing landscapes.
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Old February 16, 2012, 11:16 AM   #7
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How does that Pentax PF80 do for spotting holes at 300yds with the Pentax zoom eyepiece? Are seeing conditions/mirage the limiting factors?
Have you tried it with the Pentax fixed XW or XF eyepieces?
I'm considering saving for one to use for spotting at the range, digiscoping and some basic terrestrial and astronomical viewing. It seems like a good "jack of all trades" scope.
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Old February 16, 2012, 10:37 PM   #8
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The Pentax 80mm angled scope does better than most at 300 yards; you are only limited by conditions.

I have not tried any of the fixed power eyepieces; however, I would go with the XWs rather than the XFs. The XFs are oriented toward the 65mm scopes, and are not as bright as the XWs. Most descriptions of the 65mm scope says that the XF eyepieces hold them back compared to other high quality brands; that in itself would lean me toward the XW.

It is an excellent "jack of all trades" scope, and robust to boot. I've been very pleased with it.
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