Budget spotting scope (Read 1811 times)

Neesh

Budget spotting scope
« on: January 23, 2022, 12:30:44 AM »
Hey guys,  went to the range recently after 3 years and really noticed how much my eyes had aged since.  Now I'm interested in picking up a budget spotting scope that'll help with seeing where I am on paper vs waiting for the all clear to check targets. What's your recommendation for something affordable as I don't frequent the range that often but planning on taking my grown kids for some range time with their new toys from Christmas. I've been eying out the Athalon Talos at under $150 but debating if I should spend the coin on a leupold sx2 at $399....any input is much appreciated

aaronc5362

Re: Budget spotting scope
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2022, 08:28:09 AM »
Hey guys,  went to the range recently after 3 years and really noticed how much my eyes had aged since.  Now I'm interested in picking up a budget spotting scope that'll help with seeing where I am on paper vs waiting for the all clear to check targets. What's your recommendation for something affordable as I don't frequent the range that often but planning on taking my grown kids for some range time with their new toys from Christmas. I've been eying out the Athalon Talos at under $150 but debating if I should spend the coin on a leupold sx2 at $399....any input is much appreciated

Are you just wanting a spotting scope for kokohead?

If so, it get a budget vortex scope. Atleast 3-9x40. Under 150 bucks. Or a good set of binos. 10x42 should be good for 100 yards. I jave 10x32 vortex binos and I can see the 100 yards

ren

Re: Budget spotting scope
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2022, 08:44:58 AM »
Don't bother with binos. A spotter with a large objective will trump magnification power. I went from a Kowa to a Konus - not that the Konus was better but cheaper and the difference was enough to settle for. Loved Kowas but I kept breaking it (my fault) but Kowa kept fixing it.
https://ads.midwayusa.com/product/1021665764?pid=858716&utm_medium=shopping&utm_source=bing&utm_campaign=Optics+-+Spotting+Scopes&utm_content=858716&cm_mmc=pf_ci_bing-_-Optics+-+Spotting+Scopes-_-Konus-_-858716&msclkid=3a0854102096180d837b35fd81309ec5&utm_term=4584894776053421

Another feature for a good shooting spotter scope is a 45 degree eyepiece - it will save your neck from tiring.

Most of the Leupold spotters I've tried had a short eye relief. I think the gold standard of spotting scopes at this time are the Kowa TSN-82SV http://www.kowa-prominar.com/product/spottingscope/tsn82sv.html if you want something to compare to.
On a related note, set up your shooting position first then set up your spotter around your shooting position so you aren't changing your shooting position when you want to spot a shot. Generally, the spotter is right next to or above your support arm and all you have to do is tilt your head to spot. Like this:


« Last Edit: January 23, 2022, 08:55:51 AM by ren »
Deeds Not Words

Neesh

Re: Budget spotting scope
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2022, 11:02:29 AM »
Thanks guys...
Yes only use is for kokohead....will be using it when I spot for the kids or solo when I go by myself so I like the idea from the photos Ren.
The konus was actually in my cart at palmetto mainly because I liked the price and to be honest, I know zero about these so thanks for the recommendations!

drck1000

Re: Budget spotting scope
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2022, 11:38:55 AM »
Good recommendations already. However, what caliber will you be shooting? And what type of targets?  Shooting 22 on paper is different than say centerfire on the shoot-n-see/splatter type targets.

If you may use other than the range, consider the overall size. Size kinda matters  :P

On mag, 20-60 isn’t necessarily “better” than say 15-45.

While I’m very much a buy once, cry once, I certainly appreciate quality for the money. A buddy has an Athlon spotter and it’s super clear. Not sure which model, but it’s higher than the Talos. For the money, I like Konus and Vortex as well.

I have tried 10x binos, even higher end ones. I think ok for pistol range and somewhat ok for seeing if you have hits on the rifle range, it’s tough(er). Stability to see the smaller calibers are best suited for a spotting scope.

Neesh

Re: Budget spotting scope
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2022, 12:51:39 PM »
Good point...we'll be shooting 22lr and 556 on the rifle side and 9mm/22lr on the pistol side. I should learn from you as I tend to go cheap at first and then end up spending more later as I find something better...wasting both time and $

drck1000

Re: Budget spotting scope
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2022, 02:15:43 PM »
Good point...we'll be shooting 22lr and 556 on the rifle side and 9mm/22lr on the pistol side. I should learn from you as I tend to go cheap at first and then end up spending more later as I find something better...wasting both time and $
Yeah.  Helpful to have folks that have learned the hard (or more expensive) lesson along the way.  I know I certainly did a lot of the "try this" and "try that".  With many things in firearms, I'm am very much one who wants to try for myself.  That's especially true with optics.  That's one where once you look through better optics, it can lead to severe "the wants". 

Keep context and use in mind.  Sounds like you'll be spotting mostly in the 25-50 yard distance range.  That said, shooting .22 lr at 50 and 100 yards can definitely benefit from the better range of optics. 

Inspector

Re: Budget spotting scope
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2022, 02:56:51 PM »
Yeah.  Helpful to have folks that have learned the hard (or more expensive) lesson along the way.  I know I certainly did a lot of the "try this" and "try that".  With many things in firearms, I'm am very much one who wants to try for myself.  That's especially true with optics.  That's one where once you look through better optics, it can lead to severe "the wants". 

Keep context and use in mind.  Sounds like you'll be spotting mostly in the 25-50 yard distance range.  That said, shooting .22 lr at 50 and 100 yards can definitely benefit from the better range of optics.
I went through a similar period of buying cheap optics. I bought two spotting scopes that were no good at 100 yds when shooting .22/.223 at a black target. While shooting at a white target was marginally better. So was shooting at one of those targets that show a color when penetrated by a bullet. Still it was tough. So instead of buying new more expensive optics I started buying used more expensive optics. I ended up with a Leupold spotting scope in the same magnification as the two cheap scopes and I could easily see the holes in a black target. I also stopped buying cheap red dots and cheap rifle scopes.

Life is too short to deal with cheap optics.  :rofl:
SCIENCE THAT CAN’T BE QUESTIONED IS PROPAGANDA!!!

aaronc5362

Re: Budget spotting scope
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2022, 08:08:46 PM »
Shoot n c targets are the way to go.

Midwayusa usually always have it on sale. Get free shipping if you spend 49 bucks or more and the total weight is under 1 lb. Is usually the deal they always have. If you go over 1 lb. Keep adding to cart til you feel 10 dollars for shipping is worth it, granted you already have 49 bucks worth of free shipping items.
 :stopjack:

Neesh

Re: Budget spotting scope
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2022, 08:20:54 PM »
Yeah.  Helpful to have folks that have learned the hard (or more expensive) lesson along the way.  I know I certainly did a lot of the "try this" and "try that".  With many things in firearms, I'm am very much one who wants to try for myself.  That's especially true with optics.  That's one where once you look through better optics, it can lead to severe "the wants". 

Keep context and use in mind.  Sounds like you'll be spotting mostly in the 25-50 yard distance range.  That said, shooting .22 lr at 50 and 100 yards can definitely benefit from the better range of optics.
Yep, starting that phase now since I've been "exposed" to nice glass....gotta dump a couple of my more budget scopes now so I can get at least one nice that's higher end.

Neesh

Re: Budget spotting scope
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2022, 08:24:00 PM »
I went through a similar period of buying cheap optics. I bought two spotting scopes that were no good at 100 yds when shooting .22/.223 at a black target. While shooting at a white target was marginally better. So was shooting at one of those targets that show a color when penetrated by a bullet. Still it was tough. So instead of buying new more expensive optics I started buying used more expensive optics. I ended up with a Leupold spotting scope in the same magnification as the two cheap scopes and I could easily see the holes in a black target. I also stopped buying cheap red dots and cheap rifle scopes.

Life is too short to deal with cheap optics.  :rofl:
Funny because I just realized that the reason I couldn't see some homes were because I used black board for my target stand....gonna change em to white now...good point!

Neesh

Re: Budget spotting scope
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2022, 08:25:21 PM »
Shoot n c targets are the way to go.

Midwayusa usually always have it on sale. Get free shipping if you spend 49 bucks or more and the total weight is under 1 lb. Is usually the deal they always have. If you go over 1 lb. Keep adding to cart til you feel 10 dollars for shipping is worth it, granted you already have 49 bucks worth of free shipping items.
 :stopjack:
Yep those are the ones I've been using..good stuff!

Inspector

Re: Budget spotting scope
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2022, 01:35:08 AM »
Shoot n c targets are the way to go.

Midwayusa usually always have it on sale. Get free shipping if you spend 49 bucks or more and the total weight is under 1 lb. Is usually the deal they always have. If you go over 1 lb. Keep adding to cart til you feel 10 dollars for shipping is worth it, granted you already have 49 bucks worth of free shipping items.
 :stopjack:
If you don’t mind which brand of shoot n c type targets and you have a prime account you might be able to get them cheaper from Amazon.  :thumbsup:
SCIENCE THAT CAN’T BE QUESTIONED IS PROPAGANDA!!!

drck1000

Re: Budget spotting scope
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2022, 06:56:45 AM »
I went through a similar period of buying cheap optics. I bought two spotting scopes that were no good at 100 yds when shooting .22/.223 at a black target. While shooting at a white target was marginally better. So was shooting at one of those targets that show a color when penetrated by a bullet. Still it was tough. So instead of buying new more expensive optics I started buying used more expensive optics. I ended up with a Leupold spotting scope in the same magnification as the two cheap scopes and I could easily see the holes in a black target. I also stopped buying cheap red dots and cheap rifle scopes.

Life is too short to deal with cheap optics.  :rofl:
Whoa, I never said “cheap optics”. Haha. Nah, my first spotting scope was a Bushnell. I thought it was a pretty good one at the time, around $120ish I think. While I still think it was a solid spotting scope, there are certainly better for what I do now.

Optics for guns is different. Red dots and rifle scopes. Stayed away from cheap. Saw so many problems with “NCStar just as good as”.

If you don’t mind which brand of shoot n c type targets and you have a prime account you might be able to get them cheaper from Amazon.  :thumbsup:
Yup. Amazon. Usually deals for packs of $50

Don’t get my wrong, I’ve done similar to Aaron and have something in my Midway cart until the free shipping comes up. Then scramble to find something I “need” to get to $49. Many times spending more than $20 to save $10 on free shipping. Why I have so many spare ammo boxes now.  ;D

aaronc5362

Re: Budget spotting scope
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2022, 08:05:23 AM »
If you don’t mind which brand of shoot n c type targets and you have a prime account you might be able to get them cheaper from Amazon.  :thumbsup:

I usually stick to birchwood and Casey. But if I find others cheaper I go that route. That yellowish green really stands out.

I agree with ren. No binos compare to an actual spotting scope. I had a compact Bushnell and a humungous winchester. Iirc the winchester was 20-60x60. Something like that. I only switched to binos cause I gave my friend the Bushnell and the winchester crapped out on me. The objective lens had alot of hairline fractures and big ass line across. It looked like hair but it was a scratch. Its weird, i kept in my range bag with caps on and the nylon bag it came with. The only thing I could think of is I possibly dropped it and dont remember or various temperature changes.

I almost impulse bought another spotting scope. It was a leupys and precovid. Iirc it was refurbished but 200-250 bucks cheaper than brand new. But I went with binos only cause its lighter. Less weight for me to carry.  Just takin 2 ar's ammo, frames, and other supplies. I had a full backpack, 1 hand carrying frame and double rifle bag on my shoulder and ammo bag in the other hand. Uhhhh it was a workout going up that hill. Down wasnt so bad cause less weight after shooting.  :D

eyeeatingfish

Re: Budget spotting scope
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2022, 02:28:59 PM »
I have been looking for a better one too. My first one was real budget, like $35 or so and you can tell the quality is not so good. It can zoom well but the image just isn't very crisp making a higher zoon needed to see the bullet holes where I think better glass would have shown a bullet hole clearly at a lower zoom level

drck1000

Re: Budget spotting scope
« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2022, 07:09:48 AM »
I have been looking for a better one too. My first one was real budget, like $35 or so and you can tell the quality is not so good. It can zoom well but the image just isn't very crisp making a higher zoon needed to see the bullet holes where I think better glass would have shown a bullet hole clearly at a lower zoom level
Price range?

DocMercy

Re: Budget spotting scope
« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2022, 09:03:28 AM »
All of the cheap 20-60x spotting scopes seem to have issues. One Amazon reviewer complained about the rubber on the Konus scope.

Quote
For the money, I really loved this thing! But buyer beware! After a couple of years the rubberized coating will break down and become sticky! Mine was only used on three occasions, and was stored safely in it's carry bag on a shelf in my bedroom closet in what I consider a pretty stable environment. There has been no excessive heat, cold, or UV, and this thing is now so sticky that I don't want to touch it. Nothing wipes off the stickiness either! Google it, and you will see this is a COMMON problem with these Konus products.

One plus for the Konus is the free tripod that they include for the $300 price.

As a newb, I purchased an Athlon 20-60x 85mm spotting scope from Amazon and it gave me the meh feeling. Good optics seem to be non-existent at that price range. The wife has me on a leash, so I gotta be careful about what I buy next.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08297MPSG

ren

Re: Budget spotting scope
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2022, 09:08:23 AM »
Kowas had that sticky problem too. They fixed it under warranty. My Konus is experiencing the same thing now but works fine.
Deeds Not Words

Direjackalope

Re: Budget spotting scope
« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2022, 09:30:42 AM »
A quick fix for sticky rubber is dusting it with talcum powder.