Best ROI on upgrades for November elk hunting

wind gypsy

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The vast majority of the elk hunting I do is November, primarily spot and stalk. We have tried and use every combination of glass- regular binos/spotter/large binos/etc.


The first thing I would spend money on is a pair of good rangefinding binos. Leica Geovids can be gotten new for not much more than your $1,000 and have good, if not quite good glass as well as a useful range to the LRF. Sell your current to offset cost. Then, it would be Meopta B1 Plus 15x56mm binos. I say this as I use 15x Swaros- I would rather the Meoptas.
Unless you are counting down to the inch, the 15x binos are superior for hunting- I don’t even carry a spotter anymore. The only time we do use a spotter is if there are multiple people and one will bring it. Everyone else is on tripod mounted binos.

Good RF binoculars and 15x Meopta/Swaro tripod mounted binos is the 95% solution for later season rifle hunting.

I agree with this in theory but a couple pitfalls:

1. I went 0 for 2 with Geovids working in temps below the mid 30's. First pair was new HD-B 2000, they were warrantied with HD-B 2200 which had the same problem and were replaced by leica with HD-B 3000s. The time from when the first warrantied pair got sent in until the 2nd warrantied pair was received was about a year. Even if the 3rd pair worked, going a year without a working product is BS. The HD-B 3000 warranty replacements got a new owner via rokslide classifieds because I wasn't going to risk wasting more time before I could get my $ back out of them.
2. I'm fresh off a CO 4th season hunt where my EL 12x50s struggled to discern bulls at a distance and a spotter was necessary. I don't think 15's would have been enough after looking at them through the meopta s2. That said the bulls i was looking at were raghorns. If there was a good bull it might have been more obvious.
 
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Formidilosus

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I agree with this in theory but a couple pitfalls:

1. I went 0 for 2 with Geovids working in temps below the mid 30's.

This has been a problem with all of them, with Leica probably having the most issues. I have written before about it. However, they have adjusted and I have not seen a cold soak issue in any of the new ones for the last couple of years or so.



2. I'm fresh off a CO 4th season hunt where my EL 12x50s struggled to discern bulls at a distance and a spotter was necessary. I don't think 15's would have been enough after looking at them through the meopta s2. That said the bulls i was looking at were raghorns. If there was a good bull it might have been more obvious.

While there certainly are times that 15x won’t do, as a hunting package I will take the tripod mounted 15’s almost always. My/our experience is that for every animal that can be identified with the spotter and not with the 15’s, entire groups are found with the 15’s that the spotter nor handheld will find.
 

wind gypsy

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This has been a problem with all of them, with Leica probably having the most issues. I have written before about it. However, they have adjusted and I have not seen a cold soak issue in any of the new ones for the last couple of years or so.
Good to hear. Maybe I'll look again. I was contemplating replacing kilo 2400ABS with the new gunwerks rangefinder but I really did like the geovids, when they worked.
While there certainly are times that 15x won’t do, as a hunting package I will take the tripod mounted 15’s almost always. My/our experience is that for every animal that can be identified with the spotter and not with the 15’s, entire groups are found with the 15’s that the spotter nor handheld will find.
But do tripod mounted 15s outshine tripod mounted 12x50s enough to overcome the benefit of 12s + Spotter?

I get that a spotter adds weight. I have typically used a kowa 554 when weight was a concern. But after using the meopta s2 a lot this week the little kowa sure felt finicky about eye placement.
 

Formidilosus

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Good to hear. Maybe I'll look again. I was contemplating replacing kilo 2400ABS with the new gunwerks rangefinder but I really did like the geovids, when they worked.

Yep. I’ve used Nikon and Vortex LRF binos for the last few years due to them being better in cold weather than the alphas. However, I’ve seen enough of the newer Leica/Zeiss/Swaros to be comfortable with them (after testing of course).




But do tripod mounted 15s outshine tripod mounted 12x50s enough to overcome the benefit of 12s + Spotter?

They’re going to be better, how much is up for debate. It’s 25% more magnification (MIP). But if someone is willing to carry both, that’s ideal. The difference here is I will not use standard binos and a separate RF, even to get the 12x Swaro’s. I would rather have a Vortex Fury Hd than any alpha and separate RF. The reason being is I have consistently seen more lost opportunities with separate bino/RF than with the mid level glass of decent bino LRF’s. Speaking of rifle hunting only.
 

carsonkeys

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Leica Geovids can be gotten new for not much more than your $1,000 and have good, if not quite good glass as well as a useful range to the LRF. Sell your current to offset cost.
I believe I'm misunderstanding your post, but are you saying that you're finding new Leica Geovid RF binos for not much more than $1k? If so, would you mind sharing where? I'm seeing them new for $2.5k on sale.
 

Formidilosus

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I believe I'm misunderstanding your post, but are you saying that you're finding new Leica Geovid RF binos for not much more than $1k? If so, would you mind sharing where? I'm seeing them new for $2.5k on sale.

The original Geovids. Cameraland NY has them for $1,500, and often has them on sale for quite a bit less. The average I’ve seen is between $1,200-,1,350.
 
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woods89

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Think of killing as a cycle or a chain of events that have to come together.

With separate bino and LRF-

1). see animal, whether with eyes or bino.

2). use binos to determine you want to kill animal.

3). If you do, drop bino.

4) Take eyes off animal.

5) Grab rangefinder.

6). Refind animal.

7). Find animal in LRF and range animal

8). Drop rangefinder.

9). If needed look at drop chart.

10). Grab rifle.

11) If needed dial elevation.

12). Get into position.

13). Break shot.

That’s all if the animal didn’t move or isn’t mixed with others. If the animal did, restart process.


Wth bino LRF with ballistics

1). See animal, whether with eyes or bino.

2). Use binos to determine you want to kill animal, if you do range.

3). Drop bino.

4). Grab rifle.

5). Dial elevation if needed.

6). Get into position.

7). Break shot.



The chain is much faster, and simpler with bino LRF’s, especially if they have onboard ballistics. If they don’t, add one more step to the above.






Good 15x binos are so much better than spotters for finding animals and doing a base evaluation on them.
Makes a lot of sense. Thanks!
 

ndlawrence

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I'm 0 for 3 with the Geovids. Every pair has just stopped ranging anything further than about 50 yards. Leica has been replacing them. Currently I'm toting around a heavy pair of binoculars and carrying my Sig RF along with it.
 

Glockster26

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I'm 0 for 3 with the Geovids. Every pair has just stopped ranging anything further than about 50 yards. Leica has been replacing them. Currently I'm toting around a heavy pair of binoculars and carrying my Sig RF along with it.
What is it about the cold that affects them so much or was this non cold weather related?
 

Formidilosus

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I'm 0 for 3 with the Geovids. Every pair has just stopped ranging anything further than about 50 yards. Leica has been replacing them. Currently I'm toting around a heavy pair of binoculars and carrying my Sig RF along with it.

How old were these?
 

Delta21

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Is there a difference in quality of glass in a range finding vs non range finding bino?
 
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woods89

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The vast majority of the elk hunting I do is November, primarily spot and stalk. We have tried and use every combination of glass- regular binos/spotter/large binos/etc.


The first thing I would spend money on is a pair of good rangefinding binos. Leica Geovids can be gotten new for not much more than your $1,000 and have good, if not quite good glass as well as a useful range to the LRF. Sell your current to offset cost. Then, it would be Meopta B1 Plus 15x56mm binos. I say this as I use 15x Swaros- I would rather the Meoptas.
Unless you are counting down to the inch, the 15x binos are superior for hunting- I don’t even carry a spotter anymore. The only time we do use a spotter is if there are multiple people and one will bring it. Everyone else is on tripod mounted binos.

Good RF binoculars and 15x Meopta/Swaro tripod mounted binos is the 95% solution for later season rifle hunting.
Well, some Geovid HD-Bs happened to show up in the classifieds today, so I guess I'll get to see what they are all about.
After thinking over some of the scenarios I have seen in the field I can totally see what you are talking about with the inefficiency of a 2 part system. I'm not sure why I haven't considered that before now.
 
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