Budget Spotter?

jpuckett

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2015
Messages
192
I'm slowly but surely upgrading my system, and I'm wondering if y'all have had good luck with a spotting scope that's not gonna break the bank? Maybe a vanguard or a Nikon? I have an old red field, and I've been using it for a long time. (Not a trophy hunter) more of a guy that sees a decent 4pt and says, yeah he's probably mature kinda guy. Do y'all feel they are pretty durable?


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Ndbowhunter

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May 24, 2016
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1,736
From my experience good bino's on a tripod are just as effective as even medium price spotter under a mile judging even small differences between a shooter animal or not.
 

jlhois

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Joined
May 9, 2015
Messages
398
Location
Boise
I run with a Bushnell Elite 15x45x60. Found a used one on ebay from a bird watcher to save $50 or so.

For reference here it is on optics planet.

Bushnell Elite 15-45x60 Spotting Scope 781548P 23% OFF Best Rated

Glass is good, considering the price point. Not going to hold up against the top o' line optics. For weight/size/clarity/ease of function it suits me well. I can spot critters with the best of them, but lose out when it comes to properly field judging at very low light conditions at high power and at extreme long distance over 2 miles or so. At those times the judging is more of "sure that's a 4 pt. Buck or 6 pt. Bull". If you are not discriminating past these simple criteria this setup would be a good option.

Fits easily in my Exo pack and my assumption would be that it is compact enough to adapt to any pack with a scope pocket. The outside has this weird tacky grip that I did not like until it was wet and refused to slip out of my hands. The front lens cover is attached to unit so it cannot be lost. The rear lens cap is a removable cup and that was lost on first trip. Bought a neoprene scope cover to protect it now and it has easily survived multiple seasons of backpack turkey/elk/deer hunting, motorcycle spills, and general use in the woods.

One thing I have noticed and I would caution to anyone that wears glasses is that the eye relief is poor at top magnification. It feels like my eyelashes are about to touch the front lens. If I had glasses it may be difficult.


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paleraider

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Jun 7, 2016
Messages
412
Location
Idaho
From my experience good bino's on a tripod are just as effective as even medium price spotter under a mile judging even small differences between a shooter animal or not.

Overall I would 2nd this good binos on a tripod can pick out a lot of game within 1-2 miles. Yet I would think to help people zero in on specific advice it might be helpful to know at what range you are generally looking to utilize this optic, any weight restrictions, needed magnification range?
 

machinethomas

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 8, 2014
Messages
284
I just got a Vanguard Endeavor 65 this year. It's an awesome spotter for the price. There's a good review on here about the scope if you do a search. In my opinion it knocks the pants off the Vortex Diamondback and others in the $350 range.


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COlineman78

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Apr 29, 2015
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2,814
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Littleton, CO
I have a budget spotter and am leaning towards the good binos group. That way you get a dual purpose solution. I currently have some Nikon binos and a Celestron spotter and they are pretty equivalent as far as being able to pick out a descent animal in the 1-2 mile range. I am thinking about picking up some good Mavens or Vortex as a compromise to throw on the tripod.
 

mrbillbrown

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Joined
Dec 26, 2013
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2,877
Location
Edmond, OK
I've had the Vanguard Endeavor HD side by side with my Razor HD and couldn't tell enough difference between the two to justify keeping the Razor. However.....I'm not a spotter guy, don't spend tons of time behind one, or need to see very detailed items on game. I've also decided I like using 2 eyes (binos) much more than 1 eye and prefer binos on a tripod over a spotter. YMMV
 

bluetick78

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Joined
Jan 12, 2017
Messages
590
Location
Idaho Falls,ID
Another vote for the Vanguard here. I've been using one for a few years now, ditched my Vortex Razor shortly after I got the Vanguard. There isn't enough difference in low light, or any light, to justify even a $100 difference in price let alone the almost $1000 real world price difference. The Vanguard is clear and bright, probably one of the best values in the optics world right now.
 

Wapiti_Harvest

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2013
Messages
49
If you are looking for a compact spotter, don't overlook the Minox MD-50. I picked one up from Cameraland a few years ago. Great little scope for the money.
 

StrutNut

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2014
Messages
296
Location
Blaine, MN
Depends on what you are doing with the spotter. If its casual use at the range and glassing for short periods of time you dont need high end glass. I have a Burris that we were watching a big buck at 400 yards with that we could count the flies on its nose with. If you are looking at spending long periods of time glassing the same area this is where high end glass shines. My eyes always strained looking for too long with cheaper glass but with quality optics it just seems like you can glass a lot longer before your eyes get tired. If that what you are going to use a spotter for get the best glass you can afford.
 

elkduds

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Joined
Jun 22, 2016
Messages
956
Location
CO Springs
I got one of these used from a forum classified for under $200. Reviews online say it is on a par w those listed here, and I found it a significant improvement over my 10x Nikon binocs. SAKER ED 60MM SPOTTER
 

Vids

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2012
Messages
538
Location
Littleton, CO
I just bought a Vanguard 82mm spotter and did a side by side comparison with my friend's Swaro 65mm and my Bushnell Elite 65mm. The Vanguard blew away the Bushnell, and the only real difference I could see in comparison with the Swaro was the Swaro had better clarity at close range, like 200 yards or less. Of course it's a comparison between a 82 and a 65 mm which isn't fair, but it's what I had available at the time. At longer distances the Vanguard was slightly better than the Swaro, I'm sure because of the bigger objective lens. I can't justify a reason to spend an additional $2,500 to go with a Swaro after that test, unless I got really serious about long range photography or something.

The Vanguard is a great value for under $500.
 
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