Kowa TSN-774 or Swarovski ATS 80??

Sadler

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I'm in the market for a scope and have narrowed it down to these two (I think). Have any of you guys compared these two scopes side by side with the wide angle eye pieces? I was originally going to go with the Swarovski, but since I've heard a lot of good things about Kowa, and will be able to save some cash for future gear, it has me second guessing the Swarovski and if it's really worth the extra money. I'll be using it for both day hunts and backpack hunts for elk, mule deer, antelope, and hopefully a sheep one day. Thanks In advance.
 

Beendare

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I saw a test somewhere comparing the two.....and that kowa is the real deal- right there with swaro. It might have been on the bird forums.

if warranty factors in....Swaro kills them....I have had 2 dealings with Swaro warranty in the last 20 yrs and they are amazing!
 

BigDog00

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I'm in the exact same boat as you are, although I'm looking at the 88mm instead of the 77mm. I like the idea of the micro/macro focus knob on the Kowa as its basically the same as the Vortex Razor I just sold. I have no experience with either companies warranty but do know Swaro gets some high praise. Everything I've researched says the Kowa is as good (maybe even better) than the ATS/STS. I'd love to be able to compare the two side by side but I don't think that is going to happen.
 

WCS

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I'm in the same boat trying to decide between these two scopes. I played with them both at a shop in Calgary a while ago and I'd have to give a slight edge to the Kowa optically. I don't know how it is to deal with Kowa for warranty, and also I wasn't a fan of the lack of rubber armour on the scope body. As of right now I'm back to leaning towards the ATS 80, but I think I'll have to go and put them side-by-side one more time before I slap down any cash.
 

dotman

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From what I've noticed, if ever you have to sell the Swaro is much easier to sell quickly for top dollar.
 
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Schaaf

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I ran my Kowa 773 vs a Swarovski STS 80 HD and the Maven S1A. The Maven and Swarovski were neck and neck. The Kowa was in a different league in the opinion of myself and two others I had helping me.
 

307

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I ran my Kowa 773 vs a Swarovski STS 80 HD and the Maven S1A. The Maven and Swarovski were neck and neck. The Kowa was in a different league in the opinion of myself and two others I had helping me.

With the Kowa being significantly better than the Maven/Swaro level? That's what I think you meant, just wanting to clarify.
 

307

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Ah, very interesting. I've heard very good things about the Kowa scopes but to hear a first hand comparison with 3 major players, and to have one stand out so much is somewhat surprising.

About $2,200 for the Kowa with that eyepiece? Same weight/dimensions as Maven/Swaro?
 

Schaaf

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If I remember right it was a tiny bit more than the Swarovski but considerably lighter than the Maven. 4.1 pounds to 3.7.
 

307

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Advertised weight:

Maven S-1A - 4.03 lbs
Kowa TSN-773 - 3.74 lbs
Swarovski ATS - 3.61 lbs

So, about 4-7 oz difference...

Maven - $2,100
Kowa - $2,250
Swarovski - $2,980

The Maven looks better IMO, even in the stock colors than Kowa. Swarovski definitely has the eye candy factor going for it.

The Swaro isn't even on my radar to be honest. Resale value is surely much better, but I'd rather put my $ towards performance than brand name. If the performance is nearly the same (Kowa may be the best of the bunch according to Schaaf) I can't see spending an extra $800 to $900 for Swaro. An argument could certainly be made for resale and longevity/warranty with Swaro though...
 
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Sadler

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Thanks for the input, guys. It sounds like the kowa is a pretty solid choice. I figured it was but Schaff and 307 confirmed it. I don't plan on selling it so the resale value isn't a big deal to me. I was looking on some optic forums and birding forums, as far as warranty goes, it seems to be a mixed bag with more good than bad. But it doesn't look like there ismuch personal experience out there. The birders do love the 88 and say the 77 is close but the 88 is just a bit to heavy for me and what I want to do with it. The maven seems great too, especially if you get their demo scope, but again, it's a bit heavy and not in the same league as the kowa, from what I've read. I do have a buddy that lives about five hours away with an ATS80 with the 20-60 eyepiece so if I get this kowa I'll do a side by side in August while scouting for couse, and maybe I'll be able to help WCS and BigDog in their decision. Thanks again guys!
 
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BigDog00

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Thanks for the input, guys. It sounds like the kowa is a pretty solid choice. I figured it was but Schaff and 307 confirmed it. I don't plan on selling it so the resale value isn't a big deal to me. I was looking on some optic forums and birding forums, as far as warranty goes, it seems to be a mixed bag with more good than bad. But it doesn't look like there ismuch personal experience out there. The birders do love the 88 and say the 77 is close but the 88 is just a bit to heavy for me and what I want to do with it. The maven seems great too, especially if you get their demo scope, but again, it's a bit heavy and not in the same league as the kowa, from what I've read. I do have a buddy that lives about five hours away with an ATS80 with the 20-60 eyepiece so if I get this kowa I'll do a side by side in August while scouting for couse, and maybe I'll be able to help WCS and BigDog in their decision. Thanks again guys!

The warranty is my big hang up right now. I want to know that Ill be taken care of if an issue comes up. The reviews have been really positive and I don't doubt they make a great product. I did see that the TS-11WZ eyepiece had some QC issues a year or two ago. I guess they had what most thought was dust in a lot of the eyepieces, but may have been some kind of finish flaking off from inside. From what I can tell they got it cleared up but it seemed like there was a lot of issues with it.
 

tipsntails7

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The warranty is my big hang up right now. I want to know that Ill be taken care of if an issue comes up. The reviews have been really positive and I don't doubt they make a great product. I did see that the TS-11WZ eyepiece had some QC issues a year or two ago. I guess they had what most thought was dust in a lot of the eyepieces, but may have been some kind of finish flaking off from inside. From what I can tell they got it cleared up but it seemed like there was a lot of issues with it.

Swaro is better where warranty is concerned. Not saying kowa is terrible, and with more state side dealers it's getting better and better. Keep in mind all this is from people I know, not my own experiences.

It's up to you if the warranty is worth 1K extra.

If I was really hard on my gear I'd probably go the maven route, as good of a warranty as you can get and their glass is very very good.

With that said I'm picking up an 88 this summer.

I've looked through a 77 and an 80 ats HD. The kowa was better in my opinion.


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WRO

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id add the meopta meostar to your list. I've used the 88mm kowa a couple times next to my 95mm stx, it's a nice scope, but I don't think the build quality is there in comparison.

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luke moffat

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if add the meopta meostar to your list. I've used the 88mm kowa a couple times next to my 95mm stx, it's a nice scope, but I don't think the build quality is there in comparison.

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Bummer to hear. What about the Kowa is sub par? Was looking at them, but may not now.
 

tipsntails7

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if add the meopta meostar to your list. I've used the 88mm kowa a couple times next to my 95mm stx, it's a nice scope, but I don't think the build quality is there in comparison.

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I'd hope not, it's basically half the price.

The swaro is an exceptionally built scope, you pay for that in weight and price. I would agree as far as feel wise but optically the 88 bows to no one.


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WRO

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Bummer to hear. What about the Kowa is sub par? Was looking at them, but may not now.
Optically its a great scope, i didn't like the body or eyepiece as well as some of the other scopes I've used. It seemed like a potential weak spot. that being said, one of the guides who works for us has one and it's held up well.


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luke moffat

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Optically its a great scope, i didn't like the body or eyepiece as well as some of the other scopes I've used. It seemed like a potential weak spot. that being said, one of the guides who works for us has one and it's held up well.


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Interesting....they seem like a good value if the glass is truly on par or even better than Swaro...will have to look into it.
 
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