Spotter decisions

agardner00

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Nov 5, 2019
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85
I’ve reached the point that I need to buy a spotter. Anyone in the general vicinity of Kansas City have one they’d be willing to let me look through to help make the decision? I’m interested in 65/85mm Razor HD, Harpia, STS/ATS, STX/ATX, or ...?


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Doc Holliday

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Jun 15, 2016
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Dont live near you, but I was in the same boat a couple of months ago....never had my own spotter before. Ended up getting the STS 65 and 25-50 Wide Angle Eye Piece. Have been looking at the moon at night and playing with my Tines Up Phonecam....very excited to get out to Montana and look at some elk and mule deer with it. If you don't already have a tripod, I got the Outdoorsmans Compact Tripod, Micro Pan Head, AND the 1/4-20 Adapter plate (didn't realize I needed this until I received the tripod and pan head). Haven't taken into the field yet, but so far very happy with the entire package.
 
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agardner00

agardner00

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Nov 5, 2019
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Dont live near you, but I was in the same boat a couple of months ago....never had my own spotter before. Ended up getting the STS 65 and 25-50 Wide Angle Eye Piece. Have been looking at the moon at night and playing with my Tines Up Phonecam....very excited to get out to Montana and look at some elk and mule deer with it. If you don't already have a tripod, I got the Outdoorsmans Compact Tripod, Micro Pan Head, AND the 1/4-20 Adapter plate (didn't realize I needed this until I received the tripod and pan head). Haven't taken into the field yet, but so far very happy with the entire package.

Thanks for the input. I have a serviceable tripod that I use for binos. It’s a ball head, which I don’t love but it works, and I have an adapter. I’ll upgrade eventually but right now I need a spotter and a bigger pack. Did you look at any other scopes?


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agardner00

agardner00

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Nov 5, 2019
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I would throw the Kowa 66,77, or 88 in that mix. I have the Kowa 884 and really like it. I prefer the focus knobs on the Kowa over the focus ring on the swaros. But that is just my opinion.

I almost put Kowa on the list but I have zero experience with them. I know a lot of guys love them though. Hopefully I can find some to check out.


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elkguide

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Jan 26, 2016
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Vermont
From my experience and to my eyes, this is the list.
#1. Kowa 884
#2. Swarovski ATX
#3. Swarovski ATS


#4. Meopta Meostar
#5. Zeiss Victory Harpia

After these top tier/alpha glass and top $$$$ scopes you could then get into a lot of options that are very good but don't quite make the top 5 such as Maven or Nikon. Then you can keep on going down with Leupold, Vortex etc.
Today's glass is just so much better than what glass was in the past and many of the less expensive scopes will do the job fine BUT, if you spend a lot of time behind the lower end scopes or really need those first and last minutes of daylight to make a decision or don't want to execute a stalk a couple of miles only to find that it really isn't what you are after, well then that is why there is Alpha glass.
Most people that spend a lot of time behind their scopes, in time tend to end up with one of the top tier scopes. If you can, get out there and look through a lot of them. Decide just how you will use it and how much you will use it. I use my 10X42's for about 95% of all of my glassing and my spotters tend to spend a lot of time in my truck but when I use/need a spotter, I'm so glad that I spent the extra money.
 
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agardner00

agardner00

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Nov 5, 2019
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85
From my experience and to my eyes, this is the list.
#1. Kowa 884
#2. Swarovski ATX
#3. Swarovski ATS


#4. Meopta Meostar
#5. Zeiss Victory Harpia

After these top tier/alpha glass and top $$$$ scopes you could then get into a lot of options that are very good but don't quite make the top 5 such as Maven or Nikon. Then you can keep on going down with Leupold, Vortex etc.
Today's glass is just so much better than what glass was in the past and many of the less expensive scopes will do the job fine BUT, if you spend a lot of time behind the lower end scopes or really need those first and last minutes of daylight to make a decision or don't want to execute a stalk a couple of miles only to find that it really isn't what you are after, well then that is why there is Alpha glass.
Most people that spend a lot of time behind their scopes, in time tend to end up with one of the top tier scopes. If you can, get out there and look through a lot of them. Decide just how you will use it and how much you will use it. I use my 10X42's for about 95% of all of my glassing and my spotters tend to spend a lot of time in my truck but when I use/need a spotter, I'm so glad that I spent the extra money.

Thanks—that’s why I’m hoping some folks relatively close by will let try theirs out.


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Doc Holliday

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Did you look at any other scopes?

I was seriously considering the Kowa line also based on feedback on this forum, but living in Florida where I do, I can't get my hands on any of them. Based on my experience with riflescopes, I decided to stick with Swaro. Went STS vs STX mostly due to cost, but also due to the fact that I don't need different size objectives based on the hunts I see in my future. Don't think you can go wrong with any of the names Elkguide mentioned.
 

JO.

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Jul 12, 2016
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Colorado
I went through this last spring and went with the Meopta S2. I had it narrowed down between the ATS and the Meopta. I just couldn’t justify the price of the atx models and actually looked through one this week on a goat hunt and I am still happy with my choice considering the price gap. To me the Meopta was every bit as good if not better than the ATS and at a better price. Look at what you can and go from there. I was dead set on the ATS when I decided I was getting a new one until I used the Meopta.
 

TheGDog

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Jun 12, 2020
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OC, CA
From my experience and to my eyes, this is the list.
#1. Kowa 884
#2. Swarovski ATX
#3. Swarovski ATS


#4. Meopta Meostar
#5. Zeiss Victory Harpia

Question, was curious if you've had the chance to look thru the Zeiss Dailyt Spotter, and what you thought about it.
 

elkguide

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Jan 26, 2016
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I haven't had a chance to use the Dailyt. A friend has one and says that while it isn't top tier, it packs easy gets the job done for him. His only complaint is that it has a narrow field of view.
 

BluMtn

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Nov 24, 2016
Messages
655
Location
Washington
I will throw this in also. There is a lot of discussion about if Alfa glass is really worth the price. But this is my take on the question. I spend a lot of time behind either my Swaro 12x50's or my Kowa 884. There may be two or three other people glassing with me at the same location and with the binos I am not looking for specific animals but irregularity's in the terrain. Once I spot something that I don't think looks right I start looking with the spotter. I have found antlers in thick brush that those around me with mid level glass can not find. We have traded scopes and me knowing exactly were the animal is I still can not make out the antlers. The question basically comes down to how much are you willing to pay to either save yourself many miles of needless hiking or finding that hidden monster that everyone else has bypassed. Simple answer to a very complicated question.
 
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LaHunter

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Mar 9, 2013
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N.E. LA
Thanks for the input. I have a serviceable tripod that I use for binos. It’s a ball head, which I don’t love but it works, and I have an adapter. I’ll upgrade eventually but right now I need a spotter and a bigger pack. Did you look at any other scopes?


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Don’t overlook the importance of a quality tripod & head. In order to get the best performance from any spotter, you will need a good / stable tripod and a quality head. Camera Land has some very good RS specials on tripods and heads. They are RS sponsors and great info resources
 

AkMtnRunner

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Jul 24, 2016
Messages
366
When it comes to Kowa . . .

553/4 when ounces matter more than dollars
663/4 w/ fixed 30x wide angle eye piece when budget is less than $1k
773/4 when the budget is less than $2k
883/4 when the budget is up to $3k and weight isn't much of an issue

Also know that that the tripod and head cost and weight will grow progressively.
 

Brian Fahs

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Feb 25, 2014
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1,371
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Pennsylvania
Great choice. If I had a young strong partner that was willing to pack it, or a llama, I would already own one. I don't have either. The 554 for does everything I need until I draw a sheep tag.
My toyota tundra packs mine pretty much where I need it. I'm primarily an eastern and midwest hunter. I see your point.
 
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