Swaro Ats 65 vs 80 for guiding

LitenFast

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Jan 29, 2013
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Ellison Bay, WI
Hey Everyone,

I’m currently a packer for an outfitter in the Brooks Range that runs Dall sheep hunts, after this season I’ll have enough field days to get my assistant guide license. I’m set up real well on my gear outside of my spotter and tripod. I’ve got a good opportunity to get a Swaro of my choosing a bit off retail so I’d like to stick with Swaro Ats 65 or 80 I can’t seem to make up my mind on which. Two guides I work with said no hesitation go with the 65 save the bulk and weight. The other carries the 88mm Kowa and loves it.

Pros of 65
10 oz lighter
Less bulk
Easier to stabilize
Probably could use lighter tripod
Also several $100 cheaper

Pros of 80
Optically superior, right ?? Given you have a heavy enough tripod.?

I am 33 6’ 4”, 225# and train year round for sheep season and go into it with a mindset that I’m not afraid of 10 oz, IF it’s worth it as I’m pretty spartan on what I carry overall.

What are everyone’s thoughts? Especially including needing a tripod upgrade also. If a 65 also saves me tripod weight and cost that is no small thing either. Being able to get away with a Outdoorsmans pistol grip head would be a major plus as well.
 

JFKinYK

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2013
Messages
215
There’s very little, if any, first and last light glassing for sheep. Generally I spot them with binos and get closer with the spotter. I use a 65 and have been considering the Kowa 55. Not sure you could give me an 80. If you are trying to provide a nice view and experience for a client then I could see the benefit of an 80.
 

Blockcaver

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Sep 9, 2012
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BC
All the guides at Canol Outfitters, Mackenzie Mts in Aug, 2017 used 20-60x65mm Swaros (one was the latest ATX, the rest were ATS versions). One guide that was in only for the first hunt in July used an 80mm Swaro, but also a pack dog as I was told.

I use the Swaro 65mm ATM (designates magnesium and not available anymore) and never wanted to carry a bigger scope in my pack hunting Stone sheep. You are half my age and bigger than me so may not mind the 80mm....but don't think you really need it. Good luck in your guiding career!
 
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LitenFast

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Jan 29, 2013
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Ellison Bay, WI
Thanks for all the replies! How about tripod set ups to go with the 65?


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Big Nasty

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Dec 7, 2016
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136
Location
Kelowna, Canada
I love my swaro 65 and have used on 5 - 10 day sheep hunts. I run the Sirui tripod with benro S2 fluid head, It won’t break the bank and is very solid and light. Great combo.


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SOIHUNT

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Jul 15, 2019
Messages
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I’m 60 yrs. old and I pack 95’s STx. My pack average 45 lbs to 53 lbs, but that’s just me and I like the 95’s and yes I sheep hunt a lot I just don’t race up the mountains like I use to lol 😝 I’ve slowed down and I hate going downhill.. Hopefully when it’s my time it’ll happen on the mountains..
65’s are okay to 700-800 yards if you are wanting to get a good idea on the ram.. just my 2 cents of thought..
 

K1United

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May 26, 2016
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267
Since it sounds like we're all gonna go back to the barter system soon, how about this...I'll trade you my swaro 65 ATS, promaster xc525c, sirui VA-5 pan head, and all accessories for a guided sheep hunt. I've got the pilot and air travel covered...just need a licensed guide.

Or maybe I just need to lighten up on the Jameson and rocks this late at night...hahaha!
 

Jimss

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Mar 6, 2015
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1,235
Spotting rams, counting rings and judging rams is your job. If you tell your client a ram is legal and he ends up not legal you are likely in big do-do! You'll be doing this for around a month solid! You obviously want the best tool for the trade!

I just looked up the weights of the ATX and STX vs ATS and STS. An interesting fact is the ATS and STS 80's are very similar in weight to the ATX and STX 65. The modular may be a little more compact but is that much heavier! The non-modular STS 80 with lens weighs 58 oz while the STX 65 weighs 57.8 oz. The STS 60 is the lightest and weighs 48.5 oz. Is it worth 10 oz less wt with a chunk more bulk?

My guess is most rams are harvested inside 400 yards. If a ram is laying down at 400 yards will you be able to count rings similarly with a 65 vs 80? I have never compared them side-by-side but maybe someone has? In low light conditions (cloudy or dawn/dusk) it's nice having better glass.

The other thing that quality optics will do is possibly save a lot of time and hiking. If you spot a ram 1/2 to 3/4 mile....or even 1 mile away can you determine the ram is legal without having to hike closer? Will you be able to spot a rams head/horns at a mile away sticking out of a rockpile similarly with 65 vs 80? If an 80 saves several miles of hiking it may be worth the additional wt/bulk? If there is no difference I would definitely go for it with a 65!

The wind often howls in Alaska. I would expect a heavier 80 with solid tripod would be a little stabler in wind? The eye strain with a wider eye-piece is a little less. So there are other benefits to a larger scope.

With that said, I have confidence in my 65. I'm not getting any younger and would much rather haul around a 65. I used to haul around a Leica Televid 88...and it was a beast! The new Swaros with swap out bodies and lenses are a bit more compact than the old style...so they may be worth looking into but weigh a chunk more. If my job and success of my clients depended upon optics I would definitely want the best money can buy....not to mention the ease to eye strain from glassing solidly for a week at a time!
 
Joined
Mar 21, 2020
Messages
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Outdoorsman compact tripod and mico pan head. For packing the 65 is the way to go for sure.

also get a stud for binos and you could use tripod for better distance glassing when needed
 

Tanner

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Oct 13, 2013
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226
Location
Colorado
I’ve used the 65 HD for 4 or 5 years of guiding for rams now and it’s been a really good scope. I don’t believe an 80 or 85 offers enough over the 65 to warrant the weight. If I was gonna eat the extra weight and go big, it would be a 95.
 
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LitenFast

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Jan 29, 2013
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Ellison Bay, WI
Well to close the loop on my search, S and S archery’s sale on the Kowa 77 was too much for me to pass up. 1709$ for the angled with the wide 25-60 eyepiece after the rokslide discount and many great reviews I’ll be packing an extra 9 oz.

Will probably push me over the edge on the outdoorsmans compact to make sure I have a solid base for it. All in all should be a fantastic system for looking over sheep!


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