Monday, February 6, 2012

Spotting Scope Recommendations?

I've read dozens of reviews, and looked through a few at the Turner's store here, but I'd like to know what my fellow rifle shooters use.
I bought one from Cabella's, a Vortex Nomad, a 20-to-60 power zoom, with a 60mm objective, but although it's quite nicely made, it just lacks something.
Or maybe I'm not using it correctly.
Now I've got quite a bit of experience with various kinds of optics, from giant binoculars to home-made 10" reflector telescopes, and I've been doing a lot of photography since I was in 8th grade.
The problem I have with the Vortex scope is that since I wear glasses, I can't seem to get close enough to it to see the full image. I'm not sure if this is an "exit pupil size" issue, or an "eye relief distance" issue.
I also kinda-sorta have the same problem with the scope on my Marlin 336, but NOT with the new Nikon Prostaff "Shotgun Hunter" scope I recently installed on my Remington 1100, or with the scope on my son's stepfather's 300 Win Mag rifle with a BIG Tasco scope on it.

Anybody have any recommendations for a good spotting scope for somebody that wears glasses?


  1. Um, I just take my glasses off when I'm spotting.

  2. I'll actually try that next time I'm at the rifle range, but I *really* like keeping my glasses on.

  3. I've been using a Simmons 20x60, 60mm that my wife picked up at Sportsman's Warehouse. Eye relief hasn't been an issue with my bifocals. It's not a brand name, but it works just fine - and that's good enough for me.

  4. +1 on Wirecutter's option, the other is to spend considerably more money and get a Leupold spotting scope...

  5. Considering what I spent on the Vortex, I could have spent a couple of hundred more and got a Leupold!
    The Vortex is built really nice, and has a good clear image *WITH MY GLASSES OFF!*, it would probably be a great scope for somebody.
    The first time I went to Angeles Shooting Range, my son brought his step-dad's Barska. Considering how "cheap" they are, I was really impressed with it.
    I'll swing by the Turner's on the way home and take a look at Leupold's. I think they carry them.

    What's your preference, guys? Straight or angled eye piece?

  6. Exit pupil is inversely proportional to power, so it's set by the way the system is put together. Of course, it gets smaller as the power goes up, making it harder to position your eye properly. Eye relief tends to move closer to the scope as the magnification goes up, and the combination of smaller exit pupil moving closer to the eyepiece might be the problem you're having. Good scope design mitigates this a bit. I have a Nikon Monarch rifle scope and a BSA. Buying the BSA first is what convinced me I should spend the extra bucks on the Nikon.

    For a spotting scope, I like lots of power. Being a certified Olde Farte, my eyes ain't what they used to be, and I can use all the help I can get. My scope is a 20-60x60 like yours, but I think it's a cheaper copy. It is not very good and upgrading it is on my wish list. I like the angled eyepiece - just find it more convenient the way my shooting are is laid out.


  7. Is it the Nikon or the BSA you don't like?

  8. The BSA is the one I can live without. The Nikon was over twice the price, and worth every penny of it.

  9. I'm a big fan of Nikon optics. I have Nikon cameras, and use only Nikon lenses on them. I've seen too many people put "economy" lenses on good camera bodies and then wondered why their pictures were fuzzy.
    My Nikon "Shotgun Slug Hunter" Prostaff scope is outstanding, and I don't have any problem using it with my glasses on.
    The Vortex 20-60x60 scope I bought was $350, and for $200 more, I could have bought a Nikon ProStaff 20x60 with an 82mm objective.
    For $100 more I could have bought a Nikon ProStaff 16x48 with a 60mm objective.
    Guess I should have bought the Nikon, and not "saved" the $100!
    Looks like the Vortex will go on eBay, and I'll get a Nikon after it sells.
    Thanks for all the tips, guys!


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