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Thread: Advantages/disadvantages to Maksutov type spotting scopes

  1. #1
    Boolit Master


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    Advantages/disadvantages to Maksutov type spotting scopes

    I'm looking at the Celestron Mini mak 25-75 x scope for range use. I want to be able to see .30/.35 cal holes out to 200 yds with minimal trouble. Currently I'm using a Winchester 20-50X X 50mm( Cheapy) which has minimal eye relief (have to remove my glasses to see the 200yd holes at all) and while it's great at 100 yds it's not too good at 200. The Celestron has 22 mm eye relief which should work but I have no idea what the trade offs are with mirror type optics. Any input would be appreciated. I would like to stay under $150 and have no desire to put a lot into a spotter. Thanks for your help.
    http://www.opticsplanet.com/celestro...mak-52238.html
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  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    The problem with inexspensive high magnification optics is the glass quality tends to be so poor that you can't take advantage of the higher magnification to make out bullet holes at extended range.

    I think you're going to find this is one of those situations where you are going to have to plunk down some $ to achieve what you want.

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    Boolit Master


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    Since I've had this post here and on the High Road with no replies I've decided to order the Celestron Mini Mac 70 and find out for myself. Worst case scenario is the cost to ship it back.
    "The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools."
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    With spotting scopes you get what you pay for.

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    Signing up to see how this plays out

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    Boolit Master Artful's Avatar
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    I use a C-90 Celestron and change lens to match what I want to see - on good days with my bad eye's I can see 22 holes at 300, but that's not with the highest magnification.

    Problems with higher magnificiation is motion of the scope and mirage you pick up.

    If I was buying today I'd look at these if I had money to spend
    Brunton Eterna 80mm ED, Pentax PF80ED, Kowa Fluorite, Nikon Fieldscope 82mm ED, Zeiss 85mm, Swarovski 80HD or Leica 77APO

    If my budget wasn't that rich I'd look at
    Viper HD Spotting Scopes or Bushnell (formerly Bausch&Lomb) 20-60x80 or
    Konus 80mm with a 45 degree and 20x60 zoom eyepiece

    Here's a place to check out some others
    http://www.championshooters.com/store/home.php?cat=273

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    Boolit Master Artful's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fecmech View Post
    Since I've had this post here and on the High Road with no replies I've decided to order the Celestron Mini Mac 70 and find out for myself. Worst case scenario is the cost to ship it back.
    True - you should take it to some long range hi-power matches so you can directly compare it to other's views.

  8. #8
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    Fecmech,

    I've been thinking along the same lines. I have some astronomy telescopes with very good optics but they aren't conveniently transportable to the range. Orion Telescopes make a short tube 80mm scope that's very popular with astronomers as a secondary scope on big telescopes. It easily resolves stars to a pinpoint which is something my Barska spotting scope won't do. It uses real telescope eyepieces. In my limited experience, the eyepiece end of a scope is where optics are most often compromised. I put a good eyepiece on a department store telescope a few years ago and found that the rest of the optics were fine. It was the cheap eyepieces that damaged the view. Let us know how the Mak works out.

    David
    There is only one way of compromising the on Second Amendment. That is when Liberals call for Conservatives to compromise. What they really mean "give up just a little more of your rights just this once"- every time they call for compromise. Molon Labe!

  9. #9
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    True - you should take it to some long range hi-power matches so you can directly compare it to other's views.
    There aren't really much in the way of HP in the area and I would be surprised if the Mini Mac was all that competitive with higher priced optics. My standards are really not that high. I want enough eye relief so that I don't have to take off my glasses (MiniMac is 22MM so that should be ok) to see at 200yds. Along with that I want to be able to see .30-.35 caliber holes at 200 yds (which is as far as I shoot). As it stands now if I take off my glasses and stick my eyeball against the lens on my Winchester 15 X 45 X 50 cheapy I can make out .35 cal holes at 200 yds. Like I said in a previous post,worst case is it costs me $10-$12 to send it back if I don't like it.
    "The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools."
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  10. #10
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    W.R.Buchanan's Avatar
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    I have a Celestron C5 with a 1000 mm focal length, and with the 9MM eyepiece on a clear day I can see Sheep on Anacapa Island which is 14 miles away. Note I said "clear day" This combination yeilds about 111X and shows all mirage, every anomaly in the atmoshpere, and all ground vibrations as it is amplifying everything 111 times. ON a hazy day you can't see anything but haze

    I also have a 26 mm Plossel eyepices which yeilds about 40X and is much more friendly, I can see bullet holes at 500 yds easily,,,, UNtil the day heats up,,, then I can see mirage easily and nothing else.

    This telescope is a 5" or 125mm Schmidt Cassegrain optical system which is simlar to the Maksutov system of the C90.

    The C90 would be an excellent spotting scope for both range and hunting. They are compact and don't weigh much and for the money are 5 times the spotting scope that anything short of a Kowa or Zeiss or optics of that caliber would be. Bunches of them on Ebay for sale.

    Celestron C8's are considered by many amature astronomers to be pretty close to the best. The really good stuff is exponentially more expensive. All of the Celestron relecting telescopes are pretty good stuff, and more are sold than any other brand. Lots of bang for the buck.

    For any of these scopes you do need a pretty solid tripod as ANY movement is amplifyed by whatever power you are using, and even ground vibrations show up as big movements, and make stars look like fuzzy vibrating balls of light..

    In telescopes bigger is better,,, period. This is because the bigger the scope, the more light it can gather, and all telescopes are just light amplifiers. They focus a lot of light down into a small circle, Your eyeball.

    However really good small optics are better than bigger not so good optics. You tell what's what by looking at the resolution on the edges of the field, preferrably on a hazy day outside. High quality optics will cut thru the haze, and resolve a target perfectly all the way to the edges, cheaper stuff gets worse the farther away from the center of the field you get, and the haze is still there.

    I once had a Zeiss 8x-20 monocular you could see EVERY hole in the moon with it when it was mounted solidly on a tripod. I also have a set of Steiner 8x30 binos whcih are pretty good and I only paid $99 for them at Big 5 sporting goods. The Zeiss mono cost $400 and got stolen out of my car, and I miss it! It was the best optic I ever owned.

    All that said, there is some pretty good cheap stuff out there right now and you always have to look at what you are going to be using the optics for.

    If you only want to look at bullet holes at 200 yds then any of the cheapo 60mm spotting scopes in the $50-75 range will do you just fine. That's what I use, and it works just fine and lives in my Range box

    If you are trying to classify a bighorn sheep from a mile away you better pack the good stuff or you'll be doin' a bunch of walking for nothing.

    Zeiss, Swarovski, Steiner, Leica, Kowa, Fijinon, Vixen, Leupold are the good stuff. Tasco, BSA, the Russian stuff are the inexpensive stuff. The inexpensive stuff will do 95% of what you need to do.

    You have to decide if you "really need" the other 5% you'd get from the good stuff, and then you have to "learn" how to get the other 5% out of it.

    The great thing is nowadays there is alot of choices out there. Something for everyone.

    Randy
    "It's not how well you do what you know how to do,,,It's how well you do what you DON'T know how to do!"

  11. #11
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by W.R.Buchanan View Post
    I have a Celestron C5 with a 1000 mm focal length, and with the 9MM eyepiece on a clear day I can see Sheep on Anacapa Island which is 14 miles away. Note I said "clear day" This combination yeilds about 111X and shows all mirage, every anomaly in the atmoshpere, and all ground vibrations as it is amplifying everything 111 times. ON a hazy day you can't see anything but haze

    I also have a 26 mm Plossel eyepices which yeilds about 40X and is much more friendly, I can see bullet holes at 500 yds easily,,,, UNtil the day heats up,,, then I can see mirage easily and nothing else.

    This telescope is a 5" or 125mm Schmidt Cassegrain optical system which is simlar to the Maksutov system of the C90.

    The C90 would be an excellent spotting scope for both range and hunting. They are compact and don't weigh much and for the money are 5 times the spotting scope that anything short of a Kowa or Zeiss or optics of that caliber would be. Bunches of them on Ebay for sale.

    Celestron C8's are considered by many amature astronomers to be pretty close to the best. The really good stuff is exponentially more expensive. All of the Celestron relecting telescopes are pretty good stuff, and more are sold than any other brand. Lots of bang for the buck.

    For any of these scopes you do need a pretty solid tripod as ANY movement is amplifyed by whatever power you are using, and even ground vibrations show up as big movements, and make stars look like fuzzy vibrating balls of light..

    In telescopes bigger is better,,, period. This is because the bigger the scope, the more light it can gather, and all telescopes are just light amplifiers. They focus a lot of light down into a small circle, Your eyeball.

    However really good small optics are better than bigger not so good optics. You tell what's what by looking at the resolution on the edges of the field, preferrably on a hazy day outside. High quality optics will cut thru the haze, and resolve a target perfectly all the way to the edges, cheaper stuff gets worse the farther away from the center of the field you get, and the haze is still there.

    I once had a Zeiss 8x-20 monocular you could see EVERY hole in the moon with it when it was mounted solidly on a tripod. I also have a set of Steiner 8x30 binos whcih are pretty good and I only paid $99 for them at Big 5 sporting goods. The Zeiss mono cost $400 and got stolen out of my car, and I miss it! It was the best optic I ever owned.

    All that said, there is some pretty good cheap stuff out there right now and you always have to look at what you are going to be using the optics for.

    If you only want to look at bullet holes at 200 yds then any of the cheapo 60mm spotting scopes in the $50-75 range will do you just fine. That's what I use, and it works just fine and lives in my Range box

    If you are trying to classify a bighorn sheep from a mile away you better pack the good stuff or you'll be doin' a bunch of walking for nothing.

    Zeiss, Swarovski, Steiner, Leica, Kowa, Fijinon, Vixen, Leupold are the good stuff. Tasco, BSA, the Russian stuff are the inexpensive stuff. The inexpensive stuff will do 95% of what you need to do.

    You have to decide if you "really need" the other 5% you'd get from the good stuff, and then you have to "learn" how to get the other 5% out of it.

    The great thing is nowadays there is alot of choices out there. Something for everyone.

    Randy
    Randy--Thank you for taking the time to post, I appreciate your input. I received the MiniMac today and hustled off to the range. The tripod it came with is way too limber so I put it on a more sturdy one to try out. With the focus on the side of the barrel and it's design, focusing at anything above 25x was difficult due to the movement you imparted focusing. I didn't care for that. Resolution was better but the focusing was a pain so I'm sending it back. I think I'll take Randy's advice and just get something like the refractory type lower priced scopes.
    "The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools."
    Herbert Spencer (1891)

  12. #12
    Boolit Master


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    Well my quest is ended. I purchased a Barska 12 X 36 X 50 with ED glass and the BAK4 prism. I decided I liked the lower power (Wider angle) of my Winchester 15 X 50 X 50 but not the poor and dark resolution at the upper magnification. I thought I'd give this Barska a try with the ED glass. I can resolve .30 cal bullet holes in the black, both in the sun or shade at 200 yds. I could not with the Winchester except in the sun and front lighted. Also the image is noticeably brighter and sharper than the cheaper Winchester at the 200 yd mark. I wanted a little more wide angle than you get with the basic 20 X 60 type scopes. I do a lot of 100 yd shooting but still wanted to be able to see targets well at 200 yds when shooting at that range. This $150. Barska should fill the bill for my needs.
    "The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools."
    Herbert Spencer (1891)

  13. #13
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    I don't think you gave that Mak enough of a chance. I've been using an old 4" B&L catadioptric on the bench for several years now. It has an alt-azimuth mount, and is very easy to aim and focus. The mirror figure ain't what it was, so I mask off about 2/3 of the aperture, but I still have more than a 60mm refractor. Although I have the erector prism for it, I don't use it - I've just gotten used to seeing everything upside down and backwards!

    .
    .
    BTW you can often pick up older cat scopes on EvilBay for a couple hundred bucks.
    So long, and thanks for all the fish.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master fourarmed's Avatar
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    I have owned several spotting and astronomical telescopes, and I strongly agree that after a stable mount, the eyepiece is the critical difference between mediocre and good scopes. If you are buying an inexpensive spotting scope, look for one without a zoom eyepiece. A cheap single-focal length eyepiece is always going to be better than a cheap zoom. It will almost certainly be 20x, which is pretty good for general spotting use.

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