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Thread: Angled vs Straight spotting scopes

  1. #1
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    Angled vs Straight spotting scopes

    Looking for one to primarily be used at the range on a tripod. Which do you prefer and why? Any “sleeper” scopes out there?

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy metricmonkeywrench's Avatar
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    I suppose you left out two factors, viewing distance and price. Both effect the answers you may get

    I’m limited to a 100 yard range an have a Wally World Simmons 20-60 that does well enough for my use though I keep a lookout at yard sales and craigslist for an eventual upgrade

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master
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    The angled eye piece models can be a bit easier to use and are often a bit shorter overall. Because there's a prism involved in both types, there's not much advantage in optical terms.

    When it come to optics, you REALLY do get what you pay for. There are no true "sleepers" out there. There are varying degrees of quality and performance and you will pay for the level you want.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    Prefer angled perticularly in a prone position or Bench. You can look sideways or down without having to reposition yourself or the scope to look through it. Nice for standing off hand rifle practice.

    Optics deals are where you find them. Picked up a pre-HD series Swarovski 80mm angled for 9 bills when a guy had a family emergency off of Craigslist. Felt bad woulda spent 1200 but thats what he asked so i bought him and his wife bfast at Dennys where we conducted the transaction @ 5 A.M. in the morning.

    Found a slick deal on a HD carbon fiber tripod for $120.00 that is rock solid to put it on.

    Be aware that clarity and brightness all look the same in the store until you get out in the field under dusk/dawn and bright sun conditions. Look through any spotting scope you can.
    Last edited by Greg S; 12-22-2019 at 11:13 AM.

  5. #5
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    GregS knows I’m a sucker for some of the finer things. I’d love a nice swaro for around $1k. Never thought of being able to look sideways prone through an angled model. Distance will be up to 1k yards but typically under 500.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master
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    At 1K yards you will need a very high quality spotting scope.

    For targets at 1000 yards I would want 60 power magnification and the best glass I could afford. At less than 500 yards, I could get by with something less expensive.

    Check out B&H Photo, they have a good selection and you can at least get an idea on where you need to be in terms of quality/price.

    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/S...083534116/pn/8

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy bpatterson84's Avatar
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    The low end of what to consider in any spotting scope is the Vortex Razor. Great characteristics for the money.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg S View Post
    Prefer angled perticularly in a prone position or Bench. You can look sideways or down without having to reposition yourself or the scope to look through it. Nice for standing off hand rifle practice...…….Be aware that clarity and brightness all look the same in the store until you get out in the field under dusk/dawn and bright sun conditions. Look through any spotting scope you can.
    That nails the OP's question; "Looking for one to primarily be used at the range on a tripod. Which do you prefer and why? Any “sleeper” scopes out there?"
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  9. #9
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    for bench use and prone use, angled is the way to go. Kowa is great glass for the money.
    NRA Endowment Life Member

  10. #10
    Boolit Master murf205's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ Pete View Post
    for bench use and prone use, angled is the way to go. Kowa is great glass for the money.
    +1 for a Kowa spotter. I bought a TSN-602 and a 20-60 eyepiece (have to buy separately) and it is super clear and aberration free. You can spend more on a Swarovski but I swear I cannot tell any difference in the clarity. I bought a straight but I use it on a free standing tripod. I gave my son a Leupold spotter for Christmas in 2009 and it was a disaster from day 1. Like Greg S said, it looked pretty good in the store but on the range it was bad. To their credit, I called Leupold and the customer service rep said no problem and I sent it back with a note as per our conversation. The replacement is a fine piece of glass. Look long and hard at used ones.
    IT AINT what ya shoot--its how ya shoot it

  11. #11
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    Angled eyepiece is popular with bullseye pistol shooters. You can lean over and look at your target without changing your stance.
    Also depending on how the scope is mounted, you may be restricted to using one eye to look through the scope with a straight lens. Pistol shooters mount the scope to their pistol box lid. If the box is on your left side you are restricted to using your left eye. The box lid is vertical when the box is open. You can not get your right eye behind the lens due to the hox lid. With an angled lens you could use right or left.

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    straight scope is the way to go if you are solely spotting for someone else who is shooting. Especially field shooting.

    Angled is the way to go if you are spotting while you are the one shooting. Angled is also the most versatile.

    I have an angled, but there are some times I did wish I had a straight when in the field... but I'm at the bench more often spotting myself.

  13. #13
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    I looked thru a Vortex adjustable angle the other day that at the range that made my older Leupold 30x60 mm fixed straight look like a cloudy Tasco. Wish I has written down the model. It was a variable and must of had at least a 80 mm objective lense. The owner said it as under $1300 retail but he got it with the padded cover and tripod for under a $1000. Nice scope. But I have a target camera now for the range. If I ever but another spotter it will be an angled variable.
    Steve,

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  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    The most common spotter used by high power shooters is the older Kowa TSN 2 77MM objective with the 25 mm Long Eye Relief eye piece. This eye piece has about 1" of eye relief and permits easy use with your prescription glasses and shooting glasses.
    You can get the same Kowa 77mm glass in the angled design as the Kowa TSN 1.

    The Kowa TSN 3 and Kowa TSN 4 are the same scopes with the much more expensive high-end Prominar (Apochromat) ED (extra-low dispersion), fluorite crystal lenses that eliminate color blur (chromatic aberration) for improved resolution and contrast.

    Both Meade and Celestron manufacture Schmidt-Cassegrain and Maksutov-Cassegrain telescopes, that are of the catadioptric design. These mirror based lens systems are much less expensive than conventional telescopes yet seem to offer very high performance. i have read many good reports about them but I have never personally used one.

    I have used the Swift Telemaster 841 15X to 60X (1960s scope) and the Bausch & Lomb Elite fixed 22X (1980s scope) and both are barely able to pick out 22 holes in a black target at 100 yards in good light. The Kowa TSN 2 with the 25X LER eye piece will spot 22 holes in the black easily.
    EDG

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
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    this is the one I use for high power at my local club.

    $177 @ Amazon right now. KONUS 7120 20x-60x80mm Spotting Scope with Tripod and Case

    I would loved to buy a Kowa, but I do not have the funds. If you are a dentist, lawyer, doctor, CEO, etc... buy the Kowa. But for me this get's me 80% there.

    I have used this at Camp Perry on the 200 & 300 yard line and it works wonderfully. However, I acutally dont even need a spotting scope for the 200 yard line with the system they have for reporting shot location and score from the pits to the shooter.

    It gets fuzzy when trying to look at sub moa 22 cal groups on the 60x magnification, but that's not really the purpose for a spotting scope. I'm just impatient sometimes and want to visually measure my groups before the shooting line is safe and I can pull my target.

    If mine was stolen I would buy the same thing again.

    Oh I should also mention, I wear glasses (astigmatism) and this has enough eye relief for me, that was a big part of the decision process.


  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I have a couple Kowas that are very good. bit have the angled eye piece and long eye relief eye pieces on them. Used them all around use and NRA High Power. One is 80 mm and the other is 88 mm objectives. Both are giving great service. The 45* eye piece works good for position shooting and off the bench. THe stand you use for the scope is as important as the scope is. A scope that is swaying and moving is much harder to use. The mount / stand makes it much more "useable".

    For spotting silhouettes I have went to a set of 25x x 100 mm binoculars these work really well spotting misses and hits on the steel critters. Also since both eyes are working together a lot less fatigue and strain. These are mounted on a heavy tri pod.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Some of the best spotting scope information and reviews come from bird watchers.

    http://www.birdwatching-bliss.com/bi...ng-scopes.html
    EDG

  18. #18
    Boolit Man
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    +1 on angled & Kowa . Bird watchers are very serious about their optics . Look thru what you're considering outdoors in differing light conditions .

  19. #19
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    Several years ago my late wife bought me a fairly inexpensive straight spotting scope. It is better than a lot, but I'm having trouble getting the thing stabilized now. I can't tighten it enough to keep it from moving a little. Nothing earthshaking, just annoying at times. The clarity is great, and I can get good views of the targets. And no, I can't remember the name of the thing. I believe she ordered it from Bass pro shop.

    But I believe an angled eyepiece would be a bit handier.
    Tom
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  20. #20
    I use a Celestron C70 Mini Mak and can suggest it for anyone wanting a small, light, easy to use and inexpensive angle scope. Got mine on Amaz for $90. If you want to spend more buy a better tripod than the one that comes with it.
    Click image for larger version. 

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