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Posted: 11/3/2009 9:09:18 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/3/2009 9:10:48 AM EST by GWhis]
At my age, I'd like to decrease the number of trips to the target, during rifle practice, or load development. That means, I think, having a good spotting scope. I have a very old cheap piece of junk (Tasco) that I bought from "Gander Mountain" 30+ years ago..bad decision...not worth carrying to the range. Since then, I've been reluctant to buy another scope, fearing another bad buying decision. Is there good reasonably price spotting scopes, or should I part with a lot of "guns and ammo" money for one those made of pure gold?

What do you guys use and what power range is necessary and really usable?
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 9:36:55 AM EST
The ~$200 Konus is good for seeing caliber .22 holes at 100 yds.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 9:52:33 AM EST
++ on the $200 Konus 20-60x
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 10:03:01 AM EST
Originally Posted By ArimoDave:
The ~$200 Konus is good for seeing caliber .22 holes at 100 yds.


Reading my mind are you. I just got through looking through all the scopes at Midway. I was reading all the reviews. The Konus got good reviews as a scope with optic performance way above its price. There was one hesitant review based on a loose optic and apparent lack of service in the US. $200 isn't a bad hit in the pocketbook at all, if it doesn't fall apart. I have a good photography tripod, so a flimsy one in the kit isn't much of a concern.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 10:05:35 AM EST
I picked up one from Overstock.com for $80 or so.

It is a Barska brand, it works well for me. But I don't have the money for the big name brand ones.



Link Posted: 11/3/2009 10:09:02 AM EST
Originally Posted By rebeltex:
++ on the $200 Konus 20-60x


A good choice for the money. I bought one a year ago and it is worth the money. Some observations (pun intended): 1) It is surprisingly light in weight (not bad, just mentioning), 2) The eye relief is too short (I had to remove my glasses to get my eye close enough to focus), and 3) The lens caps continually fall off (I had to tie a piece of cord to the scope and have each end tied to the caps).
It's not the best scope out there; however, it is by far the best for the money.

Link Posted: 11/3/2009 10:11:34 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/4/2009 3:00:49 AM EST by bartonmd]
Definate taggage...

Mike
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 10:21:02 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/3/2009 10:21:28 AM EST by Bubbatheredneck]
You get what you pay for in optics.

You have to decide what you need.

A $1500 Zeiss for seeing .30 cal holes at 100 yds on paper at the range on a bright sunny day is overkill and somewhat a waste of money.

The same scope on a western state slope in a freezing drizzle looking for a mountain goat on a $7000 hunt is not.



Link Posted: 11/3/2009 11:16:37 AM EST
how powerful is the scope on your rifle now? i don't use a spotting scope anymore after i bought a $300 nikon buckmaster 6-18x. i have to spend way more than that to get a spotting scope that can see equal to it at 100 & 200 yds. when i use the ar with the eotech i use the rifle scope as a spotter too.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 11:18:21 AM EST
+1 on the "you get what you pay for" sentiment. I tried using a cheap Tasco spotting scope for highpower competition for a while, and the difference was night and day when I spent the money on a Kowa. I think it's a TSN-81 or something like that. Clarity of image and light transmission improve greatly as you move up the ladder in quality.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 11:19:17 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/3/2009 11:28:09 AM EST by GWhis]
Originally Posted By Bubbatheredneck:
You get what you pay for in optics.

You have to decide what you need. True statement, but without help from you and others that's a hard and risky decision.

A $1500 Zeiss for seeing .30 cal holes at 100 yds on paper at the range on a bright sunny day is overkill and somewhat a waste of money.

The same scope on a western state slope in a freezing drizzle looking for a mountain goat on a $7000 hunt is not.




I guess what I don't want to do is "overkill" and I definitely don't want "underkill" either. I don't see such a hunt in my future...I have five kids to help in this economic disaster. So I'd settle for a good range scope.

So did you buy the Zeiss for your $7000 hunt? Such a hunt would definitely be on my "bucket list" if I had a rich friend to share it with!$$$
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 11:22:48 AM EST
I have a Meade ETX 90mm with quality fixed eyepieces. Not only do I have no problems finding .22 holes at 200 yards, I can get 2-3 targets in the field. Because there is limited transmission distance through the glass (front corrector, prism and eyepiece), it really shines. It is far lighter for its size than refractor porro prism spotting scopes.

Not exactly cheap but far superior on image quality.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 11:29:58 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/3/2009 11:32:04 AM EST by GWhis]
Originally Posted By Keith_J:
I have a Meade ETX 90mm with quality fixed eyepieces. Not only do I have no problems finding .22 holes at 200 yards, I can get 2-3 targets in the field. Because there is limited transmission distance through the glass (front corrector, prism and eyepiece), it really shines. It is far lighter for its size than refractor porro prism spotting scopes.

Not exactly cheap but far superior on image quality.


What's the fixed power?? What's the price range?
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 11:33:17 AM EST
I don't have one yet, but I hate trying to sight in rifles or check my zero if I am shooting at anything past 50 yards (especially at ranges when you have to wait for everyone to stop shooting to check your zero). A spotting scope lets you see where you are hitting from your bench and I think that is a huge plus.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 11:38:59 AM EST

Originally Posted By GWhis:
Originally Posted By Keith_J:
I have a Meade ETX 90mm with quality fixed eyepieces. Not only do I have no problems finding .22 holes at 200 yards, I can get 2-3 targets in the field. Because there is limited transmission distance through the glass (front corrector, prism and eyepiece), it really shines. It is far lighter for its size than refractor porro prism spotting scopes.

Not exactly cheap but far superior on image quality.


What's the fixed power??

All depends on the eyepiece, a standard 1.25" diameter. The scope came with three eyepieces. The optical tube assembly has a 1250mm focal length, with the lowest magnification EP of 26 mm, that would be 1250/26 power which is about 48 power. The other two are a 15 and 9.7 mm for about 83 and 129 power respectively.

IIRC, Weaver now carries this line of spotting scopes. Same optics, just a goofy green color. IDK if the ultra high transmission coating option is available. This is derived from a backpack astronomy scope, just in a different mount which uses the industry standard 1/4-20 threading for photography tripods. Adapters are available for shooting style tripods.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 11:43:33 AM EST
Originally Posted By Keith_J:
I have a Meade ETX 90mm with quality fixed eyepieces. Not only do I have no problems finding .22 holes at 200 yards, I can get 2-3 targets in the field. Because there is limited transmission distance through the glass (front corrector, prism and eyepiece), it really shines. It is far lighter for its size than refractor porro prism spotting scopes.

Not exactly cheap but far superior on image quality.


Plus you can hit the button and automatically track Jupiter!

Do you use an image erector on your rig or do you just go with the image as is?

I have been tempted by the Televue TV-60 over the years, but the lack of weather-proofing is a problem. I hunt in deplorable weather and I do need weather resistance when it comes to optics. If I pull the trigger on an upgraded spotting scope it would have to serve dual purposes for me- both the range and the game fields.

Link Posted: 11/3/2009 11:45:20 AM EST
Originally Posted By JV3:
how powerful is the scope on your rifle now? i don't use a spotting scope anymore after i bought a $300 nikon buckmaster 6-18x. i have to spend way more than that to get a spotting scope that can see equal to it at 100 & 200 yds. when i use the ar with the eotech i use the rifle scope as a spotter too.


Depends on the rifle, but no more than 12x...so far. My Remington R-25 .308, has a temporary 25-year-old Weaver 4x, with a new Buckmaster 2.5-10x soon to be in its future. Either way I need a spotter for targets.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 11:56:44 AM EST
Originally Posted By Keith_J:

Originally Posted By GWhis:
Originally Posted By Keith_J:
I have a Meade ETX 90mm with quality fixed eyepieces. Not only do I have no problems finding .22 holes at 200 yards, I can get 2-3 targets in the field. Because there is limited transmission distance through the glass (front corrector, prism and eyepiece), it really shines. It is far lighter for its size than refractor porro prism spotting scopes.

Not exactly cheap but far superior on image quality.


What's the fixed power??

All depends on the eyepiece, a standard 1.25" diameter. The scope came with three eyepieces. The optical tube assembly has a 1250mm focal length, with the lowest magnification EP of 26 mm, that would be 1250/26 power which is about 48 power. The other two are a 15 and 9.7 mm for about 83 and 129 power respectively.

IIRC, Weaver now carries this line of spotting scopes. Same optics, just a goofy green color. IDK if the ultra high transmission coating option is available. This is derived from a backpack astronomy scope, just in a different mount which uses the industry standard 1/4-20 threading for photography tripods. Adapters are available for shooting style tripods.


Go ahead, humor me, what'd you pay? If I have to take out a second mortgage on it, it won't fit.

Link Posted: 11/3/2009 11:59:40 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/3/2009 12:48:38 PM EST by AeroE]
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 12:00:18 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/3/2009 12:12:39 PM EST by Keith_J]

Originally Posted By Cheesebeast:
Originally Posted By Keith_J:
I have a Meade ETX 90mm with quality fixed eyepieces. Not only do I have no problems finding .22 holes at 200 yards, I can get 2-3 targets in the field. Because there is limited transmission distance through the glass (front corrector, prism and eyepiece), it really shines. It is far lighter for its size than refractor porro prism spotting scopes.

Not exactly cheap but far superior on image quality.


Plus you can hit the button and automatically track Jupiter!

Do you use an image erector on your rig or do you just go with the image as is?

I have been tempted by the Televue TV-60 over the years, but the lack of weather-proofing is a problem. I hunt in deplorable weather and I do need weather resistance when it comes to optics. If I pull the trigger on an upgraded spotting scope it would have to serve dual purposes for me- both the range and the game fields.


No, mine is an older model without any goto stuff, a purpose-built spotting scope. With the 45º prism, image is erect and correct. It is pretty much weather resistant but not waterproof.

Because it has the flip mirror, it can be used with the eyepiece in either position although the prism only works on the axial position. This is for photography (1250 mm f 13.8) too with the T-adapter.

Alas, the Meade is no longer available. The next best (and armored) would be the Celestron C90 spotting scope. Includes a single eyepiece of fixed power but it too is 1.25" industry standard. And it is 1200 mm, a bit shorter focal length but trivial. 3.10 pounds without tripod.

http://www.opticsplanet.net/celestron-c90-mak-spotting-scope.html

Once you view through a quality Maksutov, you will never go back to refractors.

Link Posted: 11/3/2009 12:50:09 PM EST
Originally Posted By Keith_J:

Originally Posted By Cheesebeast:
Originally Posted By Keith_J:
I have a Meade ETX 90mm with quality fixed eyepieces. Not only do I have no problems finding .22 holes at 200 yards, I can get 2-3 targets in the field. Because there is limited transmission distance through the glass (front corrector, prism and eyepiece), it really shines. It is far lighter for its size than refractor porro prism spotting scopes.

Not exactly cheap but far superior on image quality.


Plus you can hit the button and automatically track Jupiter!

Do you use an image erector on your rig or do you just go with the image as is?

I have been tempted by the Televue TV-60 over the years, but the lack of weather-proofing is a problem. I hunt in deplorable weather and I do need weather resistance when it comes to optics. If I pull the trigger on an upgraded spotting scope it would have to serve dual purposes for me- both the range and the game fields.




No, mine is an older model without any goto stuff, a purpose-built spotting scope. With the 45º prism, image is erect and correct. It is pretty much weather resistant but not waterproof.

Because it has the flip mirror, it can be used with the eyepiece in either position although the prism only works on the axial position. This is for photography (1250 mm f 13.8) too with the T-adapter.

Alas, the Meade is no longer available. The next best (and armored) would be the Celestron C90 spotting scope. Includes a single eyepiece of fixed power but it too is 1.25" industry standard. And it is 1200 mm, a bit shorter focal length but trivial. 3.10 pounds without tripod.

http://www.opticsplanet.net/celestron-c90-mak-spotting-scope.html

Once you view through a quality Maksutov, you will never go back to refractors.



Now that's pretty darn reasonable. I looked up the Celestron url, and the Scope with a 37x eye piece is $191.90, plus you can purchase an eyepiece kit with eye pieces 80x, 133x, 200x,300x (WoW!) for $122 more. Hmmm. My wife likes to look at stars. (Wheels turning)
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 1:21:33 PM EST
Originally Posted By GWhis:
Originally Posted By Keith_J:

Originally Posted By Cheesebeast:
Originally Posted By Keith_J:
I have a Meade ETX 90mm with quality fixed eyepieces. Not only do I have no problems finding .22 holes at 200 yards, I can get 2-3 targets in the field. Because there is limited transmission distance through the glass (front corrector, prism and eyepiece), it really shines. It is far lighter for its size than refractor porro prism spotting scopes.

Not exactly cheap but far superior on image quality.


Plus you can hit the button and automatically track Jupiter!

Do you use an image erector on your rig or do you just go with the image as is?

I have been tempted by the Televue TV-60 over the years, but the lack of weather-proofing is a problem. I hunt in deplorable weather and I do need weather resistance when it comes to optics. If I pull the trigger on an upgraded spotting scope it would have to serve dual purposes for me- both the range and the game fields.




No, mine is an older model without any goto stuff, a purpose-built spotting scope. With the 45º prism, image is erect and correct. It is pretty much weather resistant but not waterproof.

Because it has the flip mirror, it can be used with the eyepiece in either position although the prism only works on the axial position. This is for photography (1250 mm f 13.8) too with the T-adapter.

Alas, the Meade is no longer available. The next best (and armored) would be the Celestron C90 spotting scope. Includes a single eyepiece of fixed power but it too is 1.25" industry standard. And it is 1200 mm, a bit shorter focal length but trivial. 3.10 pounds without tripod.

http://www.opticsplanet.net/celestron-c90-mak-spotting-scope.html

Once you view through a quality Maksutov, you will never go back to refractors.



Now that's pretty darn reasonable. I looked up the Celestron url, and the Scope with a 37x eye piece is $191.90, plus you can purchase an eyepiece kit with eye pieces 80x, 133x, 200x,300x (WoW!) for $122 more. Hmmm. My wife likes to look at stars. (Wheels turning)


You said the Meade ETX90 was no longer available. This site seems to have them for sale still at this point in time. http://www.scopetronics.com/spottingmeade.htm Price is $399 but includes 3 eye pieces. More expensive by $115 than the Celestron. The quality is better supposedly...and it's American?
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 2:40:43 PM EST
Meade USED to be 100% domestic but I think the later years were assembled in Taiwan with USA glass. I know the UHTC process could not be exported . Manufacturing is now in Mexico thanks in no small part to California's horrible business environment. Lenses are still UHTC coated in the US. You probably found new old stock.

The Celestron is still a great scope, it might have issues in star gazing on off-axis fields but it is still good, that is the value of the Maksutov-Cassagrain system. This is a variation of the standard Catadioptric folded light path but with much better correction.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 2:58:08 PM EST
I've got a pair of 10x Orion binocs and they'll hold up to anybody's. I've done business with Orion for 10+ years now for my astronomy needs and have always been happy with their products and service. It might behoove you to look at these:
Orion Apex 90mm Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope Focal length is 1250mm, so with the 25mm included eyepiece, you have 1250/25 = 50x spotting scope. It comes with the erecting diagonal to be used as a spotting scope. Orion also has the same scope without the diagonal (so everything is upside down or mirror reversed, can't remember) and a second eyepiece that gives 125x, but that's overkill and you'd have to buy the erecting diagonal.

They also have a 40mm eyepiece for $52 (~31x), 32mm for $60 (~39x) and 35mm for $80 (~36x). The downside is high quality, longer focal length eyepieces tend to be more expensive. Do not get the 7mm-21mm (~178x-60x) zoom eyepiece as it give TOO much magnification.

If you get a MAK-CAS and use it as a spotting scope, please post back how it works for you. I've been thinking about it for a couple of years now.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 2:58:49 PM EST
Although this is an interesting thread to read, why is it in the reloading area?
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 3:14:37 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/3/2009 3:26:33 PM EST by GWhis]
Originally Posted By spoil9:
Although this is an interesting thread to read, why is it in the reloading area?


Because the process of working up a satisfactory load requires a trip to the range with targets, a bench rest, a Chronograph, and a good spotting scope if you're lucky. I am still working on accumulating all that...how about you? Where else should we talk about it...in General?

I've seen spotting scopes for shooters priced over $2000. What I'm learning is here is that these "MAK" scopes may be a better way to go, with the spotting ability and quality of the high end spotters and the versatility of being able to look at Andromeda when you get home from the range. That'd be a shame wouldn't it. What do you give up? The dial to change power. On these you have to change eye pieces.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 3:25:41 PM EST

Originally Posted By spoil9:
Although this is an interesting thread to read, why is it in the reloading area?

Because most here aren't interested in clod shooting. It is a tool in determining accuracy which is the most important metric of reloading, other than safety.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 3:27:17 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/3/2009 3:28:12 PM EST by Fluke]
I have a Bushnell 20-60x that I got about 7yrs ago $60 ??.It works fine at 200yds w/223,but I'd like something nicer.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 4:56:34 PM EST
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 6:32:08 PM EST
I bought a Konus 20-60x80, scope does what I need it to do, but the case and tripod are useless
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 6:42:15 PM EST
Dawes limit of resolution is based solely on diameter of the objective. Object in arc seconds (1/60th MOA) equals 11.6/diameter of objective in cm.

For a 60mm objective, that is 1.93 arc seconds. The .22 caliber bullet hole is about 12.7 arc seconds at 100 yards, easy. 6.35 arc seconds at 200, getting close. And just right at the limit at 400, ASSUMING you have contrast or transmitted light and perfectly stable atmosphere of impressive clarity. In reality, most 60mm objectives are straining at 200.

Now, for the mechanics of making big glass which has acceptably low chromatic abberation and optimum focal plane geometry...difficulty goes up as a cube of diameter. Exotic materials like fluorite glass don't even begin to correct. This is why all large objective scopes are reflectors.

The Maksutov Cassagrain design is a good compromise for the 70-500 mm size since the required geometries of the glass are simple to get great performance. This makes them easier to manufacture. Because they "fold" the light path, they are also compact and with the thin glass needed, lightweight.

Sure, you lose a bit of objective with the secondary mirror on the corrector plate but the gain in transmission completely offsets. And most 100mm and smaller are no longer than a comparable prism refractor.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 7:09:18 PM EST
Originally Posted By AeroE:


Don't get crazy with magnification on the range. The view will be worse than looking through the bottom of an ice tea glass covered in condensation. Similar problems will arise when the atmosphere is unsteady when used for astronomical viewing, too.



Your point is well taken. My youngest brother is an astronomy nut (and a Doctor so he can afford to be). I asked him about these toys we're talking about. He said that they're great for "beginner" or portable astro scopes, and that we'd be using the low power eyepieces for the range.

He offered me a 25mm eye piece he no longer uses, and suggested it might be preferable, for 100 yds. On the Celestron that would be still be about 48x. Even smaller ones would certainly be useful at some ranges, if such could be bought. The good thing for me, is I live a mile high, and unless the wind's blowing dust, the air is dry, relatively thin, and exceptionally clear. Hot summer days will have their New Mexico mirages of course, but mornings and evenings are perfect.

Link Posted: 11/3/2009 7:23:35 PM EST
I find with my 90mm 1250 that 26mm eyepiece is perfect for 100 yards and even a bit further. I have used a 32 mm and that is just as good when the light is right.

The real beauty is the field of view. It is huge which makes adjustment a snap
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 7:36:24 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/3/2009 7:37:01 PM EST by AeroE]
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 11:14:04 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/4/2009 12:22:29 PM EST by Renn]
Originally Posted By Keith_J:
Dawes limit of resolution is based solely on diameter of the objective. Object in arc seconds (1/60th MOA) equals 11.6/diameter of objective in cm.

For a 60mm objective, that is 1.93 arc seconds. The .22 caliber bullet hole is about 12.7 arc seconds at 100 yards, easy. 6.35 arc seconds at 200, getting close. And just right at the limit at 400, ASSUMING you have contrast or transmitted light and perfectly stable atmosphere of impressive clarity. In reality, most 60mm objectives are straining at 200.

Now, for the mechanics of making big glass which has acceptably low chromatic abberation and optimum focal plane geometry...difficulty goes up as a cube of diameter. Exotic materials like fluorite glass don't even begin to correct. This is why all large objective scopes are reflectors.

The Maksutov Cassagrain design is a good compromise for the 70-500 mm size since the required geometries of the glass are simple to get great performance. This makes them easier to manufacture. Because they "fold" the light path, they are also compact and with the thin glass needed, lightweight.

Sure, you lose a bit of objective with the secondary mirror on the corrector plate but the gain in transmission completely offsets. And most 100mm and smaller are no longer than a comparable prism refractor.


adds little to the discussion if no one can understand you...
Can you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?
Link Posted: 11/4/2009 6:26:51 AM EST
On the cheap side...

I bought one just like this a years ago from Sportsmans Guide.

http://www.russianoptics.com/scope_20-50x50.html

I know nothing about that vendor.

I only use it for range work. It has a somewhat narrow FOV but I can clearly see 22 holes out to 200 yards. It lives in my shooting bag and is not babied in any way. I would buy another if I destroyed the one I have. I admit I would be looking for something better on a $7K hunt out west.
Link Posted: 11/4/2009 6:51:56 AM EST
Originally Posted By GWhis:
Originally Posted By AeroE:


Don't get crazy with magnification on the range. The view will be worse than looking through the bottom of an ice tea glass covered in condensation. Similar problems will arise when the atmosphere is unsteady when used for astronomical viewing, too.



Your point is well taken. My youngest brother is an astronomy nut (and a Doctor so he can afford to be). I asked him about these toys we're talking about. He said that they're great for "beginner" or portable astro scopes, and that we'd be using the low power eyepieces for the range.

He offered me a 25mm eye piece he no longer uses, and suggested it might be preferable, for 100 yds. On the Celestron that would be still be about 48x. Even smaller ones would certainly be useful at some ranges, if such could be bought. The good thing for me, is I live a mile high, and unless the wind's blowing dust, the air is dry, relatively thin, and exceptionally clear. Hot summer days will have their New Mexico mirages of course, but mornings and evenings are perfect.



I envy your skies. Get a good scope for the range. Get a great scope for Astronomy.

Here in NH we have very few truly exceptional nights when the atmosphere is not "boiling" overhead. We also have a dew problem so if you leave your scope out to cool you have to take dew/condensation into account.

I have an 8" light bucket (Newtonian Reflector) that is about all I can reasonably use when it comes to objective size. On those rare nights, though, I have seen some absolutely amazing things.

Don't skimp on your eyepieces- a small collection of top quality eyepieces from Televue is a lot better than a giant box of mediocre offshore stuff.

In other words go shopping at your little brother's place



Link Posted: 11/4/2009 8:11:38 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/4/2009 8:38:28 AM EST by GWhis]
My brother says Celestron and Meade are like Chevy and Lexus. They both work, but Lexus has more bells and whistles. Then in the next breath he said I ought to buy a scope with a "Go To" electric base. Says that it takes lots of time to find anything worth looking at in the sky without one. (That's a motorized, computerized star finder in earth terms) That leaves the Celestron C90 out, and points to the new fancy $500 Meades. And you've got to buy an extra part to reverse the view. That's getting out of hand...I just want a spotter...and the celestial viewing side is just gravy.

I'm thinking I'm going to buy the Celestron C90 with the 32mm eye piece, and take my brother up on the .25mm eye piece. That should do all I need plus the gravy. And, I can add eye pieces later, if I want. That's going to set me back, $191.90 with free shipping, from here! Not bad for what it can do. I'll report when I get get it and try it out.
Link Posted: 11/4/2009 8:14:52 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/4/2009 8:50:22 PM EST by GWhis]
Originally Posted By GWhis:
Originally Posted By Cheesebeast:
Originally Posted By GWhis:
Originally Posted By AeroE:


Don't get crazy with magnification on the range. The view will be worse than looking through the bottom of an ice tea glass covered in condensation. Similar problems will arise when the atmosphere is unsteady when used for astronomical viewing, too.



Your point is well taken. My youngest brother is an astronomy nut (and a Doctor so he can afford to be). I asked him about these toys we're talking about. He said that they're great for "beginner" or portable astro scopes, and that we'd be using the low power eyepieces for the range.

He offered me a 25mm eye piece he no longer uses, and suggested it might be preferable, for 100 yds. On the Celestron that would be still be about 48x. Even smaller ones would certainly be useful at some ranges, if such could be bought. The good thing for me, is I live a mile high, and unless the wind's blowing dust, the air is dry, relatively thin, and exceptionally clear. Hot summer days will have their New Mexico mirages of course, but mornings and evenings are perfect.



I envy your skies. Get a good scope for the range. Get a great scope for Astronomy.

Here in NH we have very few truly exceptional nights when the atmosphere is not "boiling" overhead. We also have a dew problem so if you leave your scope out to cool you have to take dew/condensation into account.

I have an 8" light bucket (Newtonian Reflector) that is about all I can reasonably use when it comes to objective size. On those rare nights, though, I have seen some absolutely amazing things.

Don't skimp on your eyepieces- a small collection of top quality eyepieces from Televue is a lot better than a giant box of mediocre offshore stuff.

In other words go shopping at your little brother's place





One hobby at a time. My brother is a hospital ER doc, and on the side, has a Urgent Care Business. Bad economy or not, people still get sick or hurt. I'm a designer/builder waiting for the building business to come back. His little 5" Astro scope is more than I want to spend right now. His big scope is forever out of reach. Neither fit the bill for a range scope, which is what this exercise is all about.

These "MAC" spotting scopes seem like a really good deal for the range. I'm hearing about exceptional magnification, clarity, and bigger than usual field of view. As a bonus, on the astro side of things, they offer a beginner's look at the heavens, which is more than other "normal" spotting scopes can offer, at that price point. At that same price point can you get as good, as big, and as clear a view with a refractor? They are saying, Not, if I am hearing them right.


Link Posted: 11/4/2009 9:14:15 AM EST
The Maks are good value as you get a lot of objective size for the $$.

The downsides as I recall is they can get knocked out of collimation a bit easier than a refractor design. This is a "no duh" kind of thing if you look at the design of them as they involve mirrored surfaces.

If you are going to use your rig on the range then a Mak would offer no significant downsides to a more conventional refractor.

A Mak would also be better for general astronomy as you don't have the annoying false color problem of refractors. You have to spend a good bit of $$ to get an apochromatic refractor. It has been a while since I read up on this, but basically as you pass light through lenses the lenses act a bit like a prism. To minimize this the lenses are coated in different substances. Refractors can get heavy as there are a number of lenses in them- some models have 4 pieces of glass in them (or more).

Magnesium Fluoride is a pretty common coating. It is why the lenses on better grades of optics often have a purplish sheen to them. There is also fluoride glass (not a coating) and it is an expensive material. If you know someone with a nickname of "butterfingers" it is highly probable that they do not grind lenses for a living...

Basically, the design of the Mak allows you to get similar performance to a good quality refractor for less $$. You also get more objective size for your $$ which can aid in resolution of small objects (astronomy).

If you want to drag your rig up a mountain after the elusive trophy Flangled Sneezebeast then you won't regret spending the significant $$ for a Zeiss, a Leica, etc. You do get what you pay for. Or, as I suggested previously, you can just steal your brother's stuff.

Eyepieces are the hidden cost in the scope world, so measure twice on that. You will want good quality and they essentially last for life so budget accordingly. Televue has a calculator on their site that allows to you figure out what the end magnification will be for the scope/eyepiece combo you want to use.

I use Plossl style eyepieces and put up with the lack of eye relief. If you wear glasses you need to be aware that many styles of eyepieces have dismal amounts of eye relief to them when you start to increase the magnification. This will matter more in Astronomy than the range.

I would do some research about what Birders like to use. Birders are the most discerning users of optics that I have found. Check out the optics part of birder forums and I bet you will rapidly get an education. I know a birder who will not think twice about dropping (!) amounts of money on optics if he thinks it will get him an edge.

Good luck,
Enjoy your skies!





Link Posted: 11/4/2009 9:17:52 AM EST
I just bought a Konus 20x60x80. UPS should deliver it tomorrow. Konus is an Italian company which is good since I stopped buying Chinese crap regardless of price!
And typically Italian.... they are either totally chaotic or artists. I hope Konus fall into the latter category...
Link Posted: 11/4/2009 10:05:38 AM EST
I bought a Unertl 20 X 54 back in the early eighties and it's been one of the best investments I ever made. The 45 degree eyepiece with it's extended eye length makes it much easier to use. The glass is excellent. Nowadays they run $880.00.

KOWA has the 45 degree angle as well as extended 25 power eyepiece. Very user friendly. It's hard to beat KOWA for highpower rifle shooting. Giraud trimmers GTC, makes excellent scope stands as does www.Ray-Vin.com. 20 to 20 power is plenty most of the time.

I've seen people place an angled piece of white tag board behind their targets. Far enough behind so the sun shines on them. The reflected light is easy to see through your bullet holes.
Link Posted: 11/4/2009 12:34:59 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/4/2009 8:53:15 PM EST by GWhis]
Originally Posted By Cheesebeast:

Or, as I suggested previously, you can just steal your brother's stuff. That wouldn't work so well, all he hunts is stars and galaxies.

Eyepieces are the hidden cost in the scope world, so measure twice on that. You will want good quality and they essentially last for life so budget accordingly. Televue has a calculator on their site that allows to you figure out what the end magnification will be for the scope/eyepiece combo you want to use. That's easy for the Celestron C90...just divide the eyepiece size into 1200. I'll start with the one that comes with the scope and do more research (with my brothers eyepieces) to see what else I need and with what quality.

I use Plossl style eyepieces and put up with the lack of eye relief. If you wear glasses you need to be aware that many styles of eyepieces have dismal amounts of eye relief to them when you start to increase the magnification. This will matter more in Astronomy than the range. I'll certainly check up on that, since I sure have to wear glasses.

I would do some research about what Birders like to use. Birders are the most discerning users of optics that I have found. Check out the optics part of birder forums and I bet you will rapidly get an education. I know a birder who will not think twice about dropping (!) amounts of money on optics if he thinks it will get him an edge. I've looked there and I don't plan on getting so serious. They're like astonomers...focused.(Pun intended)

Good luck,
Enjoy your skies!

Thanks for the input. I appreciate it. I have always enjoyed New Mexico skys...and sunsets. I don't take them for granted. I also get to enjoy nightime Colorado skies each summer...near the stratosphere. Plan on testing the scope on them soon...and more terrestrial things like elk, and mule deer. It'll be a month at least, but I'll report back, on how it works.







Link Posted: 11/4/2009 4:09:22 PM EST

Originally Posted By GWhis:
My brother says Celestron and Meade are like Chevy and Lexus. They both work, but Lexus has more bells and whistles. Then in the next breath he said I ought to buy a scope with a "Go To" electric base. Says that it takes lots of time to find anything worth looking at in the sky without one. (That's a motorized, computerized star finder in earth terms) That leaves the Celestron C90 out, and points to the new fancy $500 Meades. And you've got to buy an extra part to reverse the view. That's getting out of hand...I just want a spotter...and the celestial viewing side is just gravy.

I'm thinking I'm going to buy the Celestron C90 with the 32mm eye piece, and take my brother up on the .25mm eye piece. That should do all I need plus the gravy. And, I can add eye pieces later, if I want. That's going to set me back, $191.90 with free shipping, from here! Not bad for what it can do. I'll report when I get get it and try it out.

Celestron isn't owned by the government so his analogy fails. It is VERY good for all of your applications. Ignore the goto pressure. If simple isn't better in some cases, the Dobson would never have become a top seller (standard reflector built on a simple, sturdy base that was easily built in a home shop, primary mirror included).

Spotting scopes always include the image inverter, in the case of the Maks, it is a prism which adds only 2 surfaces, unlike a linear inverter which has at least 2 elements meaning double the surfaces.

Link Posted: 11/4/2009 4:23:46 PM EST
AeroE. Shhh.. On the Space Masters. Especially the old ones with the gray finish, with out the armor coat.
Been looking for and old one with the 45' eye piece for years.
458
Link Posted: 11/4/2009 5:04:38 PM EST
Link Posted: 11/4/2009 6:40:50 PM EST
Keith_J is funny. Clod shooting
AeroE
The original Spacemaster was 60 mm fixed power with separate eye pieces 15 to 60X. The Sentry was a 50x20X and cost about 1/2 @ $55 in 1968.
The thing I like about these old scopes whether rifle or spotting is the extremely long eye relief. It's about 4" on old Weaver and some Redfield steel bodied (both) scopes. Kind of handy if your shooting something other than a small caliber.
458
Link Posted: 11/4/2009 8:03:12 PM EST
Originally Posted By Keith_J:

Originally Posted By GWhis:
My brother says Celestron and Meade are like Chevy and Lexus. They both work, but Lexus has more bells and whistles. Then in the next breath he said I ought to buy a scope with a "Go To" electric base. Says that it takes lots of time to find anything worth looking at in the sky without one. (That's a motorized, computerized star finder in earth terms) That leaves the Celestron C90 out, and points to the new fancy $500 Meades. And you've got to buy an extra part to reverse the view. That's getting out of hand...I just want a spotter...and the celestial viewing side is just gravy.

I'm thinking I'm going to buy the Celestron C90 with the 32mm eye piece, and take my brother up on the .25mm eye piece. That should do all I need plus the gravy. And, I can add eye pieces later, if I want. That's going to set me back, $191.90 with free shipping, from here! Not bad for what it can do. I'll report when I get get it and try it out.

Celestron isn't owned by the government so his analogy fails. It is VERY good for all of your applications. Ignore the goto pressure. If simple isn't better in some cases, the Dobson would never have become a top seller (standard reflector built on a simple, sturdy base that was easily built in a home shop, primary mirror included).

Spotting scopes always include the image inverter, in the case of the Maks, it is a prism which adds only 2 surfaces, unlike a linear inverter which has at least 2 elements meaning double the surfaces.



The "new" Meade 90mm Mak, with the computer controlled bases don't have the image inverter. They're celestial scopes, with a terrestial option that's extra. I'd jump on it if my passion was astronomy, and I wanted a travel scope. I do like astonomy, as in big 24"x18"coffee table books full of Hubble pictures. And I was mad as hell when I tried to peek at the big comet sighting with my worthless Tasco. But I'm not going to be a skywatcher like my brother.

Thanks for all your input...even if I didn't understand the one technical one...beyond getting the basic idea. I did order the Celestron this afternoon.
Link Posted: 11/4/2009 8:38:23 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/4/2009 8:40:51 PM EST by GWhis]
Originally Posted By TripletDad:
I've got a pair of 10x Orion binocs and they'll hold up to anybody's. I've done business with Orion for 10+ years now for my astronomy needs and have always been happy with their products and service. It might behoove you to look at these:
Orion Apex 90mm Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope Focal length is 1250mm, so with the 25mm included eyepiece, you have 1250/25 = 50x spotting scope. It comes with the erecting diagonal to be used as a spotting scope. Orion also has the same scope without the diagonal (so everything is upside down or mirror reversed, can't remember) and a second eyepiece that gives 125x, but that's overkill and you'd have to buy the erecting diagonal.

They also have a 40mm eyepiece for $52 (~31x), 32mm for $60 (~39x) and 35mm for $80 (~36x). The downside is high quality, longer focal length eyepieces tend to be more expensive. Do not get the 7mm-21mm (~178x-60x) zoom eyepiece as it give TOO much magnification.

If you get a MAK-CAS and use it as a spotting scope, please post back how it works for you. I've been thinking about it for a couple of years now.


I did check out the Orion in your link. It would work too. I picked the Celestron over it for three reasons: 1. It is armored and waterproof 2. Lifetime limited warranty, 3. It comes with the 35mm Eye piece ( I would prefer the 25mm, except that my brother offered me his for free). I would've preferred the longer Focal Length, 1250mm, to the 1200mm the Celestron has, but I don't suppose using the 25mm at 48x is that much different than at 50x and the armor/waterproof features seem more important.

Thanks for the input on eyepieces...and I plan to post back my experiences with this scope...for sure.

Link Posted: 11/4/2009 9:00:19 PM EST
Originally Posted By AeroE:
One trick you can try if the range will permit is to lay a white bed sheet or poster board in front of the target at 200 and 300 yards. The extra reflected light will generally illuminate the bullet holes in a black bullseye to make them viewable.

One of the targets I designed has 1 inch square blue or green sighting point that is visible at 300 yards in a 24X riflescope, but .22 diameter bullet holes are easy to see in the contrasting white background.

This is an example of one layout I use -

http://media.ar15.com/media/viewFile.html?i=6835



Thanks for the tips! I never would've thought of the white sheet trick!
Link Posted: 11/5/2009 4:26:13 AM EST
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