Mathews Inc.
Spotting Scope Recommendations
Contributors to this thread:
McCree 09-Mar-19
Ambush 09-Mar-19
Predeter 09-Mar-19
tkjwonta 09-Mar-19
4blade 09-Mar-19
JohnMC 09-Mar-19
Michael 09-Mar-19
Franklin 10-Mar-19
Jims 10-Mar-19
Treeline 10-Mar-19
LarryH N.E.AZ 10-Mar-19
Trial153 10-Mar-19
pirogue 17-Mar-19
pirogue 17-Mar-19
ND String Puller 17-Mar-19
yooper89 17-Mar-19
LarryH N.E.AZ 18-Mar-19
YZF-88 18-Mar-19
Blade 21-Mar-19
Watts 21-Mar-19
Kurt 21-Mar-19
YZF-88 21-Mar-19
Animal Killer 30-Mar-19
Beendare 31-Mar-19
Drnaln 31-Mar-19
From: McCree
Shopping for a spotting scope and looking for recommendations. I've been looking at a 27-60x85 Vortex. Is that too much scope for packing purposes? Angled or straight? Pros and cons to each? Any benefits to a going with a high power bino over a scope?

From: Ambush
I would google "bowsite spotting scope" and save everyone a bunch of typing again.

From: Predeter
Which Vortex? Viper or Razor?

I currently have a straight but my next will be an angled. Angled seems far more versatile. How much are you planning to pack it and what type of hunting do you do? Whats your main purpose for it, finding animals or deciding if a deer is 160 or 170?

From: tkjwonta
The 85 size objective is pretty large, but I personally like having that size. If I'm going to haul one in, I want to be able to use it from the first minute of daylight to the last minute of dusk. And I want to be able to really focus in and study an animal and their behavior.

That being said, most of my hunts are high country deer at 2-4 miles in for 3-4 days at a time. I might feel differently if I had to lug that scope around for 8-10 miles and a couple weeks at a time.

Also, I would go angled. And I prefer a 10 power bino and big spotter combo. You can't focus in on an animal with a 15x bino like you can on a 45x spotter from a couple miles away.

From: 4blade
Kowa 663 or 664 Prominar is the way to go. Around 2.4 lbs, good field of view, and will hang with the big 3 as far as quality of view. Pair that with a quality set of 10x42's and your good for everything.

Straight has one advantage over angled. If you are using your binos on a tripod and have located an animal you need a closer look at, you can pop them off drop a straight scope on the tripod and won't have to relocate your target near as much if at all. Other than that, angled does seem to be more versatile.

From: JohnMC

JohnMC's Link
Get these!

From: Michael
I have an 85 mm Vortex Razor and love it. It’s also an Angled scope which I like on a tripod. You can get away with your tripod being shorter then a straight scope. Which will be a difference when dealing with wind.

If your going to use an angled scope on a window mount it’s a pain in the butt. I would much rather have a strait scope for that application.

From: Franklin
I prefer a straight scope as staring through a scope with a rounded back and a bent neck for any length of time....blows to be blunt. You are talking roughly a 6" difference in tripod height between a straight and angled scope. IMO wind is a non- issue.

From: Jims
If $ is an issue I would buy a nearly new Swaro or Leica before buying a Vortex or other brand. If $ isn't an issue you might as well buy the best for a lifetime of hunting! Swaro is considered the cream of the crop but I have used and abused my Leica for years. I started off with an 80 and switched over to 65. I would never go back to an 80....just too heavy and bulky for a little better field of view and light gathering. I tend to do a lot of backcountry packing and hiking....and aren't getting any younger!

I prefer straight vs angled. It's a lot quicker spotting and lining up straight. My preference is an 8 or 10 x 42 around my neck for spotting game plus a spotter on a tripod. I spend a great deal of time field judging bucks, bull, rams, and billies through my spotting scope....which is impossible with 15x. A lot of cows deer guys prefer 15x binos for spending hours glassing tiny deer in thick brush from long range. They likely need a spotting scope to field judge their tiny antlers at long distance? I can't imagine lugging both a 15x plus a spotting scope and tripod around!

From: Treeline

Not sure how much extra weight it is, but I have done a lot of backpack hunts for Coues with the Swaro 15's, 65mm HD spotting scope, and 10x42's as well as a big tripod that you can stand behind to glass. The spotter is necessary to figure out what they will score.

Heck, good thing those deer are little because the pack is pretty much full of optics!

I do not pack the 15's when hunting mule deer sheep, or goats above treeline though!

I have used a number of spotters in my 50yrs of hunting, all have been straight. A cpl of years ago I bought a Leica 25-50 82mm, from BH photo, the angled was on sale so I thought I would try it. I love it, for me its much more comfortable to sit and glass with, which I never could do with a straight. I do 6 days of antelope survey each year and I use my window mount a lot for that. It does have its disadvantages over a straight barrel especially if the animal is moving quickly, its harder to stay on them cause you have to move the vehicle also. It is a little cumbersome, and takes a little bit to get use to, but with the ability to turn the eyepiece for me it became a non issue. As to finding game when switching from binos to the spotter, at first it is a struggle, but it seems like your mind gets tuned in and now I can find things pretty much as fast as my partner with his straight spotter. I know we all have our favorites, and i have used, Bushnell, Vortex, Nikon, Leopold, Ziess , and now Leica. My personal opinion is that the Vortexes are incredibly over rated, and an inferior glass, if money is your main deal, go for it maybe, but I think you should only buy one spotter in your life, put out the funds and get a good one, Swarovski, Ziess, will never be dissatisfied. The Kowa I have seen are a good glass, not sure about the models they have but the ones I used were 32 power, bino types very heavy. My Leica's are not bad to pack, but I only do maybe a 1-2 miles with them, in a day. If you want to look at optics reviews, don't look at hunting sites, look at birder sites, these guys are really into finite detail.

From: Trial153
Angled for me always , I really like my swaro ATS 65 for combination of weight and packability. I might pick up the 55mm TSN 53 KOWA as well as it gets good reviews.

From: pirogue
You know what they say, angled scopes are for the lazy type hunters like road hunters who are normally looking up. Hunters who get away from their trucks usually find themselves sighting game at the same or lower elevation and prefer the straight scopes

From: pirogue
You know what they say, angled scopes are for the lazy type hunters like road hunters who are normally looking up. Hunters who get away from their trucks usually find themselves sighting game at the same or lower elevation and prefer the straight scopes

I had the Razor 85 angled but returned it for the 65 angled. For me the 85 is too big and would be only used for glassing from the road. It also needs a hd tripod. FYI Camofire had the first gen razor 65 for $700 yesterday. That said I haven’t packed the 65 hunting yet. I use a Nikon spotter xl with a lightweight slik tripod. My buddy packs the razor 50 mm it only weighs 26oz he gets by with it just depends on what you really want to do with them.

From: yooper89
Yeah I don’t know that I’ve ever heard them say that, pirogue.

Well I don't know about pirouqe's comment. I packed my 82mm almost every day on a 28 day sheep hunt in the Salt River Wilderness in '16, so not really a road hunting situation. I didn't find it cumbersome or too heavy to pack, I was 67. Used it uphill, down hill ect. I will say it is a learning cure down hill, but again not hard to figure out. Personally, I enjoy "glassing" with it a lot more than my straight scopes. For me its a lot less strenuous on my neck, especially if I am sitting flat on the ground. I don't use my 15's much anymore.

From: YZF-88
I like an angled head. Easier on the neck while glassing for me.

From: Blade
Waiting to hear back. PM me and I have some considerations for a spotting scope too.

From: Watts
Good info, Larry. Thank you!

From: Kurt
Angled is more ergonomic for me for sitting, standing, uphill or down and especially from the truck window. But mine see a lot more time in the pack than in the truck.

From: YZF-88
I also use a razor hd 14-48x 65mm I believe. Not as heavy as the 85 but it still sucks on thosecsteep hikes!!!

IMO go vortex best industry in the business. With that packing in a spotter depends on what you are hunting imo. I use a pair of 12x50 razor hds 90% of the time. Hunting mostly day trips and maybe an overnighter. When it comes to angled vs straight i have an angled. Its great for glassing from a ridge top when im laying down on my back propped up against a tree or sage brush but it a pickup glassing from the road its a pain. I beileve the next spotter i get will be a straight.

From: Beendare
The angled scopes let you use less tripod- a good thing.

Vortex is a good company, good warranty...but you get less glass for the $$ with them, its middle of the road quality. You can get more bang for your buck with others like Meopta in this category.

Top units; Swaro of course, Leica, Zeiss and Kowa

You can find these top units regularly in the classifieds that are in good shape.

From: Drnaln
I've always used a straight spotter. Been around angled but couldn't get on the critter as fast. Very seldom do I glass with my spotter, I evaluate what I locate with my binos. Guys I know love the angled, others like the straight. I had a Leica 77 years ago & sold it when Leica came out with the APO 62. Best move I ever made. The 62 is always in my pack & the 77 was always in the truck. I'd buy the new Leica APO 65 if I was buying a scope today.

  • Sitka Gear