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Yet Another Reason To Break The Bank

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September 28, 2011

Yet Another Reason To Break The Bank

By David E. Petzal

by David E. Petzal

For years I’ve been whining at you that while it’s OK to buy an inexpensive gun, it’s stupid to cut corners on optical equipment, because the cheap stuff will not hack it.

Exhibit A here, is a Leica spotting scope that elk guide Amos Ames has used for the past 13 years. As you can see, it’s had a hard life, and then some. It is, however, still fully functional, where a lesser piece of equipment would be in a trash bin somewhere.

The other thing a scope of this caliber can do is let you search, hour after hour, without going blind. As Amos put it one morning: “You just saw me looking through this scope for three and a half hours solid. If you’re going to do that, you better have top-flight equipment.”

His binocular, by the way, is a Swarovski. Amos is the rule among guides, not the exception. The tools they value most are their pickup trucks and their spotting scopes and binoculars.

Comments (53)

Top Rated
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from Jason Hart wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Very true statements made on all accounts. I found out early on that when I bought marginal equipment on anything (gear, furniture, electronics) instead of spending the money for something better, I would be buying what I should have bought six months earlier. Optics are the same for me, when I bought a new riflescope I went with a Leupold VX-III. Binoculars are a Swarovski, and I have never missed the money that I did spend on these items.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

What's with the duct tape? Is the housing cracked? Is that a polymer body then? A $3000 spotting scope shouldn't crack when impacted by anything less than a falling satellite.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Chad Beck wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I went the foolish route of buying binoculars that were "just as good as Swarovski" for much less money. Long story short, buy Swarovski now not later, buy desert camo from the your local surplus store and stay away from the scentlock stuff. Big waste of money

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from rob wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

A friend went on a caribou in some far flung cold, gnarly, rainy place. The camp spotting scope was a Leica, mounted permanently to a tripod in front of the cook tent. During the hunt, it rained, snowed, sleeted and hailed, and the scope stayed outside, with no cover, no shelter, not so much as a scope cap. They'd get up in the morning, whack the big stuff off of it, and start glassing. No fogging, no leaking, just clear glass, season after season. You pay what you pay for Leica's for a reason, and it's a damn good reason.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from rob wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

He actually went on a caribou hunt, not just on a caribou. That would be a bit odd.
And yes, after hearing that story, I broke down and bought a Leica spotting scope. Best 2 months of house payment ever.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from FirstBubba wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Cheap ain't good!
Good ain't cheap!

Bubba

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Lee Woiteshek wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

In the interests of starting a knife fight, Mr. Petzal which do you prefer, straight or angled in a Spotter?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from NorCal Cazadora wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Wise words, whether it's hunting optics for photography equipment - good glass is worth the expense. I always buy a little more than I can afford, but that's pretty easy to rationalize.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Quiet Loner wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

The same advice holds for condoms.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from dtownley wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Once had a girlfriend turned into a wife
I tried to buy Redfield she talked me into Zeiss
she said, "its all about glass not about the size,
spend good money or you'll only hurt your eyes !
she only takes photo's of the dead, medical photographer

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Have a hunting buddy in California that has been coming to Ohio for 30 years to hunt deer. For most of those years he has had the same pair of Swarovski binoculars with the same piece of duct tape holding on the eye piece. A testament to both Swarovski and duct tape.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Happy Myles wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Lee.
I have both Leica and Swarovski spotting scopes and love them both. One is angled, one straight. As I have gotten older seem to prefer the angled one best. Feel it is easier to look through with my stiff old muscles and bones. Kindest Regards

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

dt, That reads well with iambic pentameter.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from dtownley wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Always told her that I married her so I could whisper sweet nothings in her ear every night. First, she said," you don't whisper and its not sweet and its more than nothing but it is every night...second, roll over & stop snoring ! Cheers X5 Buckhntr

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I feel like you can get away with cheaper stuff when it comes to rifle scopes than you can with binoculars and spotting scopes. This is unfortunate, because the latter two are more expensive, as far as high end goes.

Anyways, as long as the rifle scope is bright, clear, and sharp enough to see what you're shooting at, and it holds zero/adjusts properly, it's good enough. Plenty a middle range rifle scope will do all of that, no problem.

Middle range binoculars will "suck the eyeballs out of your skull". They look good sometimes, but then they glare and flare, and turn leaves purple, or turn the near black forest to just a black forest. Good ones seem like they have mild night vision.

You can't see jack at long range with anything but the really good spotters, and the mid-grade ones will suck out one eyeball and and lobotomize the other side.

Most people don't stare through those sort of optics long enough to notice those problems. I do, especially with binoculars. No one stares through a rifle scope long enough.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sb Wacker wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I was with a Scottish guide talking optics:
"Swarovski so you can see right into the trees, o'course is dinna mean a thing when the client's topped his MOA rile wi' Tasco $hite"

SBW

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

About twenty years ago while visiting a friend in Cheyenne he asked me to step outside and look at the license plate on a pickup parked under a street light with his new Swarovski binoculars. I could clearly read the numerals and have never failed to be impressed by all of their mid-range to high end models. I don't care for the minature "bird watcher" versions. Another buddy has a pair of Leicas with the built in range finder. This is a premium set up with the only fault being a little heavy. I also know that reliability and warranty from both manufacturers is impecable. The same goes for Zeiss and best grade Leupolds in my opinion. How about Vortex? American made and lifetime warranty for anyone plus available in all price ranges. Has anyone tried this brand? Check out their website as they sound like they make a great product but I have never seen any of their scopes or binoculars.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tim Platt wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I have not gone with Swarovski as I am not in their economic status. I am very happy with the Zeiss products I feel they are a much better value than Leupold.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Whoa..them Leicas are not cheap; thus the practical use of duct tape to extent it's field use!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Notice the Redneck chrome job on back of the scope!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Well I own a Rolleiflex, Leica & Hasselblad Cameras, (Used to be a Medical and studio Photographer, also a Honeywell Pentax and a Nikonos Waterproof Camera ( Used in Viet Nam as a combat photographer) won't sell any of them as I can still make money with them.

http://compare.ebay.com/like/360370811429?var=lv&ltyp=AllFixedPriceItemT...

http://compare.ebay.com/like/150665330247?var=lv&ltyp=AllFixedPriceItemT...

http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=leica+m3&oe=utf-8&rls=com.yahoo...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from AlaskanExile wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

My brother has a set of 10x50 Leica "something-vid" binoculars,that I covet. We once used those to determine that an animal on a beach over 5 miles away was actually a horse and not a moose. Don't try that with a Tasco!
I for one was truly glad to not have defied the "small craft advisory" that day (10ft swells, 9ft Zodiac; that math just doesn't work for me) to visit said distant beach to find that fact out.
Someday, when he's tired of those, maybe he'll sell them to me...
AKX

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from white bison wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Good comments all...however...I agree there is a distinction between a rifle scope & binocs & spotting scope as one poster said. I think a hunter can do well with a moderately priced riflescope. I favor the Nikon scopes as they are such a huge Optics producer of all kinds, that for the price...they can cut the cost & offer best value. As for Swarovski...truly fine Optics...however I remember one case when shooters culling wild donkeys...one shooter had a Swarovksi scope's crosshair fall down after all the shooting...and the experienced Aussies favored the low priced Bushnell "Trophy" scopes that never failed them.
So...to just go out & say "Leica" Swarovski, Zeiss, etc..its an easy statement...however, its also partly deceptive as its not condsidering you don't need a Swarovski to shoot a Deer at 100 yards, or an Antelope at 300. My Nikons work just fine. This argument needs a little perspective.
Best Regards, Tom from Cody

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from tom warner wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Agree 100%! I used a couple of pairs of Leica Trinovid's for many years and thought that they were great binoculars, but then had a opportunity to use a pair of Swarovski's and thought that they were quite a bit better. Bought a pair. I seldom walk out the door without them now. Great glasses. I've kept myself on the edge of poverty most of my life by buying what I could not really afford, BUT I have not had to replace any of it. We will always save $$ in the long run if we can buy the best. Cheap stuff is ultimately the most expensive.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from smokey0347 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I got extremely lucky and just happened to find a pair of Swarovski 8 X 30 binocs at a yard sale in a retirement community. The lady was selling all of her husband's sporting equipment as he had just passed away and they had no children. She also sold me her husband's custom 30-06 and 3 fishing poles with Shimano reels.

Cost: Swarovski's $25.00
Custom 30-06 $75.00
3 fishing rods $25.00

And no, I didn't even try to dicker the prices she had set.

I have loaned the Swarovskis to my buddy on occasions when I wasn't using them. He has told me that they belong to him after I'm gone. Think he likes them almost as much as I do.

As to suburban bushwacker...I have had a Remington .308 with a Tasco World Class on top for several years. Took a nasty fall down a shale slope with this rig. Tasco still held it's zero and has very decent optics. Granted, it's not my first choice but, it came with the rifle and it still shoots 3/4" groups at a 100 yards. Think I'll just stick with that combo until it finally breaks. I go by the old saying that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Sounds like you've had a bad experience with Tasco. I had a Lyman Alaskan 4x that was a piece of junk. Sent it back to Lyman 3 times before I bought a Redfield for that rifle.
JMO

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Currently I own Swarovski SLC and Bushnell Elite Binos and the difference is hard to tell. However, sent the SLC's in for a refurbish and it appears Swarovski sent me a new set of binos. Can't beat that service.
Dave, I'll bet your guide could get that spotter fixed for free if he would send it back to Leica.
My spotter is top of the line Leupold and I must say it is difficult to get completely focused at long range. Thinking about sending it back to Leupold or selling on ebay and buying Swarovski.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

White Bison: Where are you hunting Saturday morning? I am thinking I will probably head up to Boulder Basin due to lack of other choices although this once seldom hunted area is now full of refugees from North Fork, South Fork, Sunlight, and Crandall for the general elk season. Two weekends ago a couple of my bowhunting friends saw 7 grizzlies there over a weekend and no elk. Some of these bears could have been repeat sightings of the previously seen ones.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from davidpetzal wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

To Lee: I found that the only use for an angled eyepiece is when you're shooting prone. Otherwise, straight is the only one to have.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Longbeard wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I read a magazine devoted to DIY hunts out west in which the type of gear used is cited. I'd say that about 98% of the successful hunters use high quality optics, about 95% Swarovski. It has convinced me that I need to upgrade before I go west again.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from white bison wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Ishawooa...I'm not hunting on Saturday...I've got a late
seaon cow tag starting Nov. 1.
Did you know that "Ishawooa" was the name of a town they used in a Robert Redford Movie...forget the name of it just now. Grizzlies have caused a few deaths this year..
and as you probably know, the Leming kid was attacked in
Boulder basin a few years back bow hunting...
Take care.
Tom from Cody

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from David Lumpkin wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Guys, why don't we consider products made in the USA. One of my other hobbies is astronomy. My small astro scope / spotting scope is a Televue 76mm APO (apochromatic) refractor. I've compared it with other APO scopes and it is as good any of them. I use a 45 degree angled upright eyepiece system. It's easier on civilians. The 90 degree system flips left and right. That's hard for non astronomers.
I'd like to match my TV scope against Leica's, Swarovsk's etc. My binoculars are Fujinon's. They match up well against the previous makers and Zeiss also. I'm pretty confident my TV is as good as if not better than the others.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from white bison wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Ishawooa...I just remembered the Movie Title:
"An Unfinished Life" ...only the very first part shows a
Wyoming Town named "Ishawooa"...if you blink, you'd miss it. We know where "Ishawooa" is...but I guess the Movie people have artistic license?! But, it is interesting to me...that someone even knew the name "Ishawooa" & associated it with a setting in Wyoming...I was kinda amused by it.
Best Regards,
Tom from Cody

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from white bison wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Ishawooa...I just remembered the Movie Title:
"An Unfinished Life" ...only the very first part shows a
Wyoming Town named "Ishawooa"...if you blink, you'd miss it. We know where "Ishawooa" is...but I guess the Movie people have artistic license?! But, it is interesting to me...that someone even knew the name "Ishawooa" & associated it with a setting in Wyoming...I was kinda amused by it.
Best Regards,
Tom from Cody

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from white bison wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

davesmyrnaga: Your pretty savvy...Fujinon's are relatively little known...but you are correct...they are
an excellent glass!
Tom from Cody

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from RangerDansDrink... wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Anybody have anything on CARSON. Had them for years and seem OK to me? Not top of the line but no complaints.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Well, I like my Leupold scope, on the .35 Whelen, and Nikon on the .45/70, while my .270 wears an old Busnell; I am happy with all three scopes, and for my amount of hunting they preform nicely. As for my Bi-Nocks, that's another story. I got myself a pair of Steiner Predator Glass, now I know they are not BIG money, but for me at $400 it was more then I usually spend...and they are worth every penny!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

White Bison: I always figured that the Ishawooa on the road sign was there because the author of the novel, Mark Spragg, lived in Cody for a while and was familiar with the nearby location. Most locals know that Ishawooa is a Shoshoni word meaning "wolf crap". Looks like I might be riding up that trail into Pass Creek maybe next week. Should be plenty of grizzlies there LOL.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Happy Myles wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

ishawooa,

Good luck. Wish I could tag along. I have been a little under the weather, but maybe I could hold the horses

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Nikons have been working great for me for years.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steward wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Nothing worse than trying to watch deer on a field and you can't see any details because you have cheap binocs.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Happy: The "maybe" in my previous entry is due to me recently being diagnosed with metabolic syndrome (type II diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, and elevated triglycerides)plus my hunting friend is due back today from his elephant hunt in Zimbabwe. He has bad knees and reports that a long ride is doubtful for him. Consequently this little elk hunt might fall apart before it even starts otherwise you would be welcome to participate. Maybe you could boost me up into the saddle LOL. This Pass Creek area was a favorite of O'Conner, Mike Walker, and Les Bowman as you probably are aware. I have always enjoyed it as well.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from RandyMI wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

OK, Good glass is worth the cost.
Now, let's get on with the knife fight----DEP did mention the value top guides put on their PICKUP TRUCKS!!!
Obviously, in an article about top-of-the-line equipment he was referring to GMC pickup truck!!! :-)

RandyMI

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from brendanfagan wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Regardless of the amount of money you spend in optics it still comes down to who's pulling the trigger.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

smokeyo347,
Gee, how white of you not to screw the widow out of any more money than $25 for Swarovski binocs and a custom '06 for $75. There should be more gents like you around. jmo

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Drew McClure wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

If you think that high end optics consider what eye insurance can help you afford Lasik,or intraocular surgery. Last week my mother had her first of two procedures which involve implanting a synthetic lens to replace those plagued with cataracts. She describes it as night and day difference and that it reminds her of being 8 years and seeing clearly, and she was essentially blind. My point is that all the money spent on gear will not benefit you if you have vision problems, and before you drop that cash see your best REGIONAL eye doctors with experience in new era surgeries, and buy some coverage, decades of problems may be cured. Cheers to finding what you are looking for. The Ol' man and I have upgraded several lower end scopes and have been impressed with the quality of Leupold and Nikon's mid-range offerings. I use a small 8 dollar pair of Bushnell Bino's to make sure 2 1/2 year olds camp meat bucks are legal, if I am trophy field judging I would want better gear.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Drew McClure wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

If you think that high end optics consider what eye insurance can help you afford Lasik,or intraocular surgery. Last week my mother had her first of two procedures which involve implanting a synthetic lens to replace those plagued with cataracts. She describes it as night and day difference and that it reminds her of being 8 years and seeing clearly, and she was essentially blind. My point is that all the money spent on gear will not benefit you if you have vision problems, and before you drop that cash see your best REGIONAL eye doctors with experience in new era surgeries, and buy some coverage, decades of problems may be cured. Cheers to finding what you are looking for. The Ol' man and I have upgraded several lower end scopes and have been impressed with the quality of Leupold and Nikon's mid-range offerings. I use a small 8 dollar pair of Bushnell Bino's to make sure 2 1/2 year olds camp meat bucks are legal, if I am trophy field judging I would want better gear.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from TED FORD wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

Ya'll oughten to be too hard on smokeyo347,he probably paid no less than the dearly departed had told his wife he had paid for the Swarovskis,the'06 and the fishings rods.I have a good friend who is an avid fisherman who told his wife,"Honey,if anything happens to me don't sell my fishing equipment for what I told you I paid for it."

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

I told my wife to have any of my firearms professionally appraised before selling in the event of my untimely demise. I told her thay have "appreciated" to values much more than I paid for them. ;-I

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 7Derrick wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

I guess my only point is sure a Leica APO-Televid 82 would look great in my bag for not only elk hunting, but sheep hunting as well. But I'm sorry, I just can not justify spending $3899 on one. I would rather walk my legs off and get to that location instead. Great article though

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from TED FORD wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

White Bison,as to the Swarovski malfunction while culling wild donkeys,it clearly states in the literature that Swarovskis are not to be used for shooting jackasses.This was at the insistance of the Democrats during the congressional hearing concerning the importation fine German optics for hunting.If this happened in Australia as you refer to the "aussies" that the luckless chap must have gotten his hands on a scope meant for the American market.
All the best to you mate."Bong".
Ted

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from TED FORD wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

Actually the Austrian Swarovskis are much better.
Was that a mistake,a "misspeak"or a lie?Regardless I stand by the balance of the post.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

Ted Ford,
You bring up a good point. Do European optic makers send their crap to the U.S. and still rape us with the high price because many here believe American or Japanese can't make anything like the krauts. I disagree.
I'm sorry to include the japs but they make good glass too, just look through what is on your rifle and hopefully it's not Korean, Indonesian or from the Phillipines.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from TED FORD wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

Jim in Mo
The truth is I didn't have enough to do yesterday and the whole thing was rather point-less.

Leupold sits atop my hunting rifles.I do have some Japanese scopes on others. They are fine but I prefer Leupold.I have spent enough money on sub par binoculars to have much earlier in life do what I finally did when I caught some Zeiss and later some fine Austrian binoculars on sale.The older I get the more I appreciate the difference offered by better optics as opposed to"these'll do"optics.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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from white bison wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Good comments all...however...I agree there is a distinction between a rifle scope & binocs & spotting scope as one poster said. I think a hunter can do well with a moderately priced riflescope. I favor the Nikon scopes as they are such a huge Optics producer of all kinds, that for the price...they can cut the cost & offer best value. As for Swarovski...truly fine Optics...however I remember one case when shooters culling wild donkeys...one shooter had a Swarovksi scope's crosshair fall down after all the shooting...and the experienced Aussies favored the low priced Bushnell "Trophy" scopes that never failed them.
So...to just go out & say "Leica" Swarovski, Zeiss, etc..its an easy statement...however, its also partly deceptive as its not condsidering you don't need a Swarovski to shoot a Deer at 100 yards, or an Antelope at 300. My Nikons work just fine. This argument needs a little perspective.
Best Regards, Tom from Cody

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from dtownley wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Once had a girlfriend turned into a wife
I tried to buy Redfield she talked me into Zeiss
she said, "its all about glass not about the size,
spend good money or you'll only hurt your eyes !
she only takes photo's of the dead, medical photographer

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I feel like you can get away with cheaper stuff when it comes to rifle scopes than you can with binoculars and spotting scopes. This is unfortunate, because the latter two are more expensive, as far as high end goes.

Anyways, as long as the rifle scope is bright, clear, and sharp enough to see what you're shooting at, and it holds zero/adjusts properly, it's good enough. Plenty a middle range rifle scope will do all of that, no problem.

Middle range binoculars will "suck the eyeballs out of your skull". They look good sometimes, but then they glare and flare, and turn leaves purple, or turn the near black forest to just a black forest. Good ones seem like they have mild night vision.

You can't see jack at long range with anything but the really good spotters, and the mid-grade ones will suck out one eyeball and and lobotomize the other side.

Most people don't stare through those sort of optics long enough to notice those problems. I do, especially with binoculars. No one stares through a rifle scope long enough.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jason Hart wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Very true statements made on all accounts. I found out early on that when I bought marginal equipment on anything (gear, furniture, electronics) instead of spending the money for something better, I would be buying what I should have bought six months earlier. Optics are the same for me, when I bought a new riflescope I went with a Leupold VX-III. Binoculars are a Swarovski, and I have never missed the money that I did spend on these items.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Chad Beck wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I went the foolish route of buying binoculars that were "just as good as Swarovski" for much less money. Long story short, buy Swarovski now not later, buy desert camo from the your local surplus store and stay away from the scentlock stuff. Big waste of money

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from rob wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

A friend went on a caribou in some far flung cold, gnarly, rainy place. The camp spotting scope was a Leica, mounted permanently to a tripod in front of the cook tent. During the hunt, it rained, snowed, sleeted and hailed, and the scope stayed outside, with no cover, no shelter, not so much as a scope cap. They'd get up in the morning, whack the big stuff off of it, and start glassing. No fogging, no leaking, just clear glass, season after season. You pay what you pay for Leica's for a reason, and it's a damn good reason.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from FirstBubba wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Cheap ain't good!
Good ain't cheap!

Bubba

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Have a hunting buddy in California that has been coming to Ohio for 30 years to hunt deer. For most of those years he has had the same pair of Swarovski binoculars with the same piece of duct tape holding on the eye piece. A testament to both Swarovski and duct tape.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Happy Myles wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Lee.
I have both Leica and Swarovski spotting scopes and love them both. One is angled, one straight. As I have gotten older seem to prefer the angled one best. Feel it is easier to look through with my stiff old muscles and bones. Kindest Regards

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

What's with the duct tape? Is the housing cracked? Is that a polymer body then? A $3000 spotting scope shouldn't crack when impacted by anything less than a falling satellite.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from NorCal Cazadora wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Wise words, whether it's hunting optics for photography equipment - good glass is worth the expense. I always buy a little more than I can afford, but that's pretty easy to rationalize.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Quiet Loner wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

The same advice holds for condoms.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sb Wacker wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I was with a Scottish guide talking optics:
"Swarovski so you can see right into the trees, o'course is dinna mean a thing when the client's topped his MOA rile wi' Tasco $hite"

SBW

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

About twenty years ago while visiting a friend in Cheyenne he asked me to step outside and look at the license plate on a pickup parked under a street light with his new Swarovski binoculars. I could clearly read the numerals and have never failed to be impressed by all of their mid-range to high end models. I don't care for the minature "bird watcher" versions. Another buddy has a pair of Leicas with the built in range finder. This is a premium set up with the only fault being a little heavy. I also know that reliability and warranty from both manufacturers is impecable. The same goes for Zeiss and best grade Leupolds in my opinion. How about Vortex? American made and lifetime warranty for anyone plus available in all price ranges. Has anyone tried this brand? Check out their website as they sound like they make a great product but I have never seen any of their scopes or binoculars.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Notice the Redneck chrome job on back of the scope!

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from AlaskanExile wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

My brother has a set of 10x50 Leica "something-vid" binoculars,that I covet. We once used those to determine that an animal on a beach over 5 miles away was actually a horse and not a moose. Don't try that with a Tasco!
I for one was truly glad to not have defied the "small craft advisory" that day (10ft swells, 9ft Zodiac; that math just doesn't work for me) to visit said distant beach to find that fact out.
Someday, when he's tired of those, maybe he'll sell them to me...
AKX

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from David Lumpkin wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Guys, why don't we consider products made in the USA. One of my other hobbies is astronomy. My small astro scope / spotting scope is a Televue 76mm APO (apochromatic) refractor. I've compared it with other APO scopes and it is as good any of them. I use a 45 degree angled upright eyepiece system. It's easier on civilians. The 90 degree system flips left and right. That's hard for non astronomers.
I'd like to match my TV scope against Leica's, Swarovsk's etc. My binoculars are Fujinon's. They match up well against the previous makers and Zeiss also. I'm pretty confident my TV is as good as if not better than the others.

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from rob wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

He actually went on a caribou hunt, not just on a caribou. That would be a bit odd.
And yes, after hearing that story, I broke down and bought a Leica spotting scope. Best 2 months of house payment ever.

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

dt, That reads well with iambic pentameter.

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from dtownley wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Always told her that I married her so I could whisper sweet nothings in her ear every night. First, she said," you don't whisper and its not sweet and its more than nothing but it is every night...second, roll over & stop snoring ! Cheers X5 Buckhntr

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from Tim Platt wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I have not gone with Swarovski as I am not in their economic status. I am very happy with the Zeiss products I feel they are a much better value than Leupold.

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Whoa..them Leicas are not cheap; thus the practical use of duct tape to extent it's field use!

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from tom warner wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Agree 100%! I used a couple of pairs of Leica Trinovid's for many years and thought that they were great binoculars, but then had a opportunity to use a pair of Swarovski's and thought that they were quite a bit better. Bought a pair. I seldom walk out the door without them now. Great glasses. I've kept myself on the edge of poverty most of my life by buying what I could not really afford, BUT I have not had to replace any of it. We will always save $$ in the long run if we can buy the best. Cheap stuff is ultimately the most expensive.

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from smokey0347 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I got extremely lucky and just happened to find a pair of Swarovski 8 X 30 binocs at a yard sale in a retirement community. The lady was selling all of her husband's sporting equipment as he had just passed away and they had no children. She also sold me her husband's custom 30-06 and 3 fishing poles with Shimano reels.

Cost: Swarovski's $25.00
Custom 30-06 $75.00
3 fishing rods $25.00

And no, I didn't even try to dicker the prices she had set.

I have loaned the Swarovskis to my buddy on occasions when I wasn't using them. He has told me that they belong to him after I'm gone. Think he likes them almost as much as I do.

As to suburban bushwacker...I have had a Remington .308 with a Tasco World Class on top for several years. Took a nasty fall down a shale slope with this rig. Tasco still held it's zero and has very decent optics. Granted, it's not my first choice but, it came with the rifle and it still shoots 3/4" groups at a 100 yards. Think I'll just stick with that combo until it finally breaks. I go by the old saying that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Sounds like you've had a bad experience with Tasco. I had a Lyman Alaskan 4x that was a piece of junk. Sent it back to Lyman 3 times before I bought a Redfield for that rifle.
JMO

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from Del in KS wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Currently I own Swarovski SLC and Bushnell Elite Binos and the difference is hard to tell. However, sent the SLC's in for a refurbish and it appears Swarovski sent me a new set of binos. Can't beat that service.
Dave, I'll bet your guide could get that spotter fixed for free if he would send it back to Leica.
My spotter is top of the line Leupold and I must say it is difficult to get completely focused at long range. Thinking about sending it back to Leupold or selling on ebay and buying Swarovski.

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

White Bison: Where are you hunting Saturday morning? I am thinking I will probably head up to Boulder Basin due to lack of other choices although this once seldom hunted area is now full of refugees from North Fork, South Fork, Sunlight, and Crandall for the general elk season. Two weekends ago a couple of my bowhunting friends saw 7 grizzlies there over a weekend and no elk. Some of these bears could have been repeat sightings of the previously seen ones.

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from davidpetzal wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

To Lee: I found that the only use for an angled eyepiece is when you're shooting prone. Otherwise, straight is the only one to have.

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from Longbeard wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I read a magazine devoted to DIY hunts out west in which the type of gear used is cited. I'd say that about 98% of the successful hunters use high quality optics, about 95% Swarovski. It has convinced me that I need to upgrade before I go west again.

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from white bison wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Ishawooa...I'm not hunting on Saturday...I've got a late
seaon cow tag starting Nov. 1.
Did you know that "Ishawooa" was the name of a town they used in a Robert Redford Movie...forget the name of it just now. Grizzlies have caused a few deaths this year..
and as you probably know, the Leming kid was attacked in
Boulder basin a few years back bow hunting...
Take care.
Tom from Cody

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from white bison wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Ishawooa...I just remembered the Movie Title:
"An Unfinished Life" ...only the very first part shows a
Wyoming Town named "Ishawooa"...if you blink, you'd miss it. We know where "Ishawooa" is...but I guess the Movie people have artistic license?! But, it is interesting to me...that someone even knew the name "Ishawooa" & associated it with a setting in Wyoming...I was kinda amused by it.
Best Regards,
Tom from Cody

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from white bison wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

davesmyrnaga: Your pretty savvy...Fujinon's are relatively little known...but you are correct...they are
an excellent glass!
Tom from Cody

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Well, I like my Leupold scope, on the .35 Whelen, and Nikon on the .45/70, while my .270 wears an old Busnell; I am happy with all three scopes, and for my amount of hunting they preform nicely. As for my Bi-Nocks, that's another story. I got myself a pair of Steiner Predator Glass, now I know they are not BIG money, but for me at $400 it was more then I usually spend...and they are worth every penny!

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

White Bison: I always figured that the Ishawooa on the road sign was there because the author of the novel, Mark Spragg, lived in Cody for a while and was familiar with the nearby location. Most locals know that Ishawooa is a Shoshoni word meaning "wolf crap". Looks like I might be riding up that trail into Pass Creek maybe next week. Should be plenty of grizzlies there LOL.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Nikons have been working great for me for years.

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Happy: The "maybe" in my previous entry is due to me recently being diagnosed with metabolic syndrome (type II diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, and elevated triglycerides)plus my hunting friend is due back today from his elephant hunt in Zimbabwe. He has bad knees and reports that a long ride is doubtful for him. Consequently this little elk hunt might fall apart before it even starts otherwise you would be welcome to participate. Maybe you could boost me up into the saddle LOL. This Pass Creek area was a favorite of O'Conner, Mike Walker, and Les Bowman as you probably are aware. I have always enjoyed it as well.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

I told my wife to have any of my firearms professionally appraised before selling in the event of my untimely demise. I told her thay have "appreciated" to values much more than I paid for them. ;-I

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from Lee Woiteshek wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

In the interests of starting a knife fight, Mr. Petzal which do you prefer, straight or angled in a Spotter?

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from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Well I own a Rolleiflex, Leica & Hasselblad Cameras, (Used to be a Medical and studio Photographer, also a Honeywell Pentax and a Nikonos Waterproof Camera ( Used in Viet Nam as a combat photographer) won't sell any of them as I can still make money with them.

http://compare.ebay.com/like/360370811429?var=lv&ltyp=AllFixedPriceItemT...

http://compare.ebay.com/like/150665330247?var=lv&ltyp=AllFixedPriceItemT...

http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=leica+m3&oe=utf-8&rls=com.yahoo...

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from white bison wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Ishawooa...I just remembered the Movie Title:
"An Unfinished Life" ...only the very first part shows a
Wyoming Town named "Ishawooa"...if you blink, you'd miss it. We know where "Ishawooa" is...but I guess the Movie people have artistic license?! But, it is interesting to me...that someone even knew the name "Ishawooa" & associated it with a setting in Wyoming...I was kinda amused by it.
Best Regards,
Tom from Cody

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from RangerDansDrink... wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Anybody have anything on CARSON. Had them for years and seem OK to me? Not top of the line but no complaints.

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from Happy Myles wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

ishawooa,

Good luck. Wish I could tag along. I have been a little under the weather, but maybe I could hold the horses

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from Steward wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Nothing worse than trying to watch deer on a field and you can't see any details because you have cheap binocs.

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from RandyMI wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

OK, Good glass is worth the cost.
Now, let's get on with the knife fight----DEP did mention the value top guides put on their PICKUP TRUCKS!!!
Obviously, in an article about top-of-the-line equipment he was referring to GMC pickup truck!!! :-)

RandyMI

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from brendanfagan wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Regardless of the amount of money you spend in optics it still comes down to who's pulling the trigger.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

smokeyo347,
Gee, how white of you not to screw the widow out of any more money than $25 for Swarovski binocs and a custom '06 for $75. There should be more gents like you around. jmo

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from Drew McClure wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

If you think that high end optics consider what eye insurance can help you afford Lasik,or intraocular surgery. Last week my mother had her first of two procedures which involve implanting a synthetic lens to replace those plagued with cataracts. She describes it as night and day difference and that it reminds her of being 8 years and seeing clearly, and she was essentially blind. My point is that all the money spent on gear will not benefit you if you have vision problems, and before you drop that cash see your best REGIONAL eye doctors with experience in new era surgeries, and buy some coverage, decades of problems may be cured. Cheers to finding what you are looking for. The Ol' man and I have upgraded several lower end scopes and have been impressed with the quality of Leupold and Nikon's mid-range offerings. I use a small 8 dollar pair of Bushnell Bino's to make sure 2 1/2 year olds camp meat bucks are legal, if I am trophy field judging I would want better gear.

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from Drew McClure wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

If you think that high end optics consider what eye insurance can help you afford Lasik,or intraocular surgery. Last week my mother had her first of two procedures which involve implanting a synthetic lens to replace those plagued with cataracts. She describes it as night and day difference and that it reminds her of being 8 years and seeing clearly, and she was essentially blind. My point is that all the money spent on gear will not benefit you if you have vision problems, and before you drop that cash see your best REGIONAL eye doctors with experience in new era surgeries, and buy some coverage, decades of problems may be cured. Cheers to finding what you are looking for. The Ol' man and I have upgraded several lower end scopes and have been impressed with the quality of Leupold and Nikon's mid-range offerings. I use a small 8 dollar pair of Bushnell Bino's to make sure 2 1/2 year olds camp meat bucks are legal, if I am trophy field judging I would want better gear.

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from TED FORD wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

Ya'll oughten to be too hard on smokeyo347,he probably paid no less than the dearly departed had told his wife he had paid for the Swarovskis,the'06 and the fishings rods.I have a good friend who is an avid fisherman who told his wife,"Honey,if anything happens to me don't sell my fishing equipment for what I told you I paid for it."

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from 7Derrick wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

I guess my only point is sure a Leica APO-Televid 82 would look great in my bag for not only elk hunting, but sheep hunting as well. But I'm sorry, I just can not justify spending $3899 on one. I would rather walk my legs off and get to that location instead. Great article though

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from TED FORD wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

White Bison,as to the Swarovski malfunction while culling wild donkeys,it clearly states in the literature that Swarovskis are not to be used for shooting jackasses.This was at the insistance of the Democrats during the congressional hearing concerning the importation fine German optics for hunting.If this happened in Australia as you refer to the "aussies" that the luckless chap must have gotten his hands on a scope meant for the American market.
All the best to you mate."Bong".
Ted

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from TED FORD wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

Actually the Austrian Swarovskis are much better.
Was that a mistake,a "misspeak"or a lie?Regardless I stand by the balance of the post.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

Ted Ford,
You bring up a good point. Do European optic makers send their crap to the U.S. and still rape us with the high price because many here believe American or Japanese can't make anything like the krauts. I disagree.
I'm sorry to include the japs but they make good glass too, just look through what is on your rifle and hopefully it's not Korean, Indonesian or from the Phillipines.

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from TED FORD wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

Jim in Mo
The truth is I didn't have enough to do yesterday and the whole thing was rather point-less.

Leupold sits atop my hunting rifles.I do have some Japanese scopes on others. They are fine but I prefer Leupold.I have spent enough money on sub par binoculars to have much earlier in life do what I finally did when I caught some Zeiss and later some fine Austrian binoculars on sale.The older I get the more I appreciate the difference offered by better optics as opposed to"these'll do"optics.

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