Target Crazy https://targetcrazy.com Fri, 15 Dec 2017 10:24:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 When do Bowsights Work Best (and Worst)? https://targetcrazy.com/archery/resources/bowsights-work-best-worst/ https://targetcrazy.com/archery/resources/bowsights-work-best-worst/#respond Wed, 13 Dec 2017 10:48:05 +0000 https://targetcrazy.com/?p=3801 If you’re taking a Hunter Safety course, you might well be faced with this question. There's a quick answer and there are some things you should know.

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The answer? - When you know (or can estimate) the distance to your target.

If you’re taking a Hunter Safety course, you might well be faced with this question.

Based on what our research in tells us, between 100-1000 people are searching for this term every month... the fact that so many don’t seem to know the answer is surprising.

It may be down to the wording of the question, or it could be that many people assume aiming a bow at up-to 70 yards is the same as aiming a gun (it isn’t).

This short piece is going to introduce you to the bow sight, the different types, how they work, and crucially… when bowsights work best!

If you want more, there’s a more comprehensive guide on our roundup of the​​​​ best sights.

Types of Bow Sight

Bow sights are circular rectiles fitted to the front of a bow that contain either 1, 3, 5 or 7 pins. 

7 pin sight aperture

7 pin sight aperture

Each pin will correspond to a known distance to target.

The idea with these sights is that they are fitted to your bow and you are responsible for understanding and setting them so that you know the distances to target that each pin represents.

For example you’d probably ‘sight-in’ a 5-pin sight by first aiming at very short range target (say 10 yards) using that pin and adjusting until it was correctly positioned. You’d then move onto the remaining pins and adjust them so that they were accurate on or around your maximum and preferred shooting ranges, i.e.

  • Pin 1 - 10 yards - Top Pin (Minimum effective range)
  • Pin 2 - 20 yards
  • Pin 3 - 25 yards
  • Pin 4 - 30 yards
  • Pin 5 - 40 yards - Bottom Pin (Maximum effective range)

So with a sight setup like this you have a pin to choose from (to aim with) that represents a good spectrum of your effective shooting range.

All you’d need to know then is the distance to your target and you can pick the correct pin to aim with so you’re set for an accurate shot. If you don’t know (or can’t estimate) the distance to target, the pins become largely useless.

There’s a variation on the fixed pin bow sight that some people prefer called the single-pin. Single pin sights are easily adjustable out in the field, whereas adjusting the pins on a multi-pin bow sight is normally a fiddly job that requires loosening an adjustment screw.

That’s not something you want to be doing whilst hunting.

On a single pin, you set and test the sight at particular distances during practice and you then know from markings on an adjustment knob how far to adjust the dial to change the effective pin range.

You can adjust the single pin-sight easily in the field. Again though… this is only useful if you know the target distance!

Some people prefer the single pin sight adjustable to the multiple pin sight because there’s less clutter in the sight window. Here’s a good video explaining why that’s the case...

Why the answer isn’t obvious to some…

Whether it’s from kids toys, the shooting range or playing first person shooter games on the computer, pretty much everyone is familiar with sighting a gun at short range. You look down the iron sight, align it with the target and bingo, you’re set.

Snipers and long distance rifle shooters however have to deal with the fact that over long distances the bullet drops during flight, the longer the distance the more pronounced the drop and the more adjustment needed in the aim. I wonder how much the bullet in this 3,540m shot dropped?

Compared to a gun a bow is a low powered weapon with a large bullet. Shooting a bow at relatively short ranges (upto 70m) is similar to shooting a gun at very long range. You need to take into account the drop of the arrow and adjust the aim accordingly.

Because most of us are introduced to sights at a young age by way of aiming a short range gun, there’s little doubt some don’t think there’s a need to change that thinking before they ever pick-up a bow.

Judging Distance

So you know now that to use a bow sight effectively you need to know how far away the target is…. There’s a few ways you can ascertain that distance. You either use a rangefinder or you learn to judge the distance yourself and judging distance comes down to practice.

If you’re hunting electronic bow mounted rangefinders aren’t legal in all states for all types of game, you’re best to check before you rush out and get one.

Here’s a great video with Phil Mendoza that takes you through the basics of how to judge distance using a technique called ground judging.

When bow sights don’t work well...

Even if you can judge the distance expertly and pick the correct pin or pin adjustment on your sight, when you’re hunting there are situations when your prey may be a fast moving target.

Not a sedate walking pace, fast, the pace of an animal that’s bolting.

It’s pretty difficult to close one eye and align a pin on prey moving like that. Time to throw away the bow sight and aim instinctively.

Instinctive aiming is exactly that, no sight, just the line you make yourself from the tip of the arrow to the target.

For fast moving targets having both eyes open when you shoot greatly helps your subconscious to judge speed and track your aim.

Some people always shoot instinctively.

If you’re good at it, you’re a more natural and effective hunter in any situation and there’s a thrill that comes from knowing that hitting the target dead-on came entirely from your judgement.

Try it…..

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How Does a Rangefinder Work? https://targetcrazy.com/optics/optics-resources/how-rangefinders-work/ https://targetcrazy.com/optics/optics-resources/how-rangefinders-work/#respond Wed, 13 Dec 2017 10:21:12 +0000 https://targetcrazy.com/?p=3790 A quick informative guide to the principles behind how laser, optical and other types of rangefinders (LIDAR, SONAR etc) work.

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There’s a whole load of reasons why you might want to use a rangefinder. If you’re shooting either arrows or bullets over any distance you’re going to have to adjust your aim to be able hit your target.

Why? Well gravity pulls both bullets and arrows towards the ground the moment they’re shot from something. 

The longer the distance to target, the longer the drop.

Some people judge distance by eye and through practice but with the technology on offer today the easiest and quickest way of assessing the distance to a target is by using a rangefinder.

So just how does a rangefinder work?

There’s a few different ways you can range find, but the most popular and common nowadays and the one you’ve likely come across is the laser rangefinder.

How Laser Rangefinders Work

A laser rangefinder has a pretty simple principle. It shoots a laser beam from an emitter at the target and measures the time it takes for the beam to be reflected back to a receiver on the finder.

Because the laser travels at the speed of light and the speed of light is a known speed it can be used alongside the time taken to calculate the distance to the target object.

Beam Divergence

The laser beam fired from a rangefinder is usually very narrow but due to the effects of air in the atmosphere the beam will diverge and spread out over long distances.

This means when it reaches a distant target the spread of the laser beam may well be wide enough to cover the target and be reflected back from other things as well as the target.

A laser beam diverging

Laser beams diverge and spread the further they travel

Reflection and Deflection

Some objects are harder to measure than others.

Rangefinders won’t work correctly on all objects. Here’s a few examples...

When the beam strikes a pane of glass, almost all of it passes through and isn’t reflected. So a reading is difficult to achieve.

Let’s also assume the beam strikes a mirror (or another object) that is angled so that all the light is perfectly deflected away and not back to the receiver. This object will also be difficult to range.

A soap bubble reflects light

Even a soap bubble reflects some light (if it didn't you wouldn't see it)

In fact any object that’s angled away from the rangefinder will deflect some of the beam away but every surface will reflect some of the available light back, otherwise we’d not be able to see them ourselves. Just how much light comes back determines how easily the rangefinder will be able to take a reading.

Why isn't a range finder confused by ambient light?

The laser light emitted by the device has a specific wavelength which is different from the wavelength of any normal light that would come from the surroundings. Using that frequency it's simple to filter out everything from the receiver on the rangefinder except for laser light that's been reflected from a target. The finder sees only it's own light. This also helps greatly when a lot of the outgoing light is reflected away by the target, even if the reflected light is a fraction of the original emitted light the finder will be able to pick it out where a human eye couldn't.

How does a rangefinder choose a reading to display?

Laser rangefinders normally work extremely quickly and fire tens, hundreds or thousands of  pulses at the target object and use this entire sample range to determine which is the correct distance to report.

In all of those readings there will be some from the target itself, and some from other objects and terrain in-front, to the side and behind it.

A rangefinder will take all these readings into consideration, analyze them and use an algorithm to pick the most relevant distance.

Across all the readings, if one distance is more common than others it stands a good chance that this is the object that the user is trying to range. So that is what will be returned.

How Optical Rangefinders Work

Optical rangefinding has it’s benefits. You don’t need a reflective target and optics are never confused by weather, atmospheric conditions or surrounding terrain and the components make them cheap to build. In the video below from Mr Wizard you’ll see how you can accomplish some primitive rangefinding with 2 small mirrors and some wood.

However... optical rangefinding isn’t prevalent today as it once was. You’ll be hard pressed to find a good optical for sale anywhere except an antique shop because laser rangefinders are so cheap and readily available and have been extended with many features that an optical rangefinder just can’t match.

Optical rangefinders can work on the principle of coincidence or stereoscopic rangefinding.

In a coincidence rangefinder images of the target reflected from 2 different sources are shown to an operator who normally looks into the instrument with one eye and must then make adjustments to match their alignment. When the images are aligned this is called placing them into ‘coincidence’ and the amount of adjustment required to get there is used to determine the distance to the target.

Stereoscopic range finding uses both of the eyes of the operator and has them align reference markings inside the reticle to determine a distance.

This is a really great video from Mr Wizard, an 80’s TV show for children that shows the concept of split-image range finding using 2 mirrors and a measurement scale.

Here’s another video from Jimmym40a2 that shows you around a 1942 Barr and Stroud rangefinder and briefly explains how it works.

There’s also a very simple and very cheap type of rangefinder that uses something called a MilDot reticle. That’s simply a marked reticle that allows you to estimate the distance to a target if you know (or can approximate) the size of the target.

Here’s a video from Ted’s HoldOver that takes you through the principles of MilDot reticles.

Other types of Range-finding

While they aren't applicable to your everyday rangefinding used by target shooters or hunters it's worth mentioning these other types of range finding equipment and explaining a little about how they work.

RADAR

RADAR stands for Radio Detection And Ranging. RADAR range-finding works similarly to laser range-finding with the exception that instead of a focused laser light beam a pulse of radio signal is sent out in a spread and the time taken for it to be bounced back is measured. As radio waves travel at the speed of light, that speed and the time for them to return from the target can be used to calculate the distance from the radar station to any objects within the spread.

Because RADAR emits over a large area and has a long wavelength it's better suited to determining the distance and speed of large objects such as aircraft and ships in open space.

RADAR isn’t affected by cloudy weather or ambient light (it works at night or in bright sun) and because the radio waves have a long wavelength it can operate over long distances.

LIDAR

LIDAR works similarly to RADAR but goes back the principle of the laser rangefinder but on a much larger scale. It sends out light pulses over a wide spread instead of radio waves or sound pulses.

LIDAR is much more expensive than RADAR but can provide detection of much small objects.

However LIDAR is affected by weather conditions such as clouds and fog and will only operate over shorter distances than RADAR.

SONAR

Sonar rangefinding uses a sound pulse and measures the time for the sound waves to travel to and back from a target alongside the speed of sound to allow calculation of the distance to a target.

Sonar is used underwater where laser light and radio waves do not travel easily.

Ultrasonic

Ultrasound is a high frequency sound-wave that can’t be heard by the human ear as it’s above the frequency we can hear at (20,000Hz). When these waves strike an object they bound back and if you know the speed of the sound wave (the speed of sound 330 m/s) you can calculate the distance to a target.

Do you have a parking sensor on your car? Chances are it’s working using ultrasonic range finding principles. Ultrasound works in the dark over short distances (something you need on a car) and is harmless to humans.

Whilst it’s great for parking sensors and other applications, ultrasound isn’t good for long range target acquisition purposes.

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Longbow vs Recurve – Which is Best and Why? https://targetcrazy.com/archery/resources/longbow-vs-recurve/ https://targetcrazy.com/archery/resources/longbow-vs-recurve/#respond Mon, 27 Nov 2017 16:11:47 +0000 https://targetcrazy.com/?p=3577 If you aren’t sure of the differences between a traditional longbow vs a recurve we outline facts, what each is best used for, by whom, and for what reason!

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In Summary: Longbows are the longest bow type tip to tip, much larger than the recurve. They are more forgiving when shot as due to a this profile they can be less prone to string torque. A recurve can be louder due to the increased string contact with the limbs. The are however more powerful, shorter, easier to adjust, and have more market availability and choice. Hunters, youths and beginners will favor the recurve over the compound. It is also the only bow allowed in the Olympic games.

Everyone has heard of the longbow, it’s the bow of legend. The thing that Robin Hood and most of the English armies wielded to good effect back in the ‘olden days’.

If you can’t decide between, or aren’t sure of the real differences  between a longbow vs a recurve we’re going to try and comprehensively outline everything for you in this article. We’ll also give you an insight as to what each type of bow is used for, by what type of shooter and for what reason!

First let’s start with a very brief introduction to both types of bow and the defining features, just in case you are completely new to the subject.

This is a Longbow - Major feature - It's long...

The limbs of a longbow don’t curve back away from you, longbows are the classic single piece of wood style of bow that you imagine when you first think of a bow (at least I do). A D-shape when drawn.

Longbows are the longest of all the bows, because there isn’t any ‘cleverness’ such as cams or recurve to increase the power of the limbs, to make them powerful you need them to be long. Longbows can be nearly as big as an archer and stand 6 feet (1.8m) tall.

Pretty obvious why they called it the longbow, I mean it’s long right? What else would you call it?

A longbow archer

A longbow

Recurve - Major feature - Limb Re-curve

A recurve bow has limbs that curve away from towards the archer at the ends. That curve is known as re-curve and can store and provide more power to an arrow than a simple longbow of the same size could. A longbow is a standard bow shape that you’d made yourself from a stick. The limbs and string make a standard D shape, no-recurve. 

A recurve bow

A traditional recurve bow - Bear Grizzly

So next we’ll break down the various features and things you’d look for in a bow and compare the two across all categories.

Power

You can find longbows available in a similar power range to the recurve. 70 lbs of draw is going to be the maximum anyone really wants and can handle for either. The recurve on the tips of the limbs of a recurve bow will store more energy more efficiently than the simple D curve of the longbow.

Although we haven’t tried this, a straight shoot-out between two bows of the same actual measured draw weight, drawn to the optimum length to produce that weight and shooting exactly the same arrow in the same conditions, you should find the recurve to deliver a faster arrow.

Most Powerful - Recurve

Aiming & Shooting

A longbow is a more forgiving bow than a recurve. The cross-section of the riser and the limbs of a longbow is deeper and thicker than a recurve. Whilst that makes it bigger and heavier it also means there is less chance of torquing or sideways movement in the string upon release. Sideways movement of the string throws your arrow off the intended line.

That’s forgiveness for you.

Easiest to Shoot Well - Longbow

Noise

Difficult to call this one. There’s less contact between the string and the limbs on a longbow, so if you’ve got a good setup with a well weighted arrow for the bow then all the energy should just travel from the limbs, to the string and be dispersed into the arrow. There’s nothing that can slap against the limbs like on a recurve where the ends of the limb contact the string in several places when the bow is at rest.

Quietest - Longbow (less string slap)

Size

A longbow is longer than a recurve. The re-curve in the limbs of the recurve bow make it more efficient at storing power so those limbs don’t need to be as long. A modern 60 lbs longbow can come in at 64” in length whereas a 60 lbs recurve can shrink down to only be 58” long.

Size matters

Smallest - Recurve

Portability

Most recurve bows nowadays are takedown. That means you can remove the limbs and break them down into 3 pieces, riser, top and bottom limb to transport them. Whilst they are available, you won’t find so many takedown longbows on the market. Generally a longbow is self bow (or one piece bow). Made of a single piece or several pieces of laminated wood and there’s no way to take that to pieces. That gives a clear advantage to the more common takedown recurve.

Most Portable - Takedown Recurve

Adjustability

Whilst you can’t really adjust either type of bow, you can purchase different types of limbs for a recurve bow to increase and decrease the power. You can also do the same for a takedown longbow, but these are less common. As longbows are more often single piece bows, there’s no way to increase or decrease their power.

Most Versatile - Recurve

Construction

The same manufacturing techniques are used in the creation of both longbows and recurve bows. Lamination of several types of wood being the most common. No clear winner here.

Best Construction Methods - Draw

Cost

As there’s little to differentiate in manufacture and construction of either type of bow you’ll find that the cost to own and operate either is very similar.

No clear winner again!

A roll of dollar bills

What's it going to cost you?

Cheapest - Neither!

Maintenance and Repair-ability

Both a recurve and a longbow are easy to re-string by yourself and by hand, clearly no winner there. A broken one piece longbow is just that, broken, whilst a takedown bow can have limbs replaced.

Easiest to Fix - Recurve

Accessories

Both types of bow can come with a riser drilled to accept all sorts of accessories. You can fit a sight, arrow rest, quiver, stabilizer, string silencers, limb dampeners to either type of bow. There’s no real winner in this department.

Most Available Accessories - Draw

Availability & Choice

Visit any of the top manufacturers websites like Bear Archery, PSE or Hoyt and you’ll find a larger selection of recurve bow available than longbows. Recurves are the modern standard for the Olympic, tournaments and club archery. Longbows or traditional bowmen are less prevalent than their recurve counterparts so the selection of bows on the market is also much smaller.

Best Choice and Availability - Recurve

Styling

Both the recurve and the longbow can be made to look exceptional this Bear Grizzly. They can come with beautiful polished wood grain finishes in several tones. Both can be handsome and something that you’d want to hang on your wall.

Most Stylish - Draw!

Cool

Katniss Everdeen shoots a recurve (although there are shots of her with a longbow too), Robin Hood shot a longbow. Who’s cooler?

Cool People Shoot - Either!

For hunting?

If it’s a choice between the two for hunting, I’d favor the recurve. The reduction in size makes it a much more portable weapon for pushing through the brush in search of prey. Couple that with the generally better performance and you’ve a winning combination.

Hunters Favor - The Recurve

For youth?

Youth bows are normally less powerful than full size adult bows. The recurve is more modern and more widely used in competition than the longbow. If you’re starting your kids out with their first bow and want to choose between the two, I’d go with the recurve. It will be smaller, easier for them to handle and more compatible with the disciplines they’ll be exposed to.

Give Your Youth A Recurve

For beginners?

You’ll generally find that if you ‘try archery’ at some sort of even you’ll be given a recurve bow. The increased availability, performance and reduced size of the recurve mean you’re going to have a better choice and better prices.

Recurve tuition

Just getting started?

Best for Beginners - The Recurve

For target shooting?

Target shooting competitions exist for both recurve and longbow shooters, however at a high level there are less disciplines available to the longbow shooter than the recurve. With a recurve you can go from local competition right up to world and Olympic level.

The Olympics only allow recurve

The Target Shooting Elite Use - The Recurve

Well that's it! I think we covered everything, if we didn't... let me know! We monitor and respond to comments all the time 😉

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Compound vs Recurve – Which is Best and Why? https://targetcrazy.com/archery/resources/compound-vs-recurve/ https://targetcrazy.com/archery/resources/compound-vs-recurve/#respond Mon, 27 Nov 2017 15:45:17 +0000 https://targetcrazy.com/?p=3530 Deciding on your first bow, your next bow? Want to join a club? Ready to hunt? Writing a project? Just plain curious???

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In Summary: A powerful compound bow is easier to aim than a powerful recurve as the string forces at full draw are reduced due to let-off. It is also smaller, more adjustable and has more model choice and market availability. The recurve bow is cheaper, easier to maintain, more stylish and the bow you'll normally be taught to use as a beginner. It is also the only bow currently allowed in the Olympic games.

Deciding on your first bow, your next bow? Want to join a club? Ready to hunt? Writing a project? Just plain curious???

If you can’t decide between, or aren’t sure of the real differences  between a compound vs a recurve we’re going to try and comprehensively outline everything for you in this article. We’ll also give you an insight as to what each type of bow is used for, by what type of shooter and for what reason!

First let’s start with a very brief introduction to both types of bow and the defining features, just in case you are completely new to the subject.

Recurve - Major feature - Limb Re-curve

A recurve bow has limbs that curve away from towards the archer at the ends.

That curve is known as re-curve and can store and provide more power to an arrow than a simple longbow of the same size could.

A recurve bow

A recurve bow

A longbow is a standard bow shape that you’d made yourself from a stick.

The limbs and string make a standard D shape, no-recurve at the tips.

A longbow archer

A longbow

Compound - Major feature - ‘Let Off’

A compound is so called because the little wheels (known as cams) at the end of the limbs  work with the string and compound the forces held within the drawn bow.

What that means is that when a compound bow is fully drawn you don’t have to hold back all the force stored within the bow, but when you release the string the cams will unwind and accelerate the string faster than the weight you’ve been holding. The effect of this reduction in forces is known as ‘let off’.

A compound bow

A compound bow

Here’s a quick example.

A 70 lbs draw weight recurve bow will require you to draw and hold back 70 lbs when aiming. 70 lbs of force will be applied to the arrow on release.

A 70 lbs compound bow with a 50% let off will require you to pull through 70 lbs of weight during the draw, but will only require you to hold back 35 lbs of force when aiming.

70 lbs of force will still be applied during the arrow release.

Hopefully that’s made things a little clearer, but if not checkout this article we’ve written on all the different types of bows available today where we cover some of this in more detail.

Fore and Draw Curve for a Compound Bow

Fore and Draw Curve for a Compound Bow

Let’s move onto the major feature categories of both type of weapon.

Power

You’ll find that the top end of bows on the market for both styles coming in at around 70 lbs of draw weight. 70 lbs is enough power to accomplish pretty much anything anyone wants to accomplish with a bow. Manufacturers and retailers don’t tend to stock 80 lbs bows for this reason, these isn’t much call for them.

In an ideal world, with ideal conditions and ideal measurement a 70 lbs draw weight compound bow should perform better than a 70 lbs recurve drawn to an optimum length and using exactly the same length and weight of arrow. You’d think they should both impart the same force but in reality the compound system of string and cams is more efficient at flinging arrows and ends up being more powerful in the field.

Most Powerful - Compound

Aiming

Coming back to let-off once again… a 70 lbs compound bow at full draw with 80% let off (which is common) will only require you to hold 14 lbs of force back when aiming. A 70 lbs recurve bow drawn to an optimum length so that there is actually 70 lbs of force exerted by the limbs, will require you to hold and aim with 70 lbs of force straining against you.

That’s gotta give the the edge to the compound.

Easiest to Aim - Compound

Noise

Difficult to call this one. A compound and recurve can both be fitted with limb dampeners and string silencers to help lower the noise created from a shot. If you’re bow is properly tuned and you’re using an arrow that’s just the right weight for the power of the bow then you’d expect both bows to be quiet.

Loudest - Draw

Size

A compound bow of the same power as a recurve is generally a LOT smaller. A 70 lbs compound will typically measure anywhere from 30-32” from limb tip to limb tip.

Measure a recurve of the same power and you’ll be looking at 60-64” from tip to tip. That makes the recurve double the size of a compound.

Size matters

Smallest - Compound

Weight

There’s more involved in the construction of a compound bow than a recurve. Although the recurve is bigger, once you factor in the cams, stops and extra string, thickness of the riser to cope with the strain etc you usually end up with a heavier compound bow than a recurve (which just keeps things simple).

Lightest - Recurve

Portability

Most recurve bows nowadays are takedown. That means you can remove the limbs and break them down into 3 pieces, riser, top and bottom limb to transport them. You can’t do this with a compound (not easily anyway).

A compound is built and stays built. The broken down form of a takedown recurve will take up less room and is smaller than a compound, but you can’t shoot it when it’s in pieces….

Most Portable - Compound

Adjustability

You can purchase different types of limbs for a recurve bow to increase and decrease the power of the bow. An assembled bow with one set of limbs is going to give you one range of power only. You can under-draw a recurve bow to cause it to shoot an arrow with less force, however that’s not really adjustability, that’s just going to cause bad form.

Some compound bows can have their draw weight / power and draw length adjusted by using a tool to tweak the position of the cams. Some bows like the Diamond Infinite Edge allow you to adjust the weight from 5 lbs to 70 lbs and the draw length from 13” to 31” all without the use of a bow press.

Most Versatile - Compound

Construction

Both types of bow these days are constructed from a range of materials. The riser of a recurve bow can be made from aluminium, carbon or laminated wood, the riser of a compound is usually made from aluminium or carbon. The limbs of both styles of bow are made from similar wood laminations. There’s no clear winner here.

Best Construction Methods - Draw

Cost

A good mid-range recurve like the Samick Sage will only cost you half of the cost of a well respected compound bow like the Diamond Infinite Edge Pro.

There’s more that goes into the construction of a compound. More moving parts, assembly and transport is more technical, the recurve keeps it simple and is more cost effective for it.

A roll of dollar bills

What's it going to cost you?

Cheapest - Recurve

Maintenance and Repair-ability

If the string snaps on your compound out in the field you’re probably stuck with a bow you can’t use. A recurve on the other hand is easy to re-string by yourself and by hand, clearly the winner. A broken limb on a recurve is also relatively easy to fix, if you have a takedown bow you just purchase another limb (or set of limbs) and bolt them on. The same isn’t so easy for a compound bow, they’re designed to stay assembled and only be taken to pieces and repaired by a professional at a pro-shop.

As there are more moving parts on a compound bow there are more things to go wrong.

Easiest to Fix - Recurve

Accessories

Both types of bow can come with a riser drilled to accept all sorts of accessories. You can fit a sight, arrow rest, quiver, stabilizer, string silencers, limb dampeners to either type of bow. There’s no real winner in this department.

Most Available Accessories - Draw

Availability & Choice

Visit any of the top manufacturers websites like Bear Archery, PSE or Hoyt and you’ll find a large selection of both types of bow available. The compound is the favorite of the hunter and as hunting is such a large market in the USA and other parts of the world the choice and selection of compound bows is slightly greater than that of the more traditional recurve.

Best Choice and Availability - Compound

Styling

Whilst you can get some pretty exceptional looking compound bows, they are a lot less appealing to the eye and to the touch than something with a host of heritage and style behind it like the Bear Grizzly.

Most Stylish - Recurve

Cool

Hawkeye shoots a compound, Katniss Everdeen shoots a recurve. Some of the most memorable bows in video games like the predator bow in Crysis are compounds. There’s no real winner in terms of cool.

You can be just as cool shooting either…. So long as you’re accurate and maybe have super powers 🙂

One of the coolest bows ever was in a computer game - Crysis

Cool People Shoot - Either!

For hunting?

A compound has ‘let-off’ you can hold the bow at full draw easily for long periods allow you to wait hidden and stationary in a tree-stand or the woods to take-down your prey.

Compounds are also smaller and easier to carry when fully assembled. Easier to attach to a backpack and won’t snag so easily on the woodlands as you make your way through.

It’s clear to see why the compound has become the bow of choice for the hunter.

Hunters Favor - The Compound

For youth?

For a youth archer, you need adjustability. As youth grows a bow needs to adjust in draw length and power to suit the frame of the child. A good compound bow will accomplish this with far more ease than a recurve. Unless you’re specifically training your child to become a recurve archer then a highly adjustable compound bow will last longer and grow with the archer.

A Bow That Grows - The Compound

For beginners?

As a total beginner your strength and technique will develop to the point where you will want to try a higher power bow than the one you first started with. Use a compound and you’ll be able to just adjust it to suit you. For a recurve, you can buy different limbs and don’t need a whole new bow.

You’ll generally find that if you ‘try archery’ at some sort of even you’ll be given a recurve bow. The simplicity of the recurve has to compete against the adjustability of the compound.

Recurve tuition

Just getting started?

We go for simplicity...

Best for Beginners - The Recurve

For bowfishing?

You can bowfish with a recurve or a compound. Bowfishing usually requires you to attach a reel to the stabiliser mount on your bow and use barbed arrows which you can then reel in after spearing a fish. There are kits for both types of bow and speciality bows on the market of both types.

Bowfishers spend a lot of time at full draw aiming and waiting, so a compound works well here, but also you can get off a ‘snap-shot’ much more quickly with a recurve.

Which is best is probably going to come down to which you are used to and familiar with, can’t say we see a clear winner yet.

Bowfishers Prefer - Either

For target shooting?

Target shooting competitions exist for both recurve and compound shooters. The distances and target sizes are similar so you can’t really differentiate here. Depending on how ambitious and indeed how good you are, the one factor that can be used to split the two is that the only discipline allowed at the Olympic games is the recurve. No compounds in sight…. At least not yet.

The Olympics only allow recurve

The Target Shooting Elite Use - The Recurve

Well that's it! I think we covered everything, if we didn't... let me know! We monitor and respond to comments all the time 😉

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What’s the Best Budget Spotting Scope? https://targetcrazy.com/optics/spotting-scopes/best-budget/ https://targetcrazy.com/optics/spotting-scopes/best-budget/#respond Tue, 21 Nov 2017 16:24:12 +0000 https://targetcrazy.com/?p=3412 Need a spotting scope but have a restricted budget? We've identified and reviewed the best budget spotting scopes for you.

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Spotting scopes can get extremely expensive. The further you want to be able to zoom with clarity the higher the price. Models from manufacturers like Swarovski and Leupold can set you back thousands of dollars.

When prices get to those levels you’re essentially paying pay for the quality of the glass and sometimes for the feature set of the scope.

If you’re on a budget or you’re getting your first scope to test the water, you don’t want to shell out stacks of cash for it. You want something feature packed, good quality and with a wholesome price tag.

Gosky 20-60X 80 Porro Prism Spotting Scope- Waterproof Scope for Bird watching Target Shooting Archery Range Outdoor Activities -with Tripod & Digiscoping Phone Adapter-Get the World into Screen

GoSky 20-60x80mm - A great budget spotting scope.

Yes, you won’t be able to see as far and with as good quality and focus as with more expensive scopes, but for the majority of users wanting to hunt, target shoot or go birding there is no need to pay extreme amounts for an optic that gets the job done.

With today's economy there are a few manufacturers on the scene selling reasonable quality optics with all the expected features that really don’t cost the earth. We’ve listed a bunch of these below and after a little discussion on what makes a good budget scope we’ll take you through each one in more detail.

Budget Spotter Picks

Note: Our individual reviews are below, but you can also click any of the links above to check current prices on Amazon.

Budget Spotting Scopes - What to look for

For those who like videos, here’s a general guide to choosing spotting scopes from Optics Planet…


Price to Performance Ratio

Is a $2000 dollar scope really 20 times better than a $100 dollar scope?

In order to answer that question you really need to define what ‘better’ means to you. Is it clarity, focus, field of view, eye relief, durability, water and fog proofing, or all of those features?

If you’ve not owned many scopes and don’t really know what you’re looking at it’s very doubtful that you will be able to reap the benefits of a $2000 scope investment. A budget $100 dollar scope will do 60% of the job of a $2000 dollar scope and it won’t cost you anywhere near 60% of $2000 (that’s $1200 in case you were wondering!).

Higher prices scopes with better quality will give you clearer, brighter and less distorted images at the highest zoom levels. But as you go further up the spotter scope price scale the returns on your investment diminish.

For the majority of users… unless you’re going to be pushing a budget scope to its absolute limits all the time it will work just fine for you, and save you a load of spondoolicks.

Types of Prisms/Glass

What do BAK4 and BAK7 mean? Does it matter at this price?

You’ll see reference in specifications to the type of glass used in the prism of spotting scopes. BaK stands for BaritleichKron which is german for “Barium Crown”. In short, when you’re buying a budget optic, that specification is just a small piece of the whole puzzle that doesn’t tell you anything really about the quality of one optic to another. There are so many other quality factors to consider, that really you need to pick based on reviews of what you or others see through them. (p.s. that’s why we’ve written this article!).

Optical Coatings

You’ll rarely find even a budget optic with anything less than fully multi-coated lenses inside. Fully multi-coated means that there are multiple layers of coating on all lens surfaces. A coating that is designed to help enhance the natural properties of the glass to transmit as much light as possible.

Fully multi-coated is the best type of coating. Better than coated, fully coated or multi-coated.

Again, that specification however is no testament to the number of layers of coating applied, and the quality of that process and indeed the actual type of coating. So don’t be misled.

Objective Lens Size / Aperture / Zoom

First off, you know what the numbers mean right

Very briefly a bigger objective size or aperture on a scope gives you (generally) a heavier and longer scope with higher zoom levels.  

Your choice of objective lens size should take into account how portable you want the scope to be and just how far you want to be able to see.

When you’re choosing a budget scope you may need to limit your expectations as to just how clear and focused an image you will get at anything approaching full zoom. For starters 40x-60x zoom levels aren’t practical to use without some sort of tripod, if you don’t have a tripod all you’ll see is a large magnification of your hand shake.

Warranties and Customer Service (or lack of)

One of the things the budget scope market won’t give you is a long or a lifetime warranty on their products.

In fact you’ll be lucky to get any warranty at all aside from the retailers or manufacturers guarantee that the product will work when you receive it.

If you do get a manufacturers warranty, don’t be immediately sold, how easily can you actually claim against it and how good is customer service? Is there even a distributor in your country?

Budget scopes... customer service levels may vary.

Budget scopes... customer service levels may vary.

Budget spotters simply aren’t going to have the same build quality as high-end scopes. So you can’t expect the same guarantee and quality of service. Today’s budget products are designed to be used and when they break, you buy a new one.

Features

Everyone wants a durable scope. One that comes with a little bit of rubberized armor and helps protect against scuffs and the odd knock.

Waterproofing and fog-proofing are pretty much also standard features even on low quality optics that have been purged with nitrogen gases and sealed (having no oxygen inside a scope means no fogging and protection against internal framework rust).

What you need to remember here is that just how waterproof and durable are these optics going to be? Do they adhere to any standard? How strict is the factory quality control? Your milage is going to vary with a budget optic vs a mid-high level optic.

So don’t expect something that you can use to climb the highest local peaks in a storm regularly without any sign of ever failing.

Accessories

One thing that many budget scope manufacturers have been doing recently is throwing in a host of nice little extras to make their scopes more attractive to the buyer. Soft and hard cases, tripods, scoping adapters, and cleaning cloths are all commonly found giveaways.

The quality of these extras in our picks are going to be basically up-to the job. That’s not to say you won’t be able to find a better case or a better tripod out there with more features that’s easier to use, but the freebies are certainly nice to have.

Spotting Scope on Tabletop Tripod

A common freebie accessory the tabletop tripod

Spotting Scope Reviews - Our Top Picks In Detail

GoSky 20-60x80mm

"amazing value budget scope"

Gosky 20-60X 80 Porro Prism Spotting Scope- Waterproof Scope for Bird watching Target Shooting Archery Range Outdoor Activities -with Tripod & Digiscoping Phone Adapter-Get the World into Screen

GoSky are a brand name on top of a generic ‘Made in China’ scope. You’ll see these exact same scopes listed on other sites with other brand names. This is a mass produced white-label product. But don’t let that put you off, a lot of budget stuff is sold like this.

In terms of features this scope has fully multi-coated lenses, armor, waterproofing and fog-proofing.

It’s an angled scope but the eyepiece can be rotated so you can easily use it looking skyward, or from a car window mount for example. The objective lens also has a retractable sun-shade.

With good accessories, this scope seems to be aimed at the amateur birder or nature enthusiast as it comes with a small tripod, soft snug fitting case and cell-phone adapter for digiscoping. The usual lens caps and cleaning cloth are also supplied.

The digiscoping phone adapter is a universal mount that has jaws to hold your phone and a thumbscrew to position it on the scope. This type of mount can be a little fiddly to use repeatedly and regularly as every time you attach the phone some minor adjustment is usually needed. But for basics and the odd photograph it works fine, we’d recommend a permanent swing away style adapter for more enthusiastic birding.

Due to the large 80mm lens this weighs about 1200 grams, so isn’t the lightest or most compact of scopes but it does manage to give clear pictures of target holes at anywhere from 100 to 250 yards so great for target shooters and archers.

You may struggle to get absolutely clear focus at the highest zoom levels but for most users this optic offers an exceptional price/performance point.

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Pros

  • Amazing value
  • Tripod and phone digiscoping adapter
  • Armored
  • Weatherproof
  • Sun-shade
  • 12 month warranty
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Cons

  • Angled Only
  • Fiddly phone adapter

Emarth 20-60x60mm

"great little piece of kit"

Emarth 20-60x60AE Waterproof Angled Spotting Scope with Tripod, 45-Degree Angled Eyepiece, Optics Zoom 39-19m/1000m for Target Shooting Bird Watching Hunting Wildlife Scenery

If you see this scope listed with AE at the end of the name outside of what the other numbers mean the AE stands for ‘Angled Eyepiece’. That’s because this one is also available in an SE ‘Straight Eyepiece’ version for hunters and other users who prefer to sight in exactly the same direction as their target.

As the Emarth is only a 60mm objective lens the weight and size of the scope is much reduced. This one only 600 or so grams to carry and 350 mm in length.

Emarth include a table-top tripod with this scope and a carry case that includes a compartment to hold the tripod and keep it separate from the scope. Smaller and more portable this scope is designed for the trekker or hunter that wants to get out and about with it.

With that in mind this one is also waterproof, fogproof and comes with the usual rubberized armor coating although it isn’t what we’d call ‘rugged’.

If you want to target shoot at anything from say 200 - 300 yards and see the target holes clearly you may want to look at a larger more powerful scope, but for 100 yards and normal archery distances this will work fine.

If you opt for the AE version, the angled scope, it’s worth noting that the eyepiece is fixed, no rotation. Not great for a car window mount.

Emarth another generic ‘made in china’ scope brand but this little scope is a great piece of kit so don’t let that put you off.

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Pros

  • Compact and Light
  • Straight (SE) version available
  • Useful carry bag that takes the tripod
  • Waterproof
  • 12 month warranty
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Cons

  • Eyepiece does not rotate

Barska Colorado 15-40x50mm

"an absolute bargain"

BARSKA 15-40x50 Colorado Spotting Scope

Barska is a name you may have heard of. They’re actually a brand with a decent website and a presence in the US. That’s something to bear in mind if you’re thinking about taking them up on the limited lifetime warranty offer this scope comes with.

You’ll find their gear in many US outlets and sporting good stores. The Colorado scope is their entry level scope and is usually an absolute steal in terms of price if you’re only wanting to see clearly up-to 150 yards or so.

Due to the exceptionally low price tag, not all the usual features can be found on this scope. It has fully coated lenses (not multi coated, just fully coated, so all surfaces exposed to air are coated, not internal surfaces and only once). It isn’t waterproof and isn’t fogproof.

Here's a video unboxing the Barska Colorado and taking you through the basic features.


It does however have shock proof armor. There are rubberized strips down the sides of both sections of the scope which are designed to take the impact should you drop this from any height onto a hard surface. We didn’t actually try breaking one, but this type of armor would suit an outdoorsman.

For long distance birding, shooting or hunting uses you’ll need to skip this one as even the manufacturers state that over 150 yards and you’re going to struggle to get a clear image. But this scope is an ideal choice for the short range target shooter, hunter or archer.

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Pros

  • An absolute bargain
  • Shock absorbing armor
  • Small Tripod and case
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Limited lifetime warranty
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Cons

  • Not fully multi-coated lenses
  • Not waterproof or fogproof
  • Clear only upto about 150 yards

Roxant Blackbird HD 12-36x50mm

"great optics all through the zoom range, nice features"

Authentic ROXANT Blackbird High Definition Spotting Scope With ZOOM - Fully Multi Coated Optical Glass Lens + BAK4 Prism. Includes Tripod + Case + Lifetime Support

Roxant are by no means a household name yet. They don’t have a large presence online or in the marketplace, but they do offer a small range of ‘cool’ products, this scope being one.

With that lack of presence and company size also comes a seeming lack of warranty. You get lifetime support with this, not really sure what that is but it’s not a warranty by any stretch.

As you’d expect this comes with a small table-top tripod, a case and lens caps. So an okay accessory package but nothing special.

Where this scope excels is in the specification for the price. It has an adjustable eyepiece meaning you can extend or retract it to get your eyes correctly positioned if you’re a spectacle wearer.

Here's a video overview of the Roxant.

There’s an adjustable sun-shade on the end of the objective lens and the lens cap is attached to the scope so you won’t easily lose it. That’s a nice touch.

Whilst this scope only has a small magnification range 12-36x and a relatively small objective lens 50mm it does however offer crisp and clear focused images all the way through that range and doesn’t advertise itself to be usable at zoom levels that it can’t handle.

Great for all users, shooters and archers up-to say 150 yards or so and hunters, outdoorsmen and naturists who want something compact and light that gives clear images all the way through it’s zoom range.

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Pros

  • Adjustable eyepiece
  • Sun shade
  • Small Tripod and case
  • Attached front lens cap (not easily lost)
  • Compact and light
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Cons

  • Not waterproof
  • Lifetime support? No real warranty except the retailer guarantee

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Angled vs Straight Spotting Scopes – Which do you need? https://targetcrazy.com/optics/optics-resources/angled-vs-straight-spotting-scopes/ https://targetcrazy.com/optics/optics-resources/angled-vs-straight-spotting-scopes/#respond Tue, 21 Nov 2017 13:40:59 +0000 https://targetcrazy.com/?p=3387 Do you need an angled or a straight spotter? Which is best and why? What can you do with an angled that you can't with a straight scope?

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If you’re about to choose a spotting scope, you’ll know that you can get 2 types.

Straight scopes where the eyepiece is in-line with the objective lens and angled scopes where the eyepiece is set at a 45 to 90 degree angle from the objective lens.

Whilst most angled scopes don’t allow you to adjust that eyepiece angle, they do allow you to rotate the eyepiece around the scope, which offers some versatility in certain positions.

An Angled  and a Straight Spotting Scope

An Angled  and a Straight Spotting Scope

Some straight scopes have variants called the porro prism where the eyepiece is mounted in-line with, but slightly above the objective lens. For the purposes of this article we’d still class those as a straight scope because you look in the same direction as the target.

Spotting scopes are a level above binoculars in terms of magnification. They range from 40x-60x magnification. Because it’s difficult to keep anything above 10x magnification steady when held in the hand, you generally use them mounted on a tripod.

Let’s just get one thing out of the way before we get to the pros and cons of each type...

Optic quality

Both scopes have technically the same resolution, clarity and brightness. There isn’t, or shouldn’t be any optical advantage to one type of scope over the other.

Advantages of Angled Scope

1) Easier to share.

If you mount an angled scope on a tripod and align the eyepiece upwards so it’s set like a classic telescope, to look into the scope all you need to do is bend over. The benefits of this are that it’s easier for people of different heights to easily use the same setup without moving the scope. Sit or stand behind a straight scope and people of different heights will find it harder to position themselves correctly without wanting to adjust something.

2) It’s easier and more comfortable to look upwards

Because you’re normally above the scope looking into the eyepiece, it’s much easier and more comfortable to tilt it upwards and view objects on high terrain or the sky.

3) They don’t need to be mounted as highly

An angled scope on a tripod can be mounted much lower than a straight scope to give the same view. This means you don’t need such a large tripod. A smaller tripod equals less weight and less room in any pack.

4) A lower tripod is more stable in wind

For anyone wanting to use the scope outdoors on a windy day an angled scope sits lower on a tripod than the equivalent straight scope. The center of gravity is closer to the ground which makes the tripod more stable in windy conditions.

5) More comfortable for prolonged observation.

That bent over head forward position is much more comfortable to use for prolonged observation especially because you can be seated or prone. Much more comfortable than the equivalent neck-craning you need to do to properly position yourself for a straight scope.

Hunter prone with straight scope

Prone with straight scope, not comfy!

6) Easier to use without a tripod

Rest your pack on a ridge, set your angled scope on top if it, and you can more easily lie prone and get a good angle on the scope for observation than you would be able to using a straight scope.

7) Long range shooters can switch from scope to rifle easily

When they’re used for competitive shooting, in a well setup position, you can switch from the rifle scope to the eyepiece of a rifle scope to a spotting scope with only a slight move of your head. Competitive shooters use the wider fields of view of their spotting scopes to check wind directions and shot results regularly and don’t want to move out of their shooting position to do so.

8) Better for astronomical uses

Again, that angled eyepiece and the fact that it makes viewing upwards far more natural, just like a telescope means that an angled scope is great if you want to use it for astronomy. A 60x magnification scope on a clear night will allow you to see the moons of Jupiter.

Advantages of Straight Scopes

1) Intuitive to use, straight line to target

Finding a distant ‘something’ using a straight scope is much more intuitive and most would say easier to do than with an angled scope. You can adjust and become just as good with an angled but most people had an inbuilt sense of direction that just ‘works’ when you pickup a straight scope.

Straight scope target acquisition

Straight scope target acquisition is quicker and more intuitive

2) Faster target acquisition and easier tracking

Simply because of what I’ve mentioned above about them being more intuitive to use, you’ll find it easier and therefore faster to acquire and track a target using a straight scope. You’re always facing in the same direction so it’s easy to look up from the scope, use your naked eye and then switch back to the scope without having to turn from the target.

3) You can keep the same tripod height when switching from binos to scope

Seasoned and experienced observers may first want to sweep the landscape using binoculars to acquire a target using their wider field of view and THEN switch to a spotting scope to get a much closer look. Using a straight scope no adjustment of the tripod is needed after the switch, whereas an angled would require you to lower or higher your tripod each time.

4) The eyepiece is more sheltered from the elements

The eyepiece of an angled scope set pointing upwards naturally provides a small cup shape to collect things. Rain, snow, debris, dust etc. Whilst you could just cover it with a hat or something, depending on where your scope is setup, and for how long you may want to consider the fact that the straight scope eyepiece doesn’t tend to collect the elements quite as easily.

5) You can set it up higher

Thick brush, high reeds, high walls…. and other types of obstacle that are about the height of a person will make the choice of a straight scope more natural. You can set one up higher than an angled scope with to get the same view without adjusting the eyepiece rotation.

6) Easier to pack

Day packs and hunters packs sometimes have scope sleeves. Straight scopes can fit into these more easily. The shape is also just more easily packable and unpackable in any sort of case.

7) Easy to look downwards

Whilst it’s easier to look upwards with an angled scope, the opposite can be said of a straight scope. Angling one downwards if much more comfortable than doing so with an angled scope, especially one with a fixed eyepiece.

Which is best...

For car window mounts

This really depends on your car and you. If you’ve got a big car and are a small person there’s a lot of room for you to move around in the seat and angle a straight scope exactly how you want it.

With an angled scope that has an adjustable eyepiece you can set the scope to see more angles than with a straight scope. You can point it directly in-front of your car and not have to stick your head out of the window to use it. The same goes for behind and up to the sky. The positioning is more comfortable for these angles.

For birding

Seeing as they can fly… birds tend to spend a lot of the time high up in trees and the sky! The fact that angled scopes make looking UP much easier for prolonged periods makes them a good choice here.

For digiscoping

As we’ve stated already there’s little or nothing to differentiate the two types of scope on optical quality.

An angled scope will put the camera at a downward angle to you and make it easier to share and see what you’re doing from a comfortable position. A straight scope will make it quicker to locate a subject or target (if you have to) and will avoid more sunlight or glare on the screen of the camera.

Do you use the type of adapter that easily allows your camera to swing away from the eyepiece when you want to look through it instead? If that’s the case you’ll find that an angled scope which keeps the camera ‘at rest’ in a downward pointing position will help to keep it firmly against the eyepiece and to not ‘swing away’ before you want it to.

For target practice, shooting or for the range

For competitive rifle shooting in the prone position where you’re spotting for yourself you’re going to find it easier with an angled scope that you can setup in such a way that you can switch from rifle to spotting scope with a slight movement of the head.

If you’re looking for a scope that you can setup on target and use for judging or oversight, you’ll again probably be better with an angled. It’s easier to share the scope with others and provides a much more comfortable position in which to observe something for longer periods of time.

For hunting

If you’re out and about with a tripod sweeping with binoculars on there before you switch to a scope for a closer look and see if it’s worth the trek, you’ll find that switch easier with a straight scope. You won't need to adjust your tripod height.

If you’re spotting fast moving targets or you find it easier to keep looking in one direction whilst spotting then switching from spotter to rifle, a straight scope will be more natural for you to use.

From a tree-stand you’re going to be looking at a downward angle more often than not. A straight scope will work better for this situation too.

The general consensus

You can look through forums, blogs and ask around, but I think if you ask enough people you’ll come to the conclusion that generally people pick a straight scope for hunting.

Whilst an angled is more versatile and works better when you’re digiscoping, birding, stargazing or shooting long range competitively from the prone position on your own.

Some food for thought in there for everyone. There’s no one size fits all.

What do you want your scope for? What will you use it for?

That’s the key question. Figure that out, then I’m sure it will become clear from these points which one you should be going for.

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Spotting Scopes vs Telescopes, an Eye-Opening Comparison https://targetcrazy.com/optics/optics-resources/spotting-scope-vs-telescope/ https://targetcrazy.com/optics/optics-resources/spotting-scope-vs-telescope/#respond Tue, 21 Nov 2017 13:15:00 +0000 https://targetcrazy.com/?p=3378 If you're not sure whether you need a spotting scope vs a telescope our guide compares the two optics and lets you know which works for which jobs.

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Yeah you can use a spotting scope for astronomy, but a telescope is better. They are two different tools with (typically) two different goals and uses in mind.

If you’re not familiar with either then here’s a very quick intro.

Spotting scopes are high magnification monocular (one eye) scopes that are normally tripod mounted. Eyepieces are sometimes angled and sometimes straight. Spotters are usually a class above the binocular in terms of available magnification power and a class below something like a telescope.

Telescopes are very powerful optics with very high magnification power and interchangeable eyepieces.

They are designed for use on a tripod and generally with one eye (monocular).

Telescopes are designed with larger apertures to let in more light and make low light objects like stars more visible.

Telescope on a tripod


Let’s get straight to it, our comparison of Spotting Scopes vs Telescopes is going to enlighten you as to what each does best and what to use them for. We’re going to compare them feature by feature… 

Magnification Power

Telescopes come in all ranges of power 120x, 340x and you’ll see them in your optics store advertised with as much as 500x magnification power. Whilst you can get huge magnification from a relatively small telescope, at extreme magnifications small scopes will have trouble seeing through the atmosphere and collecting enough light. That’s why large super telescopes are built like the Keck.

The Keck telescope is one of the most powerful in the world and has something like a 17500x magnification power.

Keck Telescope

Keck Telescope

120x magnification power means the image is 120 times the size of what you’d see with the naked eye.

Pair that against the humble spotting scope where many spotting scopes top out at 60x magnification. 60x however is as usually as much as you’ll need to see objects in the day as anything more will normally be affected by ambient conditions in the atmosphere like air currents, dust particles, heat waves. All these and more can turn 60x magnification into a blur and make it very difficult to see something.

Winner - Telescopes

You can’t beat a telescope for magnification power.

Aperture / Objective Lens Sizes

The bigger the objective lens the more light a scope can take in and the clearer the picture you will see. The size of the lens is the second number after the x in the specifications for spotting scopes but telescopes usually list it within the specifications or blend it into the model name somehow.

Spotters come with objective lenses in sizes ranging 45mm to 100mm but 60-80mm is common. Telescopes have bigger apertures and lenses to let in more light as they are normally used at night.

Telescopes will typically have apertures from 60mm or 140mm and more.

Winner - Telescopes

Telescopes just have bigger objective lenses, they need them to gather light.

Zoom

Most spotting scopes come with variable zoom allowing you to take a closer look at something without leaving the scope.

Telescopes on the other hand are normally fixed, you can change the magnification, but in order to do so you usually have to change the eyepiece.

Winner - Spotting Scope

The spotter is designed to have a large variable zoom range whilst the telescope usually has a fixed zoom for a particular use.

Image Orientation

Did you know that a reflector telescope will always show you an upside down image? A refractor will show you a horizontally flipped image too. These things don’t matter to the astronomer but for they aren’t going to be ideal when you’re out hunting or birding.

Winner - Spotting Scope

Image Stability

It’s almost impossible to use a telescope without a tripod. You’ll stand some chance with a spotting scope because of the lower magnification, however both really need to be stabilised.

Winner - Draw

If the base is stable i.e. a tripod, then either type of optic will give you a stable image.

Portability & Weight

Spotting scopes are designed to be packed, carried and somewhat portable. Not as portable as something like binocular though. You’d probably not take your spotting scope to the opera, but you would take it on a hunting or hiking trip. Spotting scopes can also be purpose built to be very durable.

Winner - Spotting Scopes

Whilst you can get lightweight and portable telescopes, because focal distance and aperture size matters in a telescope, they are usually longer and bigger and not so easy to lug around.

Close Focus

Close focus is the minimum distance away from you an object can be for an optic to be able to focus on it. You can find spotting scopes with close focus of 6 feet. Telescopes on the other hand are really designed to look at distant objects with very high power. You’ll find them unsuited to looking at anything close by.

Winner - Spotting Scopes

A spotter will focus on relatively close objects whilst a telescope isn't designed for this purpose.

Field of View

Field of view defines the amount you can actually see through the optic. A bigger field of view means you can see more.

Winner - Spotting Scopes

The higher the magnification power of a lens the smaller the available field of view becomes. Generally as telescopes are higher magnification than spotting scopes they also have a smaller field of view.

Viewing Angle

The eyepiece of a spotting scope can be straight or angled at 45 degrees and movable, or angled at 90 degrees which is not so common.

A tripod mounted telescope rarely comes with an eyepiece that’s anything other than angled from the scope, 45 degrees or normally at 90 degress. An angled eyepiece just makes tripod use easier.

Straight vs Angled Spotting Scope

Straight vs Angled Spotting Scope

Winner - Spotting Scopes

Spotters are more versatile with movable, straight or angled eyepiece variants available.

Price

It’s a little like comparing apples to oranges. These are different pieces of kit entirely. You can pay top dollar and you can pay budget prices for both.

Winner - Telescopes

Typically, you’ll find entry level spotting scopes to be more expensive than entry level telescopes.

Versatility - Features, Styles & Choice

You can get your run of the mill standard spotting scopes, compact scopes. There’s wide-angle variants for taking in more of the scene. Scopes can also be fixed magnification or zoom. They can be waterproof for marine and outdoor uses and armored for when you’re using them on the move or in a tough situation. Spotting scopes also come in varieties that have interchangeable eyepieces for use with astronomy.

Telescopes have an entirely different feature set. You can get different types like reflectors and refractors from small to large in size. There’s telescopes with motorized tripods to allow them to seek objects in the sky under computer control.

You can find hundreds of spotting scopes on the market of different qualities, some angled and some straight and some that work well for astronomy. However whilst there are also hundreds of telescopes out there there aren’t many telescopes that you’d want to take on a hunting trip.

Winner - Spotting Scopes

The spotter wins on versatility, you can use a spotting scope to stargaze but you won't find it as easy to use a telescope to hunt.

Uses for spotting scopes

Target shooting, archery

Often seen at a range a spotting scope is a good choice when setup in a fixed position on a tripod for quickly checking out how well or how badly you shot.

Surveillance

For constant monitoring of a distant location, a spotting scope setup on a tripod can be an invaluable tool.

Sniping

Spotters are used by the forces and combine with long range snipers to assist with target acquisition and determining range.

Hunting

Similar to sniping, a hunter would use a spotting scope to find and track a long range target. Literally to ‘spot’ one before either setting up a shot or moving in closer. With the magnification available on a spotting scope you can watch a target from long enough distances that it can have no sense you are there at all.

Bird-watching

Spotting scopes are common with birdwatchers for long range birding.

Astronomy (entry level)

Whilst you’ll get more magnification out of a telescope, a 60x spotting scope mounted on a tripod is good enough for entry level astronomy and will give a good view of celestial bodies like the moon or jupiter.

Digiscoping / Photography

If you couple a camera or a smart-phone with a spotting scope you can turn it into a powerful telescopic lens.

Uses for Telescopes

Astronomy

It’s what they were designed for and they do it very well. Not really much sense in using a telescope for anything else.

To finish…

I hope that’s helped you understand these two pieces of kit. What they are for, who uses them and why.

Let me know if we’ve missed anything!

The post Spotting Scopes vs Telescopes, an Eye-Opening Comparison appeared first on Target Crazy.

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Spotting Scopes vs Binoculars, an Eye-Opening Comparison https://targetcrazy.com/optics/optics-resources/spotting-scopes-vs-binoculars/ https://targetcrazy.com/optics/optics-resources/spotting-scopes-vs-binoculars/#respond Tue, 21 Nov 2017 12:48:01 +0000 https://targetcrazy.com/?p=3364 If you're not sure whether you need a spotting scope vs binoculars our guide compares the two optics and lets you know which works for which jobs.

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Two different tools with (typically) two different goals and uses in mind.

If you’re not familiar with either then here’s a very quick intro.

Binoculars are the most versatile optics on the planet. Designed for hand-held use with both eyes and to be carried and easily portable, modern binoculars have a huge array of features, uses and magnification ranges.

Spotting scopes are high magnification monocular (one eye) scopes that are normally tripod mounted. Eyepieces are sometimes angled and sometimes straight. Spotters are usually a class above the binocular in terms of available magnification power and a class below something like a telescope.

Let’s get straight to it, our comparison of spotting scopes vs binoculars is going to enlighten you as to what each does best and what to use them for. We’re going to compare them feature by feature…

Magnification Power

Many spotting scopes top out at 60x magnification. Because they are designed to be used in the day to view distant object anything nearing or above 60x will normally be affected by ambient conditions in the atmosphere. Air currents, dust particles, heat waves, all these and more can turn 60x magnification into a blur and make it very difficult to see something.

60x magnification power means the image is 60 times the size of what you’d see with the naked eye.

Example of 1x, 2x, 4x and 8x magnification

Example of 1x, 2x, 4x and 8x magnification powers

Look in any decent optics store and you’ll find that general use binoculars range from 1x magnification all the way up-to 12x magnification.

You can however find specialist binoculars with magnification powers of anywhere from 15x to 100x. These are generally designed to be tripod mounted and the highest 60-100x magnifications used at night for things like astronomy.

Winner - Spotting Scopes

Whilst binoculars are available with high 100x magnification, your typical spotting scope will be much more powerful than your typical binocular.

Image Stability

Because you usually hold binoculars in your hand, the more you magnify an image the more you also magnify the movements in your hand caused when you try to hold something steady.

If you try and use binoculars at 10x-12x magnification without a tripod or something to rest against, all you’d better have steady hands or all you will see is a shaky image.

Because binos are designed to be portable that’s the reason they generally top out at 10x-12x magnification levels (with the exception of the upto 100x specialist tripod mounted binos).

Winner - Draw

If the base is stable i.e. a tripod, then either type of optic will give you a stable image.

Portability & Weight

A good pair of binos can weigh the same as a similar quality spotter. There really isn’t a clear general winner here.

Winner - Binoculars

Binoculars however are designed to be portable. They can be worn round your neck and compact versions can be pocketed easily. Whilst ultra-portable binoculars won’t be as powerful as the average spotting scope they’ll be a lot easier to carry than even a spotter in a good case.

Close Focus

Close focus is the minimum distance away from you an object can be for an optic to be able to focus on it. Both of these types optics are really designed to view objects at a distance. But there are certain applications like birding or bird-watching where you may want to focus in on something that’s only a 6 feet from you.

Winner - Binoculars

In general as the level of available magnification increases so does the closest available focal point. You’ll therefore find that because general purpose binoculars have a lower magnification level than spotters they’ll also have a nearer close focus point.

Field of View

Field of view defines the amount you can actually see through the optic. A bigger field of view means you can see more. The higher the magnification power of a lens the smaller the available field of view becomes.

Winner - Binoculars

Generally as spotting scopes are higher magnification than binos they also have a smaller field of view. Binoculars are also available with ultra wide-angle design eyepieces allowing you to more easily follow moving objects and targets and take in much more of the view.

Objective Lens Sizes

The bigger the objective lens the better the picture you’ll see. The size of the lens is the second number after the x in the specifications for binos and scopes, i.e. 20-60x70mm is an optic with a 20 to 60 x zoom and a 70mm objective lens.

Don’t be tricked into thinking that bigger is always better when it comes to lenses because quality matters a LOT. Good quality generally beats size if you’re unsure.

Spotters come with objective lenses in sizes ranging 45mm to 100mm but 60-80mm is common.

Binoculars can have objective lenses ranging anywhere from 25mm for compact binos to 42mm for general all-purpose outdoors bins to 100mm for giant astronomy binoculars. But the typical binocular has a smaller objective lens than the typical spotting scope.

Winner - Spotting Scope

Typical spotting scopes have bigger objective lenses than binoculars.

Viewing Angle

Binoculars are straight, typically you point them where you want to look and you look straight into them. Spotting scopes can be either straight or angled.

Yes, you CAN get binoculars with angled observation eyepieces, but they certainly aren’t common.

Straight vs Angled Spotting Scope

A Straight and Angled Spotting Scope

Winner - Spotting Scope

Sometimes this comes down to personal preference, but the reason you can get angled spotting scopes is pretty simple. If you’ve got a scope mounted to a tripod it’s easier IMO to bend down to look through an angled eyepiece than to lower your whole body to the level of the scope.

Price

It’s a little like comparing apples to oranges. These are different pieces of kit entirely. You can pay top dollar and you can pay budget prices for both.

Winner - Binoculars

Typically, you’ll find mid-range binoculars to be less expensive than mid-range spotting scopes. There’s less magnification power involved and smaller lenses, that’s where the increased cost of the spotter comes from.

Versatility - Features, Styles & Choice

You can get your run of the mill standard binocular, compact pocketable lightweight binoculars. There’s wide-angle variants for taking in more of the scene. Binoculars can also be fixed magnification or zoom. They can be waterproof for marine and outdoor uses and armored for when you’re using them on the move or in a tough situation.

Spotting scopes come in most of the same variants and you can adapt them with wide angle eyepieces but if you check out the stores of some major online retailers on thing will become apparent.

You can find hundreds of spotting scopes on the market of different qualities, some angled and some straight.

Winner - Binoculars

There’s a VAST choice of binoculars out there with thousands of make and model combinations there’s a specific binocular to suit pretty much any use.

Uses for spotting scopes

Target shooting, archery

Often seen at a range a spotting scope is a good choice when setup in a fixed position on a tripod for quickly checking out how well or how badly you shot.

Surveillance

For constant monitoring of a distant location, a spotting scope setup on a tripod can be an invaluable tool.

Sniping

Spotters are used by the forces and combine with long range snipers to assist with target acquisition and determining range.

Hunting

Similar to sniping, a hunter would use a spotting scope to find and track a long range target. Literally to ‘spot’ one before either setting up a shot or moving in closer. With the magnification available on a spotting scope you can watch a target from long enough distances that it can have no sense you are there at all.

Bird-watching

Spotting scopes are common with birdwatchers for long range birding.

Astronomy (entry level)

Whilst you’ll get more magnification out of a telescope, a 60x spotting scope mounted on a tripod is good enough for entry level astronomy and will give a good view of celestial bodies like the moon or jupiter.

Digiscoping / Photography

If you couple a camera or a smart-phone with a spotting scope you can turn it into a powerful telescopic lens.

Uses for binoculars

Everything.

Yep, literally everything above and probably more.

You can find a binocular to do pretty much anything you can do with a spotting scope.

Typically though the use will depend on the distance to the target. At longer ranges you’d normally favor a scope over binoculars.

To finish…

I hope that’s helped you understand these two pieces of kit. What they are for, who uses them and why.

Let me know if we’ve missed anything!

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What do scope numbers mean? https://targetcrazy.com/optics/optics-resources/what-do-scope-numbers-mean/ https://targetcrazy.com/optics/optics-resources/what-do-scope-numbers-mean/#respond Tue, 21 Nov 2017 10:56:51 +0000 https://targetcrazy.com/?p=3352 Does 4-32x80 make no sense? Our guide will make this and all other specifications you find on scopes from spotting scopes to binoculars clear.

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The numbers on a rifle, crossbow or spotting scope at first look confusing but they’re really very easy to understand. Let’s take an example from a mid-range spotting scope...

20 - 60 x 80 mm

The first number 20 means the minimum magnification level that the scope offers.
Second number 60 the maximum magnification level.
Because the first 2 numbers are a range separated by a hyphen we know this is a zoom scope.
The 80mm after the x refers to the objective lens diameter in mm.

The numbers before the x always denote magnification power or power range and the numbers after the x denote the size of the objective lens in mm.

Here’s another example from a crossbow scope listing that looks slightly different:

4 x 32

First number before the x means 4x magnification power or ‘4 power’ for short and the 32 means a 32mm objective lens. This scope is fixed, you can’t alter the magnification by zooming in or out. We know because the first number doesn’t specify a range.

Notice this time the ‘mm’ part was missing, that doesn’t matter you still know it refers to mm, that’s the standard measurement for optical lens sizes. What matters is that it comes after the ‘x’.

If you ever see listings or specifications like this…

5x scope
or
8x scope

The above is just shorthand for magnification power. 8x means 8 times magnification or '8 power'. This would be a fixed magnification scope. 8x is an image that’s 8 times bigger than what you see with the naked eye. Here's an example of the effects of different magnification levels on an object.

Example of 1x, 2x, 4x and 8x magnification

Example of 1x, 2x, 4x and 8x magnification power as seen through a targeting reticle

One final example from a high end rifle scope listing just to make sure you’ve completely got it…. 😉

3 - 20 x 50

A zoom scope with a 3x power minimum and a 20x power maximum magnification. No mm listed, but we know that’s what the 50 after the x refers to, a 50mm objective lens.

Objective Lens Sizes

A larger objective lens will let in more light than a smaller lens. That makes for a brighter clearer image especially in low light conditions like dusk.

Rifle and crossbow scopes have smaller objective lenses than binoculars. And binoculars generally have smaller lenses than spotting scopes. Each is designed for a different purpose.

A scope doesn’t need as big an objective lens as binoculars because you’re zoomed in on a single target, whereas spotting scopes need to allow as much light in as possible to allow you to see clearly at their high 60-80x magnification capabilities.

The other numbers...

There’s a few other numbers you’ll see listed in scope specifications that we should also cover.

Field of view (ft or degrees @ yardage)

A normal human field of vision is about a 210 degrees horizontal arc. The closer you magnify something the smaller the field of view will get. Scopes normally list a field of view parameter at a certain distance so that you can gauge the difference between them. This is a much longer range for spotting scopes than rifle or crossbow scopes.

A bigger FOV is better for acquiring targets or following moving targets. Something like a spotting scope will have a much higher FOV than a rifle scope as they are designed for spotting things before you zone in on them with the rifle or crossbow scope to make a shot.

A sample field of view from a spotting scope: 

100-142 ft @ 1000 yards
or
1.9-2.7 degrees @ 1000 yards

As you can see at 1000 yards you can only see 100th of the field of view you see with your naked eye.

A sample field of view from a long range rifle scope:

7.6-19 ft @ 100 yards

See the difference? This is much less than the spotting scope at a tenth of the distance.

Eye Relief (inches or mm - range)

Eye relief tells you how close your eye has to be to the surface of the eyepiece of a scope so that you see the full field of view. A lower power scope will generally have a larger eye relief distance whereas a higher power scope will require you to get up close and personal in order to get the full view of the image.

Typically a low power rifle or crossbow scope will list something like 4”, meaning your can be upto 4” away from the surface of the scope before you lose any of the image. Eye relief for rifles and high powered weapons is crucial as you don’t want to get your eyes too close to something with a lot of recoil!

A spotting scope may list something like 16.7-17mm for eye relief. This is much more precise and much closer... however a spotting scope will come with an eyepiece allowing you to get your eye comfortably that close and generally you don’t expect any recoil.

The reason for listing eye relief on this type of scope is so that you can understand how well you can work with the scope if you wear eyeglasses. If your glasses push your eye further away than the maximum eye relief you will lose some of the field of view. Generally something like 12-16mm works fine with all but the thickest of spectacle wearers.

Exit Pupil (mm)

The exit pupil of a scope is the diameter of the circle of light that leaves the scope and enters the eye. A small exit pupil won’t will fill the iris with light and give a dim image whilst one that is too large will waste available light.

As a rough guide the human iris is approximately 2-3 mm in the day, 4-5 mm in low light and 6 mm in near dark conditions.

Not all optics specify this parameter.

Tube Diameter (mm)

Rifle and crossbow scopes may list their tube diameter. That’s the diameter of the central part of the tube of the scope. Having a bigger tube doesn’t affect the optical quality, but it can mean that you can adjust the scope higher from the rifle than with a slimmer tube.

Length (inches or mm)

Simple enough, this is the longest length of the scope from tip to tip.

Weight (kg or oz)

Again, pretty obvious this is the total weight of the scope (without packaging). If you’re worried about how adding a certain scope will affect your rifle balance or add weight to your pack, this is sometimes a consideration.

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How to Choose the Best Spotting Scope Tripod https://targetcrazy.com/optics/spotting-scopes/best-tripod/ https://targetcrazy.com/optics/spotting-scopes/best-tripod/#respond Tue, 21 Nov 2017 10:29:24 +0000 https://targetcrazy.com/?p=3437 Types, sizes, legs, heads, mounting plates cases and features in general. We take you through choosing the best spotting scope tripod for you.

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Hold a spotting scope in your hands and try to use it at any decent zoom level and all you’ll see is a shaky image.

The shake comes from your hands, it’s perfectly natural, your hands are rarely absolutely still… just hold them up and look closely at them. They move ever so slightly to the beat of your heart if nothing else…. (at least mine do).

The further you zoom in with a handheld spotting scope the shakier the image gets as the more you magnify the image the more you magnify the shake!

You can rest your scope on a pack, on the ground, or against a wall or on a tree, all these things will work to help eliminate the natural shake from your hands and make a handheld scope usable.

If you really want to keep your scope trained on a distant target, observe anything for any length of time, easily share the scope with others, digiscope (use a camera) or indeed use your scope at its maximum magnification potential… you need a tripod.

Porro prism scope

A spotting scope on a mini or tabletop tripod

Lots of spotting scopes come with entry level tripods, but the best accessories are never given away as freebies. With that in mind we’ve compiled this article to give you an insight into the features and facts about tripods.

What makes a good tripod and which one should you chose for your scope?

Our Spotting Scope Tripod Picks

Full Size Tripods

Table Top / Mini Tripods

  • 1 - Vanguard VS-82 - 'Low center of gravity, small tripod great for heavy scopes'
  • 2 - UltraPod - 'A mini tripod you can attach at any height (with the right surroundings)' 

Note: Our individual reviews are below, but you can also click any of the links above to check current prices on Amazon.

Tripod Heads

Pan and tilt or ball? Which do you need?

Before we get into that, most importantly a good tripod head will specify the maximum weight requirements for the mounted device. If your scope exceeds those weight limits then the head won’t hold your scope tightly, safely and it may well just flop. Make sure to check you aren’t using a scope that’s too heavy for the tripod.

A ball head tripod will allow you to freely move the optic in all planes until you reach the desired orientation and then allow you to tighten and lock it into place using thumb screws or latches.

Ball Head Tripod

Ball Head Tripod

Ball heads are small, portable, and quick to operate and use but can be harder to fix precisely than a pan and tilt.

A pan and tilt heads come with either 1, 2 or 3 handles on the end of levers.

The handles normally twist to allow you to lock/unlock the orientation for that handle and either pan around left/right, tilt left/right or tilt on the forward/back axis.

Pan/Tilt Tripod Head

Pan/Tilt Tripod Head

Whilst a pan and tilt head allows you very precise control over the movement of your optic they are generally larger and more unwieldy.

Here’s a great video from a the school of photography explaining the differences between the types.

Quick Release Mounting Plates

Nearly all spotting scopes on the market today come pre-drilled with a ¼-20 (one quarter by twenty) thread hole. That’s an industry standard thread size found on scopes, cameras and binoculars and means that pretty much any tripod will work with any of the aforementioned devices.

At the head of the tripod you’ll either have a simple screw thread onto which you screw your scope or, in the case of more useful models a quick release mounting plate.

Quick release plates can be easily and quickly detached from the tripod using a lever or clasp. The idea is that you mount the plate onto the scope and then just attach the scope quickly to the tripod (via the plate) every time. If you want to remove the scope, you leave the plate attached the use the quick release mechanism on the tripod.

These are great for applications where you want to switch between scope and tripod mounted binoculars quickly as you can get a quick release plate for both optics and leave them attached.

Types and Sizes of Tripod

If you’re seated at a shooting bench or some other type of table or maybe kneeling or lying prone and looking up a table-top or mini tripod will be your preference. These tripods are the smallest type and can add anywhere from 6” to 24” to the height of your scope..

Spotting Scope on Tabletop Tripod

A Spotting Scope on a Tabletop Tripod

If you need to use your scope from a standing position, you’ll need to look for a full size tripod that can add anywhere from 24” up to 50”, 60” or 70” to the height of your scope.

It’s safe to say there are a host of tripods on the market with differing levels of extensibility and portability. The decision you need to make is what you want it for and how you will use it.

A full size tripod will be less portable than a table-top but generally more extensible and more planted and stable when being used from the ground.

Spotting Scope on Full-Size Tripod

A Spotting Scope on a Full-Size Tripod

Complete Tripods vs Legs and Heads

You can purchase tripod legs and heads separately and usually because there’s a standard fitting you can interchange them. Legs from one manufacturer should work with a head from another.

Buying this way means you’ll get exactly what you want, but you may pay more.

For relatively straightforward applications like spotting, a complete tripod will be the way to go.

Weight

Tripod legs are normally some form of aluminium tubing, but they can be made from lightweight materials like carbon fibre to keep weight down and still give a good strength to hold up the heaviest optics.

Generally the bigger the tripod the heavier it will be. A mini tripod will weigh less than a full size one. An aluminium tripod will weigh more than a carbon fiber one.

If want something that’s easily portable over long distances, weight and material composition will need to factor into your decision.

Carrying Case

If you’re going for a full size tripod, make sure to note what type of case is included (if any). A soft case is pretty standard, but not the ideal choice if you’re going to be stacking your kit into a truck for a long haul.

A hard case on the other hand will protect your gear from the knocks and bumps that come from any sort of regular travel and use, but isn’t going to be so compact.

Full Size Tripod Reviews

Amazon Basics 60"

"great feature set for a great price"

AmazonBasics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod with Bag

Honestly... Amazon are a behemoth and you can’t go far wrong with their basics range in any area. They’ve analyzed the competition using the incredible amount of data available to them, zoomed in on features and price point and produced some really good little pieces of kit.

Their Basics tripod comes in both 50”, 60” and mini format but we’re taking a look at the larger 60”variant.

Let’s start with the obvious, this tripod is affordable and it does most things you’d expect of a good tripod.

This is a pan and tilt design with a single handle and 2 axis of movement. The pan and tilt handle is not the quickest way of tracking something but is great for fine precision when you’ve located your target.

This tripod can hold a scope upto 3 kg in weight. That means it will work with pretty much any scope on the market. It has some features that most scope users will find unnecessary like a bubble level to indicate that the tripod base is level and another to tell you that the scope is level. It also allows mounting a camera in portrait mode, but again for scopes this won’t be any use.

There are however features that will work well for scope users like a quick release mounting plate and the ability to extend from 25” all the way up to 60”.

Adjustable rubber ends to the tripod feet mean you get grip on most surfaces and for windy conditions there’s also an accessory hook on the bottom of the central pole of the tripod to allow you to hang an accessory bag or weight to help steady this against the wind.

check

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Light
  • Soft Zipper Carry Bag
  • Adjustable Feet
  • Accessory Hook
exclamation

Cons

  • Features mainly designed for the camera user but works well for any application

Rangers 57" Compact Ball Head

"versatile, transportable and great for the outdoors"

Rangers 57” Ultra Compact and Lightweight Aluminum Tripod with 360° Panorama Ball head, ideal for travel and work

This is a versatile outdoorsmans tripod from Rangers with several features that hikers, and hunters will find to their liking.

You have a choice of how the legs are made with this model. Carbon fibre or aluminium alloy. The carbon is much more expensive than aluminium but does reduce the carry weight some. Those legs give this tripod extensibility from as low as 14” all the way up to 56”. The legs come in 4 sections and you adjust the aluminium legs using flip locks and the carbon using screw tighteners.

Flip locks are quicker to use than screw tighteners but sometimes don’t inspire confidence in the user that they’ll actually engage properly and hold the legs at any given length.

The head on this tripod is a ball, which is good for fast acquisition of targets as you get free movement in all 3 axis and a full 360° rotation before you’d need to use the large finger friendly locking knob to secure the scope in place.

There’s a quick release plate for mounting your scope which is great as you can easily get another and switch accessories without any hassle.

The way this is designed means that it folds down relatively small (14”) for transportation. Great if you’re going to hike or hunt.

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Pros

  • Good height range
  • High 26kg load capability
  • Accessory hook
  • Transforms into a monopod / hiking stick
  • Folds up small
  • 6 year warranty
exclamation

Cons

  • Not the quickest of quick release mechanisms to use

Table Top / Mini Tripod Reviews

Vanguard VS-82

"low center of gravity, great small tripod for heavy scopes"

Vanguard VS-82 Table Top Tripod

A quality little 2 axis pan head table top tripod from Vanguard. This is only 9” high when folded up for transport and will extend to give you a maximum of 10.25” extra height to your scope.

The construction is aluminium and there are rubber feet to give you good grip on slippy surfaces like tabletops.

The legs on this tripod are angled to give it a good low center of gravity which means it’s ideal for handling things like heavy scopes. You can load upto 2.5 kg or 5.5 lbs onto this tripod without fear of it failing you.

That maximum weight limit is going to be sufficient for all but the largest of scopes. It’s also a feature you don’t find in many budget table top tripods.

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Pros

  • Great for heavy scopes
  • 2 year warranty
  • Compact when folded
  • Rubber feet
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Cons

  • No quick release plate
  • 2 way pan tilt only

UltraPod (Pedco)

"ultimate versatility a table top you can use at any height with the included strap"

Pedco UltraPod II Lightweight Camera Tripod

Something a little bit different in design comes from Pedco. Their UltraPod tripod is designed to be very lightweight and strong.

This features a ball head that allows you to easily position a scope or camera at any angle and then tighten with the locking knob.

You can load upto 2.7 kg or 5.6 lbs onto that head, again great for larger scopes.

What’s cool about this design is that it’s incredibly light (only 4oz) and when the legs are folded together they compact up very very small (7”x2”x2”).

Because this is so small and takes up little space this is an ideal tripod for packing away inside your existing scope case or pack.

When folded up the legs on this tripod form a solid block and it comes supplied with a velcro cinch strap that you can use to attach that block to any nearby object such as a tree branch.

One thing this design doesn’t do however is extend. It’s a fixed height tripod, more of a stand really. But that velcro attachment means that with the right objects around you can turn this into a tripod of any height from tabletop to full size and higher.

A great versatile little tripod for the outdoorsman or hunter.

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Pros

  • Very light
  • Compact
  • Ball head
  • Cinch strap for attaching to any object
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Cons

  • Fixed height
  • No quick release plate

The post How to Choose the Best Spotting Scope Tripod appeared first on Target Crazy.

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