Binoculars or Spotting Scope?

#1
I thought there was a forum on this topic already but was unable to find it searching. So, do you lug around a pair of binoculars or a spotting scope? Or neither?
 

J!m

Private. VERY Private.
#3
I'm leaning toward binoculars. I would like a range finding reticle, and have been eyeing the ex-military ones on Ebay et al. I would prefer more than 10X magnification however...

But I think Binoculars are more useful in general as they serve well outside the shooting range too. Always streamlining.
 

Rob01

Super Mod/Team Blaster
#4
Having a reticle for me only helps in visualizing my wind hold and looking at target size for an idea of width and hold. You can't be on glass at a match when someone is shooting anyways so not going to be able to spot with a reticle.

10x is a good middle ground. I have a Vortex Recon R/T monocular I got years back and carry it as it is 10x and has a reticle but is small enough to easily fit in my pack. They make a 15x if you wanted more than 10x. http://www.vortexoptics.com/product/vortex-recon-rt-15x50-tactical-scope
 
#6
Having a reticle for me only helps in visualizing my wind hold and looking at target size for an idea of width and hold. You can't be on glass at a match when someone is shooting anyways so not going to be able to spot with a reticle.

10x is a good middle ground. I have a Vortex Recon R/T monocular I got years back and carry it as it is 10x and has a reticle but is small enough to easily fit in my pack. They make a 15x if you wanted more than 10x. http://www.vortexoptics.com/product/vortex-recon-rt-15x50-tactical-scope
I've got a laser range finder thats a 7x, but I was thinking about the 15x bino's from Vortex for that extra magnification to help pick out some targets at longer ranges. Not to mention, I can double them for hunting. Rob, do you have the 15x? I was kind of wanting to hear from someone and see if they preferred them over the 10x or 12x, why or why not. Since I dont have a quality pair of bino's I thought it would make since to just buy a good pair once and not do it again.
 

pmclaine

Gunny Sergeant
#9
Are you planning on locking the binos down on a tripod or stand of some sort?

If no, I found its pretty difficult to use binos and get a good understanding of what is going on on your target down range.

Im referencing shooting from a bench at a paper target and looking for a .30 caliber or smaller hole in a black background.

Shots on the white zone of the target will show up but to resolve shot holes in the black area, where you want to be, I need a steady spotter and bigger magnification, especially if there is mirage or other atmospheric conditions.

Shooting steel and you have someone spotting on binos to watch for splash, sure that works, or even looking for hits on freshly painted steel, yes you will probably see that with binos, but black shot on a black back ground any sort of hand shake wouldn't let my eyes pick up the impact.

What you are shooting and how it contrasts with a shot hole will determine what will work for you.

Eventually you will want both. 10X and up binos can tend to get bulky. 8X or so are a good compact size but their useful distance is limited. Spotters can get heavy and though the big X number seems like it would be perfect when you get out in the wild you learn that mirage and atmosphere really limit how many of those Xs you can use.

I have an expensive Kowa that is a beautiful spotter, has a solid XTC style tripod, maximum X is 65 and it has great eye relief, but its heavy, bulky and on nice days I may get to use 35-45X before I magnify mirage and cant see my target. I only use it now for watching lunar eclipses with the kids or if I know Im packing the kitchen sink and not setting up far from the tailgate of my truck and I only intend to set up/take down once.

I have 8X Steiner mils binos. They work okay at 100, cant resolve .30 cal shot holes in black at 200 and at 300 handshake requires I steady against something and the 8X isn't finding .30 cal holes very well. Great compact size. Mostly use them while sitting at the beach watching for large marine sealife swimming near my kids. These are my work binos. Tough, love them. Keep in mind the more X you use the more you magnify shake.

I bought a mil surplus M48 spotting scope. Lightweight and compact. 20X. Serviceable but not great glass. I love it. Easy to set up/take down. Sturdy tube to store the scope, canvas bag to store the tripod. Will take a beating.

My first choice for observation is to have my scope do it.

Second choice is the M48 when my scope wont cut it or I need that steady base.

The binos pretty much stay packed unless Im observing another shooter and only looking for splash or to see a reaction on steel.

Sorry saying you need both sucks because this sport is not cheap but that's reality.

You can save some money by saving up your money now and buying the best tool the first time so that you don't find it wont suit your needs and than you have to buy for a second time.

That's just my experience. You have some good info from some way more experienced shooters. Hope you are able to sort through the info and get whats best for you.

If you are shooting/moving that is a different style than what I generally do. Your activity will determine the best tool.
 
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308pirate

Gunny Sergeant
#10
I've never shot in a PRS match, but have shot several other types of steel plate matches such as the Intimidator and Headhunter at Thunder Valley. I leave my Kowa spotter at home and take a pair of 8X binoculars. The binos get used to scan the stage during prep/walkthrough to quickly find the targets and make a mental picture of where they are so that I'm not lost or wasting time looking for them through a rifle scope. Sometimes I'll take them with me to the firing point just in case I need a fast look-see with something that has a wider FOV.

I think that's the context in which the OP was asking the question.
 

pmclaine

Gunny Sergeant
#11
I've never shot in a PRS match, but have shot several other types of steel plate matches such as the Intimidator and Headhunter at Thunder Valley. I leave my Kowa spotter at home and take a pair of 8X binoculars. The binos get used to scan the stage during prep/walkthrough to quickly find the targets and make a mental picture of where they are so that I'm not lost or wasting time looking for them through a rifle scope. Sometimes I'll take them with me to the firing point just in case I need a fast look-see with something that has a wider FOV.

I think that's the context in which the OP was asking the question.
And in that context a bino or monocular device are what is needed.

Id probably opt for the highest quality monocular I could afford to buy.

Under those conditions carrying, packing, unpacking, repacking takes away time from other important things you need to use that time for.
 
#13
Binos are a must have, IMO. I carry around a set of Swaro 15x56's and use them off a tripod for spotting and also handheld for scouting out a stage. Best piece of glass I own.
 
#14
Binos are a must have, IMO. I carry around a set of Swaro 15x56's and use them off a tripod for spotting and also handheld for scouting out a stage. Best piece of glass I own.
Sheldon, do you find the 15 x 56 the best bino choice for spotting for PRS type matches? Does a 10 or 12x work or is there a handicap when calling shots?
 
#15
A good set of 10x42 binos will do fine for spotting at most PRS distances. Will get a bit tougher out past maybe 7-800 yards depending on conditions and what's behind the target to give impact signature. Any binos become WORLDS better when you put them on a tripod. Easily three times the resolving power compared to handheld. It's a must for spotting IMO.

The Swaro 15x56 though is on another level. The glass is superb, better than anything else out there. Plus the extra magnification of 15x over 10x really helps see the target detail downrange.You also get a huge field of view and a very deep field of focus. You can pick up bullet trace very early and follow it all the way to the target, plus you can usually have multiple targets in view at once if the stage needs it.

Only time I would wish for a spotter would be if I was an RO on a stage where the target distance was 1000 yards plus and I needed to be sure I spotted impacts from small 6mm rifles. As a shooter though I wouldn't want to pack around a spotter, so the binos are the perfect tool. Many of the regional club matches I shoot are self-RO'd within the squad and my binos end up being the squad spotting scope. Everyone who uses them loves them. I know big outfits like Core Shooting run Swaro 15x56's for their RO's and I can understand why.
 
#16
This didn't post my response on Tuesday. Ultimately, I was really wondering this. I would be willing to purchase a nice pair of Binos if I wouldn't have to carry a spotter. I'm personally a little bit of a Vortex fan. I like Bushnell for the price to performance. I own the 5700 Kestrel with Link to my Bushnell range finder that's a 7x. I was thinking the 7x, and a pair of 15x bino's might do the trick... but now that we have this discussion, I'm wondering if a compact spotter would be worth the $$$. Less weight, but don't know if it would outperform a $1000 pair of bino's.
 
#17
Don't mess with a spotter. Get some binos. If you can afford it, get some great binos or bino lrf. Swaro Bino or Leica Geovid.

If you can't afford them, hopefully someone in your squad could. Thanks boyz ;)
 
#18
If you want to step up your game at a prs match. IMO you absolutely need a spotter or 15x binos. You want to be able to study what is going on down range before you shoot. A smaller spotter like a vortex 16-48 and a carbon tripod, really doesn't add much to your system.
 
#19
When you guys are looking for either are you also looking for a reticle? My wife wants to start shooting more with me and a reticle seems like it would be a good option. Seems the options are limited once you want a reticle. Either with bino's or a spotting scope.