What Kind Of Optics Do You Use?

Stonepointer

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I am looking for mule deer (I realize this is kind of a dumb statement), but have not had the same luck today that I had last week.

After being out on a scout today, I began to realize just how inadequate the binoculars I had with me today was.

I only had a pair of 12 x 25 glasses that I received as a gift some time ago. They are not total crap, but they could be better. I only took them along because they are lightweight.

I do have some old Sans & Streiffe # 810 glasses at 8 x 25 that are pretty good, although the power is weaker, somehow I think I would have been more pleased with these if I had taken them along and used them today. They are heavier, but I think quality of an objective image is more important than the power. It certainly would be nice to have both.

I was using the 12 x 25 glass to see something resting in the shade in a tiny little clearing about a little more than 4 football fields away and it looked like an animal so I stayed focused most of the time in that spot, so I could be sure it was not some kind of wood debris.

This was not easy at all, my first thought to it's shape and color in the shade possibly gave me the idea that it looked like an antelope. I have not seen antelopes here often at all in the last 20 or more years. I almost hit one in a car at night back in the mid 1980's that really freaked me out, and the last time I had seen a herd of them was back in 2005. Other than that I have not seen any.

After glassing this one spot shaded by a manzanita tree, I remained long enough to see the tree's shadow shift a considerable amount and was not sure if this was an animal nudging to stay in it's shadow. My eyes would blur up or something was fogging my lens, it looked like it moved, but I could not be sure. I do not understand why the lens blurred up, so then I thought it may have been my hands or my eyes kicking some humidity either onto the lens or there might be a leak in my binoculars. If it was fogging, the humidity was coming from me, either that or I may have been going blind temporarily.

I would like some better binoculars, but can not really afford a good pair of strong binoculars. There are stronger field glasses I could buy, but with what I can afford, I do not trust them to have a quality image.

Are the Sans & Strieffe glasses good enough or do I need something more powerful?

What does anyone else here use?

How powerful?

If you care to also maybe say how much they cost or what price bracket.

I won't be embarrassed if you have super powered vision compared to mine, so go ahead and list your sight toys if you like, brag and advise. I need all the edge and help I can get.

Thanks ahead of time for any answers to the above questions.
 

wshive

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I'm not terribly well versed in optics, but I did learn a lot at opticstalk.com. You can do searches on that board and learn a ton about optics. Some of those guys really geek out on that stuff. (I mean that in the best possible way. They really helped me out.)

I didn't want to spent too much for my binoculars, but I wanted a good pair, so I was advised to get a porro prism set, as opposed to roof prism (by far the most common--straight tubes). Porro prisms are easier to make, so you essentially get more bang for the buck (i.e. $100 porros better than $100 roofs, all else being equal). Disadvantages are they are bulkier (because they are offset and jut out) and supposedly less rugged. I think if you get good quality binocs, that's a minimal issue unless you really beat them up.

I ended up getting a great deal on a pair of leupold cascade porros in 8x40mm. Oh and one other minor advantage of porros is they give you better depth perception because the objectives are set a couple inches farther apart than roofs.
 

fritojay

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i dont know a lot about binos but after a few years of using whatever cheap kind i had i bought a pair of leupold wind river mesa in 10x50 at wal mart for $100 and love them. strap them to a pair of bino buddies and you cant go wrong.
 

mk20rockeye

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i use a pair of leupold yosemite's i got at out local longs store for 100 i think, they work great for me and lightweight too. my 2 cents.....go to the stores and try them all, mainyl the ones in your price range. you'll find the ones you like. good luck
 

HOGHUNTER714

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I actually pulled mine out yesterday and made sure everything was still good. I use the Leupold Olympic WindRivers 12x50's. I went with this glass for a few reasons. I was shoping in Turners Outdoorsman about 6 years ago one afternoon and the saleman asked my price range and what I wanted out of a pair of glass. I told him I was looking in the $400-$600 dollar range, cause thats what I budgeted for at the time. He showed me the Leupold Olympic WindRivers 12x50. He stated he liked the versatility of this glass. They were not to heavy to wear all day (On a Crooked Horn cross strap set-up) and you could remove the front piece and can place them on a tripod for long extended periods of glassing hillsides. I bought em and paid around $550 back then. I then went to the local camera store and bought a $20.00 (very, very lightweight tripod) and the quick release attachment ($20.00). This has been an AWESOME set up for me. I wear the glass on my body and have the tripod and attachment in the hunting pack during my hog, deer and bear hunts. If I want to glass an area for extended periods of time, I can set up the tripod with my binos in under a minute. It's REALLY nice and I have noticed by doing this my arms, eyes and back does not get as strained and I can see what I am looking at MUCH clearer. I dont get the up/down/side to side motion with the standard glassing practice. The tripod allows me to set up at any angle (based on terrain) and move it to any position without making a sound. Its basically a spotting scope, but using the bino's to replace the scope. It has worked for me for years and I like this method. Just my 2 cents...
HH714
 

socalkid

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I use Bushnell Buckhorn 10x42. Got from Cabela's for around $100 and they are pretty lightweight and very clear.
 

7mm RM

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I finally got a good pair..Steiner Night Hunter 10x50. I love them, great at low light and very clear.
 

BigDog

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I have been messing around with both scopes and binoculars for years. Trying to find what would work that I was willing to pay for. Last year, I emptied my rifle shooting at a deer that just walked away. That and the fact that I am going to Colorado on an Elk hunt this year, I decided to pay the price. I bought a pair of Leopold Golden Ring 10x42 binos and the matching Leopold VX III scope.
I am very pleased with the combo. After practicing in the field many times now, I found that the combo are great for up to about 300 yds. The other great thing I discovered is that at dusk and dawn, with low light, if I can identify a legal buck with the binos, I can see it even better with the light gathering capabilities of the scope. I spent about $1500 on the two but it was well worth it.
Just like with spending money on just about any piece of sporting equipment, you get what you pay for.
 

7mm RM

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BigDog,
I also have a VXIII and very pleased with the performance. Going to Co for elk too, have a first season cow tag for unit 62. Good luck to you on your elk hunt.
 

Tinknocker101

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I have been using Vari X III Leupold scopes and Zeiss 10X40 Binoculars for 30 some years and highly recommend them. They really shine when the rubber meets the road. (Early am and dusk when many trophys are taken.)
 

BigDog

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7mm RM, I have a bull tag, first rifle for 62. Got any hints?
 

fishnhunt

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Optics are like a lot of things…You get what you pay for. Once you look through a nice pair of opics you will go home and throw away all of your old ones. That being said I own a pair of Brunton Epochs (the price has gone up since I bought them…I believe they are now selling for ~$1500), Zeiss conquest 3X9X50 for my ’06 (~$550), and a leupold mark 2 4-12X40 for my 22-250 (~$650). If it allows you to take one or two shots earlier or later in the day it is all worth it!!
 

Stonepointer

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This morning I used the old Sans & Streiffe #810 Hunter Binoculars rated at 7 x 35, 10 degree field, and 525 ft. at 1000 yards.

Although not as powerful, magnification-wise, they did make a world of difference in clarity as well being able to hold an image still freehand more easily.

I also liked the depth of field better because I could scan without changing focus in some areas too much.

I also like the parallax in the porro type prism providing a better 3D effect.

Thank you for all the information.

Now I have a better idea of what to shop for.
 

One Track

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It's so cool when you're pumped on hunting and trying to figure out what you need. If you are going to do a lot of hunting in the west, you should invest in some quality optics. Don't skimp. Spend your money on the best optics you can afford. Think about it, if you were going to run a marathon, would you buy $25 running shoes at PayLess? No. You'd spend $150-$200 on the best shoes you could find. The hardest part about hunting mule deer, elk, coues deer, etc. is finding them, before they find you. It's easier to do that from a 1/2 mile than it is from 100 yds.

You don't need a $1000 rifle to shoot 2 inch groups. But, if you want to glass all day without getting headaches, and you want to see the tip of an ear at 1/4 mile, in the shade, you need great glass.

I think the best scenario is 10x42 glass on a bino system. You could start at the $500 level with Leopold, Pentax and Cabelas brand or move up to Zeiss, Leica, and Swaro. I have the Zeiss Classic 10x42 that I bought for $700 about eight years ago. Love 'em. My buddy has the Cabelas Euro and I think they are bit better than my Zeiss and just about as good as the Swarovski 10x42.

Cabela's Euro™ Binoculars

You don't want a 50mm hanging on your neck all day. If you get to where you really want to scrutinize trophy quality, you will need a 15x58 bino on a tripod. That's what the guys who are serious about finding big bucks use. Or, you can bypass that and get a quality spotting scope and tripod. I don't have a spotter, because I haven't hunted sheep or goats yet. And, I'm okay if that 180" buck that's two miles away has a broken G3. Also, the big bino on a tripod is easier to look through than a single lens spotter.

Bottom line is that you should invest in quality optics that will last you for a very long time. You will be able to glass for longer periods, without headaches and you will see things more clearly. With a tripod, you will see movement that you can't see when trying to hold your bino for two hours straight. People don't hump those clunky tripods around for nothing. It works.

As for scopes, I really like the VXII's. Can't go wrong for $300.

Have fun. Invest in optics and boots. Don't worry about having a highend rifle, or fancy camo, or custom camo seatcovers (doh!)

Dang. Is it September yet????
 

MJB

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I use Zeiss Conquest 3x9x40 scope for my 06 and 270 rifles great glass and I use Minox 10x43 great low light visibility and light weight. Bought all of them from Camera land NY all demo products with full warranty.

Minox - Camera Land NY

Good luck!
 

Kentuck

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I got a pair of Minox 8.5X52's. Absolutely love them. I got them for around $600 new. Now they are about $1000. The link MJB posted is where I got mine. They are running a special on Minox right now. Some good prices on good glass.
 

cc93cruiser

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I have a piar of Steiner Predetor Bino's, while the optics are awesome (crystal clear), they do tend to fog up... That can get really annoying...
 

7mm RM

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BigDog,
I lived in Cederedge and worked in Delta for a few years before I went into the Navy, I never moved back home but have enjoyed going back for hunting. My buddy and his family have hunt the area since the 60's. Are you camping or staying in town? We are camping, stayed in town last year but got tired of the trip up and down. Saw 2 huge 6x6 bulls (all public land), you guessed it, had cow tags last year. Shoot me an email.
7mm RM
 

imnrut

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One track nailed it... nice B!
I said "F it!" five years ago and broke down and bought 10x42 swarovi's. Honestly the best investment I've ever made.
 

BigDog

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I have dreams about buying a pair of Swarovskis but have never had the bucks. When I hit that lottery, they will be in my safe.
 

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