Which spotting scope for a 500m fly shoot?

Rifle scopes, iron sights and optics. Spotting scopes and target acquisition devices.

Which spotting scope for a 500m fly shoot?

Post by Outgunned » 10 Feb 2020, 8:44 pm

I'm looking for recommendations, preferably based on personal experience, as to a spotting scope that has sufficient quality to clearly see a 6.5mm hole(s) in a target set at 500m, assuming little or no mirage effects. I do have a Vortex Golden Eagle on my rifle and can see a hole 'just about' given my eyesight, but have one son who is happy to act as my spotter and help me improve.

So far I've found the ideal of 'try before you buy' to be somewhat limited in Perth as a lot of models require a special order and am looking to limit any post purchase regret, especially when prices for 'higher end' spotting scopes can easily exceed $3000+.

I have read 'you only get what you pay for' and 'buy once cry once' in several articles but I'm trying not to spend more than is necessary for what I want to achieve. The spotting scope will be used mainly at a range and so weight is not a primary issue.

Thanks in advance.
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Re: Which spotting scope for a 500m fly shoot?

Post by No1_49er » 10 Feb 2020, 9:07 pm

I persevered with a mediocre spotting scope and finally moved to a Leupold Mk4 12-40x60mm. It is very good to 400m but "testing" at 500m, especially if there's a bit of mirage running.
I believe that my next (last?) upgrade will be to a Kowa TSN-883 with a 25-60x eyepiece. I've had a look and they are GOOD.
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Re: Which spotting scope for a 500m fly shoot?

Post by SCJ429 » 11 Feb 2020, 6:14 am

The best way to try before you buy is to go to a Fly shoot and ask the guys there if you can have a look through their spotting scopes. I have been able to look through some very nice ones in various conditions. The high end optics work better in poor conditions but everything is effected when the mirage is bad. Good spotting scopes are made by Leica, Nightforce but the best I have seen is Swaroski.

What sort of scope are you using on your rifle?
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Re: Which spotting scope for a 500m fly shoot?

Post by perentie » 11 Feb 2020, 7:01 am

He said he has a Vortex Golden Eagle on the rifle.
I dont fly shoot but just bought a Vortex Viper AD 20-60 x 85 Should be here soon.
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Re: Which spotting scope for a 500m fly shoot?

Post by marksman » 11 Feb 2020, 8:00 am

cameras are good if you can stop the idiots at the range shooting it :lol: :drinks:
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Re: Which spotting scope for a 500m fly shoot?

Post by SCJ429 » 11 Feb 2020, 5:50 pm

Are all Golden Eagles 15-60?

I use a 42x BR Nightforce on my 223 and can clearly see the bullet holes at 500. The Competition series 55x even more so. Would you be better off upgrading your scope than spending $3,000 on something for your spotter?
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Re: Which spotting scope for a 500m fly shoot?

Post by SCJ429 » 11 Feb 2020, 6:16 pm

I just read some reviews about this scope, there should be no problems seeing where your bullets are going. It was designed with F class in mind. What difficulties are you experiencing?
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Re: Which spotting scope for a 500m fly shoot?

Post by Outgunned » 11 Feb 2020, 8:05 pm

Many thanks for the responses. My update is as follows:

The rifle range where I normally shoot is limited to 200m. My mate shoots at a nearby club that has a 500m range, but he shoots a different discipline. Looking at what other people use before buying was a very good suggestion. I expect the 500m fly shooters at my mates club are a very good group of people, but I don't know them yet or what they use for spotting. So rather than turn up, see what's available, order a scope and maybe wait several weeks, I wanted to turn up ready to participate.

So I went to some local shops and looked through several spotting scopes across a price range from about $800 - $3500. Long story short, I looked through Swarovski 65/85 ATX scopes (as the equivalent 65/80 ATS scopes weren't in stock) and was settling on a Swarovski ATS 80 HD 20-60x for $3280. However, the ATS range is now discontinued and if stock was available, it would need to be ordered. The new ATX/STX modular range of spotting scopes are nice but a step up again in price.

I was very impressed when looking through a Kowa TSN 773 spotting scope with a 25-60x wide zoom. I thought it on a par with the Swarovski, for my eyes at least, and so bought it for $3000. I'm sure the Kowa TSN 883 would have been even nicer, but again to rich for my blood.

All I have to do now is try and hit the fly!
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Re: Which spotting scope for a 500m fly shoot?

Post by sungazer » 11 Feb 2020, 8:28 pm

The difference between a spotting scope and the scope on your rifle comes down to a few features one is the size of the objective lens. This is much bigger than whats on your scope rifle.

What it often means in reality is that you can focus the spotting scope at different ranges and see the conditions at that distance more clearly. for instance you may be shooting at 500 but you can set your spotting scope to see mirage at 300 yrds. Your Rifle scope you are normally trying to reduce the seen mirage if it is bad and distorting your picture. One way this is done is by placing a cover over your objective lense that reduces it diameter if it was a 56 or 52 for instance you place a card or something that may only have a 40mm cut out reducing the light and the depth of field of view.

For what the OP is after If I was you my first priority rather than a spotting scope would be to upgrade my rifle scope. I would recommend the Nightforce competition they can be bought nearly new for about $2300. The next step if that doesnt do all you want would be the spotting scope. But again personally I would make sure the rest of my shooting platform was top notch before going the spotting scope. The reason being in good conditions having the good gun set up is going to pay dividends to your score. If your shooting platform is not top notch no matter what the conditions you will be at a disadvantage.
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Re: Which spotting scope for a 500m fly shoot?

Post by Outgunned » 11 Feb 2020, 8:37 pm

Happy to address the questions regarding my new Vortex GE 15-60x52 rifle scope and close out my post.

I'm very happy with the scope, especially the ECR-1 reticle and my mate could see the holes through my scope far easier than I could. The issues are more with my eyesight, my ability and dealing with mirage effects. Hopefully, my ability will improve as I become more familiar with the rifle/scope combination and with shooting at 500m as I presently 'lose' the target to easily. I wanted the spotting scope for my son to participate and help me improve. I also intend to spot for him. Shooting also provides a wonderful bonding experience.
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Re: Which spotting scope for a 500m fly shoot?

Post by SCJ429 » 11 Feb 2020, 8:51 pm

Great idea to involve your young bloke, a good spotter can help you read the conditions and gets him involved in the competition.

How long ago did you buy your spotting scope? Today?
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Re: Which spotting scope for a 500m fly shoot?

Post by Outgunned » 12 Feb 2020, 12:51 am

Yes, I bought the Kowa today.
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Re: Which spotting scope for a 500m fly shoot?

Post by Apollo » 13 Feb 2020, 8:55 pm

marksman wrote:cameras are good if you can stop the idiots at the range shooting it :lol: :drinks:


Sorry but Cameras are not allowed at competition shoots. Maybe a Club Shoot but that would be up to the RO.

I have shot quite a number of 500m Fly Shoots and done very well over the years, never won one outright but
top few places often.

I don't own a Spotting Scope and don't want one. Since you are allowed a Spotter I just get my mate sitting
on the other side of the bench to wind his scope back and look at the mirage to tell me what's happening
during the day.

In the dozens of 500m Fly Shoots I've been to there have been none that I can see a 6.5mm hole yet alone
the Fly all day. Mornings are the best and then it just gets worse.

I shot a 1" 5 shot group one day and I couldn't even focus the Fly but could see the dark marks the shots were
leaving so I kept my aiming point the same. I use a March 8-80x56mm Scope, mate that spots for me uses a
Nightforce BR 12-42x56mm.

It's fun but don't for one minute think you will see shot holes at 500m all day, you won't..!!
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Re: Which spotting scope for a 500m fly shoot?

Post by SCJ429 » 13 Feb 2020, 9:21 pm

Sometimes in bad mirage you can get the odd glimps of the bullet holes through the spotting scope.

When it is bad and you cannot see, go back down to your splash plate and use that as your guide while the conditions hold. Of course when you get your target, you sometimes find your fantastic plan did not work.
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Re: Which spotting scope for a 500m fly shoot?

Post by Apollo » 13 Feb 2020, 9:32 pm

SCJ429 wrote:Sometimes in bad mirage you can get the odd glimps of the bullet holes through the spotting scope.

When it is bad and you cannot see, go back down to your splash plate and use that as your guide while the conditions hold. Of course when you get your target, you sometimes find your fantastic plan did not work.


Been there, done that. Just remember you only have 3 rounds on the Splash Plate. Plus, when you drop to the Splash Plate for a centre it doesn't mean your shot on the target 500mm or so above is still going to track correctly. Sounds funny but proven a number of times on practice days.

Love 500m Fly, just a pity I can't afford money wise or time wise to be at the Nationals in a few weeks. Great to see a team coming from WA though.
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