Spotters: Under $1600


This is the price range I want to look at carefully this year, but from what I have seen so far, Athlon Cronus spotters do very well here.

Athlon Cronus 20-60×85 is a nice traditionally configured spotter as is Burris Signature 20-60×85.  Both are solid Japanese designs and Burris has a rather nice 30x reticle eyepiece available.

As a general observation, current generation Vortex Razor spotters, while very nice are made in China (than taken apart, realigned and reassembled when they get to Vortex’ facility in Wisconsin).  Previous generation of the Razor spotter was made in Japan and bears a striking resemblance to Burris Signature spotting scope.  This is just me taking out loud.  Nothing official on that from Burris, so call it an educated guess.  If I am right, it is good thing.  That’s an excellent spotter design with good track record of holding up rather nicely.

Meopta Meopro 20-60×80 is in the running as well as the sole Euro option.

The spotter I end up using more than any other I have is the Athlon Cronus Tactical 7-42×60.  It is a lens-based design like the Bushnell LMSS, which sacrifices some of the FOV, but allows for a wide magnification range.  In many ways, it is more like riflescopes with a very short eyerelief.  It has a nice mrad reticle and on low magnifications I can use it handheld.  Optically, it is not as good as some larger conventional spotters, but the reticle and the flexibility matter too.

Its most direct competitor is Leupold’s aging Gold Ring 12-40×60 HD FLP design.  It is more expensive, but it does have a reticle, albeit a MOA only design which pretty much takes out of consideration for me.

With medium size conventional spotters, I am really fond of Vortex’ 65mm Razor HD, but unfortunately, the reticle eyepiece does not work with it (it fits, but the reticle calibration is off).  It is very good optically especially with the fixed power LER eyepiece.

For field use, I am generally partial to compact spotters with straight eyepiece, but unfortunately there aren’t as many of them  as I’d like.  With larger spotters, I do prefer angled eyepieces.

I have not seen any particularly interesting spotters with small 50mm or 55mm objectives in this price range, so I will skip this size range altogether.

Given that I have a strong preference for spotters with reticles, I am going to stick with my Cronus Tactical until something better comes along.



 Posted by at 12:51 am

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