Current weather

  • Scattered clouds
  • 54°
    Scattered clouds

Experts offer tips for buying binoculars, scopes

Posted: Friday, August 08, 2003

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho When Paul Payne needs to convince somebody about the importance of binoculars, he tells a story about a knob. With his $350 glasses glasses that he was extremely proud of he couldn't find an animal in the sagebrush about 2,000 yards away.

''My buddy said there were elk and deer, bucks and bulls,'' said Payne, owner of Ross' Coin & Gun in Idaho Falls last fall. ''I told him he was full of it.''

So the friend handed Payne a pair of $900 Swarovski binoculars. Any doubts about spending more money on optics were cleared up by the sharp outline of antlers and his ability to tell does from fawns.

''In optics, the more you spend, the more you buy,'' Payne said. ''Dollars represent a difference in quality more here than anywhere else in hunting. I'm a firm believer in that.''

The best place to start when buying optics is binoculars, good binoculars, the experts say.

''Hunters, good hunters, spend hours and hours glassing,'' Payne said. ''The time spent with a rifle scope is minutes. That doesn't mean you want a cheap scope, but it shows the importance of good glasses.''

Payne said the best way to buy binoculars is to go out with somebody who owns good glass and compare them to whatever glass you already own.

''Lots of people buy cheaper glass year after year, thinking they can get by,'' Payne said. ''They aren't convinced until they've seen the best stuff.''

Curtis Thornock of Sportsman's Warehouse agrees.

''It's the one area in all of hunting where you get exactly what you pay for,'' he said. ''All binoculars are definitely not created equal.''

While most people say it is critical to spend money for good optics, Dusty Stanfield of Ski's House of Guns, said money isn't the overriding factor when she recommends glasses.

''Buy the ones that fit you the best,'' she said. ''Some people see really well with $100 glasses and can't tell the difference between a $1,500 pair. In that case, there is no need to spend the money.''

After you pick a price point, the experts say you should decide what type of hunting you are going to do.

If you are going to walk extensively, they recommend 8- or 10-power binoculars with a roof-prism.

A roof prism is a binocular with a straight line design, as opposed to porro-prisms that bounce the image off of mirrors inside the binocular.

Payne and Thornock like roof-prism binoculars because they are lighter and easier to carry.

The knock on roof-prism binoculars is their price, which ranges between $300 to $1,400 for quality hunting glasses.

Binoculars with porro-prisms generally cost between $60 and $300. Another benefit of porro-prisms is they have greater magnification, sometimes reaching as high as 20 power.

But both retailers are quick to point out that hunters shouldn't automatically buy the most powerful glasses on the market.

''Power is overrated for many cases,'' Thornock said.

The higher-powered glasses are harder to hold steady, heavier to carry, and they often don't work as well as roof-prism glasses in low light.

Another thing to consider when buying binoculars is the amount of room your eye has to move around in the eye piece. Gun shops' employees can judge the ''exit pupil'' of a binocular. The bigger the number of the exit pupil, the easier the binoculars will be on your eyes.

''The more room you have, the more your eye can walk around,'' Thornock said. ''You can glass longer without getting a binocular headache.''

Finally, it is a good idea to explore coating on the lenses, Thornock said.

Some newer models have a phase-corrected coating which allows hunters to see definition between colors, Thornock said. That could be helpful to find bedded animals in heavy cover, Thornock said.

After buying binoculars, find a scope that fits your rifle and your checkbook.

The first consideration is the caliber of your gun.

If you have a magnum, you don't want to buy a cheap scope that can't stand the recoil, Payne said. Similarly, you don't need the world's most powerful scope for a .243.

Good scopes for magnum rifles start at $200.

Good scopes for standard calibers start at $100, Payne said.

Once you've decided on your budget, study different powers of magnification. Magnification is a personal choice, but the gun experts agree that the most common scope is the variable 3x9 model offered by all scope manufactures.

''It's the biggest seller, no matter the brand,'' Payne said.

After you've decided on power, pick a style of cross hairs.

Cross hairs come in three basic styles, including a dot in the middle of the viewfinder or a basic range finder.

The most popular style is the duplex cross-hair with thick bars on the outside lens and thinner lines in the middle.

''That is the No. 1 model with big game hunters,'' Payne said. ''It allows hunters to get on a target quicker.''

Lens coatings are another option to consider.

''Everybody has a different type,'' Payne said. ''Basically the more coating you have, the more money it represents. But the more it's coated, the brighter the image. That makes it a better scope in low-light conditions.''

Finally, scopes have different mechanisms to zero in on the bull's-eye. Pick the one you like.

Buying a spotting scope is a purely personal decision, the experts say.

Some hunters wouldn't leave home without them, using them to glass wide swaths of terrain before ever hiking a step. Others love their binoculars and consider a spotting scope extra weight in an already bulky pack.

Here are three reasons to buy a spotting scope, Payne said:

n It allows you to glass longer distances.

n It allows you to better judge the quality of an animal.

n It allows you to sight in your gun with less walking to and from the target.

To buy a spotting scope, consider weight, how it works at low light and price.

''Most of the rules you use to buy binoculars also work with spotting scopes,'' Thornock said.

He said a good starting price is $300.

The final piece of the puzzle is a range-finder, Thornock and Payne said.

Both said hunters should consider buying range finders, especially archers and muzzleloader hunters, who must judge distance more accurately because their weapons have shorter ranges.

''I'm a firm believer in them,'' Payne said.

''They lead to less wounding loss,'' Thornock said. ''That says it all for me.''

With range finders, decide how much money you want to spend and buy one with a laser sight, Payne said.

Quality range finders start at $275.

By ROB THORNBERRY

Post Register

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho When Paul Payne needs to convince somebody about the importance of binoculars, he tells a story about a knob. With his $350 glasses glasses that he was extremely proud of he couldn't find an animal in the sagebrush about 2,000 yards away.

''My buddy said there were elk and deer, bucks and bulls,'' said Payne, owner of Ross' Coin & Gun in Idaho Falls last fall. ''I told him he was full of it.''

So the friend handed Payne a pair of $900 Swarovski binoculars. Any doubts about spending more money on optics were cleared up by the sharp outline of antlers and his ability to tell does from fawns.

''In optics, the more you spend, the more you buy,'' Payne said. ''Dollars represent a difference in quality more here than anywhere else in hunting. I'm a firm believer in that.''

The best place to start when buying optics is binoculars, good binoculars, the experts say.

''Hunters, good hunters, spend hours and hours glassing,'' Payne said. ''The time spent with a rifle scope is minutes. That doesn't mean you want a cheap scope, but it shows the importance of good glasses.''

Payne said the best way to buy binoculars is to go out with somebody who owns good glass and compare them to whatever glass you already own.

''Lots of people buy cheaper glass year after year, thinking they can get by,'' Payne said. ''They aren't convinced until they've seen the best stuff.''

Curtis Thornock of Sportsman's Warehouse agrees.

''It's the one area in all of hunting where you get exactly what you pay for,'' he said. ''All binoculars are definitely not created equal.''

While most people say it is critical to spend money for good optics, Dusty Stanfield of Ski's House of Guns, said money isn't the overriding factor when she recommends glasses.

''Buy the ones that fit you the best,'' she said. ''Some people see really well with $100 glasses and can't tell the difference between a $1,500 pair. In that case, there is no need to spend the money.''

After you pick a price point, the experts say you should decide what type of hunting you are going to do.

If you are going to walk extensively, they recommend 8- or 10-power binoculars with a roof-prism.

A roof prism is a binocular with a straight line design, as opposed to porro-prisms that bounce the image off of mirrors inside the binocular.

Payne and Thornock like roof-prism binoculars because they are lighter and easier to carry.

The knock on roof-prism binoculars is their price, which ranges between $300 to $1,400 for quality hunting glasses.

Binoculars with porro-prisms generally cost between $60 and $300. Another benefit of porro-prisms is they have greater magnification, sometimes reaching as high as 20 power.

But both retailers are quick to point out that hunters shouldn't automatically buy the most powerful glasses on the market.

''Power is overrated for many cases,'' Thornock said.

The higher-powered glasses are harder to hold steady, heavier to carry, and they often don't work as well as roof-prism glasses in low light.

Another thing to consider when buying binoculars is the amount of room your eye has to move around in the eye piece. Gun shops' employees can judge the ''exit pupil'' of a binocular. The bigger the number of the exit pupil, the easier the binoculars will be on your eyes.

''The more room you have, the more your eye can walk around,'' Thornock said. ''You can glass longer without getting a binocular headache.''

Finally, it is a good idea to explore coating on the lenses, Thornock said.

Some newer models have a phase-corrected coating which allows hunters to see definition between colors, Thornock said. That could be helpful to find bedded animals in heavy cover, Thornock said.

After buying binoculars, find a scope that fits your rifle and your checkbook.

The first consideration is the caliber of your gun.

If you have a magnum, you don't want to buy a cheap scope that can't stand the recoil, Payne said. Similarly, you don't need the world's most powerful scope for a .243.

Good scopes for magnum rifles start at $200.

Good scopes for standard calibers start at $100, Payne said.

Once you've decided on your budget, study different powers of magnification. Magnification is a personal choice, but the gun experts agree that the most common scope is the variable 3x9 model offered by all scope manufactures.

''It's the biggest seller, no matter the brand,'' Payne said.

After you've decided on power, pick a style of cross hairs.

Cross hairs come in three basic styles, including a dot in the middle of the viewfinder or a basic range finder.

The most popular style is the duplex cross-hair with thick bars on the outside lens and thinner lines in the middle.

''That is the No. 1 model with big game hunters,'' Payne said. ''It allows hunters to get on a target quicker.''

Lens coatings are another option to consider.

''Everybody has a different type,'' Payne said. ''Basically the more coating you have, the more money it represents. But the more it's coated, the brighter the image. That makes it a better scope in low-light conditions.''

Finally, scopes have different mechanisms to zero in on the bull's-eye. Pick the one you like.

Buying a spotting scope is a purely personal decision, the experts say.

Some hunters wouldn't leave home without them, using them to glass wide swaths of terrain before ever hiking a step. Others love their binoculars and consider a spotting scope extra weight in an already bulky pack.

Here are three reasons to buy a spotting scope, Payne said:

n It allows you to glass longer distances.

n It allows you to better judge the quality of an animal.

n It allows you to sight in your gun with less walking to and from the target.

To buy a spotting scope, consider weight, how it works at low light and price.

''Most of the rules you use to buy binoculars also work with spotting scopes,'' Thornock said.

He said a good starting price is $300.

The final piece of the puzzle is a range-finder, Thornock and Payne said.

Both said hunters should consider buying range finders, especially archers and muzzleloader hunters, who must judge distance more accurately because their weapons have shorter ranges.

''I'm a firm believer in them,'' Payne said.

''They lead to less wounding loss,'' Thornock said. ''That says it all for me.''

With range finders, decide how much money you want to spend and buy one with a laser sight, Payne said.

Quality range finders start at $275.

Experts offer tips for buying binoculars, scopes

By ROB THORNBERRY

Post Register

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho When Paul Payne needs to convince somebody about the importance of binoculars, he tells a story about a knob. With his $350 glasses glasses that he was extremely proud of he couldn't find an animal in the sagebrush about 2,000 yards away.

''My buddy said there were elk and deer, bucks and bulls,'' said Payne, owner of Ross' Coin & Gun in Idaho Falls last fall. ''I told him he was full of it.''

So the friend handed Payne a pair of $900 Swarovski binoculars. Any doubts about spending more money on optics were cleared up by the sharp outline of antlers and his ability to tell does from fawns.

''In optics, the more you spend, the more you buy,'' Payne said. ''Dollars represent a difference in quality more here than anywhere else in hunting. I'm a firm believer in that.''

The best place to start when buying optics is binoculars, good binoculars, the experts say.

''Hunters, good hunters, spend hours and hours glassing,'' Payne said. ''The time spent with a rifle scope is minutes. That doesn't mean you want a cheap scope, but it shows the importance of good glasses.''

Payne said the best way to buy binoculars is to go out with somebody who owns good glass and compare them to whatever glass you already own.

''Lots of people buy cheaper glass year after year, thinking they can get by,'' Payne said. ''They aren't convinced until they've seen the best stuff.''

Curtis Thornock of Sportsman's Warehouse agrees.

''It's the one area in all of hunting where you get exactly what you pay for,'' he said. ''All binoculars are definitely not created equal.''

While most people say it is critical to spend money for good optics, Dusty Stanfield of Ski's House of Guns, said money isn't the overriding factor when she recommends glasses.

''Buy the ones that fit you the best,'' she said. ''Some people see really well with $100 glasses and can't tell the difference between a $1,500 pair. In that case, there is no need to spend the money.''

After you pick a price point, the experts say you should decide what type of hunting you are going to do.

If you are going to walk extensively, they recommend 8- or 10-power binoculars with a roof-prism.

A roof prism is a binocular with a straight line design, as opposed to porro-prisms that bounce the image off of mirrors inside the binocular.

Payne and Thornock like roof-prism binoculars because they are lighter and easier to carry.

The knock on roof-prism binoculars is their price, which ranges between $300 to $1,400 for quality hunting glasses.

Binoculars with porro-prisms generally cost between $60 and $300. Another benefit of porro-prisms is they have greater magnification, sometimes reaching as high as 20 power.

But both retailers are quick to point out that hunters shouldn't automatically buy the most powerful glasses on the market.

''Power is overrated for many cases,'' Thornock said.

The higher-powered glasses are harder to hold steady, heavier to carry, and they often don't work as well as roof-prism glasses in low light.

Another thing to consider when buying binoculars is the amount of room your eye has to move around in the eye piece. Gun shops' employees can judge the ''exit pupil'' of a binocular. The bigger the number of the exit pupil, the easier the binoculars will be on your eyes.

''The more room you have, the more your eye can walk around,'' Thornock said. ''You can glass longer without getting a binocular headache.''

Finally, it is a good idea to explore coating on the lenses, Thornock said.

Some newer models have a phase-corrected coating which allows hunters to see definition between colors, Thornock said. That could be helpful to find bedded animals in heavy cover, Thornock said.

After buying binoculars, find a scope that fits your rifle and your checkbook.

The first consideration is the caliber of your gun.

If you have a magnum, you don't want to buy a cheap scope that can't stand the recoil, Payne said. Similarly, you don't need the world's most powerful scope for a .243.

Good scopes for magnum rifles start at $200.

Good scopes for standard calibers start at $100, Payne said.

Once you've decided on your budget, study different powers of magnification. Magnification is a personal choice, but the gun experts agree that the most common scope is the variable 3x9 model offered by all scope manufactures.

''It's the biggest seller, no matter the brand,'' Payne said.

After you've decided on power, pick a style of cross hairs.

Cross hairs come in three basic styles, including a dot in the middle of the viewfinder or a basic range finder.

The most popular style is the duplex cross-hair with thick bars on the outside lens and thinner lines in the middle.

''That is the No. 1 model with big game hunters,'' Payne said. ''It allows hunters to get on a target quicker.''

Lens coatings are another option to consider.

''Everybody has a different type,'' Payne said. ''Basically the more coating you have, the more money it represents. But the more it's coated, the brighter the image. That makes it a better scope in low-light conditions.''

Finally, scopes have different mechanisms to zero in on the bull's-eye. Pick the one you like.

Buying a spotting scope is a purely personal decision, the experts say.

Some hunters wouldn't leave home without them, using them to glass wide swaths of terrain before ever hiking a step. Others love their binoculars and consider a spotting scope extra weight in an already bulky pack.

Here are three reasons to buy a spotting scope, Payne said:

n It allows you to glass longer distances.

n It allows you to better judge the quality of an animal.

n It allows you to sight in your gun with less walking to and from the target.

To buy a spotting scope, consider weight, how it works at low light and price.

''Most of the rules you use to buy binoculars also work with spotting scopes,'' Thornock said.

He said a good starting price is $300.

The final piece of the puzzle is a range-finder, Thornock and Payne said.

Both said hunters should consider buying range finders, especially archers and muzzleloader hunters, who must judge distance more accurately because their weapons have shorter ranges.

''I'm a firm believer in them,'' Payne said.

''They lead to less wounding loss,'' Thornock said. ''That says it all for me.''

With range finders, decide how much money you want to spend and buy one with a laser sight, Payne said.

Quality range finders start at $275.



CONTACT US

  • 150 Trading Bay Rd, Kenai, AK 99611
  • Switchboard: 907-283-7551
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-283-3584
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-283-3299
  • Business Fax: 907-283-3299
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-335-1257
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback

ADVERTISING

SUBSCRIBER SERVICES

SOCIAL NETWORKING

MORRIS ALASKA NEWS