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September 7th, 2013

Vortex 20-60x80mm Viper Spotting Scope on Sale for $479.99

Viper Spotting Scope 20-60XIf you are looking for a spotting scope, here’s a very good deal. The 20-60X Vortex Viper spotting scope (angled or straight) is now on sale at Cabela’s for just $479.99. That’s much cheaper than we’ve ever seen it, and it is currently listed elsewhere for up to $649.00. This spotter features a large 80mm multi-coated front objective, 20-60X zoom eyepiece, and scratch-resistant polymer armor on the scope body. There is a rotating tripod attachment ring, and a Picatinny rail for mounting accessories. The $479.99 Cabela’s sale price includes the 20-60X eyepiece. This is a limited-time offer — price subject to change.

Viper Spotting Scope 20-60X

While Vortex says this scope has “extra-low dispersion” glass, this model should not be confused with Vortex’s more expensive Razor HD line of spotting scopes. Nonetheless, this Viper spotter is all the spotting scope most hunters or iron-sight high power shooters need. If you’re trying to spot 6mm bullet holes beyond 500m, you will want to move up to something better.

Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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January 26th, 2010

SHOT Show Report: Schmidt & Bender 12.5-50x56mm Finally Available in USA

It’s big, it’s bright, and yes, it’s finally here in America. We’re talking about the Schmidt & Bender 12.5-50x56mm PM II/P scope, perhaps the most impressive long-range riflescope we saw at SHOT Show 2010. We first profiled this scope in April 2007, so it’s been a very long wait, but reasonable quantities of the big 12.5-50X PM II have finally reached American shores in reasonable quantities. The suggested retail price is a jaw-dropping $3199.00, but when you consider the whole package — clarity, sharpness, image contrast, color fidelity, click options, reticle options, ruggedness, and warranty policy — the S&B 12.5-50×56, has few, if any, rivals among ultra-high magnification scopes. This is a great scope, make no mistake about it, even if does cost as much as a custom-built rifle. Jason and I both agreed that, if there was one item we’d like to carry home from SHOT Show and mount on our rifles, it would be the S&B 12.5-50x56mm. This scope is as bright at 50X as other quality scopes at 40X.

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The 12.5-50x56mm is is available with 1/4 MOA clicks, 1/8 MOA clicks, or mil-based clicks, and with normal or double-turn turrets. NOTE: S&B also sells a 12.5-50×56 version optimized for 10m-70m Field Target shooting. It has a silver finish and “Big Wheel” side parallax control.

Schmidt & Bender 12.5-50x56 scope

CLICK HERE for Schmidt & Bender 12.5-50×56 Rifle Specifications.

New Features on 5-25x56mm PM II
In addition to the 12.5-50x56mm long-range scope, Schmidt’s engineers showed us the popular 5-25x56mm PM II sporting a new “desert tan” ceramic coating. (CLICK HERE for large photo.) For 2010, this scope features new turret options that provide extra feedback and security for the shooter. First, either or both turrets can be locked in place by pushing down on the turret sleeve. Just pull up to unlock. Second, a pop-up cap confirms when the elevation knob is on the second revolution. That makes easier to use the scope at night. Finally, every 10th click of knob rotation is a heavy, tactile “clunk”. This does help track your revs and is especially useful with mil/cm-based turrets. S&B offers a wide selection of reticles, and you can choose between either first focal plane (FFP) or second focal plane (SFP) options.

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January 24th, 2010

SHOT Show Report: New Flourite Scopes and 20-75X Diascope from Zeiss

At SHOT Show 2010, Zeiss Sport Optics displayed its impressive new series of Diavari scopes with FL (flourite) glass. The new scopes are extremely clear and bright (on a par with Schmidt & Bender), and the flourite lens elements allow very high light transmission with super-low fringing (chromatic aberration). Controls are very positive and the Zeiss eyepieces feature a +2 to -3 diopter. With that broad diopter range, you can use the scopes without corrective lenses even if you normally wear eyeglasses or contacts. A variety of reticles are offered, including ballistic compensating reticles calibrated for four popular cartridge types. Three scopes will initially be available in the new Zeiss FL lineup: 4-16x50mm, 6-24x56mm, and 6-24x72mm, shown below. This extra-large 72mm objective provides superior low-light performance plus a large exit pupil, even at full 24X magnification.

Zeiss Diavari Flourite 72mm

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Higher Magnification and Dual-Rate Focus for New FL Diascope
In addition to the new FL Scopes, Zeiss displayed its new 65mm and 85mm Diascope FL spotting scopes. These look very similar to last year’s models, but there are internal lens upgrades, a new focus system, and a superb new eyepiece that raises the max magnification to 75X on the 85mm model.

We really like the new “dual-rate” focus system. Focusing a high-magnification spotting scope can be frustrating with a single control knob. The dual-rate system is an intelligent solution. When you spin the knob more than 270°, it automatically goes into fast focus mode, which is five times faster. Then as you “dial in” your subject, it reverts to fine focus mode. This is a smart system that works very intuitively. Kudos to Zeiss for this innovation. Zeiss engineer Stephan Albrecht, Diascope project manager, explains the new features.

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August 20th, 2009

Nikon Unveils New EDG Spotting Scopes

There is an “arms race” going on now among the top optics-makers trying to grab market share at the high end of the spotting scope field. Prices have climbed into the stratosphere as companies provide ever-bigger objectives with ultra-premium glass. The latest 80+ mm “super-spotters” are running $3000 to $4000 with zoom eyepieces. Last year, Kowa released its superb flourite-lensed TSN-883/4 Prominar at $2905.00 (88mm body with 20-60 zoom eyepiece). Leica followed suit with its Televid 82 APO spotting scope priced at $3995 (82mm body with 20-50 Vario eyepiece, $3195.00 body only). Yep, that’s four grand for a spotting scope — we could buy a nice used truck for that.

Nikon EDG spotting scopes

New Nikon EDG 65mm and 85mm Spotting Scopes
Now Nikon has joined the “big-buck-glass” game with its new line of EDG spotting scopes in 65mm and 85mm objective lens sizes. With a 20-60X zoom eyepiece, the larger 85mm Fieldscope retails for $3299.00, a new high for Nikon. But the new Nikon looks impressive. The new EDG Fieldscopes offer the same exclusive ED glass lenses and premium prisms as Nikon’s highly praised EDG binoculars. Nikon says the new ED lenses deliver superior sharpness and color correction (without chromatic distortion), and ultra high contrast. The 85mm objective also provides a wider field of view than most spotting scopes. For enhanced low-light performance, the straight (non-angled) EDG scopes feature what Nikon calls “Dielectric High-Reflective Multilayer Prism Coating”. Hmm… “Dialetric Prisms” — that sounds like something Scotty would use on the Starship Enterprise.

Nikon EDG spotting scopes

Will the new Nikon EDGs run with the top-of-the-line Kowa, Leica, Swarovski, and Zeiss spotters? We’ll have to wait until comparison testing can be done. But we can say that the new Nikons EDGs are a big step up from past Nikon Fieldscopes. The EDG body is more compact and the unit is better balanced. We like the large focus ring, but would prefer a dual-focus system. The mounting bracket looks very solid, which should reduce wobbles when mounted on a tripod. Early reviewers say that the EDGs are very bright, with outstanding eyepieces.

New, Improved ED Eyepieces
Nikon has also released a whole set of new eyepieces for the EDG scopes. For long-range use, there is a new fixed-power eyepiece that delivers 75X magnification on the 85mm Fieldscope. We’ve used up to 82X magnification on other spotting scopes and we can assure you, 75X is NOT too much when viewing conditions are good. The 75X eyepiece would be a great choice if you’re trying to resolve bullet holes at 600 yards and beyond.

Nikon EDG spotting scopes eyepieces

High Power and iron sights shooters will like the new 20X/25X LER (long eye relief) eyepiece. This provides enough power to see target spotters, while offering easy viewing (and a wide field of view), when you are in shooting position and want to take a quick look through the glass. This eyepiece features ED glass, and provides 20X magnification with the smaller 65mm Fieldscope and 25X magnification with its 85mm big brother. All the new EDG eyepieces feature fuully multi-coated lenses, and many offer twist-out eyecups, which are handy for eye-glass wearers.

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