Lighter spotter

peterk123

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Sep 7, 2020
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Montana
Hi guys. I have been using a kowa 883 this season. Absolutely love the thing. The reason for going with this scope was that it was to serve multiple purposes; range duty, hunting and photography. It has checked off all the boxes, except for one. Overall weight. When I include my tripod with panhead (about 3.5 pounds), I'm lugging 7 pounds around. Not the end of the world on a day hike, although it comes into to play when it is time to lug an animal out. However, if I am also carrying shelter and food, it becomes a legit concern.

I am curious if you all own a couple spotters, with one being a smaller lighter model that you can haul anywhere. I have been considering the Kowa 550 and maybe also couple it with a small light ballhead for my Sirui tripod. It is a serious chunk of change to shell out, so I am torn.

I could also consider trying to shed weight with my tripod, I am not sure that is the place to drop weight.

Also, am I giving up a lot of performance by dropping down from the 88 to a 55? Just suck it up and deal with the weight?

This hunting out west thing is getting expensive. :)

Looking forward to the comments. In the meantime, we are off to Yellowstone Park for the day with the spotter to take some wildlife pics....hopefully

Thx. Pete
 

Hatchet Jack

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Mar 14, 2016
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Utah
I try to cut weight everywhere else I can before I downgrade my glass.... But I'm probably not the right person to respond to this since I pack my 7 lb 30x66 dual kowas when i'm coues hunting because they are worth every ounce. I would look at trimming off 1-1.5 lbs off your tripod setup before I'd sacrifice glass quality. My gitzo is 1.6 lbs and it will handle an 88mm spotter no problem, I pair it with a handleless manfrotto 700rc2 and its around 2.25 lbs total. There are lighter heads out there as well. I just think once you've gotten used to the kowa 88 view you'll be disappointed in a compact spotter.
 

Exarach

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Dec 25, 2021
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11
Are you hunting a glass- heavy area/animal? If so I wouldnt give up spotting power to save weight. Could go for lighter pack or lighter stuff in the pack, I was amazed at how much # I saved going to a lighter water carrier of all things. I would keep the scope you like, and lose the weight elsewhere.
 

t_carlson

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Nov 1, 2022
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Montana
I bought a 11-33x50 Vortex a half-dozen years ago and have hardly carried anything else since.

Yes, it’s a compromise, but it’s one I don’t mind carrying.
 

JDB9818

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May 21, 2012
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362
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Colorado
This would be one of the biggest benefits of the Swarovski ATX / STX system.

I have the 95mm when I am close to the truck or don’t want to carry it around and I have the 65mm for a much smaller and lighter option.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
OP
peterk123

peterk123

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Montana
Hey Pete,
The 55, optically, is on par with the 88, HOWEVER, eye placement is way more critical and brightness isn't close.

You may wish to look at the Revic Stabilizer Backpacker Tripod for light weight quality and stability

Our pleasure to discuss this with you if you have the time to give a call, 516-217-1000
Thank you. So it looks like I could shave about a pound off the entire setup with that tripod.
And if I'm listening to most folks comments; don't skimp on the glass.

Pound, I gotta think about. Two or more and it would be a no brainer. Right now I am using the sirui st124 with the va5 head.

Good advice about looking elsewhere too. Although, I'm carrying minimal extra crap when I'm out. Will check to see what has crept into the pack during the season.
 
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Dryfirepete

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Mar 26, 2021
Messages
53
I've got the 553 and absolutely love it. Packable, light, goes everywhere. On the other hand, if I already had the 883 I guess I would just stick with it. Not sure if you wouldn't miss the 883 when looking through her little sister...
 
OP
peterk123

peterk123

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Sep 7, 2020
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Montana
I've got the 553 and absolutely love it. Packable, light, goes everywhere. On the other hand, if I already had the 883 I guess I would just stick with it. Not sure if you wouldn't miss the 883 when looking through her little sister...
I think you are correct. The thing is incredible I can pick out a football sized rock three miles away. And for photography... wow.

I just have to do more leg workouts and just suck it up. Better yet, make my son in law carry it!
 

Antares

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Jan 13, 2021
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Alaska
Well, you could avoid making the choice and just have both. That's what I've done. No regrets. The 883 goes to the range, rides in the truck, goes scouting. The 553 goes hunting.

Vortex Diamondback spotter is a gem as well.

No offense, but this is laughable. The Diamondback spotters are a lot of things but "gem" isn't one of them. Resale on those things is <$200 for a reason.
 

S-3 ranch

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Jan 18, 2022
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South west Texas & Gulf of Mexico
I don't get what you mean by lighter spotter. However, you can try out Leupold's spotting scope and Vortex Diamondback spotter is a gem as well.
My leupold gold ring 25x is super light and has been my go to for elk , pronghorn, mulie
I like a Swarovski also but forget about light, lord is it heavy but worth the weight if sheep are on the menu looking drainage to drainage for that full curled SOB
 

tdhanses

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Sep 26, 2018
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Thank you. So it looks like I could shave about a pound off the entire setup with that tripod.
And if I'm listening to most folks comments; don't skimp on the glass.

Pound, I gotta think about. Two or more and it would be a no brainer. Right now I am using the sirui st124 with the va5 head.

Good advice about looking elsewhere too. Although, I'm carrying minimal extra crap when I'm out. Will check to see what has crept into the pack during the season.
I have the 55 and 77, I use the same tripod for both the slik 624 I think, but for my binos and 55 Kowa I use a rrs ball head. I think you can drop closer to 3lbs off your setup, do 90% of the glassing with binos and 10% with the spotter for verification.

To me though while the weight reduction is nice, the bulk reduction is even better, the 55 is half the size. I also have a tripod that is under 1lb but rarely use it, just isn’t as stable as I’d like and the extra lb penalty for the more stable tripod is worth it.

Here is the head I use https://www.reallyrightstuff.com/BPC-16

Tripod https://sandsarchery.com/products/slik-624-pro-cf-professional-carbon-fiber-tripod

The 55’s glass is amazing but the fov is lacking, some can’t get over that.

If you go with a 55, you should be able to reduce your total weight by 3lbs if you get a new Tripod for it, think I’m around the 4lb mark.
 
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tdhanses

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Well, you could avoid making the choice and just have both. That's what I've done. No regrets. The 883 goes to the range, rides in the truck, goes scouting. The 553 goes hunting.



No offense, but this is laughable. The Diamondback spotters are a lot of things but "gem" isn't one of them. Resale on those things is <$200 for a reason.
Personally it’s worth having a small and larger, both have their place, for hunting I only use the 55 but I’m not hunting sheep and goats.

Gotta love the recommendation to move from a $3k spotter to a $300 spotter.
 
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AZ_Hunter_2000

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Oct 8, 2019
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This is Rokslide. You need to have a safe (or more) full of guns for all hunting scenarios but you can only use a single pair of binoculars and *maybe* a spotting scope for all hunting scenarios.

I have the STX 65/95 and Kowa 554. I take whichever spotting scope that makes the most sense for any given hunt. I do the same for the tripod but use the same head across the board (waste of time fighting muscle memory to save a few ounces).

With it on sale right now, you literally have nothing to lose. You can test it out and if it does not meet your needs, you can sell it used for a profit.
 

AZ_Hunter_2000

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Oct 8, 2019
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This would be one of the biggest benefits of the Swarovski ATX / STX system.

I have the 95mm when I am close to the truck or don’t want to carry it around and I have the 65mm for a much smaller and lighter option.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I have the STX 65/95 and Kowa 554. There is nothing "light" about the STX. My tripod, head, and Kowa 554 combined are 10 ounces heavier than just the STX 65 (standalone).
 

aaronoto

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Oct 9, 2018
Messages
121
I had a Kowa 55 and currently own a 77. It‘s not a scope that you’ll want to spend a ton of time behind. The weight savings for me wasn’t worth how uncomfortable I always felt looking through it. Glass is great no doubt, but FOV and feeling like you’re looking through a paper towel roll I just couldn’t stand.
 

Blockcaver

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BC
Swaro ATM 20-60x65mm HD magnesium body for the big scope and a Nikon ED 13-30x50 HD for the little scope. Both have their place.
 
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