Binoculars vs spotting scope for target archery

pocruadhlaoich

New member
During the Summer I was shooting outdoors and very briefly tried out the spotting scope of someone who was shooting on the line next to me. Although it was brief, my experience was that there was a big disconnect between performing the shot, then moving my body position to look through the spotting scope and then getting back into shooting position again.
Firstly, I am wondering if binoculars would be a better choice and would welcome your opinion? I have heard good things online from various archer forums about Nikon Monarch 5 10x42 binoculars, that they are good for the cost. In one article, the archer could easily differentiate between red and orange nocks on a target.
Does anyone have solid opinion about using binoculars vs spotting scope for target archery and if so can they give recommendations please?
Thank you!
 

lbp121

Member
Whatever you use you need a steady support to make it worthwhile, otherwise you will just see arrows and not who's arrows.
I used an expensive Opticron telescope and even them blue Kurly vanes looked red because they were prismatic colours and the magnification altered the colour wavelengths.
To test you need to set a Fita recommended target at the distance you want and look to the black/white. Any purple fringing indicates a bad result though to get a good result is hard.
I don't know the binos you mention personally, but they will only be ok on as bright day. 10/60 will be better at dusk but price will go up. If you hand hold, don't go above 10x unless the binos have built in image stabiliser.
For full range you need a good telescope and sturdy tripod, (and money to burn). I'd generally avoid the cheap spotting scopes though you can get lucky sometimes. Don't read the box but try the product. My telescope was 33x magnification for full screen at 100 yards.
 

geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
I have both. Each has its own drawbacks. It is easier to pick out what you want to see with a scope on a tripod; binoculars aren't so steady; they don't magnify so much either so finding arrows is less easy.
Moving about to look through a scope has to be done; but moving about to handle the binoculars has to be done, too. The scope may require a bigger move, but the bins have to be brought to hand and can be a fiddle.
The "big disconnect" as you call it, can simply be the fact that you haven't got it established in your routine. If you think about the movements required to use scope, or bins, they are a distraction. Then think about the movements required to set the next arrow on the arrow rest and string, and go back to your early days on the beginners course; that caused some a real break in their continuity, until they learnt how best to get the job done.
It is possible to see the distraction of the bins or scope as a time to unwind, and prepare again before the next shot.
 

bimble

Well-known member
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Ironman
To me that sounds like someone hasn't placed their scope in a good place to look though. I know with mine I have no need to move my feet, I simply have to lean forward and have a quick glance... certainly a lot less movement than having to reach for my binos and then looking for my target.

Although it was brief, my experience was that there was a big disconnect between performing the shot, then moving my body position to look through the spotting scope and then getting back into shooting position again.
If the choice is scope OR binos, especially if you shoot a fair bit of indoors and field I'll say binos all the way, but try as many as you can. And if you're going to a store see if you can go outside to try them. Looking across the mall into WHSmith over the way might be good for seeing how it performs in low light but I'd still want to see how they act outside.
 

carl7

New member
A lot depends on your bow follow through rollover where you place the scope but you can find the right placement. The problem with binos is you need both hands to steady it which becomes clumsy when you have a bow and sling.

That said, I use a match rifle scope stand.

SpotingScope.jpg
 

EVC

New member
I have no experience with binoculars but tried to spot my arrows with a scope on my hand and it shaked a lot. I believe you will waste a lot of time trying to find the target and even more trying (probably without success) to stop shaking to spot your arrows. For short distances it may be OK but for 70m or 90m (is anybody still shooting FITA 144?) it will be bad. May be bad even for shorter distances.
 

Mormegil

Member
I find I have an easy enough time with binos (10x42) with the compound. I have them on a chest harness and rest them on the top cam when I want to use them. The chest harness gets in the way of the recurve though so I use a spotting scope with it (except for field - I just use a longer strap that's less convenient than the chest harness but holds them out of the way).
 

dell

Member
I find I have an easy enough time with binos (10x42) with the compound. I have them on a chest harness and rest them on the top cam when I want to use them. The chest harness gets in the way of the recurve though so I use a spotting scope with it (except for field - I just use a longer strap that's less convenient than the chest harness but holds them out of the way).
That certainly works with compounds to use the top cam as a support.
 

Phil Reay

New member
No contest for me. I use a scope but then I'm shooting barebow so I can stand pretty close. Did one shoot where a recurve archer was practically using long rods as short rods and expected everyone to move their scopes. Everyone moved a bit but then he got very short thrift when he said it wasn't enough. Mind you he wasn't that good. I beat him
 

pocruadhlaoich

New member
Thank you all for the replies. I was working late so I'm only getting a chance to reply now.
geoffretired : I really like your comment that looking through a shooting scope felt weird to me because it is not a typical part of my shot routine. That makes complete sense. By thinking of it in a different way, that the act of looking becomes part of my preparation for the next shot, becomes part of my outdoor shot routine, that is great, thank you!
bimble : I am a LH archer and on the day of the competition, the archer to my left was a RH archer so the spotting scope was placed right between us while we shot at the same boss but it really was not in a comfortable position. I was very paranoid that the swing of my long rod during release could end up hitting their scope or tripod. I have since bought 15" side rods as well which feel great but I can only imagine that making this issue worse. It was a bit too close for comfort.
carl7 / EVC / Mormegil : I have seen photos online of recurve archers placing the bow limb on their shoe, pulling the bow close and resting the binoculars onto the top limb for a very quick stabilising effect. This sounds like the recurve equivalent of what Mormegil is suggesting.
I'll go shopping for binoculars or a spotting scope in the new year and this information has helped greatly. Thanks!
 

EVC

New member
carl7 / EVC / Mormegil : I have seen photos online of recurve archers placing the bow limb on their shoe, pulling the bow close and resting the binoculars onto the top limb for a very quick stabilising effect. This sounds like the recurve equivalent of what Mormegil is suggesting.
Target or field archers? The latter usually uses binoculars for obivous reasons.

If you go for spotting scope, consider buying a decent tripod as well. Does not need to be the most expensive but it should be firm. The folks in the forum may be more helpful about brands.
 

Mormegil

Member
If you go for spotting scope, consider buying a decent tripod as well. Does not need to be the most expensive but it should be firm. The folks in the forum may be more helpful about brands.
Yes. You shouldn't need to spend heaps since a lot of more expensive tripods are fancy carbon fibre ones for photographers who don't want to be weighed down. You won't be carrying it much so something like an aluminium manfrotto will be fine.
 

dell

Member
Yes. You shouldn't need to spend heaps since a lot of more expensive tripods are fancy carbon fibre ones for photographers who don't want to be weighed down. You won't be carrying it much so something like an aluminium manfrotto will be fine.
Ideally, you want a tripod where the legs are braced so they stay fixed open if you are moving it off and on the line.
 

bimble

Well-known member
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Fonz Awardee
Ironman
I used to use braced tripods, but I got bored at the braces lasting only about a year... switched to a manfrotto (model 785B for the light scope/190XDB for the big scope) and love them. The light one has already lasted 5 years longer than any of the braced tripods!
 

lbp121

Member
I agree with Bimble, an unbraced Manfrotto will do the job, without needing bracing though you can weight it or peg it down in windy conditions. I sold a 190 for 342 on Ebay and that would be typical.
Manfrotto or Gitzo will leave most other makes on scrap heap if you compare them side to side. Other makes hold cameras off the ground but lack rigidity.
 

Phil Reay

New member
tripod - Miranda Pro Video (bought for ?4 at a car boot ~ quick release)
Scope - Prakita 15-45x60. very compact but brilliant range. individual nocks at 100 yds but still focuses in at 20 mtrs. won't tell you how much as it has gone up 4 times to my knowledge.
 

pocruadhlaoich

New member
In searching around, I see that I can purchase optics from Amazon.com at half the price it costs from Amazon.co.uk, so I could afford to get better kit if purchased from the USA. Is this ok to do or are there any warranty or other issues?
 

bimble

Well-known member
Supporter
Fonz Awardee
Ironman
Border and Customs might very well charge you the VAT on any items coming over which may make things more expensive than they first appear so.
 

lbp121

Member
If it does get stopped at customs, you'll pay a post office fee for handling the item, an import duty and vat. Sometimes things get through though.
 

dell

Member
If it does get stopped at customs, you'll pay a post office fee for handling the item, an import duty and vat. Sometimes things get through though.
You will pay VAT on anything valued over ?15 and Duty on anything valued over ?135 plus the Royal Mail fee of at least ?8.
 
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