Binoculars vs spotting scope for target archery

Phil Reay

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?
nothing wrong with purchasing from the US but watch out for delivery. i found stuff on Amazon.com and it came from the US and delivery was horrendous.
 


ThomVis

Member
Whatever you buy make sure it's weatherproof. The last thing you want at 90m is worry if your scope can handle the rainclouds slowly drifting in.
 


KidCurry

Well-known member
If money is a factor, for some it doesn't seem to be, Binoculars will give you better value. For 100yds you want 10x25 min (10x30 better) and a good make. Opticron, Nikon, Hawke and loads of others. The reason I say this is, in optics, you generally only get what you pay for, and because the glass in binoculars are a lot smaller than scopes the optical quality at a given price is better.

I use Opticron Verano BGA 10x25 (?160) which give a very good image of the target at 100yds and only weigh 322g. Sat on top of a compound or against a recurve limb they are plenty stable enough at this range. For Sub ?100 the Nikon Travelite EX 10x25 are very good quality for the money. At ?225 the Hawke Frontier ED 10x32 are amazing with their ED glass (Extra-low Dispersion) but really any of the manufacturers ED 10xnn will be as good as you need. Worth checking out the guarantee as Opticron often give 30 years for bins over about ?250.

Once you get over ?300 you start to get into scope prices. Less than this there is very little good stuff out there and although there are some around ?100-?200, often mentioned on this forum and I see a lot of them on the line, I have yet to see one that will even get close to binocular image quality for the same price.
If you find a spotting scope is your thing, look at the angled scopes in preference to the straight. Straight are easier to start with but angled means the scope can be lower and is easier to use on the line.
A few years back I would have said avoid scopes with an objective lens (the big one at the front) less than 60mm. However today the Nikon 50mm Field Scope is very good. But in general 60mm will get you more light. As weight is not really an issue for archery, unless you carry the scope to the line each time, 80mm scopes will get you even more light and will work well even at dusk.
The very cheap scopes (sub ?150) usually have eye pieces that cannot be removed. They are often zoom eye pieces that will zoom from about 15x - 60x. Don't get over excited. These zooms are pretty much useless over 30x and most will be dodgy even at 15x. You will not need a zoom if you buy a scope with a fixed 30x eye piece. A scoped with a fixed eye piece spec'd at 30x60mm will, in theory, enable you to identify your arrows at 100yds amongst others in the boss. However, this will depend on the quality of the glass. This is where the money comes in. You need good quality coated glass. With scopes that start around ?350+, again Opticron are a good manufacturer, you will get good quality coatings on standard glass (ie not the ED glass as you will get with the binoculars at this price) but they will do the job.
In all the options make sure you get waterproof optics. Misty mornings can be the kiss of death for non-waterproof bins and scopes.
I would not dash out and buy a scope yet. Book yourself in to a tournament and walk down the line of scopes set up at 100yds. Ask the owners if you can have a look through them. You will see scopes from ?80-?800 and you might even see a top end scope as well. Choose a few you like the image quality of and ask the manufacturer and price. It's really the best way. My scope goes with me 2 or 3 times a year. My binoculars go everyday outdoors and indoors.
 


Shirt

Active member
For 100yds you want 10x25 min (10x30 better) and a good make.
I agree with everything you've written except this bit. 90m I would recommend 10x42s as a minimum and ideally ##x50s. The reason is while the magnification doesn't change, the amount of light it lets in (and therefore the fidelity of the colours you see) increases dramatically. And let's be honest, when you're trying to tell an arrow with white spin-wings and an orange nock from one with white spin-wings and a red nock at 90m, you need all the difference in the colour it's possible to get! :)

(Personally I have a set of 12x42 Nikon Monarchs that are 10 years old and still watertight, and are fine for 90m as long as I'm paying attention to where I think I've shot the arrow...)
 


pocruadhlaoich

New member
Fantastic advice KidCurry and Shirt, thanks! As tempted as I am to buy something now, I will hold off until the start of outdoor season to see what others are using on the line. Nikon monarch 10/12x42 sounds good to me.
 


Graeme10

New member
I paid ?50 for a Camlink CSP80, it is more than adequate. I have no problem with it at full distance (but see later comments), I can make out my nocks from other colours and absolutely do not agree that you need to spend a lot of money unless you value bragging rights over value.
Just look for the real world reviews, lots of decent scopes in the ?100 area and loads of second hand bargains.

Where you really need to spend carefully is in the support. Cheap tripods are mostly junk, mine flexes and wobbles in anything over a slight breeze, the legs are too flexible and the head is just junk. A secondhand video tripod might be a bit heavier but will keep your optics steady.

But the biggest drawback of a scope, and the reason I will be buying bins next year, is room on the line. At one event earlier this year each person wanted to have their own scope and while I was happy to share mine or someone elses the other people were not. Luckily that sort of unhelpfulness is rare. As I intend to handhold, and given the need for decent magnification, I will have to pay more for something with stabilisation.
 


Bertybobby

New member
But the biggest drawback of a scope, and the reason I will be buying bins next year, is room on the line. At one event earlier this year each person wanted to have their own scope and while I was happy to share mine or someone elses the other people were not. Luckily that sort of unhelpfulness is rare. As I intend to handhold, and given the need for decent magnification, I will have to pay more for something with stabilisation.
If someone was that unhelpful and selfish I'd tell them to move the scope off the line as it's in my way. If push came to shove I have a 20x monocular I could use.
 


Paul Seeley

New member
Interesting , coming back into the sport, to see the proliferation of scopes these days. Can people really not hold a set of bins steady?

The line is cluttered by shooters scopes even when they are not on the line - nothing against them personally, but we share the line and really are they necessary? Does it really make that much of a difference if you've scored an 8 or a 9? Will you shoot the next arrow differently? Change your sight every arrow after seeing EXACTLY where they land?

Rant over :hissyfit:
 


geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
It might make an interesting topic to discuss the merits of a total ban on viewing arrows, other than by unaided eye, before leaving the shooting line.
Would there be a need to exclude( from the ban) those whose eyesight is below a certain level?
 


Bertybobby

New member
The only time I have had a problem was a WA720 shooting with 3 cadets on my target and they all wanted their scopes on the line in single detail. They were offering me about 10" of line on the far left of the lane. I said there was no way we would all fit with 3 scopes and 4 archers. They looked mortified as they knew one at least would not have a scope. The problem resolved itself as one moved to another target.
 


Shirt

Active member
The line is cluttered by shooters scopes even when they are not on the line - nothing against them personally, but we share the line and really are they necessary? Does it really make that much of a difference if you've scored an 8 or a 9? Will you shoot the next arrow differently? Change your sight every arrow after seeing EXACTLY where they land?
If you're shooting compound at 50m, yes. You basically have to shoot 10, 10, 9 every end to be competitive. So if you shoot a 9, that's actually a bit of an issue...
 


4d4m

Member
If you're shooting compound at 50m, yes. You basically have to shoot 10, 10, 9 every end to be competitive. So if you shoot a 9, that's actually a bit of an issue...
Genuine question as I don't know, and is something that interests me. If you shoot a 10 then a 9 for example, and you see that arrow #2 is a 9 through your scope, what will you do differently on arrow #3 that you otherwise would not have done? Would you adjust your sight or aim a little bit off, or just try harder not to do what it was you thought went wrong?

Is that kind of feedback loop good for consistency?
 


Darth Tom

Member
Genuine question as I don't know, and is something that interests me. If you shoot a 10 then a 9 for example, and you see that arrow #2 is a 9 through your scope, what will you do differently on arrow #3 that you otherwise would not have done? Would you adjust your sight or aim a little bit off, or just try harder not to do what it was you thought went wrong?

Is that kind of feedback loop good for consistency?
For me, it depends on what I felt during the shot. There are plenty of cases where it confirms that they way the shot felt makes sense for where it went. Other times I'll look at a tight group on the 9-10 line and correct the sight (if there are no other concerns), or aim off (if it's windy), or shoot a little differently ("ah yes, I thought my front arm felt weak", etc, etc).

Here's an extreme example of how it's even useful indoors.

Shooting compound with 27-- arrows at Kings of Archery which allows that, I was putting them into the 10-ring no problem. The kind of consistency I normally only dream of. But I noticed that on each shot I was aiming on the big black hole that was appearing in the middle of each spot. Some of those holes weren't centred, and that meant I was going to keep moving further and further out. So before each shot, I scoped the spot, looked at where the hole was and corrected my sight as if that were where I was grouping. It brought my arrows far more into the X and I ended with an incredible score and position that day. I then didn't sleep a wink from excitement and the next day wasn't as good, but that's not really relevant here!

Also, to answer some other people's questions: out to 50m I'm happy using binoculars (8x40 unstabilised) but past 50m I really need a scope to see anything. Binoculars will tell me where arrows are but I'm looking to identify which arrows are mine. I've lost a national championship match that could have had a team place at the end of it, purely because I couldn't identify my arrows. (I knew I was shooting well so I thought mine were the ones in the middle. They were the X-sized group in the 8. I lost by 1 point over 12 arrows).
 


Shirt

Active member
Genuine question as I don't know, and is something that interests me. If you shoot a 10 then a 9 for example, and you see that arrow #2 is a 9 through your scope, what will you do differently on arrow #3 that you otherwise would not have done? Would you adjust your sight or aim a little bit off, or just try harder not to do what it was you thought went wrong?

Is that kind of feedback loop good for consistency?
Yes, it's all about the feedback loop. Thought cycle goes something like (in your example): Decent shot, aimed well, maybe feels a bit left, have a look, yes it's a 10, next arrow, wind a little stronger, give it a bit of bubble to compensate, whoops that wasn't a particularly clean shot but at least it was pointed OK, have a look, 9 further left, move sight two clicks, next arrow, wind hasn't changed, strong shot, that was great, have a look, X...

Essentially you know how the shot felt and where it should have gone based on that, but it's important to make sure that your 'feel' is properly calibrated.
 


4d4m

Member
Yes, it's all about the feedback loop. Thought cycle goes something like (in your example): Decent shot, aimed well, maybe feels a bit left, have a look, yes it's a 10, next arrow, wind a little stronger, give it a bit of bubble to compensate, whoops that wasn't a particularly clean shot but at least it was pointed OK, have a look, 9 further left, move sight two clicks, next arrow, wind hasn't changed, strong shot, that was great, have a look, X...

Essentially you know how the shot felt and where it should have gone based on that, but it's important to make sure that your 'feel' is properly calibrated.
Thanks for the explanation, it makes sense. Where I'm coming from is: is there not a danger of "chasing it" too much, and thus compounding (no pun intended) the natural shot to shot variation caused by the archer by introducing another variable?
 


Bertybobby

New member
For me, especially longer distance rounds, I spot more regularly in the earlier ends whilst the shots and settings settle. After 2 dozen the sight setting and windage is settled and it becomes about cutting out operator error!
 


Darth Tom

Member
Thanks for the explanation, it makes sense. Where I'm coming from is: is there not a danger of "chasing it" too much, and thus compounding (no pun intended) the natural shot to shot variation caused by the archer by introducing another variable?
Certainly. As with everything else in archery it's about knowing your shot, your reactions and using these things in the way that works for you.
 


bimble

Well-known member
Supporter
Fonz Awardee
Ironman
Say your first shot was a bit low, you might be tempted to move your sight... but what it's low, but still within your normal group size for that distance?? You might move your sight, and then put your next one high. I know if I make a proper shot the arrow *should* go where it's aimed. If I make an ok shot, the area I expect to find my arrow is a lot bigger.. Knowing how well you shoot, and what you should expect is quite important.

A very good archer will know within a shot or two where their group will be centred, and if they need to move their sight.
A more average archer might need an end or two.

And so on. If you're shooting on your own face, it's quite easy to see where the holes are and to spot a group trend. If you're sharing a face, you may need to plot the position of your own arrows on some paper/archery app to see.
 


Darth Tom

Member
If you're shooting on your own face, it's quite easy to see where the holes are and to spot a group trend.
That's a good point; on a single face, especially in bright sunlight, it's often pretty easy to see where your arrows have gone and wouldn't bother scoping them. Whereas I would on the same day if I were sharing a face just to be able to properly differentiate mine. Looking doesn't always mean I will take an action.
 


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