First set of binos - which mag?

Beezer911

Private
Minuteman
Oct 18, 2020
70
20
Midwest
Hey all,
I’m going prairie dog hunting for the first time this spring and figured I’d grab some binos for spotting. Now, this will be my first pair and here’s some info about my shooting:
1. I have the little Leupold 25x50 armored spotter, which I like, but it’s hard to look through for any length of time
2. I shoot precision .22 and am getting into long range with both a precision-ish AR15 and a Howa Bravo 6.5 CM. I’m thinking about trying out PRS for fun and to learn me some things. I’d also like to learn to spot an help out when at matches when I’m not shooting.
3. Hunting would likely be limited to predator and varmit for now. P-dogs will be in the 75-250 yard range reaching out to 500 if we want to shoot long.
4. I have a tripod and will mount the binos for extended glassing

So, given that, and a ton or reading here and on some other forums, I was initially thinking that a 15x set of binos sounded like the way to go. Given that I’m newer to long range, I’m guessing I may be more prone to thinking I need more magnification than I really do. Am I right in looking for 15x or should I really be looking at 12x instead?

Brand-wise I’m looking at Meoptas, Steiners, Leupy Santiams, and Mavens. The Athlon Cronus and Bushnell Forge look interesting given the price but not sure it’s worth saving the money. I tend to buy once cry once, but within limits (ie my long range scope is an Athlon Cronus not a Nightforce or Kahles).

Anyway - I’d love to hear your thoughts on 12x vs 15x and if I’m looking at the right brands. Also, is there anything I’m not considering that I should be?

Thanks!!!
 

CavReconScout

Gunny Segeant
Supporter
Full Member
Minuteman
Supporter+
  • Jul 18, 2013
    731
    406
    Illinois
    Man you are going to get a bunch of different opinions on this. I have used several different brands and have learned the following. Buy the best you can afford as this seems to be an area where Buy Once Cry Once really seems to be true. FWIW I use a set of Meopta Meostars 10x42 for hunting and NRL 22 matches. I find the FOV works well for hunting and 22 stages where the targets are spread apart and close to really far. The glass is fantastic good color and resolution. For PRS matches I use a set of Tract 15x56. My eyes don’t get as tired as using a spotting scope and the FOV works really well. I have used them to spot out to 1200yds and could see trace and impacts really well. I had a set of Athlon 15x56 and for the money they were good but I was unhappy with the chromatic aberration. Could have just been my eyes but I have no issues with the Tract. I have looked through 15x Swaros and Meostars and the glass is unreal as is the price.
     

    Moose

    Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
  • Jul 3, 2005
    2,260
    1,080
    NJ
    I agree spend the cash for good glass I went with the Kowa Genesis and it was money well spent.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Beezer911

    Matches Malone

    Jihad Joe
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Mar 6, 2017
    962
    1,080
    Your moms bed
    10 power binos are the bench mark for big game hunting. P-dogs are small, but the point of binos is to spot the critter, the movement or reflection off the hair. You want the wider field of view. That said 10x at 250-500, even small targets aint shit to see.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Beezer911

    Beezer911

    Private
    Minuteman
    Oct 18, 2020
    70
    20
    Midwest
    Man you are going to get a bunch of different opinions on this. I have used several different brands and have learned the following. Buy the best you can afford as this seems to be an area where Buy Once Cry Once really seems to be true. FWIW I use a set of Meopta Meostars 10x42 for hunting and NRL 22 matches. I find the FOV works well for hunting and 22 stages where the targets are spread apart and close to really far. The glass is fantastic good color and resolution. For PRS matches I use a set of Tract 15x56. My eyes don’t get as tired as using a spotting scope and the FOV works really well. I have used them to spot out to 1200yds and could see trace and impacts really well. I had a set of Athlon 15x56 and for the money they were good but I was unhappy with the chromatic aberration. Could have just been my eyes but I have no issues with the Tract. I have looked through 15x Swaros and Meostars and the glass is unreal as is the price.
    Do you find you can actually see more and/or better at 10x in with the Meostars than you could at 15x with the Athlons? I’ve heard that can be the case when when comparing low mag high end glass to high mag lower quality glass.
     

    CavReconScout

    Gunny Segeant
    Supporter
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Supporter+
  • Jul 18, 2013
    731
    406
    Illinois
    If I could only have one pair of binoculars and my choice was between the 15x Athlons and the 10x Meostars I would not hesitate to keep the Meopta. The difference in image quality to my eyes was very noticeable. And if have any plans to hand hold the binoculars at any time you want 10x the 15x move around too much. Different tools for different purposes.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Beezer911

    GONE BAD

    Private
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    May 8, 2013
    889
    529
    Portland
    I just picked up a pair of Nikon Monarch 5's 12x42's.
    I really don't know how they compare with more expensive brands but in their price range they seemed better.

    I bought a pair of Monarch in 2008(?)
    They did everything I wanted.
    I loaned them to my grandson to use on a elk hunting trip and when I got them back they seemed not so good.
    So looking for something better I stumbled on the Monarch 5's and bought them after returning some Leupold's.

    I really like the Nikons and don't think you could go wrong with them.

    Oh, by the way I've sent the old pair in to have them repaired as they are identical to the new ones. They told me they will be repaired or replaced!
    Thats quite a few years of hard use.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Beezer911

    mrmarklin

    Private
    Minuteman
    Mar 11, 2021
    25
    29
    Burney, CA
    Get the best you can afford. Contrast and resolution trump power, and not by a little bit.
    I use Swarovski 8x42 EL bins for all my hunting. Because of the quality, you can easily pick out prairie dogs or any other small animal in the fields.

    I trend older and 12x or 15x I have a hard holding steady. It’s too much of a hassle using a tripod in the field. That’s spotting scope territory for me. I find even 10x bins unsteady, but they are popular.
     

    W54/XM-388

    Online Training Member
    Supporter
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Supporter+
  • Oct 1, 2005
    12,202
    24,985
    Dallas, TX
    If you have the budget, I would highly recommend looking at the Vortex Razor UHD series of Binoculars and see what kind of deal Scott at Liberty Optics can make you on them.


    If you are going to be hand holding them, I'd recommend the 10x50 model as being the easiest to hold steady and giving you excellent performance.

    If you are going to be putting them on a tripod, then the 18x56 would be a good choice, but they aren't easy to hand hold steady, so plan on those being for if you are in a static firing position and have a tripod for them.

    The glass quality of those UHD ones easily compares with much more expensive brands.
     

    Cowpokey

    MSgt, USAF Ret
    Full Member
    Minuteman
  • May 1, 2020
    2,191
    9,474
    Bel Air, MD
    I would get a set you'll use for other stuff later. I have Leupold 8x23 and 10x42. The 8x ones are compact, light weight, good for bowhunting in a tree stand or carrying in the woods for squirrel or rabbit. The 10x are good for spotting longer distances when you don't need to carry them, along with all the other gear...because they are bigger and heavier. The 12x or 15x might sound like a good idea, but will you have a use for them after the prairie dog hunt?

    ETA: I've never used binoculars to hunt prairie dogs, they are pretty easy to see in an established colony, since the eat the grass down to the ground and stand up on top of their mounds.
     
    Last edited:
    • Like
    Reactions: Beezer911

    Beezer911

    Private
    Minuteman
    Oct 18, 2020
    70
    20
    Midwest
    Thanks for all of the points to consider. Like I said before, I was concerned that I was overly concerned with power vs clarity. I’m going to start looking at 10x binos.

    One question - assuming all is held equal (same brand, glass, quality, etc) will there be a real noticeable difference between a 10x42 and 10x50, other than weight? I know that there are benefits to larger objectives, but are those differences appreciable from 42 to 50mm in binos?
     

    RTH1800

    Supporter
    Supporter
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Supporter+
  • Sep 16, 2009
    9,033
    5,304
    Midwest
    I’m a bit of an optic fan. Not a lot of technical knowledge but a lifetime of field experience with good glass.

    I have owned 15-20 top end binoculars and a similar number of spotters.

    10x is my standard. I have a 15x Swaro I use for bird watching. I NEVER think 8x would be better.
    The X42’s will equal the X50’s in normal light. Slightly lower twilight factor for low light.

    The poster who said to buy for several uses was correct.
     

    W54/XM-388

    Online Training Member
    Supporter
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Supporter+
  • Oct 1, 2005
    12,202
    24,985
    Dallas, TX
    Thanks for all of the points to consider. Like I said before, I was concerned that I was overly concerned with power vs clarity. I’m going to start looking at 10x binos.

    One question - assuming all is held equal (same brand, glass, quality, etc) will there be a real noticeable difference between a 10x42 and 10x50, other than weight? I know that there are benefits to larger objectives, but are those differences appreciable from 42 to 50mm in binos?
    50mm will give you better low light performance.
    So debate if that is worth it to you as there will be a slight bit of higher weight.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Beezer911

    supercorndogs

    Ham Fisted Gorilla
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Feb 17, 2014
    10,559
    13,171
    Colorado
    You will easily be able to spot praise dogs past 1k with 10x. I think everyone should probably have a pair of 10x. I also have a pair of 16x Nikon Monarch 3 or 5. 90% of the time when i use them they are tripod mounted. I have tripod mounts for all my 10x bins too, reducing the shake makes it way easier identify things. I spend so much time using binoculars I keep thinking I need to sell a couple scopes, and get some Swarovski 16x. Next to my shoes, binoculars are probably the thing I own that I use the most.
     
    Last edited:
    • Like
    Reactions: Beezer911

    LonewolfMcQuade

    Sergeant of the Hide
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Feb 27, 2021
    290
    429
    Pa
    I've used 10x & 12x for dedades. Decent, but not as nice as 15x, especially for small critters at distance -prairie dog/ground hog. You WILL see with 15x things/small detail you WONT see with 10x ! Tip of buck's ear or tine, a piece of a prairie dog moving through higher grass, at much greater distances.
    Most importantly, get the best glass you can afford! Lower quality glass is very tough on the eyes, especially with prolonged usage. Good glass (Leica, Swarovski etc) make ALL the difference in the world!! Up front with sharpness, clarity & brightness & even more so with eye fatigue & strain. I have "decent" 10x I use for minor glassing for deer & in the woods but my primary pair for most everything are Leica Geovid 15x56. UNBEATABLE & should last you A lifetime 👍
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Beezer911

    Mr. F

    Supporter
    Supporter
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Dec 10, 2011
    876
    580
    A set of 12x seems to be the one size fits all your looking for.

    Lower than 12 depending on the type and volume of 22 shooting your planning to do it might be too low but you’ll be fine for steel shooting out to 1.5-2k with the heavier gun.

    I dont hunt but i use a pair of 10s for everything. The FOV is nice but sometimes spotting a small caliber hitting a heavy plate can be tricky.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Beezer911

    Beezer911

    Private
    Minuteman
    Oct 18, 2020
    70
    20
    Midwest
    A set of 12x seems to be the one size fits all your looking for.

    Lower than 12 depending on the type and volume of 22 shooting your planning to do it might be too low but you’ll be fine for steel shooting out to 1.5-2k with the heavier gun.

    I dont hunt but i use a pair of 10s for everything. The FOV is nice but sometimes spotting a small caliber hitting a heavy plate can be tricky.
    That’s a good point. .22LR doesn’t really move the bigger plates and if the paint is pretty dinged up (like after 2 shooters) that will be harder to see. Something else to ponder!
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Hagen

    LonewolfMcQuade

    Sergeant of the Hide
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Feb 27, 2021
    290
    429
    Pa
    When I was pondering my 15x, BEFORE coughing up the big $ , I went out & bought a crappy pair of Barska 15x70's. IIRC, they were on sale for $70 or $90. Sealed the deal for me & my needs pretty quick. More magnification & better low light visibility. The Barska were a little distorting & definitely strained the eyes due to the low quality glass but served the purpose of me knowing if I'd like the 15x idea before shelling out $ for the Leica.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Beezer911

    Mike 556

    Gunny Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Jan 31, 2018
    663
    1,892
    Northeast PA
    If you have the budget, I would highly recommend looking at the Vortex Razor UHD series of Binoculars and see what kind of deal Scott at Liberty Optics can make you on them.


    If you are going to be hand holding them, I'd recommend the 10x50 model as being the easiest to hold steady and giving you excellent performance.

    If you are going to be putting them on a tripod, then the 18x56 would be a good choice, but they aren't easy to hand hold steady, so plan on those being for if you are in a static firing position and have a tripod for them.

    The glass quality of those UHD ones easily compares with much more expensive brands.
    Agree, took the wife to E O, she wanted a new binocs for watching the bugs to birds at our river home. Told her to pick what she wanted, she spent about an hour looking through every 8by 42 and 10 by 42 they had. She chose the Vortex UHD. She has years behind glass, so she knows what she wants. After she chose, I Iooked through them, really some fine glass. Are they Swaros? No, but they were 40% less. To my eyes, the swaro's I have are not any way near 40% better. She's extremely pleased with her Vortex UHD's. And I get it, you pay 40% more for that extra 5-10%.
     

    SonoranPrecision

    Sergeant of the Hide
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Sep 12, 2019
    383
    427
    Phoenix, AZ
    For what it’s worth, for a recent hunt I picked up a pair of the Athlon Cronus 10x42’s for around $400 from a local athlon dealer. It just so happened that my dad brought along his 12x50 razor UHD’s. Side by side, inside 800ish yards, I could tell them apart, but not by much, with a slight upper hand going to the razors. It was in the 1000 yard + range that you got a somewhat more noticeable difference.

    If price is a concern, the athlons are excellent, especially if you can get them below map (call Doug at cameraland).
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Beezer911

    Beezer911

    Private
    Minuteman
    Oct 18, 2020
    70
    20
    Midwest
    For what it’s worth, for a recent hunt I picked up a pair of the Athlon Cronus 10x42’s for around $400 from a local athlon dealer. It just so happened that my dad brought along his 12x50 razor UHD’s. Side by side, inside 800ish yards, I could tell them apart, but not by much, with a slight upper hand going to the razors. It was in the 1000 yard + range that you got a somewhat more noticeable difference.

    If price is a concern, the athlons are excellent, especially if you can get them below map (call Doug at cameraland).
    Thanks! I’ve been wondering about these. I have a Cronus scope and I like it. It stands up to much more expensive scopes just fine. I had thought of getting the Athlons and also getting something else (like a new ball head for my tripod or a range finder). Then when I upgrade them I hand the Athlons to one of my kids. Thanks for the info on these!
     
    Last edited:
    • Like
    Reactions: SonoranPrecision

    WB300

    Cranky Yankee
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Jan 15, 2011
    752
    224
    52
    GA
    Maven has a "free trial" program. 2 buddies used that program to compare Maven's to what they had to see if it was worth upgrading. Both kept and purchased the Mavens. Easy way to get some viewing time without committing to the $$$ ahead of time.
     

    chase723

    Pew Pew Guy
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Supporter+
    Mar 29, 2017
    525
    239
    If you are going to use them handheld the and only can buy one then you should probably get a 10x or 8x. The extra magnification for PID w/ 10x is noticeable whereas the perceived extra stability/less wobble is noticeable w/ the 8x when handheld. As is the FOV. You get what you pay for glasswise. I’ve got a set of Leica 10x42 HD-B 3000s and when you look through them it’s honestly better than reality with the naked eye…and I’ve got 20/10 vision.

    If you’re going to get 2 pairs then get an 8x or 10x for handheld and something 15x/18x/20x for a tripod. That said, what you can see with 10x on a tripod is pretty unbelievable until you try it. The benefit of that type of stability on magnified optics can’t be understated. Compared with handheld you’ll pick up 5-10x as much detail.
     

    bman940

    Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Jul 31, 2010
    295
    91
    63
    Texas
    Talk about a loaded question! I used to do some freelance work with a large Japanese company and now for the last 3 years, I have been doing some work with Meopta out of the Czech Republic. I can truly say that the quality and value of what you get from Meopta is probably unequaled by anyone out there. There is a reason they are known for their glass and that is a big reason many buy their optics products. They make their products in the CR with quality European products and attention to detail. To me, that is what sets them apart, then, of course, it's what they charge too. I don't do any sales, just trying to help Beezer make the right choice. Meopta just came out with a MeoPro HD 8x56 which may be just right for spotting prairie dogs and then switching to a spotter for that up close view. This year I did some big country hunting and used the MeoStar B1 Plus 12x50 and I was impressed with the low light capabilities of this bino, right up next to my MeoStar 8x42's. Reach out to me if you have other Meopta questions.
     

    MOUNTIC

    Mountic Outdoors: Big Game Hunter
    Supporter
    Commercial Supporter
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Supporter+
  • Apr 29, 2017
    4,672
    3,251
    Colorado
    MounticOutdoors.com
    10x Swarovski ELs. Can be had for high 1800s new these days. Think midway has a one time deal going on right now. If budget doesn't allow then the SLCs are still really nice. I would go Swarovski and don't look back.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Beezer911

    GONE BAD

    Private
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    May 8, 2013
    889
    529
    Portland
    Oh, by the way I've sent the old pair in to have them repaired as they are identical to the new ones. They told me they will be repaired or replaced!
    Thats quite a few years of hard use.
    Just got the old ones back today and all I can say is ; Excellent service and they look like new !
    Thanks Nikon!
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Beezer911

    TEXFIRE%$&

    Private
    Minuteman
    Supporter+
    Apr 5, 2020
    63
    21
    Montgomery, Texas
    Hey all,
    I’m going prairie dog hunting for the first time this spring and figured I’d grab some binos for spotting. Now, this will be my first pair and here’s some info about my shooting:
    1. I have the little Leupold 25x50 armored spotter, which I like, but it’s hard to look through for any length of time
    2. I shoot precision .22 and am getting into long range with both a precision-ish AR15 and a Howa Bravo 6.5 CM. I’m thinking about trying out PRS for fun and to learn me some things. I’d also like to learn to spot an help out when at matches when I’m not shooting.
    3. Hunting would likely be limited to predator and varmit for now. P-dogs will be in the 75-250 yard range reaching out to 500 if we want to shoot long.
    4. I have a tripod and will mount the binos for extended glassing

    So, given that, and a ton or reading here and on some other forums, I was initially thinking that a 15x set of binos sounded like the way to go. Given that I’m newer to long range, I’m guessing I may be more prone to thinking I need more magnification than I really do. Am I right in looking for 15x or should I really be looking at 12x instead?

    Brand-wise I’m looking at Meoptas, Steiners, Leupy Santiams, and Mavens. The Athlon Cronus and Bushnell Forge look interesting given the price but not sure it’s worth saving the money. I tend to buy once cry once, but within limits (ie my long range scope is an Athlon Cronus not a Nightforce or Kahles).

    Anyway - I’d love to hear your thoughts on 12x vs 15x and if I’m looking at the right brands. Also, is there anything I’m not considering that I should be?

    Thanks!!!
    Don’t overlook the Bushnells Forge. I bought some for .22 PRS and for the money and I think what you are doing they are definitely worth a look.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Beezer911

    M4guru

    Here for the cheap AI barrels
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Supporter+
  • Aug 27, 2006
    828
    1,297
    Wyoming
    I’m with the guys that say binos are a lifetime purchase. Buy the best set you can first. You will never need to upgrade Swarovski, Leica, or high-end Zeiss binos. Find some 10x42 SLCs and never look back.

    The optics classifieds on the Rokslide forums always have a bunch, you wouldn’t have to wait more than a couple days.
     

    JG26_Irish

    Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Oct 17, 2013
    642
    449
    Morehead, KY
    Hey all,
    I’m going prairie dog hunting for the first time this spring and figured I’d grab some binos for spotting. Now, this will be my first pair and here’s some info about my shooting:
    1. I have the little Leupold 25x50 armored spotter, which I like, but it’s hard to look through for any length of time
    2. I shoot precision .22 and am getting into long range with both a precision-ish AR15 and a Howa Bravo 6.5 CM. I’m thinking about trying out PRS for fun and to learn me some things. I’d also like to learn to spot an help out when at matches when I’m not shooting.

    Anyway - I’d love to hear your thoughts on 12x vs 15x and if I’m looking at the right brands. Also, is there anything I’m not considering that I should be?

    Thanks!!!

    As a precision shooter, you will love prairie dogging. As for Bino's for PD hunting - in a word, they are not necessary. Once you see the first dog town and recognize what it looks like, you can literally spot PD towns with the naked eye from a mile away. I can see them from google maps even. How? PD's eat the grass right down to the ground. From a distance you will look out across the prairie and see large swatches of land where the color of the grass is lighter, very pale green to almost silver where the dogs are living. Outside the dog towns the grass is a bright verdant shade of green. Within the pale zones you will see brown dots spaced a few yard apart. Looking more closely you will see that these are the PD den mounds. From a distance they look like large crawdad holes. Bino's are not necessary. Nice to have but low on my list of must haves. A laser range finder is far more useful.

    Shooting PD's at 75-250y is folly. After the first loud shot all the dogs but the dumbest with duck underground for as far out as 200y or more. You will find that the typical shot on PD's if they have been hunted at all is about 300-350y. With a 22 and a can you can sit and pick off the close ones out to about 200y. After that you will need to go to the centerfire unless there is no wind at all (not likely). You will also find that use of an AR15 will lead to frustration because most are not accurate enough to hit a PD at 350y and they all toss the brass so far that you loose most of it. Leave the AR home unless it is capable of grouping three shots into 1/4" at 100y. Note: My go to PD rifle groups three into 1/4" at 200y with hand loads.

    Here is my approach: Find the town and choose a site that has the wind at your back or direct into your face to limit wind drift. Set up shooting benches or mats for prone work on a high point. The adult PD's are about the size of a 1 quart bottle and the juveniles are closer to the size of a pop can or slightly smaller. Any rifle that cannot hit a pop can at 300y is going to be mostly just extra baggage. We start with 22's using match grade std velocity ammo. It is accurate and quiet. We spend time head shooting the adults from 100y out to about 2-3 hundred yds depending on wind conditions. The adults disappear pretty quick. When we get tired of playing with the 22lr's or just cannot hit the tgt anymore due to wind or distance, we get out the 17 rimfires. 17mach2, 17hmr and 17WSM. These can reach out a little further but are very sensitive to winds. The 17's can reach out to about 150 to 300y with hit or miss success. We call it dust and adjust. Once those become useless, we get the 223's and 22-250's out. I prefer the 223 for the following reasons: The ammo is cheap, the brass is plentiful and the recoil is light so you can keep your sight picture and do your own spotting. 350y is a chip shot for a good 223 on PD's. I have killed em out to 550 to 575 meters which is about 628yds. I cannot hit every shot at that distance but enough to make it still fun. Many times if you have the rifle and the skill, you can shoot much further out there but will need more rifle for that. This is where the 243, 22-250, 6prc, 6.5CM all start to shine. Trouble with all of these is they heat up fast, recoil requires a spotter, and barrel life is shorter. So, we only deploy them for the long ass shots if at all.

    Prairie dogging is a sport that starts in the winter. Work up a great match grade load for your centerfire of choice. I use once fired commercial brass, match primers, and either Nosler BT's or Hornady VMax in 40g for 223 loaded onto a near max load of H335. This gives about 3600 to 3610fps across my chrono. They are not the most accurate but when zeroed at 250y they are point blank out to 350y. For 200y I aim at their feet and for 350y I aim at their head and rarely miss. Out beyond that, you can adjust or just hold over. A 2nd load is a lighter charge of H335 with a 55g match grade bullet. Those can work slightly better on windy days. Spend winter cranking out about 1-2 thousand rounds of good grade ammo for each rifle you plan to take. Two centerfire total of 2000 rds is enough for a week of shooting. A brick or two of ammo for each rimfire. Spend time at the range testing loads if you do not already have a good load worked up for your rifle(s). These days getting 1000 of any one component can be a challenge. Do the best you can. Work up your ballistic dope for each rifle and each load. A ballistic app like Strelok Pro is a great tool for use in the field. You will hit more shots and waste less ammo. A good optic that has great glass and good turrets are also a big plus but you do not need high magnification. Most of my shots were taken at 8x to 12x and no more. My first trip I took a Rem 700 223 with a Tasco world class 8-32x scope on it. Today, I would do things differently. A 6-24x or 3-12x is enough with a FFP MIL reticle so I can dial my range and aim point bland for each shot. Hit rate goes up. I have learned a lot about wind drift, spin drift and ballistics since my first trip.

    My Rem has the old style slow twist bbl and will not stabilize the heavy bullets. I have another one that I built which has the fast twist bbl 1:9 and it likes the 62's and 75's. It will work better for the longer shots. Out past about 400y, the results become more random. And keep in mind that all but the best match grade commercial ammo will struggle to print groups that are twice the size of your best handloads. So, don't go out there expecting to hit dogs at 500+ yds using commercial ammo. You will be disappointed. Every 30 min or so, we stop to let the bbl's cool and drink some water and clean the rifles. By the time we finish, the dogs are back up out of the holes and you can repeat the process. You will be amazed how far out you can hit them after a few days of practice.

    After a few days of slaughter, you will find that making a hit at 350y is pretty easy and you start to look for challenges. I like to find two or three lined up in a row and see how many I can get with one shot. Or, hit one that explodes killing the one beside it. Or, hit them in the abdomen which blasts all of the grass in their belly out their a$$ launching the body skyward. We try to see who gets the most hang time, lol. Lots of variation.

    I always remember to ask permission of the ranchers and respect their land and livestock. And be sure to stop and thank them when finished. I have never been turned down if I wanted to shoot PD's on private land. Avoid handling the carcasses. Sometimes PD's carry bubonic plague and it is transmitted by fleas on their body. Spray insect repellant on your legs and pants/boots and don't park in the middle of the dog towns to avoid illness. Park on the perimeter about 100-200y out. It is about as much fun as you can have with a rifle that is legal.
     

    M4guru

    Here for the cheap AI barrels
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Supporter+
  • Aug 27, 2006
    828
    1,297
    Wyoming
    Always good to see a fellow sophisticate. We have a spot in Pawnee Grasslands in CO where you can set up on a hilltop and shoot p-dogs out to about 1600 yards safely, with most of them in the 400-750 range. We put up pop-up canopies, DOA shooting benches/lawn chairs and tripods, tailgate grills, coolers...and shoot everything from .22LR to .50BMG at them. You can shoot hundreds upon hundreds in a day.

    The acrobatics they do will never cease to amaze me. THe best I saw was a guy shoot one with a 7SAUM at about 200 yards and kill 7 dogs in a pile. The cool thing is the rest will come out of fuck/eat the dead one (yes, I'm serious) so we just traverse mounds and then circle back around and do it all over again. I agree it's the most legal fun you can have with a rifle.
     

    pucker

    Teufelhunden
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Dec 8, 2011
    443
    344
    Eastern US
    Always good to see a fellow sophisticate. We have a spot in Pawnee Grasslands in CO where you can set up on a hilltop and shoot p-dogs out to about 1600 yards safely, with most of them in the 400-750 range. We put up pop-up canopies, DOA shooting benches/lawn chairs and tripods, tailgate grills, coolers...and shoot everything from .22LR to .50BMG at them. You can shoot hundreds upon hundreds in a day.

    The acrobatics they do will never cease to amaze me. THe best I saw was a guy shoot one with a 7SAUM at about 200 yards and kill 7 dogs in a pile. The cool thing is the rest will come out of fuck/eat the dead one (yes, I'm serious) so we just traverse mounds and then circle back around and do it all over again. I agree it's the most legal fun you can have with a rifle.
    This reply alone makes me want to move to CO!
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Beezer911

    M4guru

    Here for the cheap AI barrels
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Supporter+
  • Aug 27, 2006
    828
    1,297
    Wyoming
    I would suggest WY, SD, or anywhere else that also has copious prairie dogs but otherwise but hasn't turned into California in all the worst ways.
     

    Biscuits

    Sergeant of the Hide
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Jul 7, 2020
    160
    76
    If you are going to be doing long range target shooting, I'd get a set of rangefinding binoculars. Unfortunately these are about 3x the price, but there you go! You cannot hit jack at long distance without knowing your range to target, unless you just walk your bullets in or are just very good at estimating range. Even if you know the distance to target at your local, sooner or later you will be somewhere different with unknown distances to target.

    Always good to see a fellow sophisticate. We have a spot in Pawnee Grasslands in CO where you can set up on a hilltop and shoot p-dogs out to about 1600 yards safely, with most of them in the 400-750 range. We put up pop-up canopies, DOA shooting benches/lawn chairs and tripods, tailgate grills, coolers...and shoot everything from .22LR to .50BMG at them. You can shoot hundreds upon hundreds in a day.

    The acrobatics they do will never cease to amaze me. THe best I saw was a guy shoot one with a 7SAUM at about 200 yards and kill 7 dogs in a pile. The cool thing is the rest will come out of fuck/eat the dead one (yes, I'm serious) so we just traverse mounds and then circle back around and do it all over again. I agree it's the most legal fun you can have with a rifle.
    Damn, I need to go there on holiday.
     

    03Jarhead

    Private
    Minuteman
    Dec 25, 2021
    19
    32
    Northern Pennsylvania
    Hey all,
    I’m going prairie dog hunting for the first time this spring and figured I’d grab some binos for spotting. Now, this will be my first pair and here’s some info about my shooting:
    1. I have the little Leupold 25x50 armored spotter, which I like, but it’s hard to look through for any length of time
    2. I shoot precision .22 and am getting into long range with both a precision-ish AR15 and a Howa Bravo 6.5 CM. I’m thinking about trying out PRS for fun and to learn me some things. I’d also like to learn to spot an help out when at matches when I’m not shooting.
    3. Hunting would likely be limited to predator and varmit for now. P-dogs will be in the 75-250 yard range reaching out to 500 if we want to shoot long.
    4. I have a tripod and will mount the binos for extended glassing

    So, given that, and a ton or reading here and on some other forums, I was initially thinking that a 15x set of binos sounded like the way to go. Given that I’m newer to long range, I’m guessing I may be more prone to thinking I need more magnification than I really do. Am I right in looking for 15x or should I really be looking at 12x instead?

    Brand-wise I’m looking at Meoptas, Steiners, Leupy Santiams, and Mavens. The Athlon Cronus and Bushnell Forge look interesting given the price but not sure it’s worth saving the money. I tend to buy once cry once, but within limits (ie my long range scope is an Athlon Cronus not a Nightforce or Kahles).

    Anyway - I’d love to hear your thoughts on 12x vs 15x and if I’m looking at the right brands. Also, is there anything I’m not considering that I should be?

    Thanks!!!
    For the money, hands down best binos I have are Tract. Go to tractoptics.com. They have no middlemen and are SO easy to deal with - great guys.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Beezer911

    Beezer911

    Private
    Minuteman
    Oct 18, 2020
    70
    20
    Midwest
    As a precision shooter, you will love prairie dogging. As for Bino's for PD hunting - in a word, they are not necessary. Once you see the first dog town and recognize what it looks like, you can literally spot PD towns with the naked eye from a mile away. I can see them from google maps even. How? PD's eat the grass right down to the ground. From a distance you will look out across the prairie and see large swatches of land where the color of the grass is lighter, very pale green to almost silver where the dogs are living. Outside the dog towns the grass is a bright verdant shade of green. Within the pale zones you will see brown dots spaced a few yard apart. Looking more closely you will see that these are the PD den mounds. From a distance they look like large crawdad holes. Bino's are not necessary. Nice to have but low on my list of must haves. A laser range finder is far more useful.

    Shooting PD's at 75-250y is folly. After the first loud shot all the dogs but the dumbest with duck underground for as far out as 200y or more. You will find that the typical shot on PD's if they have been hunted at all is about 300-350y. With a 22 and a can you can sit and pick off the close ones out to about 200y. After that you will need to go to the centerfire unless there is no wind at all (not likely). You will also find that use of an AR15 will lead to frustration because most are not accurate enough to hit a PD at 350y and they all toss the brass so far that you loose most of it. Leave the AR home unless it is capable of grouping three shots into 1/4" at 100y. Note: My go to PD rifle groups three into 1/4" at 200y with hand loads.

    Here is my approach: Find the town and choose a site that has the wind at your back or direct into your face to limit wind drift. Set up shooting benches or mats for prone work on a high point. The adult PD's are about the size of a 1 quart bottle and the juveniles are closer to the size of a pop can or slightly smaller. Any rifle that cannot hit a pop can at 300y is going to be mostly just extra baggage. We start with 22's using match grade std velocity ammo. It is accurate and quiet. We spend time head shooting the adults from 100y out to about 2-3 hundred yds depending on wind conditions. The adults disappear pretty quick. When we get tired of playing with the 22lr's or just cannot hit the tgt anymore due to wind or distance, we get out the 17 rimfires. 17mach2, 17hmr and 17WSM. These can reach out a little further but are very sensitive to winds. The 17's can reach out to about 150 to 300y with hit or miss success. We call it dust and adjust. Once those become useless, we get the 223's and 22-250's out. I prefer the 223 for the following reasons: The ammo is cheap, the brass is plentiful and the recoil is light so you can keep your sight picture and do your own spotting. 350y is a chip shot for a good 223 on PD's. I have killed em out to 550 to 575 meters which is about 628yds. I cannot hit every shot at that distance but enough to make it still fun. Many times if you have the rifle and the skill, you can shoot much further out there but will need more rifle for that. This is where the 243, 22-250, 6prc, 6.5CM all start to shine. Trouble with all of these is they heat up fast, recoil requires a spotter, and barrel life is shorter. So, we only deploy them for the long ass shots if at all.

    Prairie dogging is a sport that starts in the winter. Work up a great match grade load for your centerfire of choice. I use once fired commercial brass, match primers, and either Nosler BT's or Hornady VMax in 40g for 223 loaded onto a near max load of H335. This gives about 3600 to 3610fps across my chrono. They are not the most accurate but when zeroed at 250y they are point blank out to 350y. For 200y I aim at their feet and for 350y I aim at their head and rarely miss. Out beyond that, you can adjust or just hold over. A 2nd load is a lighter charge of H335 with a 55g match grade bullet. Those can work slightly better on windy days. Spend winter cranking out about 1-2 thousand rounds of good grade ammo for each rifle you plan to take. Two centerfire total of 2000 rds is enough for a week of shooting. A brick or two of ammo for each rimfire. Spend time at the range testing loads if you do not already have a good load worked up for your rifle(s). These days getting 1000 of any one component can be a challenge. Do the best you can. Work up your ballistic dope for each rifle and each load. A ballistic app like Strelok Pro is a great tool for use in the field. You will hit more shots and waste less ammo. A good optic that has great glass and good turrets are also a big plus but you do not need high magnification. Most of my shots were taken at 8x to 12x and no more. My first trip I took a Rem 700 223 with a Tasco world class 8-32x scope on it. Today, I would do things differently. A 6-24x or 3-12x is enough with a FFP MIL reticle so I can dial my range and aim point bland for each shot. Hit rate goes up. I have learned a lot about wind drift, spin drift and ballistics since my first trip.

    My Rem has the old style slow twist bbl and will not stabilize the heavy bullets. I have another one that I built which has the fast twist bbl 1:9 and it likes the 62's and 75's. It will work better for the longer shots. Out past about 400y, the results become more random. And keep in mind that all but the best match grade commercial ammo will struggle to print groups that are twice the size of your best handloads. So, don't go out there expecting to hit dogs at 500+ yds using commercial ammo. You will be disappointed. Every 30 min or so, we stop to let the bbl's cool and drink some water and clean the rifles. By the time we finish, the dogs are back up out of the holes and you can repeat the process. You will be amazed how far out you can hit them after a few days of practice.

    After a few days of slaughter, you will find that making a hit at 350y is pretty easy and you start to look for challenges. I like to find two or three lined up in a row and see how many I can get with one shot. Or, hit one that explodes killing the one beside it. Or, hit them in the abdomen which blasts all of the grass in their belly out their a$$ launching the body skyward. We try to see who gets the most hang time, lol. Lots of variation.

    I always remember to ask permission of the ranchers and respect their land and livestock. And be sure to stop and thank them when finished. I have never been turned down if I wanted to shoot PD's on private land. Avoid handling the carcasses. Sometimes PD's carry bubonic plague and it is transmitted by fleas on their body. Spray insect repellant on your legs and pants/boots and don't park in the middle of the dog towns to avoid illness. Park on the perimeter about 100-200y out. It is about as much fun as you can have with a rifle that is legal.
    Wow - thanks for all the info. I do have an AR that’s pretty dialed in. I don’t reload, yet, so I’m a little handicapped that way but I’m thinking of taking my 6.5cm bolt action for shits and giggles. While more expensive, 500 yards will be easy with that gun. I’ll probably even take a few shots with my .270 deer gun just to see what I can do with it at distance (it never sees shots past 80 yards on deer). Thanks again for the info!
     

    Beezer911

    Private
    Minuteman
    Oct 18, 2020
    70
    20
    Midwest
    For the money, hands down best binos I have are Tract. Go to tractoptics.com. They have no middlemen and are SO easy to deal with - great guys.
    Never heard of them. I’ll have to take a look. Sounds like they use the same direct to consumer model that Maven does.
     

    Beezer911

    Private
    Minuteman
    Oct 18, 2020
    70
    20
    Midwest
    Don’t overlook the Bushnells Forge. I bought some for .22 PRS and for the money and I think what you are doing they are definitely worth a look.
    These and the Athlons intrigued me as a first pair. If I like ‘em great. If I decide to upgrade, my kid gets a starter set. Either way is a win.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: LonewolfMcQuade

    Beezer911

    Private
    Minuteman
    Oct 18, 2020
    70
    20
    Midwest
    Always good to see a fellow sophisticate. We have a spot in Pawnee Grasslands in CO where you can set up on a hilltop and shoot p-dogs out to about 1600 yards safely, with most of them in the 400-750 range. We put up pop-up canopies, DOA shooting benches/lawn chairs and tripods, tailgate grills, coolers...and shoot everything from .22LR to .50BMG at them. You can shoot hundreds upon hundreds in a day.

    The acrobatics they do will never cease to amaze me. THe best I saw was a guy shoot one with a 7SAUM at about 200 yards and kill 7 dogs in a pile. The cool thing is the rest will come out of fuck/eat the dead one (yes, I'm serious) so we just traverse mounds and then circle back around and do it all over again. I agree it's the most legal fun you can have with a rifle.
    Sounds awesome. This is what I hope to find someday. Nothing better than a big group hanging out, grilling and shooting!
     
    • Like
    Reactions: LonewolfMcQuade

    beetroot

    Major Hide Member
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Apr 10, 2018
    2,111
    1,940
    I'm not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm going to contradict everyone one else and say 8x42 binos.

    For general use 8x seems more than adequate, easier to hold steady, better FOV, better low light performance.

    For super dooper long range spotting you'll likely be using a tripod so 12x or 15x won't be an issue and will be even better than 10x.

    For spotting and finding game inside of 600m I don't see the need for 10x binos.
    Maybe you could argue they are the jack of all trades but for your use of inside 500 yards I'd be going 8x42.
     

    wade2big

    Two Star General
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Supporter+
    Sep 16, 2017
    6,669
    10,631
    TEXAS
    I went Audad hunting recently and took my 12x binoculars to glass for them. I won’t do it again. I went the year before last and had a pair of 6x that worked much better for glassing to spot critters and would be my choice going forward. Too much magnification and too little field of view is harder on the eyes and a pain in the ass. Now when sitting in a deer blind and just wanting to get a better look, the 12x are what I would take.

    I would think 8-10x would be about right for prairie dogs although I never been. I wouldn’t think you are glassing a wide area 360 degrees so the power could be up a bit.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Beezer911

    BCP

    Lt. Colonel
    Full Member
    Minuteman
  • Dec 4, 2008
    7,258
    2,363
    121
    CA
    Really you are asking for two sets of binoculars, one that is 12 or 15 for your tripod and another that is 6-8 for offhand use.
     

    acudaowner

    Two Star General
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Dec 26, 2018
    7,824
    6,207
    Id save my money and just go with the scope then you should be able to see everything you could with the 12-15 or the 6-8 could including what a 12 -30 could with 20 power left over never having to pull your head off the glass is nice , but it sure spoils you .
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Beezer911

    bunsen27

    ACME Labs
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Jan 2, 2011
    1,768
    439
    Raleigh, NC
    Really you are asking for two sets of binoculars, one that is 12 or 15 for your tripod and another that is 6-8 for offhand use.
    This is the correct answer. 7x or 8x is the perfect balance between magnification and FOV for PDog hunting while 12x or 15x used off a tripod is the perfect balance between magnification and FOV for LR spotting. I have a set of 10x42 Swaro SLC's and have used them for both PDog hunting and LR spotting. They are amazing bino's BUT they have too narrow a FOV for finding PDogs inside of 250ys and the 10x is just a little lacking in magnification for spotting well much past 1k. In my experience 10x works really well from 300yds out to about 900yds.

    I'd get the Meopta 12x / Meopta 15x or the Swaro 15x SLC for the LR spotter and then go for something around $300-$500 in 8x32 or 8x42 for your PDog binos.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Beezer911

    Beezer911

    Private
    Minuteman
    Oct 18, 2020
    70
    20
    Midwest
    This is the correct answer. 7x or 8x is the perfect balance between magnification and FOV for PDog hunting while 12x or 15x used off a tripod is the perfect balance between magnification and FOV for LR spotting. I have a set of 10x42 Swaro SLC's and have used them for both PDog hunting and LR spotting. They are amazing bino's BUT they have too narrow a FOV for finding PDogs inside of 250ys and the 10x is just a little lacking in magnification for spotting well much past 1k. In my experience 10x works really well from 300yds out to about 900yds.

    I'd get the Meopta 12x / Meopta 15x or the Swaro 15x SLC for the LR spotter and then go for something around $300-$500 in 8x32 or 8x42 for your PDog binos.
    I probably should have been more clear. For P dogs I don’t need the binos to find them. I want them for spotting purposes while my buddies are shooting the little rats. A couple guys don’t shoot as much so it’s nice to be able to tell them where they’re hitting (cause they aren’t always able to keep the gun quiet enough to spot impacts). I’m thinking I’ll start with 15s and add a nice set of 8 or 10x in the future. Thanks!!
     
    • Like
    Reactions: bunsen27