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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Eighty bucks at Academy, it does the job. They had the Simmons, a $139 Bushnell, and a $240 Redfield spotting scope, and I tried out all of them in the store. I'm not an optics snob, but I know good glass when I look through it. I swear all three were the same quality optics (i.e. adequate but not great), the only differences were the tripod, the eyepiece, the price, and the carrying "case."

The Simmons comes with a soft zippered case and a full height telescoping tripod that's very flimsy and delicate, but serviceable. Also, the eyepiece is angled, which I wanted. The straight-eyepiece Bushnell comes with a piece of crap tripod but a nice hard shell case. The Redfield (also straight-eyepiece) has a nice polymer tripod that's only tabletop height. Not sure about the case, I didn't check.

At the range today, the Simmons focused adequately at 50 and 100 yards, no complaints. I could see all the shots in the paper targets clearly.

The tripod, being so flimsy, makes it very hard to aim and keep on target, so once it's set up don't touch it. Don't even breath on it. I tried using it for stargazing, but the tripod makes that all but impossible.

All in all, it's a bargain. A good solid, steady tripod with smooth swivel will make it a winner, for me.
 

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I'm assuming that this is the Simmons 20-60x60mm "Blazer" scope. I bought 3 of these, two for my wife and I, and one for my sister ~5 or 6 years ago, if I recall correctly they were on sale for $59.99 - all 3 have the same issues. (Walmart has them online for $60 today).

If you want it to do anything more than 50-100yrd spotting, it quickly becomes all but worthless. At 60x, they're so blurry that 200-300yrds is nearly impossible on 22cal targets (high viz "splatter" targets help). In "ideal" lighting conditions, it's better, but any daylight that is too bright, or not bright enough, the entire FOV gets hazy at high magnification. They're not bad below 40x, but any more zoom and they get really bad. I can see bullet holes in targets more clearly through 6.5-20x Leupold and 5.5-22x NF rifle scopes than I can out of these scopes at 35-40x, and it's difficult to make out a pop can past 300yrds. A few hours on the range spotting through these things = a guaranteed headache.

Worse still, it'll only take a few years before the moisture proofing gives up. For range shooters, that might not matter, since they probably aren't at the range on days that are too cool or damp, but if you're hunting in the early morning with a temperature change, they'll fog up like crazy, inside and out. Mine went bad after the second year, my wife's made it until last year - 4yrs for $60 seems ok, but considering production capabilities today, it's unacceptable.

Hopefully they figured out that the zoom base doesn't fit inside the zippered case. I really wish they'd have had the forethought to make it a covering/case, not just a case, such that the front would zip open and the rest of the case would stay in place.

The Tripod is too light and too narrow for standing use. Watch your butt if you have any wind when using it fully extended, they're very prone to tipping (not so uncommon for spotting scopes on tripods though).

For a 100yrd shooter, they're fine, but a 20-60x should do a LOT more range than 100yrds. We still use ours for P-dog shooting from time to time, and occasionally on our longer-range coyote set, as long as we keep them under 35-40x and the lighting isn't too dark or too bright, they at least let us pick out moving game without pointing our rifles at it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yup, exactly. I don't have more than 100 yards available to me so it's "good enough" until the seals die.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I was buying printer ink at Best Buy yesterday and happened to see camera tripods. A Sunpak Ultra 6000PG caught my attention. It had the best ergonomics of all the tripods they had, was pretty solid, very stable, and for $52 a reasonable deal so I bought it.

A massive improvement over the flimsy, rickety little POS that came with the scope. The Simmons tripod was the best of the three I saw when scope shopping, but it's junk compared to a decent tripod.
 

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I was buying printer ink at Best Buy yesterday and happened to see camera tripods. A Sunpak Ultra 6000PG caught my attention. It had the best ergonomics of all the tripods they had, was pretty solid, very stable, and for $52 a reasonable deal so I bought it.

A massive improvement over the flimsy, rickety little POS that came with the scope. The Simmons tripod was the best of the three I saw when scope shopping, but it's junk compared to a decent tripod.
I was going to suggest that. I bought a cheap spotting scope off of Amazon (sorry, don't remember the brand) that did not even come with a tri-pod, but I used an old one that I had laying around from my 35mm SLR camera days.

I only use it at the range and max distance is 100 yds, so my cheap little outfit works just fine.
 
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