- By Pete Moore
- 1 Comments
- Last updated: 14/12/2016
Given that hunters fall into definite categories in terms of what they do, how they do it and what equipment they use. Some of us might not quite understand why you would want to take what amounts to an old-style draw telescope into the field. For your average hunter and I tend to include myself in that category, observation of the quarry as to gender, age and quality of beast tends to be done with binoculars, or even a laser rangefinder. Using the rifle scope is frowned upon in some company, though is still a common practice with views on both sides.
However, long terms observation is a very different matter and by that I mean the distance that your standard x8 or x10 binos or even mid-range rifle scopes say 3-12x50 or 4-16x56 are simply not powerful enough. Sure you can see the deer, but as to making out pertinent details they just won’t cut it. Here the old-style draw telescope with its larger objective lens and massive magnification comes into its own.
This sort of optic is most associated with Scottish hill stalking; where there is little cover and animals are first seen at long distance. Their use takes a lot of the leg work out of the hunt as the quarry can be spotted and assessed as to its potential shootability, as opposed to getting close enough for less powerful optics to be effective. Likewise for deer management in terms of counting numbers and genders it’s a simple matter to sit back and use the scope as opposed to getting close up and possibly spooking them.
However, this sort of glass is highly specialised and being larger and heavier by comparison to binos is more of a decision to buy. Plus if your viewing and engagement distances are sub - 500yards maybe not worth the investment. Though once you have used high power spotters like this you will be impressed at their clarity and ability.
I have two of Swarovski’s finest here; the 2-section, fixed power CTC 30 x 75 and the larger, 3-section CTS 85. As you have doubtless noticed the latter does not give a magnification as it offers replaceable eyepieces,in this case it came with a x25-50 variable unit. The name comes from the fact that the body tubes telescope into each other and are ‘drawn’ out to deploy. Historically the concept pre-dates binoculars for sporting and military use. For hunting the old artillery observation scopes were in use pre and post 1900 by stalkers and ghillies. This very much set the style with brass or alloy bodies and leather-wrapped grips, as typified by the Greys scope and its modern copies.
Tradition Be Damned
As elegant as some of these are, performance was always the goal and Swarovski’s pair shows a far more practical approach with green, rubber armoured main bodies, strong, hard-anodised aluminium sections and high quality lens system incorporating their Swaroclean external glass coatings. They also come with a permanently attached strap with removable rubber end caps and all are threaded for standard tripod and similar adaptors, as well as coming with a separate adaptor plate. The 30x75 is a more general use design as at 12.2” stowed and 19” (open) it weighs just under 3 lbs. The magnification is good but you do need more if you really want to reach out, which is where the larger CTS 85 comes in, though it’s marginally shorter at 9.7-17.2” (closed/open) but is heavier at 3 lbs 5 ½ oz.
In use the CTC 30x75 offers the lighter package, but both are quite big and heavy to carry. The fixed x30 magnification is good giving a field of view of 123-yards @ 1000-yards, personally I prefer the CTS with its 85mm objective and the x25-50 eye piece as that makes it exceptionally versatile with a serious long range ability. Surprisingly both can be easily hand-held and used at x25 to x30 power options, though in the main they will be employed supported. Either from a back pack, vehicle window or tripod.
As you might expect from Swarovski – optical quality is superb, with those big objective lenses offering excellent low light performance. The real crux of these powerful spotting scopes is need, I certainly appreciated the extra observational dimension they offer, but this must be weighed against size, weight and how much you would actually use them. However, for certain conditions and needs they are hard to beat as to the job they do…
For: Typical Swarovski product, well made and effective
Verdict: Exceptional at what it does and a good choice for long range observation
CTC 30x75 £835
CTS 85 £1195
x25-50 eye pieces for CTS 85 £580