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Red Dot Sights (Reflex Sights) on Spotting Scopes (1 Viewer)

Hauksen

Forum member
Hi Joachim,

Hi,

well I think the tasks of getting a bird inside the 15/1000m fov (that makes 5/333m for better comparison) of a scope at max magnification and hitting a large mammal into the heart at 333m with a rifle (shudder, sorry for mentioning it) are about two orders of magnitude apart in precision needed - which might explain why the cable tie sight works in case of the former.

Good explanation! :)

My series of pictures was not meant to demonstrate any shortcoming of the cable tie sight, but only to show that the reflex sight allows the birder to move his head around a bit and still get a perfect sight picture.

That's more a question of convenience and relaxed use than one of accuracy, aided by the sight image being easily visible with both eyes open.

This also facilitates the "reverse aiming" process ... is there a common birder's term for this, by the way? I'm thinking of picking up a bird through the scope, and then informing the birder next to you where to point the scope to see the same bird.

I know the ordeal from my Quickfinder on the astro scopes... but of course it also needs a bit more precision and luckily holds collimation well.

My hope is to devise a mount that's not as flexible as the test rig so it stays true. The test rig is fairly good vertically, but due to the use of tripod screws for mounting to the scope, it's not so good laterally. I can "bend" it into position in a similar way you describe for the cable-tie sight, but it's no fun. The sight itself stays true reliably - despite its low cost, it's quite nicely made from metal. Pleasant surprise when I opened the package! :)

Trueing my sight is relatively easy, but I'd still prefer to do it only at home as it requries two different sizes of hex keys - one to unlock and re-lock, and the other to adjust horizontally/vertically. Other airgun sights don't have the locking screw, and their adjustment screws can be turned with a coin ... much more user-friendly.

Regards,

Henning
 

Hauksen

Forum member
Hi Dalat,

But of course it also has to do with my style of birding: i frequently stuff my scope in a backpack or bike bag for transport and between birding locations, and so i'd have to disassemble that red dot mount every time. If you can let it permanantly mounted, i guess that is less of a problem.

I agree, and I'm in fact attempting to come up with something that stays permanently mounted. I did stuff the assembled test rig in my backpack occasionally, but that's only possible if I don't cram in as much gear as I usually do ;-) It tends to go out of alignment in the backpack, or even when carried with the sling, so it's not yet a practical design.

This shows a possible solution, to be clamped around the dewcap of the ED50:

Nikon Mount.jpg

Still, I had hoped for some inspirational photos from people who are already using reflex sights on mounts of their own making ... feels like I'm re-inventing the wheel all over again ;-)

Regards,

Henning
 
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jring

Well-known member
Trueing my sight is relatively easy, but I'd still prefer to do it only at home as it requries two different sizes of hex keys - one to unlock and re-lock, and the other to adjust horizontally/vertically. Other airgun sights don't have the locking screw, and their adjustment screws can be turned with a coin ... much more user-friendly.

With the Quikfinder you just need to get the base placement halfway right - the rest is done by moving the glass with the etched reticule using the 3 white plastic screws... no tools needed.
But still fiddly in the field in darkness, especially on a non-tracking mount where your target moves away all the time...

Joachim
 
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Colin

Axeman (Retired)
England
Don't have this problem with a straight through scope. E.g. The Nikon ED82 has 'notches' on the outside of the scope to line up if needed. I don't use them as the scope is lined up by eye. My old Kowa 624 had a sighting tube on the side for the same purpose.
 

dalat

...
My old Kowa 624 had a sighting tube on the side for the same purpose.

My Swaro has this as well. It works ok. However, switching from aiming to looking through the scope requires moving the head quite a bit. The cable tie doesn't rquire this, so is much faster. Getting flying raptors in the scope is difficult with the little tube, but no problem with the cable tie. So I never really used the tube thing...
 
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Hauksen

Forum member
Hi Colin,

E.g. The Nikon ED82 has 'notches' on the outside of the scope to line up if needed. I don't use them as the scope is lined up by eye. My old Kowa 624 had a sighting tube on the side for the same purpose.

Interesting - I was aware of the notches, but I haven't seen the sighting tube arrangement. Do you happen to have a picture of it? I tried to find one online, but no luck ...

Svarowski has a sighting rod on some scopes, which I briefly tried, but I was not impressed. The notches on the dewcap of my big scope are fairly useless in my opinion :-/

Regards,

Henning
 

Colin

Axeman (Retired)
England
Hi Colin,



Interesting - I was aware of the notches, but I haven't seen the sighting tube arrangement. Do you happen to have a picture of it? I tried to find one online, but no luck ...

Svarowski has a sighting rod on some scopes, which I briefly tried, but I was not impressed. The notches on the dewcap of my big scope are fairly useless in my opinion :-/

Regards,

Henning

No, I don't have a picture because I sold the scope some while ago.
 

billb9430

Well-known member
Another type of reflex sight - the Nydar

I like red dot reflex sights for nighttime astronomy use, but use another reflex sight that needs no batteries with my spotting scope in daytime. It is the Nydar Shotgun Sight. It uses a little prism with ambient light to illuminate the white bullseye reticle. These were first marketed in 1947 for aiming shotguns, but have been discontinued for many years. They do appear regularly on Ebay, however. If you check, you'll find some with asking prices over $300, but these rarely sell. With patience, you should be able to find one for $10 - $40 plus shipping. Check photos supplied or ask the seller before buying to be sure the front window is still in good condition, since these are old sights.

I'll attach four photos showing how I modified mine to use with the Nikon ED50A. I also use one with a Pentax PF100ED on a larger tripod and find it adequate for aiming the scope even on rare occasions when I use the scope at 90x or more. - Bill
 

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Hauksen

Forum member
Hi Bill,

Thanks a lot for sharing your pictures! I like the Nydar sight's use of ambient light for the reticle, requires neither batteries nor LEDs (which weren't invented yet in 1947, anyway).

For birding purposes, I wonder how well the sight works if you're in a hide (a low light situation), spotting birds in bright sun outside?

From my LED-illuminated sight, I know that outside brightness can overpower the red LED even at highest level, while the green LED is still visible. (I believe the human eye is most sensitive in the green band. There might be an efficiency difference in LED output too, but I haven't checked this.)

Obviously, with the Nydar using all available light, reticle colour is not a limiting factor :)

With regard to the ball head mount, how difficult is it to align the sight with the scope? A weakness of my test rig is that it has no mechanical alignment built in, and a ball head allows freedom of movement in all directions, which I'd think might make "trueing" the sight difficult. However, if you're using it successfully with 90x magnification on the Pentax, it obviously can't be so bad! :)

Regards,

Henning
 

Hauksen

Forum member
Hi Colin,

BTW - the notches and sighting tubes are useless if you have a stay-on case.

With an angled scope, the most promising use of the notches (to aim in azimuth) is blocked by the angled body anyway. Elevation usually presents less of an aiming problem, except for birds in flight of course - and I don't expect from notches there, either.

Of the sighting tubes, I think I have found a small photograph on the Kowa history page now that shows some older scopes with sighting tubes mounted on the right side of the back body, farly low ... small, in a difficult position, and probably entirely hidden by the stay-on case.

(At least, I think these must be sighting tubes according to your description ... the pictures really are too small to tell for certain!)

Regards,

Henning
 

billb9430

Well-known member
Hello Henning,
You are correct that the Nydar sight would not be usable in the darkness of an enclosed hide or blind. It also might have problems in a heavily canopied forest, though in normal forest there is enough light that the reticle is easily visible against the dark understory where small birds seem to like to hide!

With regard to sight mounting, I suspect there are two solutions. One is to mount whatever type of sight rigidly to the scope so that it retains it alignment. The other is the mount the sight so that it is quick and easy to align for the scope being used when the tripod is set up. This does take a bit more time, but allows one sight to be used conveniently with different scopes. I've tried many different ball heads for this use. Cheap ones ($3) are indeed difficult to align and do not hold position well. On the other hand, a full size ball head adds needless weight. The one I like best is the little Giotto MH1004 pictured in my earlier post. It sells for about $15 in the USA, is rated to hold 2 kg (MUCH more than the Nydar!), and is simple and precise to use.

Despite the photo, my Nikon ED50 is usually used with an eyepiece having nearly a 5˚ true field, so no sight is needed. The Pentax, however, is often used for watching grizzly bears and other mountain wildlife best observed at a much longer distance. It is for this that the Nyder excels in my use.

Since the red dot and Nydar reflex sights both focus the reticle at infinity, there's a neat little trick to help others find the bird (or distant bear!) you are viewing in your scope with THEIR binoculars. Just have them align one side of the binocular to look through the reflex sight window and the viewer will then see the bird target with the in-focus magnified reticle superimposed on it. Try this with your reflex sight. - Bill
 

Hauksen

Forum member
Hi Bill,

in normal forest there is enough light that the reticle is easily visible against the dark understory where small birds seem to like to hide!

Ah, that's really nice ... I guess due to the use of ambient light to illuminate the bullseye, it automatically adapts itself to the overall lighting conditions! (As long they're reasonably uniform.)

With regard to sight mounting, I suspect there are two solutions. One is to mount whatever type of sight rigidly to the scope so that it retains it alignment. The other is the mount the sight so that it is quick and easy to align for the scope being used when the tripod is set up.

Interestingly, the next generation of reflex sights after the Nydar seems to have been introduced by Weaver (as "Qwik Sight R-1"), the same company that produced the Weaver mounting rail. This rail allowed removal and re-installation of the sight without the need to re-zero it. My idea of a mount for the ED50 that improves on my test rig uses a NATO-standard rail, which is very similar to the Weaver rail, and I hope it will give the same kind of repeatable sight alignment.

However, you certainly have a point with regard to using the sight with different scopes ... if the mount is rigid, you have to re-center the sight when you change scopes. With your method, the sight can be left as it is!

Olympus has recently introduced the EE-1 reflex sight for cameras (shortly after I bought the Xtendasight rail) that is mounted on the camera hotshoe, too. It seems to be quick to zero, requring no tools to do so - judging by this video:

https://youtu.be/gnTAbBSUHZk?t=112

It also folds down neatly when not in use, so it looks interesting for birders, too.

Since the red dot and Nydar reflex sights both focus the reticle at infinity, there's a neat little trick to help others find the bird (or distant bear!) you are viewing in your scope with THEIR binoculars. Just have them align one side of the binocular to look through the reflex sight window and the viewer will then see the bird target with the in-focus magnified reticle superimposed on it. Try this with your reflex sight.

Wow - works like a charm, thanks a lot for the tip!

I had realized that the reflex sight was great to "hand over" birds to others, but I didn't realize you could do this directly with the binoculars! :)

When I showed the reflex sight to my brother, who was fresh back from a guided birding tour, he had one look through the sight and immediately said, "Every bird guide should have one of these!" Seems that having one experienced guy pick up the bird in his scope, and getting the rest of the group to pick up the same bird wasn't always a quick and smooth operation :)

Regards,

Henning
 

Hauksen

Forum member
Hi again,

I had hoped for some inspirational photos from people who are already using reflex sights on mounts of their own making ...

To my suprise, in an older thread on this forum I just found mention of a spotting scope that provides a built-in Picatinny rail as part of its standard configuration, the Vortex Viper HD 80 mm.

Here's a video showing it "in action":

(in an older thread on this forum)

The presenter fails to that the rail ensures the aim point is not lost on removal and re-installation, so the zeroing he goes through should actually be necessary only once.

Looks like a good solution, I'd love to try one of these in the field :)

Regards,

Henning
 

Hauksen

Forum member
Hi Bill,

Since the red dot and Nydar reflex sights both focus the reticle at infinity, there's a neat little trick to help others find the bird (or distant bear!) you are viewing in your scope with THEIR binoculars. Just have them align one side of the binocular to look through the reflex sight window and the viewer will then see the bird target with the in-focus magnified reticle superimposed on it.

Since I liked your "neat little trick" so well, I tried to find a way to make it work with my Kowa scope ... see attached photographs.

P1270367_Top_s.jpg P1270370_Left_s.jpg

The "top" mounting is the normal position, and the "left hand" mounting (which by reversing the adapter can be turned into a "right hand" mounting easily) is the "hand over" position, which I intend to use when birding with my girlfriend, who is a bit smaller than I am and wouldn't be able to view through the sight in the normal position if the scope is adjusted for my height.

In fact, I intend to buy another reflex sight so I can have them in both positions at the same time. At 30 EUR/100 g, it's cheap and doesn't add much weight, and I love the functionality :)

(The "hand over" position is also great for use in hides, when the parallax of the sight in the normal position is too big to reliably avoid pointing the scope at the wall instead through the viewport.)

Regards,

Henning
 

Vollmeise

Well-known member
green dot sight mounted on Kowa 883

Hi there,

inspired by the different solutions of mounting a red/green dot sight to a spotting scope, I started thinking of a sturdy and adjustable mount for my Kowa w/ stay-on case.

So I bought the recommended (and affordable) sight (thanks Hauksen!) and placed it on a mounting collar with a mounting plate connected by a hinge. This hinge allows the sight to be pre-adjusted in height. The shown mount is home-made from aluminum (AlMg4,5Mn)

The collar is mounted with the threaded ring cover. As it is mounted close and in height of the eyepiece, it's very easy and comfortable to align birds in flight without taking your eye off the eyepiece.
 

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Hauksen

Forum member
Moin!

So I bought the recommended (and affordable) sight (thanks Hauksen!) and placed it on a mounting collar with a mounting plate connected by a hinge. This hinge allows the sight to be pre-adjusted in height. The shown mount is home-made from aluminum (AlMg4,5Mn)

The collar is mounted with the threaded ring cover.

Awesome! Beats my version since you can still use the stay-on case :)

I actually meant to design a 3D-printed adapter just like that one, but in the end I thought that it wouldn't work because:

- I don't know how to cut the accessory thread into the adapter, which cannot be manufactured by 3D printing.
- I thought screwing it onto the accessory thread would not give repeatable azimuth alignment.

It seems you circumvented the first problem by using the accessory thread cover as sort of a nut? Or is it just to make it looks even better, and the mount has its own thread?

I'd love to hear more about how it worked in practice. More photographs would be highly welcome, too :)

Great work, I admire your metalworking skills!

Regards,

Henning
 

Vollmeise

Well-known member
(...)
Awesome! Beats my version since you cthread cover as sort of a nut? Or is it just to make it looks even better, and the mount has its own thread?

I'd love to hear more about how it worked in practice. More photographs would be highly welcome, too (...)

Moin!

right, the threaded ring cover is used as a nut to hold down the aluminum collar. The inner diameter of the mounting collar is just 2/10mm larger than the scopes accessory thread. To mount it, you have to detach the eyepeace and cover ring, place the collar, screw down the ring and attach the eyepiece back.

There is almost no play between collar and scope. Axial turning / alignment of the collar is possible, as long as the cover ring is not tightened.

Some detailed photos will follow in the later evening.

Cheers :)
 

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