Barska Blackhawk Spotter with Hard Case
$84.98 - $946.50
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- Multi-coated optics and large objective lens
- Variable zoom magnifications
- Sight tube, shock absorbing armor and glare-reducing extendable sunshade
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20-60x80, Blackhawk, Angled, MC, Green Lens w/Hard and Soft Cases and Tripod, 100% Waterproof and Fog proof, Zoom magnification, Performance that soars beyond your expectations. This Blackhawk spotter set the standard for portability, optical performance and value. 20-60x80, Blackhawk, Angled, MC, Green Lens w/Hard and Soft Cases and Tripod, 100% Waterproof and Fog proof, Zoom magnification, Performance that soars beyond your expectations. This Blackhawk spotter set the standard for portability, optical performance and value.
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Top Customer Reviews
This review is for the BARSKA 18-36 X 50 BLACKHAWAK ANGLED SPOTTING SCOPE WITH SOFT CASE AND TRIPOD. This review does not apply to the other Blackhawk series of spotting scopes that have higher magnifications that may come with a hard case or other level of accessories. Please be careful when reading other reviews for this product that may refer to the Blackhawk spotting scope of larger magnifications that are supposed to come with a hard and soft case. THIS scope only comes with a soft case.
I coach high school and junior air rifle shooters and was looking for an inexpensive shooting scope when I came across this little gem. While the name sounds vaguely eastern European, this scope is actually made in China. The scope has a lightweight but sturdy fiber-reinforced composite body and a back housing that is encased in a generous layer of rubber for shock protection. A hard plastic cap screws on to protect the eyepiece and a hard plastic dust cover friction fits into the front to protect the objective lens. An extendable sunshade is a nice and useful touch.
The magnification is perfect for shooting competition targets at ten meters. (Be careful when comparison shopping as many spotting scopes won't focus down this close.) We use it at the lowest 18x power setting and can see the whole target sheet while still viewing the individual bullseyes and pellet holes clearly. Like nearly all inexpensive scopes, the higher power settings are less useful as the picture darkens considerably and distortion around the edges becomes apparent. If you are looking for a scope for long range shooting or viewing, one with a larger objective lens would probably be a better choice.
Eye relief is good. Many inexpensive and compact variable power scopes have either a very short eye relief or a small field of view in order to save on the cost of manufacturing the lens elements in the eyepiece. With this scope, you don't have to tickle the lens with your eyelashes in order the see the entire field of view.
The only knock that I have on this setup is with the case and tripod that come with the set. The case doesn't offer much protection and the tripod is too small and lightweight to be useful. But then again, our school was able to purchase four of these scopes for the same price as a single "name brand" shooting scope with similar features. While I can't vouch for its long term durability this scope is perfect for what we use it for. If it lasts for four seasons of shooting, I would consider it a great value.
Update 2-25-09: So far, so good! I would still recommend these spotting scopes. The scopes have held up well with no problems. We liked them so much, the school bought 15 more. We bought briefcase style, foam filled pistol cases to store them in and they work great. Three will fit in a standard four pistol gun case. We've taken them traveling with no problems. After two seasons, no cracks, leaks, fogging, misalignments, peeling or flaking.
I even found a use for the soft cases the scopes came in. The kids use them to store their shooting equipment including their slings, safety glasses, glove and other bric-a-brac.
Update 3-3-2010: Another season and the scopes are still holding up just fine. Only one problem has been encountered so far. On one of the scopes, the mounting nut pulled out of its base. The base is plastic and the brass nut appeared to be simply press fit into the base. Of course, the coach promply lost the nut before he could fix it. No matter. After carefully drilling out the base to a larger diameter, I just glued in a new 1/4 inch nut with super glue. The fix is holding up so far without problems. We use these scopes year round with our BSA Venture Crew shooting team and they see hard use by the kids. The rubber coating has held up well. I was concerned that the rubber coating would get tacky or deteriorate over time like so many other rubber coated products these days, but the rubber has stayed soft, flexible, tack and crack free.
Amazon stopped carrying these for a while. Glad to see that it's back in inventory.
Update 2 May 2012:
The scopes that I already have have held up well. Since my last update, one of the scopes was dropped onto a concrete floor from a height of five feet. The aftermath was a rattling eyepiece and a scope that no longer focuses across the whole field of view. My guess is that the lens mount broke and the lens elements are rattling around in the eyepiece. The repair, if possible, will cost more than the scope is worth so it is now a paperweight.
I've also noted that Amazon's listing for this scope has changed and it is now grouped with other spotting scopes with the same name of Blackhawk but with, presumably, different power and objective lens. Unfortunately, the listing description does not accurately describe the different products.
I just ordered a few more of the lowest priced spotting scopes with the assumption that it is the 18-36x50 that is currently pictured. It'll be interesting to see what I get.
UPDATE 5 OCTOBER 2012:
I've been buying these scopes since 2007 for various youth programs and, overall, have been very happy with them. They have been used at National Junior rifle competitions and the users have won several championships with them. They work. The original ones that I purchased five years ago still function fine. However, I am sad to report that the quality control of this scope had gone downhill. Of the six scopes that I have ordered this year, four had to be returned because of quality control issues related to the front objective lens (the large lens at the front of the scope.)
The objective lens is mounted in an assembly that consists of two threaded rings and an o-ring seal. This assembly is then screwed into the scope body from the front. In more expensive scopes, the lens mount rings are machined from aluminum. On this scope, as in most inexpensive scopes, the mount rings are plastic. This wasn't a problem on the earlier scopes as the plastic was of good quality and held up well. On the latest scopes, the rings are made of more brittle plastic. On two of the scopes that I received, the plastic rings cracked and the lens fell out. On the other two defective scopes, the lens mount was cross threaded in the body of the scope and the objective lens was askew. This made the scope unusable. All four were returned to Amazon.
I contacted an Amazon customer service representative by phone and told her of the situation. After pulling up my shopping history, she immediately authorized a refund to my credit card and e-mailed me a return label for the scopes. She also told me that she would pull the listing, contact their warehouse to pull the product and contact their buyer to work with their supplier to resolve the quality issue. That was two days ago. As I write this, this product is no longer offered by Amazon, although there are other suppliers that continue to sell them on the Amazon website. (Amazon has UNBELIEVABLE customer service! I wish all companies were like this.) I can only hope the manufacturer gets the problem resolved as I have purchased more than 25 of these scopes over the years and only the latest ones have been problematic.
BTW, I also tried to resolve the problem by calling Barska in LaVerne, California and the representative offered to replace the scope under warranty if I shipped it back to them in California (at my cost) and then paid for the shipping back to me (again at my cost). This would have cost me around $40 per scope which is about half of what the scope cost in the first place. I was ready to do this but the representative never sent me the return merchandise authorization (RMA) as she indicated she would. Evidently, Barska's customer service is not to the same standard as Amazon.
As an older guy who has seen the demise of good customer service in America in the last forty years, I have come to fully appreciate Amazon and what they are able to do. Kudos to them. May they live long and prosper.
If you are a professional of some sort, serious competitor, or just one of those people who MUST HAVE THE ABSOLUTE BEST OF EVERYTHING, then keep looking...this is not the scope for you. However, for someone like me to goes shooting a few times a year and just wants a decent enough scope to have a little fun with...this is a good choice. Coming with the hard and soft case is nice. The tripod is pretty junky, but that's OK since its basically a free extra they threw in.
My only worry is that the rubberized texture will become a problem over time. Cheaper rubberized finishes tend to degrade and become sticky, collecting all kinds of crap, hair, and dust. So far over the last couple months this finish seems quality, but in a few years we will see. For now its ok...
Overall, I have been enjoying using this scope when I go out shooting and having fun with my friends and thats all I needed.
UPDATE December 2014:
I have discovered that once this scope was brought into the cold (~30-40F), the adjusting dial for the magnification froze solid. When I tried to turn down the mag, the entire eye piece turned itself out of the body of the scope. I cant say this happens to EVERY scope, but it did happen to mine.
I contacted Barska directly since it was outside the 30 day Amazon return policy. They returned my email 15 days later informing me that I would need to ship it back to Barka WITH my $25 inspection fee. Frankly, I think that is bogus but it is stated in their "lifetime warranty". I wouldn't feel so slighted had this scope lasted me many seasons of good use, but it didn't. The first time I took it somewhere cold it failed critically.
Given this, I am altering my rating to one star. Given the low cost of the scope in the first place, having to pay 25% of the cost to have the company replace a defective product that was only used a couple times leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Is not worth the risk. Buy a better scope from the start and potentially avoid this mess.