I was able to finally get my hands on one of those unicorn scopes that are talked about often; the Swift 831. I’ve had 2 fall through my fingers before so I’ve felt it was a sense of pride to finally score one. Brought to my attention from roscoe and Garyth64 last month in the running Classic Telescope Ad thread, it was on FB MP for $60(!) advertised as unused with only a few pictures and sadly; pickup only in Rochester, NY. I messaged the seller and begged and pleaded to let me mail him cash and he could just drop it at a UPS Store, but he wasn't comfortable with that. Miraculously, I was in communication with a CN member from Rochester, NY at the same time about a different scope. I ran it by him to help mule the scope to a shipping outlet and he was open to the idea! So he picked up the scope, dropped it off at a UPS Store, paid the bill then I reimbursed him for all expenses and his time. $300 all said and done for the scope, shipping, packing, and a little extra for his time. It landed a long week later. The shipping box was a little battered and it made a lot of clunking noises when I moved it. Not a good start. The UPS store had done an excellent job securing the box, but didn’t even open up the inside to put any packing materials and most of the items were in the box loose, not where they were supposed to be. After all the unboxing and inspecting I tallied the damage, but unsure what was already there and what was new from shipping. The tube had some scratches but they all looked fairly old. Wooden box externally was good. Internally a few of the partitions has cracks and a few were knocked loose. The image erector has multiple clamshells both on the external glass and the internal prism. Missing manual, dust cap and solar filter but included a bonus Unitron K18mm. Not bad! While this scope is definitely used, the seller meant unused “from them” but didn’t mention how many other people owned the scope before them. A piece of scrap paper inside the box indicated that they had purchased it from a yard sale in Rochester at some time for $95.
I vacuumed out all the dust and shrapnel and glued the partitions back into place. Gave the outside of the box and the legs a cleaning with Murphy’s Wood Oil Soap and water then after they dried a rub down of Old English Scratch Cover for Light Woods. That’s all I’ve done so far, but I’ll definitely try to continue a full restoration as this one seems pretty straightforward. Excited to get it out under the stars for a star test! I was able to get a quick view of Venus on the horizon at 166X and there was no apparent CA.
If you’ve got one of these scopes, share with me your vintage and any differences you can tell. Also I’m not sure where the finderscope brackets are supposed to live in the case securely?
Cheers everyone and thanks for the lead on this awesome classic!