A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Greg Rudzinski
Date: 2016 Nov 8, 15:59 -0800
The beginner celestial navigator needs a sextant that gets the job done without breaking the bank. The following are the budget options and my grade:
1. Davis MK 3 ... C
2. Ebbco Special ... C+
3. Davis MK 15 ... B
4.Used metal sextants from Indian ship-breakers (Ebay) ... A
The Davis MK 3 is the cheapest sextant and can be had used on Ebay for $20. They have the very minimum of features and a vernier scale that could spell trouble for the beginner who transitions to a metal micrometer sextant. For piloting this sextant does get an A.
The Ebbco Special can be found for $45 on Ebay but expect the Sun filters to be ruined. Replacement is not difficult but most likely beyond the skill level of a beginner. This sextant is great when traveling through airports. Light, compact, and airport X-ray friendly.
The Davis MK 15 does everything a metal sextant does at the expence of an acceptable reduction in precision. $150 new or half that used. This sextant is the best option if traveling through airports to meet a vessel as crew or passenger.
The most interesting budget option can be had from ship-breakers out of India. Ebay has some very nice examples to choose from with the best buys beiing those sextants that for some reason are missing a scope ($200). A sextant without a scope is still functional so these offers are the best buy IMHO. A beginner can add a scope at a later date if the CN hobby takes hold.