HomeOutdoorVortex Viper Riflescope Evaluation | Out of doors Life

Vortex Viper Riflescope Evaluation | Out of doors Life

Vortex Viper Riflescope Evaluation | Out of doors Life

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This spring Vortex launched a revamped line of Viper rifle scopes, which are available three iterations and provide a little bit one thing for all sorts of hunters. I figured Vortex’s Edge coaching facility in Wisconsin could be the perfect place to area take a look at the brand new Vipers, so I threw a pre-release 3-15×44 Viper HD on my rifle and headed to their Hunter Marksmanship vary outdoors of Madison. I had hardly set my rifle case down on the Vortex headquarters earlier than I acquired the corporate’s customary greeting.

“Received any hunts lined up?” Corey Eliasson, Pete Schreier, and Sawyer Briel of Vortex waited for my response with rapt consideration. I instantly thought in regards to the Wyoming antelope tag I had this fall and the rig I had deliberate for the hunt—a Weatherby 307 within the flat-shooting 6.5 WBY RPM.

With some good coaching from the Vortex professionals, I shortly discovered that my gear and my expertise could be prepared for pace goats this fall. 

Meet The New Vortex Viper HD Scopes

vortex viper
Reticle types of the brand new Viper line.


Vortex has been promoting the Viper line of scopes for ages, and it was time for a refresh. In keeping with my dialog with the product group, these new fashions have been within the works for a couple of years. In comparison with the earlier fashions, the brand new Vipers embrace upgraded glass, illuminated reticles, and your selection of capped or uncovered turrets and both first or second focal aircraft reticles. In different phrases, the brand new Vipers promise to ship what right now’s hunters and shooters anticipate out of a top quality riflescope. By way of worth and efficiency, the Viper line sits between Vortex’s higher-end Razor line and extra reasonably priced Diamondback line of rifle scopes. The brand new Vipers are made within the Philippines. 

There are three completely different scopes within the new line: a 2-10×42 SFP, a 3-15×44 SFP, and a 5-25×50 FFP or SFP (right here’s our information explaining FFP vs SFP). 

All three choices characteristic a 30-millimeter tube, adjustable reticle illumination, and new HD (high-definition) glass that’s distinctive to the Viper line. Vortex says the improve affords a clearer view, extra lifelike colours, extra mild transmission, and higher edge-to-edge sharpness than the outgoing fashions. Vortex additionally says they’re fog-proof, shock-proof, waterproof, and backed by the corporate’s VIP Guarantee.

Reticles in these new scopes embrace the Lifeless-Maintain BDC in MOA, the VMR-3 in MOA or MRAD, and the VMR-4 in MOA or MRAD. Vortex pairs magnification and reticles in accordance with the supposed functions of the scope. The identical goes for capped and uncapped turrets – neither is healthier, it simply depends upon your capturing and looking type.

Whereas I acquired to check the 3-15×44 Viper, OL editor-in-chief Alex Robinson and equipment editor Scott Einsmann every area examined the opposite two fashions at their house ranges. 

Testing the Viper 3-15X44

Vortex Viper HD 3-15×44 SFP Specs and Options

See It

  • Magnification: 3-15x
  • Goal Lens Diameter: 44 mm
  • Focal Airplane: Second focal aircraft
  • Reticle: VMR-3 (MOA)
  • Turrets: Uncovered locking elevation, capped windage
  • Tube Diameter: 30 mm
  • Changes: 1/4 MOA
  • Parallax Adjustment: 20 yards to infinity
  • Most Elevation Adjustment: 102 MOA
  • Most Windage Adjustment: 92 MOA
  • Eye Reduction: 3.4 inches
  • Size: 13.2 inches
  • Weight: 22.5 ounces
  • MSRP: $750

The Vortex Edge instructors have seen and carried out all of it, and so they’re very happy to share the information they realized alongside the way in which. Eliasson served as a Marine Corps scout sniper and designated marksman as a protection contractor. Along with educating at Vortex Edge, he’s a aggressive precision shooter. Schreier served as an infantryman within the Military’s tenth Mountain Division and as a police officer. Now, he competes in USPSA and teaches at Vortex Edge. Each are avid hunters.

Eliasson, Schreier, and I labored by means of an abbreviated model of the Vortex Edge Hunter Marksmanship course. College students who join the actual deal spend two full days studying about rifle setup, ballistics, marksmanship fundamentals, and real-world capturing positions

From these guys I realized to consider my rifle, optic, and ammunition as one cohesive system that each one must be calibrated collectively. I plan on looking with 6.5 WBY RPM ammo loaded with 127-grain Barnes LRX bullets, in order that’s what I dropped at Vortex.

Collectively, we zeroed our scopes on the 100-yard indoor vary. My instructors confused constructing a strong place, dry firing till I felt assured, after which taking my time to make excellent photographs. In case your zero just isn’t exact, each subsequent ballistic calculation will likely be primarily based on defective info. 

With a great zero, we ran by means of some fundamental positional capturing at 50 yards after which we moved to an out of doors bench and walked photographs out in 100-yard intervals utilizing 10-inch metal plates to simulate a deer’s vitals. Solely at 800 yards did the shifting wind lastly show an excessive amount of for me to make constant hits. 

We then took to the sphere to interact a sequence of targets from unknown distances and real-world capturing positions. Eliasson talked about that lots of people overlook health and mobility in relation to positional capturing. Sure, kneeling and sitting are helpful, however are you able to comfortably get into place and maintain nonetheless lengthy sufficient to take a shot? Will joint ache or tight muscle groups distract you from focusing in your shot course of? What’s going to your shot placement seem like after you huff and puff up a hillside? He says including some fundamental train and stretching to your each day routine will enhance positional capturing. 

vortex viper
Positional capturing on the Vortex Edge coaching vary.

Picture by Scott Murdock

On a day dominated by shifty, multidirectional winds, the Viper HD 3-15×44 shined. The intense, sharp picture by means of the brand new HD glass helped me pick the motion of the quick spring grass from tons of of yards away. The reticle’s adjustable illumination works intuitively. Press as soon as to show it on. Press once more, repeatedly, to extend brightness till it maxes out, then hold urgent repeatedly to lower brightness. Press and maintain to show it off. The delicate illuminated dot created simply the suitable steadiness of distinction for aiming exactly on shaded targets.

I’ve lengthy been a fan of the uncovered turrets Vortex makes use of. The Viper HD’s elevation turret pops up, offers audible and tactile clicks, and locks again in place similar to the turrets on my precision rifle scope (a Vortex Strike Eagle 5-25×56 FFP). The capped windage turret takes a little bit bit extra time to entry, nevertheless it’s simple sufficient and also you’ll doubtless solely contact it whenever you zero the scope. The RevStop system is fool-proof for returning to zero after a giant elevation adjustment. The windage turret makes use of a intelligent spring-loaded design the place you pull the turret outward to regulate the alignment with out transferring the reticle itself.

I sometimes choose a first-focal aircraft reticle, however the uncovered elevation turret made dialing for elevation really easy that I grew to love the second-focal aircraft reticle. On longer photographs, the 2-MOA subtensions made holding for wind a snap. 

Whereas the VMR-3 reticle is nice for making elevation or wind holds, it’s not lower out for each on the similar time. With no Christmas-tree-style holdovers, you’ll doubtless must dial for elevation and maintain for windage. As long as you may have time to dial, that’s not an actual downside. But when this can be a deal breaker for you, go for the Viper HD 5-25×50 with the VMR-4 reticle.

Testing the Viper HD 2-10×42

Vortex Viper 2-10X42 Specs and Options

See It

  • Magnification: 2-10x
  • Goal Lens Diameter: 42 mm
  • Focal Airplane: Second focal aircraft
  • Reticle: Deadhold BDC (MOA)
  • Turrets: capped windage and elevation
  • Tube Diameter: 30 mm
  • Changes: 1/4 MOA
  • Parallax Adjustment: 100 yards
  • Most Elevation Adjustment: 135 MOA
  • Most Windage Adjustment: 135 MOA
  • Eye Reduction: 3.4 inches
  • Size: 12.1 inches
  • Weight: 19.9 ounces
  • MSRP: $600

That is essentially the most conventional scope of the brand new Viper line, nevertheless it does embrace some good trendy options. The 2 I like essentially the most are the illuminated reticle and the performance of the turrets, which you merely raise and spin to reset to zero after sighting in (there’s no must loosen tiny set screws). 

The scope is easy and compact and looks as if it might be the right optic for an all-around deer rifle, so I made a decision to run it by means of a pair area exams related to deer hunters. First I devised an unofficial low-light take a look at by putting a 3D deer goal 100 yards out from my yard deck. After sundown, I targeted 4 scopes, together with the brand new Viper, on the goal. My take a look at topics have been:

  • Bushnell Elite 4500 2.5-10X40
  • Leupold VX3I 3.5-10X40
  • Vortex Viper HD 2-10X42
  • Leupold VX6 HD 3-18X44

I set all of the scopes to 7X after which appeared by means of every of them throughout fading mild, paying shut consideration to how nicely I may make out the tines on the buck goal. Unsurprisingly, the extra reasonably priced Leupold VX3I and Bushnell scopes (with barely smaller goal lenses) have been the primary and second to drop out (respectively). Whereas I may now not make out element with these two scopes, I may nonetheless rely factors with the Viper. A few minute and a half later the Viper winked out adopted shortly by the VX6 with the bigger goal lens. 

The 2-10X42 Viper did outperform the extra reasonably priced scopes, because it ought to have, and it was additionally aggressive with the VX6, which prices greater than twice as a lot. In different phrases, it delivered low mild efficiency as anticipated. It’s additionally value noting that each one the scopes gathered greater than sufficient mild to see the goal nicely past authorized capturing mild. 

vortex viper
The viper after a great soak.

Picture by Alex Robins

As one other casual area take a look at, I left the Viper out throughout a torrential downpour. I didn’t anticipate the scope to tackle water, however I used to be curious to see if the driving rain would possibly quick circuit the battery-powered illuminated reticle. I’m comfortable to report that it didn’t. After sitting in heavy rain for about an hour, the reticle labored simply because it had earlier than—no worse for the damage. There was no fog or water on the inner lenses.

The one criticism I’ve for the Viper I examined is that I seen a skinny scratch on one of many inner lenses (I noticed it whereas shining a flashlight down the tube by means of the target lens). Whereas glassing towards the setting solar I’d often catch a sliver of glare, which I assume was coming from the scratch. Whereas this isn’t what you wish to see out of a $600 scope, I really don’t discover this a deal breaker in any respect. Firstly as a result of the take a look at scope I acquired was a pre-production mannequin, which are likely to have some hitches. Secondly, this defect would doubtless be coated below the Vortex guarantee, so if I have been a shopper, I in all probability wouldn’t must dwell with the scratch in any respect.

In the end, I believe the 2-10X42 Viper is a strong looking optic at a good worth. I’d be very happy to throw it on any of my deer rifles. —Alex Robinson, editor-in-chief

Testing the Viper HD 5-25×50

Vortex Viper HD 5-25×50 FFP Specs and Options

See It

  • First Focal Airplane
  • Reticle Choices: VMR-4 MRAD (examined) or VMR-4 MOA
  • 10 illumination settings
  • Eye reduction: 3.4 inches
  • Discipline of view at 100 yards: 23.6 ft at 25 energy and 4.7 ft at 5 energy 
  • RevStop zerostop 
  • 30mm tube
  • .1 MRAD or 1/4 MOA changes 
  • Max elevation: 18.9 MRAD or 68 MOA
  • Journey per rotation: 10 MRAD or 25 MOA
  • Parallax: 20 yards to infinity
  • Weight: 25 ounces 
  • Value: $900

I examined the Viper HD 5-25 on my FX Affect M3, which is an air rifle that may shoot 1-inch teams at 100 yards, which is accuracy that rivals lots of the finest .22 rifles. I selected it as my take a look at gun as a result of the Viper HD 5-25 is a perfect scope for precision .22 rifles and airguns. The important thing characteristic that makes this an awesome rimfire scope is that the parallax adjusts from 20 yards to infinity with loads of reference factors for shut vary capturing. I did the majority of my testing at 25 and 50 yards with zero points getting a crisp picture. The primary situation with the parallax adjustment is that it sits proper subsequent to the knurled knob for switching on the illumination. Their proximity makes it potential to activate the illumination whenever you wish to modify parallax. 

vortex viper
The writer’s ultra-accurate air rifle rig.

Picture by Scott Einsmann

One other characteristic that makes the Viper HD supreme for precision rimfire is its reticle. I shot 100 pellets at a KYL rack at 25, 50, and 75 yards on a windy, prefrontal day. Whether or not I used to be holding elevation, wind, or each, the reticle gave me all the data I wanted with out feeling cluttered. I discovered the wind subtensions to be particularly intuitive with small dots each .1 MIL and a daring dot each .5 MIL. 

The zoom has sufficient stress that it received’t slip off a setting, nevertheless it’s nonetheless simple to make fast changes. The one factor that will make it higher is including a Switchview throw lever

The locking elevation turret is a pleasant characteristic for stopping errant clicks. It unlocks by pulling the turret straight up, and the elevation changes are tactile and audible. Sadly the windage clicks weren’t as crisp on my take a look at mannequin. 

I’ve used the RevStop zero cease on a number of Vortex scopes, together with a Razor HD LHT that I took elk looking. It’s a easy system that may be set in a couple of minutes. If you happen to’re seeking to push a rimfire to 300 yards, or past, you may take away the RevStop ring to get essentially the most elevation out of the scope. 

I’ve discovered the glass to be shiny and clear from edge-to-edge. I may clearly make out element on a 3D goal 100 yards away quarter-hour previous authorized capturing mild. I in contrast it to my Athlon Ares ETR and it held on a couple of minutes longer into the fading mild. The Ares makes use of a 34mm tube and a bigger goal, which makes that tight race spectacular for the Viper HD.    

The Viper HD 5-25×50 is about 6 ounces lighter than the Viper PST 5-25. If you happen to add in the truth that it has a locking elevation turret and a capped windage turret, you may have a wonderful open-country looking scope. —Scott Einsmann, gear editor

Closing Ideas on the New Viper HD Line

The previous Viper line was a bit complicated. There have been so many variants and choices that looking for a brand new scope might be daunting. These three new scopes lower the noise and streamline the product line, all whereas providing extra options and higher efficiency. Every part from the reticle choice to the turrets is smart given. 

These new Viper HD scopes are years within the making. They symbolize numerous hours of analysis, growth, and testing. After spending a while within the Vortex headquarters, I can’t wait to place mine into motion this fall.