Vortex Spotting Scope Reviews
A friend of mine recently asked me, “What do you know about spotting scopes?” Truth be told, I don’t know a lot about spotting scopes. As a shooting coach, I have spent a fair amount of time looking at targets through $200-$400 dollar spotting scopes. I even own a couple within that price range, so I just figured “a spotting scope is a spotting scope”.
As I laid my theory out to my friend, he stared at me with his mouth agape. He had an expression on his face like he was getting ready to accuse me of eating too many leaded paint chips as a kid. As I got done talking, he shook his head and said, “I have a couple of spotting scopes I would like you to take out in the field and compare them to what you’re used too. If you find these products favorable, please let me know.”
I had the afternoon off, so I loaded these new fangled optics into the truck along with my own personal spotting scopes, “Old Reliable” and “Trusty” and headed to a favorite spot down the road from the house. This spot is nothing more than a turn out on the highway, but there is a wooden forest service sign about 1600 yards down the road. I figured this would be an adequate distance to do my comparisons.
I set up all 4 scopes side by side starting with “Old Reliable” and worked my way over to the Vortex Razor HD. As I looked at all 4 scopes standing there, I noticed that “Old Reliable” looked a lot more like a wooden pirates leg than it did a spotting scope. I peered through the eyepiece in an attempt to acquire my target. No can do. In fact, I wasn’t even sure that I was pointed in the right direction at this point. I cleaned the eyepiece and the lens and eventually managed to find the target. I wasn’t too impressed. It was like I was looking down an old wooden pirates leg. In fact, I had a better view of the target with my naked eye.
Next up was “Trusty”. Trusty has managed to ride shotgun in every truck or car I’ve owned since 1992. Trusty was a gift from my wife and kids and I can’t tell you how many deer and elk I managed to watch through her. I smiled as I leaned over the eyepiece to acquire my target knowing that this spotting scope would be a great deal better than the previous, and it was.
Acquiring the target was relatively easy. I spent about 5 minutes trying to adjust the eyepiece and messing with the tuning knob in order to clear up the view. It just wasn’t meant to be. This thing was performing at its best. You could see, but you couldn’t see. Do you know what I mean? It was like looking through a clean mayonnaise jar with a dirty magnifying glass.
Then I stepped over to the Vortex Diamondback. On paper, this scope was nearly identical to “Trusty”. In reality, we are talking about a different league here! As I took my first look down range, I couldn’t believe the clarity and the colors. I decided to switch eyes. Again, the color and clarity were wonderful. No distortion at all and I could actually read the wording on the sign as if it were newsprint in my own grubby hands!
I stood up and looked to my right. There stood the Vortex Razor HD. I almost couldn’t wait to strap myself into this bad boy and see what kind of sorcery I was about to become involved with. If the Diamondback was a different league, this scope was an entire new ball game! The first thing I noticed was that the Razor HD had a little bit longer eye relief that worked out great while wearing my glasses. Adjustments were a bit more precise and effortless in comparison to the Diamondback and I also had another eyepiece to play with! The additional eyepiece was a wide angle eyepiece which brought a whole new aspect into play. Interchanging the eyepieces was easy-peasy and it’s my understanding that they have additional eyepieces to choose from.
Suffice it to say, my opinion on optics (especially spotting scopes) has completely changed! “A scope is a scope” is the biggest fallacy I have ever told myself. The good folks over at Vortex have a lens system that is beyond everything that I have ever used and I can’t begin to do it justice by trying to explain it! The body of the scopes appear to be rugged and can probably handle some knocking around (although I wouldn’t recommend doing that) and if I understand this right, they also come with a handy/durable neoprene soft case to carry them in.
The Diamondback comes in at around $500 and the Razor HD comes in at around $1500 dollars. Additional reticle-ranging eyepieces come in at around $369 for the Razor, but if it were up to me, since I don’t do the long range nomad rifleman thing, I’d run it just the way it comes out of the box. You can pick them up with the angled eyepiece or straight to better suit your preferences (I tested the angled eyepieces.)
Here’s a little something else to chew on. The have a VIP warranty as well as what sounds like top tier customer service. I called them pretending to have an issue with the product and their rep couldn’t have been more kind, apologetic and helpful. I haven’t had an opportunity to test any of their other products but they do have what looks like a fantastic line of rifle scopes, red dots, binoculars, range finders, tripods and other gear.
Well, it looks like I will be saving my lunch money for the next few weeks so I can find myself in the middle of a little Vortex love. I think you should too! Heck, here are some links through our Amazon affiliate account where you can get great deals:
Are you more of a Leupold person? My partner Scott wrote a very detailed review here: https://shootinjh.com/leupold-impact-reticle-spotting-scope/