I must admit, I'm quickly becoming a "Vortex Fanboy." It's not difficult, when a company puts something out there that takes the market by storm and genuinely gets the community talking. I hear the same story whenever I ask the guy behind the counter about them: "I know quite a few guys who, after looking through a Vortex or trying a buddy's, came in and swapped out their Nightforce glass for one." Now I'm not much of an optics snob, but my collection of glass has seen some nice upgrades in the last year. Finding out that as I'm willing to spend more on frivolous bolt-ons that don't really make my groups any tighter, a nicer optic will help in leaps and bounds.
I had a rifle length AR-15 build that used to host an entry level Leupold VX-1 that was 3-9, but I decided to slap in onto my father's trusty 40 year old winchester deer gun instead. I had wanted this build to be a range/coyote/3-Gun platform, which is asking alot in the optics department. I looked at Trijicon ACOGs and the new VCOG, but I felt there wasn't enough versatility with those. There are plenty of 1-4x or 1-6x scopes that could fit that bill, but I like giving my eyes all the help they can get. Additionally, all those have reticles that are so frackin' tiny, I need a new prescription just to read the hashmarks. So one day I popped into a Sportsmans Warehouse and the counter jockey put this vortex in my hands.
First Focal Plane (FFP) was the ticket I was looking for. A scope that dials down to 2.5x for close range cardboard or fur works well, and the 10x power is just enough for 100-300 yard shooting. Vortex also offers a 2.5-10x44 cheaper flavor, but without a parallax adjustment or illuminated reticle... all things I felt were standards I needed, as I've grown accustomed to them on another Viper I have on my bolt rifle. It's also a nice balanced weight at just over 18 oz and the smaller bell gives alittle more flexibilty in the rings department. I still had a hell of a time finding 30mm rings high enough to make a flattop rail / A2 buttstock work, but I ended up ordering a Burris PEPR and it fit the bill.
Zeroing at the range: Very enjoyable. Usually zeroing an optic in can be tedious, frustrating, and pricey on the round count. I did a preliminary laser boresighting the night before, but it was just barely on paper at 50 yards. A couple rounds of adjustment back at the 100 yard bench and it was right where it needed to be. I shot a few mags at 2.5x at 20 yards, trying to best simulate competition conditions. Went well, quickly transitioning to 6-10x on the fly is tough because the magnification ring is snug, which isn't a bad thing. I threw on a quick lever which made it easier (if Vortex included this in the package, I would be extremely pleased as coughing up another $50-60 for a CNC'd two piece ring is tough to swallow.
The scope does comes with an inspection certificate, CR2032 battery, a bikini scope cover, cleaning cloth, CRS zero stop shims, allen wrench, manuals, and a Vortex pin. The other Viper scope I own with a 50mm objective came with a sun shade. I really wish this did as well, but no luck! Maybe I'll pick up a killflash scope cap one of these days.
Firearms Insider Reviews – 8 Key Points
Claim to Fame: The Viper PST (Precision Shooting Tactical) riflescope boasts features associated with top-tier riflescopes, yet comes in at a street price under the $1,000 mark. Born from an intimate understanding of riflescope design, forward-thinking engineering, and open ears to a market incredibly vocal about what it wants in a riflescope, the Viper PST series delivers the performance and features tactical shooters demand at an economical price.
Target Market: Range Shooters, Hunters, 3-Gunners
FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):
- Extra-low dispersion (XD) glass increases resolution and color fidelity, resulting in crisp, sharp images.
- Proprietary coatings increase light transmission with multiple anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces.
- FIRT FOCAL PLANE: Scale of reticle remains in proportion to the zoomed image. Constant subtensions allow accurate holdover and ranging at all magnifications.
- Reticle protected between two layers of glass for optimum durability and reliability.
- Illuminated reticle provides precise aiming under low-light conditions.
- Ultra-hard, scratch-resistant coating protects exterior lenses from scratches, oil and dirt.
What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: Black Matte Only
"For those that hunt predators, this FFP scope should be a dream come true, as it is nice and light (just over 18 oz) and offers the ability to conveniently and quickly compute ranges at any magnification. It would probably work very on an AR platform as well. " - Snipers Hide Review
I need it now! Availability: Readily available online at Cabelas. And most outdoor box stores.
+ Design and Function are match for a rifle length AR-15 platform, especially in the weight department + Glass is very clear, eye relief is approx 4 inches + Standard quality: Water/fog/shock proof + Ability/Confidence to fully use turrets and reset to zero using CRS Zero stop feature + Tactile, Robust turrets and parallax adjustment + FFP gives a nice fine crosshair for more of a quick, close, "reflex" style of engagement at low magnification, easy to read and use to estimate distance at 10x magnification + Fantastic Warranty, lifetime no questions asked.
- Vortex Accessories are very expensive ($50-60 for a rapid lever for magnification ring!!!) - Less accessories for 32mm bell (no shade included)
Score: 9.0 Amazing
I put in extra hours at the salt mine and sold some hardware that had 'sentimental value' to pick this scope up as soon as I could locally. Would do it again in a heartbeat.