Review: Vortex Viper HD Spotting Scope

Vortex Viper
Available in angled and…

 

Outdoor Empire pick for best spotting scope for hunting

The Vortex Viper is one of the three spotting scopes that Vortex creates. It is a mid tier optic that is unique enough to avoid middle child syndrome. It comes in 15-45x65mm and 20-60x80mm.

It seems purposely built for the hunting grounds, and the 15-45x magnification is friendlier to hunters. It’s built for rough and hard environments, it’s meant to be packed on long hauls, and designed to take a beating. It meets the needs of hunters quite well.

Specifications

Vortex Viper straight with case
straight version.

The Vortex Viper is of course a variable magnification model and the 15 to 45 power is appropriate for hunting. The only time that more power is needed is when hunting Pronghorn across the prairie in places like Texas. The 15-45x model is almost a pound lighter than the 20-60x model.

Weight

Vortex optics are quite heavy, the smaller model weighs 53.3 ounces and the larger model weighs 67 ounces. That’s pretty heavy for a spotting optic. You have to choose a tripod wisely.

FOV

The field of view is a 140/65 feet at 1000 yards for the smaller model. That’s wide and very impressive. For hunting this allows the user to easily track moving targets, which is important when choosing your game.

Close Focus

It has a close focus of 16 feet, which is closer than the average spotting scope and is quite handy. The eye relief is up to 20 mm, which is nicely far and allows users with glasses to easily use the optic.

 

 

Comparison to Similar Products

ProductVortex Viper
Vortex Viper

Bushnell Elite
Bushnell Elite

Nikon Prostaff 5
Nikon Prostaff 5

Magnification15-45x15-45x20-60x
Objective Lens Diameter65 mm60mm82 mm
Close Focus16 ft30 ft20 ft
Exit Pupil4.3-1.4 mm[email protected] / [email protected]4.1 [email protected] / 1.4 [email protected]
Eye Relief20-15 mm15 mm16.5 mm
Weight53.3 oz26.5 oz33.9 oz
Length15.8 in12.2 in15.4 in
CostCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price

 

Bushnell Elite

The Bushnell Elite 15-45x60mm is the closest competitor of the Vortex Viper 15-45x60mm. Both are very similar and are designed for hunting.

It uses a BAK-4 prism, has fully multi-coated lenses, and delivers a very clear and consistent picture. It features the Rainguard HD coating which reduces external fog, and eliminates the light reduction caused by rain drops.

Head to Head

It weighs about half of the Viper, that’s a big deal. A lighter scope is easier to carry in the field and this gives you options for lighter tripods. The Elite is easy to use, it’s armored and well protected from damage.

It falls short of the Viper in a few ways. Elite’s close focus is 30 feet while Viper’s is 16 feet. The Viper offers a wider field of view by 35 feet at 15 power and 23 feet wider at 45 power. The Viper also offers a longer eye relief which is generally more comfortable for extended viewing.

 

 

Nikon Prostaff 5

nikon_prostaff_5_angles_scopeNikon Prostaff 5 is a line of spotting scopes that offers a 20-60x82mm that competes directly with The Viper 20-60x80mm model.

It comes in both angular and straight layouts. It is both surprisingly strong and relatively lightweight. The Prostaff 5 is more than 30 ounces lighter than the Viper and it’s a 20-60x 80mm model.

It is submersible up to a meter for ten minutes. That is beyond waterproof which is an amazing feature for a spotting optic. You can also interchange the lenses to swap magnification ranges and make digiscoping easier.

Head to Head

The Vortex Viper has a slight edge in close focus capability and has a slightly longer eye relief. It is also textured and easier to grip with gloved hands, whereas the Nikon is quite smooth and is difficult to grip with gloves or wet hands.

The Viper also comes fitted with a custom case that gives the unit another layer of protection. It has an ArmorTek coating to protect the lenses from scratches and abrasion.

This is one of the most difficult choices in spotting scopes, and honestly both units have tons of desirable features.

 

 

Rating the Vortex Viper

The following is based on a 1 to 5 stars rating.

Clarity

four star rating

Clarity is impressive because of the HD lens elements that offer excellent color fidelity and great resolution. Topped with fully multi-coated optics, it gives the user a nice and clear picture throughout the day, including evenings.

Low light conditions aren’t an issue at most magnification levels. The only downside is the small exit pupil at the maximum magnification; it’s only 1.4mm and reduces clarity at maximum power in low light situations. 4 stars for its clarity.

 

Ease of Use

four star rating

The manual is barely needed. The controls are all apparent from the start. It’s easy to focus, increase or decrease magnification, and attach to a tripod. You can familiarize yourself quickly and learn how it works.

Using it requires only a few short and easy movements. This reduces your overall movement when in the field and hunting, which is important to remain undetected. The only knock is its weight. It’s easy to use but a bit heavy. 4 stars for its ease of use.

 

Durability

five star rating

It is constructed for heavy duty use. This certainly contributes to the weight of the optic. It is water and fogproof so it is sealed from dirt, debris and snow. Even the lenses are coated with ArmorTek — an ultra hard lens coating that protects the lenses from scratches, dirt and oil. 5 stars for its durability.

 

Summary

The Vortex Viper received an overall rating of 4.3 stars. It gives hunters a powerful and durable option for the field. It gives a clear view, and the scope is well served for hunters and nature observers. It comes in a variety of styles and gives buyers plenty of options to choose what they need on an individual basis.

Pros

  • Rugged, strong design
  • Excellent clarity
  • Good close focus
  • Wide FOV

Cons

  • It’s heavy
  • Low exit pupil at low light

 

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Clarity
Ease of Use
Durability
Travis Pike

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes

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