Interested in long range shooting or hunting? You will eventually need to add a spotting scope like the Vortex Viper HD to your setup to help spot hits or identify game.
After spending over a year with the Viper HD, it’s time to look at what features standout, whether you need it for long range shooting, hunting or both.
Based out of the US, Vortex have built a reputation of making quality optics for every budget. Over many years of shooting and hunting, I have relied on plenty of Vortex products to ring steel and spot trophy animals.
Vortex are known for their ‘VIP’ warranty on all optics they offer. The warranty is for lifetime replacement, no questions asked. This has given me comfort knowing that if I drop a scope, accidentally run over it, I can send it back and get a replacement.
There are three spotting scopes in the Vortex range, the Diamondback HD, Viper HD and the Razor HD. The Diamondback is their cheapest model, the Viper the mid range option and Razor the high-end variant.
Vortex Viper HD Models
The spotting scope comes in an angled and straight version. Each version comes in both 14-45×65 and 20-60×85.
In this review we are looking at the angled variant in 20-60×85.
Let’s look at the features of the spotting scope and why it’s so popular.
Spotting scopes outperform binoculars in both long range hunting and long range shooting applications. Identifying trophy animals in a hunting scenario, a spotting scope can zoom in a lot further and provide a much closer look at an animal. Combined with a tripod, the spotting scope becomes a powerful tool in the field.
For the long-range shooter, a higher magnification value is important as the distance you will need to spot impacts will be greater. Trying to spot bullet impacts or holes in targets you need a stable platform with much higher magnification than what is found in binoculars or most rifle scopes.
The magnification the Viper HD spotting scope has is shown as ‘20-60×85’. For those new to optics, the 20-60 part shows the power of the magnification of the scope. Meaning the scope has a variable zoom and can increase magnification 20x all the way to 60x.
The ‘x85’ at the end shows how large the objective lens (front) of the scope is. A bigger objective lens lets in more light and helps create a brighter image.
Changing magnification is made easy with the large grooved collar. Even wearing gloves, changing magnification is simple.
The focusing collar is also easy to use and makes adjusting the focus effortless.
Glass Quality in the Vortex Viper HD
The standout strength of the Viper HD is that it features high density glass. The high quality extra low dispersion glass is a noticeable difference with that of the cheaper Diamondback model.
Having owned a Diamondback and now having a Viper its easy to see what the extra dollar’s gets you.
There is also a built-in sunshade that extends to provide added protection against interference from the sun.
The optic is very well protected as its covered in a high quality thick rubber. The outside lenses are XR multi-coated which increase light transmission and provide anti-reflective properties.
The scope is also completely sealed and made waterproof. To prevent any fogging up inside the scope, its purged with argon to ensure those times the scope is moved through extreme temperature changes it doesn’t fog up.
The resistance to weather is a huge draw card that shouldn’t be overlooked. For the hunter who gets caught in extreme elements or the range shooter where a sudden downpour hits, you wont have to worry about the optic being damaged.
For the long-range shooter, there is an additional eye piece available. The eyepiece offers an MOA grid to assist the shooter to make adjustments.
The weight of the optic won’t be a problem if the scope if just being used on the range, as its likely just making a short trip from the car to the bench.
However, weight becomes a major factor to consider for the hunter, especially if you are on foot and working in difficult terrain. Quality optics that are durable unfortunately weigh more than you think. The Viper HD weighs in at 4.7 pounds or 2.1kg, and is always factored in when I’m heading out on an ultralight backpack hunting trip.
The spotting scope comes with lens covers, cleaning cloth and a fitted neoprene case. The case is a great accessory to include as it provides extra protection when traveling or out in the field.
Our only minor complaint about the Viper HD is the objective lens cover. Whilst only a minor detail, the lens cover needs to be pushed into place. A more secure screwed in cover would be preferable.
In the Field
Since owning the spotting scope, its been used on Tahr hunts, deer hunts and target shooting out to 1000 yards. The scope has helped spot trophy animals hidden bedded down in thick county.
For long range shooting, the scope can spot impacts at 1000yards with a 30 caliber round.
To sum up, the performance of the Vortex Viper HD spotting scope speaks for itself with how widely used and recommended it is in the shooting and hunting community.
The Viper HD spotting scope is a fantastic spotting scope and you won’t find a better one in the price bracket. The build quality is rock solid and when you take it into the field it does give you confidence that it will perform in harsh conditions.
The high magnification values coupled with the quality of the glass make the Viper a great tool for the long range shooter and hunter.
- HD Glass
- Easy adjustments
- VIP Warranty
- Lens cover
- Pricey, however you can save hundreds off discounted showroom models at EuroOptic.
|Product Weight (KG)||2.17|
|Specifications||Magnification 20-60 x Objective Lens Diameter 85 mm Linear Field of View 101-50 feet/1000 yards Angular Field of View 1.9-1 degrees Close Focus 10.9 m Eye Relief 19.6-17.8 mm Length 44.5 cm|
|Eye Relief (mm)||19.6-17.8mm|
|Close Focus (m)||10.9m|
|Field of View (m@1000m)||32m@20x – 15m@60x|
|Field of View(ft@1000yards)||105ft@20x – 50ft@60x|
|Level Of Protection||waterproof / fogproof|
|Warranty||unlimited lifetime warranty|
Important Links and Manual for the Viper HD
Extra Accessories for the Viper HD Spotting Scope
Hashmarked ranging reticle using MOA/MRAD-based subtension lines for ranging, holdover, and windage corrections. Secondary ranging references facilitate rapid range estimating.
To use a spotting scope correctly you need a tripod. If you are on a budget consider this tripod for mounting the spotting scope. These aren’t the most premium tripods on the market but they get the job done.
Arguably the best tripod manufacturer in the business, these tripods are built to last and keep optics secure. Manfrotto’s Befree Live is a compact travel tripod kit, dedicated to maximum performance, when on the go. It is easy to carry everywhere thanks to its compact size.