Vortex Diamondback Scope Review – The 4-12×40 Reviewed

  *Scopesreviews.com is reader-supported. When you buy through links on my site, I may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

When it comes to reliable hunting optics, Vortex has become a household name known for delivering quality at a competitive price point. The Diamondback 4-12×40 riflescope, with its versatile magnification range, stands as a promising companion for hunters targeting big game, or engaging in predator or varmint hunting. 

Key features like the Dead-Hold BDC reticle, fully multi-coated lenses, and solid one-piece tube construction hint at a scope built to perform across a variety of hunting scenarios. I’m eager to mount this beast on my rifle and start spending some lead, and I hope you’ll come along to get all the juicy details about this scope. Let’s load up and head out, it’s range day!

My First Impressions

Most scopes today look relatively similar, but when I unboxed the Diamondback 4-12×40 it felt substantial while looking sleek and professional. It had a sense of ruggedness essential for outdoor excursions that really had me itching to get out in the field. The hard anodized finish not only adds to the aesthetic appeal but promises a durable construction that’s going to resist dings and scratches. 

The turrets felt firm with discernible clicks, indicating a well-engineered mechanism for windage and elevation adjustments. The fast-focus eyepiece seemed promising for quick reticle focusing, a feature I was eager to test in the field. The Dead-Hold BDC reticle, designed to ease the guesswork on holdover and windage corrections at varying ranges, appeared crisp.

At first glance, the Diamondback 4-12×40 seemed to uphold the Vortex reputation of offering high-quality optics without breaking the bank. The scope appeared ready to tackle the demands of both casual and serious hunters, making me look forward to testing it out and putting it through its paces. You can also check my full Vortex scopes review.

Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40 Second Focal Plane Riflescope - Dead-Hold BDC Reticle (MOA) , Black

Check Price on Amazon
Check Price on OpticsPlanet

Real-Life Testing: A Day In The Field

Now that summer has faded, I took the Vortex Diamondback 4-12×40 out for a spin on a crisp autumn morning. The destination was my go-to hunting spot nestled within a dense woodland area. The forecast predicted a mix of clouds and sun, with a drizzle expected in the late afternoon. With a trusty bolt-action rifle at my side, equipped with the Diamondback, I headed out. The dawn’s early light presented a perfect opportunity to test the scope’s light transmission. The fully multi-coated lenses did an exceptional job of giving me a clear, bright target image. 

As the day progressed, I engaged in a series of shooting drills aiming at targets placed at varying distances. The Dead-Hold BDC reticle proved its worth by eliminating the guesswork on holdover and windage corrections, especially at longer ranges. The 1/4 MOA adjustment graduation allowed for precise shot adjustment, and the smoother turret operation was impressive.

During the drills, the Diamondback’s solid build withstood the recoil impeccably, maintaining zero throughout. The fast-focus eyepiece was beneficial in quickly acquiring targets and adjusting the reticle focus. By the time the drizzle started, I had a good feel of the scope’s performance. The waterproof feature was put to the test and it passed with flying colors, showing no signs of fogging or water intrusion.

The day ended with a satisfying dusk shooting session. The reticle remained clear and the image bright, even as the sun cast long shadows over the forest. It wasn’t until long after the sun fled that I had begun to really yearn for an illuminated reticle. Overall, though, the Diamondback proved to be reliable optics in the field and were fully capable in a wide range of situations. 

Optics Quality

The Diamondback boasts fully multi-coated lenses, a feature that’s not always a given in this price range. Giving the scope a preliminary once over in my living room, the image clarity seemed impressive. The picture was bright, clear, and sharp. This clarity was edge-to-edge as well, with minimal distortion. 

The coatings seemed to do a marvelous job at maximizing light transmission, especially in the lower light conditions of early dawn and late dusk. The color fidelity was good, rendering natural and true-to-life hues. The 4-12x magnification range was ample for both close to mid-range engagements. At higher magnifications, the image remained clear without noticeable degradation, which is a concern anytime I’m dealing with more than about 6x magnification.

Overall, the optics quality of the Diamondback 4-12×40 was a blend of clarity, brightness, and functional magnification range, making it a solid choice for both hunters and other shooters who operate across various lighting levels and target distances. This Vortex is excellent choice for a mini 14 rifle

Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40 Second Focal Plane Riflescope - Dead-Hold BDC Reticle (MOA) , Black

Reticle Performance

The Vortex Diamondback 4-12×40 comes with a Dead-Hold BDC (bullet drop compensation) reticle, which caught my attention immediately. It’s specifically designed to minimize the guesswork often associated with holdover and windage adjustments, especially at fluctuating ranges. The reticle is in the second focal plane, which means it won’t change size when you zoom in. This feature is particularly useful in maintaining a clear sight picture at higher magnifications, where a first focal plane reticle might become overwhelmingly large.Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40 Second Focal Plane Riflescope - Dead-Hold BDC Reticle (MOA) , Black

The customized dot design within the reticle aided in making precise holdover adjustments, which proved to be a boon while engaging targets at longer distances. The subtensions on the reticle are designed to provide accurate estimations for bullet drop, making it easier to hit targets constantly. During the testing, the reticle provided a clear point of aim, and its design allowed for quick and precise holdover estimations. The 1 MOA dot at the center was sharp and provided a precise aiming point.

Windage & Elevation Adjustments

The Vortex Diamondback 4-12×40 scope features metal-on-metal precision turrets which allow for fine-tuning of the windage and elevation, crucial for achieving accurate shots at varying distances. The turrets offer a tactile and audible click with each 1/4 MOA adjustment. The total adjustment range for both windage and elevation is 60 MOA, with a travel per rotation of 15 MOA.

The side focus and parallax adjustment, set at 100 yards, is easily accessible and keeps a slim profile on the scope, preventing it from becoming cumbersome or getting snagged on your gear while moving. The glide erector system employed in the scope ensures accurate tracking and repeatability of the adjustments.

Are you interested in fixed scopes? Check my 1-4x magnification and 1-6x magnification guides.Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40 Second Focal Plane Riflescope - Dead-Hold BDC Reticle (MOA) , Black

Build Quality

The Vortex Diamondback 4-12×40 is constructed with a solid one-piece tube, crafted from durable aluminum, embodying a blend of strength and lightweight functionality. Its hard-anodized finish not only provides a sleek, matte surface that almost eliminates all reflections but also substantially enhances the scope’s resilience to the rigors of outdoor use.

The scope is Argon purged and O-ring sealed, ensuring a lifetime of waterproof and fogproof performance. The sealing also keeps dust and debris at bay, helping you keep a clean, clear view of your intended target. An additional layer of durability is found in the scratch-resistant coatings on the lenses which help reduce the chance of normal wear and tear taking their toll on the glass. This becomes even more important when mounted on high-caliber firearms, where lesser scopes can be shaken to premature failure by the recoil.

The Vortex Diamondback doesn’t just stop at being robust. Its design also takes into account the shooter’s need for stealth and a low profile while operating in the field. The hard-coat anodized finish helps with camouflaging the shooter’s position by reducing identifiable glare, a subtle but valuable advantage when stalking wary game.

The overall build quality of the Vortex Diamondback 4-12×40 reflects a well-thought-out design aimed at delivering reliable performance and realistic value.

Pros & Cons


  • Versatile Magnification Range: The 4-12x magnification range is versatile enough for a variety of hunting and shooting scenarios.
  • Dead-Hold BDC Reticle: The customized dot design significantly helps in eliminating guesswork on holdover and windage, especially crucial for shooting at varying ranges.
  • Easy to Adjust: The metal-on-metal precision turrets, along with a precision glide erector system, facilitate smooth and accurate adjustments.
  • Fast Focus Eyepiece: Helps in quick and easy reticle focusing, aiding in rapid target acquisition.


  • No Parallax Adjustment: Lacks a parallax adjustment feature, which could be a downside for some shooters, especially at longer ranges.
  • No Illuminated Reticle: The absence of an illuminated reticle may limit low-light performance to some extent.
  • Weight: At 1.4 pounds, it might be considered a bit hefty for some users, especially for those used to lighter scopes.

Who Should Buy This Scope?

The Vortex Diamondback 4-12×40 is an excellent option for hunters and shooting enthusiasts looking for a reliable, versatile, and durable scope that doesn’t cost a down payment on a new truck. The 4-12x magnification range makes it suitable for a wide variety of hunting scenarios, including big game, predator/varmint hunting, and long-range applications. The fully multi-coated lenses and Dead-Hold BDC reticle give it even more utility across a wide range of lighting conditions and target ranges. The solid design and construction geared toward longevity also mean it’s a great investment for avid hunters.

The Final Word

The Vortex Diamondback 4-12×40 offers an impressive blend of functionality, durability, and affordability. It stands out with its versatile magnification range, robust construction, and user-friendly features like the fast focus eyepiece and precise adjustment turrets. While it lacks some advanced features like an illuminated reticle or parallax adjustment, the scope more than makes up for it with its performance and reliability in the field for nearly any use.

Basically, if your budget is around the $200 mark, you want one of these – nothing else is going to come close! If you want something cheaper, check my Barska scopes reviews or my Bushnell TRS-25 Review.

Any comments are welcome.

Leave a Comment