Best Vortex Scopes – My 6 Top Vortex Optics in 2023

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If you’re looking for a new scope, narrowing your choices to Vortex is already a great start. I can genuinely agree with the fact that they’re one of the best optic manufacturers in the world. But finding the right Vortex scope for your needs can still be tricky. After all, they make lots of them! I put this guide together to make it easy to find the best Vortex scope for you.

Unlike other guides or Vortex scopes reviews, I’ve taken the time to research each scope thoroughly. My comprehensive Vortex optics reviews will show you exactly what each scope excels at and what it brings to the table. Let’s get started.


What Are Vortex Scopes Known For?

Vortex Optics is an American optical equipment company that produces optics for a variety of activities and hobbies, such as birdwatching, hunting, outdoor recreational sports, and more. They’ve also produced optics for law enforcement. Not only do they create some of the best scopes in the business, but they also produce a wide variety of binoculars, telescopes, and other sighting accessories.

They began in 1989 in Wisconsin, which is where they remain today. Over the years, they’ve created several excellent lines of rifle scopes and optics. These lines include the Viper series, the Crossfire II series, the Diamondback series, and the Razor HD series, but there are many more.

In terms of performance optics, Vortex is known to be among the top manufacturers. Many of their products combine quality with price, making them a popular choice for recreational sportsmen or for hunters who want top-tier gear without completely emptying their wallets.

Specifically, Vortex optics are known to provide excellent contrasting colors in their scopes’ sight pictures no matter the light condition. High contrast in the sight picture is important because it helps you distinguish your target from their surrounding environment, which is a necessity when hunting.

Vortex optics are also well-known because most of them come with a lifetime warranty. This warranty provides repair or replacement services for any of their rifle scopes if they suffer damages from manufacturer defects or from regular use. As a result, Vortex scopes can be purchased for an affordable price and maintained affordably, as well. Most of their scopes are great value for money.


What to Look for in a Great Vortex Scope

When you’re browsing the excellent Vortex scopes below, keep the following factors in mind. I know from my experience that these will help you determine the best scope for your needs and ensure that you pick the right optic for your next hunting expedition.

First or Second Focal Plane

The first thing you should consider is whether a given scope has a reticle on the first or second focal plane, often abbreviated FFP or SFP, respectively. First focal plane reticles change size as you switch between magnification settings, getting larger as you zoom in and smaller as you zoom out. This keeps their holdover points for windage and elevation accurate across all zoom levels.

Second focal plane reticles do not change size as you zoom in or out, so their reticles are easier to get comfortable with across multiple engagement distances. However, they do require some estimation on your part because their holdover points are only perfectly accurate at one magnification setting.

Either reticle type can be effective in the right hands. I provided several scopes with both types of reticles. You can choose whichever you prefer based on your experience or practice.


Magnification Settings

Vortex makes excellent rifle scopes across a wide variety of magnification ranges. There isn’t a single magnification range that is ideal for every hunter, which is why I provided scopes with variable magnification settings below.

Generally speaking, traditional hunting engagements for many different types of animals will take place between 200 yards and 500 yards. For these purposes, optics that have magnification settings between 2x and 8x or so are fine. Magnifications of 10x or above are great for hitting shots at 1000 yards or greater, while scopes with zoom levels of 20x or greater are edging into sniper territory.

All in all, choose the Vortex scope that has magnification settings you’ll actually use on your next hunting expedition. It makes no sense to spend money on a scope that can let you target 20x away if you’ll never use that feature.


Durability

I picked out Vortex scopes that are built with durability in mind. That includes being made with excellent materials that include waterproofing and fog proofing designs, which are great for using the scopes in inclement weather.

The scopes below also use multicoated lenses. These special coatings are added during the manufacturing process and increase light transmission (which provides you with a clear sight picture) or protect the lenses from being scratched.

Any of the below scopes are durable and feature the above lens upgrades. This way, you can rest assured that you’ve purchased a scope that’ll function well for a long time to come.


The 6 Best Vortex Scopes Reviewed


1. My Top Pick – Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 6-24×50 SFP RiflescopeVortex Optics Viper HS-T 6-24x50 SFP Riflescope VMR-1 MOA , black

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This high-quality Vortex scope comes from the Viper line and has warranted my highest praise for its top-notch attributes. It features magnification levels between 6x and 24x, offering astounding versatility in terms of its effective ranges.

My Feelings After Using the Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 6-24×50 SFP Riflescope

This scope features a second focal plane reticle that stayed consistent no matter what zoom settings I used. This reticle was even better when I took snappy and agile shots thanks to the fast-focus eyepiece integrated into the scope’s design.

It has exposed target-style turrets, which for me worked perfectly for precise and repeatable windage and elevation adjusting. They feature zero-stop functionality, and there’s an included parallax turret to eliminate that variable for distant shots.

Product Highlights

What I particularly love about this scope is that it features some of the best lenses on the market. They’re coated with superior materials: XR coating to boost color fidelity and resolution and Armortek coatings for scratch and dirt protection. When combined, they ensure the performance and durability of the scope’s lenses for a long time to come.

Common Problems and How to Deal With Them

The Viper HST series offers reticle options that are based only on MOA and MRAD, therefore, they work better for long rather than short-range hunting situations. In my opinion, if you’re more comfortable with a traditional duplex reticle setup, it’s worth testing other Vortex reticles that are better suited for shorter ranges.

Key Features

  • Made from aircraft-grade aluminum
  • Hard anodized finish
  • Exposed tactile-style turrets
  • Second-focal plane reticle
  • Waterproof
  • Fogproof
  • Shockproof

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Has the best lenses I’ve seen Narrow range for eye positioning
Turrets are responsive
Has parallax turret
Features a body that is water- and fogproof

Basic Parameters

Manufacturer Vortex
Weight 22.6 oz
Eye relief 4.0 inches
Magnification 6-24x
Field of view 17.8-5.1 ft/100 yds

The Final Verdict

I consider this scope a fantastic choice for practically any hunter or marksman. It’s great for any range, especially long range, its turrets offer excellent adjustment precision. The lenses are durable and provided me with a perfect sight picture every time I used this reticle.

My Rating: 5/5


2. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 6-18×44 AO SFP RiflescopeVortex Optics Crossfire II 6-18x44 AO SFP Riflescope Dead-Hold BDC MOA

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The Crossfire II line is perhaps the most well-known from Vortex. This variant offers zoom levels between 6x and 18x, perfect for hunting in traditional engagement ranges and for shots across much farther distances. It also features an adjustable objective to take care of parallax.

My Feelings After Using Vortex Optics Crossfire II 6-18×44 AO SFP Riflescope

I am generally satisfied with the work this reticle does. This model features an excellent BDC reticle that helped me land distant shots while compensating for bullet drop. Many of the same excellent features we saw before are present again, such as a durable and waterproof/fogproof construction, multicoated lenses, and finger reset adjustable turrets.

Product Highlights

This scope features great eye relief on most of its magnification settings. The eye box is very forgiving, and the eyepiece allowed me to focus quickly on my target, adjusting my reticle to let me land a shot in a hurry. In my opinion, this eyepiece may be of particular value to hunters that typically target fast-moving prey.

Common Problems and How to Deal With Them

The only issue I’ve experienced with this scope was that the hand twist objective and adjustable happened to be pretty tight. I contacted Vortex, and they provided me with excellent customer support – they sent me another scope straight away.

Key Features

  • Second-focal plane reticle
  • Fully multi-coated
  • Made from aircraft-grade aluminum
  • Waterproof
  • Fogproof
  • Shockproof

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Can be used in any weather Eye relief gets short at higher magnification
Has adjustable objective
Turrets are precise and crisp
Has BDC reticle
Has multicoated lenses

Basic Parameters

Manufacturer Vortex
Weight 19.7 oz
Eye relief 3.7 inches
Magnification 6-18x
Field of view 15.2-5.2 ft/100 yds

The Final Verdict

After testing this particular Crossfire II scope, I can say that it is great for hunters that spend more time at longer ranges than others. Its magnification ranges, adjustable objective, and quality glass all mark it as a fantastic yet affordable scope. Its eyepiece is truly among the most effective on the market.

My Rating: 4.5/5


3. Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical 6-24×50 First Focal Plane RiflescopeVortex Optics Diamondback Tactical 6-24x50 First Focal Plane Riflescopes - EBR-2C (MRAD) Tactical Reticle

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This Vortex Diamondback scope is a first focal plane rifle scope that has magnification settings between 6x and 24x. At the upper end of these settings, it’s a scope that’s perfect to combine with a sniper rifle or for targeting distant but still animals. The lenses are crafted from extra-low dispersion glass and have been fully multicoated to improve the sight picture they project.

My Feelings After Using Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical 6-24×50 First Focal Plane Riflescope

I find this scope very precise. It features exposed tactical turrets and a side parallax knob. These tools gave me the adjustability I needed to land precise shots no matter what conditions I faced. The scope as a whole is made from aircraft-grade aluminum and is built to withstand recoil and any weather without suffering and performance.

Product Highlights

One of the most prominent features of this scope is the Precision Glide Erector System. Thanks to this system, changing between the scope’s generous magnification settings is always smooth and consistent. It utilizes premium components in the zooming lens to ensure that every magnification change happens when you need it to and without jamming or slowing.

Common Problems and How to Deal With Them

The only issue I’ve experienced with this scope was that the parallax ran out of adjustment too soon. The image would get out of focus rapidly as yardage increased. The best solution was to contact Vortex to arrange a replacement, as they offer a lifetime warranty.

Key Features

  • First-focal plane reticle
  • Glass-etched reticle
  • Made from aircraft-grade aluminum
  • Hard anodized finish
  • Waterproof
  • Shockproof
  • Fogproof

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Can swap zoom settings smoothly No zero top for the elevation turret
Is water and fogproof
Has tactile and precise turrets, including parallax
The reticle is glass-etched for stability
Lens glass is low dispersion

Basic Parameters

Manufacturer Vortex
Weight 24.6 oz
Eye Relief 3.9 inches
Magnification 6-24x
Field of View 18-4.5 ft/100 yds

The Final Verdict

In my opinion, this scope is among the smoothest on the market and the most user-friendly. What I particularly like about this reticle is that it features excellent adjustment turrets, and the precision glide erector system is fantastic for swapping between magnification settings on the fly. The first focal plane reticle is a great choice on the part of the manufacturer since it works well with this feature.

My Rating: 4.5/5


4. Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical 4-12×40 SFP Riflescope Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical 4-12x40 Second Focal Plane Riflescope - VMR-1 Reticle (MOA)

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This next Diamondback scope features magnification settings for shorter range engagements: 4x to 12x, to be exact. This is, therefore, a perfect choice for hunters that spend most of their time in engagement ranges around 1000 yards or shorter. It features a second focal plane reticle that’s perfect for this series of magnification settings.

My Feelings After Using Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical 4-12×40 SFP Riflescope

This scope’s lenses are truly amazing, and this is what particularly drew me to this product. They’re crafted with the same high-quality and low-dispersion glass I expected from a Diamondback scope. They’ve also been fully multicoated with a special XR coating that improves their brightness and creates a wonderful sight picture. As a result, it’s a great scope that, for me, worked perfectly in low-light conditions.

Product Highlights

This scope has responsive tactical turrets for windage and elevation that are very sensitive to touch. They also feature zero-reset functionality that kept my modifications quick and easy to change, even in a hurry. Its durable construction rounds out the exceptional benefits it offers.

Common Problems and How to Deal With Them

When using the scope, I noticed that the markings on the elevation and windage knobs were slightly off. This caused the hash marks to not line up thoroughly with the index mark on the scope. However, it was just a minor annoyance, and I could still easily determine which value the knob was set to.

Key Features

  • Second-focal plane reticle
  • Extra-low dispersion
  • Made from aircraft-grade aluminum
  • Precision-glide erection system
  • Exposed tactical-style turrets
  • Waterproof
  • Shockproof
  • Fogproof

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Glass doesn’t disperse light Zero reset function can feel a little stiff
Very bright sight picture
Turrets are responsive
Very durable body

Basic Parameters

Manufacturer Vortex
Weight 17.5 oz
Eye Relief 3.9 inches
Magnification 4-12x
Field of View 23.6-7.9 ft/100 yds

The Final Verdict

This scope is a great choice for hunters that spend time during dusk or dawn hours hunting their preferred prey. The glass that makes up the lenses is remarkable, and the rest of the scope’s features only reinforce its value.

My Rating: 4/5


5. Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 4-24×50 SFP Riflescope Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 4-24x50 Second Focal Plane Riflescope - EBR-4 Reticle (MOA)

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Vortex’s Strike Eagle scope has magnification settings between 4x and 24x, which work with a 50 mm objective lens and a second focal plane reticle to provide you with a versatile and effective product for both close-range and long-range engagements.

My Feeling After Using Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 4-24×50 SFP Riflescope

What I really liked about this scope is that the glass-etched reticle has detailed hold points and stays visually clean no matter what zoom level I was in. Additionally, this turret is a great tool for eliminating the effects of parallax. It also features a special illumination control that can brighten the scope’s reticle between 11 different settings.

Product Highlights

The lenses are fully multicoated to improve their performance, and this scope features zero resettable and tactical turrets. These have adjustment rotation indicators to ensure that each change I made was accurate and crisp. In addition, the scope is made from durable materials and with a special sealing process to ensure waterproof and fogproof performance.

Common Problems and How to Deal With Them

This versatile turret is easy to use and responds sensitively. However, I struggled with changing the brightness of the reticle without also adjusting my parallax compensation. There’s not much to do about it here other than working your way through the sensitive mechanism.

Key Features

  • Second-focal plane reticle
  • Illuminated reticle
  • Glass-etched reticle
  • Capped reset turrets
  • Waterproof
  • Fogproof
  • Shockproof

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Has multicoated lenses Illumination controls are a little crowded
Features 11 different illumination settings for reticle
Built to work in any weather
Has zero resettable turrets

Basic Parameters

Manufacturer Vortex
Weight 25.6 oz
Eye Relief 3.5 inches
Magnification 4-24x
Field of View 26.2-4.3 ft/100 yds

The Final Verdict

This effective scope has lots of excellent tools to ensure that your next shot is a success. The choice to include the illumination controls on the parallax turret is unique, but after spending some time with this pick, I think anyone can get used to its benefits and be pleased with this scope’s performance.

My Rating: 4/5

You can also check our review on Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8×24.


6. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12×50 AO SFP RiflescopeVortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12x50 AO, Second Focal Plane Riflescope - Dead-Hold BDC Reticle (MOA)

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This Crossfire II model features magnification settings between 4x and 12x, along with an adjustable objective that can let you handle or eliminate parallax on your long-distance shots. These features are bolstered by the presence of antireflective and fully multicoated lenses that can improve the scope’s sight picture.

My Feelings After Using Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12×50 AO SFP Riflescope

I’m pleased with this reticle’s performance. This scope features lots of eye relief on lower zooms and a forgiving eye box. These improved my accuracy even further, as do the capped reset turrets that are finger adjustable. They let me handle my windage and elevation variables with ease. Add to these qualities a durable frame and waterproof performance, and you have quite a scope on your hands.

Product Highlights

This scope features a high-quality BDC or bullet drop compensating reticle. That means the reticle has special holdover points at its bottom line that let me adjust and compensate for gravity’s effects on my next shot. Such a reticle can make your long-distance shots even more accurate than they already are.

Common Problems and How to Deal With Them

I haven’t experienced any major problems with this scope. The only thing I would point out is that the turrets to change zero could be a little more audible or tactile. I had to be very careful to adjust them correctly.

Key Features

  • Second-focal plane reticle
  • Made from aircraft-grade aluminum
  • Hard anodized finish
  • Adjustable objective
  • Waterproof
  • Shockproof
  • Fogproof

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Has a BDC reticle Eye relief gets short on high magnification
Can function in any weather
Has an adjustable objective for parallax
Turrets are precise
Lenses are multicoated

Basic Parameters

Manufacturer Vortex
Weight 20.6 oz
Eye Relief 3.9 inches
Magnification 4-12x
Field of View 25.7-8.4 ft/100 yds

The Final Verdict

After the tests I’ve done, I’m not afraid to say that this is a phenomenal scope through and through. It has everything a marksman or a hunter could want, including the ability to adjust for parallax. But its excellent reticle and durable construction are the two standout points that make it well worth its affordable asking price.

My Rating: 4.5/5


Frequently Asked Questions

Where does Vortex get their glass?

Many vendors in Japan manufacture optics components for all major Vortex products, including Vortex Golden Eagle HD, Razor HD, Razor HD LH, Razor HD Gen III and Razor HD Gen II-E riflescopes. Japanese factories also manufacture the lenses and other glass internals for the Vortex Razor HD AMG riflescope.

Can you buy directly from Vortex Optics?

Yes! You can buy apparel, branded gear and optics accessories directly from their website. For other optics needs, it is encouraged you visit one of their dealers.

Who owns Vortex?

Vortex Optics was founded in 1986 by Dan Hamilton, who still owns the company, and he recently moved the entire operation, including manufacturing and research, to an eastern Iowa County town.

Is Vortex well-regarded?

Vortex is known for providing high-quality rifle scopes in a price range that is accessible to all buyers. The best part is that you don’t have to pay extra for their VIP warranty, and you won’t have to worry about getting a good deal.

Does the military use vortex scopes?

The US Army has awarded Vortex Optics a contract to provide up to 250,000 XM157 Next Generation Squad Weapons — Fire Control systems under the parameters of a 10-year firm-fixed-price deal with a minimum ceiling value of $20 million and a maximum ceiling value of $2.7 billion.

What magnification do snipers use?

Snipers frequently employ a magnification level of 2x-12x, which is ideal at long ranges. You may easily adjust the magnification if you need it to be lower or greater. At extended ranges, a higher magnification lets you hit targets more precisely.

What Is a First Focal Plane Scope?

When you adjust the magnification on a first focal plane (FFP) scope, the reticle seems to change size. When zoomed out, the reticle appears small, and when zoomed in, it appears enormous.

The key benefit is that the reticle’s magnification and vision stay constant, ensuring that your stadia markers are always accurate. For example, a one-millimeter mark in your crosshairs will remain constant over the magnification range.

What Is a Second Focal Plane Scope?

The reticle and the view in a scope with a second focal plane (SFP) reticle are not proportionate in size. To put it another way, the reticle size appears to remain constant. It’s equally as big when zoomed in as it is when zoomed out.

The production of second focal plane scopes is the easier of the two varieties. As a result, second focal plane scopes are more common than first-focal plane scopes, and they are frequently lower priced.

Why Should You Get a Rifle Scope?

On most of their firearms these days, not only rifles but also shotguns and handguns, most firearm enthusiasts employ an optical sighting system. There’s a good reason for this. One-third of the intricacy of lining up iron sights is eliminated when aiming via a scope or a red dot sight. You must align the rear sight with the front sight and your target when using metallic sights.

All you have to do with a scope is align your crosshairs with your intended target. Learning to shoot with a scope is far easier than learning to shoot with iron sights, and because most rifle scopes magnify, your target appears closer, allowing you to place a more precise shot.


Concluding my Vortex Scopes Review

Each of the above scopes represents the height of quality and performance from Vortex. Hopefully, one of them perfectly matches your needs. Good luck, and thanks for reading!

Vortex scopes are as good as they feature on our rifle scopes under $500 and rifle scopes under $300 guides.