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  • Writer's pictureGary Anderson

I Tested And Ranked The Best Vortex Rifle Scopes In 2024

Vortex rifle scopes allow you to shoot further out and more accurately,‎ and no other brand can beat their unlimited (and unconditional) lifetime warranty. Here's my ultimate ranking of the best options for the money.

best rifle scopes

FYI, Prices and ratings are accurate as of time of writing.

1. Vortex Optics Strike Eagle Second Focal Plane

best rifle scopes

Highlight: Best value for money.

Helpful review: Let me start off by saying that adjusting the magnification will change the sight picture, and the shooter must reestablish the site picture. Now, for a hunter, that's not that big of a deal, but for a precision shooter or a shooter in a hurry (moving target) that is shooting from one distance to another, that may become a hindrance. It is not as dramatic of an issue as the increase in price tag for a first focal plane rifle scope can be; however, that's up to the shooter and how thick their wallet is.
My overall review of the Strike Eagle is positive. The Strike Eagle is absolutely worth the money; it comes off the shelf or from Amazon at about 500 bucks. That price tag is steeped for a lower end of Vortex scopes. Prices for Vortex scopes are a little high; that is a point I will concede. I've seen a lot of reviews and talked to shooters in person about the Strike Eagle. It’s fully coated optics to minimize glare and other vision disturbances. The 50mm objective gives a good field of view. The magnification ability is 4-24x; this is amazing for a scope that costs about 500 bucks. The one thing I must stop doing with my Strike Eagle is dialing it up to 24x magnification and acting like I am that caliber of a shooter. When I turn the magnification up that high, it looks like a seizure is happening through the eyepiece; every breath or finger movement is also magnified 24x.
The reticle is etched into glass and will be good and clear for the life of this scope, and as a Vortex scope, the life will be forever. The reticle is illuminated to help with low light times. The Strike Eagle has a side-mounted parallax knob to make the scope fit the shooter in every way. What about the tube? It’s 30mm, giving a full view of the target. It is sealed with o-rings and filled with nitrogen to keep the outside world out and provide a clear view inside.
The Stike Eagle has a rear focus ring that needs a throw arm to make quick focusing adjustments. The throw arm is a simple add-on, and it can be purchased from Vortex and added to the order. Throw arms are also available on Amazon and others that will fit, and they're simple to install.
All that is needed is to measure the focus ring, order the right fitting throw arm, and then put it on. The focus rings on the back (I mean of the tube) can be hard to get to and may move the rifle significantly. A throw arm utilizes leverage, making a tight-fitting focus ring smooth and straightforward. Any rifle scope I own that uses a rear focus ring has a throw arm installed. The only scopes I own that do not use the throw arm are the scopes that have a side focus knob.
The number one thing the Vortex failed with the Strike Eagle is scope covers. Of all things to drop the ball on, including its scope covers, the only issue I have heard about is that they sometimes need to fit correctly. What all the reviews and personal experience tell me is the scope covers are going to be loose. Loose scope covers on the range are annoying and quickly removed and set aside. In the field hunting with loose scope covers, you may lose them. Loose scope covers are more of a pain to deal with than they are worth, so remove and replace them with another maker's scope covers. Covers are simple to find and cost about 20 bucks.
I paid just over 500 bucks for my Strike Eagle and feel that I ripped off Vortex for the quality I have on my rifle right now. I have this scope on an old 308 caliber Winchester Model 70, and it is an excellent coyote hunting machine. With the ability to zoom up to 24x magnification, I have more scope than a rifle, to be honest. If I get good enough, I will shoot a 24x magnification scope someday and not just look like a seizure in the eyepiece. — Charlie M. Mark

Get it from Amazon now: $399.99 & FREE Returns


2. Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II First Focal Plane

best rifle scopes

Highlight: Super-low dispersion glass for color fidelity and increased resolution.

Helpful review: My absolute favorite rifle optic is the Vortex Razor PST generation 2. I absolutely love this rifle scope; there are many reasons for that. I'm so impressed with the Vortex Razor, and we're going to talk about that and why you really should (or maybe shouldn’t) purchase one of these. I own the Razor HD Gen. 2 (now called the Vortex Razor). I own this and other top-shelf riflescopes and the Razor has left the most significant impression on me. The Razor has variable magnification; I do most of my shooting out here in the West, so I do a lot of cross-canyon shots.
Out here, you may find a deer 100 yards away, and the critter keeps moving until you finally locate it again. Now it's moved another hundred 100 yards, and so you're gonna have to be able to adjust the scope. The perfect scope for me is a 3 to 15 magnification or 3 to 12 magnification. Almost everybody around here uses 3 to 9 power magnification; hunters have been using scopes for hunting deer for… I don't know since guns had scopes on them.
Growing up in a deer-hunting family, we all have 3-9 magnification scopes on the trusty bolt action, and I was no different until I learned about Vortex. My first choice as a young, broke hunter was Leupold, but I wanted to have a car more than a deer rifle scope. As an older and more seasoned hunter (aging like beef jerky), I find myself drawn to Vortex more than any other, like everyone else. The current generation of scope magnification tends to be 3-12 magnification, and now a 50mm objective lens is common; what a time to be a hunter.
The other great thing about the current optics is that even the cheap scopes have good glass, and Vortex has amazing glass. The clarity is right on the money and does not distort (if at all) until I reach the maximum magnification. Let's get specific on the quality of the Vortex Razor. This scope will be crystal clear from 3 power magnification all the way to 15 power magnification. There is zero blurry vision at any point when adjusting the Razor.
I put a Vortex Razor 3-15x50 on my Remington 700 and could not be happier. My brother-in-law put one on his 6.5 Creedmore built on the AR platform, and he loves it. I don't like the high magnification scopes on the AR platform, but that is only my opinion; many people use them on AR platforms and never look back. If I put an optic on an AR rifle I build for myself, I will use one of the fantastic Red Dot optics or a Low Power Variable Optic (LVPO). I may someday use a magnifier with a Red Dot just to see what that magic is all about.
The Vortex Razor is an excellent first-plane focal plane for long-range shooting or hunting. I put this rifle in the lead sled on the range to sight it in, with more to come later, and sandbagged it in the field, shooting at coyotes. I am not going to pack around sandbags hunting deer, I barely like taking the gun, but that seems to be needed, so I suck it up and quit whining. The Vortex Razor has windage and elevation knobs that click into place and stay there. The Razor also has a side knob for parallax. Behind the parallax knob is the adjustment for the illuminated reticle; think about two knobs in one place, a lot like some adjustments on a modern car. The focus ring is on the back, around the tube, and if this is a hunting rig, get a throw arm to make it fast and easy.
The Vortex Razor reticle is fantastic, and for anyone who doesn't know, the reticle is basically the crosshairs. Around here, we sight rifles in at 100 yards and then use holdover because we're hunting stuff that moves, so you have to get really good and kind of lucky to make the shot. With this reticle, you can figure out the holdover correctly. If you got your scope sighted for 100 yards and the animal walks out of 250 yards, that reticle is your "cheat code," you can use that as your holdover, and you'll be on the bullseye. The one issue is that the reticle on this needs to be daylight-bright. That means that the more sunshine you get outside, the more the reticle washes out. So, the Vortex Razor is more at home as a target scope; however, it's a fantastic hunting scope, but you do have the issue with it washing out in the sun.
Now let me tell you about the sighting-in embarrassment moments. After bore-sighting in my shop, I took the Remington and Vortex Razor to the range. When I got there and opened my shooting bag, I brought a whopping 25 bullets because I didn't remember buying some ammo. Good boresighting got me shooting on paper, and four rounds after that, I hit the two-inch ring until I ran out of bullets. With about half an hour's worth of effort into it, it's a perfect fit to put a Vortex Razor on a bolt-action Remington 700. The Vortex Razor is a full-size scope; to me, that scope goes on a bolt-action rifle.
I put it on a Remington700 in 7mm magnum, figuring it's a fantastic gun to shoot way the heck out there. One good thing about the Vortex Razor is that it has a revolution counter. The revolution counters do just that. They counted how many times I turned the turrets when dialing in the scope for precision; for other scopes, I would have to count my clicks as I turned the knobs. It's easy to use this scope for precision work; it's like cheating. It takes some of that remembering and guesswork out, which is great when you're nervous and focusing strictly on reading mirages and trying to read the wind and all that stuff. Along with many other high-quality scopes, the Razor has a zero stop. A zero-stop sounds very impressive. All that means is when you get your rifle zeroed, you set it to zero so you can twist those knobs all you want, then twist it back to zero, and you're right back to where it was before.
When it comes to the Vortex Razor, would I buy another one? I've bought three of them so far, so I would definitely buy another if I could get a good deal on one. But if you're looking to upgrade your scope and can afford the Vortex Razor, make sure to take advantage of every car payment to buy a rifle scope. Save up for it; when it's easy to buy it, get it, and you will love it forever. — Bill Bailey

Get it from Amazon now: $1,299.99 & FREE Returns


3. Vortex Optics Diamondback First Focal Plane

best rifle scopes

Highlight: Very affordable First Focal Plane Scope.

Helpful review: The Vortex Diamondback HP is a First Focal Plane optic. The Diamondback is a mid-range scope and a great buy. The Vortex Diamondback HP is very popular with our friends back east and down South hunting whitetails in a field or from a tree stand. I don't know why white-tail hunters seem to be the biggest fans; maybe Vortex puts more effort into sales for white-tail hunters. The Diamondback will do fine out west taking the 400-yard shot. The Diamondback is gonna be magic for you. Get bored-sighted, then get out to the range and practice shooting. Pretty soon, it will do everything that you need to do.
The Diamondback HP carries a lot of magnifications with it at 4-16x magnification. The big difference is that the objective diameter is smaller than most after Vortex hunting scopes at 44mm. 44mm is a lot more objective than the scopes we all grew up hunting with, and one great thing about a smaller objective is they will fit on any rifle. The Vortex Diamondback HP will also fit on a rifled barrel shotgun. They will fit on the shotgun, but there are better fits for the Diamondback. For the folks that want to put a high-powered scope on an AR platform rifle, this is a good choice as the mounts can be lower and the objective is lower, making the battle rifle work more like it should like it was meant to be in the first place. Being a first focal plane scope, there's a minimal adjustment when moving the magnification. When you increase the magnification, the site picture will not change much.
The Vortex Diamondback and anything that Vortex makes has no problem in bad weather. The standard gun shop joke is that you can hammer a nail with a vortex, and it will keep on working. They build these things to take punishment and keep on performing. The Diamondback is not gonna fog up, it's not gonna lose its zero, the turrets aren't gonna freeze up, and the adjustment rings aren't gonna freeze up. If the scope freezes or does not keep working, you send that back to Vortex, and they'll fix it or replace it with no questions asked.
If I were to rebuy a Vortex Diamondback HP, the one thing I would make sure to do is I would get the illuminated reticle; mine is just a standard black reticle, and as I get older, that starts to become more of an issue. A green light reticle that I could turn up the brightness and make it easier to see. Especially if I'm using that reticle to adjust for holdover, the scale would be a lot easier to see, especially when you've got buck fever and are wearing glasses. The reticle has a built-in bullet drop compensator, so holdover is made much easier for the shooter.
The horizontal also has lead marks, so moving animals or wind adjustments are in place. Just because the reticle is covered in all of the Terminator-looking stuff, as a shooter, learn how to use the marks and things. All that means is more range time and trigger time; how hard can that be? You're trying to get this hunt taken care of, so it sure would be neat to have that just easier to see.
This is a tremendous and affordable hunting scope. The Diamondback can be an excellent introduction to long-range shooting as the shooter's skill comes up to par with the gun and the optic ability to put rounds where they are aimed. This scope will match any rifle that you put it on, so if you're going to hunt Prairie dogs with the .223 Savage bolt action, you could put it on an AR15 if you feel like it. I've seen prairie dog shooters use an AR with a scope and I have seen prairie dog shooters use a 7mm Magnum. The Vortex Diamondback HP is at home on smaller calibers as well as bigger rifles and takes care of any issues you have or any needs for our rifle optic. — Austin Nelson

Get it from Amazon now: $399.99 & FREE Returns


4. Vortex Optics Diamondback Second Focal Plane

best rifle scopes

Highlight: Old scope works like the day I installed it.

Helpful review: This Vortex Diamondback is a Second Focal Plane (SFP) and does not carry the HP suffix. For everyone who doesn't know the difference between the first focal plane and 2nd focal plane, it is straightforward: when you adjust the magnification on a second focal plane, it will affect the sight picture; that's the primary difference maker. If an SFP Diamondback is going to be used on a deer or elk rifle, I don't think you're gonna have a whole lot of issues with the 2nd focal plane. If you're gonna set up to shoot, say, coyotes way out there; you know, 600 meters away you might have a problem especially as the coyote keeps moving. If you keep adjusting the magnification, you'll have more challenges staying on target with that second focal plane.
As a hunting rifle optic, I don't see a considerable difference in the price tag for a first focal versus a second focal. If you find one of the Diamondbacks on sale and it's too good to pass up, get it. Don't worry too much about the focal planes. If you find both on sale and the difference is a small amount of money, I'd go for the first focal. If it's too big of a gap to jump, I would stick with the 2nd focal plane and get an illuminated reticle. If you keep your eyes on the ads, you might find the Vortex Diamondback in a second focal plane on sale at times for 150 to 175 bucks, maybe 200 bucks. The Vortex Diamondback will sit proudly on any rifle.
The Vortex Diamondback I put on my Dad's old 30.06 is a second focal plane. The magnification adjusts from 4 to 12 power and it has a 40mm objective. I put that on his deer rifle a while back so it is a bit older thus the 40mm objective. Just to make a point to the shooters that may not know, suppose you can get a bigger objective lens, why would anyone want to do that, especially if it costs more? A bigger objective is going to have a more extensive field of view, and it's going to "gather more light." To put it simply, it's just a better scope; however, it's also a bigger size scope. Dad’s with the 40mm fits in the scabbard that he had on his old four-wheeler; no problems at all.
The turret knobs, to this day, are easy to click. They're easy to turn, snap right in, and hold adjustments. The glass is crystal clear and gives an impressive view when looked through. The lenses are multi-coated for crisp and clean images. Here is a great part of using a Vortex product, even though it's old, the Vortex warranty is in effect for the life of the scope. That is one of the reasons you buy Vortex: the guarantee no matter what you do that, it's going to be fixed or replaced, as well as the amount of value that comes with the price tag cannot be beaten. — Warren Putnam

Get it from Amazon now: $299.00 & FREE Returns


5. Vortex Optics Viper Second Focal Plane

best rifle scopes

Highlight: Side knob allows super-easy (and very quick) adjustments.

Helpful review: OK, everyone, let's talk about one of my latest builds, a .300 Win mag, and I decided to get a Vortex Viper scope. I picked one up in a 2nd focal plane, and I was trying to decide if I would shell out the money for a Leupold or if I should stick with the Vortex brand. Obviously, I decided to get the Viper. The fact that an extra 1500 bucks stayed in my checkbook put the Leupold back on the shelf for right now. I mounted this Vortex Viper on the 300 Win mag a Savage Model 10 (if anybody cares to know). I got it boresighted in the shop, sold a kidney on the black market to buy ammo, and went to the range. I hammered 100 rounds from that bolt action gun, I should add that includes everyone who went that day, I don't know if I am that level of tough to shoot that much magnum rifle in one range visit.
When I shop for super clear scope, I always compare it to my all-time favorite Nikon rifle scope. The Viper glass is just as clear, even more so than my Nikon scope. Nikon does not make rifle scopes anymore; they focus on camera gear and stuff like that, and it is a shame to lose that player in the rifle scope game. Everything about the Viper works like a champ. Every review and claim to brag about their Vortex Viper is correct, but you can't get anything better.
While browsing for scopes, I saw an entry in the Vortex FAQ, and someone asked: can I paint this scope?" I never considered this a question to ask, so my interest was piqued. Some want to do the entire camouflage thing, including barrel, stock, and optic. Vortex stated that painting the scope would not void the warranty. I don't know why it would; it's just painted on the outside of it. Some manufacturers say if you paint their scope, you own it forever, and they won't warranty it. Vortex doesn't have an issue with it.
I mounted the Viper with a Vortex one-piece mount (sold separately). If available for the rifle mount, the one-piece mount should be used to mount anything, especially a large body scope on a high-recoil rifle. The solid block will prevent the rings from twisting during the scope mounting. It will also help keep the scope on target during heavy recoil, like a 300 Win mag.
The Vortex Viper has a massive magnification range of 6.5-20 magnification power! Talk about reaching out and touching something, the magnification gets into the crazy zone. The turrets are not exposed and have knurled caps making it easy enough to adjust in the field if you find that necessary. All the shooter has to do for turret adjustment is unscrew the cap, and move the crosshairs with a coin or the screwdriver blade on the multi-tool I know everyone has in their hunting kit. The Viper does have an exposed parallax knob on the side, so that adjustment is quick and easy, and you are going to need it; more on that in a minute. The rear body magnification ring has a built-in throw arm of sorts, it is more like a ridge, but at least it has one.
The crosshairs or reticle if you care, could be a little darker; I find them to be a little thin. Mine Vortex Viper reticle is not illuminated; if I had an illuminated reticle that may be a difference maker. The reticle does have a dead-on bullet drop compensator making this an amazing long-distance scope. As I zoom in the magnification the crosshairs don't cover up anything on the target, and that's a great feature of thin crosshairs and non-illuminated reticles.
The Vortex Viper has a pretty short eye relief. You will need the parallax adjustment often, or at least I do. What about short-eye relief? What that means is the shooter's eye must be relatively close to the rear of the scope to get a good sight picture. When mounting this on a heavy recoil rifle, like a 300 Win Mag, the recoil is going to drive that scope back at your eyebrow like it's pissed off at ya. When this happens, and everyone has done it or will do it soon, the scope will return and give you the “scope bite” right over the top of your eyebrow. Lucky for me, I had a ball cap on that day. I think that's the reason it didn't cut me over my eyebrow, but it felt like it did. I would tell folks thinking about mounting this on a high-recoiling rifle they may want to look into another Vortex scope with more eye relief. — Andrew Gibson

Get it from Amazon now: $499.00 & FREE Returns


6. Vortex Optics Venom First Focal Plane

best rifle scopes

Highlight: Gives amazingly accurate holds at any magnification.

Helpful review: To say the Vortex Venom has an excellent scope is a massive understatement. It is straightforward to use. The glass is magnificent and may be one of Vortex's best-performing optics. The scope body is well made, and it will bring some heft. This may not be a scope that you want to put on a deer rifle that you'll have to pack for a while. This is more for one you will put into a position and hold it there. If you're gonna go into some long-range hunting you can steady the rifle on a bipod, tripod, or even a lead sled at the range.
I know that weight issue because I put one of these on a Winchester Model 70 Featherlight in 30.06 with a wood stock. I am curious to know what kind of feathers Winchester is comparing this to. Carry this around for a few hours, and it feels more like a Stoneweight Model 70. There is nothing featherlight anymore when I put this Vortex Venom on that rifle. The body of the Venom has thick wall construction, so much so that this scope will add 2.2 pounds to the gun's weight. This added weight is great to help tame recoil, but hell on a hunter packing this around all day. This weight may also test the quality of your rifle carry bag. Ensure you only buy high-quality gear for carrying around a precision rifle, that goes for carry cases and slings.
Let's talk about the exposed and well-marked adjustment turrets. The turrets are stiff to turn; they will exactly click into space. They're not quick adjusting, like I wanted for a hunting rifle, more for taking time to nail a shot perfectly. Another thing about the turrets is the many markings, which are excellent for exactness. They are too hard to see for a hunting adjustment due to the many tiny markings. I can't think of a better, more affordable precision rifle optic. The Viper has a feature built into the turrets called RevStop Zero System, this is a built-in feature that allows fast and accurate return to settings on the turrets.
The First Focal Plane Vortex Viper has a magnification of 5-25x power. I think I can see Nevada from the range some days. The objective lens is a huge 56mm. I can see nearly the entire range through the scope. The tube is 34mm, which means it needs 34mm rings to mount it. It also means there is a ton of room to adjust for elevation. The large tube allows more light to reach the shooter's eye and makes shooting all day very comfortable. The Viper also has a side-mounted parallax knob to make the scope fit the shooter. The one thing Vortex did not do is put a better rear tube magnification throw lever on the magnification ring. It's a simple fix; they included it in the kit, and all I had to do was put it on. It is strange that with everything else they put into this scope, that is the one thing they left out of built-in options.
The lenses are coated with Vortex XD Optical System, which removes chromatic aberration and gives the sight picture a clear and undistorted view from edge to edge. What the heck is Chromatic Aberration? That basically means lens flare, or the sight picture looking like a different color as the light passes through the curve of the lenses. The lenses are also protected from harm by a coating called Armortek. Armortek protects not only against scratches but oil as well. — Mike Sunderland

Get it from Amazon now: $499.00 & FREE Returns


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