If you are a long-range hunter or marksman, a great scope is just a vital tool in your arsenal. Sadly, as we all know, when you’re buying a scope, you don’t always get what you pay for. Manufacturers churn out low-quality scopes with blurry magnification and then charge you an arm and a leg for it.
In fact, maybe that’s why you are reading this review. You don’t want to get fooled again. If you want a great scope that actually does what it says on the box, then the Vortex Viper 6.5-20×50 is the one for you.
In this review, we will be going over all of the most important features you would expect from a great scope. We’ll discuss light transmission, the zoom capabilities, the controls available, as well as other important features and properties. With all that said, let’s get started.
This is a scope in the medium price category. However, it has some top-of-the-line features that allow it to challenge much more expensive scopes as well. According to the manufacturer, it does particularly well in dark environments, and in conditions of high moisture. It is also made of very durable materials, so it can stand up to heavy recoil with relative ease.
Furthermore, this scope was made for long-range shooting. There are several features which enable that. It has multi-coated optics and long-range reticle graduations. It allows you to take down prey at a safe distance. As such, it is perfect for use with decoys or predator calls.
One of the best features of this scope is its excellent light transmission. In order to accomplish that, this scope uses extra-low dispersion glass. That helps produce a better color quality and resolution. There are also multiple anti-reflective coatings on all glass surfaces which come into contact with air. That helps achieve optimal light transmission and allows for an extremely clear picture at all magnifications.
As we have already said, this is a scope for mid to long-range shooting. Its zoom range is 6.5x to 20x. That is more than enough for any hunting expedition. Coupled with the previous point about light transmission, this scope offers an unparalleled image even at large magnifications.
This scope also uses a 50mm objective lens, which means that the exit pupil value is quite high even at maximum resolution. With a smaller lens, the image would get hazy at long distances. One disclaimer is needed here: since the minimum zoom is 6.5x, this is not a good lens for close-range shooting. For that, you need to look for a specialized close-range lens.
Now let’s turn to the construction of the scope. First of all, we have to say that it’s made of top grade materials. The main 30mm tube is made of aircraft-grade aluminum, which provides a sound base for the entire scope. It’s not just about resistance to wear and tear, however. As we have already mentioned, this scope was made to withstand strong recoil.
This sturdy casing allows for better lens alignment as well. That improves the picture tremendously and decreases blur. It also ensures structural integrity, so that the lens can take some knocking around. Naturally, the lenses are sealed with O-rings and purged with argon. That ensures that this scope is impervious to dust, fog, and water.
The coating of the scope is of note as well. Namely, it uses a special coating called ArmorTek to guard against scratches and dents. The finish is a matte black color so that it doesn’t reflect any light, which could give away your position.
In terms of adjustments and zoom controls, this scope has a lot to offer. The zero-reset control is very easy to use. All you need to do is lift up the reset turrets, dial it back to zero, and then put them back, and you are done.
However, some users have complained that the scope can sometimes move from zero after a few shots, due to recoil. Vortex may have used springs with less tension in this system, which would explain this problem.
This scope has a special MAG-Bar feature, which lets you change the zoom settings without moving your head. It features a red mark (which moves around), that tells you your current zoom settings. Some users have said they would prefer the mark to stay put, and the numbers to move. We think that’s just splitting hairs.
The great thing about the zoom capabilities of this scope is its Precision-Glide Erector system. It makes sure that zooming in and out is as smooth as possible. This is true even when the conditions are particularly harsh.
In terms of MOA, the adjustments are quite fine. This scope can adjust the MOA in ¼ increments for windage and elevation, with the total of 65 for both of these. There is also a positive click feature, which helps you line up your shot perfectly. On the left side of the scope, there is a focus adjustment, so that you can get rid of parallax at any magnification.
Another great feature of this scope is its quick focus eyepiece. This allows you to focus on your target as fast as possible. As great as the feature is, it has some problems with eye relief. Namely, when you’re using a weapon with high recoil, and at greater zoom settings, the lack of eye relief is a big problem. This is one area where competitors have the edge over Vortex.
The most important feature of the Vortex Viper is the ability to choose between multiple reticle styles. There are three different options available: a mil-dot reticle, a V-Plex wide reticle or a dead-hold BDC reticle.
The mil-dot is great for long distance shooting since you will need to think about the range, windage, and holdover. The V-Plex is a great general hunting option, as it’s so versatile. The BDC reticle is a great choice when you have to estimate holdover at various ranges.
We should point out here that the mil-dot is automatically set to 14x magnification. That means you can’t use it for mid-distance shots at all. It also means you have to make subtensions calculations yourself for other powers.
The final thing we want to mention for this scope is the great warranty. Namely, Vortex offers a so-called ‘VIP warranty.’ That stands for ‘Very Important Promise,’ and it means that Vortex will repair or replace the scope no matter what happens to it. That is quite a generous promise, especially when you consider the fact that the warranty is transferable.
This scope is the best fit for hunters who want to make long-range shots. To that end, it offers a lot of useful options and adjustments. The clarity of the picture it offers is unmatched, even at high magnifications. It is very sturdy, and it is bound to last a long time. However, even if there is some sort of problem, the manufacturer will just replace it for you, no questions asked!
In our book, all of the above makes this scope an extremely worthwhile investment. We hope this review has helped you make up your own mind about whether this scope is the right fit for your particular needs.
Born and raised in Missouri, Mark now lives in Murray with his wife and two sons. As a gun owner and hunting enthusiast he frequently participates in debates surrounding the Second Amendment.
Vortex Viper 6.5-20x50 Review
- Overall - 9.9/109.9/10
The Vortex Optics Viper 6.5-20x50 PA Mil Dot Reticle is a very good scope and one of the best in class.