Last summer and fall I was sent a rifle and scope to test and review for Eastmans’ largest gun/scope review to date. The Vortex Viper HS LR 6-24x50mm was the scope that came with my MK-V .240 Weatherby for testing. While it may have been a bit of overkill for the diminutive rifle, the scope performed flawlessly.
The model I tested was equipped with Vortex’s proprietary ballistic reticle and I had never previously used the turret in a hunting situation. Once matched with the speedy little Barnes pills from the .240, the reticle was lights out. I spent a significant amount of time on the range with this rig as I wanted to truly test the scope’s capabilities for hunting. Sighting Vortex’s proprietary XLR reticle was simple and I found the MOA subtension-style reticle to be both friendly and effective. In fact, the reticle was so easy to use that it was all I used for shots under 500 yards. That being said, I found the target-style turrets for windage and elevation to be reliable as well.
There was no lag in adjustment or response in the turrets and functionality was flawless; DOPE the yardage and wind, dial the correct number of clicks or MOA’s and send it. The scope worked in harmony with the little Weatherby to deliver accurate results on every shot if I did my part on the shooting end of things. The return to zero was never an issue.
As for the optical quality, the crisp, clear picture and generous eye relief of this scope made breaking clay pigeons or smashing milk jugs full of water a slam dunk! Edge to edge clarity on the Viper was perfect and more than I was expecting from a scope in this price range. I purposely spent time at the range under low light conditions to mimic hunting situations where quite often shots on game occur during first and last light. The Viper’s brightness was superb and I never once felt limited by my glass. Target acquisition was just as quick and easy in low light as under a scorching midday Wyoming summer sun. Hits were easy to make no matter what the light conditions were and the bold marks on the XLR reticle eliminated the “fuzziness” that so often accompanies target style reticles under low light.
As this is a hunting scope review, let us get down to the brass tacks of what this scope can do in the field, where it matters. When it was time to hunt, the Vortex was reliable and rugged. I never worried about it, just ranged and sent it, Bang, Flop… what more can be asked of a hunting scope? In hunting, I’m not very comfortable taking shots much past 400 yards and I prefer shots much closer if I can get them. Therefore, the XLR reticle was my go-to shooting system instead of the dial. As it turned out, I needed neither. Of the three pronghorns killed with this setup, none were further than 300 yards and all that was required of the scope was the crosshair. The .240 is a laser disguised as a rifle cartridge and the crosshair was sighted dead on at 300 yards, eliminating the need to incorporate the XLR’s MOA subtensions.
I can honestly say that as for quality, reliability, form and function the Vortex Viper HS LR stands alone in its price range. While some may feel this particular model of scope may be more than they might need, I would apply the old Ruark adage only slightly modified, “use enough scope.” This is one that will not let you down and as I can attest, performs perfectly as a Western big game hunting optic.