Vortex Viper PST Initial Impressions
Just ask any serious shooter and they’ll tell you that quality glass is a must-have on a gun. In fact, I’ve heard some people tell me to spend at least half as much on your optic as you do on your gun. Now, while I don’t quite 100% agree with that, I do get where they’re coming from. There are quite a few scopes out there that give you good quality and lots of features for not a lot of money (Burris and Nikon are two that immediately jump out to me). Here’s the lineup of scopes/red dots I currently own and what they’re mounted on:
- Vortex StrikeFire Red/Green Dot (Smith & Wesson AR-15)
- Burris AR-332 (CMMG AR-15)
- Nikon ProStaff 3-9×40 (Remington 700)
- Leupold VX-I 2-7×32 (Mossberg 500)
- Leupold VX-I 3-9×40 (Remington R-15)
Not one of those optics cost me over $400, yet all of them have fantastic quality and a lot of features for the money.
When purchasing optics I’m always on the lookout for value. I certainly don’t mind paying big money for glass, but it absolutely has to hold some value to me. I think I found that perfect mix of cost and value when I bought a Vortex Viper PST 6-24×50 for my new Springfield M1A Loaded rifle. J
When I first started researching optics for my new M1A, I originally had my heart set on a Leupold Mark 4 LR/T (I’m a big fan of Leupolds). However, after looking around at reviews the Vortex Viper PST kept on coming up, and most everyone said it had just as good, if not better, glass than the Leupold. That, and it was roughly $200-$400 cheaper. Interesting. After reading constant reviews of people just absolutely glowing about this scope, I decided to get it. After doing some digging, I ended up purchasing it from Camera Land for $949.00. Not too bad of a price when you consider all the features you’re getting (more on those in a second). You also get a bikini scope cover and a sunshade. Additional options include an ARD killflash and custom turrets for your particular load.
When purchasing optics, the next step is to find quality rings. When buying rings I usually go with either Burris or Weaver, but a higher-end scope calls for higher ends rings. I bought Badger Ordnance medium 30MM rings for $144 from Primary Arms.
As I promised, here are some of the features and specs of the Viper PST
- Magnification – 6-24x (variable)
- Objective Lens Diameter – 50 mm
- Eye Relief – 4”
- Field of View (FOV) – 17.8-5.1 ft @ 100 yards
- Tube Size – 30 mm
- Turret Style – Tall Uncapped, CRS Zero Stop
- Adjustment Graduation – ¼ MOA
- Max Elevation Adjustment – 65 MOA
- Max Windage Adjustment – 65 MOA
- Length – 15.5”
- Weight – 23 ounces
- First Focal Plan Reticle (yes, you read that right. An FFP reticle for under $1000!)
- XD Lens Elements
- XR Lens Coating (fully multi-coated lenses)
- 30 mm one piece tube
- Aircraft-Grade Aluminum
- Waterproof, shockproof, fogproof
- Glass-etched illuminated reticle
- Side parallax adjustment
- CRS Zero Stop – prevents dialing more than on rotation below your zero so you don’t lose the zero when dialing large amounts of elevation corrections
That’s a TON of features for a not a lot of money. To get a Leupold with an FFP reticle and comparable magnification, you’d have to spend a minimum of $1400 (depending on turrets, reticle, etc.).
The Viper PST I picked was the 6-24×50 with the EBR-1 MOA reticle. In my opinion, dialing for MOA is easier than dialing for Mils. It’s also nice that the MOA-based subtension lines of the reticle match the turrets, too.
When picking up this scope the first thing you’ll notice is the quality of construction. It’s not a light scope by any means; however, for this class of scope it’s not a heavyweight either. All the knobs, including windage/elevation, parallax, and illumination, are within easy reach and feel quality. Not too loose, but not too tight either.
And the glass…ohhhh, the glass. It’s absolutely wonderful. Even set on its max range of 24x the glass is crystal clear and images are very sharp. Although I highly doubt I’ll have it set on this high of setting too often, especially on a hot day.
So far I’m pretty impressed. This is a very high quality piece of glass for not a ton of money. As soon as my M1A gets here I’ll have a full review, including zeroing, groupings, etc.