The Gen II is Vortex’s update of their Viper PST range and features newly designed glass, improved controls, wider zoom range, more travel and a new reticle.
Typical of a tactical scope, it makes use of a first focal (FFP) reticle and is available in MOA or MRAD. We received the MRAD version for testing.
This scope, with its 30mm tube, is compact and its 32mm objective lens facilitates low mounting on almost any rifle – even if fitted with a picatinny rail that extends much further forward than normal, making it ideal for AR-type rifles. Notwithstanding the compact design the scope weighs 745 grams and hefting it gives the impression that it’s built like a tank.
The test model has Vortex’s EBR-4 reticle (see photo) that’s laser etched on the glass, and I found the sight picture uncluttered and easy to use. Being a first focal plane reticle, it can be used for ranging at all magnification settings, though at lower magnification, it becomes hard to see the reticle clearly or to use the sub-tensions. This is a problem with all FFP reticles when used at low magnification, but on this model there are two ways to work around this – more about this later.
I mounted the scope on my Victrix rifle and tried ranging various objects. Using MRAD means that each click on the turrets moves the point of impact 1cm at 100m. To use the sub-tensions to range an object you must use a reference of known dimensions, for example, using a bakkie’s wheel rim (e.g. 16 inches) or the dimensions of an animal’s chest or head, etc. To calculate the distance in metres, the known size (in metres) is multiplied by 1000 and then divided by the MRAD measurement on the reticle. To test this I placed several objects at varying distances, used the reticle to calculate the distance and then verified it with a rangefinder. Though the results were not identical, the difference would be of no practical significance when shooting in the field. However, taking accurate measurements with the sub-tensions means that the scope must be kept absolutely still – using a sturdy rest is a must.
This ranging method is fairly straightforward provided you know the size of an object more-or-less at the same range you plan to shoot, and it obviates the need to carry a rangefinder. Whichever method you choose, ranging with the reticle or using a separate rangefinder, Vortex has a nifty ballistic application that calculates trajectories and scope adjustment that is cell-phone operable. This simplifies “dialling in” on a target considerably.
Read the full article in the January 2018 issue of Magnum.