Vortex Diamondback Tactical

Discussion in 'Optics Talk' started by East of Here, Sep 3, 2018.

  1. East of Here

    East of Here Positively Capital

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    I picked up my Vortex Diamondback Tactical FFP 6-24x50 on Saturday. Sunday night, I mounted it on my CZ455 Tacticool rimfire trainer and today I took it out for a test run. In case anyone is considering a low/mid range scope, I figured I would give it an informal review. I am using the Athlon Helos BTR that I took off the rifle as an illustrative reference point from another manufacturer rather than a direct performance comparison, so do not read too much into that. I will give opinions, but they are mainly just gonna be my own personal preferences.

    At the outset, the scope was boxed in typical fashion and included the scope, sunshade, cleaning cloth, product manual and reticle manual.

    IMG_20180903_191909.jpg

    IMG_20180903_191848.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
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  2. East of Here

    East of Here Positively Capital

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    Before mounting, I tested the turret to see how "positive" and tactile the clicks were. They are very pronounced:

     
  3. East of Here

    East of Here Positively Capital

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    By comparison, the Helos clicks are a bit softer/mushier, but they are still good. Overall, I'd say the Vortex turrets are much crisper:

     
  4. East of Here

    East of Here Positively Capital

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    The key differences in these 2 scopes (feature-wise) are that the Helos has lockable turrets and an illuminated reticle and the Vortex does not. Neither has a zero stop capability; though both have removeable/resettable turrets to set a zero. Both have solid knurled knobs. Because the Helos has lockable turrets, they are larger (taller) than the Vortex turrets:

    IMG_20180903_184920.jpg

    The Vortex knobs are lower profile:

    IMG_20180903_185120.jpg

    You will also note a big difference in the windage knobs. The Helos is numbered in one direction, while the Vortex specifically marks the numbers as "R" (right) and "L" (left), depending on direction. This is cool because you don't have to look at the outside of the turret cap to determine which direction you need to turn the knob, because you can see the direction on the dial. Of course, after zeroing, I seldom ever dial windage, and have memorized the windage directions, but it is still a nice entry level feature, I think.
     
  5. East of Here

    East of Here Positively Capital

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    Another difference is in the parallax adjustment. The Helos turns clockwise to infinity:

    IMG_20180903_184755.jpg

    The Vortex turns counterclockwise to infinity:

    IMG_20180903_184458.jpg
     
  6. East of Here

    East of Here Positively Capital

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    Interestingly, the magnification rings are also set up to work in opposite directions. The Helos magnification ring increases magnification by turning in a counterclockwise direction:

    IMG_20180903_184629.jpg

    The Vortex increases magnification by turning the ring in a clockwise direction:

    IMG_20180903_184542.jpg

    You will note that the Helos has a kind of "knob" on the magnification ring at "12" that gives you better leverage in turning the magnification ring. The Vortex does not have such a knob, but the movement is light and smooth enough that it does not need it. However, the Helos ring is so stiff, it really needs a full blown throw lever, not just a little knob. One of my gripes with the Helos is that the lug nuts on my pickup are easier to turn by hand than the magnification ring on that scope.
     
  7. East of Here

    East of Here Positively Capital

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    I carried the rifle out to Frontline Defense today and set up on a bench at 25 yards. I was gonna do 50, but it was a little breezy, and it was way too damn hot for me to lay on the concrete and get steady. But I figured it would still be okay for an initial run. It took 3 shots to zero:

    IMG_20180903_184413.jpg

    Then, I shot a 5 round group:

    IMG_20180903_184202.jpg

    I choked #5, misplaced my thumb and sent it left. Dammit...
     
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  8. Jerzsubbie

    Jerzsubbie Senior Member Charter Member Benefactor

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    I've been considering one of these for my .308 to replace my Viper but want to get my hands on one to compare the glass. The features seem too good to be true for the value.
     
  9. East of Here

    East of Here Positively Capital

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    I was happy with that zero, so decided I needed to do a rumdientary box tracking test. I first removed and re-indexed both the elevation and windage turrets to zero. I shot the center of a dot, then dialed right 4 MOA (I actually screwed up and dialed 15 clicks, not 16) and shot a round. Then I dialed down 16 clicks and right one click (to fix my mistake) and shot a round. Then I dialed left 16 clicks and shot a round. Then, I dialed up 16 clicks and fired a 5th round, which pretty much went right back through the first hole:

    IMG_20180903_162355.jpg

    I am not the steadiest S.O.B. on a bench, but I really think the scope tracks pretty damn well.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
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  10. East of Here

    East of Here Positively Capital

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    Then, for giggles, I took the rifle over to the 300 yard rimfire range and dialed it back and forth between 200, 250 and 300 and also did holdovers/holdunders for consistency with no problems whatsoever. Then, I went to the 500 yard platform:

    IMG_20180903_185343.jpg

    IMG_20180903_185426.jpg

    After finding the number and wind, I was able to go 10 for 10 at 400 a couple of times and then went about 25-30% at 500, but I was having trouble hearing hits, so it might've been a little better. From zero, I had 46.5 MOA of dial and another 40 in the reticle for holdovers. I was well beyond that at 500.
     
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  11. East of Here

    East of Here Positively Capital

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    Lastly, I weighed both scopes. The Helos had a bubble level and scope caps on. It weighed about 2 pounds:

    IMG_20180903_182815.jpg

    The Vortex weighed in at about 1.5 pounds (no caps or level installed):

    IMG_20180903_182758.jpg

    There is a definite and pronounced weight difference. The Helos really is a solid piece of gear.

    Another real practical difference between the two scopes is that the reticle subtensions on the Helos are about twice as thick as those on the Vortex.

    All that said, the glass quality seems to be comparable and both track and work well. The Helos has more features - illuminated reticle, lockable turrets, magnification ring knob, larger elevation and windage knobs. It also feels more "solid". It retails at about $525-$550.

    The Vortex is lighter, has crisper "clicks", thinner reticle, easier operation (windage and elevation directions clearly marked from behind) and smoother magnification operation. The reticle layouts are practically the same except the Vortex EBR-2C has no center crosshair, it has a void. It retails at about $400-$425.

    If I had to choose between the two on a rimfire (and I do), I'd probably (and will) choose the Vortex. This is mainly due to 3 factors. First, the Vortex reticle being thinner is a big deal for me. Second, the Vortex knobs and rings turn much crisper, easier and smoother. And third, the Vortex is $100-$150 cheaper.

    For a centerfire rifle, notwithstanding the price difference, I am not as certain I would pick the Diamondback over the Helos. The reticle thickness is not as much an issue with larger calibers, I wouldn't think. I also definitely think the Helos will withstand heavy recoil without issue because it really is built like a tank. The Diamondback may well hold up to recoil over time, but it is still too new a product to really know yet. I think it will, but time will tell. That being said, for serious long range or competition use, I think if I was gonna go with a Vortex product (other than a Razor, obviously), I would go with a Viper PST over the Diamondback, if only for the known performance and hard zero stop.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
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  12. East of Here

    East of Here Positively Capital

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    This scope is not really an upgrade over a comparable Viper (PST). The glass seems comparable, but the Diamondback is made in China, not the Phillipines . It also lacks features (to make the price point). I do think it should hold up to the recoil of a .308, but it does not feel quite as solid to me as the Viper PST currently on my centerfire rifle. That said, I am initially impressed with the Diamondback - with the caveat that I am only running it on a rimfire rifle. However, like anything, your needs, opinions and mileage may vary.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
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  13. Jerzsubbie

    Jerzsubbie Senior Member Charter Member Benefactor

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    @East of Here mine is a non-PST so it seems like the features would be a big upgrade and I’m purely guessing that the glass would be similar.
    I’m not too concerned about build country since Vortex has their no BS warranty and the scopes I’ve handled in the past of Diamondback and above seemed to be well built.
    Thanks for sharing all of this info.
     
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  14. East of Here

    East of Here Positively Capital

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    No problem. These are relatively new to the market and there is not much information out there other than marketing fluff. One other thing I forgot to mention is that this thing has very good eye relief - probably 3.5 - 4 inches. In fact, it has at least 1/2 an inch to 3/4 inch more eye relief than the Helos - for what that is worth.
     
  15. jimmyjames8

    jimmyjames8 Active Member Supporting Member

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    Here's a review I posted on EuroOptic: Bright clear glass that looks better than it probably should for the money. The 30mm tube should allow for 100 minutes of elevation but you only get 60 or so. The clicks are a little mushy but serviceable. The turrets do not go in and out or up and down however you want to look at it. A little weird but again servicable. The reticle has 36 minutes of hash marks that are only viewable at about half zoom or less. Scope comes with a sunshade and bikini covers that stretch to accomodate the added length of the shade tube. The turrets zero by way of a coin slot plastic screw cap instead of the much more user friendly spring loaded pop up kind. At the 1000yd steel range, I was able to get hits with the scope strapped to a Brux bbld 308 Remy 700 all the way to 1000. Due to getting a 0 moa base in a 15 moa blister pack (not from EuroOptic). I had to use the 36 minute hash mark to get the hit at 1000, thus demonstrating the usefulness of the moa hash marks. I think this is an amazing scope for the price. I would like to have seen popup zero reset and a 100 minutes of elevation adjustment but i guess those features had to be sacrificed to get to this price point.

    I have access to a lab that can measure a few things on optics. Informal results were that the mechanical zero and optical zero of this scope were very close. The measured resolution and contrast were not so good but as stated above, the glass is clear and bright to these almost 60 year old eyes. I think its a pretty good value for the money. I dont know anyone else doing 6-24x50 FFP at this price point.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2018
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  16. East of Here

    East of Here Positively Capital

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    I am surprised to hear the clicks described as "a little mushy" in your review because mine really aren't very mushy at all. But then, I don't know what other scopes you may be comparing it to. I guess they may seem a bit mushy to some folks depending on their personal experience with other scopes. For reference, I'd say the clicks on mine are comparable to my Viper PST. Also, I think my total dialable adjustment range (zero notwithstanding) was just about 70 MOA +/- a few. From my zero, I could dial up 46.5 MOA or down about 20-22 MOA. It has plenty of room for what I am doing with it. I have to say that despite the lack of features, this scope still seems to be a pretty good value for the money.
     
  17. jmccracken1214

    jmccracken1214 Essayons! Supporting Member

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    Glad to see a good review on this. I've been eyeing a Ruger predator in 6.5 Grendel to shoot and help keep the round count on my 6mm Creedmoor down and wanted this scope for it. Goal is a lightweight package that I can nail steel with out to 1000, take hunting, varmint rifle, etc and not weigh 17lbs like my 6mm.

    Plus, I get military discount on this through vortex which makes it pretty cheap. Thanks for the write up!
     
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  18. Sneakymedic

    Sneakymedic Super Moderator Staff Member Charter Member Benefactor

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    Good write up!
     
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  19. jmccracken1214

    jmccracken1214 Essayons! Supporting Member

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    Went to order one with my Mil. discount, 6-24 was backordered until late Nov. so I got a 4-16 FFP for a little cheaper. Didnt want the 44mm OBJ, but oh well. On a order wait list for a 6-24. May sell the 4-16 when they come in but Im thinking 16x will be fine for 100-1000 yards on the grendel.
     
  20. East of Here

    East of Here Positively Capital

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    I would think the 4-16 would do fine. I've found that I prefer to keep my 6-24 Viper at about 12-14X max when shooting out to 1000, just to maximize the clarity and cut down on the mirage.
     
  21. jmccracken1214

    jmccracken1214 Essayons! Supporting Member

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    I rarely go above 18 power on my 6 to 30 when shooting out to 1000.
    the company called me back later the same day and told me they had a surprise truck of the 6 to 24 Diamondback show up and asked if I wanted to switch my order for 30 more dollars so of course I did
     
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  22. jmccracken1214

    jmccracken1214 Essayons! Supporting Member

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    So, my only beef with this scope, and this is really my only issue. The glass is great. Can't be beat at this, or higher prices.

    The elevation turret.... I dont like that it only has 5 mil's per rotation. And I don't like that it doesnt have any markers, so if you forget where you dialed to, you wont know where zero is.

    That really bugs me, but thats all. Everything else is great.
     

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