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Why this love affair with Vortex? (A Rant) Login/Join 
addicted to trailing-throttle oversteer
posted
Regarding their riflescopes...I just don't get it, this continuing love affair people have with Vortex optics.

A few years ago when Vortex really hit the market in a major way, I DID get why Vortex was so appealing; aggressive pricing structure coupled with a lifetime warranty that's as close to being unconditional as one can without actually being so. The optics quality was good but IMHO not the greatest at each of their respective price tiers, but given the kinds of savings a buyer was realizing they represented tremendous value, likely they were the best all-around one could possibly find.

But a few years on to today, that once aggressive pricing is no longer the value leader it once was. Vortex is likely paying a price for that warranty of theirs and at the retail counter many of their optics are more expensive than they once were. Other companies have sharpened their accounting pencils and have either held the line on price hikes or even have lowered prices on certain key segment optics. Leupold for instance came out with their VX-3i line that IMHO offers superior value, particularly when coupled with actual optical performance. Warranties from many competitors today are as good or nearly as good as what Vortex offers. And then there's that previously mentioned actual optical quality; Vortex has gotten better with some of their models and lines, but still I find units that are just plain disappointing.

Frankly, Vortex doesn't seem to know how to make variable 1x scopes. I had a StrikeEagle 1-6 that I couldn't wait to get rid of. Set at anywhere from 1 to 3x, the amount of image edge distortion was quite annoying; pan the target area with that thing and I felt like I was looking through some sort of bizarrely made, vivid colorless kaleidoscope, given the amount of waviness there is along the edges around the sight picture. Later examples I've sampled have been EXACTLY the same way. The Viper PST 1-6 I tried for a weekend was also the same, though the amount of edge distortion was less pronounced in that upmarket unit. Still, my Steiner, Bushnell Elite, Leupold and Accupoint 1x/1.25x variable scopes have ZERO distortion of any type at the lowest settings.

Then there's the 800 ton (Magilla) gorilla in my kit, the Vortex 1-6x24 Razor Gen2 that I have. It TOO has the same kind of low power edge distortion as its lessor 1x variable siblings. I compared it to the sample we have in our shop; the same damned edge distortion in both when set at low power. And this is supposed to be a scope that's more than worthy of its $1400 price point!

Not to me. It's bad enough that it's a HEAVY mutha, but a distorted one as well? The 'for sale' sign couldn't be made fast enough. And sold just as fast, to a poor soul that fell in love with that bronzy-coppery housing apparently, and didn't notice the wavy sight picture at all when he looked down its tube. That one never made it on any of my rifles, and I'm glad. I'm more glad that I managed to get my money back out of it.

Then there's the problem with higher power scopes and light flaring when sighting in low horizon sunlight (early morning/late afternoon) conditions. Turns out most competent scope companies apply their multi-coat layers over ALL surfaces of their lenses, including the edges. Vortex for the longest time did not, and still does not with some of their scope lines. The amount of glare that results from this oversight in these conditions makes for a quite unusable optic, exactly right when that buck or coyote was within one's sights (well, it WOULD be if only you could actually make it out through all of the glare).

Sure the warranty is still stupendous. But what GOOD is it if all they do is send you another scope that does exactly the same thing?

Now not all of their scopes are that horrible. I've used a FFP Viper PST 5-25 on my boss's long range .260 whose glass is pretty nice, with very good clarity and brightness though the reticle was a mishmash of visual clutter to this long-distance neophyte. But even my boss says it's sometimes a bit much to decipher compared to his other long distance glass on his other guns.

So, after this long winded rant, I ask again...what exactly IS IT about Vortex riflescopes that make them so lovable?
 
Posts: 8983 | Location: Drippin' wet | Registered: April 18, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Wait, what?
Picture of gearhounds
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A somewhat related bit of subject matter-

I picked up a Palmetto deal that included a Sparc red dot with normally $200 price point almost anywhere you look. Minimal parallax, which is nice, but an annoying PWM (pulse width modulation) that really stands out during your movement behind the sight. I understand the value of PWM; it vastly increases the battery life of the extremely low mAh AAA battery it uses (itself a perk for an easily found, cheap power source), but not the best for fast, dynamic movements you will likely engage in using a red dot. My Primary Arms Micro is smaller, lighter, has no PWM, and a sharper dot to boot. It seems this unit should cost less than it does.




"You forget what you want to remember and you remember what you want to forget”.
The man
 
Posts: 10114 | Location: Martinsburg WV | Registered: April 02, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Cheap sells.
 
Posts: 3306 | Registered: September 13, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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OK, so you don't like Vortex. You aren't the first. You won't be the last.

Take a deep breath or two. Maybe five.
Sell the Vortex optics you don't like.
Re-invest in other brands of optics.
Take a deep breath. Again.

This ain't rocket science.
 
Posts: 5943 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
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I think about this a lot.

I believe that there’s a tendency to purchase loyalty in this sort of thing: We’ve spent the money and that depresses our critical thinking abilities. I freely admit that I’m susceptible to it and find it difficult to overcome. Often it takes some time for the excitement of the newness to evaporate and allow me to look at something objectively.

But that’s not all. In reading the posts here, it’s often obvious that many people simply don’t have the experience or analytical ability to judge their purchases objectively. Again, my experiences with scopesights, for example, are limited to specific brands (virtually all Leupold) and models. The same is with handguns. For a very long time my experience with handguns was limited to SIG Classic line pistols. That means I’m in no position to claim to know that Leupold sights or SIG pistols are better or worse than NightForce or Glocks.

What’s more, how many people know what barrel distortion in an optical device is? If we don’t even know what that term refers to, we’re probably not going to recognize it, much less object to it unless it’s really horrible. The hunter who manages to zero his scope despite the device’s poor tracking and mushy adjustments will probably forget the difficulties he had in time (again, even if he recognizes that things were more difficult than they should have been). If we forget a bad experience, it certainly won’t affect our future decisions or recommendations.

I believe those are a couple of the causes of meaningless or even misleading opinions. It’s important for anyone who’s asking for opinions to keep in mind that opinions should be analyzed just as we analyze the devices or actions themselves. In addition, though, those of us who offer reviews and opinions have an obligation to be thoughtful and ask ourselves if we really know what we’re talking about. We shouldn’t exaggerate our knowledge or experience and owe it to ourselves and others to always ask ourselves what our own basis of knowledge is. Have we realistically considered and perhaps tested the alternatives? Answering specific questions is very helpful, but only if they’re based on experience and not something we may have heard only from others or even just imagined.




“I can’t give you brains, but I can give you a diploma.”
— The Wizard of Oz
 
Posts: 39694 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Hop head
Picture of lyman
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Vortex marketed themselves well,
they became The Scope to have,

I've learned, when something becomes The One, I look at other stuff,

cynical, yes, but I have been a bandwagon jumper



www.chesterfieldarmament.com
 
Posts: 7580 | Location: Beach VA,not VA Beach | Registered: July 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by sigfreund:

those of us who offer reviews and opinions have an obligation to be thoughtful and ask ourselves if we really know what we’re talking about. We shouldn’t exaggerate our knowledge or experience and owe it to ourselves and others to always ask ourselves what our own basis of knowledge is. Have we realistically considered and perhaps tested the alternatives?



Well said.
 
Posts: 2579 | Location: 9860 ft above sea level Colorado | Registered: December 31, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Go ahead punk, make my day
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quote:
Originally posted by fritz:
OK, so you don't like Vortex. You aren't the first. You won't be the last.

Take a deep breath or two. Maybe five.
Sell the Vortex optics you don't like.
Re-invest in other brands of optics.
Take a deep breath. Again.

This ain't rocket science.
Yup.

I have one Vortex, a PST Gen 2 1-6x24 which I like well enough, but it had to go back and was replaced, since the first batch of them had some defective illumination circuits. So far so good with the second one, but for a budget 1-6 it's nice for half the price of the Razor and a couple ouches lighter.

For people thinking that Vortex's cheap 1-6 and 1-8s are going to be all that and a bag of chips for $300, that isn't reality.

Looking forward to the Nightforce NX-8 1-8 scope this year.
 
Posts: 42207 | Registered: July 12, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Fighting the good fight
Picture of RogueJSK
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Like you, I've been underwhelmed with the handful of Vortex optics I've tried.

They seem to have positioned themselves at an awkward intersection of price and quality, where they're not cheap enough yet not high quality enough.

Personally, if I'm going to go cheap on a range toy, Primary Arms' stuff has similar quality but is cheaper. (Although they've been creeping up in price lately.)

And if I'm not going to go cheap, might as well spend a bit more for a Leupold/Steiner/etc.
 
Posts: 22634 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by sigfreund:

I believe those are a couple of the causes of meaningless or even misleading opinions. It’s important for anyone who’s asking for opinions to keep in mind that opinions should be analyzed just as we analyze the devices or actions themselves. In addition, though, those of us who offer reviews and opinions have an obligation to be thoughtful and ask ourselves if we really know what we’re talking about. We shouldn’t exaggerate our knowledge or experience and owe it to ourselves and others to always ask ourselves what our own basis of knowledge is. Have we realistically considered and perhaps tested the alternatives? Answering specific questions is very helpful, but only if they’re based on experience and not something we may have heard only from others or even just imagined.


This is very well-said.

In the end we always have to remind ourselves that we really have no idea about the responses we get.

But I also have found very good info in the most unlikely places in life. So I always try to be open to various opinions even from 'non-experts'.

It would be the analogy of a general - who wanted to get a true assessment of how things were going in an area. He could listen to a bunch of BS briefings from highly polished colonels and majors - or he could go off the beaten track and talk to some young enlisted guys and junior officers to get the 'real deal'.

I like getting breadth of opinion and I think we get that here.

============================================


Proverbs 27:17 - As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
 
Posts: 7269 | Location: Florida | Registered: September 20, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Transplanted Hillbilly
Picture of Fire Away
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I have four Vipers (two HSTs and two PSTs) and I think they are great for the price I paid. I have had Leupolds as well and I would chose the Vortex. I'm not a scope expert or scope snob and don't have a lot of experience with other brands so maybe I don't know what is good or bad.
 
Posts: 1795 | Location: Central Pennsylvania | Registered: December 08, 1999Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Im not a huge fan of their scopes but the Viper HD 10x42 binoculars I have are awesome for the $$$.
 
Posts: 4875 | Location: Alaska | Registered: June 12, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
It's pronounced just
the way it's spelled
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I have to say I'm with the OP. I recently picked up a Vortex 6-24x50mm HST. The eye relief was adequate, but changed by over an inch from 6 to 24. I probably could have gotten over that, but the vignette effect (dark arcs around the image) was severe if I moved my head a millimeter at higher powers, and wasn't great at lower powers. I sent it back. I've never had a riflescope with this high a magnification, so maybe my expectations were out of line. I have a Nikon 3-10 (or thereabouts) without these issues. I've never heard of Leupolds with this issue either.
 
Posts: 841 | Location: Arid Zone A | Registered: February 14, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I Am The Walrus
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soggy_spinout,

Thanks for the post, it was good reading.

I've always wondered why they were so popular. I have a Sparc myself that came with my AR when I bought years ago. I guess I can't compare it to anything else besides the M88 that I've used with the Army a handful of times. Other times I've used an ACOG or iron sights.

I have perused Vortex items and they always seemed a bit lower in price than other options.

Who makes the Primary Arms optics?


_____________

Edmond
 
Posts: 10047 | Location: Central Florida | Registered: March 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Oriental Redneck
Picture of 12131
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quote:
Originally posted by Edmond:
Who makes the Primary Arms optics?

Primary Arms branded optics are Chicom. That was fact. Don't know if they have changed since the early days, but they were originally Chicom.

Vortex is Vortex. I could be wrong, but the cheap ones have glass made in the Philippines?


Q


2016 MAGA ---> 2020 KAG
* P228 factoids *


 
Posts: 17585 | Location: TEXAS | Registered: September 04, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Chris Anchor
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I only own one Vortex, a Strike Eagle, nice scope for the price. Well made and super clear even for my old eyes. I would buy a Vortex for the next rifle that needs a scope. Chris
 
Posts: 1832 | Location: Cecil Co. Maryland | Registered: January 08, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of mutedblade
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quote:
Originally posted by soggy_spinout:

So, after this long winded rant, I ask again...what exactly IS IT about Vortex riflescopes that make them so lovable?


Honestly, I think this is pretty simple: They offered stuff people wanted!

The amount of features within a certain price point is hard to overlook. Not many scope manufacturers were offering externally adjustable turrets with MIL/MIL or MOA/MOA adjustments at price points that suited a lot of distance shooters. Have you noticed the amount of shooters that actually got into PRS or long range shooting because they finally didn't have to spend thousands on a Schmidt & Bender, U.S. Optics, Leupold MK whatever, or a NightForce? In addition, firearms makers began hitting price points that became interesting to more folks.

The optics are generally suitable and very usable for their given price point. Some manufacturers may have better glass, but don't offer the reticle or turret style someone is looking for. Again, I think Vortex listened to the community and offered products that people wanted. They had price points for everyone and with the demand, people could buy at one price point and when funds allowed, sell it and move to another. Pretty slick if you ask me.

Demand has pushed their prices up in the past 2 years though and that's a shame. Some folks have noticed and gone to Athlon which seems to be trying to beat Vortex at their own game...I am just happy that we as shooters have more choices other than Wally World Simmons, Bushnell, and Tasco.

Edited to make correction to show correct manufacturer.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: mutedblade,


___________________________
No thanks, I've already got a penguin.
 
Posts: 1627 | Location: Lake Anna, VA | Registered: May 07, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I think you meant to say Athlon. Ares is a model in the Athlon line of scopes.

To the OP, save a little longer and buy a Nighforce F1 in the power range you desire. The only thing about the Razor line I like are the turrets and "true" zero. Otherwise I'll spend the extra $500 and get a Nighforce.
 
Posts: 1788 | Location: Ohio | Registered: October 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Go ahead punk, make my day
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by 12131:
Vortex is Vortex. I could be wrong, but the cheap ones have glass made in the Philippines?

Strike Eagle line is Chicom. The rest is a mix of PI, Japan, and US made stuff.
 
Posts: 42207 | Registered: July 12, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Oriental Redneck
Picture of 12131
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by RHINOWSO:
quote:
Originally posted by 12131:
Vortex is Vortex. I could be wrong, but the cheap ones have glass made in the Philippines?

Strike Eagle line is Chicom. The rest is a mix of PI, Japan, and US made stuff.

Are Primary Arms branded optics still Chicom?


Q


2016 MAGA ---> 2020 KAG
* P228 factoids *


 
Posts: 17585 | Location: TEXAS | Registered: September 04, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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