Vortex Viper HSLR and PST Riflescopes
Sept/Oct 2014 Issue of MuleyCrazy Magazine
by Steve Monk
It’s no secret that advances in range-finding technology and long-range shooting have dramatically changed big game hunting. Long shots that were once considered extreme, or even unethical, are now “chip-shots”, with the right equipment and a proper scenario. With that being said, much of the top-end equipment that will give you this capability can be very expensive, with riflescopes alone exceeding the $2000 mark.
Many hunters would like to extend their effective distance, but feel that it is financially out of reach for them. Fortunately, there is an answer for the countless hunters who are in this category. Many hunters, including myself, have little interest in shooting 1,000+ yards, especially at a deer-sized target, but we would like to be able to confidently shoot at 500, or even 600 yards. With today’s technology, this is not only possible for the average guy, but also very affordable.
True Turret Technology
One of the most significant advances in accurate long-range hunting, is the ability to have a custom turret, engraved with yardage marks, based on your bullet’s specific ballistic information and some other factors such as elevation, temperature, etc. You can also have multiple turrets made for the different altitudes and conditions you hunt in, making certain that your rifle will still be dead on. Having the ability to quickly range a buck, dial your scope to the proper yardage and confidently shoot is a huge advantage in the field.
For the vast majority of hunters in the mule deer world, this is as complex as we need or want it to be. The last thing I want to be doing is checking a chart, calculating minutes-of-angle and counting clicks, when the biggest buck of my life is feeding across the canyon. I favor a custom turret because I like things to be simple and easy.
Riflescopes with hold-over reticles have been very popular, but there are limitations to those. For instance, if you want your drop compensation to be accurate, you have to make sure that your scope is at a certain magnification. Otherwise, your reticle size will change, making the distance between the hash marks in the reticle smaller or larger compared to your target. To remedy this, a first focal plane scope will ensure that the reticle stays proportional to the target throughout the zoom range of the scope. However, the price of the scope goes up significantly compared to a second focal plane scope - the type of scope the average guy is used to. If you plan on getting a custom turret, the first focal plane and hold-over marks are of little use, as you’ll always have your crosshairs on your target.
For guys looking to keep costs down and still gain the ability to range, dial and pound a buck at long distance, Vortex has many options in their riflescope lineup. I’ll highlight a couple of the scopes that MuleyCrazy Optics has sold the most of, and for very good reason.
Many of the more experienced shooters who call into our office have done their research and know what they are looking for. The Viper PST (Precision-Shooting/Tactical) has been one of our best-sellers. This scope has exposed windage and elevation turrets and a 30mm tube, allowing for maximum elevation adjustment and light transmission. The most popular EBR-1 reticle uses subtension lines for ranging, holdover and windage corrections. The quality of the extra-low dispersion glass is awesome and very impressive for a riflescope at this price point. For guys who know their stuff and want a very precise, tactical shooting and hunting scope, this is a scope loaded with features and quality, and it’s no secret why it’s a favorite among serious shooters.
In early August, the annual Vortex Extreme was held in Tremonton, Utah. It’s a long-range shooting competition with 50 teams, a seven-mile course featuring realistic long-range hunting scenarios, and targets out to 1,700 yards. Team MuleyCrazy was comprised of Vick Wheeler and Ken Lamb. Both were shooting the Viper PST on their long-range rifles. After they had practiced extensively before the Vortex Extreme, Vick, who is a very experienced long-range tactical shooter, called the office and told me that he was extremely impressed with both the quality and accuracy of the PST.
For anyone close to Northern Utah looking for a very fun and challenging long-range competition, I would advise you to mark your calendars for the Vortex Extreme next summer.
By far, our best-selling scope has been the Viper HSLR (Hunting/Shooting-Long-Range) 4-16x44. This scope features a 30mm tube, which will gather far more light than a standard 1-inch tube. In low-light scenarios that are prevalent in mule deer hunting, a 30mm tube can make all the difference in being able to see clearly, especially if the distance is significant. The HSLR has a capped windage turret, while the elevation turret is exposed to allow quick adjustments. This scope has a simple Dead-Hold BDC (Bullet Drop Compensation) reticle, however, I would highly recommend getting a custom turret and saying goodbye to the old days of hold-over.
For an additional $110, a custom turret makes a deadly combination of simplicity, long-range effectiveness and affordability.
I recently put this exact scope on my Tikka 270WSM and I absolutely love it. After sighting in and ordering a custom turret, I’ve spent a good amount of time at the range and have been very impressed with the accuracy and quality of the HSLR. I’ve never been someone who shoots just for fun, and I certainly would not consider myself a long-range shooting expert; I practice shooting so I can hunt more effectively. The Viper HSLR has allowed me to extend my effective range significantly, without a big investment. As I said before, I have little interest in trying to shoot a deer at 1,000+ yards, but I can honestly say that a big buck is in serious trouble if he’s anywhere under 600. In my opinion, the HSLR is a perfect fit for the average guy who wants a simple, accurate and affordable long-range solution.
Vortex VIP Warranty
Another great reason that a Vortex scope is a great option for your hunting rifle is the warranty. It’s an unconditional, unlimited lifetime warranty. If you happen to leave your gun leaning against the front bumper your tuck and drive away, even after you’ve crunched the scope to pieces, you’re covered. Your hunt might be over, but at least a new scope can be on its way shortly. This is one of the many reasons that Vortex Optics has gained so much momentum the past decade. A warranty like that is very valuable.
The ability to shoot accurately at long distances is well within reach for the average mule deer hunter and you don’t have to spend thousand of dollars to do it. A good rangefinder, a rifle and bullet that will shoot decent groups and a quality scope with true turret capabilities are really all you need. Spend a little time the range, and when that buck-of-a-lifetime is in the crosshairs, you’ll be ready. Good luck this season!
1X Muzzleloader Scope
Some states, like my home state of Utah, allow scopes on muzzleloaders, but they cannot have any magnification. With this in mind, Vortex has introduced the new Crossfire II 1x24 Muzzleloader scope. It retails for $99 and is a great piece of equipment. Something that is very neat about this scope is the ability to substantially extend your accurate range with a muzzleloader, by using the same true turret concept. It takes quite a bit of shooting and adjusting, but simply marking the turret for different yardages allows you to range, dial and shoot. It’s much better than guessing how high to hold, as a muzzleloader’s trajectory is drastic. Using this scope, I’ve got my muzzleloader dialed, shooting out to 250 yards and holding a 3-inch group. I haven’t shot any farther than that yet, but I am excited to see what it will do!
If you're interested in the Viper PST, HSLR, any other riflescope or rangefinders, don’t hesitate to call MuleyCrazy Optics at 435-644-2486. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have.