I recently picked up a Vortex Viper HS-T 6-24x50 with a 30mm tube to put on top of a multi-purpose long range rifle.
I wanted a scope that would work for longer range coyote or deer hunting, but would also be suitable for some bench shooting.
The 6-24 seemed like a reasonable choice and I have been happy with other Vortex products I have. For the money, I think they are a great optic. For reference, this one was $640. Originally I was looking at the Viper PST, but ended up changing my mind to to cost, features, and unfortunately, availability.
I mounted the scope to a new Savage 12 LRP in 243 with a Nightforce 1-Piece 20 MOA Base and a set of Vortex Precision Matched Rings. I made sure when mounting that the scope was level to the action of the gun by leveling the base, rings, and the top turret of the scope. Given this was a new gun, I needed to finish some load development before I could really test out the accuracy of the scope. With load development finished this morning (just under 1/2 moa for now), I set out to test the scope tracking.
First, let me say the scope is clear and bright. The eyepiece is easy to focus, although I'm near one end of the adjustment for my eyes. The exposed turrets have solid clicks and the elevation turret has a zero stop setting. The magnification ring is stiff is but smooth. The scope comes with a sunshade and usually keep them on to help protect the lens.
One thing I noticed in my sight in a load development shooting is that the parallax reference marks appear to be off. To get a crisp target image at 100 yd, I have it set closer to the 150 mark. Not a big problem, but something to be aware of.
Now, on to today's testing. I had printed up a computer drafted MOA chart that would let me check the scopes tracking and return to zero. The chart is drawn to the exact moa of 1.047" for 100 yd use.
Tall target test
I intend to take this gun out past 500 yards so the scope must track correctly. A tall target test is a better way to measure any inaccuracies the tracking. You shoot at a spot low on the paper and keep dialing in elevation to make the bullet impacts rise. When everything is correct, there should be no horizontal shift and the vertical movement should correlate to exactly what you dialed in. I shot a pair at 0, a pair at +10, and a pair at +20 moa. As you can see there is no horizontal shift and the vertical movement is almost perfect. It appears that at the 20 moa mark it is about 1/2 click (1/8") off. Given that I moved 80 clicks, a 1/2 click off is under 1%. That's pretty good.
The box test
Just like it sounds, shoot a series of shots at a constant aiming point while dialing the turrets to form a box. The photo here shows the results of a 100 yd test. The sheet was set up fora 10 moa box. Each of the adjusted shots fell within a 1" reference circle that was placed at the corner of the box. IMO, for a 300 yd and in gun, you might not need to go any farther than this. The chart should show whether or not the gun tracks within 1/2 moa or so. At 300 yards, that would be accurate to about 1.5". Also, I was very pleased to see that it returned to zero.
Normally I would suggest doing a box test first and then, if this is a long range rifle, follow up with a tall target test. I did the Tall Target test first and then decided I would do a box test just for S&G. You can see on the tall target test that I was about 2 clicks off to the right, which I corrected before starting the box test. Also, to finish a tall target test, you should always return to 0 and verify that it comes back. I did not do this on the tall target test, but it did return to 0 for the start of the box test.
Two other things to note.
1. The reticle is just a little out of square. I had the target mounted with a 4' level to make sure it was getting a plumb line for checking tracking. I also had the gun on the bipod and level with a small level on the top turret. The tracking was a true vertical, but with all this set up, the visual reticle was off just a hair counterclockwise. I may talk to Vortex about this to see what an acceptable tolerance is. I won't be using the reticle holdover marks out past 2-300 and at that range the deviation is very very minor.
2. The reticle has holdover marks at 2 moa intervals when the scope is set at 18 power. Remember, this is a second focal plane scope so it is only correct at that setting. Vortex does a nice job of putting a detent in the magnification ring, as well as a red dot on the power scale. However, in order to get the reticle to line up with my target marks, I needed to increase the power past this point just a hair. Again, very minor.
Overall I'm very happy with the scope. I think it is going to serve me well on this rifle. I won't waste space with any photos of the scope unless requested, you can find those anywhere. However, here are two detailed photos diagramming each of the tests.