U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- The Vortex Viper HD 15-45x 65 mm Spotting Scope is the perfect spotting scope for me when hunting here in Idaho. When you’re shopping for a spotting scope you need to first determine what you’re going to be doing with it. If you’re hunting sheep in Alaska then you’ll want a 60x but to me, a 15-45x is fine for what I do here in the lower 48.
Here’s why I go with a 15-45x. That is enough magnification for me and it is lighter in weight than a big 60x. For instance, the Vortex Viper HD 15-45x 65 mm weighs in at 59 oz. and the Vortex Viper HD 20-60x 80mm weighs 76.6 oz. That’s 1 lb. 6 oz. more to lug around. In fact, many times you’ll find me using a 15-30x to cut weight, especially if I’m scrambling up mountains glassing all day.
Now you might argue that in some places in the lower 48 that you need a 60x spotting scope and yes that can be true. Here in Idaho in the Owyhee’s sometimes I’m glassing elk miles away in the high desert country. And in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area or the Hell’s Canyon country when sheep or goat hunting you might justify jumping up to a 60x spotting scope but again, for the majority of your hunting in the lower 48 I think that you’ll be happy with a 45x.
Vortex offers a straight or angled neck option in their 15-45x 65mm spotting scopes. I don’t know. Maybe if you’re buying your spotting scope just to be used at the range, then you might favor a straight spotting scope but for me, I always get angled spotting scopes.
Here’s why I favor an angled spotting scope. I seldom have the luxury of glassing from a flat spot so for me it is a lot more comfortable to use an angled one. If you’re glassing all day you need to do everything that you can to be comfortable or you won’t end up glassing as much as you should.
You can also tilt it over so your buddy can look through it which saves you from both having to change positions.
Of course to use a spotting scope you have to have a tripod. But I won’t cover tri-pods in this review since I wrote about three good choices a few weeks ago.
- Vortex Radian Carbon Tripod with Leveling Head and Ball Head
- Vortex Ridgeview Carbon Fiber Tripod Kit
- Vortex Optics Summit Carbon II Tripod Kit
Of course the higher the aperture, the lighter it lets in which means the earlier and later in the day you can glass. This allows you to see animals in low-light conditions. The problem is, the bigger the aperture, the heavier the optics. So, we usually compromise and don’t use the old 4x’s the power adage to determine how big of aperture we buy on our spotting scopes. And the theory is, turn down the power so you can gather more light at the lower power in low light hunting conditions.
I was impressed with the clarity if the Vortex Viper HD 15-45x 65 mm spotting scope. It appeared as crisp and clear as some of the European spotting scopes that cost twice the price as this one does. I think the spotting scope market just got more competitive. The MSRP on the Vortex Viper HD 15-45x 65mm Spotting Scope is $1,049.99 and as is usual, we will close with the specs.
Vortex Viper HD 15-45X 65 mm Spotting Scope Specs:
- Magnification 15-45x
- Objective Lens Diameter 65 mm
- Linear Field of View 136.5-67.8 ft/1000 yds
- Angular Field of View 2.6-1.3 degrees
- Close Focus 23 feet
- Eye Relief 17.8-19.6 mm
- Length 14 inches
- Weight 59 oz
- HD Lens Elements Premium extra-low dispersion glass delivers the ultimate in resolution and color fidelity, resulting in high-definition images.
- XR™ Fully Multi-Coated Proprietary coatings increase light transmission with multiple anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces.
- Dielectric Coating Multi-layer prism coatings provide bright, clear, color-accurate images.
- Porro Prism Valued for a rich depth of field, wide field of view, and three-dimensional image.
- Angled Body Design Valued for allowing an overall lower mounting height which maximizes stability in wind, offers greater comfort when glassing for extended periods, and permits the use of a smaller, lighter tripod.
- Waterproof O-ring seals prevent moisture, dust and debris from penetrating for reliable performance in all environments.
- Fog proof Argon gas purging prevents internal fogging over a wide range of temperatures.
- ArmorTek ® Ultra-hard, scratch-resistant coating protects exterior lenses from scratches, oil and dirt.
- Adjustable Eyecups Twist up and down for comfortable viewing with or without eyeglasses.
- Helical Focus Allows for fast and fine adjustments.
- Built-in Sunshade Reduces glare and shields the objective lens from raindrops and snow.
- Note – Custom Fitted Neoprene Case Included.
About Tom Claycomb
Tom Claycomb has been an avid hunter/fisherman throughout his life as well as an outdoor writer with outdoor columns in the magazine Hunt Alaska, Bass Pro Shops, Bowhunter.net, and freelances for numerous magazines and newspapers. “To properly skin your animal, you will need a sharp knife. I have an e-article on Amazon Kindle titled Knife Sharpening #ad for $.99 if you’re having trouble.”