I first encountered Vortex Optics spotting scopes at a Government Training Institute – Legion long range shooting course. I’ll be honest and say that ALL of the spotting scopes I used, from a variety of manufacturers, seemed to have great clarity and phenomenal field-of-vision at distances from 70-850 yards.
The only aspect I found difficult was trying to use those spotting scopes that possessed reticles – the markings kept this relative newcomer to long-distance shooting from seeing some of the impacts.
All of the above is to say, when I was asked to review a Delta 5 rifle from Daniel Defense, I wanted a spotting scope that provided great clarity and field-of-view for the longest target distances I’d be shooting (i.e. 700+ yards), but at the same time avoid models equipped with reticles.
I knew that Vortex made such spotting scopes. I also knew that the Vortex Fury Laser Rangefinder I had been sent to use at the GTI course and for hunting (see review), was incredibly clear and easy to use (so good, in fact, that I purchased my own Fury). Vortex recommended the Razor HD 22-48×65 (Angled) model.
The angled eyepiece allows the user to reduce the height of the tripod base. This is actually quite useful in windy conditions, or when sitting in a chair at the range – both conditions encountered during the GTI course and our rifle review.
One other feature that came in handy for our early-morning range session with the Delta 5 was the built-in pull-out sunshade. It allowed us to view the targets when the angle of the sun would causing a glare. Finally, the angled eyepiece combined with the rotating tripod ring provides the ability to rotate the eyepiece to a variety of positions, thus allowing adjustable viewing angles.
Like the Vortex laser rangefinder, the Vortex Razor spotting scope is straightforward to use. The magnification and focus are adjusted using the rings located just below the eyecup and just in front of the tripod mount, respectively.
The eyecup was easily adjusted to accommodate the presence or absence of eyeglasses, and the facial shapes of the spotter, simply by twisting.
The final feature that will come in handy for competitive shooters (and presumably snipers) is the removable eyepiece. This allows the substitution of a Vortex Reticle Eyepiece that has the markings I found so difficult to use as a beginner. To exchange eyepieces, you simply turn the eyepiece lock ring from ‘locked’ . . .
rotate the eyepiece counterclockwise until it stops (1/8th turn) and then pull it straight out of the body.
Reverse these steps to install the new eyepiece.
Rangework with the Vortex Razor HD 22-48×65 (Angled)
The workup at the range was challenging for both equipment and shooters. We shot over a 5-hour time period that included temperatures in a range from 32-50 degrees. Light conditions included deep shadows on some targets to full sunlight on others, and sun angles from near the horizon to almost straight overhead.
We fired the Delta 5 rifle at targets ranging in distance from 100-700+ yards,
The clarity and large field-of-view (across the wide range of environmental conditions and all magnifications) of the Vortex spotting scope made it possible to accurately call each other’s shots.
My only other experience with watching for target impacts at extreme distances occurred at the aforementioned GTI course. Frances had never used a spotting scope for this purpose. The results from both of us were excellent in that we were able to see the impact points and help each other adjust holds.
This resulted in repeated impacts and sub-MOA groups not only at the shorter ranges, but at 500,
700+ yards as well.
The Vortex Razor HD 22-48×65 (Angled) spotting scope performed flawlessly in a variety of conditions with excellent clarity.
The Vortex Razor made hold dial adjustments straightforward by allowing us to call each other’s shots even at the farthest ranges.
Specifications: Vortex Razor HD 22-48×65 (Angled)
Ratings (out of five stars):
Glass Quality * * * * *
All of the spotting scopes I handled at the GTI course were owned by long range competitors and were of the highest quality. The Vortex kept up with an surpassed some of them. Color and glare resistance were excellent as was performance in low light conditions with edge-to-edge sharpness.
Utility: * * * * *
We used the Razor spotting scope to pick out individual 6.5 Creedmoor holes while zeroing at 100 yards, and to see impacts on metal targets at 715 yards. Some of the targets (like the 100 yard paper targets and the metal targets at 400 yards) were in deep shade. Others were positioned so that the sunlight was angling in to the objective end of the Vortex Razor spotting scope. We never had a problem making out the impact points.
Overall * * * * *
This is another Vortex product I am likely to purchase. I have proven to myself that the clarity and field-of-view at the longest distances I’m likely to shoot while hunting are well-within the capacity of the Vortex Razor. If I ever commit myself to competitive shooting at more extreme ranges, I can purchase a reticle eyepiece and avoid buying a new scope.
All photos courtesy of Frances and Mike Arnold.
Mike Arnold writes about firearms and hunting at his blog Mike Arnold, Outdoor Writer.