Vortex CrossFire II Review : Should you buy this budget scope from Vortex?

Gungoal's Rating

The Vortex Crossfire II is an affordable entry level scope under $200 from Vortex. Even though the Crossfire II is not a high end rifle scope but it is one of the most popular budget rifle scope with good reputation from Vortex. And most likely it could serve you well on a range gun and many hunting applications.

But is the Crossfire II the best deal in its class or is there a better scope within its price range? Worry not, I’ll tell you all there is to know about this optics so you can make informed decision whether the Vortex Crossfire II is the right optic for you.

Due to recent improvements in optics manufacturing technology, firearms optics have become easier and cheaper to produce. Many overseas factories are learning the know-how of making quality optics at reasonable price. It’s very likely that prices for these optics will continue to drop while qualities and capabilities will continue to rise. Such a great time to be gun owners!

Furthermore, optics sold in the US has pretty much the best warranties available. You can see many big brand names offering fully transferable lifetime warranty which even “death won’t do us part”. Very few other industries offer this type of coverage on their products.

There are many available combination of magnification, objective lens, tube size and reticle type in the market. Total available Vortex Crossfire II models are :

Available reticles that you can choose from :

  • V-Plex
  • Dead-Hold BDC
  • V-Brite Illuminated

What are the PROS and CONS of the Vortex Crossfire II?

Pros

  • Affordable
  • BDC and illuminated reticle option
  • Zero resettable turrets
  • Vortex lifetime transferable warranty

Cons

  • Glass not good enough on high magnification
  • Unforgiving eyebox on high magnification
  • Not good light transmission especially in low light
  • Turrets do not track well

 

The Vortex Crossfire II gives you the much needed budget option

With the advance in optics technology, rifle scopes quality have improved by leaps and bounds. A $150 rifle scope today can go head-to-head or even beat $300 scopes 20 years ago. The Vortex Crossfire II cannot compare to the likes of Leupold VX-3i or the Nikon Monarch. But it can get your hunting and range shooting done well while not breaking the bank.

Being a budget scope with usable quality, the Vortex Crossfire II has proceeded on to become one of the affordable optics with overwhelming positive reviews.

In this article, I’ll be reviewing Vortex Crossfire II 3-9×40 as my core optics. Other magnification range models would have similar quality to the 3-9×40 in this review.

My recommendation? Get this Vortex Crossfire II if you’re looking for a budget scope. Also compare price with Nikon BuckMasters II, and get the cheaper one.

A quick summary of this article : The Vortex Crossfire II is an ok scope for its price. The Vortex Crossfire II is an ok scope for its price. But if you could save up just a little bit more ($25-$50), you’d be much better off with the Vortex Diamondback. Also, the Nikon Buckmasters II’s quality is on par with the Crossfire II and is cheaper at the time of this writing. If you don’t want to spend more to buy the Diamondback, you’d want to compare price between the Crossfire II and the Buckmasters II and get the cheaper one.

Best for : Shooters who want an affordable, entry level rifle scope.

Glass and Lens coatings 3/5
Turrets 3/5
Ease of Use 3.5/5
Size and Weight 3.8/5
Durability 4/5
Value 4.8/5

 

The whole story on the Vortex Crossfire II

Since no optics nor products exists in isolation. And words such as “crisp” and “great” glass don’t really mean much when you have no benchmarks. I’ll be comparing the Vortex Crossfire II with other rifle scopes in similar price range, so you know what’s the best option for your money.

Read on to find out why the Vortex Crossfire II, even though impressive, isn’t a perfect scope.

Meet the Benchmarks

The Vortex Crossfire II 3-9×40 costs about $150 (at the time of this writing). And I’ll be comparing it with :

These are 2 popular options in the market with similar price point and should give you a realistic feel of how good the Vortex Crossfire II really is.

Glass and Lens Coating Comparison of these 3 Budget Optics

To determine the Vortex Crossfire II’s performance, I lined it up alongside the Vortex Diamondback and the Nikon BuckMasters II.

Comparing head to head, the Vortex Diamondback is the clear winner by a wide margin. Glass is markedly clearer and reticle is crisper. Eyebox for the Vortex Diamondback is also much more forgiving.

When tested during dusk, the Diamondback is the brightest.

Vortex Crossfire II’s glass is pretty much the same as the Nikon BuckMasters II. On higher magnification (7x up) of the Vortex Crossfire II and Nikon BuckMasters II, your eyebox have to be very exact to fully see your sight picture. Furthermore there are blurry glasses along the edges on both optics.

Elevation and Windage Turrets

All 3 optics have capped, low profile, finger adjustable turrets. Furthermore they all have zero reset features.

The Crossfire II and Buckmasters II turret dials are rather squishy and do not have audible clicks. The Diamondback performs better in this regard.

Crossfire II’s turrets hold zero well with .308 as I have put about 300 rounds down range.

Performing box tests, turrets do not track well in all models (What did I expect for scopes in this price range!). And this is another reason why I think you should never go higher than 12x with the Crossfire II since turrets do not track well and you can’t shoot long range anyway.

Reticle Pattern, pick the one that suits you

Both BDC and simple duplex are available on both Vortex scope. Only BDC reticle is available on Nikon BuckMasters II.

Model Reticle
Vortex V-Plex V-Plex
Vortex Dead-Hold BDC Dead Hold BDC
Vortex V-Brite V-Brite
Nikon BDC Nikon BDC Reticle resize

 

Best pattern choice is up to your preference. But for me, I think BDC type reticle is a good choice since you can extend your effective range without the need to adjust those turrets that don’t track so well.

Note that the Diamondback’s reticle is more crisp than the other 2.

Parallax is Set at 100 yards, Second Focal Plane

All 3 optics mentioned here have 100 yards fixed parallax settings and are Second Focal Plane scopes.

Adjustable objectives are available on these models

  • 3-12X56 AO, 30mm tube
  • 4-12X40 AO
  • 4-12X50 AO
  • 4-16X50 AO, 30mm tube
  • 6-18X44 AO
  • 6-24X50 AO, 30mm tube

100 yards parallax setting is good enough if you don’t shoot long range nor very short range.

Size and Weight

Some people find the Vortex Crossfire II as a little heavy.

Vortex Crossfire II 3-9×40 Vortex Diamondback 3-9×40 Nikon BuckMasters II 3-9×40
Length (inches) 12 11.7 12.3
Weight (oz) 15 14.4 13.1
Tube Size (Inch) 1 1 1

 

When compared, the Vortex Crossfire II is only slightly heavier than peers.

Durability and Warranty

The Vortex Crossfire II is durable enough for most hunting and range shooting use. But if you intend to use it very rough, consider getting a higher end scope.

Personally I have a great run with all 3 optics and have no durability issues with the scopes. That said, I’ve heard stories of defects with the Crossfire II. But Vortex Lifetime warranty is very reliable and will help remedy any defect issues.

Note that Nikon also offer Lifetime Warranty, even though not as reliable as Vortex’s.
 

Hear What Others have to say about the Vortex Crossfire II


 

My Verdict of the Vortex Crossfire II

Gungoal's Rating

The Vortex Crossfire II is an ok scope for its price. But if you could save up just a little bit more ($25-$50), you’d be much better off with the Vortex Diamondback.

The Nikon Buckmasters II’s quality is on par with the Crossfire II and is cheaper at the time of this writing. If you don’t want to spend more to buy the Diamondback, you’d want to compare price between the Crossfire II and the Buckmasters II and get the cheaper one.

Pros Cons
✓ Affordable ✗ Glass not good enough on high magnification
✓ BDC and illuminated reticle option ✗ Unforgiving eyebox on high magnification
✓ Zero resettable turrets ✗ Not good light transmission especially in low light
✓ Vortex lifetime transferable warranty ✗ Turrets do not track well

 

Alternative options

1. Vortex Diamondback

  • Slightly more expensive
  • Better glass and lens coating
  • Better turrets
  • Same warranty

 

2. Nikon BuckMasters II

  • Cheaper
  • Pretty much same quality
  • Slightly less reputable warranty
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