Vortex Diamondback Scope Review

Gungoal's Rating

Greetings. You must be wondering if Vortex Diamondback is the right scope for you. Due to the 4-12×40’s versatility and popularity, I’ll be making a review on this configuration. Let’s put its pros/cons into spotlight, and see if they’re worth the hype, so you can make informed decisions for your buck.

Note that there are other magnification and objective lens options. Here is the list.

In case you want to skip all the reading, jump to Conclusion or Main features.


 

Tech Specs

Length 12 inches
Weight 14.6 ounces
Finish Matte Black
Magnification 4-12 x
Objective Lens Diameter 40 mm
Eye Relief 3.1 inches
Field of View 32.4-11.3 feet/100 yards
Reticle Dead-Hold BDC
V-plex
Reticle Focal Plane Second
Reticle illuminated No
Tube Diameter 1 inch
Turret Style Capped
Finger Adjustable Turrets Yes
Turrets Resettable to Zero Yes
Adjustment Graduation 1/4 MOA
Travel per Rotation 15 MOA
Max Elevation Adjustment 60 MOA
Max Windage Adjustment 60 MOA
Parallax Setting 100 yards
Fast Focus Eye Piece Yes
Waterproof/Fogproof/Shockproof Yes
Lens Coating Fully Multi-Coated
Warranty Lifetime

Official Vortex Diamondback video


 

What rifle/ammunition is compatible with the Vortex Diamondback?

The scope is rugged and well made. However, due to relatively small eye relief, if you use high powered cartridge you might need to adjust for this. Consider recoild pads, muzzle breaks, cheek pads or a smaller cartridge.


 

The Vortex Optics brand

Vortex Optics is an American company. Spinned off from Shelter Wings Inc, Vortex began its operations in 2004. Since then it has built its reputation and become one of the most known optics brand in America. Famous for its amazing scope and unparalleled warranty. The vortex brand may indeed deserves a place on one of your rifles.

Even though most of their scopes are made in Asian countries, the designing, engineering and customer services are done here in the US. You’ll be supporting an American business if you buy a Vortex!


 

Mounting the scope

The scope tube is 1″ diameter. Make sure you get 1″ rings of appropriate height and also matching base type.

For this scope, I suggest you use medium to high rings depending on your rifle. And if you happen to shoot at really long range, you might need an elevated base or shim it up or use a different scope

A quick note here : Investing in decent rings and mounts will save you time and money. Scopes will last longer and you will waste less time zeroing them year after year.

If you are not sure which mount to use, try Vortex’s, Talley’s or Aero Precision ultra light scope mount.

I personally mounted the scope on our Remington 700 SPS with “Vortex Optics Hunter 1″ Rings” with high height. It was easy to install and fits nicely.


 

Main features

Weight and Style

This scope weighs 14.6 ounces. It’s not as light as the Leupold VX-2 4-12×40 (11.6 ounces), but it’s lighter than most 4-12×40 scopes such as the Nikon P-308 4-12×40 (17.5 oz).

Matte black finish also help you camouflage while hunting. This could mean the difference between getting game or getting bored.

 

Looking through the scope

Pros

  • Despite being lower priced, Vortex Diamondback’s clarity is excellent. Very clear and bright sight picture even at highest magnification (maybe just slightly fuzzy on the edge, but nothing that will hamper your hunt). Low light capability is unmatched for scopes in this price range. This can very well be the brightest and clearest scope at this price.
  • Field of view is even better than the Leupold VX-2 4-12×40 (Leupold is higher priced).

Cons

  • Eye relief is small. The specs say it is 3.1″ but that’s on lowest magnification. On higher power it’s less than 3″. This might be an issue if you use high powered cartridge. If this is the case, try recoild pads, muzzle breaks, cheek pads or a smaller cartridge.
  • Eye box,the sweet spot to see through the scope, is small. You might need some time to getting used to. Either practice placing your head at about the same place every time or get a more user-friendly scope.
  • Shooting to the direction of the sun in late afternoon or during last light could result in flares and wash out issues. This can be easily fixed by using a sunshade.
  • Magnification is 4-12x, thus not so good at shorter range, say below 50 yards.

 

Magnification

The zoom control was firm and steady but easy enough to manipulate. The scope is also well built that zero doesn’t change when you adjust the magnification ring.

 

Reticle

Reticle is nice, clear and easy to identify. Even though it is not illuminated, the scope is great in low light.

Plus, it has quick focus feature which makes focus adjustment on the field for people with vision problems much easier.

There are 2 types of reticle you can choose from.

  1. Dead Hold BDC
  2. V-Plex

I recommend the BDC because it allows you to shoot at longer range with more precision. This scope should be reliable up to at least 600 yards.

The BDC reticle also synergizes well with Vortex’s online Long Range Balistics Calculator. Since it allows you to get specific bullet trajectory of your choice.

Note that the scope uses a wire reticle which means it’s less durable (but cheaper) than the glass etched reticle.

 

Parallax settings

The scope has no parallax adjustment and is factory-set at 100 yards. If you need parallax adjustment, consider upgrading to 4-12×40 AO or Vortex Diamondback HP.

 

Turrets adjustment

Both windage and elevation turrets are finger adjustable by 60 MOAs. Each click equals ¼ MOA and is audible (quieter than high-end Vortex) plus precise.

I was able to “box” this scope and have it come right back to zero. Sounds simple, but some higher priced scopes can’t accomplish this.

The turrets are zero resettable with a coin or a flat head. And there are finger-removable-caps to prevent accidental adjustment on the turrets.

This makes zeroing a very easy task. After 300 rounds, the scope holds zero very well. But it does not have a zero stop feature.

Some people reported about limited elevation adjustment. They said that even if you maxed out elevation, the aim is still too high that they could not zero in. This should be a defect and can be fixed by using a higher mount or a shim.

 

Durability

Single piece aircraft grade aluminium makes the scope durable. It can withhold impact and heavy recoil. Argon gas and O-rings are also deployed so that it is Waterproof and Fogproof. Precision-glide erector system is also deployed for reliable turrets.

For warranty, Vortex goes head to head with Leupold. Full lifetime, no question asked, transferable and no receipt needed. Vortex are known to honor their warranty. Making their products a very safe bet.

Tips – Lens maintenance : They should be cleaned as carefully as you would a camera lens. Begin by using a lens brush to remove dust and then pure alcohol, highgrade glass cleaner, or pure water on a cotton swab.


 

Scope Comparison

  • Vortex Diamondback image quality is on par with Leupold VX-2. The Vortex has wider field of view, cheaper but heavier, less eye relief, less eyebox and has flare issues.
  • Vortex Diamondback has better optics and wider field of view than the Bushnell Legend.
  • Vortex Diamondback has better optics, wider field of view and is cheaper than Nikon P-308
  • Vortex Diamondback is better than Leupold’s and Nikon’s scope of the same price.
  • Vortex Diamondback HP has parallax adjustment while Vortex Diamondback does not.

 

The verdict : What I think of Vortex Diamondback 4-12×40

I vote Vortex Diamondback 4-12×40 as the best hunting scope under $200. Crisp and clear image, high low light capability and durable. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better scope at this price point. The drawbacks are small eye relief, flare issues and somewhat limited elevation adjustment.

If you’re looking for a value hunting scope or getting started on long range shooting, this scope will not disappoint you.

Pros and Cons Table

Pros Cons
✓ Lower priced. Value for the money. ✗ Small eye relief and eyebox
✓ Great image quality. Also good in low light ✗ Flare issues if used in low light facing the sun. Solve with a sunshade.
✓ Reliable warranty ✗ Has only 1 finish
✓ Accurate turrets adjustment ✗ No parallax adjustment
✓ BDC Reticle for long range ✗ Wired reticle
Gungoal's Rating

 

Alternate scope

Leupold VX-2 3-9×40

Leupold VX-2 3-9×40 features lower magnification, lighter, no flare issues, easy to install and also great image quality. However it’s more expensive.

If you plan to shoot at 50-200 yards, value lighter scope and doesn’t mind paying a bit more, go for Leupold VX-2 3-9×40.
Read our review on Leupold VX-2 3-9×40 or go to Amazon to check price.

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