Vortex Diamondback Scope Review

 

Vortex Diamondback is an affordable entry level scope under $200 from Vortex. Even though the Diamondback 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 Diamondback 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 Vortex Diamondback is the right optic for you.

Quick summary

Vortex Diamondback glass is very good for its price. It’s a much better improvement over Crossfire II model, which is just $20-$50 cheaper. So it’s always a good thing to save a bit more for the Diamondback.

Compared to Nikon Prostaff, Vortex Diamondback has similar glass and features but the Nikon has better eye relief and eyebox. Pick Nikon if you intend to use it with high recoil gun.

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 Diamondback models are :

  • 1.75-5X32
  • 2-7X35
  • 2-7X35 Rimfire
  • 3-9X40
  • 3.5-10X50
  • 4-12X40

Reticles that you can choose from are :

  • V-Plex
  • Dead-Hold BDC

PROS and CONS of Vortex Diamondback

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Good glass for the price
  • Zero resettable turrets
  • Vortex transferable lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Unforgiving eyebox on high magnification
  • Turrets do not track well

Vortex Diamondback 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. Vortex Diamondback 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, Vortex Diamondback has proceeded on to become one of the affordable optics with overwhelming positive reviews.

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

My recommendation? This Vortex Diamondback is one of the best scope in its price range. Get it if you want affordable quality scope around $200.

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

Glass, Reticle and Lens coatings 4.4
Turrets 4
Ease of Use 4.3
Weight and Size 4
Durability 4.3
Value 4.8

 

The Whole Story of Vortex Diamondback

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 Vortex Diamondback with other rifle scopes in similar price range, so you know what’s the best option for your money.

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

Meet the Benchmarks

Vortex Diamondback 3-9×40 costs about $175 (at the time of this writing). And I’ll be comparing it with :

Nikon Prostaff 3-9×40 Vortex Crossfire II 3-9×40

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

DIamondback : Definitive upgrade from the Crossfire 2, on par with Nikon Prostaff

To determine Vortex Diamondback 3-9×40’s performance, I lined it up alongside Nikon Prostaff 3-9×40 and Vortex Crossfire II 3-9×40.

Comparing head to head, Vortex Diamondback glass is much clearer and brighter than Vortex Crossfire II. On 7x upward, the Crossfire II appears blurry while the Diamondback is still functioning well. That said, eye relief on both scope is a rather tight on high magnification.

On the other hand, I found no perceivable difference between Nikon Prostaff and Vortex Diamondback in terms of glass, lens coating and light transmission. Eye relief and eyebox on the Prostaff are more forgiving. I do not need that perfect head position to get full sight picture. Thus I’d prefer the Prostaff if I were to mount it on a light gun with high recoil.

Capped, Low profile turrets, just don’t expect them to perfectly track in this price range

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

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

Diamondback’s turrets hold zero well with .308 as I have put about 250 rounds down range.

Performing box tests, turrets do not track well in all models. But this is what to be expected for scopes in this price range.

BDC reticle works well in this price range, because you can leave your turrets after zeroing

Both BDC and simple duplex are available on all 3 scopes.

Model Reticle
Vortex V-Plex V-Plex
Vortex Dead-Hold BDC
Vortex V-Brite (Crossfire II only)
Nikon BDC Nikon BDC Reticle resize
Nikon Nikoplex

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.

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.

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

Diamondback : Size and weight comparable to peers

Some people find Vortex Diamondback as a little heavy.

Vortex Diamondback 3-9×40 Vortex Crossfire II 3-9×40 Nikon Prostaff 3-9×40
Length (inches) 11.7 12 12.4
Weight (oz) 14.4 15 13.7
Tube Size 1-Inch 1-Inch 1-Inch

When compared, Vortex Diamondback isn’t significantly heavier than peers.

Durability and Warranty

Vortex Diamondback 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. Furthermore, Vortex VIP warranty and customer service are the best in the industry. So you can have a peace of mind, knowing that you’ll have someone to take care of your scope if any issue arises.

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

Hear What Others have to say about Vortex Diamondback


 

My Verdict of Vortex Diamondback

Vortex Diamondback glass is very good for its price. It’s a much better improvement over Crossfire II model, which is just $20-$50 cheaper. So it’s always a good thing to save a bit more for the Diamondback.

Compared to Nikon Prostaff, Vortex Diamondback has similar glass and features but the Nikon has better eye relief and eyebox. Pick Nikon if you intend to use it with high recoil gun.

Pros Cons
✓ Affordable ✗ Unforgiving eyebox on high magnification
✓ Good glass for the price ✗ Turrets do not track well
✓ Zero resettable turrets
✓ Vortex transferable lifetime warranty

 

Alternative options

1. Nikon Prostaff

  • Similar price
  • On par glass and lens coating
  • More forgiving eye relief and eyebox
  • Less reliable warranty

 

2. Vortex Crossfire II

  • Cheaper
  • Lesser glass and lens coating
  • Same Vortex VIP warranty
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