Vortex Diamondback Riflescope Review
Previously we took a look at the Vortex Diamondback series of binoculars and reviewed their 10x42 model with favorable results. Vortex also puts the "diamondback" moniker on a series of rifle scopes that are moderately priced and compete against a variety of other manufacturers in the $200-$300 rifle scope market.
The Diamondback series varies from a simple 2-7x35mm rimfire scope to a more powerful 4-12x40mm adjustable objective scope, nearly all of which are available in either a standard duplex reticle or Vortex's DeadHold BDC reticle. For this review we are going to be taking a closer look at the 3-9x40mm rifle scope with the DeadHold BDC which has a street price of $200.
The Diamondback features a strong single piece main tube with a magnification ring that is separate from the eye piece. The reticle can be quickly focused by turning the diopter located in the eye piece. The windage and elevation turrets are constructed of metal and can be reset to zero by unscrewing and realigning the turrets. Reticle adjustments are click adjustable in quarter MOA increments which corresponds to a quarter of an inch at 100 yards, half an inch at 200 yards, and so on. Our review model weighed in at a little over 14 oz which is fairly typical for most scopes of this size and power.
Vortex Diamondback 3-9x40mm Riflescope
The reticle can be focused with the diopter in the eye piece.
The turrets can be removed and reset to zero by removing the center screw with a coin or screw driver.
The turrets are made of metal and marked in quarter MOA increments.
The magnification ring adjusts separately from the main tube or eye piece.
Overall eye relief is excellent with 3-3.5 inches of relief depending on the magnification setting. Ordinarily less expensive scopes tend to short change on the eye relief, which puts the shooter's eye (and eyebrow) much closer to the ocular ring.
Optically the Diamondback is excellent for $200. Images are clear, crisp, and bright with lowlight color representation very good. We noticed no defects or aberrations in the tube, glass, or reticle on our review model. Vortex claims the Diamondback scopes are fully multi-coated with a minimum light transmission of 91%. We don't have a way to verify these claims, but like their binoculars, the image is commendable.
Our review model came equipped with a DeadHold BDC reticle. The DeadHold works much the same way as other ballistic reticles that are becoming common on rifle scopes, with some caveats. The vertical reticle post has three dots that are respectively 1.5 MOA, 4.5 MOA, and 7.5 MOA away from the main reticle crosshairs. The final bottom post of the crosshair is 11 MOA of drop. The windage has one single dot at 3.6 MOA and the outer duplex post at 7.2 MOA.
Using Vortex's ballistic chart the DeadHold BDC fits most non-magnum cartridges with a 100 yard zero out to 500 yards with roughly a 55" drop. Magnum cartridges can be fit to the reticle with a 200 yard zero and roughly 66" drop at 600 yards. Like all ballistic reticles, this fit is somewhat loose and it's important to spend some time at the range practicing and validating the reticle to your particular rifle and load.
Overall the Vortex Diamondback is moderately priced and delivers a good value. Like with other Vortex optics, their rifle scopes take part in Vortex's VIP warranty, which is lifetime against defects and transferable. Our only complaint is that it would be nice to have a ballistic chart that comes with the DeadHold equipped scopes that fits a variety of the most common cartridges with the most common loads. This takes away some of the guess work when starting out fitting the scope to a new rifle and load.
Vortex offers an online ballistics calculator, here you can generate ballistic drop charts, compare and save loads, and build a custom TMT elevation cap. Visit http://www.vortexoptics.com/content/lrbc to find out more.
For more information about Vortex products visit Vortex Optics.