Vortex Diamondback Riflescope Review

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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.


Retired2hunt's picture

  Well I just happen to have


Well I just happen to have won the Vortex Viper HS 4-16X50 scope and definitely love this optic.  Going out today to find 30mm rings and get it mounted on my rifle... then off to the shooting range to get it sighted it. 


numbnutz's picture

I havent used there products

I havent used there products yet but have heard some great thing about them. Right now on my rifle I have a Nikon and am very pleased with it, I havent shot my gun for 2 years now due to my addiction to bow hunting and archery shooting. This scope seems to have everything a hunter would need. I'm also partial to leupold since there made in  my back yard. The next time I'm in the market for a new scope i will have to check out there line of scopes.

Retired2hunt's picture

  I am desparately in need of


I am desparately in need of upgrading my rifle scope.  I am still using the manufacturer installed scope.  It has done it's job admirably over the years but is 11 years old and the technology today on rifle scopes is far greater than what I am looking through right now.  With what I am using now I am definitely short changed on the eye relief - I have a little scare above my eyebrow from the very first year of use to prove it.

Looking at this info and their website the scopes are definitely well priced compared to some of the other high end scope manufactures.  I especially like the graduated MOA's.

This will be the last hunting season I use what I currently have and I will strongly consider this Vortex Diamondback.  Great review.



deerhunter30's picture

It seems that they have a

It seems that they have a good product. I have heard lots of good things about vortex items.

But I still am yet to use any. Might have to save up some money and give them a shot.

BikerRN's picture

I'm saving my pennies for a

I'm saving my pennies for a Vortex to put on my custom build.

In talking with some buddies that are really familiar with their products I became a believer.



Ca_Vermonster's picture

Yeah, I have not used them

Yeah, I have not used them eaither, but after seeing the reviews, and looking at the prizes offered this month, I think it would be worth it to check their products out.

I am going to look up their website.  I see they do rifle and spotting scopes, but I'd be interested in seeing if they have any rangefinders.

Good write-up and review.

GooseHunter Jr's picture

While I have not used their

While I have not used their products it does appear that they are some very high quality and you cannot go wrong with spending our hard eraned money on them.