Vortex Viper HD Spotting Scope Review

Vortex has carved a path straight to the top of the outdoor optics industry in the last few decades, producing some of the best rifle scopes and binoculars at a significantly lower rate than other premium brands. The company’s binocular lineup seems to offer something for everyone with a wide variety of different models being offered at various price points.

The lineup of Vortex spotting scopes has been much more limited, however, as the brand is capable of delivering an ideal product on a much more broad level. Vortex’s headline spotting scope model, the Razor HD, will cost users around $2,000 while the low-end Diamondback spotting scope can be purchased for approximately $500.

The Vortex Viper HD splits the difference of those two models and comes in as an ideal combination of exceptional features, top notch quality, and reasonable price. This model is commonly associated with some of the most notable brands in the outdoor industry, despite being much more affordable.

Taking a closer look at the features and functionality of the Viper HD spotting scope reveals the many reasons why users are flocking to this particular model as opposed to purchasing some of the other brands that have long been known as the best of the best when it comes to spotting scopes.

Vortex Viper HD Spotting Scope Review

If you’re interested in getting the Viper HD, there are several different options to choose from.

Vortex Optics Viper HD Spotting Scope 20-60x85 Angled

The Vortex Viper spotting scope is highly touted for its performance in low light conditions and durability.

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Viper HD Options

Vortex offers this particular model in two variations of angled and straight. Users can opt between a 20-60×85 magnification or a 15-45×65 version. Each model ranges in price from about $1,000 to $1,300, which is much more affordable than most premium spotting scopes on the market in 2020.

The angled models seem to be a bit more popular and it’s abundantly clear upon first glance that these are well-made scopes that are built to perform in the rugged outdoors.

A spotting scope is one particular tool in a hunter’s arsenal that is often depended on to function at a moment’s notice, so going for a cheap scope that can’t quite match up in performance just isn’t an option for most outdoorsmen and women.

Lens Quality

The Viper HD operates with a high definition system that offers exceptional levels of clarity in both sunny, and low-light conditions. The engineers at Vortex have designed their spotting scopes with extra-low dispersion glass in order to achieve the best possible sight picture quality through their objective lens.

Users report that the Viper HD has an excellent level of flat-field imaging that comes close to matching the Razor HD’s hyper-sharp focus. The scope offers good focus, even when maxed out to the highest level of magnification. There is some slight bending along the outer edges of the scope when viewing objects at maximum range, but the variation is of such little effect that most users will seldom recognize it.

The XR Fully Multi-Coated lenses are designed to increase light transmission with multiple anti-reflective coatings. The Viper HD also offers Dielectric coating that features a fully multi-layer prism coating to provide extremely bright and clear images, even in low-light situations at dawn or dusk.

The inner scope elements are covered with hydrophobic ArmorTek coatings, which protects against dirt and grime accumulation on the exterior of each lens, while also guarding against the effects of humidity and anything else that might leave a scratch on the crystal clear surface.

Related: Vortex Diamondback HD Spotting Scope Review 

Magnification Properties

The Viper HD offers an ideal scoping experience for users who require medium to long range capabilities. Vortex includes Porro Prism technology inside each spotting scope model to provide increased depth of field, good field of view and rich, 3D images that appear with surprising clarity.

One of the only gripes some users have with the Vortex Viper HD is that it offers a slightly reduced field of view when compared to other premium spotting scope models. The Viper HD is reported to offer a field of view that ranges from 37 to 53 degrees, which is somewhat lower than most standard spotting scopes that offer a range of approximately 40 to 60 degrees.

The focus can easily be adjusted with a large rubberized band that can easily be turned to bring objects into a clearer field of view. This helical focus system operates somewhat smoothly, but can distort the image if the user doesn’t have a steady hand while turning the collar. The scope can be fully maxed out after turning the focus collar 780 degrees.

Vortex Optics Viper HD Spotting Scope 15-45x65 Straight
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Scope Body and Construction

The angled body is usually preferred by experienced outdoorsmen who sometimes spend hours glassing the valleys and hillsides in search of the game animal they’re after as it creates a more comfortable experience than looking through a straight scope.

The scope is billed as being fully waterproof, fog proof, and dust proof thanks to being designed with sealed o-ring construction to prevent any moisture or debris from entering the scope housing.

The Viper HD is argon-gas purged, which means it won’t succumb to internal fogging when facing extreme temperature changes which can be quite common for hunters who venture deep into the mountainous regions to hunt wild game and scope from atop the hills.

The tripod mount collar features a metal ring and block that allows for the scope to be rotated along its main optical axis. Users report that the adjustments and rotation of the scope when mounted are as smooth as any other model on the market.

Related: Vortex Diamondback vs Viper Scope


There is no doubt that the Vortex Viper HD is fully capable of performing well enough to meet the needs of most hunters or shooters who need to rely on a solid spotting scope. The overall body is well-protected by a rubberized finish that grips easily in the user’s hand and adequately seals the scope from falling victim to fogging or water damage when facing extreme weather conditions.

It offers great optics and an exceptionally good value when matched up against some of the more expensive brands. The only possible drawback is the narrowed field of view, which is likely to not be noticed by most users. The Viper HD is an exceptionally well-made scope that’s ready for the most rugged terrain and environments nature can throw at it.

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