Vortex makes scopes that cover everything from one-power red dot sights to 15-60x ultra long-range competition scopes. The Viper line alone has a lot of variety, so it can be difficult to keep track of which scope is which and what features they all have, but in this review we’re going to be talking all about the Viper HS 2.5-10x44.
If you’re looking for info on the HS-T or the PST, you won’t find it here, but the Viper HS is a popular scope and if you’re wondering if it’s worthy of being mounted on your rifle, you are in the right place.
Review Summary - If You’re Short on Time
Like with any scope, the Viper HS is great for some scenarios and bad for others. The optical quality is top-notch; only the most discerning and critical eyes will detect a difference between the Viper HS and a much more expensive scope. At the same time, beyond the basics of image quality and toughness, the HS doesn’t offer much more than scopes half the price.
The feature set on the HS is pretty limited and great attention is paid to the basics. The reticle is second focal plane, there’s no parallax adjustment, and there’s no reticle illumination. If the lack of those features isn’t important to you, then the Viper HS delivers a sharp, clear, vibrant image in a rugged body that should handle anything you throw at it.
If you want to learn more about the Viper HS or you’re still not sure whether it’s the scope for you, read on for our full review.
Our Review of the Vortex Viper HS 2.5-10x44MM Rifle Scope
What It’s Bad For
Precision shooting, except for the purists. Not only does the magnification range only go to 10x, but the Dead-Hold BDC reticle is a fairly minimalistic crosshairs with several hashmarks below and to either side of the center of the reticle. Considering that the reticle is also SFP, those hashmarks will also translate into different distances throughout the mag range.
Even with precision shooting, though, it’s not really fair to say that it’s “bad”, because it can still be used effectively for that purpose. It would be more accurate to say “not as good as some other scopes specifically designed for it”. We’ll talk more about the features like the SFP reticle, the lack of parallax adjustment, and more down below.
What It’s Good For
The Viper HS is in its element when hunting big game at between 100 and 400 yards. You don’t really miss the lack of parallax adjustment in this range (it’s fixed at 100 yards), and the lack of a FFP reticle isn’t a very big deal either. Here the resettable, capped turrets and the weatherproofing really shine, and the 10x magnification can just barely get most shooters out to the 400-yard mark.
It will also work great for a varmint hunting and predator hunting, especially coyotes, though you may find yourself limited by the 10x magnification since the smarter coyotes may not come close enough to give you a clear shot. It can handle the Fall and Winter weather with no problems and the easy reticle is universal enough that it can be used with virtually any load.
If you want to check out the Viper HS rifle scopes, you can find it on Amazon or OpticsPlanet
Vortex Viper HS 2.5-10x44
The price of vortex scope Varies, so check the latest price at
Design And Features
After you zero in a scope, it’s nice to be able to set the turrets back to the number “0” on the dial without actually resetting the reticle back to where it was. This allows you to compensate for a specific shot without having to remember exactly how many clicks you traveled to go back. This is called re-indexing, and can be done without any tools after you are done sighting in this Vortex scope.
Not only are the turrets resettable, but they’re also capped to keep them more protected.
The adjustments are .25 MOA and have a max windage and elevation travel adjustment of 86 MOA each. The turrets feel solid and comfortable and have a satisfying click. You will never have to guess whether you’ve traveled another click. The eyepiece, while not a turret, is also Vortex’s fast focus eyepiece, which can be nice if multiple shooters are using the scope.
Light transmission is good, even great with the 44m objective lens diameter. The image does not noticeably lose brightness as it zooms in all the way to 10x, which is fantastic. It does not, however, have the most forgiving eye box, and there is clear distortion and chromatic aberration at 10x unless your eye is in the exact right spot:
What this means is that you have to confirm your shooting position to the requirements of the scope instead of the scope accommodating where you want to place your eye and where your cheek weld is comfortable. For the most part this is not a big deal and it performs well.
The XD lens elements (extra-low dispersion) really help reduce glare and increase the sharpness of the image, at least if you compare it to other scopes, especially cheaper ones. The sunshade isn’t the largest, but it’s deep enough to give good shade and keep the sun out of the way most of the time.
The color fidelity stays strong at any magnification setting as well. The reds, greens, and blues all stay true to color. As parts of the image get too bright, though, you may notice that the bright white spots start to turn a purplish-pink color.
Performance In The Field
The scope holds zero like a champ and there’s no reason to ever really doubt the HS. It’s made to withstand temperatures below zero and above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and it’s even Argon-purged instead of Nitrogen. I recently learned that the reason Argon is better is because it’s not as affected by quick temperature changes as Nitrogen is.
At 10x, the image is bright and clear, and the scope performs well up to 300 yards for most shooters and 400 yards with practice. It does have a second focal plane reticle, but as long as you’re staying within the range that 10x is good for anyway, then the SFP doesn’t really cause any problems, and may even be a positive if you’re already used to SFP reticles.
The eye relief is right around 4 inches, which I find gives me a comfortable amount of space to keep the scope from kissing me and still have a good consistent cheek weld. The field of view is fairly wide from 47 feet to 10.9 feet at 100 yards.
On the few occasions that you are shooting far enough that you’re adjusting for bullet drop but not at the maximum magnification, all it takes is a little practice with your scope to figure out what the hashmarks mean at lower magnifications, and when you’re hunting you don’t have to be quite as precise with your shot placement as when you’re target shooting.
There is no mil-dot or rangefinder option, there’s just the Dead-Hold BDC and the V-plex.
It does lack any form of reticle illumination, so even though the optics are bright enough for dusk and dawn shooting, you may run into issues keeping track of your reticle in those lower lighting conditions. The hashmarks are small enough that estimating a holdover in low light conditions may simply not be possible.
The parallax is fixed at 100 yards, so it does get more noticeable the farther you get from that point, but it won’t be too drastic until you get out to around 400 yards. At that point, it will be very important that you get your eye in the same place every time to make sure you’re not wrong about where your point of impact will be.
The Vortex Viper HS riflescope, like most of Vortex’s scopes, is made from aircraft-grade aluminum with a hard, matte black, anodized finish and one of the coatings on the lenses is ArmorTek, which is an ultra-hard coating that keeps the glass from getting scratched and repels oils and dirt.
It has o-ring seals to keep it waterproof and is tested to ensure that it is shockproof enough to withstand recoil. The Argon keeps it fogproof, and the 30mm tube (among other things) gives it a bit more strength than a 1-inch tube. The overall durability may not be quite as high as a Leupold, but it’s still fantastic
The HS is also covered by Vortex’s VIP (Very Important Promise) lifetime warranty, and while it sounds a little cheesy, they do a great job backing their warranty on the rare occasion that one of their scopes runs into a problem.
Pros & Cons
- Bright, high quality image
- Capped, resettable turrets
- Opens up to 2.5x, very flexible
- Tough and weather-proof
- No reticle illumination
- No parallax adjustment
- Not good for ultra-long range
Should You Buy It?
If you want it for hunting at ranges definitely less than 400 yards and mostly less than 300 yards, then yes, it’s a great scope. It also has good applications on the tactical side for duty or defense, but it really shines as a hunting scope. If you’re looking for something for pest control on the farm or varmint hunting, this scope may be more or less than you need.
If you’re an aspiring long-range precision shooter, then you’ll really feel the lack of a more powerful reticle,parallax adjustment, and a first focal plane. In that case, it may be better to look for a different scope in your price range that is more specifically designed for that. When the Viper HS is at its optimal adjustment it’s hard to beat even when paying a higher price.
If you’re ready to pull the trigger on the Viper HS 2.5-10x44, you should be able to find it available on Amazon or OpticsPlanet.
Vortex Viper HS 2.5-10x44
The price of Vortex Viper HS 2.5-10x44 varies, so check the latest price at
Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 2-10x32
The PST Gen II is more expensive, but it’s designed for everything that the HS is not; it has a first focal plane EBR-4 reticle in either MOA or MRAD, it has adjustable parallax from 20 yards to infinity, and it has illumination on the reticle. Since the magnification still only goes to 10x, it’s going to be better at a similar distance as the HS when greater precision and accuracy is required.
The PST can also be used for big game hunting, but it won’t be objectively better than the HS, and it’s significantly more expensive. If you’re doing long range precision shooting or hunting smaller game of some kind, then the PST will give you more tools to do the job well.
Things like side focus for parallax can make a big difference, but only in the right scenarios and with the right training.
Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 2-10x32
The price of Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 2-10x32 varies, so check the latest price at
It’s completely up to you and what you need for your situation, but the Viper HS is a strong contender especially for big game hunting. With the image quality and highly durable build, what it lacks in features it makes up for in core functionality. If the bells and whistles are important for what you’re doing, then you may want to give the HS a pass.
Otherwise, you can check current pricing on the Viper HS on Amazon or OpticsPlanet. Anything from .17 HMR to 6.5 creedmoor and any other small or medium bore loads should work great with the HS. Have you used the Viper HS before? What was your experience? Feel free to let me know your thoughts on the Viper HS in the comments.