Yet another installment of Vortex trials in the desert, and this one is really cool. The Vortex Viper PST is unbelievable, accurate, and after a bit of education on getting it all set up, amazing to shoot.
In this endeavor, we are using a custom-built 6.5 Creedmore on an AR platform. A heavy target grade barrel, making nearly zero recoil, and all the fantastic AR build parts that normal humans can afford.
The optic is the Vortex Viper PST in 5-25x50mm and using Vortex mounting hardware.
The weather was hot as hell, dry and dusty, you know, in the desert weather.
On this day, and using this platform, round, ammo choice, and optic, it was hard to miss the target, especially for my brother, who I think has a mental connection to this rifle. A human-cyborg relationship may come from its birth on his mill and workbench from parts and a block of metal into a shooting machine. I am sure that's it, not that he runs circles around me at the shooting bench. That can't be the reason; he must be cheating.
So let me put in a little bit about the good folks at Vortex who have not sponsored or donated anything to this project anyway. I think it is good to highlight where the company comes from to build such excellent optics.
Vortex back in once upon a time stated as a small outdoor retail store in 1986. Vortex has always been a veteran-owned, family-owned, and American owned company, every day of its corporate life.
The company is located in South Central, Wisconsin. In 2002 they officially became Vortex and soon became the giant of Optics they are today, very few people in the shooting world have not heard of Vortex, and there is a good reason for that, they focus on the customer.
The company has recently moved to Barneveld, WI, and they are open Monday through Friday and are happy to have everyone that can stop in and have a look at what they offer, get all hands on all the stuff, take your time and enjoy the experience.
This offering from Vortex is a definite tactical scope. In my opinion, this is not a good fit for a hunting scope. If that statement upsets you, please reread it and see that I did not say it will not work as a hunter, just not a good fit for a hunting optic.
This scope has the abilities built into it to set up a shot that can hit a silver dollar at 800 meters. If the shooter can do it, the scope has no issues pushing it to 1000+ meters.
With that said, let us get into what makes this incredible scope so incredible. For one, it's relatively affordable to everyone, not cheap, but reasonable for this level of precision.
How Is It Built
The Viper PST is made from Aircraft Aluminum and Hard Anodized. The 30mm tube is O-Ring sealed and filled with Argon. Nothing is getting inside this scope. Rain, fog, and dust are all just environmental challenges to the outside, leading to excessive glove use wiping the lens clear. That glove application to the lens is no problem, as we will discuss in a minute.
Vortex builds this option to be used as a real working optic. They test the Viper PST for recoil and impact resistance. The "insides" are supported by Erector Springs, absorbing and contending with all types of forces, and exceeding expectations for any user. The common saying goes, "you could use it for a hammer," I think that is a lousy way to treat a 1200+ dollar optic, but if you have the money…
The Viper PST is 15.79 inches long and weighs in at 31.2 ounces. That is not a lightweight hunting scope by any means. This is more suited to put it on a bipod or even a tripod and reaching way out there.
The Optics Rundown
The Eye Relief is very comfortable at 3.4 inches, easy to mount on modern rifle platforms, and set for long shooting events.
The Field of View is impressive at 24.1 to 4.8 feet at 100 yards. When you get this scope dialed in at its maximum magnification, you will still have almost five feet of target and surroundings, amazing.
The glass-etched, illuminated reticle works with the illumination on or off. The scope we used was in the First Focal Plane and MRAD. Vortex does offer the Viper PST in Second Focal Plane and MOA. Vortex makes this scope for every shooter and every flavor of the shooter. The illumination has ten levels of intensity for sunny days or close to night time.
The reticle, MOA or MRAD is a definite tactical reticle, and it comes with a "built-in" drop compensator and windage holdover. There is a lot of information in the sight picture; however, it is not too busy to look past if that is what you want to do, very practical and a pleasure to use either way.
The parallax focus is 25 yards to infinity, and it sets quickly; located on the left side knob, the illumination for the reticle is integrated on the same knob turret. The eyepiece reticle focus is built with Vortex's Precision-Glide Erector System. The magnification 5x to 25x zoom is just slick to use, easy to move, and does not generate a bunch of unnecessary movements of the rifle when you are trying to get it dialed in to exact shot placement.
The lenses are made from XD glass, and fully multicoated with their XR system along with the scratch-resistant coating of ArmorTek. When I talked about the clean it with a glove and having no worries about scratches, this is why. We used the good old stand by heavy breath blow it off function that all people that talk long and loud are equipped with, from the factory. I am not too sure using a gloved finger to clear away dust is a good idea, even with the ArmorTek coating, but, Vortex does offer the VIP Warranty, so it is up to you.
Now The Twisty Parts, Turrets.
Like I have said, the scope we used is equipped with MRAD reticle and turrets. Vortex offers in MOA as well. Just make sure you check your ordering, so you don't have to wait for a return and replacement.
The turrets are tactile clicks when you adjust them, very confident in how many clicks. When you set the zero, the clicks are not tactile, and that is normal. They will return when you set the screws.
Each click is .1 MRAD. The Viper PST with the 30mm tube has 20 MRAD in elevation to offer and 10 MRAD in windage. The zero stop is Vortex RZR, not to be confused with the Polaris RZR; I don't know who had it first. The 2mm Hex wrench (Allen wrench to most folks) is included. And the turrets are tactical styled finger adjustable.
When we put this scope through the reticle tracking and repeatability, it was a very tight test. The crosshairs returned to the X ring every time. We performed the box test, ran the turrets to each end of the stops, and did not lack issues that we could find in any way.
So How Does It All Play Out
I have to go against the gain from most reviewers on this rating, but not by much. The RZR zero stop is not hard to do, and with the very helpful video instruction that Vortex has on their website, anyone can get it done. It is just a pain in the a**, to be honest.
Along with the RZR minor issues, this unit is heavy, so if you want to carry this platform a while, it is a small hit to the usability.
HD glass, what more can you ask for? The only way we could get the glass to show anything near imperfections was to take off the shade and aim towards the sun angle (NEVER look at the sun with magnified optics, or any other ways, but NEVER with magnified optics). We could get it to produce some blurry looking issues. When we moved the scope just a bit out of the angle, it was perfect and precise. So, I can safely say in the field this glass is as close to perfect as it can get.
Durability and Construction
Industry-wide, known as tough and rugged as it can get, this aircraft aluminum and hard anodized scope body is ready for anything you dish out. I still have not talked to anyone, including myself, about driving a nail with the scope. Maybe someday Vortex can do a video on that. If so, I will update this post with a link to that immediately.
I do know some folks that have dropped a deer rifle in the rocks, and the scope had no issues, not a Viper PST, but other Vortex built from the same materials. I know one ATV (four-wheeler) driver that had one bounce from the forks and ran it over, and it just got dirty.
In my world, I have not personally found anything but perfect tracking. You can find some reviews on the Vortex webpage that tell a different story. They also speak about Vortex covering the repairs under the VIP warranty.
Warranty and Support
The VIP warranty is one of the industry-leading warranties. If it is not right, for whatever reason, send it to them, they will fix or replace it, and then you are back in business.
When I wrote this article, the Viper PST is selling for about 1200 bucks! For a premium scope capable of reaching 1000+ meters, how can you beat that? This is a scope that your grandkids will use on your long-range platform. Think of how many memories and skills can be developed for several shooting lifetimes from one optics purchase.
In the end, these optic rates high on every review platform. Some reviews are rated low from the one purchase made by very few respondents. Vortex will read and respond directly to the low ratings and work diligently to make everything good and right in the world.
Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II
The price of Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II varies, so check the latest price at
Like many shooters around the world, I rate this scope in the highest bracket. If you are saving money to get the best, you will be pleased you have missed the burnt coffee from a particular coffee shop to afford this scope. Put the money for a Latte every day into a cup, and you can pay cash for this scope within one year, easy money.
I say it all the time; nearly every deer rifle will make the 700-meter shot. It is practice for the operator needed, and with this scope, it will be a pleasure to practice long-distance shooting.