Yet Another Vortex Going in for Warranty

neffa3

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As much as I agree, I’m very disappointed that their SIs are no longer made in Japan, and that they discontinued their SIIs. The SIIIs, while manageable on a hunting rifle, are definitely a little bigger than I’d prefer. Probably the most annoying thing about Sightron is that all of the FFP scopes have exposed turrets with no lock. Well, if I’m gonna dial, then why do I need reticle in the FFP? If I’m gonna use my reticle for holding, why do I need my turrets exposed?

It seems Leupold has gone down the same path though, with their higher end, high powered scopes being just about as large, and heavy and side focus instead of A/O. Not only does the extra lens for the side focus add weight, but it reduces light transmission. At least they have the new locking turrets.
I just want a 3-9 or 4-12, x40-x44, that holds zero. I can do without everything else. I don't want need a turret. I don't need to be dialing. I just want to trust it. And I don't mean that most of their scopes hold zero, I mean ALL of them hold zero and will continue to hold zero. Why is that so hard to find?
 

SnowyMountaineer

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I just want a 3-9 or 4-12, x40-x44, that holds zero. I can do without everything else. I don't want need a turret. I don't need to be dialing. I just want to trust it. And I don't mean that most of their scopes hold zero, I mean ALL of them hold zero and will continue to hold zero. Why is that so hard to find?
The problem for you is that the vast majority of shooters who value robust internal construction also want the option to dial distance and hold wind; so they want turrets and hashed reticles. I wrap electrical tape around the windage turrets on my and my kids SWFA's during the season.
 

woods89

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I just want a 3-9 or 4-12, x40-x44, that holds zero. I can do without everything else. I don't want need a turret. I don't need to be dialing. I just want to trust it. And I don't mean that most of their scopes hold zero, I mean ALL of them hold zero and will continue to hold zero. Why is that so hard to find?
Nightforce 3-10x42 SHV. You can get the Forceplex reticle is you like a plain duplex, MOAR if you want MOA hashes.
 

neffa3

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The problem for you is that the vast majority of shooters who value robust internal construction also want the option to dial distance and hold wind; so they want turrets and hashed reticles. I wrap electrical tape around the windage turrets on my and my kids SWFA's during the season.
But we had that previously? Why did it go away? Spending 1k on a Nightforce seems unnecessary to get a consistent zero. I'd even consider going to a fixed power if it ensured consistency and durability.
 

winmag

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But we had that previously? Why did it go away? Spending 1k on a Nightforce seems unnecessary to get a consistent zero. I'd even consider going to a fixed power if it ensured consistency and durability.
Perhaps this is why the military used to use fixed 10x and 16x Leupold Mark 4’s? Well that and it fixed the issue of using a mildot reticle with a 2nd focal plane scope; don’t have to remember to have it on a certain power for the reticle to be true.
 

SnowyMountaineer

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But we had that previously? Why did it go away? Spending 1k on a Nightforce seems unnecessary to get a consistent zero. I'd even consider going to a fixed power if it ensured consistency and durability.
I don't know if we did or not. The proportion of shooters who test return to zero and tracking is probably a lot higher now than even 20 years ago. My fixed 6x Leupolds (FX-II and FX-3) held zero, as have all my $250-$500 SWFA's.

When it comes to relative price, I think about it this way...aren't we really asking far more of an optic than a rifle? Bolt action rifle technology is relatively simple, static, and is essentially non-adjustable. With modern tools it's not that hard to machine something that's capable of good precision. I'm no engineer, but it seems conceptually far more difficult to design a compact, sub 2 lb optical device that tracks correctly, holds zero, and is decent to look through while soaking up recoil -- a force impulse that's pretty dynamic. It's like taking a finely machined pocket watch and smacking it on the ground every time you shoot, and expecting it to keep the right time, every time.

Considered that way, I have no problem putting a $1000+ scope on a $700 rifle if the budget allows it.
 

Redside

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Have you seen the scope tests that guy on rokslide is doing? Some people don't like them but they seem fine to me and something that a scope should be able to do. Basically its a series of elevation/windage changes, then drops from 18" and 36" all the while checking to see if the scope holds zero or returns to zero. Not too many pass the test. Nightforce, SWFA, Meopta and maybe a couple others have. The vortex scope he tested did not do well.
 

shannerdrake

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Side focus is another thing I can do without. mtmuley
I am with mtmuley on all of his scope comments. I think there is a sweet spot that is very underserved for smaller (under 50MM) scopes, with simpler reticles, and hunting appropriate zooms with superior glass at reasonable prices. Meopta used to serve that for me, but even they are moving away and their prices seem to have gone up as "the secret" on them has got out. I picked up one of their scopes the other day with some Christmas tree reticle that I'd been lucky to actually be able to see the deer on the other side of all the dots and dashes.
 

TimeOnTarget

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I agree with most on the excess of reticles. Even as someone who spins turrets and shoots fairly long distances, most of it is just clutter and something I never use.
 

neffa3

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I don't know if we did or not. The proportion of shooters who test return to zero and tracking is probably a lot higher now than even 20 years ago. My fixed 6x Leupolds (FX-II and FX-3) held zero, as have all my $250-$500 SWFA's.
Maybe I've just had duds. But I've never heard of an old 4x or 6x weaver then you had to re-sight in every year. I have a sample set of at least 3 and have family with another dozen or so. But when I started to want something high power I went to viable. so far my Vx3 and viper hs both require shots before season with some minor adjustments. Are they broken? I don't think so, I just think the design is flawed and allows for minor creep or settling. I literally inherited a .300 mag that hadn't been shot in 20+ years. It punched a hole 2" high a 100 without any correction with a 80's bushnell sportsview scope. It wasn't high quality by any regard. But it freakin works... consistently. Again, most of us all have small sample sets, so maybe mine is just skewed. But GD, I just want to trust something.
When it comes to relative price, I think about it this way...aren't we really asking far more of an optic than a rifle? Bolt action rifle technology is relatively simple, static, and is essentially non-adjustable. With modern tools it's not that hard to machine something that's capable of good precision. I'm no engineer, but it seems conceptually far more difficult to design a compact, sub 2 lb optical device that tracks correctly, holds zero, and is decent to look through while soaking up recoil -- a force impulse that's pretty dynamic. It's like taking a finely machined pocket watch and smacking it on the ground every time you shoot, and expecting it to keep the right time, every time.
Sure... there is some inherent difficultly in achieving that task. But look at typical machines around us. We are WAY TOO ADVANCED to not pull this off easily and consistently.
 

ImBillT

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I just want a 3-9 or 4-12, x40-x44, that holds zero. I can do without everything else. I don't want need a turret. I don't need to be dialing. I just want to trust it. And I don't mean that most of their scopes hold zero, I mean ALL of them hold zero and will continue to hold zero. Why is that so hard to find?
Sightron and Weaver both used to make scopes that fit the bill perfectly, but they no longer do.

Currently the S-TAC 3-16x42 might be a decent option. The glass is good, but not quite like the SIIIs. It’s reasonably lightweight and compact EXCEPT for the huge knobs. I’m not aware of anyone complaining about their S-TAC scopes, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t out there. It uses the same adjustment system that gives Sightron a good reputation for tracking well, BUT unlike the SIII it was assembled in the Philippines, so if they have a higher failure rate, it would not surprise me, but as with any US scope company buying scopes from overseas, that also depends on the level of in-house QC that Sightron may or may not do.

Why is it so hard to find a company who doesn’t have any scopes that fail to dial or hold zero properly? First of all, you’re dealing with EXTREMELY fine adjustments, and EXTREMELY small parts, holding lenses in place and moving lenses around, and a lot of it is held in place with springs. That’s just hard to get right. Secondly, if you fully tested every single item before it went out the door your price for a scope would skyrocket. Double? Triple? I’m not sure. Nightforce buys scopes from the same handful of Japanese companies that Sightron, Bushnell, Weaver, Maven, Vortex, March and Crimson Trace do, but look at the price tag on Nightforce and March. Both companies do substantial QC here in the US once they have the product in their possession and BOTH companies still have failures.

Their are devices out there for mounting two scopes on one rifle simultaneously. You then focus them on a grid at exactly the same POA(point of aim) and start shooting. After a series of shots, both scopes had better still have their reticles focused on the exact same place. If they no longer agree with one another, something has shifted. Either one or both scopes fails to hold under recoil. You can spend some time to figure out which one is better and which is “broken”. Some serious testing has been done by a handful of people using a mechanically “frozen” scope as the baseline against which other scopes are compared. ALL MANUFACTURERS HAD TOTAL FAILURES. One guy had a thread on some other forum that got so long it would blow your mind and after testing hundred, if not thousands, of scopes. He pretty much concluded that all manufacturers had the occasional scope whose reticle would float around from shot to shot, period, no matter what. It was very surprising how high the percentage was of scopes that would have the reticle shift for 1-3 shots after making an adjustment before settling in, but most scopes, especially those from higher manufacturers would settle in and stop shifting. While all of the top end companies had scopes that worked perfectly and had no shift after dialing or from shot to shot, only a few actually stood out as being a lot more likely to work perfectly than the rest. Those included Sightron and March. I don’t remember if Nightforce actually made that cut. Most of the scopes being tested were competitive scopes, so there weren’t a lot of European hunting scopes in the mix, although there were some of the more tactical style European scopes tested.

Scope adjustment is done by moving a tube within the main tube. One or more springs pushes the erector tube, against the adjustment screws. When you dial down or left, the adjustment screws push the erector tube in the desired direction. When you dial up or right, the screws move away from the erector tube, and you rely on the spring/springs to push the erector tube against the adjustment screws. Sometimes the erector tube doesn’t move all the way because of friction or the viscosity of the grease. During recoil all of this stuff shifts around, and you rely on the springs to return it to the correct position. How much it shifts around is related to how much the lenses weigh, how much recoil you subjected it to, and how strong the springs are. How well it returns to the correct position depends on the internal friction and the strength of the springs.

Most scopes(especially older and/or cheaper ones) use narrow adjustment screws and a single leaf spring in the lower left corner of the main tube to press against the erector tube. The erector tube is obviously not flat on all four sides. When you adjust away from the center, since the tube is round, you end up getting both vertical and horizontal movement, even when you only dial in a single plane. If the left adjustment screw is contacting the erector tube in the center, and you dial the scope up, as the erector tube moves up, the left adjustment screw is now BELOW the center of the erector tube. Because the leaf spring is pushing the erector tube against the adjustment screws, the erector tube maintains contact with the left adjustment screw BUT because dialing up caused the left adjustment screw to become below the center of the erector tube, the erector tube actually had to move both up AND RIGHT when you only dialed up. The farther from mechanical center you get, the more exaggerated this effect becomes. The solution to this is use large diameter adjustment screws or to use a flat interface between the adjustment screws and erector tube. Doing so allows the scope to move only in the direction dialed for most of the scope’s adjustment range. This is a cost, and was mostly important only to competitive shooters until recently, so most cheap scopes don’t dial well, period, and until recent years, even expensive scopes, if they were only intended for hunting, did not include this feature. There are Redfield, Tasco, Bushnell, B&L and Weaver TARGET scopes from many decades ago that dial properly, but that isn’t a feature that was widely available in hunting scopes, and likely still isn’t universal.

As stated above, most scopes use one leaf spring in the lower left corner to push the erector tube against two adjustment screws. Weaver, in El Paso, came out with Micro-Trac. The original Micro-Trac used two springs(one at 9:00 and one at 6:00) instead of a single spring at 7:30) to press on two ball bearings, and each adjustment screw interfaced with the erector tube via a ball bearing as well, and the ball bearings were sandwiched between two flat surfaces. The result was very low friction internal movement, and an erector tube that only moved in the plane you dialed it in, plus with two springs pushing the erector tube directly against adjustment screw, there wasn’t a lot of wasted spring force that didn’t contribute to putting the tube where it belonged. In a standard scope, one spring at 7:30 pushes the erector tube in the 3:00 direction when you dial right. With the original Micro-Trac, it is a spring at 9:00 that pushes the tube in the 3:00 direction with you dial right. Micro-Trac was the best adjustment system for a very long time, but even the Weavers that were made in El Paso came from the factory imperfect and some small companies, primarily one in NM, made a cottage industry of taking them apart and putting them back together perfectly. Weaver as we know them from El Paso went away a very long time ago, and whoever bought the trademark got the Micro-Trac trade mark as well, but utility patents only last 20yrs and that expired a long time ago. Sightron’s Exac-Trac uses only one spring at 7:30, BUT it does use the ball bearings and flat surfaces. I believe, but am not 100% certain that all of the Weavers made in Japan with Micro-Trac use the exact same system as Sightron’s Exac-Trac, and do not use the original 4-point system with two leaf springs at 6:00 and 9:00. As long as the spring is strong enough, I don’t think it’s important to have two springs instead of one. Again, the patent is long expired, so anyone could be doing it, but I haven’t seen that system in any of my scopes that aren’t Sightron and Weaver. I haven’t owned a NightForce or March, but it would not surprise me if they used a ball bearing system. It would not surprise me if all The ball bearings should reduce friction, and reducing friction should increase reliability.

Some Weaver(El Paso) hunting scopes came with Micro-Trac. Other than them, hunting scopes just didn’t dial like target scopes until fairly recently.
 
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ImBillT

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Maybe I've just had duds. But I've never heard of an old 4x or 6x weaver then you had to re-sight in every year. I have a sample set of at least 3 and have family with another dozen or so. But when I started to want something high power I went to viable. so far my Vx3 and viper hs both require shots before season with some minor adjustments. Are they broken? I don't think so, I just think the design is flawed and allows for minor creep or settling. I literally inherited a .300 mag that hadn't been shot in 20+ years. It punched a hole 2" high a 100 without any correction with a 80's bushnell sportsview scope. It wasn't high quality by any regard. But it freakin works... consistently. Again, most of us all have small sample sets, so maybe mine is just skewed. But GD, I just want to trust something.

Sure... there is some inherent difficultly in achieving that task. But look at typical machines around us. We are WAY TOO ADVANCED to not pull this off easily and consistently.
A lot of the 80s Bushnells were made by Bausch and Lomb in Japan. That scope is higher quality than you’re giving it credit. No one had glass as clear or coatings as bright as today, and some technological advances related to scopes, machines for manufacturing and materials have happened since then as well. It’s unlikely that scope could compete with something newer in terms of clarity, or brightness, and the seals may crack and leak and your scope might fog, BUT that 80s Bushnell wasn’t a low quality scope.
 

MTLabrador

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A lot of the 80s Bushnells were made by Bausch and Lomb in Japan. That scope is higher quality than you’re giving it credit. No one had glass as clear or coatings as bright as today, and some technological advances related to scopes, machines for manufacturing and materials have happened since then as well. It’s unlikely that scope could compete with something newer in terms of clarity, or brightness, and the seals may crack and leak and your scope might fog, BUT that 80s Bushnell wasn’t a low quality scope.
I do have a very old Bushnell fixed 4x that my uncle had laying around and gave me to put on my first .22. That thing has seen some abuse and still holds zero well. I use it all the time.
 

neffa3

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Thanks @ImBillT

I actually really like that old Bushnell. At some point I lost the damn caps for the elev and windage adjustments, and apparently you can't get replacements. Otherwise I'd consider moving it to my newer .270.
 

Wind Gypsy

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Perhaps this is why the military used to use fixed 10x and 16x Leupold Mark 4’s? Well that and it fixed the issue of using a mildot reticle with a 2nd focal plane scope; don’t have to remember to have it on a certain power for the reticle to be true.

Maybe? They also have put a bunch of Mark 6s in service and they are awful in the reliability department so I don't put much credence in equipment having merit because the military uses it.
 

cahunter805

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I just want a 3-9 or 4-12, x40-x44, that holds zero. I can do without everything else. I don't want need a turret. I don't need to be dialing. I just want to trust it. And I don't mean that most of their scopes hold zero, I mean ALL of them hold zero and will continue to hold zero. Why is that so hard to find?
NF SHV 3-10 is your best bet. Yes you will spend a little more $ but that comes with quality and durability also.
Keep an eye out and pickup a used one if you want to save some money also.
 

ImBillT

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Thanks @ImBillT

I actually really like that old Bushnell. At some point I lost the damn caps for the elev and windage adjustments, and apparently you can't get replacements. Otherwise I'd consider moving it to my newer .270.
I’d look at pictures of any scope from the era on eBay. Those older scopes from overseas share a lot of parts across brands. You can probably buy a trash 4X scope with the same caps for $10-$30. That’s a lot of money for caps, but if it allows you to keep using a scope you like, it might be worth it. Be glad it wasn’t a Bushnell Scope Chief. They used some fancy caps that are only on Bushnell. There is even a really good chance that even if the caps don’t look exactly like the ones you lost, they will still screw on. You might find one for parts/non-working for $5-$15.
 

winmag

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Maybe? They also have put a bunch of Mark 6s in service and they are awful in the reliability department so I don't put much credence in equipment having merit because the military uses it.
:eek:

"Vortex Optics subsidiary Sheltered Wings has been selected to build as many as 250,000 Next Generation Squad Weapon – Fire Control systems at a starting price of about $2.7 billion over the next decade. The partnership beat out L3 Harris, the other company selected to provide a prototype for testing and evaluation."

 

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