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  1. #1
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    Jul 2014
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    Default Comparing scopes

    Just for fun today I took three scopes and did a thorough comparison of them side by side. Vortex viper PST gen1 5-25x50, Vortex Razor HD 5-20x50, and the Arken Optics EP-4 6-24x50. I was actually surprised at how little difference there was between them optically. Of course, the Razor was slightly better all around, but it is three times the price of the Arken, and twice the price I paid for the PST. Made me realize just how very good scopes are now, even the $600 Arken. They are all capable of going to 1000 yds and more easily. Both Vortex scopes have proven they are tough enough and have been bounced around and still going strong. I believe the Arken will prove just as durable in the long run. Good days for long range shooters, and you do not have to spend a lot of money to get a capable, durable scope.

  2. #2
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    Jan 2012
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    If you really want to compare scopes, do it in the evening as you're losing light, and compare how well you can see various objects and for how long. Do it in both overcast and golden/red sunset conditions. FWIW Vortex generally sucks in these conditions so you should be able to find others that are quite a bit better.

    If you're just comparing optics in good mid-day light, or even worse in store lighting, a lot of scopes look really good. You won't see the differences that matter until you test them in bad light.

    Another thing to consider is the ability for a scope to work out to 1,000 yd or whatever is mostly about how well the turrets track to their markings and how repeatable they are. It's really important to actually test this on your own scope rather than trusting either the marketing or someone else's review. There is good reason that a lot of experienced long range shooters think poorly of Vortex, and a lot of other brands, for this kind of use.

  3. #3
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    Mar 2016
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    My PST 2 sucks in bright light. The image washes out, almost like the light is being difused and the image becomes blurry.
    I sent it to Vortex, they returned it and told me to use the sun shade... I've used optics that cost far less and never had that issue.
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  4. #4
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    A few years ago I was sighting in some scopes on varioius rifles...Nikon, Vortex PST, SWFA and Leupold Mark AR. In good light they'd all been very good, but as evening came on, I was amazed at how much clearer the Leupold was than the others.
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  5. #5
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    Mar 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by DogDoc View Post
    A few years ago I was sighting in some scopes on varioius rifles...Nikon, Vortex PST, SWFA and Leupold Mark AR. In good light they'd all been very good, but as evening came on, I was amazed at how much clearer the Leupold was than the others.
    It's a great example of something having a good spec sheet but fail in practical application.
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  6. #6
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    Jul 2014
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    I did test them out in twilight approx. 45 minutes after sundown. Could have easily taken shots to 300 or slightly more, except with the Arken. Simply because the scope lacks illumination. I think the stars were perfectly aligned when they built my PST because the scope is really good. Both Vortex scopes track very well and I am very confident of their capability, because they have proven themselves. The Arken is guaranteed to track or I can send it back with standards that exceed a lot of scopes running into the thousands of dollars. I will find out about that when I finally get out and put it through its paces. Need to take some time off work. Think I will when we get around to setting up the 1000 yd range, hopefully within the next month, the landowner broke his ankle rather severely a few weeks ago, and we are waiting for it to heal properly. I was thinking about swapping out scopes, putting the Razor on the 6.5 because of the 125 moa elevation in it, but the PST is so dialed in I am reluctant to do it. I am one of the if it isn't broke don't fix it type of guys, but I'll see. The Razor is better suited to the Creedmore, and a very capable optic, but. Could call the old Valdada 16 fixed power out of retirement, but I would be losing some very convenient options I like too much.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronlassit View Post
    I did test them out in twilight approx. 45 minutes after sundown. Could have easily taken shots to 300 or slightly more, except with the Arken. Simply because the scope lacks illumination. I think the stars were perfectly aligned when they built my PST because the scope is really good. Both Vortex scopes track very well and I am very confident of their capability, because they have proven themselves. The Arken is guaranteed to track or I can send it back with standards that exceed a lot of scopes running into the thousands of dollars. I will find out about that when I finally get out and put it through its paces. Need to take some time off work. Think I will when we get around to setting up the 1000 yd range, hopefully within the next month, the landowner broke his ankle rather severely a few weeks ago, and we are waiting for it to heal properly. I was thinking about swapping out scopes, putting the Razor on the 6.5 because of the 125 moa elevation in it, but the PST is so dialed in I am reluctant to do it. I am one of the if it isn't broke don't fix it type of guys, but I'll see. The Razor is better suited to the Creedmore, and a very capable optic, but. Could call the old Valdada 16 fixed power out of retirement, but I would be losing some very convenient options I like too much.
    I'm not harping on you, really, but think it's worth pointing out that if the PST is your "good" basis for comparison, you probably haven't seen how much difference better glass like Leupold makes. On the other hand it sounds like what you have is good enough for what you're looking for, and we don't all have the same needs or environmental conditions (or eyesight for that matter, and that makes a difference too).

  8. #8
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    Hi. I am a Leupold whore. Why? Cause they are super light, track great and durable. Also at night after the sun goes down and all you have for lighting are street, house and moon light they are astoundingly clear. Even in dark areas where there is only light spill over.
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  9. #9
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    Jul 2014
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    Have looked through a lot of Leupold glass and owned a few. Honestly, unimpressed with the overall products. Mark 5 I looked through, the turrets were pretty mushy, something I despise. I do not buy scopes simply based on the glass. Most mid to upper level scopes today are good enough to get you out to over a grand as far as glass is concerned. You can spend 3-4 thousand on something like a Tangent Theta, which I have shot behind before, but the glass, while extremely good, did not make my shooting any more accurate. Tracking is the single most important thing to me, and the ones I have on my rifles have proven extremely adept at that. I crank in my dope and they place the bullet where it is supposed to go, providing I doped the wind right. Speaking of Leupold again, not one of the long range shooters I know uses one. Nightforce, S&B, Vortex, and IOR cover most of them. One guy does use the Tangent Theta aforementioned, and there might be a US Optics on one guys rifle. My priorities when buying a scope are tracking, durability, optical clarity, precise controls, and value for the dollar, pretty much in that order. I bought the Arken scope on a lark just to see if it tracks as well as they claim it does, which I have yet to prove because I have been working too much. If it does that, I will find a home for it. BTW, as a result of the evaluations I performed, I actually sent my Razor back to Vortex. Under certain conditions, the gen1 PST actually optically outperformed it. I called Vortex and they said send it back, and the next day I received a return shipping label from them. You cannot beat those guys for service. I bet it will be back in my hands in a week or less. Great warranty means a lot too.
    Last edited by ronlassit; 05-22-2021 at 07:13 PM.

  10. #10
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    Jul 2014
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    The Razor was back in my hands exactly one week to the day. Parallax was off. They fixed it, cleaned it, and recharged the argon gas. Great CS, best in the business. BTW, the Arken scope is a monster for the money. The more I shoot it the more I like it. Gotten used to the tiny dot. Have to precisely set the ocular. Just like the Weaver classic I used in smallbore silhouette, which I still like very much.

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