A good rifle scope is one of the most important pieces of gear a hunter can consider when it comes to medium- and long-range shooting.
You can shoot accurately only when you can see well.
Many deer hunters use iron sights, 4x or 4-9x magnification rifle scopes in wooded areas where shots are often at shorter ranges.
Hunting on the prairie can greatly lengthen the distance between shooter and game, which is why I selected a Vortex Viper 4-12x magnification rifle scope to do some performance testing.
This particular optic had a 40 millimetre objective lens, one inch tube and one-quarter MOA elevation and windage adjustment turrets.
It had a dead-hold bullet drop compensating reticle to help the shooter make on-the-fly distance and wind adjustments. The rifle scope also had a third adjustment turret to minimize visual parallax at different shooting distances.
The glass and coatings of the Vortex Viper gave a clear and crisp image at all magnifications. Getting a clear sight picture in overcast sky and twilight conditions was easy. My aging eyes were able to sharply see individual blades of grass at 200 yards.
The parallax adjustment turret was clearly marked for particular shooting distances, which minimized reticle float.
The increased number of rifle scopes with advanced reticles for hunters first struck me as a fad. The test Vortex Viper has horizontal and vertical hash marks on the crosshairs at specific intervals to help a shooter gauge the distance to a target, compensate for wind and hold positions for long distance shots.
Zeroing the Vortex Viper at 200 yards seemed to make the most sense. With the optic set to its minimum magnification, hunting deer up to 200 yards would generally be a simple matter of point and shoot. The additional hash marks on the BDC reticle could extend a shooter’s range to around 600 yards with an accurate rifle, solid rest and excellent trigger skill.
Adjusting and zeroing the Vortex Viper was easy. Its settings re-mained stable when hiking and shooting. The optic resisted weather conditions like a champ. It even gave me a bright, crisp and clear image at distances beyond what my bush rifle scopes offered.
I try to marry optics and rifles of similar prices into a hunting package. This generally matches the performance and quality of the components.
It does not make sense to put a cheap optic on an expensive rifle or vice versa, because the overall shooting package will underperform.
From my tests with the Vortex Viper, it will outperform most rifles around the same cost, which is a testament to its dollar value.
For around $480, the Vortex Viper 4-12x rifle scope with BDC reticle has excellent features for bush, mountain and prairie hunting.
Kim Quintin is a Saskatoon outdoor enthusiast and knife maker. He can be reached for column suggestions at email@example.com or 306-665-9687.