Vortex Viper HD
• 20–60x85 • $900 • Mid-barrel focus
Given that we’ve seen iterations of this scope in previous years from Alpen, Cabela’s, and others, we expected to be underwhelmed. But the Vortex outperformed peers priced several hundred dollars higher. The Viper HD scored very well in both low-light and resolution tests, and was one of the clearest full-size spotters in the field. Its design is derivative but lovely, and it includes a functional, gracefully angled eyepiece, a singlespeed midbarrel focus wheel, and a zooming eyepiece with a positive eyecup. Optically, the Vortex delivers a fine image at lower magnifications; above about 45X, the image degrades and caused testers eyestrain. Still, for a very good, hard-wearing full-size spotter, the price is excellent.