[ This guest post was written by farmboy7.62 ]
Several months ago I purchased the Vortex Viper PST rifle scope. The scope is configured with Vortex’s proprietary EBR-1 MRAD, etched illuminated reticle. Having recently “gunbrokered”my Swarovski (Habicht 6-18X, TDS reticle) I was looking for a replacement to sit atop my main “work” rifle. My parents and I own and manage a 10,000 acre cattle ranch in the high plains of central New Mexico. Predators in the form of coyotes and mountain lions have proven to be a problem, and when not managed properly can have a devastating economic impact. One can say that my need to develop a skill set that included the ability to shoot long range was driven more be necessity then by sport.
My primary rifle for managing predators on the ranch is a Remington SPS Tactical, chambered in .308/7.62. The rifle features a 20 inch bull barrel and includes Remingtons X-Mark trigger. Trigger weight is currently dialed down to around 3.5 lbs. The receiver is mounted on a Bell and Carlson stock. Atop the receiver is mounted the Evolution Gun Works 20 MOA, picatinny scope mount. I prefer to shoot off of my hunting pack but I do keep a bipod on the gun just in case. I have found that the bipod gives you a little bit more stability when shooting off of a pack. I shoot a variety of ammunition. I have had good results with the 180 grain Winchester silver tips, used primarily for big game. I utilize Hornaday 168 A-max bullets for long range work and train with a variety of Australian/ Austrian M-80 147 FMJBT military surplus ammunition. All bullets will hold .5 MOA granted I do my part behind the rifle. I zero my rifle at 100 yards due to the fact that I like the versatility to be able to shoot several types of ammunition. I utilize the Knights Armament Bullet Flight ballistic calculator on my Ipod, and each bullet has its own set of ballistic tables.
One may ask why I got rid of the Swarovkski, which is a wonderful scope in its own right. The Swarovski glass was incredibly clear and the TDS reticle was definitely handy but the scope was not necessarily designed to precisely dial in long range shots. Though one can “dial in” shots on a Swarovski, I feel that I would have been exceeding the design of the scope and was concerned about my reticle not returning to a precise zero. What features was I looking for in my new scope? Because I do a lot of predator hunting at night, an illuminated reticle was going to be highly desired. I wanted a 30mm tube for increased field of view as well as uncapped “tactical” turrets so that I could dial in shots. I wanted some type of ballistic reticle, due to the fact that predators don’t always wait for those turrets to turn and at times, shots have to be taken very quickly. After several weeks of research I decided to go with the Vortex PST, 2nd focal plane, 2.5-10×44, 30 mm tube with the EBR-1 MRAD illuminated reticle. The turrets have a “zero stop” feature. The Vortex PST EBR-1 reticle comes in both MRAD and MOA configurations. Being comfortable using the metric system I choose the MRAD system, where 1 MRAD equals 3.6 inches at 100 yards. Reticle adjustments are .1MRAD or .36 inches at 100 yards. When looking through the reticle one will see hash marks every ½ mil. The reticle represents up to 8 mils worth of holdover/wind. That means at 6200 ft, the elevation of our ranch, I could theoretically send a .308 bullet out to 975 yards without making a single adjustment to the scope. Since the reticle is in mils as well as the turret adjustments, when time to shoot ,I simply use the reticle or dial in the shot. An example would be a coyote ranged at 300 yards. By consulting with the ballistic calculator on my iPod, I know that I will need to hold 1 mil high or dial the scope up 10 clicks. For all intensive purposes I would just simply use the reticle and hold 1 mil high. Another example would be a coyote ranged at 350 yards. This shot would require me to hold 1.3 mils high. Since the hash marks are spaced 1/2 mil apart, in order to maximize precision it would be better just to dial 13 clicks up, or 1.3 mils, then shoot.
The scope feels very well made The knobs are very solid and adjustments give an audible click. The magnification ring and top turret have a small fiber optic cable that enhances viewing in low light. The optics are on par with the Swarovski and the 30mm tube gives a tremendous field a view. I went with the 2.5-10 magnification. I found that on my Swarovski I never cranked the magnification past 11 due to the desire for a wide field of view. The scope is in second focal plane configuration meaning the reticle stays the same as magnification is decreased or increased. In order to utilize the reticle at lesser magnification requires one to multiply the milliradian by a certain value. The Vortex users manual gives a wonderful description on how to manipulate the magnification at lower settings in order to maintain a true milliradian at various magnifications. I have never had a need to use anything less than the 10x magnification while hunting, save for hunting at night where I have the magnification all the way down. Since most of the animals engaged at night are fairly close, less than 100 yards, one really wouldn’t need to utilize holdovers or adjustments. The illuminated reticle is very bright. The scope features 10 setting, several for night vision. The illuminated reticle “turns off” between brightness settings allowing one to keep the knob staged near ones preferred brightness setting.
I think the scope is a wonderful value for the features that one gets. I can really appreciate the consumer driven mindset that Vortex has. I think they have innovative products and their warranty is second to none. I highly recommend this scope . At present, I am considering putting together a rifle chambered in .300 Winchester magnum to further extend my ability to shoot long range. I will seriously consider the Vortex PST line for my next build.