Vortex Viper PST Gen II 5-25 FFP or Similar

murph1118

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I’m pretty settled on a Bergara Premier HMR Pro heavy barrel 6.5 CM as my first bolt action rifle. Primary uses will be range and hunting. No competition shooting or anything. Really just an intro rifle for me since I’m new to this stuff but still want it to be good quality and a solid hunting platform.

All that said, I need to pick an optic. I was pretty set on the Vortex Viper PST Gen II 5-25 FFP, but I’ve read some issues about turrets breaking and just various QC concerns. Are there better options around the $1K range? I’m not “pulling the trigger” on a NightForce with this rifle, as it’s an intro “precision” and hunting hybrid for me. I’ll eventually do a custom build and go with the mack daddy optic for that.

Appreciate everyone’s help so far in my first few posts. This forum is great!
 

TRPrecision

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    I’m pretty settled on a Bergara Premier HMR Pro heavy barrel 6.5 CM as my first bolt action rifle. Primary uses will be range and hunting. No competition shooting or anything. Really just an intro rifle for me since I’m new to this stuff but still want it to be good quality and a solid hunting platform.

    All that said, I need to pick an optic. I was pretty set on the Vortex Viper PST Gen II 5-25 FFP, but I’ve read some issues about turrets breaking and just various QC concerns. Are there better options around the $1K range? I’m not “pulling the trigger” on a NightForce with this rifle, as it’s an intro “precision” and hunting hybrid for me. I’ll eventually do a custom build and go with the mack daddy optic for that.

    Appreciate everyone’s help so far in my first few posts. This forum is great
    Keep an eye open for a used Athlon Cronus in the PX. They will sell in the 900-1200 range and is a lot more optic than the PST g2. Otherwise, Euro optic has a killer closeout deal on the PST if you are Ok with an older reticle design https://www.eurooptic.com/Vortex-Viper-PST-5-25x50-EBR-2D-MRAD-FFP-PST-5257.aspx
    I think the turret breaking is not quite as common as it is made out to be, and if you do have a problem Vortex will make it right in short order.
     

    murph1118

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    What’s the advantage of the Strike Eagle over the Viper PST Gen II?

    Also, what are your thoughts around the Tract optics? What about the NightForce SHV 5-20?
     

    ma smith

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    What’s the advantage of the Strike Eagle over the Viper PST Gen II?

    Also, what are your thoughts around the Tract optics? What about the NightForce SHV 5-20?
    Vortex strike eagle has a bigger 56mm objective and 34mm tubes. The design seems pretty good, alot of 22LR NRL/PRS guys find them very usable. For that application they aren't getting tons of recoil, tho.
     
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    Glassaholic

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    you could get the new strike eagle 5-25. better than a pst g2 and much cheaper
    Not sure in what world this would be the case but who am I to argue your experience. I simply disagree.

    For the OP, the Burris XTR IIIi is a much better option than both these Vortex scopes IMO. I've had the Vortex PST II 5-25 and thought it was a great optic, but for $1k I just don't see much beating the Burris XTR IIIi in performance.
     

    leendertp

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    Vortex marketing is something else.

    For your goals the 3-15x44 vortex would have been a better idea.

    The overall correct answer is probably the XTR3i 3.3-18 or maybe the Brownells MPO 3-18x50.
     
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    Glassaholic

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    Vortex marketing is something else.

    For your goals the 3-15x44 vortex would have been a better idea.

    The overall correct answer is probably the XTR3i 3.3-18 or maybe the Brownells MPO 3-18x50.
    I would agree - for OP's purpose the 3-15/3-18 range is more than adequate and tend to be shorter and lighter than 5-25's. Try not to get caught up in "higher magnification equals longer range", I was shooting 1.5 miles with 12-16x magnification and did not feel limited in the least, granted I was using a TT but even the Burris XTR III has surprisingly good resolution which is why I do not hesitate to recommend it.

    Now that Burris has dropped their prices on the XTR III series it may encourage Vortex to come out with a PST III series to better compete as the XTR III glass is definitely a step above PST II glass, in fact, I'd say XTR III glass is better than anything else we have at $1k right now, Burris has made a few manufacturing tweaks with the XTR IIIi which is now coming from the Philippines (where Vortex PST II's are also manufactured) but I do not expect the quality to fall much if any.
     
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    celltech

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    leendertp

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    I'm not sure why it that people new to shooting think they need more magnification. I did too, once. Bigger number better.. I don't know. 3-18 is a great crossover magnification range if you want to hunt. And generally a 4-16 (ish) will have more elevation than the 6-24 (ish) making it easier if you want to try shoot further.
     
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    murph1118

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    All good info! I’m pretty open to be honest, so not necessarily married to sticking with a certain magnification range. I’ve been told the 56mm objective is preferable to the 50mm. What are your thoughts on that?
     

    leendertp

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    All good info! I’m pretty open to be honest, so not necessarily married to sticking with a certain magnification range. I’ve been told the 56mm objective is preferable to the 50mm. What are your thoughts on that?
    Better how? It depends on your purpose. If you want a do it all rig you will always sacrifice somewhere. There is little that is universally better.

    So do you have a weight limit in mind for everything, when you say range, what does that mean? Small groups at 100y or 1000y steel? In what conditions will you hunt? This will impact the weight of your rifle and the minimum magnification of your scope, the size of your tube and objective lens diameter.

    Failing knowing all that detail the MPO and XTR3 are great all round scopes that will do many things well.

    There's a Meopta Optika6 3-18 as well if you want to spend a bit less money. I'm sure there are other options too, this is just what's occurring to me now.
     
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    murph1118

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    Better how? It depends on your purpose. If you want a do it all rig you will always sacrifice somewhere. There is little that is universally better.

    So do you have a weight limit in mind for everything, when you say range, what does that mean? Small groups at 100y or 1000y steel? In what conditions will you hunt? This will impact the weight of your rifle and the minimum magnification of your scope, the size of your tube and objective lens diameter.

    Failing knowing all that detail the MPO and XTR3 are great all round scopes that will do many things well.

    There's a Meopta Optika6 3-18 as well if you want to spend a bit less money. I'm sure there are other options too, this is just what's occurring to me now.
    Uses will be:
    - hunting whitetail in Georgia (generally 100 yards or less, but potentially opportunities out to 300 yards) - could be lower light conditions
    - short range days (100 yards - tight groups)
    - long range days (out to 1,000 yards)

    Weight isn’t a huge concern for me
     

    Glassaholic

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    All good info! I’m pretty open to be honest, so not necessarily married to sticking with a certain magnification range. I’ve been told the 56mm objective is preferable to the 50mm. What are your thoughts on that?
    Preferable? I suppose that depends on what. If a big focus of your shooting will be in low light then the 56mm objective will mean a larger exit pupil at the same magnification vs a 50mm objective thus letting in more light. Some 56mm designs also allow for better eyebox performance. But if you're looking to save size and weight then most 56mm scopes will not be the answer. A bigger differentiator is the quality of glass - you put a cheap scope with a 56mm objective up against a good scope with a 50mm objective and the better scopes ability to resolve more micro-contrast detail is going to "look" better than the 56mm scope even though theoretically the 56mm scope should be "brighter".
     
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    leendertp

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    Hunting at less that 100 yards you could be very happy having a minimum magnification, which generally will increase your fov, of less than 5.

    18x is plenty for 1000 yards and tiny groups. You could probably get by with less.

    SWFA SS 3-15x42, PST Gen 2 3-15x44, Optika6 3-18x56 (MRAD), all less than 1k. Will suit your requirements. Each would have small pro and cons. I think there's a decent 2.5-15 Athlon too, but I don't know it.

    At 1k, XTR3i 3.3-18x50 and MPO 3-18x50. Both would do everything you want. I think the Burris is probably a bit better, might resell easier when you wanna buy your ZCO. Probably will also cost you slightly more.

    I like deals and second hand scopes, you can save lots of money like that. See what comes your way.
     
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    sparky702

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    I have a gen2 pst 3x15x44 . I got it on close out at euro-optic. The reticle is old but still useful and I like the fact the optic is usable at 3x and has enough elevation to get me as far as I can shoot . I run it on an 18 inch 5.56 gas gun shooting prs matches . great scope for the money spent . I also have a strike eagle and it is a good optic but it is heavy and more elevation than I will need and certainly more than enough to get to 1000 yds . I cant speak about the Burris optics I don't own any . If it were me I would skip the 5-25 pst and strike eagle and either go with the 3x15x 44 pst or strongly consider the Burris 3.3 x18x50 especially if you are planning to use it to hunt as well as target shoot .
     
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    ma smith

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    For hunting under 100 yards, in the woods, you only need 3-6x mag, so any 42 or larger is plenty of glass,
    even at 6 x you have 7mm exit pupil which is plenty.

    Only when you are really pushing the limit during daylight might you want 56.
    56mm gives you 14x at 4mm exit pupil, which would be a typical PRS shooting magnification.

    Tactical LEO and .MIL guys might be wanting bigger objectives to PID stuff at 5mm exit pupil in bad light or whatever.
    Hunting in the mountains, trying to PID antler size across a valley, etc...also need 5mm exit pupil in bad light.

    This is why the application and end user really matter.
     
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    fdkay

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    If this is a dual purpose rig, and one of the purposes is for hunting, then a 3-18 or 4-20 would better suit your needs.
    That being said, Doug has the very good Sightron S Stac series on sale right now, the 3-16 would likely fit your needs. MAdse in the Philippines.

    IMHO, if I was to buy a Chinese made scope, Athlon would get my money before Vortex. Much better build quality.

    @gr8fuldoug can chime in, he's a standup guy and a forum sponsor.
     

    DownhillFromHere

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    OP, you had lots of opinions weigh in after you said you'd gone with the Strike Eagle. My simple advice to you is, you've made a decision - now enjoy the new scope. Don't look back and question if it was the right decision, and don't look for validation.

    I've had a few minutes of hands-on time with the new Strike Eagle, side-by-side with one of my gen-2 Razor 4.5-27x56 scopes. Optics capability per dollar spent has improved dramatically over the last 5-10 years. The SE is not a 2nd-gen Razor (let alone 3rd-gen), but it offers far more than a comparably-priced scope just a few years ago. I started precision rifle in 2017 with a gen-1 Razor 5-20x50, and the SE offers more at half the price. Use it, enjoy it, and learn from it. You may well decide on something different later, but there's certainly nothing wrong with what you have.

    Good luck.
     

    murph1118

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    OP, you had lots of opinions weigh in after you said you'd gone with the Strike Eagle. My simple advice to you is, you've made a decision - now enjoy the new scope. Don't look back and question if it was the right decision, and don't look for validation.

    I've had a few minutes of hands-on time with the new Strike Eagle, side-by-side with one of my gen-2 Razor 4.5-27x56 scopes. Optics capability per dollar spent has improved dramatically over the last 5-10 years. The SE is not a 2nd-gen Razor (let alone 3rd-gen), but it offers far more than a comparably-priced scope just a few years ago. I started precision rifle in 2017 with a gen-1 Razor 5-20x50, and the SE offers more at half the price. Use it, enjoy it, and learn from it. You may well decide on something different later, but there's certainly nothing wrong with what you have.

    Good luck.
    May be my favorite post yet! Thanks brother!

    As an aside, I did end up switching back to the Viper PST Gen II via one of those close outs on eurooptic. To your point on value per dollar, based on some of the advice here, and based on reading some independent reviews here and elsewhere, it really sounds like a great starter optic at that price point. It really came down to splitting hairs between that and the Strike Eagle and I was slightly swayed to the Viper for me.

    Hoping to get my goodies in the mail ASAP, but here’s the current build for the starter rifle:

    -Vortex Viper PST Gen II 5-25x50 FFP 2C reticle
    -Bergara Premier HMR Pro #6 heavy barrel 24” 6.5 Creedmoor
    -NightForce 20 MOA Picatinny Scope mount
    -Caldwell pic rail adapter plate x2 (foregrip and stock)
    -Magpul bipod
    -Accu-Shot rear monopod
    -Vortex Precision Matched scope rings
    -Vortex scope level

    I’ve grown fond of a two stage trigger, so I may swap it eventually. But I would really like to try out the TriggerTech that comes with the Bergara Premier first.
     

    DownhillFromHere

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    ^^^ Enjoy.

    Only other things I'd say at this point are:
    • Start and maintain a data log for your rifle. Various outfits sell purpose-made books, but I just write down date, environment conditions, the goal for the range trip, and relevant performance data for the load(s) I'm shooting that day - ended by number of rounds fired that day and total rounds on the barrel. I try to learn something from every shot and, of course, it's important to know where your barrel is in its lifespan.
    • You'll almost certainly want to pick up a rear bag sooner rather than later. It may be that your monopod works for you instead. I shoot matches and something like a Game Changer bag and/or small (~6x6x1") "cookie" bag is as necessary as an optic.
    • There are lots of threads on SH about leveling your scope reticle. Once the reticle is leveled, keep it that way on your bipod and monopod and install the scope level. Note that many people here dump on scope levels. Pfft. Whatever. It's one more tool in the box; once you develop muscle memory and simple experience as to what "level" looks and feels like, the visible level is a simple verification of what you already know.
    • I too went through a period where I liked two-stage trigger... then I went back to single-stage. I prefer a light pull (8 ounces) even in competition, and it's way too easy to pull through both stages at that weight when on the clock. That's just me.
    One last thing: Vortex's instructions for zeroing the scope have one flaw. They say to loosen the turret lock screws, shoot, adjust, shoot, tighten. That doesn't work, because POI changes a bit when you tighten the screws. I loosen screws just enough to allow adjustment, adjust, tighten slightly, and shoot. Once zeroed, tighten the screws a bit more. Go easy on the tightening because overtightening causes the lock screws to put divots in the drum against which they set, which effectively puts "notches" in it that force small errors in final zero. Ask me how I know.

    Hope this helps.
     
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    ma smith

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    -Magpul bipod
    -Accu-Shot rear monopod

    Do yourself a favor and buy a Harris (BRM-S) Bipod +pod-loc and a proper Rear bag
    (Tab Gear, Precision underground, or from Mark's thread).
     
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    murph1118

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    ^^^ Enjoy.

    Only other things I'd say at this point are:
    • Start and maintain a data log for your rifle. Various outfits sell purpose-made books, but I just write down date, environment conditions, the goal for the range trip, and relevant performance data for the load(s) I'm shooting that day - ended by number of rounds fired that day and total rounds on the barrel. I try to learn something from every shot and, of course, it's important to know where your barrel is in its lifespan.
    • You'll almost certainly want to pick up a rear bag sooner rather than later. It may be that your monopod works for you instead. I shoot matches and something like a Game Changer bag and/or small (~6x6x1") "cookie" bag is as necessary as an optic.
    • There are lots of threads on SH about leveling your scope reticle. Once the reticle is leveled, keep it that way on your bipod and monopod and install the scope level. Note that many people here dump on scope levels. Pfft. Whatever. It's one more tool in the box; once you develop muscle memory and simple experience as to what "level" looks and feels like, the visible level is a simple verification of what you already know.
    • I too went through a period where I liked two-stage trigger... then I went back to single-stage. I prefer a light pull (8 ounces) even in competition, and it's way too easy to pull through both stages at that weight when on the clock. That's just me.
    One last thing: Vortex's instructions for zeroing the scope have one flaw. They say to loosen the turret lock screws, shoot, adjust, shoot, tighten. That doesn't work, because POI changes a bit when you tighten the screws. I loosen screws just enough to allow adjustment, adjust, tighten slightly, and shoot. Once zeroed, tighten the screws a bit more. Go easy on the tightening because overtightening causes the lock screws to put divots in the drum against which they set, which effectively puts "notches" in it that force small errors in final zero. Ask me how I know.

    Hope this helps.
    Thanks for the tips! I have a rear bag which I currently use, so covered there. I'll definitely check out the info on leveling the scope reticle when I get everything and start putting it together.
     

    fdkay

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    The rear bag I have. 2 things:

    1) what does the below have over the Magpul?


    2) where can I find this pod-loc? Looks like everywhere is sold out or says "discontinued"

    I've never heard of anyone actually liking the Magpul bipod for any serious use.
    The Harris is a good unit, get the model with the notched legs that swivels.
    Rifles only has the pod loc in stock. They are a godsend.
    If you are going to be doing most of your shooting from the bench, get the 6-9" model, if you think you're going to be shooting from the prone position, I find the 9-13 model better for me.
     
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    ma smith

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    The rear bag I have. 2 things:
    1) what does the below have over the Magpul?
    2) where can I find this pod-loc? Looks like everywhere is sold out or says "discontinued"
    The Harris is used by 50% of the PRS and it just works. Its not 'sexy', but its fast and reliable in field shooting. and its $100 not $3-400 (Atlas, TBAC, etc). The KMW pod loc is available at europtic or brownells ; if they are sold out, there is a $15 caldwell version (check cabellas) that works fine.
    The Magpul AFAIK is an AR accessory, and its designed lighter weight rifles...
     
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    murph1118

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    The Harris is used by 50% of the PRS and it just works. Its not 'sexy', but its fast and reliable in field shooting. and its $100 not $3-400 (Atlas, TBAC, etc). The KMW pod loc is available at europtic or brownells ; if they are sold out, there is a $15 caldwell version (check cabellas) that works fine.
    The Magpul AFAIK is an AR accessory, and its designed lighter weight rifles...
    Well crap...wish I wouldn't have "jumped the gun". I ordered the KWC one from rifles only @ $30+. Should have gone with the Caldwell! Oh well.

    I did order the Harris. Appreciate the guidance on that front. I'll send back the Magpul one.
     

    DownhillFromHere

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    I did order the Harris. Appreciate the guidance on that front. I'll send back the Magpul one.
    The purpose of the Pod-Loc is to replace the undersized swivel tensioning knob, which pretty much requires pliers to meaningfully adjust. The Pod-Loc is worth the $.

    Your rifle stock has sling swivel studs to which the Harris attaches. Pay attention: if the studs are too long, the bipod will not be pulled firmly against the stock - it will literally flop around. I've encountered a significant number of newbies on the range whose Harris was dangling from the swivel stud. Bad. BAD. Cut pieces of rubber inner tube or somesuch to act as fill spacers. The bipod should be FIRMLY pulled up against the stock's forearm. This will make perfect sense when you get the bipod and see how the attachment works.

    If you spend much time in this discipline, it is likely you'll evolve to a stock or chassis with an ARCA rail, or you may be able to attach an add-on rail. RRS (Really Right Stuff) offers an adapter for the Harris which replaces the swivel attachment with a very solid ARCA mount. With the Pod-Loc and ARCA mount, the Harris is a solid, reliable bipod. I use an Atlas BT-65NC bipod 99% of the time, but I keep my Pod-Loc/RRS-adapter upgraded Harris in my range bag - at some matches, I'll encounter props where the narrow Harris footprint works where the wider-stance Atlas does not... and having a spare isn't a bad idea either.
     
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    b6graham

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    remove the brand Caldwell from your shooting vocabulary and you'll be much happier

    and yeah harris isnt near 50% in PRS anymore. thats a 3 year old post. but it's still high use along with Atlas CAL and Ckye
     

    UpSideDown

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    Getting a good bipod and a good rear bag will make an enormous difference in the outcome of your shooting. I really despise the mechanics of monopods (they naturally want to be unstable and deflect the rifle along an arc due to their design and the mounting onto the stock of a gun). I’d return the magpul bipod (too flimsy) and the pic rail for the rear and the monopod and invest in a Harris or Atlas CAL bipod, and a good rear bag if you don’t love the one you have. You’ll probably end up with several rear bags.
     

    Oldmauser

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    Uses will be:
    - hunting whitetail in Georgia (generally 100 yards or less, but potentially opportunities out to 300 yards) - could be lower light conditions
    - short range days (100 yards - tight groups)
    - long range days (out to 1,000 yards)

    Weight isn’t a huge concern for me
    I owned 2 Vipers. The first one I sold because I was upgrading to a greater magnification. In the second one my turret broke off. I sold it as well.
    So, you get what you pay for. Accept that there is no scope that would fit your needs listed above.
    For hunting whitetail Viper would be ok. However, low light conditions- forget it. For this particular purpose Meopta would be ok.
    Short range target shooting- Viper would be not enough. I shoot my groups at 100m with x60 magnification and leave people using x25 far behind. IMHO x40 for target shooting is minimum. I am not talking banging steel. I am talking shooting for score.
    Long range- forget it. You need a high quality scope to be able to properly read mirage etc. NF, March, Kahles, eventually Sightron or Delta Stryker.
     
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