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Vortex Razor HD Gen I Riflescope series | Optics Trade Debates

  • Maja 

Hello. This is another episode of Optics Trade Debates where we will talk about the Razor HD series made by Vortex. The Gen II is already out, so why is this Gen I model still in production? Because it is very popular, and still very good.

What is interesting is that when we began working with Vortex in 2012, it was already in their lineup and at that time, it was the best and most expensive MIL/MIL tactical riflescope they offered. When Gen II came out, it was the first step above the Gen I Razor HD. At that time, there were two models: the wide-angle CQB model, and the 5-20x50. Later, they discontinued the 1-4, but the 5-20 is still in production and still sells well, due to the fact that it is priced competitively, and is still a great optics. At the moment, it is the only model available in this series.

If we move on to the general features, it has an unusual tube diameter of 35 mm. With the Gen II models, they decided on 34 mm, which was clever, due to there being a lot more 34 mm mounts available on the market. However, at the time when the scope was new (2010 and earlier), the 35 mm tube looked promising because, at that time, Dipol used this diameter, as well as IOR with some of their scopes. Now we can see that 34 mm is the best choice. 35 mm and 36 mm, used by Zeiss and Hensoldt are not as common on tactical scopes anymore.

The turrets are of the exposed tactical type with a turn indicator at the bottom. They redesigned the turrets a couple of times and the final form appears nice. The scope itself was available
in the MOA/MOA configuration for some time, but right now it is available only in MIL/MIL configuration. This MIL version has 10 MILS of travel per one revolution, so it is really simple to count them. It does not include a mechanical turn indicator, but it has a true zero stop, which the previous ones did not.

The tracking works as it should, and performs superbly. Both of the turrets are of the same design. The elevation turret is a little bit bigger than the windage turret. They are both resettable, but not lockable; they are normal tactical turrets with nice clicks.

It has a substantive elevation range, as it has 38 MILS of elevation, which is a lot. This is due to the 4x zoom and because the magnification is not that high (20), but it is still more than enough for any kind of shooting.

Even though this scope is quite old, it still looks modern. What changed with the new scopes is there is no rubber on the magnification ring, and the scope is made out of metal, which is more common nowadays. The design is typical for Vortex; they still use the same color scheme that sets them apart from other manufacturers. It is nicely made, there is optical fiber on the magnification ring and the turret, so it is easier to see the exact position.

The parallax is adjustable with a side focus (40 yards to infinity), and the elimination turret is located on the eyepiece. It requires standard batteries, and it is made in Japan. For the optical characteristics of the scope; it has a 4x zoom, which means it is not stretched like super-zoom scopes, so it performs decently on all magnifications. It does not have any tunneling and it performs superbly for its price point; everything else is either cheaper or more expensive (1500 € – 2000 €).

Moving on to warranty – when it comes to Vortex, it is VIP – they still have one of the best warranty terms, and they were the first to offer such. Regarding the scope of delivery, the manual for the reticle is included. This addition is also something that has changed over the years. Currently, the most popular choice of the reticle is EBR-2B – a Chrismas tree-style reticle, but they offered different styles of reticles in the past. What also changed is the addition of the bubble level in the package, as well as the sunshade and the lens cloth. The box is bigger than usual because of all the accessories.

Let us go over the positive points: the price point, quality, elevation range, optical performance, warranty – the best one you can have on any optics – this is where Vortex excels. When you take a look at the strong points and the price it is a no-brainer that this scope is an excellent purchase. But what could have been done better? The scope tube (35 mm) is quite uncommon; the scope is heavy (around 1 kg); the 4x zoom is not enough for most people. The Vortex Razor HD Gen offers better optical performance with a smaller zoom factor. It lacks a mechanical indicator and a locking function, but this is not something all users need.

If you liked this debate, take a look at our Vortex Razor HD 5-20X50 Rifle Scope review. Thank you for watching, and see you next time.


Products mentioned in the Vortex Razor HD debate:

Vortex Razor HD Rifle Scopes:

Vortex Razor HD 5-20x50:

Vortex Razor HD Gen II:


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