Vortex or Sightron?


June 8, 2010, 12:29 AM
I'm in the market for a good scope. My priorities are; warranty, ability to hold a zero, precise adjustments and clarity/brightness in that order. I'm looking to spend $200-300 and am interested in what you guys know about the vortex diamondback series and the sightron SI and SII series.

From what I have now Burris Fullfield II and Redfield are setting the bar on other rifles I own, but I'm still looking for the right scope.

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June 8, 2010, 01:00 AM
If warranty comes above clarity and the ability to hold zero on your priority list, what are you planning to do, pound nails with the thing? :scrutiny:

June 8, 2010, 01:17 AM
actually, in the price range he's lookin at, his priorities are in order.

Red State
June 8, 2010, 01:21 AM
I understand where Danny is coming from. If he is going to drop a significant amount of money on an optic, he wants a quality product and he wants customer service to back it up.

I have two Sightrons:
A SI 3-9x32 Rimfire and a SII Big Sky 3-9x42. Both of them are well built and have excellent tracking and solid clicks on the windage/elevation adjustments.

The SII BS is the best scope that I have. Optics are excellent and I like the Hunter Holdover Reticle.

With all that said, I have heard great things about Vortex and a Diamondback may be my next scope.

What size of scope are you considering and what power range?

June 8, 2010, 07:40 AM
The SWFA guy (http://www.championshooters.com/store/product.php?productid=652&cat=286&page=1) said the Diamondback was a brighter scope than theRedfield or the Fullfield, but dunno about the Sightron..

June 8, 2010, 07:56 AM
I have a sightron S2 big sky. it's a 1.25 x 5 mounted on a flat-top AR. It's every bit as clear edge to edge as my leupold vx-3. positive clicks, and resettable zero. if you go with a sightron, you will not be disappointed.

June 8, 2010, 08:00 AM
Depending on the magnification you want, your price range would reach a Vortex Viper (higher end line than Diamondback) for a 2-7x32 or 3-9x40 scope.

I've been "this close" to buying a Viper 3-9x40 for two months now. Great reviews. However, for one rifle I bought a Weaver Grand Slam 3-10x40 mil/mil that Midway had on sale for $300 last month, and it is terrific.

June 8, 2010, 09:21 AM
I just pulled the trigger on the Vortex Crossfire 4-12X50 AO. I have read nothing but great things on the Vortex.

June 8, 2010, 10:05 AM
I recently got a Bushnell 4200 Elite 3-9x40 from Overstock.com for $219, delivered.I believe Opticsplanet had it for $299, and suggested retail is $399.
I don't think I've ever read a bad word on the Elite series, or their warranty service. They are magnum rated, have fully-multi-coated lenes, and a lifetime warranty ( that I can vouch for personally).

June 8, 2010, 10:41 AM
Quality should trump warranty. Plenty of cheap junk has a lifetime warranty. For example, the Heritage Rough Rider has a one year warranty, the Ruger Single Six has no warranty. Which is the better gun?

June 8, 2010, 11:08 AM
I have two Sightron SII 3x9-42 and a SII Big Sky 3X9-42 and a SII Big Sky 3.5x10-42. I bought all of them over the last year from closeouts at Midsouth Shooters Supply. I am extremely happy with all of these scopes, but I did not pay nearly what the normal asking price usually is. I probably would not pay what the normal asking price for the Big Sky scopes, but am happy that I have them. One of my SII scopes came with a slightly scratched elevation cap and I called them about it and they were very pleasent to me. I got two caps within a week.

June 8, 2010, 01:40 PM
Thanks for your input guys. You're absolutely right, I want the best possible warenty to back up a good quality scope. I have high standards for optics and if anything should go wrong at any time and for any reason I want to send it back no questions asked. Comparing quality/warenty of heritage to ruger is like comparing tasco to swarovski, thats a no brainer.

Right now I think the Vortex Diamindback 4-12x40 AO BDC Plex is at the top of my list. Vortex claims to have a lifetime transferable no questions asked warrenty while Sightron has lifetime transferable warranty on workmanship and materials. What If I scratch a lense or ding the tube? For the same price and comparable quality I want the one that will send me a new scope.

What dose anyone have to say about The Adjustable Objective on Vortex scopes? If its not worth the extra dough maybe I'll consider a Viper. I didn't mention it in this thread but the scope is going on a Rem 700 SPS 7mm08.

June 8, 2010, 01:55 PM
I have a SII 3.5x10-42 that I love. Its on my go to rifle and like it as well as any other scope I have ever owned. I also have a 3x9-50 on a critter getter that is well recieved by my Dad that has been shooting Leupold

June 8, 2010, 02:02 PM
Danny243, as soon as I get my hands on the scope, I will check it and let you know. Now, the crossfire is a "lower" model. But, if the glass is good, then I could only imagine that the "higher" model will be better.

June 8, 2010, 02:45 PM
I look at known long term reliability first which goes hand in hand with quality IMO. That said what I plan to do with the scoped rifle plays into my choice. I have a Pentax Pioneer's (same as the Burris FF-II) that I bought from Cameraland cheap ($80). They reside on rifles that I hunt varmints, hogs and whitetail with under relatively "easy" conditions and they have been fine. When I chase elk, bear, moose, the African critters and the the like I use my well proven Leupold's and nothing else, period. Never a problem in a lot of snow, rain, bumps and bruises. I have not played with any of the slew of newer manufacturer's scopes but I suspect I would have no problem with either a Vortex ot Sightron for my first listed application. Clearly, optical quality, repeatability, etc., all appear fine given what I read for about any of these suppliers scopes in the $200-300 range. They just have not been around long enough for me to take the chance on for my second application.

June 8, 2010, 04:22 PM
I understand where Danny is coming from. If he is going to drop a significant amount of money on an optic, he wants a quality product and he wants customer service to back it up.

Yeah, I'm really sorry to tell you that $200-300 isn't a significant amount of money when talking about scopes, and that just because it says "lifetime warranty" on the box doesn't mean that they actually have customer service that's worth a rip. As far as quality, the low-end Vortexes are apparently Chinese-made and fairly shoddy; I don't know about Sightron, though I haven't heard fantastic things about their QC and haven't been at all impressed with their non-scope optics. It's probably a little telling that given a $200-300 budget, most serious guys would go for a Leupold or other established name; it's because they're a known quantity. If you really want to spend your three hundred bucks to lab-rat a random scope, then yeah, I guess you're going to want a warranty as your top priority. Of course, they're still going to want you to pay shipping at least one way, and it may take a month of phone and email tag to actually get an RMA authorization, and that "lifetime warranty" may only apply if you register the product within 30 days of purchase, but hey... :rolleyes:

June 8, 2010, 05:22 PM
Ok, I just took the Vortex outside and it is clear and crisp all the way out to 16, and looks great up close as well. Knobs feel secure and ocular adjustment is nice.
I will get out to the range on sunday and report back. it will be on an M1a Standard.

June 8, 2010, 05:29 PM
Let us know how it does, and if possible, pop back into the thread and give us a long-term update sometime after you've put a couple thousand rounds through the gun. "All these points of data make a beautiful line..."

June 8, 2010, 06:30 PM
So tactical ninja, what Leupold scope would you recomend in this price range? And don't tell me about the rifleman.

June 8, 2010, 06:43 PM
So tactical ninja, what Leupold scope would you recomend in this price range? And don't tell me about the rifleman.

Here you go! (http://lmgtfy.com/?q=leupold+scope+under+%24300)

Or were you trying to "call me out"? I'm afraid your approach needs a little work if so.

June 8, 2010, 06:46 PM
I was just wondering if you had anything productive to contribute to this thread.

June 8, 2010, 06:59 PM
I am trying to contribute something productive, much as I would be if I were posting in a PGO shotgun thread. That your opinion happens to be at odds with mine doesn't render my comments useless; sorry.

If you'd like to go a bit further into why you're looking at these brands in particular (because if you think the big-name guys don't have scopes in your price range, or whatever) and what you're intending to use the scope for, smarter guys than I might be able to make some specific model suggestions that have worked for them.

I'm just trying to present an alternate point of view, to wit: why bother with comparatively unknown scopes when there are known quality models out there in the same price range?

FWIW, I have cheap, fixed-power Tascos and Bushnells on my few rifles that wear scopes. They're not Leupolds, but I don't take long enough shots to justify Leupolds and I'm never going to claim that they're on par with Leupolds. They also cost under $75, and if I were going to spend $300 on a replacement scope it would not be a Tasco or a Bushnell. Doesn't mean that they won't work; just that something else will work better for the same price.

You don't need to worry about warranty so much if you buy a known quality product in the first place. That's been my only point here.

June 8, 2010, 07:41 PM
I have owned a sightron in the past and I liked it but I am a Burris and Nikon guy now for the most part. I am going to try Vortex next as I hear really good things about them. Just my .02.

June 8, 2010, 07:47 PM
I'm with you, Leupold is a benchmark in the industry. I have a new Redfield that is fantastic. I think the only difference between it and the Rifleman is a 1 piece vs a 2 piece tube construction. So that is why I'm not intersted in the Rifleman. I have no experience with the VX I - VX III series, but that is getting into some pretty high dollar glass after the VX I. So from the research I've done Vortex has a very appealing warrenty which says a lot to me about their faith in their products, so I want to know what people have to say about them. They are not as well established as Leupold, Weaver or some other top companies but that is not to say that they are not as good. I'm open to suggestions.

June 8, 2010, 08:52 PM
The only thing to watch out for regarding warranties is the fine print. You may need to register the scope via website or mail within a certain timeframe from purchase date or the "lifetime" warranty turns into a 1-year warranty (popular with computer parts vendors!), they may require you to pay shipping one or both ways (which means that "free: replacement scope becomes a $40 replacement scope), and of course the old stall tactic: they may try to hide their contact info as well as possible, and they may or may not employ anyone whose job it is to take your warranty claims. I've dealt with a few lower-tier manufacturers (again, for PC components) who either took an obscene amount of time (over a month) to respond to warranty inquiries, or simply ignored them altogether until I got the BBB to contact them on my behalf.

Nikon, Bushnell and others should also have some decent product in your price range, but in the end it's your call, and I'm not going to tell you you made the wrong choice - most people would rather be snakebitten than run a Tasco, but the thing's been rock-solid for me for going on seven or eight years now, so that's all that matters. I just don't see much benefit in buying a scope for the warranty if the scope isn't very good in the first place - yeah, you get free replacements whenever they break, but in the meantime you're trying to look down a dim, blurry tube that won't hold a zero... :)

So, warranty is obviously a deciding factor, it just wouldn't be my first one.

Looking at OpticsPlanet just for a quick idea of what's out there, Leupold has a bunch of VX-I and a few FX/VX-IIs under $300, Nikon has a 2-8x Monarch, Bushnell has the 3-9x 4200 for $299 and a bunch of 3200s for cheaper, etc. If you hunt around I'm sure you can find better prices - OpticsPlanet is usually a bit on the high end in my experience.

ETA: Such as Amazon, which has that 3-9x 4200 for $250 shipped. Bushnell claims a lifetime warranty on materials and workmanship.

Uncle Mike
June 8, 2010, 10:03 PM
USA Return Procedure - USA

If you live in the United States, please follow the procedure below.

Step 1: Fill out the following Product Repair Form.

Step 2: Ship your product in a cardboard shipping carton to the following address:

Attn: VIP Warranty
Vortex Optics
2120 West Greenview Dr.
Middleton, WI 53562

Step 3: Vortex will evaluate your product and repair or replace it at no charge.

Step 4: Vortex will ship your product back to you in a timely manner. Average turn around time of 10 business days after receipt of product.

Fine Print: Theft or loss of a product is not covered...that's it. Pretty cool huh?

Did you notice #3... if you scratch a lens, it's going to be a repair I bet, not a replacement.

June 8, 2010, 10:16 PM
In fairness, a warranty is designed to cover flaws in materials and/or workmanship anyway - if they're at all willing to repair damage caused by the user (like a scratched lens) I'd just consider that icing on the cake.

Red State
June 9, 2010, 01:38 AM
I am really not sure where Tactical Ninja is coming from on this thread. I know that I am not alone in considering $300 to be a significant amount of money on a scope (unless the OP is talking about 6-20x50mm scopes with mil/mil and AO, then yes, $300 can be pretty insignificant).

Depending on the amount of magnification, you can get all of the following quality scopes for $300 or less:
Nikon Monarch
Vortex Viper
Elite 4200
Burris FFII
Sightron SII
Leupold VXII

None of these are Ziess or Nightforce, but they are quality products that are going to last a lot of years and will put a lot of rounds downrange.

Both Vortex and Sightron have been around for several years and are getting rave reviews. I wouldn't worry about being a lab rat and I have put my money where my mouth is on that. I think that both brands offer a lot of value for the money (in general, more than Leupold). I can't say enough good things about my Sightron.

June 9, 2010, 05:30 AM
I'm a new member. I generally spend time at thefiringline but lately so many of my google search results have been coming up on thehighroad that I figure I'd better join.

for 2-300 i would go with Vortex. I have a Diamondback (3-12x40 AO BDC) and it is very good for the money.

here's a writeup I made not too long ago:
Hopefully that will satisfy alot of your curiosity.

I still have not got around to the box test, and as an update to the writeup, it does have a full 15MOA per revolution, its just the numbers are spaced a fraction too far apart so that by the end of one revolution they ran out of space for the last 1/4 MOA. If you manually count the clicks, it's all there (60 clicks), you'd just have to be aware that near the second half of a revolution the value shown is actually 1 click less than the true value. Does it sound confusing? Sorry...

I also have a Sightron II Big Sky (4-16x42 MD), and while I feel it is a better scope, it also costs twice as much. My understanding is the "Big Sky" lineup of scopes have updated optics (not sure if its glass, coatings, or a combination of both).

No experience with SI and SII series.

June 9, 2010, 07:50 AM
In the world of optics three hundred dollars is not significant money. That said it maybe significant to you or I. What often applies is”I can’t afford cheap”. On the other hand I can’t afford the thousand dollars plus optics either. My middle ground approach has been and continues to be Leupold.

My thoughts are for most applications users of optics spend to much money on power that is magnification range. Usually but not always the high end of the magnification range is utilized while sighting in from a bench rest. In actual field usage the power range is set at the lower end.

Some users, use the high magnification range is a spotting scope application which is problematic and unwise or more clearly put stupid. That’s to say you and another hunter viewing each other thru you’re scope is not a good time was had by all scenario.

The cost of optics is not solely determined by materials and workmanship. The cost of doing business applies. The little I know is that Leupold was here yesterday, is here today, and tomorrow most likely. That adds value.

June 9, 2010, 07:01 PM
I own a SII 3-9x42, it is not a Big Sky.

When I was shopping I compared scopes in the store. The Sightron was clearer than a VX-1 and beat a Rifleman waaaay bad. Burris FF was also not on par with Sightron glass. Yes Nikon was a touch clearer and also 1-200 bucks more. I had small time gun stores in MT and NE telling me the Sightrons were good stuff and people in MT and NE shoot plenty far.

At the time I bought the Sightron it was the over the counter replacement warranty which ticks me off that now I would have to send it in. But whatever, I haven't had to worry about that in the 3 years I've owned the scope.

June 9, 2010, 10:24 PM
Comparison of some scopes under $200.


June 10, 2010, 10:06 PM
Given the OPs priorities especially, Leopold all the way. Find a used one even. IME, no one beats Leopold's warranty or customer service.

Got a big Sightron II on an HMR .17 and it's great. Holds zero, tracks well and I like it. Ditto a few others too - Bushnell 3200 on a .22, even a Pine Ridge 3 X 9 on another .22. Got some old steel Weavers on a few too - all work fine.

However - been hunting a lot of years in some very remote places. All my serious hunting rifles wear Leopold because over the years, they're the most rugged, dependable scopes I've found.

When I sent my 20+ year old Vari-X II in for service (I thought it might be having problems - found out it was the rifle) they cleaned it, resealed it and set it back to me better than new in about 2 weeks IIRC and charged me nothing. Sent a nice letter saying wat they'd done and that they'd found nothing wrong with the scope. Can't beat that.

June 13, 2010, 05:47 PM
I think I'm going to play it safe and get another Redfield. Either the 3-9x50 or the 4-12x40 4-plex.

June 13, 2010, 06:37 PM
Danny243, as soon as I get my hands on the scope, I will check it and let you know. Now, the crossfire is a "lower" model. But, if the glass is good, then I could only imagine that the "higher" model will be better.While I believe the Crossfire is a good value, it isn't close to the other optics offered by Vortex. Additionally it is the only series that is made in China to my knowledge. The Diamondback and Viper are some of the best optics for the money IMO. They are great for someone seeking good optics on a somewhat restrictive budget, and IMO are honestly the best most folks really need for a dedicated hunting scope. That said I like the Sightron a smidgen better, and would opt for a S-II before the Diamondback (the Viper is a better match to the S-II IMO, and I like it a bit better than either).

I think I'm going to play it safe and get another Redfield. Either the 3-9x50 or the 4-12x40 4-plex.IMO that is a mistake; your original choices were some of the finest optics on the market right now. Both beat the snot out of the Redfield or any comparable Leupold (Rifleman or VX-I) according to my eyesight. If you are satisfied with your current Field, then you will be amazed by the optical quality and light transmission of the S-II (or better yet the Vortex Viper for little more).


June 13, 2010, 07:06 PM
I'll revisit the the vortex, sightron and leupold options again for this rem 700 in 7mm08. But for the time being I'm going to top it off with a redfield. I intend to put it on a Marlin xs-7 in .243, which is not worthy of a better scope imo, later on.

June 13, 2010, 07:24 PM
You should check out Bruno Shooter Supply. I picked up a Nikon Buckmaster 4-12x50 with side focus parallax adjustment for $286 about a year ago. Its been a darn good scope on my 26" bbl Savage 12fss. It was also $100 cheaper than the nearest competitor. As I recall they also had excellent prices on the Bushnell Elite series.

June 13, 2010, 07:37 PM
I'll revisit the the vortex, sightron and leupold options again for this rem 700 in 7mm08. But for the time being I'm going to top it off with a redfield. I intend to put it on a Marlin xs-7 in .243, which is not worthy of a better scope imo, later on.JMO, but the main reason for a lesser priced rifle, is to budget more to your optics. The Marlin XS-7 is a fine hunting rifle for the money. I typically budget at least $200.00 for optics (even for low budget rifles), and more often spend $3-400.00. Case in point, my new Parker Hale Mauser, picked it up for $200.00, then bought a new Nikon Monarch 2.5-10x42mm for it. You may be different, but cheap glass tends to cost me more, because then I have to buy more optics for replacements.


June 13, 2010, 09:09 PM
For the OP's price range, a lower-end Leupold is a good choice. That said, Vortex Optics is also a rising star in this field.

As the optics talk thread that keeps getting brought up says, in the $200 range, the Vortex line offers the clearest and crispest optics, widest field of view and overall "best value".

Their warranty is "As long as we don't see you bashing the scope with a hammer, we'll fix it" is nice too.

Its up to the OP's choice, but Leopold and Vortex are the two most solid choices.

December 28, 2010, 12:18 AM
I can tell you without a doubt from firsthand experience that vortex is quality stuff and their customer service is much much better then anyone could expect. I myself have had a total of 3 pairs of binos from them. The first set was a factory blemish model that i picked up for very low cost, they were 10x vultures. While scouting for my elk hunt i dropped them......and they bounced, and bounced and bounced some more all the way into the bottom of a canyon. I went and picked them up and the optics were super blurry and unusable. This really bothered me as i actually liked them about the same as my dads leupolds that he payed a significant amount more for (unsure of model) With my elk hunt 7 days away i called vortex.

Fully expecting to hear "thats too bad" i talked to the customer service guy. The response i got was "dang man that sucks, well send you a loaner pair with a shipping label, when they arrive just put the broken ones in the box and ship them back. We cant have you out on an elk hunt with no glass" This was on a friday afternoon. Monday afternoon i got the loaner pair which were diamondbacks actually a nicer pair then i had broken though 8x instead of 10x. I shipped the broken ones in and went on my elk hunt. After the hunt was over i had a voicemail saying "these binos are too damaged to repair, you have the option of keeping what we sent or we can send you a pair of 10x." i called them and told them id rather have the 10x but would be willing to buy the 8's as well. All said and done they sold me the 8x at a VERY discounted price and shipped me the 10's. All of this was done without having to fill out a warrenty card, on factory blemished products, no questions asked and no BS. Needless to say from this day forward you will have a hard time getting me to buy any optic that doesnt have the Vortex name on it.

December 28, 2010, 07:37 AM
if you do go with the vortex viper you will be happy they are well above bushnell, lupold vx-3, and nikon monark. I own the lupold and monark scopes. you are getting close to night force with the viper. its the clearest scope I have ever owened. and there is no better warrenty out there bar none. the only down fall I can see on the viper line is the don't have zero stop. you have to look at your turret to put it back to zero. the warrenty is unconditional and fully transferable.

December 28, 2010, 08:57 AM
Great story Pat and a good indicator of the kind of support the company is willing to give!

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