Not too impressed with my Vortex DiamondBack Scope


April 4, 2013, 12:22 AM
I just received a Vortex Diamondback 3x9 40mm scope I had ordered from Optics Planet. Upon comparing it with my Nikon Buckmasters scopes of the same size and features, I have to say I was not impressed at all with the Vortex. The eye relief was nowhere close to my Buckmasters. I had much more eye relief at 6x on my Nikon than at 3x with the Vortex. The turrets have a squishy feeling that are barely audible. My Buckmasters have a crisp, positive click that is easy to hear and feel. Sometimes, I could not tell if I was going one or two clicks on the Vortex. With the Nikon, each click was clearly felt and heard. Finally, the Vortex fine focus knob is much stiffer than my Buckmasters.

On the positive side, I do like the V-Plex reticle a little better than the NikoPlex, and the finish and build seem to be very high quality. I guess I have become spoiled with my Buckmasters over the years. They have never failed me and the quality and performance has been consistent across several scopes over a six year period. This is not a complete review by any means, but hopefully it will help someone who has been looking at the Vortex scopes. I have read many reviews of people who love them and even switched from Nikon to Vortex, but I won't be one of them.

The main reason I tried the Vortex was for the VIP warranty, but to be honest I have never even needed to use the Nikon limited lifetime warranty. I just processed an exchange for another Nikon Buckmasters 3x9 40mm Matte Black NikoPlex scope. Call me boring and predictable, but when you find something you like you need to stick with it.

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April 4, 2013, 06:21 PM
It's always interesting to read a direct, even comparison like this.

The Nikon has longer eye relief. The Vortex claims a wider field of view. A classic optics trade-off.
Your Nikon has nicer controls. The Vortex has fully multicoated lenses, which might give it an advantage in bad light. Those sound like decisions made by the designers, to build to a price point.
The Vortex is shorter, the Nikon is longer. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

I have read that both of these scopes are made at the same facility in the Philippines. Would you say that they look like they were built in the same place?

April 5, 2013, 07:27 PM
I'm glad you mentioned the wider field of view! Can't believe I forgot to mention that because that was the other big thing I liked about the Vortex over the Nikon. It was a few feet wider at 6x if I remember correctly. Just to throw this out there, the RedField Revolution had an extremely narrow FOV. I immediately ruled it out for that one reason alone.

Also, if the BuckMasters are not fully multicoated, whatever they are doing works just as well. Nikon calls their multicoating Brightvue™. I've tried to find out what the heck it involves. They advertise 92% light transmission, which is 1% more than what is advertised for the DiamondBack.

As far as build quality, I like the look and feel of the Nikon better, but the Vortex is not a cheaply built or ugly scope by any means. Would not surprise me if they are made at the same factory. I know many brands of astronomy binoculars are made at two factories in China.

On average, the Buckmasters will run about $10 more than the Diamondback online. The stores I've been to are pricing the BuckMasters $30 more than the DiamondBack. It is well worth it IMHO.

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