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The Vortex Viper PST is a professional grade optic with a variable magnification. The Viper PST comes in a wide variety of different magnification levels, but for this review we are checking out the Viper PST in 1-4 power with a 24 mm objective lens. The Viper comes in a standard cardboard packaging with an instruction manual, Allen wrench, battery, and the scope itself is topped with bikini scope caps. Vortex is an American company that has been optics for some time now, and while some optics are made in the United States, the Viper PST is made in the Philippines.
At first glance the Vortex Viper PST is a solid optic, and with some digging I found it is a single piece tube design. This increases the scope’s durability, and its overall precision. The Vortex Viper PST with its 1 to 4 magnification can fill a wide variety of different roles. The Viper works well as a tactical optic; its ability to swap to 1 power makes it as effective as most red dots when shot with both eyes opened. The additional 2, 3, and 4 power magnifications allow the user to reach out and touch the target.
For hunters in the southeast, the optic is perfect for both brush hunting, and hunting over open fields up to 200 yards. Big game hunters are another category who would appreciate this scope and its magnification abilities. When it comes to big game hunting optics, you need one that has a low power setting, just in case you need to approach a wounded animal that is still capable of fighting. The 4 inch eye relief is also perfect for powerful, big game rifles.
The Viper Vortex PST could also be used in competitions that allow users the option of using magnified and variable optics. The ability to instantly swap between magnifications allows a rifle to be used in multiple shooting events.
Specifications and Features
The Viper PST is full of features I love to see in an optic. The turrets are finger tip adjustable, and can be reset to zero quite easily. The adjustments are in ½ MOA clicks, which the Viper proclaims on the turrets in case you ever forget. The feedback is instant in both an audible and tactile manner, it clicks very nicely.
TMCQ MOA Reticle
The Vortex Viper PST features a rather complex reticle. The center of the reticle has an illuminated circle that is cut into 4 quarters, and in the center is has a red dot that is also illuminated. The Viper’s reticle also has windage and elevation scale for easy windage and drop calls in the field.
This scale is in MOA, and matches the turrets adjustments for easy Kentucky windage calls. The illuminated portion of the reticle is designed to be used for close range shooting, especially when being used as a stand in red dot sight. This combination close and long range reticle options work well with the optic’s magnification.
The illumination control for the reticle is placed near the rear of the optic, and slightly offset from the turrets. The Vortex Viper PST features 10 different brightness levels. Levels 2 to 5 are designed for low light situations, and settings 6 through 10 are designed for brighter outdoor lighting. The first setting is specifically designed for night vision capability. One of my favorite illumination features is also in this scope:
On the illumination dial there is a position between each setting that will turn the optic off. So if you prefer to run your optic on seven you can instantly switch the optic off with a single click forward and turn it back to seven with a single rearward click.
Placed in front of the illumination turret is the magnification ring. This ring is quite stiff, but flows smooth between magnifications. It certainly won’t budge without the human hand. The Viper’s 30mm tube makes it easy to find mounting hardware, and transfers light slightly better. The scope is only 16.2 ounces, and just 9.7 inches. The scope is an excellent choice on any rifle, but is certainly small enough for a compact carbine.
Testing Vortex PST On Range
For this range test we decided to go a little bigger than normal. We mounted the optic on a standard AR 10 rifle in 308 Winchester. A set of Vortex rings topped the optic off and we were ready to hit the range. Zeroing is a simple procedure, and is no different than any other optic. Nothing special here. Once the scope was zeroed I reset the turrets to zero and hit up some longer ranges.
Glass Quality @ 300 yards
The AR 10 is a powerful rifle with a nice, full powered round, so we got to see if the Vortex can take some abuse rifle wise. At 300 yards we set up in the prone position and had a 12 inch gong, and numerous paper targets set up. One being a bear with its vitals modeled onto the target, as well as a standard police silhouette target, and a standard bull’s eye design.
If you’ve never shot steel you don’t the incredibly satisfying sound of rounds on metal. The instant feedback quickly becomes music to your ears. We were able to keep the gong ringing after making a slight adjustment to our zero. The optic’s clarity proved excellent as we scanned the bear target for its outlined vitals. We were able to see and score repeated hits the target bear’s lungs and heart.
On the silhouette target we attempted to make a smiley face, but my skill isn’t that good. However, every shot I aimed at the head, hit the head. The Bulls eye target had us scoring nothing but 9s, and 10s, with a single flyer ruining our tightly grouped target. The optic’s clarity and magnification range made it possible to see our targets and the combination of the reticle and turrets got us on target.
Goes Well With Everything
Overall the scope is extremely well made. The Viper Vortex PST stayed on target throughout all of our testing, and it’s relatively low price tag makes it a winner. The Vortex Viper is well built, well designed, and functions wonderfully. This is an excellent optic for a carbine, or as we found out, a full sized battle rifle.