Vortex Diamondback HP 2-8x32
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- Last updated: 28/02/2017
Vortex are a relatively new name in optics, (from around 2002), but they have fast built a reputation for rugged, well thought out products, and great after-sales service. It’s an American brand, and they certainly seem to have a dynamic approach, but as is usual these days, many of their products are made around the globe to keep costs competitive. There are various models and build grades, with the Razor being the top of the tree in terms of price, quality and features. But their Crossfire II, Viper, Strike Eagle and Diamondback series are cheaper but still offer good glass
On test is the Diamondback HP 2-8X32, which offers a neat specification, and whilst the ultra compact dimensions make it suitable for a variety of situations, I reckon it comes in about ideal for my favoured discipline of Hunter Field Target (HFT).
Let’s not forget that HFT differs from FT in that the competitor is not allowed to touch the scope’s settings once shooting has commenced; so parallax adjustment is effectively prevented, and super high magnification is rendered unusable, due to the way the competitor needs to be able to view targets from eight through to 45yards with acceptable clarity.
Any HFT scope needs ideally a low sight line and relatively modest magnification, therefore the Vortex Diamondback, under the spotlight here, is just about ideal, with a modest sized 32mm objective, and its 2-8x mag option. The side parallax adjustment is also kept nice and low profile, with no tactical chunky turrets to be seen. Parallax adjustment starts from a minimum of 20 yards focus, so it allows the competitor to fine tune clarity as desired, at a specific distance of their choosing. Distances on this model are marked in 10 yard intervals on the dial, from 20 through to 100, then in 100 yard intervals from 100 through to 500, then ∞.
Low profile, screw cap turrets are provided, and finger-friendly adjustment comes with positive clicks. Click values are ¼ MOA, which is near as damn it to ¼” at 100yards. The reticle utilized is termed ‘Dead-Hold’ by Vortex, and it’s similar to a Hawke MAP design, with small hash marks rather than dots, set along the windage axis, and lower stadia. Outer thick posts draw the eye in, and it works well overall. Proportions are wholly usable for airguns, with the spacing meaning that the reticle can be used to bracket small HFT-style target kill zones.
Perhaps the only negative concerns the fact that there is no upper dash marker for closer target trajectory. Central cross hairs are kept close however, so there is a usable relationship between the inner thin and outer thick posts. As someone who shoots with a standards 30/30 reticle most of the time, it really is all about familiarity and practise!
The usual fast-focus ring features at the rear, and this has a reassuringly firm feel. Use this to bring the reticle and target into focus together. But what really stands out with this model, is a super sharp image, and the depth of field. Clarity is helped by what Vortex term XD Extra Low Dispersion Glass- which apparently increases resolution and colour fidelity. XR Fully Multi-Coated lenses increase light transmission to maximize brightness. Sales blurb aside, the image is good!
With the side parallax set to just over 25yards, a popular setting for HFT, and the mag left on 8x, this model can take on the target course. It’s all about that usable level of clarity, given as mentioned, the key ‘no adjustment’ rules of the sport.
Setting zero was achieved and then checked using the usual grid test, moving through right, down, left and up, by a measured value. Zero returned on cue, and with the edge to edge clarity and lack of aberrations, I was left mightily impressed.
With 60 clicks per turret revolution, and just under seven revolutions of adjustment in both windage and elevation, there’s nothing to fear on that score. The hard-anodized, matt black finish to the one inch aircraft grade aluminium body tube is also wholly practical, and with good grip afforded by the magnification collar, there really is little to find fault with here.
Neat and compact says it all, with a specification that’s equally at home, whether hunting live quarry or silverware in HFT. And for the record, this model is shock, fog and waterproof, courtesy of Argon gas purging.
Basic elasticated lens caps are provided to protect the glass, but the real attraction with this and indeed any Vortex comes with the company’s now renowned unlimited, unconditional lifetime warranty, which has to be a major selling point, bringing peace of mind to owning this neat little scope. Having met the UK distribution boys and a few company operatives from the States, I have to say there’s an energy and dynamism behind Vortex that says they mean business. Having now spent time with this super compact Diamondback, all I can say is I haven’t been disappointed.
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