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Vortex Viper PST Gen 2 #6922193
10/16/17 03:00 PM
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I have a chance to get an awesome deal on the Viper PST Gen 2 5-25x50 FFP. Any reason not to? I currently run an SWFA 16x42, which is fine but the Vortex would be a big upgrade in glass quality and magnification range.

I know Vortex has a reputation for having a good warranty and for folks having to use the warranty more often than necessary, but does anyone know if that has held up even on the gen 2 models? Has anyone tested how accurately they track?

I checked out the PST Gen 2 against the Burris XTR II 5-25 (Vortex had much, much better glass to my eyes). I also checked out the PST Gen 2 against the SWFA HD 5-20: glass was about the same, but the focus knob on the SWFA was incredibly hard to turn. Given the deal I'm possibly getting, the Vortex is considerably cheaper than both, so I don't see the down-side, but I know some folks on here who have actually used one of the PST Gen 2 might be able to chime in with real-world experiences.

Re: Vortex Viper PST Gen 2 [Re: patriot07] #6922271
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I can't comment specifically on the gen 2, but I have the PST gen 1. It's a decent scope for the money. I contacted Vortex with an issue last week and they have been AWESOME to work with thus far. For what it's worth, the warranty and customer service seems to be as good as you hear it is.

Let me know what you think of the gen 2 if you get it. I am considering one with a EBR-2c reticle. I am between that and the Bushnell Tremor 3 / H59 scope.

Re: Vortex Viper PST Gen 2 [Re: patriot07] #6922296
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I got to see the 3-15 version of the PST Gen 2 in person. Can't imagine better optics for the money. Haven't looked through the 5-25 in person yet. I did like the open center on the reticle more than I thought I would. I like it better than a solid crosshair, but not as much as a floating dot or small cross.

Does your PST Gen 1 track accurately? If you hold an elevation, take a shot, and then dial that same elevation, are the impacts in the same place?

Re: Vortex Viper PST Gen 2 [Re: patriot07] #6922301
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Yes, I have had no issues with tracking. My only dislikes/issues (and the reason I sent it in) are:

1. The "eyebox" gets extremely tight when you get into the upper end of magnification. If shooting in a non-optimal position you really can't use it over about 16x.

2. The magnification ring is very tight and difficult to turn when mounted. Using a throw lever helps, but I don't think that should be a necessity.

Vortex received the scope this morning. I will update you on what they say and their service.

Re: Vortex Viper PST Gen 2 [Re: RCINTX] #6922355
10/16/17 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted By: RCINTX
Yes, I have had no issues with tracking. My only dislikes/issues (and the reason I sent it in) are:

1. The "eyebox" gets extremely tight when you get into the upper end of magnification. If shooting in a non-optimal position you really can't use it over about 16x.

2. The magnification ring is very tight and difficult to turn when mounted. Using a throw lever helps, but I don't think that should be a necessity.

Vortex received the scope this morning. I will update you on what they say and their service.


1. and 2. were common traits of the Gen I. Can't do anything about the eye box, but buy a different scope. Installing a cattail on the magnification ring corrects the difficulty in turning the magnification ring.

Upper end Bushnell is a much better scope. I've had an ERS 3.5-21X, with the G-2 reticle for over two years, and am still very happy with everything about it. I put the glass clarity of that Bushnell on par with my NF ATACR.



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Re: Vortex Viper PST Gen 2 [Re: patriot07] #6922465
10/16/17 06:32 PM
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Thanks Jason. Are there any Bushnell scopes that compare in the sub-$1000 range? Looks like the ERS is around $1500, which is unfortunately too high for me. Price I might be able to get the Viper PST Gen 2 for is comfortably under $1k.

ETA: the 3.5-21 is an ERS model. They make a sub-$1000 LRS model that's 6-24 mag. Are those comparable glass and feature-wise?

Last edited by patriot07; 10/16/17 06:45 PM.
Re: Vortex Viper PST Gen 2 [Re: patriot07] #6922500
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IMO, for the $1300-$1400 price tag of this unit, there are better scopes available. I like the Vortex scopes, but they do have some draw backs. And I don't buy a scope based on glass quality.



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Re: Vortex Viper PST Gen 2 [Re: patriot07] #6922521
10/16/17 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted By: patriot07
Thanks Jason. Are there any Bushnell scopes that compare in the sub-$1000 range? Looks like the ERS is around $1500, which is unfortunately too high for me. Price I might be able to get the Viper PST Gen 2 for is comfortably under $1k.

ETA: the 3.5-21 is an ERS model. They make a sub-$1000 LRS model that's 6-24 mag. Are those comparable glass and feature-wise?


If you look on Snipers Hide, in the Optics for sale section, you can find a used ERS around $1100-ish. Gotta keep you eyes peeled, though. I can't comment on the less expensive Bushnells.

Money spent on a good scope is never wasted.



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Re: Vortex Viper PST Gen 2 [Re: ChadTRG42] #6922547
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Originally Posted By: FiremanJG
Money spent on a good scope is never wasted.
I don't disagree. I just don't have the money to spend when we hit 4-digit price ranges. After some research, it does seem like there are legitimate differences between ERS and LRS units, even though both get good reviews.

Originally Posted By: ChadTRG42
IMO, for the $1300-$1400 price tag of this unit, there are better scopes available. I like the Vortex scopes, but they do have some draw backs. And I don't buy a scope based on glass quality.
The PST Gen II would be comfortably under $1k.

If it tracks poorly, that would be a deal-breaker for sure. But I don't abuse my scopes and I don't shoot competitively, so it would just be a "want" upgrade, not a need.

Looks like my SWFA 16x42 may have some tracking issues, so I was just debating on making an upgrade when it gets fixed and selling it when I get it back. But I might just hold onto it if the Vortex isn't worth the $. My SWFA has very good glass for $300, and I don't necessarily need more or less than 16x magnification. It's just right for what I do. But the PST Gen II I looked at was incredibly clear in comparison to my SWFA 16x42, much better than the Burris XTR II, and on par with the SWFA HD 5-20 that costs $600 more, so I was just entertaining the idea because of the discount opportunity. I like the new reticle, illumination, and the zero stop turrets a lot also. But if there are other options in the sub-$1000 range that are better or if it just isn't worth it to spend $800-$900 because the $1500 scopes really are that much better, then I'll hold off.

Re: Vortex Viper PST Gen 2 [Re: patriot07] #6922582
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I've looked at a lot of scopes lately and ended up getting a 3x15

The 5x25 is brighter

The pst 2 is a winner imo under a 1000

Re: Vortex Viper PST Gen 2 [Re: patriot07] #6922622
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A gen 1 pst looks like a bsa compared to a pst 2

Re: Vortex Viper PST Gen 2 [Re: patriot07] #6922672
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Remember I said $1100-ish for a used ERS?

$200 more gets you into way more scope.



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Re: Vortex Viper PST Gen 2 [Re: patriot07] #6922718
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What do you think is better about the ERS other than glass quality?

Does Bushnell warranty cover used scopes?

Have you used a Gen 2 or mostly comparing the ERS to Gen 1? Supposedly there are a number of significant upgrades.

Last edited by patriot07; 10/16/17 10:41 PM.
Re: Vortex Viper PST Gen 2 [Re: Brother in-law] #6922790
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Originally Posted By: Brother in-law
A gen 1 pst looks like a bsa compared to a pst 2
BIL - my experience was the same. Only got to look through a Gen 1 once, but I wasn't impressed at all. The Gen 2 looked really, really awesome in comparison.

It also has the Gen 1 Razor zero stop elevation turret, has an upgraded reticle from the Gen 1, and better illumination. The biggest issues are unknown Vortex QC, limited elevation travel, and tracking accuracy.

Re: Vortex Viper PST Gen 2 [Re: patriot07] #6922799
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•No eye box complaint.
•No magnification ring complaint.
•Locking turrets.
•Better reticle.
•Yes, better glass.
•Bushnell's warranty is for the scope, period. No receipt or card required. I would not suggest a used scope if that were not the case.
•I am comparing to a Gen I. I've handled the turrets on a Gen II, and like the Gen I, they are way too easy to turn.
•The Gen I, I had, I could not use 24X, because clarity went to crap, so I turned it down.
•Everyone touts Vortex's warranty, and they're right, they are great to work with. AND there's plenty of Vortex owners that have had to use it. I've owned two Vortex optics, and have sent both of them in for repair. I sent my Bushy in for examination, and all it needed was dust removal from the turret. I've never sent in my SS 5-20X, and it's been punished, with hard use. When I was weighing the Vortex Razor AMG, against the Night force ATACR F-1, what drove it home was NF's reputation for toughness and reliability. I couldn't care less about a great warranty in the middle of no where on a hunt, or in the middle of a rifle match out to 1200 yards. I want no break-down in the first place.

You're worrying about another 20% cost. My recommendation to you is to keep saving, and buy what WILL work, work better, and not be a stop gap measure. Been there, done that, lost money, and bought what I should have in the first place.



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Re: Vortex Viper PST Gen 2 [Re: patriot07] #6922802
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Re: Vortex Viper PST Gen 2 [Re: patriot07] #6923032
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Played around with my 5-25 this morning trying to take a pick using my iPhone.

I had a hard time holding the camera and trying to focus so the pic doesn't do it justice Here it is anyway. Feeder is 250 yards away at 25X power.



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Re: Vortex Viper PST Gen 2 [Re: FiremanJG] #6923081
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Originally Posted By: FiremanJG
•No eye box complaint.
•No magnification ring complaint.
•Locking turrets.
•Better reticle.
•Yes, better glass.
•Bushnell's warranty is for the scope, period. No receipt or card required. I would not suggest a used scope if that were not the case.
•I am comparing to a Gen I. I've handled the turrets on a Gen II, and like the Gen I, they are way too easy to turn.
•The Gen I, I had, I could not use 24X, because clarity went to crap, so I turned it down.
•Everyone touts Vortex's warranty, and they're right, they are great to work with. AND there's plenty of Vortex owners that have had to use it. I've owned two Vortex optics, and have sent both of them in for repair. I sent my Bushy in for examination, and all it needed was dust removal from the turret. I've never sent in my SS 5-20X, and it's been punished, with hard use. When I was weighing the Vortex Razor AMG, against the Night force ATACR F-1, what drove it home was NF's reputation for toughness and reliability. I couldn't care less about a great warranty in the middle of no where on a hunt, or in the middle of a rifle match out to 1200 yards. I want no break-down in the first place.

You're worrying about another 20% cost. My recommendation to you is to keep saving, and buy what WILL work, work better, and not be a stop gap measure. Been there, done that, lost money, and bought what I should have in the first place.
Interesting take. Thanks for the thoughtful response - I value your opinion more than most others for sure. I don't want to come off like I already had my mind made up on the Vortex, but I'm still not sure that I've seen anything that changes my mind from thinking that the Vortex is a really good option for me that's cheaper new than the Bushnell used. If I had read that they were just horribly unreliable or the tracking was regularly inaccurate, those would be reasons to me to look at something else. When you said to buy something that isn't a stop gap measure, that's what I thought I was buying with the Viper. It's an upgrade price, feature, and glass-wise to the SWFA 3-15, Athlon scopes, etc. You can always talk yourself into more expensive stuff. Guys shooting with $2k+ scopes probably see the Bushnell as a "stop-gap". It's all relative.

Regarding the specifics:

The ERS turrets are not an upgrade to me. I tried the Viper PST Gen 2 turrets in store and liked them a lot. Having to raise and lower the Bushnell turrets is a disadvantage for my uses. 99.9% of my shooting is from a bench. The odds of me knocking one inadvertently are basically zero.

Can't speak to glass quality. The Viper PST Gen 2 glass was really, really impressive. Haven't looked through the ERS or LRS.

On the reticle, I looked at the ERS reticle and wasn't very fond of the hold lines on the bottom. I liked the dots on the bottom of the Vortex reticle much better (with the exception of the mil numbering taking up so much space where the dots should be on the right side).

The eye box on the Gen 2 is supposedly better than Gen 1. I don't know if the Bushnell eye box is significantly better or just a marginal improvement. I don't know of a mag ring complaint, but I've read that the mag ring on the Gen 2 is buttery smooth, which matches up with impression of the 3-15 I got to hold in store.

Regarding you not being able to use the Gen 1 over 20x, I have seen that complaint elsewhere too. I need to check out a Gen 2 5-25 at max magnification before saying whether it's improved here, but reviews online seem to indicate it is improved in this area.

If the Vortex is really not a great option, I'm thinking I'll probably stick with my 16x42 and get the tracking error fixed. I just don't think there's any way for me to justify $1k+ for a scope, and nothing cheaper than the Viper PST Gen 2 is enough of an upgrade to justify any extra money. The only other options would be to consider the SWFA 3-15 FFP or the Athlon lineup. But the only reason I was really considering an upgrade to the 16x42 was because of the deal I could get on the Viper PST Gen 2.

Thanks again for the response.

Re: Vortex Viper PST Gen 2 [Re: Tbar] #6923082
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Originally Posted By: Tbar
Played around with my 5-25 this morning trying to take a pick using my iPhone.

I had a hard time holding the camera and trying to focus so the pic doesn't do it justice Here it is anyway. Feeder is 250 yards away at 25X power.


Thanks!

Re: Vortex Viper PST Gen 2 [Re: patriot07] #6923198
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Interesting thread. I had some interest in the PST 2 as well. I have 2 PST first gen but I bought them both at discounts because the new models were coming out and both are 2.5-10. I don't have anything over 10X. I am considering the SWFA 5-20 HD on a Black Friday sale. I think last year the non illuminated version went on sale for $1049. I believe it has 30 Mil of total elevation compared to 20 Mil for the PST gen 2. My other consideration would be the often recommended Burris XTR II.


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Re: Vortex Viper PST Gen 2 [Re: scottfromdallas] #6923254
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Originally Posted By: scottfromdallas
Interesting thread. I had some interest in the PST 2 as well. I have 2 PST first gen but I bought them both at discounts because the new models were coming out and both are 2.5-10. I don't have anything over 10X. I am considering the SWFA 5-20 HD on a Black Friday sale. I think last year the non illuminated version went on sale for $1049. I believe it has 30 Mil of total elevation compared to 20 Mil for the PST gen 2. My other consideration would be the often recommended Burris XTR II.
I compared all 3. Here were my opinions:

Glass: Vortex > tiny difference > SWFA < huge difference > Burris
Reticle: Burris > tiny difference > Vortex < medium difference > SWFA
Turrets: Burrs > tiny difference > Vortex < big difference > SWFA
Price: Vortex > Burris > SWFA
Perceived quality based on internet opinion: SWFA > Burris > Vortex

I just couldn't find any reason not to get the Vortex unless the perceived quality issues are real.

That being said, at $1049, the SWFA HD would seem to be a heck of a scope for the money if the really stiff side focus knob was specific to the display model or if it was preferable to people like Jason who don't want it to get bumped because they use their scopes out in the field more than on a bench.

Re: Vortex Viper PST Gen 2 [Re: FiremanJG] #6923547
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Originally Posted By: FiremanJG


1. and 2. were common traits of the Gen I. Can't do anything about the eye box, but buy a different scope. Installing a cattail on the magnification ring corrects the difficulty in turning the magnification ring.

Upper end Bushnell is a much better scope. I've had an ERS 3.5-21X, with the G-2 reticle for over two years, and am still very happy with everything about it. I put the glass clarity of that Bushnell on par with my NF ATACR.


When I contacted Vortex it was originally to complain about the eyebox and magnification ring, as well as inquire about swapping the EBR1 reticle for the EBR2 reticle. I figured that the complaints were pretty standard as I have seen them mentioned online time and time again. However, the representative seemed like this was not normal and encouraged me to send it in. I figured I can't continue complaining if I don't let them have a look at it. I don't think there is anything they can do, but we will see.

I have shot side by side my PST and my cousin's 30mm Bushnell, 34mm Bushnell HDMR, and NF ATACR. All of these seem to be way more of a scope than the Gen I PST. Of course, they are 50% if not 100% more in cost.

I am in agreement with FiremanJG. The next scope I buy will be the next level (probably Bushnell HDMR) as the PST just doesn't do everything I want it to. I thought it would when I was getting started in this game, but even with my limited experience, it just doesn't.

Re: Vortex Viper PST Gen 2 [Re: RCINTX] #6923593
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Originally Posted By: RCINTX
Originally Posted By: FiremanJG


1. and 2. were common traits of the Gen I. Can't do anything about the eye box, but buy a different scope. Installing a cattail on the magnification ring corrects the difficulty in turning the magnification ring.

Upper end Bushnell is a much better scope. I've had an ERS 3.5-21X, with the G-2 reticle for over two years, and am still very happy with everything about it. I put the glass clarity of that Bushnell on par with my NF ATACR.


When I contacted Vortex it was originally to complain about the eyebox and magnification ring, as well as inquire about swapping the EBR1 reticle for the EBR2 reticle. I figured that the complaints were pretty standard as I have seen them mentioned online time and time again. However, the representative seemed like this was not normal and encouraged me to send it in. I figured I can't continue complaining if I don't let them have a look at it. I don't think there is anything they can do, but we will see.

I have shot side by side my PST and my cousin's 30mm Bushnell, 34mm Bushnell HDMR, and NF ATACR. All of these seem to be way more of a scope than the Gen I PST. Of course, they are 50% if not 100% more in cost.

I am in agreement with FiremanJG. The next scope I buy will be the next level (probably Bushnell HDMR) as the PST just doesn't do everything I want it to. I thought it would when I was getting started in this game, but even with my limited experience, it just doesn't.
Thanks for your insight. I would be interested to know if you had the same thoughts after using the Gen 2. Reports from everyone are that the Gen 2 is much closer in performance to the Gen 1 Razor (which receives nearly universal praise) than the Gen 1 PST (which suffers from many of the complaints you and Jason mention).

Regardless, I'll check out the ERS before I make a decision. I'm not going to blatantly ignore input from you guys. One other question though - what are your uses? I shoot steel targets 300-400 regularly at the range, out to 800 max right now. I don't hunt, don't shoot competitively, and really just wanted a glass upgrade from my $300 SWFA fixed power scope (which I feel is perfectly adequate for my uses already). If the PST Gen 2 is as much of an upgrade from the Gen 1 as reviews online indicate it is, would you still feel compelled to spend 50%-100% more if those were your uses?

Re: Vortex Viper PST Gen 2 [Re: patriot07] #6923611
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Put this another way - I'm into photography and we constantly get amateurs asking for advice on mid-level gear and then we constantly get pros suggesting that mid-level gear is junk. I use mid-level photography gear (taking around 5,000-10,000 photos a year) and I get great results for very reasonable prices. I'm sure it wouldn't hold up to the constant beating that a pro puts on it, but it's the perfect blend of performance and price for me. I don't think my results or my enjoyment of the hobby would change at all if I had spent twice the money on the camera and lenses. So I'm just trying to look at scopes the same way - I want to buy the right gear for my skills/uses/budget.

Re: Vortex Viper PST Gen 2 [Re: patriot07] #6923767
10/17/17 06:45 PM
10/17/17 06:45 PM
Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 316
Lubbock, TX
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RCINTX Offline
Bird Dog
RCINTX  Offline
Bird Dog
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Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 316
Lubbock, TX
My use case is not too different from yours. I mainly like to hit steel. My goal is to learn to shoot at least 1000 yards with my equipment, my dope, my ammo - and be proficient at it in all conditions. I currently do not compete but would eventually like to try some PRS type matches. I just think it would be a fun way to spend a Saturday. I just love to shoot.

A couple of years ago when I started down this path I bought a Savage .308 that was on sale and the best scope I could afford at the time (after saving up) which was the PST. It was BY FAR the best scope I had ever owned. Now, after a few thousand rounds, lots of hours, and a couple of rifles later - I want more. I want a 34mm tube, a tree type reticle, and better glass. For what you describe (and the deal you can get on the Gen II) it may suit your needs just fine. You can always upgrade later.

For what it is worth, I also run an SWFA 16x on another rifle and it does suit my needs fine for that rifle. When it no longer does, I plan to move it to my .22 rifle.

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