It’s always exciting when a quality entry-level scope comes along. As much as we’d all like to own the latest and greatest of everything, for most of us, that’s simply not possible due to the cost.
Vortex have recently released an entry-level tactical scope they’ve named the Diamondback. The features and price point are extremely appealing, and I’m really hoping the performance will match the claims. If they do, this has the potential to be rather desirable to many users.
So, let’s find out what I think of it in my in-depth Vortex Diamondback 4-12x40mm Matte Riflescope review…
Who is Vortex?
Vortex is a business that is still to this day owned and operated by an American veteran family. They are an innovative and hard-working company with their headquarters located in Barneveld, Wisconsin.
The company was started by Dan and Margie Hamilton, along with their sons Joe, Dave, Sam, and Jimmy, in 1987. They founded Vortex together in the hope of providing quality optics to get people closer to nature.
A Passionate and dedicated team…
Vortex’s American workforce has now grown to over 300 strong, passionate, and dedicated members, with every one of them working diligently to provide the best optics, apparel, and service to each customer.
Not only is Vortex dedicated to its own team members, but also its customers. Offering an unconditional, unlimited VIP warranty on every product shows just how much they care. If there is a problem with the product, they make it their problem and will do anything to solve it.
The box looks like any other box you would find a scope packaged in. My first thought being an entry-level scope is that it’s good that Vortex hasn’t wasted too many resources on making fancy and unnecessary packing. I’m paying primarily for a scope, not packaging.
Once opened, the usual items can be found inside. A warranty card, instruction manual, scope cloth, a bikini-style lens cover, a Vortex pin, along with some other bits and pieces. However, when I look a little closer, I notice some extra care and attention.
Taking the extra steps…
Many companies will cut as many corners as possible. Due to this being a fairly simple, entry-level scope, the instructions are short and only a few pages. What stands out, though, is that this manual is specific to this exact scope model.
Checking the warranty card next shows the same level of care to the customer. It states that it is a VIP lifetime warranty, which is fully transferable and doesn’t require any further registration. Two nice touches to kick things off.
What might come as a disappointment to some is that even though Vortex is an American company, the scope is manufactured in the Philippines. The fact is, in order to stay competitive, steps like this are simply unavoidable.
Many high-quality scopes are now manufactured in the Philippines, producing some impressive results. With rising costs in labor, rent, and materials, the only option is to either lower the quality or focus only on premium products.
Time to check out the main event. The scope itself…
Design and Features
The temptation is just too great. As with any optical device, you feel compelled to shove it straight up towards your eye and look through it. That is exactly what I did with the Vortex Diamondback, and this is what I discovered.
The eyepiece feels generous in size and features fast focus operation. Adjusting the focus is done using a diopter control and has a range of about 1.2 revolutions. There is a roughened texture to help with maintaining a good grip.
Easy on the eyes…
When making any rotations, the action is smooth and precise. Even when adjusted all the way out, everything still feels tight and solid. The only thing noticeably missing from the focus is any indication marks, making sharing a rifle a more time-consuming task.
There is no rubber on the eyepiece to protect you from heavy recoil, but don’t worry too much. Eye relief is a decent and usable 3.8-inches (9.7-centimeters), so with the correct technique, you shouldn’t have any scope-shaped black eyes.
Bringing us closer…
Located at the end of the eyepiece and before the tube is a magnification adjustment ring. The range goes from 4x at the base and up to 12x at maximum adjustment. A 3-times zoom range is fine for this price, with only much more expensive scopes offering anything higher.
Unlike the focus, which doesn’t have any markings, the zoom ring has individual markings for each setting. They are clear and highly identifiable as the markings are slanted towards the shooter, making them simple to read.
The indicator, unfortunately, isn’t as easy to identify as it is slanted away from the shooter. This isn’t as bad as it seems, though, as it is placed directly at the 12 o’clock position. It is easy to estimate without requiring the use of a marker.
Just like the focus adjustment, there is a pleasant amount of resistance that allows for smooth and precise control. Once again, there is a rough texture around the ring for getting a decent grip while dialing in the perfect setting.
Do you have elevated wind?
Moving past the eyepiece, it tapers down quickly to form the 1-inch (2.5-centimeter) diameter tube. There are 2.15-inches (5.5-centimeters) from the eyepiece to the turrets, giving plenty of room to mount your rear scope ring.
Etched upon the outer ring of each knob are two different markings. One indicates up, with the other right both along with an arrow for reference. This provides a simple indication of how to operate the capped reset turrets.
Purposeful and tactile feel…
The clicks on both the elevation and windage are much better than expected for an entry-level scope. Making adjustments is purposeful while providing a responsive and tactile feel. Each click value is set at 0.25 MOA, so it’s easy to gain an accurate and precise setting.
For both elevation and windage, there are 12 MOA of adjustment per revolution with a total 70 MOA of adjustment each. As a visual reference, there are hashes under each knob to indicate exactly where the user is within the range.
Compact and lightweight…
After the shoulder, there is an additional 1.9-inches (4.8-centimeters) of tube before it begins the slow taper towards the lens bell housing. The lens measures 40-millimeters in diameter, which limits light gathering but does allow for low mounting.
It is a long, sleek-looking scope finished in a tactical non-reflective matte black color. The overall length is 11.9-inches (30-centimeters) with a weight of 14.6-ounces (413-grams). The housing is constructed from aircraft-grade anodized aluminum alloy.
Dead-Hold BDC Reticle…
One of the areas Vortex has kept the cost down is by using a wire reticle rather than it being etched on the glass. While not as durable with the possibility of breaking, it is still incredibly robust and should handle whatever is thrown at it.
A customized dot design helps to eliminate guesswork when making holdover or windage corrections. This makes it great for hunting over various distances with reasonably simple range estimation provided.
Understandably, you can’t expect the optics to perform in the same way as much more expensive scopes. However, the Diamondback does perform well above average when compared to other products within a similar price range.
Vortex uses XD (Extra-Low Dispersion) lenses that still provide clear, bright, and accurate images. But, the FOV (Field of View) is again understandably slightly less than on more expensive options, but once again is comparable with other direct competitors.
Vortex Diamondback 4-12x40mm Matte Riflescope Pros & Cons
- High quality and affordable scope from a reliable manufacturer.
- Smooth and precise action.
- Turrets provide accurate adjustments of 0.25 MOA per click.
- Attractive sleek, compact and lightweight design.
- Clear and bright multi-coated XD lenses.
- Lifetime fully transferable warranty included.
- Limited area for the front ring mount.
- Wire reticle instead of being etched onto the glass.
- Eye relief is short but acceptable; therefore, correct technique is required.
- Field of view is slightly less when compared to more expensive options.
Looking for More Fantastic Scope Options from Vortex?
Then check out my in-depth review of the Vortex Optics Strike Eagle Second Focal Plane Riflescopes.
Or how about our comprehensive reviews of the Best Scopes for AR15 under 100 Dollars, the Best Mil Dot Scopes, the Best 308 Rifles Scopes, the Best 300 Win Mag Scopes, the Best Scout Scopes, the Best Rimfire Scopes, the Best Air Rifle Scopes, the Best Deer Hunting Scopes, or the Best Mini 14 Ranch Rifles you can buy in 2023.
For anyone looking for a basic scope that doesn’t have a bunch of rarely used features, this is a great choice. The Vortex Diamondback 4-12x40mm rifle scope is affordable while still maintaining quality and performing well.
The cost-cutting required has been made in all the right places with minimum effect on quality and performance, making this a desirable scope for a wide range of firearms and applications.
It certainly piqued my interest, as it should also yours. For anyone on a limited budget, it is a great option for enjoying a reliable and precise product.
Happy and safe shooting.