Recently, we received one of the highest-priced wide-angle scopes made by Vortex and decided to put it to the test. Now, we all love wide-angle scopes, of course, as they offer a remarkable compromise between a red dot and a scope, and enable the shooter to score precise and fast shots at most distances (considering their application is not meant to be mounted on a sniper rifle, but they work great on a DMR or just any AR for that matter). The true 1x magnification, if the reticle is chosen wisely and the central dot is illuminated, basically makes a wide-angle scope a bulky red-dot with a bit of a parallax problem and distorted lens edges – still does the job perfectly though. Meanwhile, the usual 4x or 6x magnification is more than enough to suffice for the effective range of smaller rifle calibers. Razor HD has a maximum magnification of 6x, for example, and an adjustable diopter, so it is perfect for such applications, and the fixed parallax will not bother you in normal use either. All of this makes such scopes, and the reviewed Vortex, of course, perfect for stalk hunting, tactical applications, and competitive practical shooting.
The 1-6x24 gen II-E version succeeded the 1-6x24 gen II version, the main update being the mass – the E version is significantly (100 g) lighter (E stands for 'Enhanced'). At only 25.6cm, Razor HD is one of the most compact wide-angle scopes on the market, and it still features a maximum magnification of 6x (unlike some that only go to 4x). It is short, light, and even the turrets are low profile and very slim, so no angles stick out far from the rifle.
It is very sturdy, looks tough, and is also water-resistant. The battery compartment is well protected and holds a very common CR2032 battery to power the central dot illumination.
The high-quality glass is multi-coated with the best coatings to keep the image bright and clear but still protect from scratches, stains, and fingerprints.
|Producer (country)||Vortex (USA)|
|Tube material||Single-piece aluminum|
Vortex lists an impressive number of features for this scope, most of them quite significant. We are just going to brush through the most important ones in our mind:
The lenses are ‘APO System Index-matched’ and ‘Optically Indexed‘ HD lenses, featuring the highest quality glass that corrects color across the entire visual spectrum, offers superior sharpness and brightness from edge to edge (well, almost – see below), and ‘delivers the ultimate in resolution and color fidelity, resulting in high-definition images’.
They are multi-coated with the XR™ Plus anti-reflective coatings on all outer surfaces of the lenses, which protects the lenses from stains and scratches, without blocking light or diminishing clarity of the image, as well as preventing sun reflection.
It features an Illuminated Central Dot with Locking Illumination that locks illumination at a preferred setting. A very bright illuminated center dot provides a precise point-of-aim in all lighting conditions.
Optical properties, ballistics
Razor HD Gen II-E comes with high-quality lenses – the image is clear and crisp, but it does have a bit of distortion on the rim, which gets worse as you magnify. Now, this is minimal and is also normal for pretty much any scope when magnifying, but it might be a bit much for a scope at this price. It is only bothersome as a thought though, not that problematic in reality. It will not get in your way at all, and the image when shooting will be bright and sharp and clear.
The lens size is of course just right for the task of a wide-angle scope, and with the great reticle and an illuminated central dot, target acquisition is fast and simple. The true 1x magnification really feels like it, and it does not distort the image, making it possible to be used like a red dot sight. The 6x magnification (and all the magnifications in between) gives it an extra edge against actual red-dot sights at longer distances.
Adjustment range is very wide so it is not a problem getting it zeroed on any firearm, and for any condition. The turrets are low profile, capped and very easy to use. The click value at ½ MOA per click will allow for the fine tuning that you might need at the 6x magnification to get accurate shots at a distance. The parallax is fixed at an ideal distance of 100 yards.
|Lens diameter/size||24 mm|
|Parallax||Fixed at 91 m|
|Click value||½ MOA|
|Adjustment range||150 MOA (W&E)|
|Lens coating||XR Multi-coated|
Razor HD comes with the specifically designed JM-1 BDC reticle which was developed in cooperation with world-renowned shooter Jerry Miculek to serve the sports shooting community as much as possible. It features a blank cross with an illuminated central dot and a simple BDC system.
The simple cross has thin lines that are perfectly sized for an SFP configuration, and it leaves most of the FOV empty, without obstruction. The central dot has 10 brightness settings so it can be used as a red dot sight at any lighting conditions. The BDC system has only a few subtensions that are true at 6x magnification, and enable the shooter to perfectly align a shot from 0 to 600 meters/yards.
As always, we mounted the scope on a rifle (an AR in 5.56) and ran off to the range with it to see how it does. Zeroing in was fast and simple, and shooting itself a delight. We tested it from 10-100m which was what the range allowed, and it performed admirably. The tactical shooting was simple at 1x magnification – target acquisition was fast, easy, the FOV large enough, and the turrets and tube compact in a way it does not obstruct the view too much. At 6x magnification, the JM-1 reticle is great, and the simple BDC system makes short work of any necessary adjustments.
The distortion on the edge of the lenses is just a minor annoyance, and it does not really affect the performance. The thing we can’t decide on is whether the rough serration on the turrets is good or bad. Yes, it is perfect if you are using gloves or have wet hands, otherwise it will wreak havoc on your skin if it is on too tight. On the other hand, the magnification dial is rubberized for a good grip but could do with a bit more serration or similar, so turning it would be even easier and faster.
Overall, the image quality was good even in the forest surrounding our range, and the fact that there was shade and insufficient light was not a problem either. The dot, when illuminated, is clear, sharp and stands out from the surroundings as well as the rest of the reticle, and the scope does that with minimally tinted lenses, therefore not obstructing light or distorting the color pallet of the view.
The scope is very well made, but we could not expect less from Vortex. It shoots well, has a clear image and a good FOV. The list of tasks it can handle on the right rifle is simply vast. It is rugged, reliable and loaded with features. Of course, there are small things that we find lacking at that price, but there is still no doubt that it is a superb piece of optics that is well worth the money.