Vortex Razor HD LH 3-15X42 Review
By Jared Bloomgren, Rokslide Staff
Vortex Optics entered into the optics world somewhat quietly by introducing some great products and amazing customer service. Soon their marketing campaign blew up and serious hunters began to take notice. This wave hasn't slowed and I don't see an end to it!
When I was contacted by Vortex to do a review on a new riflescope for 2016, you can imagine my excitement. The new Razor HD LH (High Density, Light Hunter) is new for this year and is made in Japan. It carries the Razor name with a great price as well! The big brother Razor riflescopes are quite a bit bigger than this guy but it doesn't change the durability or great HD glass much at all. This new scope is designed to be a light weight, easily packable, and an accurate long-range scope that delivers the HD capabilities at an amazing price of around $950 to $1100 depending on the model. Any minimalist can appreciate that.
The scope comes in three models. The one I tested was the 3-15X42 with the G4 BDC (MOA) reticle. At this time, this scope is only offered in second focal plane. First impression was that this scope seems small and compact and extremely light and may be just what I need to keep a rifle light.
Generally speaking, long range scopes are a bit on the heavy side but this thing weighs in at only 16.5 oz! That is nearly half as much than larger long range scopes! I was surprised at how compact this scope is, yet it gives you many features of much larger scopes. It also comes with a 3" sunshade, lens cloth, manual (essential for understanding second focal plane), and elastic scope caps. I also added the Defender Scope Flip Caps. These things are far better than past brands that I have used!
As described by Vortex, this scope incorporates HD (High Density) extra-low dispersion glass, an apochromatic (APO) lens system, XR Plus premium fully multi-coated lenses, and ArmorTek on exterior lenses combined to deliver stunning image quality and durability. Tack-sharp resolution from edge to edge, coupled with its ultra-forgiving eyebox, serves up a sight picture nothing short of impressive.
What does all that all mean to you? To explain: APO lens system uses index match lenses to correct color across the visual spectrum. XR Plus premium lenses deliver the highest light transmission for maximum brightness. ArmorTek repels anything that may come in contact with the lenses and resists scratching. In short, you get quality HD glass with extra built in durability!
The G4 BDC (MOA) Reticle
The new G4-BDC reticle is super clean, yet highly versatile, for optimal target acquisition and pinpoint accuracy. The argon-filled waterproof tube is machined from a single solid block of aircraft-grade aluminum which takes away chances of fogging. O-ring seals are used throughout to prevent moisture and dust from entering the housing. It is finished off with a hard matte black anodized finish that is supposed to be durable as well as cut down on glare.
G4 BDC (MOA) Reticle
Customer Service/VIP Warranty:
I wanted to test not only this scope but also wanted to test out Vortex Optics customer service department via the world-wide-web. I jumped on the internet and went to their website and into this scope and clicked on Q&A and asked a quick question that popped into my mind to see how quick of a response I would get. It took a little bit and I had a response to my simple question that I asked. That is great customer service! The same happened when I called them; they were always ready and willing to help. Often times I am blown away at how fast they take care of their customers!
I visited my local sporting goods store, Scheels All Sports and they helped me mount the scope. Doing it this way also allows a store and customers to see a scope that may not be on the shelf yet. Numerous customers and employees were impressed with the Razor HD LH and I foresee this scope being on their shelf very soon as well as in some customer's gun cabinets!
I decided to mount this scope on my Browning X-Bolt Stainless Stalker chambered in .300 WSM since this rifle was in need of a better scope. This is a rifle that packs a lot of punch so I knew the scope would be tested to its full capability. I used the 1" Precision Matched rings that Vortex also offers to keep this mounted nice and sturdy. Once it was mounted, I quickly bore sighted it and headed to the range to try it out. The look of the scope was great mounted on the rifle and it blended quite well. The large turrets are capped to protect them but this may not be the best turrets for those that want them exposed for adjustments. Once the covers are removed, you have access to the turrets and you can easily tell how many clicks you have by the audible clicks and feel when they turn.
When I raised the riflescope up to my eye I quickly noticed how crisp and clear the image was which isn't surprising coming from HD glass. The clear and crisp image goes all the way to the edge, which you can see fall off with some non-HD reticles. I had an older Nikon scope on the rifle before and felt like I jumped into a sports car from a Volkswagen beetle! The rifle felt much lighter and balanced, not to mention it kept the overall weight of the rifle down.
At first I wasn't sure of what to think about the G4 reticle but time using it would reveal that. When rotating the power ring from minimum to maximum power while looking downrange, I didn't notice a whole lot of deviation from low to high power in the image quality. Of course adjusting the parallax was needed through the ranges but the infinity setting did well regardless of power.
Magnification 3-15 x
Objective Lens Diameter 42 mm
Eye Relief 3.8
Field of View 35.8-7.1 feet/100 yards
Tube Size 1"
Turret Style Capped
Adjustment Graduation 1/4 MOA
Travel per Rotation 15 MOA
Max Elevation Adjustment 55 MOA
Max Windage Adjustment 55 MOA
Parallax Setting 20 to Infinity
Length 13.5 inches
Weight 16.5 oz
Product Manual (PDF) Download
Product Manual 2 (PDF) Download
L1, L2, L3, L4
13.5, 2.8, 2.1, 5.6
(Dimensions measured in inches.)
The scope did just as I thought. It performed great and with nearly 120 shots through the rifle, it still is on point and tracks true as the day I mounted it. This is a great scope for those looking to add a lightweight long-range scope to your rifle. The G4 reticle did much better than I initially thought and I was able to get ranges determined out to 500+ yards after figuring out bullet drop and relating that to the reference marks on the BDC reticle. But dang, with this new scope at half the weight of the old Nikon, I might have to get a brake on this rifle! With the new lightweight scope, I really feel the recoil. I'm ready for the hunt and as they say, "you don't feel recoil when shooting at game." Hope so.
I would highly recommend the Razor HD LH 3-15x42 for those that are looking for one of the lightest long-range scopes for their rifle while keeping it within a great price point. A huge bonus is getting the HD glass with great craftsmanship. Along with the scope you also receive the world famous VIP, full-replacement or repair, no-matter-the-reason warranty with each purchase. How can you go wrong?
Robby Denning also tested the Razor HD LH 1.5-8x32 here, a perfect spec for shorter range and muzzleloaders hunters.
Sidebar: Vortex Long Range Ballistic Calculator (LRBC)
Vortex's free LRBC is very helpful when calculating elevation correction at extended ranges for any of the Vortex line of scopes. It works equally well for dialing with a turret or holdover with subtensions. It's as simple as logging on here LRBC, setting up a free account, using the live map feature to choose your sight in location and weather, entering actual velocity (estimated will get you rolling), caliber, B.C. (G7 or G1), weight, zero distance, scope height, relative humidity & temperature, (and even a few other variables like barrel twist and azimuth if you want to really knock a hair off that gnats rump.) Once complete, you can print off a range card, head out and verify holdover and windage. While I didn't use the LRBC for this review, several of the guys I know have had great luck with it, including Rokslide editor Robby Denning here. Give it a try and I think you'll find it will save you time and increase your confidence at extended ranges.
You can ask Jared questions or discuss this article here