Hunting

Field Notes: Vortex Optics Razor HD LH 3-15×42 Riflescope

Riflescopes are an investment. There are many on the market and all of them cater to a particular niche. Some of those are amazing, others leave a little something to be desired, and quite a few are simply inadequate for many applications. Enter the Vortex Optics Razor HD LH riflescope.

To be honest, this review is long overdue. The entire Razor HD LH line of riflescopes from Vortex Optics has been discontinued and replaced by their next generation optics, which I will address later in this post. Nevertheless, I picked up the Vortex Optics Razor HD LH riflescope in a 3-15×42 configuration and put on the deer hunting rifle before it was discontinued and have spent some time with it.

Before I get deep in the weeds, it’s important to know that I have very high expectations of any rifle scope with a price point that exceeds $1,000. This scope is no exception. As such, I’m going to be quite critical of it.

When I picked this scope up, I was in the market for a high quality scope that offered adequate magnification for hunting applications for close range to extended distances. I was specifically looking for a riflescope with above average light gathering and lens clarity, while keeping weight down to a minimum. This particular riflescope checked all the boxes.

The scope weighs in at 16.5 ounces. The lens clarity is magnificent and gathers light superbly. These qualities make the scope a great option for a hunting riflescope. Furthermore, the scope came with a sunshade that was very well machined and often sought after by hunters as it assists in keeping lens glare to a minimum. An additional, welcomed and expected feature at this price point was the parallax adjustment turret which aids heavily in getting a crystal clear target image and reticle.

Honestly, it’s hard to find complaints about this riflescope. Nevertheless, I have some.

I get that many riflescopes, especially those designed for hunting applications, come with capped turrets. Capped turrets have their benefits, but I’m partial to exposed turrets. When possible, I prefer a turret adjustment to a hold over. Exposed turrets make this possible while capped turrets limit this.

My other two complaints are largely driven by personal preference. The first is a preference for so-called Christmas tree reticles. I find these reticles provide the perfect balance of reference points to practical hold overs. The HRS-4 reticle in this scope misses that mark. Furthermore, I have a strong preference for first focal plane (FFP) scopes. I understand FFP scopes are generally more expensive, but at a price point exceeding $1k, it’s something I expect to see. Perhaps that is wishful thinking on my part, but this scope with an FFP tree reticle and exposed turrets would make this scope virtually perfect.

After stating my complaints, I have to ask: “Would I purchase this scope again?” Assuming the market hasn’t changed and there wasn’t a better scope at the same price point, then the answer is yes. It’s an amazing scope that ticks most of the boxes of what I want in a hunting riflescope.

The good news for folks in the market for one is that Vortex has an updated product line, the Razor HD LHT line that offers improvements that address several of my complaints. This series of riflescopes offers external turrets and improved HSR-5i reticles. The reticles aren’t the tree reticles I am looking for and they haven’t addressed my desire for FFP reticles at this price point, but these riflescopes are definitely an improvement over the one I picked up. So yeah, with the same budget today, I would definitely opt for the improved Razor HD LHT 3-15×42 scope. After all, it seems like I would need to spend 2-3x the price of this scope to get into something that addresses all my complaints.

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