Reviews

Vortex Optics Razor HD LHT 4.5-22×50 FFP Riflescope

The Vortex Optics Razor HD LHT 4.5-22x50 FFP scope ticks all the boxes in terms of what I want in a scope for my hunting rifle especially for those longer shot opportunities. However, I still think a few improvements could be made.

About a year and a half ago I got around to publishing a review of the Vortex Optics Razor LH 3-15×42 riflescope, which by all accounts was, in my opinion, a fine hunting riflescope that struck a balance between high quality features and low weight exceptionally. Nevertheless, I had several complaints about it and in that review I mentioned Vortex has introduced the Razor HD LHT product line whose feature improvements addressed the majority of those complaints. I don’t recall exactly when Vortex Optics introduced the Razor HD LHT 4.5-22×50 FFP, but I recall feeling like Vortex had designed this variant specifically for me because it addressed all of the complaints I raised about the Razor LD LH. I didn’t pick one up right away simply because I don’t have unlimited resources and I had several other projects already going on at that time. However, I finally got my hands on one and here we are.

This post is intended to be a review of the Razor HD LHT 4.5-22×50 FFP. As such, I’m going to refrain from comparing it to the older Razor LH 3-15×42. However, rest assured a comparison of those products will follow soon enough.

The packaging of Vortex Optics Razor HD LHT 4.5-22×50 FFP riflescope reminded me a lot of how the Razor Gen III 1-10×24 FFP LPVO was packaged. It was secured in a well designed and constructed box that yielded a wonderful presentation that some folks will appreciate. Inside the box, I found:

  • A sunshade,
  • a lens cloth,
  • a CR2032 battery (to power the illuminated reticle),
  • a tethered lens cover,
  • a RevStop zero ring,
  • the scope itself,
  • a scope manual,
  • and a reticle manual.

Starting with objective assembly, we have a 50mm high density (HD) objective lens. This lens does a great job gathering light in less than optimally light settings and helps maintain a bright objective image even when the magnification is dialed all the way up to 22. The clarity on the HD lenses is magnificent and I’ll get to more of that in a bit.

The objective assembly joins the 30mm main tube which houses the erector assembly. I appreciate a 30mm main tube which, generally speaking, yields a bit more durability and wider range of elevation and windage adjustment than the typical 1″ main tubes found on most hunting rifle scopes. The downside of a larger main tube on a hunting scope is it tends to add weight. Speaking of which, the total weight on this scope is 21.7 ounces. While it may not seem like much, weight can be an important consideration when it comes to hunting. This is especially true when it comes to hike and packout hunts. I think this scope is a bit on the heavy side compared to other hunting scopes, but not my much and worth the consideration given the benefits the larger tube provides along with the features this scope packs.

At the front of the erector assembly we find the first focal plane (FFP) reticle. FFP reticles shrink and grow along with the objective image as magnification is adjusted which keeps any reference hashes or marks usable at any magnification because the reticle stays proportional to the objective. This type of reticle tends to be found on higher end scopes and I strongly prefer FFP reticles over second focal plane (SFP) reticles.

This particular scope comes equipped with an XLR-2 illuminated reticle which is a technical or Christmas tree style reticle and my preferred type of reticle. I’ll dig deeper into the reticle in a future post. However, I want to mention that this scope is available with either a MRAD or MOA version of the reticle with matching graduation adjustments on the elevation and windage turrets. The scope I got my hands on is the MRAD version.

About halfway back along the main tube we arrive at the windage and elevation turrets, illumination control, and the parallax adjustment dial. There is a lot going on here and I will start with the illumination control.

The illumination control is made up of a push button cap that houses the CR2032 battery. Being completely honest, I’m not a big fan of push button illumination controls as I’ve had bad experiences with them. I’m also on the fence about the way it works. One starts by pushing the button to turn the illumination on. When it powers up, the illumination is set to the brightness setting the illumination was set to before it was last powered off. Adjustments are made by pushing the button again, a single push will either increase the brightness or decrease it. The direction it goes depends on whether the direction the adjustments were going the last brightness setting was set. Additional pushes will increase (or decrease) the brightness until it reaches the lowest or highest setting where the reticle will flash three times indicating that the button function will now reverse it’s function. The scope offers ten (10) brightness level adjustments. The illumination will automatically shut off after six hours of the last adjustment or by pushing and holding the illumination button for four seconds.

Again being completely honest, I would have preferred an illumination dial like the one found in the Razor HD Gen III 1-10×24 LVPO which locks in place and has an off-setting between each illumination level. Increasing or decreasing brightness is simply a matter of turning the illumination dial in the appropriate direction. I don’t know why Vortex decided to go with a push button instead of a dial, but it is one of my few criticisms of this scope.

Directly behind the illumination control we find the parallax dial. At some point, I should dedicate a post that dives into parallax adjustments. In summary parallax adjustments allow us to focus the objective image while ensuring the FFP reticle and the object image are focused right on top of each other. This is important in order to accurately use the reticle features on the target. Accurate parallax adjustments are dependent on a proper ocular focus. Without getting much deeper into parallax, suffice it to say that the parallax adjustment on this scope is good for targets as close as 25 yards and beyond.

Working our way around the main tube to the other side, we find the exposed elevation turret on the top of the scope. The exposed turret is the “T” in the “LHT” product line name. An exposed elevation turret on a hunting riflescope is a feature I have been longing for a long time. This is because the vast majority of hunting riflescopes I’ve worked with are equipped with capped turrets and use reticles that one can either apply an elevation or a windage hold easily with, but make applying both an elevation hold and a windage hold difficult to say the least. As such, having an elevation turret to dial in the elevation hold allows the hunter to rely on the reticle only for windage holds. A technical reticle, like the XLR-2 reticle found in this scope, makes an exposed elevation turret less of a necessity. However, the combination of a technical reticle and an exposed turret provide the hunter with a lot of tools in order to get that shot placement just right.

The exposed turret found on this scope is a locking turret. This means that adjustments can’t be made without unlocking the turret which is done by pulling up on the turret cap. A locked turret reduces the risk of accidental and unintentional elevation adjustments that can happen when carrying the rifle in rough terrain with heavy foliage and brush. When unlocked, the elevation adjustment clicks provide positive tactile feedback that make it easy to count clicks.

The elevation turret can be re-indexed and, optionally, the RevStop zero ring can be used to provide a zero stop. Re-indexing means the cap can be moved after the scope has been sighted into one’s zero distance so that the turret dial markings read “zero” when the scope is dialed into the sighted in zero distance. The RevStop ring can optionally be installed to prevent the turret from being turned under the sighted in zero distance. Essentially the RevStop zero ring functions as a zero stop which can be helpful in returning the scope to zero physically without having to look at what the dial reads.

Continuing on to the opposite side of the illumination control along the center of the main tube, we find the capped windage turret. The tactile feedback on the windage turret, while present, isn’t as pronounced as the feedback on the elevation turret. The turret can be re-indexed in a similar fashion to the elevation turret, but it cannot be locked in place. Essentially once it has the scope has been sighted into the zero distance, the windage turret is capped and will typically remain unchanged in the field. The cap prevents changes to the windage adjustments altogether.

The total turret adjustment ranges are as follows:

  • Max elevation adjustment: 22 MRAD (75 MOA on the MOA version of the scope)
  • Max elevation adjustment with the RevStop Zero ring installed: 11 MRAD (27 MOA on the MOA version of the scope)
  • Max windage adjustment: 12.5 MRAD (45 MOA on the MOA version of the scope)

After the turrets, illumination control, and parallax dial along the main tube we arrive at the magnification ring right before the ocular housing. Out of the box, I found the magnification ring to be “stiff”. It takes conscious effort to adjust the magnification setting. That said, the adjustment itself is smooth and functional.

Shortly after the magnification ring, we find the locking ring or the ocular focus. This is a nice and welcome feature because it allows one to confidently lock in ocular focus after it’s been set. The ocular focus is set by rotating the ocular housing until the ocular focus is set. Generally speaking, this is a set and forget thing assuming it is done correctly when the scope is mounted to the rifle and locked in to avoid accidental or unintentional adjustment.

Having covered the anatomy of the scope and the included features, we are now at a point where we can talk about what it’s like using it. I want to reiterate that I’ve found this scope to tick all of my wants and needs when it comes to features I’m looking for in a hunting scope. Those wants and needs are driven by the characteristics of the environment surrounding the grounds I typically hunt. That said, the low end 4.5x magnification of this scope is less than ideal for hunting in environments where sight lines and typical shot opportunities are short range (such as under 50 yards). A large part of that opinion is based on the fact that the field of view ranges from 23.5′ at the lowest magnification to 4.7’at the highest magnification.

With that said, the optical clarity this scope provides is amazing. I haven’t noticed any eye fatigue after spending extended periods of time behind it. Frankly given the features and my experience shooting with it, I’ve found this scope to be an exceptional option for folks who hunt environments where a typical shot opportunity is usually at least a hundred yards or beyond.

The MSRP on this scope is $2000. However, the street price on it has been hovering around $1500. At that price point, I don’t consider this to be an entry level or a value priced scope. At the same time, I consider the price to be fair given the construction quality and features included in this scope. Of course, my opinion might change after spending more time with this scope out in the field while hunting which will happen very soon.

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