I picked up a Vortex Optics Razor HD LH for the 6.5CM deer rifle a while back. It’s a fine rifle scope that has served me well. I first became aware of and curious about Razor HD LH after listening to Ryan Cleckner rave about it on a podcast as he recounted a safari hunting trip he went on. While I put it to good use and continue to hold the opinion that it’s a great lightweight hunting riflescope, it left something to be desired for me. Today, the Razor HD LH product line has been discontinued and replaced by the Razor HD LHT product line which addressed the most, but not all, of the criticisms I had with the Razor HD LH scope I acquired. I recently upgraded the scope on the deer rifle with a Razor HD LHT rifle scope. While I am ecstatic about the upgrade, it begs the question, “Is it worth it?”
That question isn’t easy to answer and I suspect some current Razor HD LH riflescope owners are pondering that question as I did. The short answer is that for me it was worth it. However, Razor HD scopes aren’t inexpensive. To the contrary, they are, for the majority of us, a significant investment. While I found the upgrade to be worth it, others might not. As such, I think there are a handful of folks that might find a comparison between the discontinued product line and it’s replacement valuable. So, here we are.
As I understand it, both the Razor HD LH and Razor HD LHT product lines targeted the hunting riflescope market with high-quality rugged scopes featuring high-density lenses offering superb optical clarity in a lightweight package. Hence the LH designation, which stands for lightweight hunter, in the product line names. The T in the LHT product designation stands for exposed Turret and aims to deliver a lightweight hunting scope with an exposed turret to the hunting riflescope market. While the exposed turret is the most obvious difference in the product line, there are a few other differences that are worth exploring.
Before getting into the other differences in the product lines, it might be worthwhile to look at the variants offered. While I don’t see a strict one to one correlation in the product line variants, I think there is value in reviewing and comparing them especially if one is considering an upgrade.
|Razor HD LH||Razor HD LTH|
|1.5-8×32 with G4 BDC (MOA) reticle (13.4 oz)|
|2-10×40 with G4 BDC (MOA) reticle (15.4 oz)|
|2-10×40 with HSR-4 (MOA) reticle (15.4 oz)|
|3-15×42 with HSR-4 (MOA) reticle (16.5 oz)||3-15×42 with HSR-5i (MOA) reticle (19.1 oz)|
|3-15×42 with HSR-5i (MRAD) reticle (19.1 oz)|
|3-15×50 with G4i BDC (MRAD) reticle (20.5 oz)|
|4.5-22×50 FFP with XLR-2 (MOA) reticle (21.7 oz)|
|4.5-22×50 FFP with XLR-2 (MRAD) reticle (21.7 oz)|
I found it interesting that the new LHT product line lacked the lower magnification ranged variants. However, it wasn’t surprising as there are several value-priced to high-end lightweight hunting optics options in the market today. It’s pure speculation on my part, but I suspect Vortex wanted to focus on catering to hunters who frequently pursue game animals on terrains where shot opportunities are on the longer side. After all, I can’t fathom the need or desire for an exposed turret in close range hunting scenarios. In my mind, my speculative logic also resonates with the introduction of larger objective lenses and higher magnification ranges.
Suffice it to say, folks who currently own one of the 1.5-8x or 2-10x LH scopes and don’t frequently hunt game animals in terrains where significant elevation holds are needed probably won’t benefit much from upgrading to one of the new LHT scopes. However, folks, like me, who own a 3-15x LH scope may find value in replacing it with one of the LHT scope variants. I use the word “may” here intentionally and cautiously because this isn’t a trivial upgrade (in terms of cost) and it’s very much application dependent. I want to emphasize once again that even though I was critical of the LH product line, they are great scopes. As such, I don’t want to influence an upgrade where the return on investment is marginal at best.
Let’s start by talking about the exposed elevation turret which is the primary and most obvious difference in the product lines. For me, this has been a highly desired feature in a lightweight hunting scope because I find myself with enough frequency with shot opportunities where I need to make both an elevation and windage call to get the shot placement I’m looking for. The G4 BDC and HSR-4 reticles available in the LH product line along with the HSR-5i and G4i BDC reticles available in the LHT product line don’t lend themselves well to these types of shots. However, having the ability to dial in the elevation with an exposed turret and limiting the hold to a windage hold allows these reticles to be more functional. I suspect that folks who find themselves with similar shot opportunities will see the value in a hunting riflescope with an exposed turret. Is that alone worth the cost of the upgrade? Perhaps, but it wasn’t enough for me.
Another improvement in the LHT product line over the LH product line is the introduction of illuminated reticles. An illuminated reticle on a hunting riflescope isn’t a make or break it deal for me. However, there have been enough times when I’ve hunting in the twilight as dawn is breaking or dawn is setting where a shot opportunity presents itself but I have a hard time seeing a non-illuminated reticle against the game animal when I’m attempting to aim a shot to consider this feature a very nice to have feature. The bright red center dot in the G4i BDC and the HSR-5i reticle will aid with those shot opportunities. The illumination from the new XLR-2 reticle will also aid similar shot opportunities, but the experience is a bit different and I will cover it later when I review the XLR-2 reticle in depth in a future post. Again, the exposed turret and illuminated second focal plane (SFP) reticle, like the G4i BDC and the HSR-5i reticles available in the 3-15x variants, weren’t enough for me to take the plunge and upgrade. However, the temptation was very strong for me at this point.
While I found the upgrade prospect to be very attractive, the larger 30mm main tube of the LHT product line was, to an extent, a detractor for me. As far as I know, all of the LH variants were built on a 1 inch main tube. A larger main tube generally indicates increased ruggedness and a wider elevation and windage turret adjustment range along with a bit more weight. However, I was mostly ambivalent to the benefits and consequences associated. I was more concerned about the cost associated with new scope rings needed in order to mount the upgraded scope (which also adds a hair more weight). Compared to the scope, a good high-quality set of scope rings, like the Vortex Optics Precision Matched Rings, aren’t a huge investment, but they are an additional expense nonetheless and something to consider.
The introduction of the 4.5-22×50 FFP variants to the LHT product line are what tipped the scales for me to do the upgrade. In terms of magnification, the 3-15x was sufficient. However, I found myself often working at 15x magnification in order to make use of the HSR-4 reticle’s features to make the shots that I was taking. As such, there were a few things that made 4.5-22×50 FFP variants a game changer for me. First off the variants included all of the other features I’ve already covered, an exposed elevation turret and an illuminated reticle. It additionally provides a technical reticle, which is the type of reticle I’m most familiar with and my favorite style of reticle. Since the reticle is a FFP reticle, all of its features are usable at any magnification setting. All of this gives me the versatility I’m looking for in a hunting scope given the terrains I frequently hunt. The only drawback I see in this variant is that the lowest 4.5x magnification setting might be a bit much for close range shot opportunities (which is exceedingly rare for me).
In summary, upgrading from a Razor HD LH to a Razon HD LHT scope one will gain: an exposed elevation turret, an illuminated reticle, a larger main tube, a bit more weight. and perhaps a larger objective lens. Opting for the 4.5-22×50 FFP variant as an upgrade one will also get: a technical reticle, additional magnification, and a first focal plane reticle. Is the upgrade worth the investment? I think it can be. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have done it myself. However, it depends on the individual and hunting environment.