- Team Member
- Feb 2005
- Posts: 750
Posted: 2/14/2011 1:24:37 PM EST
[Last Edit: 2/27/2011 4:09:03 PM EST by firedog55]
I first saw this optic at SHOT '10 and was impressed then. I've waited for a full year to get my hands on one and it's been worth the wait. I've decided the PST will take up permanent residence on top of my SCAR 17, I like it that much.
As many of you know the PST 1-4x24 was held up from release by Vortex because they were not happy with the function of the windage and elevation turrets, mostly the tactile feel while making adjustments. To their credit they did the right thing by not releasing the optic until it was ready, I wish others in the firearms industry had the same business attitude (more about this later).
Vortex Viper PST 1-4x24
But back to the PST, as soon as you remove it from the box you get a sense that's it's a quality optic.
The fit and finish are perfect, with clear, sharp white lettering, and nice clear glass. The feel of all the adjustment controls is just right, not too firm, but firm enough to offer resistance to accidental changes. The diopter adjustment ring is made of a pliable rubber that aides grip, likewise there is knurled rubber around the magnification adj. ring.
The magnification ring is marked with both magnification settings and subtension multiplier markings.
The illumination adj.turret has 10 intensity levels, with an off position between each making it easy to turn off and return to your desired power level.
Notice in the above picture the red fiber optic bar that denotes magnification level, and assists with your elevation return to "zero" setting by lining up with the fiber optic bar on top of the elevation turret (picture below).
Also notice the lens covers, the only cheap item in the package. Other items that came with the PST are a CR2032 battery, lens cloth, allen wrench, brass shims for the turrets, and instruction manuals for the optic and reticle type chosen. I chose the MOA version rather than the MRAD as I'm more familiar with the MOA reticle and its use.
The Viper PST 1-4x24 is made in the Philippines even though Vortex is an American company. This is fairly common practice where the optics company will do the design and development and outsource the actual manufacture.
Another nice feature is the Customizable Rotation Stop (CRS). This allows you to set your elevation zero and easily return to it after large elevation changes. After your rifle is zeroed simply remove the elevation turret ring by loosening the (3) hex head screws and lifting it straight off.
Then place the provided brass shims around the base alternating them at 180 degrees until all the space is taken up.
Carefully reinstall the turret knob aligned with "0" and tighten the screws. Now after an elevation adj. you can rotate the turret counter clockwise to re-zero. The turret will stop about 1/4 turn past zero allowing you to come back to your "zero" easily
This was the only function related to the PST that I had trouble with. I had to go through the procedure several times until I could get all the shims to seat.
I chose to use Vortex's quick release mount, the two inch offset version. The mount is made by ADM in the USA. Most of you are familiar with it. Vortex simply re brands it with their name. The mount is sturdy, with two locking levers that are easily adjusted for rail tension with a coin or screw driver.
The mount has two locking lugs that interface perfectly with the picatinney rail on the SCAR. I removed the optic several times and it always returned to zero.
The mount just clears the charging handle.
I also used Vortex's "Switchview" lever. Initially I was not sure if it was really needed, but after I've used it awhile I really like it.
The lever was easily installed with (2) screws around the magnification ring.
I ended up adjusting the lever down to the 7 o'clock position on 1x to better clear my body and gear.
This allows you to quickly change magnification settings even with gloves on, one handed.
I also tried mounting the PST on my M1A using Vortex's excellent 30mm low rings. Even with the low rings the optic is way too high without some kind of extended cheek rest.
The Vortex scope rings are nicely machined from aircraft grade aluminum with tool steel mounting hardware (Torx screws).
Like the Vortex quick release mount they interface to the picatinney rail with sturdy lugs.
Vortex also has a PST 1-4x24 without adjustable target style turrets. This would be a good option for some shooters.
Without target turrets.
And finally, these are the similar optics I was able to compare the PST with:
-Leupold MKIV CQT
PST reticle, 1x, max. illumination
PST reticle, 1x no illumination
Leupold CQT reticle, 1x, max illumination.
Leatherwood CMS reticle, 1x, max illumination
Burris TAC30 reticle, 1x, max illumination
This picture clearly shows the PST is a true 1x.
This picture is the PST reticle, maximum illumination on 4x, clearly showing the 2nd focal plane same size reticle through out the magnification range. The PST is designed for all ranging functions to be done on 4x.
All of these pictures were taken at the same time on a bright sunny day. For some reason the PST reticle's illumination doesn't show up as well in the camera as the human eye. The Burris TAC30
is clearly the brightest. The Leupolds CQT yellow reticle is nearly invisible against the snow on a bright sunny day, but shows up as black. And the Leatherwood CMS illumination is barely visible against the tree line.
In my opinion the clarity of the glass was a tie between the PST and the CQT, with the TAC30 a close second and the CMS a distant third. As far as the functional usability of the reticle the PST is the hands down winner. The ability to range and determine holdover (on 4x) with this type of reticle is fairly simple and accurate. The TAC30 reticle is slightly better in the CQB role, but is second best in other areas. The CQT reticle is good at only one thing, CQB use. And last is the CMS, poor illumination, with hard to see vertical/horizontal stadia lines.
Eye relief is about the same for all of them, around four inches.
Overall I consider the PST the winner, best glass(clear and sharp to the edge), most usable reticle, quality build, and features for the money.
Now for the fun part, the range. It was cold the day we went to the range, 21 degrees, with no wind and slightly overcast. Pretty good conditions. The PST never fogged up and the adjustment controls maintained consistent movement. I had zeroed the PST at home with a laser bore sighter prior to leaving for the range. We shot at 100,200, and 300 yards. The scope was zeroed at 100 yds. Most shooting was from the bench off sand bags for accuracy. Ammunition used was PMC M80 ball, UMC 150 grain, and old Mil.Surplus.
The far targets are at 300 yds.
All groups were shot on 4x without reticle illumination.
View through the optic, 4x, 100 yds.
Same view, but close up.
This was a pretty average group for the SCAR/PST at 200 yds. Keep in mind that none of this was shot with match quality ammo.
The next two pictures demonstrate the repeatability and consistency of the turret adjustments. The optic was zeroed at 100 yds, the windage turret was turned 8 clicks right and a three shot group was fired. Next the elevation turret was turned 8 clicks down and another three shot group was fired. Then the windage was adjusted 8 clicks left, another three shot group fired, and finally the elevation adjusted 8 clicks up and a final group fired. As you can see the reticle boxes perfectly, returning to zero.
The only problem I had at the range was not optic related, but magazine failure. The CProducts magazines I had wouldn't function properly, with bolt over 2nd round failure to feed and dropping from the weapon without touching the mag release. Needless to say they're on their way back to CProducts.
So in conclusion, I'm pretty happy with the PST.
A lot of optic for the money. The whole package, including the ADM mount and Swicthview are very usable. The glass is as good as you'll find without spending the big bucks on S&B etc. The reticle is easy to use for ranging and holdovers, it's 2nd FP so it stays the same size through out the magnification range. The illumination could be a little brighter during bright sunlight, but the black shows up fine. And it's a true 1x optic making both eyes open shooting possible. All the adj. controls are smooth and firm, with a good feel.
Vortex customer service is second to none. After changing out the battery the reticle illumination didn't seem as bright as before. I called up and they sent me a replacement and return tag, it arrived in three days. Turns out I didn't need the replacement. It was my error, when replacing the battery the cap must be screwed on tightly with a coin for the battery to make full contact. I sent the replacement back with an apology. Proves their lifetime unconditional warranty is as good as their word. Buy with confidence.
And he struck them ruthlessly with a great slaughter. Judges 15:8