The Vortex Viper HS is a breath of fresh air as it has the necessities without the tactical perks that are being seen more and more on hunting scopes.
While simplistic in nature, it lacks nothing for the deer hunter looking for a scope with a wide field of view, broad power range, and low-light performance at an affordable price point.
While small and seemingly unimpressive as a great low-light scope, you may be surprised to learn the facts right here, right now.
What We Like: Versatile scope
What We Don’t Like: Minor reticle complaints
Best Uses: Big Game Hunting, Small Game Hunting, Varmint Hunting, Target Shooting, Tactical Use, Scouting, Close to Mid-Range, Light to Heavy Caliber Rifles, Low-Light Use, Treestand Hunting, Thick Brush Hunting
- Magnification: 2.5-10x
- Objective Diameter: 44mm
- Coatings: FMC
- FOV: 47-10.9 ft/100 yds
- Eye Relief: 4”
- Adjustments: ¼ MOA
- Dimensions: 12”/16.5 oz
Our Verdict: When you’re looking for a versatile scope under $500, you want to choose right the first time. If hunting is what you know and what you do, then you know great glass, a simple reticle, and low-light capability are must-haves. It’s why the Viper HS 2.5-10x44 exists – made for hunters like you.
Who is the Vortex Viper HS 2.5-10X44 Best Suited to?
The Viper HS is specifically made for Hunters and Shooters, hence the HS initials in the model name. The 2.5-10x44 specs are ideal for all types of hunting for sub-400-yard ranges.
From its capped turrets to its fixed parallax and second focal plane reticle, it’s obviously made for the hunter.
With hunting comes the demand for low-light performance. While bigger tends to be better, it’s not always the case and the 2.5-10x44 scope proves that you don’t need size and trumped-up power to see better at twilight. Great glass, usable power, and a large exit pupil are key features this scope has that gives it an upper hand come sundown.
How Does the Vortex Viper HS 2.5-10X44 Perform?
The Viper 2.5-10X44 is actually more versatile than a 3-9x40 scope. You have a broader power range and a slightly larger aperture. The makings of a scope that is the very definition of a multi-purpose and all-round scope.
This Vortex scope is made in the Philippines and has every expectation expected of a Vortex. It’s tough, practical, and made to hold zero and provide accuracy.
While excellent for all types of hunting scenarios, it’s especially convenient for close-range hunting when wide fields of view (FOV) are desired and forgiving eyeboxes allow for fast deployment in tight or thick conditions.
The reticle lends itself to providing some bullet drop compensation for longer shots. The 44mm aperture helps to shave off weight and size, but it also provides some decent exit pupil specs that are competitive with a 50mm scope.
Like we said, it sure looks like a hunter’s ideal, all-round scope.
Features & Benefits
The Viper HS is a naturally versatile scope. It has 4x zoom starting from 2.5x which is perfect for most hunting scenarios out to 150 yards, within thick, dense wooded forests, and from treestands.
You have the ability to take those longer shots that may not happen often, but the capability is there. Combine its excellent optics with its compact size and you have a scope that’s great for lightweight setups or when there’s a fair amount of hiking involved.
Its broad range of power, small size, and huge field of view amounts to a scope that is ready for anything.
Low Light Use
The Viper HS 2.5-10x44 scope may not be your first pick as a low-light scope, but if you know enough about rifle scope brightness, you’ll know that size isn’t everything. In this case, one of its best low-light features is its superior glass quality.
It has XD Lens Elements with ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass that is used for reducing chromatic aberration, maintaining color fidelity, and increasing contrast and sharpness. It also features XR Fully Multi-Coated glass treatments to improve light transmission, and we all know that less reflectivity and more light out the eyepiece makes for a brighter image.
Even though it’s a 44mm scope, it still has very usable exit pupils at low light. At max power where you’ll be using the reticle for holdovers, the exit pupil is small. Like with all scopes with high magnification, you must crank it down to maintain image fidelity.
You can sit comfortably at 6x and make full use of a 7mm exit pupil. Compared to a 50mm aperture at 6x, you’re gaining an extra one millimeter of exit pupil, but your eye won’t be able to make use of it due to the size restrictions of the human pupil. So, you’re really not compromising anything by opting for the 2.5-10x Viper HS scope.
When you’re in tight or thick conditions, a larger FOV is more important than higher power. This also contributes to having a forgiving eyebox that allows you to make fast and instant shots at low-light when it’s needed.
Dead-Hold BDC Reticle
The Viper HS scope comes with the Dead-Hold BDC reticle that has become a favorite for many. You have windage and elevation hashmarks in MOA with prominent crosshair posts that keeps things clean but draws your eye to the center.
The crosshairs are not too thick to obstruct essential features of a target but are thin enough to get on-point while maintaining a clean presence in the FOV.
It’s set in the second focal plane, so to make use of holdovers, you’ll need to be at max power. Parallax is factory-set for 100 yards, and since this scope doesn’t have magnification over 10x, there is no need for a side focus or adjustable objective.
Small but Tough
The Viper HS is completely waterproof and fogproof. While nitrogen gas is usually the gas of choice to provide internal condensation protection, this model has been purged with argon gas – the high-end gas of choice.
While often mounted to 6.5 Creedmoor, AR-15 in 223, and 308 Win, it’s also been mounted to 338 Lapua Magnum, 300 Win Mag, and bigger loads. It’s safe to say that it’s recoilproof for whatever rifle you’re mounting it to.
Minor Reticle Complaints
There are very few complaints about the Dead-Hold BDC reticle but they’re hard to judge since most people love the simplicity and visibility of it.
While the reticle offers some bullet drop that you can plug in ballistics for, this isn’t a long-range scope and is intended for hunting generally within 200 yards with limited long-range capability.
Because the center lines are thin, it would be nice to see an illuminated center dot at some point in the future.
The Vortex Viper HS 2.5-10x44 comes with a 4” sunshade, lens cloth, and protective covers. It’s important to note that the covers are not flip-up caps. They’re tethered together with an elastic band and must be completely removed to use the scope. Flip-up caps must be bought separately.
The HS LR series is more tactical-like with its exposed elevation turret with increased MOA travel for long-range capability. It also features a fiber optic radius bar and zero stop.
The HS series is designed for hunters for close-range shooting and don’t require as much turret work. Turrets are capped, and while it lacks the fiber optic radius bar and zero stop, it lacks nothing else that the HS LR series has.
The Viper HS has a 30mm tube, so you’ll need 30mm rings. Mediums tend to work universally for many buyers although lows have been used for the 2.5-10x44 scope.
The Viper HS can be set to return to zero, but it will not make a hard stop at zero. To acquire the CRS Zero Stop feature, you will need to upgrade to the Viper HS LR series.
All Vortex scopes are covered under the VIP Warranty. It’s lifetime, owner transferable, and requires no proof of purchase or registration. It’s the best type of warranty in the optics industry.
Looking to keep things simple? In an industry where tactical features and complicated reticles are becoming more common in hunting scopes, you may find it harder to find a versatile scope made simple for the average hunter.
The Vortex Viper HS answers that demand for a hunting scope made for the hunter. Since hunts are rarely identical to previous experiences, it’s essential to have a scope that is flexible enough to meet demands in the moment. This is one such scope.
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Simon is an avid outdoor enthusiast and the owner of Target Tamers. He is passionate about bringing you the most up to date, accurate & understandable information on sports optics of all kinds and for all applications. When not glassing the local wildlife, you can find him in the garden with his German Shepherd.