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Vortex Viper HD 20-60x85 Angled Spotting Scope Review (Helical Focus)

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Vortex Viper HD 20-60X85mm Angled Spotting Scope
Image Credit - Vortex Optics

Viewing Configuration: Angled
Magnification: 20-60X
Power Variability: Variable
Adjustable Eyepieces: No
Eyepiece included: Yes
Objective Diameter: 85 mm
Close Focus Distance: 36 feet
Length: 17.5 in
Weight: 76.6 oz
Field of View: 101-50 ft/1000 yards
Eye Relief/Exit Pupil: 19.6-17.8 mm/4.25-1.42 mm
Optics Coatings: Fully multi-coated
Glass: BaK-4
Focus System: Center/Dual
Waterproof/Fog-proof: Yes
Digiscope adaptable: Yes

Best Uses: For the Range, Bird Watching, Wildlife Observation

Vortex Viper HD 20-60x85 Review

A quick glance and you'd think you were looking at a Razor HD spotting scope since aesthetics are practically identical. But, of course there are differences between the two series. Let's dissect the Viper spotting scope to see how much of a transformation you can expect from the new release.

Both the old Viper and this new model feature high-density, extra-low dispersion (ED) glass elements - your high-definition (HD) image quality. They also shared XR Fully Multi-Coated optics and Dielectric Coatings. These coatings and ED glass has an important role to play since the objective lens size did get an upgrade.

Vortex Viper 20-60x85 Spotting Scope Side On
Image Credit - Vortex Optics

The old model had the 80 mm aperture, and this new one has the 85 mm aperture. The extra 5 mm allows more available light to be delivered to the eye. Of course this light transmission would be useless without the necessary, quality coatings needed to enhance transmission in low light conditions and reduce as much reflection within the scope itself.

The next feature upgrade is the focus mechanism. Previously, the Vipers had the well-known dual focus knob. Now, they sport the same Helical Focus collar ring that the Razor HD line is known for. It's large, heavily textured, fluid, and smooth. Eliminating the need for two controls, the collar can be used to make both fast and fine adjustments with one mechanism.

The Vortex spotting scope also has a conveniently trim profile for packability when portability is a concern. However, the extra 5 mm in the aperture, optical system, and focus upgrades did result in weight gain. The new model is heavy at 76.6 oz versus the 67 oz on the old model. But, don't fret, the extra pound is justified with ultra-sharp, HD image quality especially for low light situations and more precise focusing abilities.

The Viper line has always been a favorite, mid-range option for many hunters and wildlife observers. It was a better than average scope, but now it's a high-end one without the high-end price tag. We expect to see more than a few excited buyers go nuts over the spotter that now sets the standard for what affordable can get you!


  • Price
  • Helical focus
  • HD/ED glass
  • 85 mm aperture
  • Trim profile


  • Heavy

Vortex Viper HD 20-60X85 Q&A:

Is this Viper HD a Good Long Range Scope?

Definitely! The improved optics quality, high power, and large aperture will make this a long ranging trooper at the range and one of the best spotting scopes for target shooting. If you're a hunter that's on the move, you might want to consider the 15-45x65 model instead, but if you're in a blind, flat terrain, or keeping your spotter stationary for most activities, this model should do you just fine.

You'll also be able to glass longer later in the day since the aperture and quality coatings will enable maximum light transmission when there's little ambient light left.

Does the Objective Lens have a Protective Coating?

The objective lens is coated with Vortex's patented ArmorTek coatings. This is an ultra-hard, external coating that protects the lens from scratches, debris, dirt, oil, and all that stuff that can damage it. It is recommended that you follow Vortex's lens cleaning tips for this spotting scope.

What are the Model Changes in the Vortex Viper Spotter Line?

The 20-60x80 model has been discontinued and replaced with this 20-60x85 version. Vortex retained the 15-45x65 model, but they upgraded the features to be in line with the new Viper HD standard.

What does the New Viper lack that the Old Model had?

We wouldn't see the new model as "lacking" in sorts, but there are a few differences you should be aware of. The inactive Viper had a picatinny rail for mounting additional devices to the scope. The new one does not feature the rail anymore. Also, the new Viper has gained approx. 10 ounces, lost 9 feet in the field of view at 1,000 yards, and now has an extra 14 feet added to the close focus distance.

YouTube video

Is the Viper HD 20-60x85 a Better Buy over the Diamondback Spotting Scopes?

The Diamondback series, whether it be rifle scope, binoculars, or spotters, is a favorite of the masses, and it's one of ours too. As the entry-level line to their spotting scopes, it's not going to be as decked-out as the Viper HD.

For example, the Diamondback spotter is nitrogen gas purged versus argon, it lacks ArmorTek and HD/ED glass, and it only has a single focus knob. But, it does have its advantages. It's lighter, more compact, has a shorter close focus distance, and is half the price of the Vipers in most cases. It's up to you if you want better optical quality for all-day glassing or the better price for glassing in good conditions.

What are the Included Accessories with Vortex's Viper HD Spotting Scope?

Vortex sends out an objective lens cover, eyepiece cap, and a custom fitted case for the spotter with the purchase of the Viper scope.

Where is the Viper HD spotting scope made?

The Viper HD series are made in China.

Noteworthy Features:

  • Excellent HD image quality
  • For use in low light conditions, long ranges, and for ultra-sharp viewing
  • Helical focus for fast and fine adjustments
  • Built-in sunshade, rotating tripod collar, and multi-position eyecups
  • Vortex VIP Warranty

Our Verdict on the Viper HD 20-60x85 Spotting Scope

The scoop on the scope is, the Vortex Viper HD 20-60x85 is an awesome spotter! Even though we already loved the old Viper models, we're glad to see if there were going to be changes made that they're legitimate upgrades that work.

Vortex Viper HD 20-60x85 Spotting Scope
Image Credit - Vortex Optics

Vortex nailed it, and we can't resist saying that it now has a sleek and sexy appeal about it.

But, of course, there's always an upgrade to the Viper line and that's the Razor HD Spotting Scope Series. These scopes are some of the best we've seen, and the quality is out of the ballpark. They're worth every dime they cost. Why? "Razor-sharp" quality is the Razor's expertise!

If you want another alternative from us, you might want to check out the Pentax PF-80EDA spotter. It has some luxury features that might surprise you, and if you're the type to use the same spotter for everything between range use and celestial viewing, the Pentax is for you.

However, it will cost you to switch brands, and in the end, you may end up just buying the Razor for the same price! We've got you thinking now haven't we?

The Viper has come up to date for what spotter users demand in the modern age. You have high power, excellent image quality, and an affordable price. If there's a brand that's going to do it all, it may as well be Vortex!

Further Reading

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Simon Cuthbert - Founder

Simon is an avid outdoor enthusiast and the founder 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. Simon has contributed to notable publications online and teaches beginners the technical side of optics through his extensive library of optics guides.

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