Vortex Viper HD 20 60×85 Review

When you want a premium spotting scope without a premium price, the Vortex Viper HD 20 60×85 spotting scope delivers performance and more.  

An angled spotting scope is designed for hobbies like birding and certain types of hunting where you’ll be doing a lot of overhead spotting. This is because, unlike a straight scope, the angled scope offers a variety of viewing angles and makes for much more comfortable viewing needs. When you’re out on a long hunt or excursion, you want the equipment that’s going to be comfortable to use and give you the solutions that you need.  

Spotting scopes are great for hunting and birding, but they can also be used for several other outdoor activities. Some people even just use them for target practice and sighting. Through the use of high-end performance optics, these scopes can allow people to see for vast distances and spot targets much easier, with crisp, clear imaging and impressive color quality. 

Many of the scopes on the market today feature premium HD optics that are going to give you a viewing experience like no other. Plus, you don’t even have to spend a fortune to get the best products anymore. Thanks to advances in technology and increasing competition, even some of the top brands on the market have affordable options, such as the Vortex Viper HD 20 60×85 spotting scope.  

Before you can find the right equipment for the job, you need to know what you’re looking at. When you’re new to the world of spotting scopes, it might be difficult to figure out what you need. Fortunately, we’ve got the information that will help you. First, though, let’s take a closer look at the Vortex Viper HD spotting scope and see what it has to offer. 

Vortex Viper HD 20 60×85 

Highlighted Features 

  • High-End Optics 

This spotting scope is made with premium XR anti-reflective lenses that feature fully multicoated performance. You will enjoy premium views and brighter colors, even in the low light of dawn and dusk outings. Plus, the focus and magnification allow you to dial in for ultra-HD viewing and crisp sharpness, no matter what you’re viewing or how far out you are.  

  • Smooth Focus and Built-in Sunshade 

Speaking of focus, the helical focus operates smoothly and is easy to manipulate for the best view, still keeping a low profile so the scope doesn’t get bulky. For even better image quality, there’s a sunshade that you can use to reduce glare or protect your lens from moisture and debris. No matter what conditions you’re spotting in, you’ll find that this spotting scope is ready to get the job done.  

  • User-Friendly Controls 

Another important aspect of any spotting scope is that it’s easy to use. With user-friendly controls in a low-profile design, the Vortex Viper delivers time and time again. The focus and eyepiece are easy to manipulate and the mounting threads make it easy to also use on a tripod or car mount so that you can enjoy steady, hands-free viewing no matter where you are. A spotting scope should make your life easier, and this one does exactly that.  

  • Weatherproof Design 

Vortex starts with its Armortek coating to give the lenses the protection that they need, along with a rubberized exterior for a premium grip and better durability. Then, you also get the O-ring seals to guarantee a waterproof finish, and finally, the device is argon purged for fog-proofing. No matter what weather conditions you encounter on your adventures, this scope will be ready to go to work.  

  • Locking Collar and Rotating Eyecup for Versatility 

When you want a dynamic tool that offers plenty of range, you can count on this angled scope to deliver everything that you need and more. The rotating, locking collar allows you to make angle adjustments as needed and lock in the position for stability. Plus, you can rotate the eyecup to create the appropriate eye relief, whether you are wearing glasses or just need a little more space. It’s all about comfort in spotting with these features.  

Other Features 

This angled scope also comes in a straight model, as well as a smaller version in both an angled and straight model, which all have the same premium features. This scope features a comfortable eye relief and impressive close focus of 36 feet, giving you a lot of power in a small package when you don’t want to spend a fortune on something that’s at the top end of the price range. Whether you want this scope for spotting, hunting, or any other activity, you’ll find plenty of features to appreciate.  

Pros and Cons 


  • Plenty of adjustment options to create the perfect view 
  • Comfortable, compact design 
  • HD-quality imaging with impressive detail 


  • Not as many features as some more expensive models 

Vortex Viper HD 20 60×85: Specs Overview 

You’ll find an impressive set of standard specs on the Vortex Viper HD 20 60×85, including: 

  • Magnification: 20-60x 
  • Objective Lens: 85mm 
  • Linear Field of View 101-50 feet/1000 yards 
  • Angular FOV: 1.9-1 degrees 
  • Close Focus: 36 feet 
  • Eye Relief: 17.8-19.6mm 
  • Length: 17.5 inches 

For the money, this scope offers some impressive specifications. It can deliver performance in a compact package and provide you with great clarity for several spotting needs.  

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What’s Included 

The package includes everything that you need to get out and start spotting right away. You’ll get the vortex Viper HD 20 60×85 spotting scope, along with a custom case that’s fitted to the scope perfectly. Plus, there’s a lens cover for the objective lens and a cap for the eyepiece. The case is even made of durable neoprene to give you extra protection on the go.  

Should You Choose Angled or Straight Scopes and Other Important Questions 

There is a lot that goes into getting the best spotting scope, no matter what kind of activities you enjoy in the great outdoors. The type of scope that you select makes a significant impact, and the biggest part of that is deciding whether you need a straight scope or an angled scope. Here’s what you need to know about that, as well as other things you should consider when choosing your scope.  

Angled Scopes 

Angled spotting scopes are the preferred choice for those who do a lot of overhead spotting because they offer a better range of premium viewing options and ensure that you get the most comfortable angle every single time. These scopes are easier for shared excursions, as well. Plus, they have a higher eye level so that you can use a shorter tripod for more stability in your spotting.  

Straight Scopes 

These scopes are ideal for ground viewing or level viewing. It’s much easier to aim and use for beginners, and the lens system is less advanced and complex, so it may be easier to understand. However, if you want to do any long-term or overhead viewing, you’ll typically be better off with an angled scope.  

How to Choose the Best Scope 

If you’re in the market for a spotting scope, there are a lot of different options that you can choose from. However, some factors are going to make a bigger difference than others. It will be up to you to make sure that you consider what factors work best for your needs, but here are some of the most important elements to consider: 

  • Usability: It’s important to choose a spotting scope that is going to give you the functional use that you need. Make sure that you check out the controls and features to ensure that they are easy to access and that you won’t have to spend a lot of time learning how to work your new equipment. After all, it’s supposed to be much easier to have a spotting scope, so learning to use one shouldn’t be a challenge.  
  • Magnification: If you’re looking to spot from a distance, you’ll have a lot of options for magnification. Some scopes go up to 60x, but you’ll typically find most of them starting around 20x and going up from there. You should also consider variable zoom or magnification, as opposed to a fixed magnification, so that you can get more out of your investment.  
  • Durability: When you’re outdoors, you need tools and equipment that are going to withstand the elements. Make sure that your spotting scope features a rugged design and protective finishes to allow it to stand up to any conditions that you may find yourself in. Fortunately, this is standard on most scopes, but it’s still important to consider.  
  • Mounting Ability: Like weatherproofing, this typically comes standard on most scopes. However, you should still do your homework to ensure that mounting threads are provided, as well as to find out whether the spotting scope can be tripod mounted or if you can use it with various types of mounts.  
  • Lens Quality: The quality of the glass and lens coatings is going to impact the view that you get with your scope. Thus, you should always look into what types of coatings are included, as well as making sure that you only buy scopes with fully multicoated optics for the best quality and clarity. Anything less just isn’t worth the money.  

Spotting Scopes FAQ 

Q: Does a spotting scope replace binoculars? 

A: While some people might trade their binoculars for a spotting scope, it might not be the smart move for everyone. There are plenty of advantages to still using binoculars for short-range sighting or other needs. Therefore, you may want to consider not replacing your binoculars, but adding a spotting scope to your collection to give you another option.  

Q: How much zoom do I need? 

A: While some scopes will go up to 60x, you really may not need that much magnification. Plus, you must make sure that the image quality is going to deliver. There’s no sense in buying a scope that gives you extreme magnification when the images are blurry or don’t give you a good view, after all. You want to make sure that you have a magnification that you can use. Consider that in your purchase more than the total zoom.  

Q; How much should I spend on a spotting scope? 

A: There is a wide range when it comes to spotting scope prices, and there isn’t one price that is ideal for everyone. Think about your budget, and then look at the features that you’re getting for the money. That’s going to be the better way to shop, rather than shopping based on price alone. Models like the Vortex Viper reviewed here are mid-range models that offer affordability but still have plenty of features.  

Q: Can I use spotting scopes at night?  

A: Some spotting scopes include an IR camera or other night vision features, but most of the devices are going to be designed for use during the daylight hours. The best spotting scopes with wider objective lenses and other features may be great for dawn and dusk use, but you’ll probably have to upgrade to a specific night vision scope if that’s what you need.  

The Final Verdict 

The right spotting scope can make all the difference in how much you use the equipment when you’re out hunting, birding, or doing anything else. The Vortex Viper HD 20 60×85 spotting scope is going to give you plenty of features for the money and it comes from a leader in sports optics, giving you peace of mind that you’re getting a great tool. Plus, now that you know more about how to choose your scope, you’ll be able to compare this to your other options to find the best choice.  

Whether you choose the Vortex Viper series or any other spotting scope, you’re sure to have a more enjoyable time outdoors and get to experience things in nature that you might not encounter otherwise. Make sure that you take advantage of that, among all of the other perks of owning one of these great tools.  

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