Introduction

In this comparison, we have two well established American companies, which are known for their big variety of different optical products for any kind of use. Now, we’ve finally got our hands on two tactical rifle scopes from these companies.

The premium series of tactical rifle scopes from Burris named the XTR 2 was introduced before a couple of years, if we are exact, on Shot Show and IWA Outdoor Classics 2014. These rifle scopes have a high level of quality for an affordable price. But on Shot Show and IWA Outdoor Classics 2017, Burris got a new competitor.


Vortex presented their new line of Viper PST rifle scopes, which were in the past one of the best in class rifle scopes. The new line is called Vortex Viper PST gen. 2, and in this series different tactical rifle scopes are available.

In this comparison, we could finally take these rifle scopes under the magnifying glass, and tell you the pros and cons of both of these products.

Size and weight:

A: Vortex Viper PST gen. 2 5-25xx50

B: Burris XTR 2 5-25×50

Weight:

885 g

910 g

Length:

406 mm

414 mm

Tube diameter:

30 mm

34 mm

Diopter setting:

Parallax adjustment:

25 yards / 23 m to infinity

50 yards / 45 m to infinity

Mounting with rail:

NO

NO

Number of Colors:

1

2

As we see in this specifications, both rifle scopes are very similar. The magnification range is the same, ranging from 5 to 25 times, and both have a 50-millimeter objective lens diameter.

The Burris XTR 2 is a little bit heavier with 25 grams, and 8 millimeters longer than the Vortex. These are so small differences no one would even notice. The one and only major difference is the main tube diameter, which is 30 on the Vortex and 34 on the Burris.

The bigger tube diameter has some advantages, like more elevation and windage travel of the reticle, but the tube is also thicker, what makes the 34-millimeter rifle scope a little bit more rugged than the smaller tube diameter rifle scope.

Because both rifle scopes have a high magnification, they require a parallax adjustment turret to focus on targets at different distances. On the Vortex, the parallax is adjustable from 25 yards (23 meters) to infinity, and on the Burris from 50 yards (45 meters) to infinity. Here Vortex has a small advantage, which is noticeable only if you shoot on very short distances.

Vortex is currently available only in black matte color, but Burris has the additional ˝Dark Earth Brown˝ color, which is also matte.

Vortex Viper PST gen. 2 5-25×50 FFP vs Burris XTR 2 5-25×50

Optical properties:

A: Vortex Viper PST gen. 2 5-25xx50

B: Burris XTR 2 5-25×50

Minimal magnification:

5x

5x

Maximal magnification:

25x

25x

Zoom factor:

5

5

Maximal Field of View:

7.3 m / 100 m

6.4 m / 100 m

Minimal Field of View:

1.5 m / 100 m

1.3 m / 100 m

Minimal eye relief:

86 mm

89 mm

Maximal eye relief:

86 mm

108 mm

Light transmission – declared:

Tunneling effect at low magnifications:

No

No

Central sharpness – subjective impression at 5x, 15x and 25x magnification:

5x magnification – 7

15x magnification – 8

25x magnification – 6

5x magnification – 1

15x magnification – 0

25x magnification – 2

Edge sharpness – subjective impression at 5x, 15x and 25x magnification:

5x magnification – 6

15x magnification – 6

25x magnification – 6

5x magnification – 2

15x magnification – 2

25x magnification – 2

Inner reflections at 5x and 25x magnification:

5x magnification – 8

25x magnification – 7

5x magnification – 0

25x magnification – 1

FOV – subjective impression at 5x and 25x magnification:

5x magnification – 8

25x magnification – 8

5x magnification – 0

25x magnification – 0

Eye-box at 5x and 25x magnification

5x magnification – 4

25x magnification – 8

5x magnification – 4

25x magnification – 0

Overall – subjective impression:

8

0

All in all (104 total points)

90

14

And again in our comparison, we have a clear winner. From a total of 104 points, the new Vortex Viper PST Gen. 2 scored incredible 90 points. Until we didn’t have these scope side by side, we couldn’t imagine that there is such big of a difference.

Like previously mentioned, both rifle scopes have the same magnification range from 5 to 25 times, so the zoom factor is 5.

Vortex scores in terms of field of view, because on the smallest magnification, you see almost 1 meter more like with its competitor, Burris XTR 2. This is really a lot, and that’s why this is a big advantage from Vortex. On the biggest magnification of 25 times, the difference gets smaller, but still, Vortex leads the way with 0.2 meters more field of view.

From the eye-relief, the scopes are equal on the biggest magnification, but on small magnification, we noticed a big disadvantage from Burris. The eye-relief changes from 89 millimeters to 108 millimeters, what causes to move your head further away from the scope when changing magnification from 25 to 5 times. This can be disturbing sometimes, especially when laying on the ground when you don’t have so much free movement with your head.

In every aspect we compared these two scopes, Vortex was much better than the Burris. Only on the eye-box, but also only on the smallest magnification, there was a tie. On the biggest magnification, the differences were again so big, that all 8 of our testers voted for the Vortex.

Vortex Viper PST gen. 2 5-25×50 FFP vs Burris XTR 2 5-25×50

Reticle properties:

A: Vortex Viper PST gen. 2 5-25xx50

B: Burris XTR 2 5-25×50

Focal plane:

FFP

FFP

Reticle name

EBR-2C MRAD

SCR – MIL

Reticle illumination:

Yes, RED

Yes, RED

Daylight strong illumination:

No

Yes

Illumination intensity tuning:

Yes

Yes

Illuminated dot coverage:

No dot in the middle

0.03 MIL

Minimal reticle thickness:

0.034 MIL

0.02 MIL

Motion sensor:

No

No

Auto turn-off:

No

No

Reticle styles:

2

3

Both rifle scopes have the reticle set in the first focal plane (FFP), which is in our opinion one of the most important aspects on a tactical rifle scope. With a reticle set in the first focal plane, the user can calculate the distance to the target at any magnification, and use the reticle for holdovers and windage corrections also at any magnification.

Both rifle scopes have a Mil-based reticle, what means the lines in the reticle are always 10 centimeters (or 5 centimeters – depending on the line spacing) from each other on 100 meters. Vortex named their reticle EBR-2C MRAD, which is already integrated into their premium rifle scopes, the Razor HD Gen. 2 and Razor AMG. This reticle has an open center, which is 0.06 Mrad big. With this open center, small dots or very small targets are easier to engage. This reticle has a Christmas tree design, what is very useful when shooting on longer ranges. On 3 ends of the reticle, the line spacings are very small, for more precise distance calculations.

Burris, on the other hand, has named their reticle SCR-Mil, which is a derivative of a Mil-Hash reticle. From the center, the reticle goes 5 MRAD upwards, and then the reticle ends, so the user has a big observation area. This reticle has only one vertical line from the center going downwards, with 5 MRAD spacings. Also this reticle has on 3 ends smaller spacings of 0.2 Mil for precise distance calculations.

Both reticles are illuminated with red light, which can be fine-tuned for usage in low light or night vision devices. Burris has 11 brightness settings, and only the middle section is illuminated. The Vortex has 10 brightness setting, and the whole reticle is illuminated.

The reticle in the Burris is slightly thinner, and Burris has one more reticle to offer against the Vortex.

 

Vortex Viper PST Gen. 2 5-25×50 EBR-2C MRAD reticle

Burris XTR2 5-25×50 SCR-Mil Reticle

Turret properties:

A: Vortex Viper PST gen. 2 5-25xx50

B: Burris XTR 2 5-25×50

Turret Style:

Tactical

Tactical

Click value:

0.1 mrad

0.1 mrad

MTC function:

No

No

Number of turns:

Double-turn

Double turn

Turn indication:

CCW

CCW

Zero stop:

Yes

Yes

Position locking:

No

No

Elevation in one turn:

10 mrad

10 mrad

Total travel of turret:

20 mrad

20 mrad

BDC turret type:

BDC turret accuracy:

BDC turret flexibility:

Turret size:

8/10

8/10

Elevation range:

20 mrad

26 mrad

Windage range:

10 mrad

16 mrad

Click sound

8/10

7/10

Click feeling

9/10

7/10

Ease of zeroing

9/10

9/10

All in all (40 total points)

34

31

The turrets are on both rifle scopes tactical, what means that they are exposed and easy to adjust, without taking off some turret caps. The clicks are in 0.1 mrad, so exact 1 cm on 100 meters. The turrets are double turn, what is in our opinion a really good feature for tactical rifle scopes, to not get lost in the turns. Here also the first negative point for both rifle scopes – they don’t have a good visual turn indicator. When you get in the second revolution, the turrets are just about 3 millimeters higher, and under the turrets are lines to indicate in which turn you are. These lines are barely visible, so you have to look carefully when using them.

The turrets rotate counterclockwise, with 10 MRAD per revolution. They also have a zero stop function, so you can’t go by mistake under the zero. For Vortex, this is a new feature, since the first generation of Viper PST rifle scopes didn’t have this. In the first generation of Viper PST rifle scopes, you had to give some sort of thin metal under the turret to get you zero stop function. This metal was included in the box, but since this was so awkward to install, and the zero stop was not exactly on the zero, many shooters didn’t do it.

The total travel range of the reticle on the Vortex for elevation is 20 MIL, and 10 for windage. This isn’t very much, but with a canted mount shooting till 1000 meters shouldn’t be a problem.

Burris, on the other hand, has 6 MIL more elevation range, thanks to the bigger main tube diameter.

The clicks on both rifle scopes are nice audible, but in our opinion, they could be a little bit louder. Feeling the clicks is much better on the Vortex, and you really feel each click separately, and you can easily count the clicks. The clicks can be compared to their premium line of rifle scopes like Razor HD Gen. 2 or the Razor AMG, just that they need less force to adjust. We noticed also, that the windage turret can be easier turned than the elevation turret, what gives the Vortex a small minus point. The windage turret turns in our opinion too easy.

On the Burris the clicks are also good, but even for this price they could be better. You feel every click, no doubt, but the clicks are not so fine defined like on the Vortex. The turrets need also more force to adjust, what is in our opinion better, so the user can’t accidentally turn the turret and consequently miss the target.

The parallax wheel on the left side is on both rifle scopes nice and easy to adjust. The Vortex parallax wheel is a little bit bigger, but from the function, both are very good. Both of them have also numbers for different distances, so you have a rough point for quicker adjustments.

There is also one big advantage from Burris over the Vortex, and this is in the illumination. On the Burris, the small turret that comes out from the parallax turrets is nice and big enough for easy adjustment even with gloves, and the adjustments are nice and smooth. On this particular Vortex, on the other hand, the illumination is very difficult to adjust, you almost need to take the scope in your hands and then adjust the illumination with a lot of force. The illumination control could be a little bit wider, so the user can grab the turrets easier and adjust it with less force.

The point for battery replacement goes also for the Burris, because you don’t need any tools to replace it. On the Vortex, you need a screwdriver or a coin to open the battery container, and on the Burris, you just turn the whole turret in one direction until the cap goes off.

On the left Burris XTR2, on the right Vortex Viper PST Gen. 2. Both on the zero stop

On the left Burris XTR2, on the right Vortex Viper PST, with full elevation adjustment (note the higher turrets)

General properties:

A: Vortex Viper PST gen. 2 5-25xx50

B: Burris XTR 2 5-25×50

Made in:

Philippines

Philippines

Introduced in:

2017

2014

Available original accessories:

Yes

Yes

Warranty period:

10 years

30 years

MRSP Price:

1579 (1249) €

From 1399 € to 1599 €

Both companies have the headquarters in the United States, but they both let their products produce mostly in Asian companies, due to the lower production costs. These particular rifle scopes are both made in the Philippines.

In the box of Burris are very good flip-up covers, a 3-inch sunshade, battery, lens cloth and the instructions. Burris offers also some additional accessories like scope covers, lens pens, anti-reflection devices and so on.

The Vortex comes with a cheap bikini-style cover, 3-inch sunshade, battery, a lens cloth and the instructions. Also Vortex offers some additional accessories, even more than Burris.

A big difference between these two rifle scopes is in the Warranty period in favor of Burris. They offer 20 years longer warranty than Vortex, what is really a lot for tactical rifle scopes, which are often used in harsh environment. Whatsoever, both companies have some sort of lifetime warranty, and will provide good service even when the warranty period runs out.

The prices are also very equal, only that you have an additional option at Burris, that you can order the scope without the illumination, black or brown. When you take the scope with illumination in black color, the prices grow from 1399 to 1549 euros, and when choosing the dark brown color, the price grows again to 1599 euros.

Vortex, on the other hand, has no other option like a different reticle, but this comes with the same price. The MSRP is 1579 euros, but like we know it from Vortex, they always have some discounts. At the time we did this review, the scope had a price of 1249 euros. With this price, the Vortex is cheaper even with the illumination and better glass quality.

Conclusion

For the middle price range of rifle scopes, we have to say we were quite impressed with these two products. Both rifle scopes are very well made for this price, but both have some space for improvements.

Burris is in our opinion made for use in harsh environment, and we think that it can withstand more punishment than the Vortex, thanks to the bigger main tube diameter. The whole design is very decent, and the turrets are also heavier to turn, what makes it great for field use. The weakest point of Burris is in the optical quality, where it lost almost all points against the Vortex.

Even if the glass is just perfect for this price range of rifle scopes, also the Vortex has some shortcomings. The biggest issue in our opinion is the illumination control, which is so heavy to turn. Maybe we had some bad luck and not all Viper PST Gen.2 rifle scopes have this failure, but this was definitely going to too difficult. The turrets have very nicely defined clicks, but for field use, they could go a little bit heavier, especially the windage turret. The greatest advantage of Vortex is definitely its glass quality. This difference was noticeable for all of our 8 testers, which don’t have much experience with any kind of optics.

Disclaimer

We would like to thank Optics Trade for letting us use and test the above-mentioned products. We also thank them for letting us use their videos.

This featured test is impartial and we always try our best not to prejudice and favor one product over the other. Our team of enthusiasts who tests these products and writes these articles is doing it from dedication, as rifle scopes are our big passion. We also feel a great amount of joy and satisfaction when we know that we have contributed and shared with you our experiences. We try not to be biased and try to be as accurate as possible when interpreting our sightings. We will do our best to described things as they really are.

How the testing is done:

Our team comprises of two enthusiasts who write the articles for hobby and our very helpful unbiased friends who help us make the evaluations, such as the optical characteristics. As we are volunteers/enthusiasts we are not always present in the same numbers. Our ranks can fluctuate from 5 to around 8 people at the time of a test. Other than the two of us who are responsible for writing the articles our friends have almost zero experience in rifle scopes. They have no prejudice and are as such perfect for our objective observations. None-the-less we always try our best to hide all the labels that can give away the products ID. For that reason, we mount the rifle scopes in parallel on a special stand and cover them so the brand names are not visible.

We accurately fine tune the parallax on all the testing products for observing trees and buildings at 260 m and each person sets the diopter for their specific needs.

After we are sure that the test can be done without preferations we ask our volunteers to test the following parameters:

  • Central sharpness – subjective impression at 5x, 15x and 25x

  • Edge sharpness – subjective impression at 5x, 15x and 25x

  • Inner reflections at 5x and 25x

  • FOV – subjective impression at 5x and 25x

  • Eye-box at 5x, and 25x magnification

  • Overall – subjective impression

In this article, we tested optical properties with 8 volunteers, which have no experiences with tactical scopes and have no bias towards any of these two brands. To be exact none of the volunteers even knew any of these two brands before the test. Both scopes were mounted in parallel and people observed trees and buildings about 260 meters away. Parallax was fine-tuned before the test and each person also adjusted the diopter setting for himself. From 8 volunteers 3 were women and 5 were men.

 

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