Vortex Golden Eagle HD 15-60x52 Rifle Scope Review
By James Mock
If you were charged with building a scope for F-class or long range Benchrest, what features would you want?
Vortex has been listening and they have a new Golden Eagle that has features that yours truly really appreciates. It has a power range of 15x to 60x with a 52mm objective lens. They have attempted to keep the weight as low as possible and the cost reasonable. Before I record the results of my tests, I will list the major features of this fine instrument.
My initial impression is that Vortex spared no expense in developing this scope. The “street price” for this premium scope is a reasonable $1499. I believe that this scope will sell very well.
Features of the Golden Eagle
In addition to those shown in the photo, the following are very important features to serious shooters:
1) Unconditional lifetime warranty
2) Premium high density, extra-low dispersion glass
3) APO (apochromatic) objective lens system uses index-matched lenses to insure correct color across the entire visual spectrum
4) XRP premium multi-coated lenses insure maximum light transmission
5) ArmorTek is an extra-hard coating designed to protect the lens from dust, dirt, and smudges
6) Argon gas is used to purge the scope for superior fogproof and waterproof performance
7) Field of view at 100 yards=6.3 feet at 15X and 1.7 feet at 60x
8) One-piece 30mm main tube
9) Length=16.1 inches; weight=29.7 oz
10) 52 mm objective lens
11) 3.9 inch eye relief
12) ECR-1 reticle (tested) Hash marks subtend 1MOA @ 40X; there is also a fine crosshair reticle available
Initial tests with the scope occurred on June 28th and I was very impressed with what I saw today. With a new scope I always shoot the square to test tracking and amount of movement. I shot the square today after shooting a 5-shot group at 250 yards (my longest available distance). Above is a picture of the target that I shot. Yes, shot #5 went through the exact same hole as shot #1.
This is the 250 yard target referenced above. To get to the 100 yard target, I clicked down 14 clicks (1/8th MOA) and the scope was spot on. It is really a pleasure to use instruments that do exactly what they are supposed to do. With the Louisiana mirage, I shot the above target at 40X instead of the maximum 60X. I did not have any problem seeing the 6mm bullet holes at 40X. The optics in this scope are to my old eyes are as good as any that I have used (regardless of price).
My next use of this scope was at our monthly 600 yard match on July 15th. Well, the match was held today and it was a typical mid-July day in north Louisiana……very hot and humid with light switching winds. The mirage was terrible, but I managed to squeak out a victory with a 188/5X score out of 200/20X possible. I shot the Golden Eagle at 40X all day and it performed perfectly. No one could see bullet holes today….even with the high powered premium spotting scopes. This is a quality scope and it may be a “lucky” scope in that I did not expect a win with a Dasher barrel with 2500 or more rounds through it.
Now I will test the scope for holding point of aim. For this I will use the Hood scope checker (loaned to me by Bart Sauter). To use this, one mounts two scopes side by side. Ideally one scope has proven its ability to hold POA. In my case I will use a Valdada 36X BR model as my control scope. It has proven over an eight year period of time to hold its point of aim (POA). I mounted these scopes on my BAT/Leonard 6mm PPC and adjusted each to the same point on the target. As one can see in the above picture, these are big scopes. After the first shot, I noticed that the reticle dot on the Vortex seemed to be about 1/8th MOA to the right of its original position. I stopped to check for ring slippage (which I had experienced in prior tests). There was no apparent slippage, so I checked the parallax and found that there was some correction needed. This was probably the source of the apparent shift in point of aim, but I cannot be sure of that. I fired three more shots (checking after each) and found no shift.
After testing for POA shift, I fired the remaining rounds using different aiming points. I fired 5 rounds (upper left) using the Vortex and 3 rounds to the right of those using the Valdada scope.
While testing this scope, I have developed a real fondness for it. I appreciate its great optics, eye relief and crispness of adjustments. If I thought that this scope did not hold POA, I would use my old Valdada in the 600 yard matches in which I participate. Further testing has shown no tendency to shift point of aim.
If I am allowed to keep this scope until the fall, I am sure that I will be able to see 6mm bullet holes in the white at 600 yards. Seeing those 6mm holes is very difficult, but that is my dream for a premium high-powered scope. During the summer months in north Louisiana, the air is much too “dirty” to spot small holes at 600 yards. By October, there should be some conditions in which one can use the premium optics to see bullet holes in the white……we will see.
In summary, let me say that this scope has become one of my all-time favorites because of its bright, clear images and its great reliability. If you are looking for a great long-range scope that is reasonable in cost, try the Golden Eagle from Vortex.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
James Mock is a retired high school teacher who has been hunting since the 50's. After graduating from college, and serving 2.5 years in the US Army in the 60's he returned home and began his teaching career. In about 1969 he began his lifelong search for accuracy and began hand loading ammunition since that date. Prairie dog shooting became an obsession in the 1990's and in 1997, Benchrest competition replaced prairie dog shooting. In 2002, James began writing for "Precision Shooting Magazine" and continued until they ceased publication in 2012. Presently, he shoots 300 and 600 yard matches and is still pursuing that elusive accuracy goal.