VORTEX RAZOR HD AMG 6-25 X 50 RAZOR SHARP
By John Herbert
If you’re a car person and you see the letters AMG, you probably recognise it as a hot Mercedes Benz. For those who don’t know, AMG is Benz’s tuning and customising house. Think HSV for Holden, FPV for Ford and M for BMW. Now US Optics maker Vortex has adopted the AMG moniker – and, like Benz, it’s reserved for their top product. The new Vortex Razor HD AMG 6-25 x 50 is the company’s latest and, by default, greatest offering. As we have seen with a number of scope manufacturers in the past few years Vortex are blurring the lines between hunting, target shooting and tactical applications with this scope and NZ Rod&Rifle were keen to see how it stacked up. Australasian distributors ExtraVision gave us the first AMG shipped to the Asia Pacific area for testing.
At first glance you can see that the AMG is a bit different from its well-regarded predecessor the Razor HD in that the turrets are quite a bit lower. The scope also has the matt black colour as opposed to the burnt bronze colour that the Razor and Razor Gen II use. The AMG is a bit shorter but has more magnification than the Gen 1 Razor and it’s a noticeable 153 grams lighter; this will be due partly to the reduction in tube diameter from 35mm to 30mm.
It’s worthwhile noting that Vortex have also introduced upgraded Razor HD Gen II scopes but the higher magnification versions are true Extended Long Range scopes with 34mm tubes and weight increase of 350 grams over the AMG. So where does the AMG fit in the big scheme of things? Well it has 71 MOA of elevation that with a 20 MOA base will give you around 50 MOA of up, so realistically with magnum cartridges you will be fine to somewhere around 1300 -1400 yards. It’s on the light side for its class at 816 grams and with an overall length of 386mm it’s not overly long compared to other scopes in its sector.
The specs for weight and size are pretty decent and as we look closer at the fine details a few interesting things pop up. This is the first scope that Vortex have completely manufactured in-house themselves. Now I have no issues with optics makers bringing in parts from outside manufacturers as this is commonplace, even with some very well-regarded and popular brands; but in this case it was all about increasing the quality because when you’re at the pointy end of the market you’re competing with some very well-made products. Vortex do admit to buying the glass in from Germany but the lenses are ground, polished and coated in the US.
The usual things that you would expect on a high quality scope are present. It’s waterproof, fog proof and shock proof, it’s made from a single piece of aircraft grade aluminium alloy, and it has the latest generation of lens coatings to increase contrast and block out certain wavelengths of light. Moving up a step, Vortex use a laser-based system to ensure perfect lens alignment, and the objective lens is of the apochromatic type (an apochromatic lens is one where both the spherical and chromatic errors are corrected or refracted so they meet in the same image plane). Most scopes have achromatic correction where most of the visible light is corrected but the other wavelengths are not. Apochromatic lenses on the other hand are an improvement over achromatic with higher contrast, better definition (especially near the edges), and an image that will have greater depth to it. The focus on glass is continued with the use of HD lenses and an indexed quality control system.
The elevation and windage turrets are what I call mid-height. Mid-height turrets are great on hunting rifles, but the reduction in size has in this case come at the expense of a revolution counter. This is not a big issue in hunting situations though, as there is 25 MOA of elevation per rotation, and if you’re shooting something like a 7mm Remington Magnum with a 162 A-Max at 3000 FPS you’ll get 1000 yards before having to go into a second rotation. The turret does have a Zero stop so if you do get confused as to where you are just rotate back to the Zero stop and come up again. To be honest, rev counters are good but a Zero stop is much more useful.
The turrets are quite firm to adjust but give good feedback and, as you will see with the testing, the dials are also accurately calibrated. The turrets push down to lock, which is a useful feature, but they’re quite stiff to pull back up. The zeroing system is simple: you removing the screw-on covers and loosen the grub screws on the turret. Once this is done the supplied tool allows you to move the internal adjustments, just as you would with a normal scope. When it’s zeroed the external turret is rotated back to zero, which sets the Zero stop, and then the grub screws are tightened and the cover replaced.
The reticle in the AMG is what Vortex calls the ‘Enhanced Battle Reticle 7’; if you’ve seen a HORUS reticle that’s what it looks like. For me it’s too busy, and combined with the first focal plane the reticle takes up a lot of your viewing real estate. But I’m the first to admit that reticles are a personal choice, and I know plenty of long-range shooters who like this type; I’m just not one of them. Objectively it gives you the opportunity to shoot using the reticle only to hold for both wind and elevation, and if this is your preferred method then you have 28 MOA of elevation – but to be fair, if you want to use the wind hash marks you’re limited to 24 MOA. Still, 24 MOA will take you to 1000 yards with a good Magnum Cartridge load. You can of course dial on some elevation and then use the reticle to take you the rest of the way; this would give you over 70 MOA of up; that’s big .338 and .375 territory.
For testing we mounted the scope on my Tikka T3 Varmint in .260 and took the rifle to the Wellington Tactical Distance Range. After zeroing it using a 130 grain Norma Golden Target bullets at 2910 FPS, I moved on to the 554 yard gong. This required 2.8 mils of elevation and resulted in a first round hit. Moving to the 776 yard gong and with 6 mils on the elevation it was again spot-on, but the wind pushed me just off to the right. I got it second time around though, and then spent the next half an hour successfully shooting gongs out to 1150 yards. Image-wise I didn’t initially feel that the AMG had the super high resolution that I have come to expect in high end scopes, however. Part of that was no doubt caused by the busy reticle which dominates the view through the scope.
Testing on the USAF 1951 target saw it resolve down to 2 on the -2 scale, which is very good and confirms the optics are indeed high quality. The eye relief was a little more critical than on similar scopes but nothing to lose sleep over; as you would expect in this class of instrument optical aberrations were well controlled, and the image was flat and noticeably even from edge to edge. Contrast was good and browns stood out well from greens, which is what we want.
The AMG is up against some very good optics – luckily though, it’s up to the task. As mentioned I am not a fan of this type of reticle on a multipurpose scope; a full-on tactical reticle seems a bit much. But like I said some people do like this type and to be fair it’s very useable if that’s your style.
Mechanically it appears rugged and the adjustments, while being a bit stiff, are accurate and reliable. Optically the scope is very good and it’s slightly smaller and lighter than many of its rivals. Would I use this scope? Yes I would, for long Range shooting mechanical accuracy and reliability are very important; combine this with very good optics, good packaging size and weight wise and the Razor AMG is a winner.
Distributed by Extravision Australia
VORTEX RAZOR HD AMG 6-25 X 50
MAGNIFICATION: 6 – 24x
OBJECTIVE LENS DIAMETER: 50mm
EYE RELIEF: 9.1cm
TUBE SIZE: 30mm
ADJUSTMENTS: ¼ MOA
MAX ELEVATION: 71 MOA
DISTRIBUTOR: ExtraVision Australia