Precision Optics: Vortex Razor AMG HD 6-24x50By Hayden Sturgeon
- 11th Jun, 2020 Jun 11, 2020, 1:04 PM
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In an earlier printed edition of NZG&H magazine, I had been lucky enough to review the Vortx Razer LH HD 3-15-42 scope. It was such a pleasure to use that it’s still on my .284. The rifle and scope make a wonderful combination for hunting bush and broken country.
Vortex is always striving to push the envelope with smart innovations that jump out and appeal to different individuals and with that in mind, I was more than keen to review the Razor AMG HD that had become available for me to test.
The Razor AMG HD is a premium long-range (or target) scope. My first impressions were of a sleek-looking scope with a tactical feel. The lack of weight was a real surprise for such a big scope - at 816 grams the AMG is one of the lightest on the market for its capabilities.
This gives the new model an edge over the Razor Generation 1 and 2 models, due largely to it dropping back from a 35mm tube to 30mm and having completely restyled turrets with a lower profile, tactical look.
The Razor AMG sports a matte black finish which, I personally like. The bronze colour adopted on the previous Razor Gens did nothing for me, it reminded me of the silver scope craze that was around when I was just starting out hunting.
Another noticeable feature is the AMG’s first focal plane (FFP) design. An FFP reticle appears to grow larger or smaller as the scope’s magnification is increased or decreased. In reality the reticle maintains the same perspective with the target size throughout the magnification range. That means the holdover points remain the same whatever the magnification, a feature that is becoming more familiar with hunting scopes, not just long-range or tactical type optics.
“...gearing inside the turrets is manufactured from hardened steel for durability and strength, which Vortex calls its Friction Reduction System.”
The body is machined from a solid block of aircraft-grade aluminium for strength and rigidity, and the complete scope is built and assembled in the USA to ensure that you get the very best for your money. There are no third-world-sourced components that might compromise the end product.
Vortex uses a precision-laser tool that perfectly aligns every lens to ensure the absolutely sharpest image possible, along with optically indexed HD quality glass. This also increases image sharpness and brightness from edge to edge. AMG lenses are all ground, polished and coated in the USA.
The AMG’s adjustment system is a smart design, employing mid-height turrets where the turret pushes down to lock in position and pops up for dialling - ideal in rough hunting situations that could otherwise knock a turret off its setting. The turrets come with a zero stop that prevents losing your zero position, along with very firm and positive ¼” clicks for elevation and windage.
As for zeroing, you take the turret key provided, remove the cap, loosen the grub screws, then make the internal adjustment like any other scope. Once completed, set the turret back to zero and re-tighten grub screws. Foolproof!
This scope has 96 MOA maximum elevation adjustment with 65 MOA windage adjustment, and 25 MOA travels per rotation which will allow all big magnum calibres to get to 1000 yards within just one full turn.
Also, all gearing inside the turrets is manufactured from hardened steel for durability and strength, which Vortex calls its Friction Reduction System. The AMG reticle is termed “Enhanced Battle Reticle 7”, (EBR-7) which is too busy for me, but if used correctly it can be a very handy for long-range applications.
It helped me get on target quickly using the hash-tag marks, which are also illuminated. The side-focus (parallax) turret neatly incorporates the reticle illumination battery and helps to keep a slimline profile.
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My 7mm Remington SAUM (Short Action Ultra Magnum) had been freshly re-barrelled by Tom Curtis at Curtis Precision and with a load already running well it was the perfect rifle to give the Vortex a run on.
I mounted the Vortex in a pair of ultra-light 30mm rings and on a fine evening I was off to my range to zero the rifle. I also wanted to reset the windage and elevation turrets ready for the next morning, when I planned to shoot some mixed ranges from 300 yards to 660 yards.
“the rifle and scope worked well together, shooting ½” groups with the 143 grain ELD-Xs, 140 Elite Hunters, and 140 VLD Classic Hunters. My final load choice being the 143 ELD-Xs.”
The scope dialled correctly to every range with the parallax been easy to adjust, and I found the 3.6 inch eye-relief a pleasure to use. One thing I didn’t like however was the very busy reticle. The combination of dots, lines, numbers, and arrows was quite distracting at times. It would be nice to see the AMG come out with a standard fine duplex option for us hunters!
Nevertheless, with the rifle ready it was off to the Ruahines with a workmate and his son for a couple of nights where we experienced strong winds and rain. Not the ideal time to have left the fly tent in the back of the ute!
We made do with what we had and ended up making a pretty “cool camp” as the young fella stated. Despite the conditions luck was on our side and late on the second day we spotted a spiker feeding out at 360 yards.
Once the deer presented a shot the Vortex AMG was dialled up and the strong cross wind calculated in. With the spiker still broadside Warren pulled off a great shot that hit bang on in the centre of its shoulder. The light weight of the big scope made carrying our now heavy packs a little easier on the way home.
After this trip the Vortex AMG was taken off and mounted on a freshly-built 6.5-284, another Tom Curtis creation that has real long-range potential. Range work at the 100 yard mark was a breeze with the AMG being very accurate in its ¼ MOA adjustments.
Again, the rifle and scope worked well together, shooting ½” groups with the 143 grain ELD-Xs, 140 Elite Hunters, and 140 VLD Classic Hunters. My final load choice being the 143 ELD-Xs.
Now it was time to test the scope through the range of adjustment. Mark had no trouble shooting some good groups out to 600 yards. One group was a satisfying 35mm, with just one shot pushed out by a two-mile cross-wind from left to right. The AMG delivered pin-point accuracy in its dial-up ability.
INTO THE RUAHINES AGAIN
With the rifle and scope package ready to go we were off to the Ruahines once again for an overnighter and this time Mark and I had my daughter Maddison in tow. We hadn’t been to this spot for years, so we were interested to see what was around.
An hour into the bush-bash the heavens opened and we were all drowned rats by the time we hit our chosen campsite. Once Maddison was made warm and dry Mark and I worked the faces in less than ideal conditions, but although we turned up four or five deer, none were the animals we were after.
The Vortex had now been completely soaked in rainwater, but as you would expect from a high-end scope, it hadn’t once looked like fogging. The water droplets beaded well off the front objective lens also, showing that the water repellent coatings were doing their job.
The following morning dawned cold and damp and we didn’t see any deer until about 10am when the sun hit the faces. First to walk out was a red yearling at 300 yards which was the perfect candidate. Mark dropped it in its tracks and another deer was destined for the freezer.
After packing up we had just started the bush-bash down to the creek to find Mark’s yearling when an old velvet stag popped his head out on a small clearing at 260 yards, looking in our direction. Maddison could see him clearly and she was excited about taking a stag.
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I leant against a tree with my pack as extra support, lined the Vortex up on his shoulder, and slowly squeezed the trigger. Another successful shot and Maddison got to experience a great Ruahine trip.
The Vortex AMG had performed very well at reasonable ranges but nothing to really push it in a field situation, so when Mark flew into the Ahimaniwas for a quick couple of days the potential of a long shot was on.
On the last morning before the chopper arrived Mark pulled off a 650 yard shot off on a sika yearling that had him working in overdrive to retrieve it and get back in time for the chopper.
It all turned in to a funny story that we will save for another time. That made it four nil to the Vortex AMG and we felt it was put through a very entertaining few weeks on the hill where it never let us down.
The Vortex AMG is a well-constructed scope that has some great features going for it in the tough market of high-end, long-range/tactical optics. The lack of weight is a big advantage, as are the medium height turrets. Their clever
turret locking system keeps the profile as sleek as possible.
Glass quality is very high, along with durable components all built in-house in the USA. These things give the end customer a quality product for the money spent, which is not an inconsiderable amount - the AMG HD 6-24x50 comes at a cost of NZD$3900.
“The Vortex AMG is a well-constructed scope that has some great features going for it in the tough market of high-end, long-range/tactical optics.”
Probably the only thing I could fault, as mentioned, was the very busy reticle Vortex has chosen to use on the 6-24x50, but it will appeal to those who target shoot or long-range shoot regularly. Another minor negative are the plastic slide-on lens covers that look a bit cheap on what is a great scope, some nice alloy screw-in flush-finish types would set it off.
Overall, I liked this scope and I’m sure with all the long-range gong shooting events around the country these days we will see a lot more of the Vortex AMG.
For more information, visit Vortex Optics.
Vortex Optics products are distributed in New Zealand by Extravision P/L.
Sales contact: + 61 7 3393 9384
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