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help with scope choice between lightstream v vortex

Discussion in 'Anything Airgun Related' started by dylan, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. dylan

    dylan Donator

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    after a new scope and thinking it's between the lightstream and the vortex so just wondering if anyones had or as both for there view ,thanks
     
  2. gasman

    gasman Up a bit,,,,,,,

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    never seen a vortex, but can only say I've never come across a clearer scope than a lightstream for that money
     
  3. stevep

    stevep Engaging Member

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    Another vote for the lightstream there the only scopes I use,very bright crisp image.I think the only scope I'd change for is a march ffp but a nearly 2k don't think that'll be happening any time soon.
     
  4. walker

    walker Busy Member

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    ive only looked threw a lightstream. absolute quality glass. and looking at the prices of the vortex scopes i know which one id be buying...
     
  5. sharpsman

    sharpsman Big Poster

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    Some of the Lightsstreams have the reticle in the first focal plane and they are not to everyone's taste,so maybe worth looking through one before parting with your cash.
     
  6. 177

    177 Donator

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    Before anyone jumps in with "I'd get a ..." why don't you list the particular model(s) of scope you are considering from each respective manufacturer ?

    Otherwise we're discussing a brand instead of the merits and features of scope X vs scope Y

    I have a couple of Diamondback scopes and one Viper from Vortex and, although I no longer own a Lightstream scope, I have in the past. I know of at least one other forum member who has both a Lightstream and a Vortex Diamondback.

    What exactly are you looking at from each manufacturer and what sort of shooting will you be doing ?
     
  7. Accuspell

    Accuspell Pro Poster

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    I have both!
    The Lightstream 4.5-14x44 with the specialist reticule in it.
    The Vortex Diamondback 4-12x40AO

    The Vortex is superb and is half the price of the Lightstream. I have had them both on my Huntsman, put the Lightstream back on the Huntsman and the Vortex on my newly acquired Rapid, an old mk1, not as old as my original 12/200 - about 96 I think this one is. The quality of the glass is on a par, roost shooting side by side there is nothing in it. The Vortex lenses are superb and I couldn't really tell them apart on one roost comparison. I need longer to differentiate - you couldn't really seperate them without a serious long term series of tests. The build quality is on a par.
    The Lightstream: -
    Reticule is optimised for air rifle use and being First Focal Plane all relationships remain true.
    AO is smooth
    Turrets are tall, so for target work they are excellent, out in the woods they do catch on brush and stuff - YES THEY DO. Zero reset is by using an allen key (supplied) to undo the locking screw, turn the turret and then lock it up again
    It is a long scope and heavy too
    The reticule wires are fine, so below 6x I find the extra aim points a bit fiddly.
    Zooming - there is a two stage zoom in the mechanism. From wide open there is a tunnel vision effect where the lens group carrier shifts. This means the sight picture is very small in comparison to the eye bell diameter - you lose about 40% of the sight picture area. As you zoom in this tunnel is removed as the group carrier is drawn towards the eye, then you get a full sight picture right through to full magnification.
    The scope comes with a sunshade (a metal one)
    Zoom function is silky smooth. Zoom and focus rings are not given good grip, there are grooves machined into the focus ring, but they are smooth sided and the polished finish does mean you have to grip it hard to turn it. Set at 30 yards and forget if using x7 or less. If shooting beyond 45 yards out hunting you might need to give the focus a tweek. For target shooting you would ensure sharp focus at every range - for HFT where you cant change anything you would do the same, 30 ish and leave it alone.
    It is, undoubtedly a very fine scope, except for the loss at low power.

    The Vortex Diamondback
    Don't touch anything lesser. The Diamondback range is leaps ahead of the Crossfire range. The Viper range is on a par with VXIII range from Leupold. The top of their range is equal or better than the very best scopes made anywhere - IOR, Nightforce, Schmidt etc and of similar price.

    You do need to get the AO, the way the front elements are locked in means it is possible to refocuss the target range, but that will leave the front element without the rear support ring - on the Vortex the elements are held in with mechanical rings front and back, to withstand the recoil from a H&H 375 magnum (the standard to which they are built to withstand repeated recoil), If you wind it forward to bring the target focus closer, the rear ring is left behind, where it is set to hold the front group in place, then locked in with the front ring.
    The build quality is superb with hard anodised aluminium and a non glare finish semi matt finish.
    The low turrets are designed to avoid catching in brush. They are easy to use but the click detents are quite light, so when counting clicks you do need to concentrate. The zero re-set is a pain! You have to unscrew the locking screw, lift the turret off the spline, then drop it back on at the zero mark and put the locking screw back. It works well, but isn't as neat as the spring loaded lift, turn and drop.
    The sight picture is superb and full, right the way through the zoom range - no change of size of sight picture.
    the lenses are excellent - if you use an MTC as a benchmark, score 5/10 when the Diamondback would score 8/10 - on optical quality this is. Brightness of sight picture, dealing with flare, contra jour, low light performance - which is excellent, 40 minutes later than the MTC viper, for example.
    The grip on the controls is machined in with gnurling wheels and provides solid grip, even with gloves on. This is on the eyebell focus, the zoom and the AO, instead of slippery rubber grips.
    The reticule (BDC) has well efined hash marks and is easy to see even in the low light against a hedge or the twigs of trees. However, set at 30 yards zero I find the hash marks less than useful. If you zeroed for 25 yards and then had drop only to consider, they might be better - but the gaps are a bit too big really. I have actually been in touch with Vortex about this, giving them typical velocity and BC of pellets to work with - if they came up with an air rifle specific reticule this would be a clear winner at £212 retail.:up:

    Out of the two, I do like the Vortex a geat deal, the only thing that lets it down is the reticule hash mark spacing (centrefire optimised for 200 yard zero - then they correspond out to 500 yards or magnum cartridges they correspond out to 600 yards). If that is important to you for ultra critical aiming points, then the Lightstream comes into its own, but at double the price. If you can use your judgement to interpolate the inbetweenies, the Vortex will do everything you need.
     
  8. dylan

    dylan Donator

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    it some thing suitable to sit on one of my air rifle not to high mag and clear glass ,bdc or mildot ret , the vortex diamondback ,vortex crossfire or the light steam
     
  9. 177

    177 Donator

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    Well, the
    that I mentioned has posted and covered it very well :)

    Scratch the Crossfire from your list.

    If a ton of very precise aim points are a prime requisite that you don't mind paying out for then the Lightsream definitely makes more sense.

    If half the price and fewer aim points can work for you then the Diamondback should definitely be on the table.

    If budget isn't your primary concern this could easily end up coming down to details like turret adjustment and physical size/weight of the comparative scopes.

    Not to muddy the waters but from a usability perspective have you looked at the Monarch scopes ?

    I recently bought into a Nikon Monarch III 4-16x42 Side Focus MilDot and it's glorious, with a very useful set of aim points. Certainly better than most BDC rets, with incredible clarity and low light performance.
     
  10. dylan

    dylan Donator

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    thanks very much for taking time to write that Accuspell :up: ,will have a closer look at the Vortex Diamondback AO but probably edging more towards the lightstream due to the hash marks on the reticle , I seem to like something that I can refer distance to ,
     
  11. Accuspell

    Accuspell Pro Poster

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    Did you manage to get it down below 50 yards parallax though? If so - no contest, and I would go for the tried and tested Nikon BDC, for its simplicity.
     
  12. dylan

    dylan Donator

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    had a Nikon monarch in the past and it was a cracking scope mine was nikoplex ret only reason I moved it on ,have seen the Nikon Monarch III 4-16x42 Side Focus MilDot on e**y for £311 ,which is within my budget
    ,
     
  13. 177

    177 Donator

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    That's a good point about the Monarch parallax @ 50 yards - good catch :)

    Mine isn't on an air rifle so I overlooked that factor...

    I still keep coming back to the Nikon Prostaff - the Diamondback is optically superior to the Prostaff but the Prostaff's BDC is much more appropriate to air rifles, the markers being closer together, and the parallax readjustment is simpler than on the Diamondback.

    Much as I like the Diamondback and Viper (I don't use the word "awesome" very often ;) ) I keep coming back to Bushnell Legend mil dot scopes and Nikon Prostaff BDC for air rifle use.

    Sportsmans Gun Centre has the Monarch up for £299 at the moment, which is outrageously good value but, as Accuspell pointed out, its lowest parallax is too high for air rifles. I was fooling with a Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 4.5 - 14 x 44 on one of my rifles today - they're marked down at the moment for £199-99 making them excellent value, and the side focus goes down to 30 yards making it suitable for air rifles. I use a front focus 5-15x40 Bushnell Legend mil dot on another of my air rifles and it's my main go-to rig.

    A mate of mine uses a Hawke Panorama and I had to lend him my spare rifle a few weeks ago when we were shooting one evening. He reached the point where he could acquire a target using the Panorama but there was me with a Legend and him with a Nikon Prostaff on my spare gun and we carried on shooting for a good half hour or so without any additional light source :)

    Some folks like a half mil dot or similar ret but that gets too busy for my old eyes to keep tabs on :rolleyes:

    I decided some time ago that, once you've established a budget and intended use, there are really only a small handful of products that excel. It's the "everything else" out there that confuses the issue...

    Part of the problem here is the polar opposite budgets of the two products you have mentioned.
     
  14. dylan

    dylan Donator

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    thanks for that 177,i have the Nikon prostaff on a gun and for the money your cant go wrong ,thats a keeper ,
    had a few bushnell scope which liked
    herd good thing regarding the legend but would like something that focus down to around 15 mtr ,
     
  15. 177

    177 Donator

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    I meant to add that a big part of any scope purchase these days is finding a stockist to do side-by-side comparisons. Even then you're doing the side-by-side comparison in a well lit shop at short range, or pointing them out of the window, but it's still better than buying on recommendation because everyone's eyes are different.

    For anything other than entry level I always suggest people gain first hand experience before buying into any particular scope.

    Until recently I had a pretty poor opinion of Hawke Panorama scopes, largely based on my 3-9x50 Panorama which really is just nasty :(

    I looked through my mate's Hawke Panorama EV AO IR 4-12x40 and it's in a different world compared to my 3-9x50, so I am happy to revise my opinion somewhat, although they still can't hold a candle to the better low light performance offered by Nikon Prostaff, Vortex Diamondback, Bushnell Legend and similar.

    What I'm getting at is when a chunk of money is involved, try your hardest to handle the product and gain first hand experience of it if at all possible. Buying entry level scopes is a bit different but when your spend goes up significantly it's worth knowing you're buying into something suitable for your eyes.
     
  16. 177

    177 Donator

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    The Bushnell Legend 5-15x40 mil dot parallaxes down to 20 yards, which gives useable clarity very close.

    I tend not to fool with parallax too much - even on an AO scope I usually set it at 30 yards for air rifles and leave it be and just point and shoot. Unless I'm doing very close range ratting or long range target shooting a 30 yard parallax setting will normally give around 10 - 40 yards pin sharp clarity and is still useable below and above those ranges.

    That's why I like the BDC Prostaff so much - re-parallax it and point and shoot, with great clarity across a useful lower and upper range. Simple :)
     
  17. dylan

    dylan Donator

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    yes my local shops stock very little apart from hawke and nikko , with the panorama some are better than other ,I agree it always better to see and look at what your ,it's happened more than a few times when I gone to buy something and come out with something differant
     
  18. sharpsman

    sharpsman Big Poster

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    177 what did you think of the new Legend HD's compared to the older phillipine models thamks for any reply.
     
  19. 177

    177 Donator

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    That's a big question - the trouble is there are a bunch of model options to take into account and from what I have seen so far the gap between different models is smaller in some cases and a bit larger in others.

    Personally I think the old, discontinued Bushnell Legend 5-15x40 mil dot ret AO (product code 75-5154M) is outrageously good and I don't think the current equivalent is as good as the old one, but this is where it gets relative.

    If you've never seen one of the old ones you have no benchmark for comparison.

    That means the new Legend HD scopes stand on their own merits so rather than ask how good the new ones are in relation to the old ones, it might be more relevant to ask how good the new ones are in relation to current specification competitor scopes.

    Let's put it this way: I think the old 75-5154M is an absolute gem (some people think the cross hair is too thick but I find it works wonderfully well, especially with digital night vision) but I still have several (5 or 6, I forget exactly) of the new models on various guns.

    Yes, really :rolleyes:

    Either that's the wild ramblings of an insane mind (entirely plausible ;) ) or the new Legends still manage to be a damned good scope even in today's competitive market...

    I wouldn't waste my time putting them on my guns if I thought they were pants and I certainly wouldn't waste my money.

    My mate has an MTC Mamba and Viper and he LOVES my Legend scopes and keeps trying to persuade me to swap - yeah, like that's going to happen :rolleyes:

    I'm sure I've had at least one Legend that was made in Japan, and I know I've had (quite) a few Bushnell Trophy scopes that were marked Korea, Philippines and Japan, and I couldn't see any difference in quality between them.

    You hear a lot of nonsense about scopes made in so-and-so a country being of poorer quality than the same/similar model made in another country.

    The Philippines does not automagically produce a better Bushnell Legend than any other country they are made in. It's probably based on some of the big name and better quality ranges of scopes being produced there that makes people assume anything produced elsewhere is junk which, of course, it may well be in some cases...

    Everyone gets on with different scopes depending on their eyes and, these days, depending on how 'talked up' the scope is.

    I tried a Bushnell Elite 10x40 mil dot tactical a while ago and got rid of it very quickly - there was fundamentally nothing at all wrong with the scope - my eyes just couldn't get to grips with it. One of my friends bought it off me and he absolutely loves it to bits. He doesn't have my vari-focal specs to contend with though...

    I am always astonished at how many people buy a scope based on "get one of these - I have one and it's the cat's meow". Often they will be deliriously happy and, in turn, will offer much the same advice as they based their purchase on.

    I have a theory that a large proportion of satisfaction with a product can come from associated hype that introduces a positive bias. Not always, but it can happen.

    "Buy X, it's the dogs..." has probably accounted for more scope sales than all the full page ads in the air rifle mags put together ;)

    The abridged version of the above is that I still consider the new Legends to be bloody good scopes, but I think some of the old models are a bit better.

    Try before you buy !
     
  20. sharpsman

    sharpsman Big Poster

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    Thanks for that 177 the problem is no one has any in stock localy so would be buying blind by mail order,as you say the older Legends were a gem of a scope i love mine.
     

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