A while back, we got excited about Vixen rifle scopes, and since then we had the chance to review a couple of models from the Vixen rifle scope lineup. We’ve become pretty familiar with how Vixen scopes operate and how well they stack up to the competition. Now it’s time to touch base and elaborate further on how these scopes compare.
The first thing that we’ve learned from company reps, dealers, and other product testers is that there’s a lot of information to be uncovered pertaining to Vixen’s lineup of high quality rifle scopes, and quite a bit of misinformation currently in the blogosphere and online forums.
First of all, all Vixen rifle scopes are 100% manufactured in Japan. We’ve handled several models ranging from $300 all the way up to the flagship models, and we can assert this. When you handle as many riflescopes, binoculars, and spotting scopes as we do, you tend to get a feel for what region of the world the product you’re holding comes from. The Japanese build quality of every Vixen scope we’ve gotten our hands on has surpassed that of other Asian manufacturing, a good handful of US manufacturing, and is pretty damn close to the European standards, if not equal.
Vixen has realized what many hunters and target shooters have known for a very long time: Product dependability and warranties matter. That’s why Vixen has a Lifetime Unconditional Transferrable Warranty, meaning no matter if your the first owner or the fifth, your product is protected from defects and failure for as long as it exists. Some may say, “Well, what good is the warranty if the company isn’t going to be around in a few years?” To that we say, if you were born after 1949, Vixen has been around longer than you have. So that question is ludicrous. Vixen makes good product that is trusted worldwide, and they are going to be around for quite a bit longer.
So, what about the product itself? Well, in terms of ruggedness, the company asserts that their scopes are stress tested and able to withstand the recoil of the most powerful dangerous game cartridges, and even up to .50 caliber specs. Their replacement warranty backs this up.
Vixen rifle scopes are currently offered in three classes. Each one of these classes are made to exacting specifications, all in Japan, obviously. But these three classes tailor to hunters of different persuasions. Regardless of which class of scope you choose, you’re getting a lot of scope when compared to competitors in the same class.
Vixen VI Series Rifle Scopes
The Vixen VI series is the most affordable series of rifle scopes, and includes a 2-8×32, 3-12×40, and 4-16×44 models. Magnification and objectives aside, these scopes are virtually identical scopes with one inch main body tubes, aside from a side focus parallax adjustment on the 4-16×44 model.
At a price point of under $500, these scopes include the features you look for in a dependable scope. One piece anodized aluminum bodies, waterproofing, nitrogen-purged bodies, and fully multi-coated glass. On the surface, they look pretty standard. But one of the reasons we were really impressed with the Vixen 3-12×40 was the quality for the build price. Yes, we’ve said this a lot about scopes in the under $500 category, but the operation of the Vixen 3-12×40 was exquisite. In a recent comparison between four scopes, we determined that the mechanical functionality of the Vixen was the best, while costing over $100 less than the highest-end scopes in the test. When judging by feel, everybody has preferences on how tight or loose they want focus adjustments, and the Vixen just felt… right.
On the Vixen VI Series, the turrets provide a nice audible click, and you can feel every click very clearly when adjusting. There is no “mushy” feeling, and the tick marks line up consistently after a full rotation. The turrets have two set screws, but with no mention of a reindexing feature in the product manual, we didn’t risk trying.
You’d think that Vixen would cut corners on glass to compete at this price. Oh, no. While the glass in the VI Series may not be quite as impressive as that found in the VII Series and VIII Series, it’s still extremely impressive. Clarity, edge-to-edge sharpness, and brightness are all far beyond what we’ve seen for these prices, and chromatic aberration is so well controlled that we had to carefully look for it to find it. In addition, the field of view on the Vixen 3-12×40 at 12x matches the FOV on most 9x scopes. Impressive indeed.
Vixen VII Series Rifle Scopes
These Vixen rifle scopes are what we would consider mid-range offerings, falling between $800 and $1300. Pricey to most people, but to a certain contingent of shooters and hunters, that’s the bottom-of-the-barrel price for quality optics.
The VII Series includes a wide array of scopes in varying configurations from the Vixen 1-4×24, a tactical/dangerous game scope, all the way to Vixen 6-24×58, designed for distances that most people will never shoot, let alone hit a target. Within this line, the options aren’t necessarily endless, but they are pretty diverse.
These scopes are built just as well as the VI Series scopes, if not better, with some major differences. The first major difference is that all scopes in the VII Series have 30mm main body tubes and illumination is standard on every model. In addition, all scopes have side focus parallax adjustment, with the exception of the 1-4×24 and 1.5-6×42. The reason they aren’t included on those models is because at the ranges they are used, parallax adjustment isn’t an issue.
Glass quality surpasses that of the VI Series scopes, and provides even more clarity and light transmission than other scopes at the price point. The illumination on these VII Series Vixen rifle scopes is a little bit different than most illumination systems found on, well, just about every other rifle scope made. Instead of having 11 different brightness settings that are clearly defined, the illumination knob constantly brightens as it is turned up, meaning there are (theoretically) an infinite number of settings between 1 and 11. Realistically, it means you can set it to an exact brightness rather than settle for one of eleven settings. Nitpicky yes, but it also shows that Vixen put a lot of thought into the design of the illumination system.
The turrets on these scopes also include a reindexing feature, and one that stands out from many other scopes. A lot of rifle scopes require a tool, such as a screwdriver or allen wrench, to reindex the turrets after zeroing. The Vixen VII Series scopes utilize a push/pull tool-less design that cuts down on fumbling with a tool, and it also means you’re not carrying an extra accessory to the range just to zero your turrets. Sight in, turning turrets as required, and when you’re on zero, pull the turrets, reset them, and push back down. The turrets remain solidly locked with zero play.
Vixen VIII Series Rifle Scopes
This is the flagship line in Vixen’s rifle scope lineup, although it only contains one model as of the date this article was published. The Vixen 1-6×24 is the most advanced and impressive of all the Vixen rifle scopes currently offered. It features the same push/pull locking turrets, dependable build quality, smooth mechanical operation, and durability.
As for the optics on the Vixen 1-6×24, we wholeheartedly believe that this scope will compete directly with compact, tactical, and dangerous game scopes from manufacturers such as Zeiss, Swarovski, Nightforce, and others. In Europe, where the best riflescopes are made, there is no room for a cheap competitor. Yet Vixen has managed to break into the coveted European market by offering impressive quality optics at an extremely competitive price.