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The Vortex line of rifle scopes has quickly become one of the more popular U.S. based scope brands and offers scope models to fit almost any budget. At my day job, I spend a great deal of answering questions about various Vortex scope models, and one of the more common questions asked is for me to compare the Vortex Crossfire II scope series versus the Vortex Diamondback scope series.
|Vortex Crossfire II Scopes
|Vortex Diamondback Scopes
From a hierarchy standpoint, the Crossfire II series is considered the lower level scope between two, but I think that’s just more about the glass quality than the features.
First a general overview of each of the series:
Vortex Crossfire II scopes
The Crossfire II series of scopes is part of Vortex’s entry-level series of scopes, but it’s also one of their most popular sellers. This is popularity is probably due to a combination of features, power range options, and price point. This scope series is a versatile scope series that is marketed towards hunters, general shooters, and long-range shooters. The Crossfire II is the second-generation series of the Crossfire models as the original Crossfire series had some issues. Vortex responded quickly to those issues and rolled the upgraded Crossfire II series to replace the original Crossfire series.
The Crossfire II family of scopes is available in a wide range of magnification options that start at a 1-4x and top out at a 6-24X50 power. As far as tube size, the Crossfire II models are split with some being available in a 1-inch tube configuration and others being available in a 30mm tube model. This series also has a large number of objective lens diameter options that start at 24mm and go all the way up to a 56mm model.
Vortex Diamondback scopes
The Vortex Diamondback riflescope series is the next level up from the Crossfire II series. The Diamondback series is really marketed towards hunting applications and general shooting. That’s not to say that you couldn’t do other things with a Diamondback model, but those markets are really its sweet spot.
The Diamondback models offer a magnification range that starts at 1.75-5x and tops out at 4-12x. As far a tube sizes, all the Diamondback models are built on a 1-inch tube. In terms of objective lens diameter, the Diamondback models start at 32mm and top out with a 50mm model.
So, here’s a quick side by side comparison of the basics between each of the respective scope lines:
|Crossfire II Scopes
|Available in both 1 inch and 30mm tube versions
|Only available in models with a 1-inch tube
|Power Ranges/Magnification Ranges
|From 1-4x all the way up to 6-24x
|From 2-7x all the way up to 4-12x
|Where are They Manufactured
|Made in China
|Made in China
|Vortex’s Lifetime Warranty
|Vortex’s Lifetime Warranty
|Capped MOA Adjustments
|Capped MOA Adjustments
|3.5” – 4”
|Objective Lens Diameter
So, let’s get into greater detail of comparing the main aspects and features of each of these Vortex scope series:
Although I’ve mentioned it previously above, it’s worth covering again, as I get quite a few questions about the tube diameter on these two models. The Crossfire II series has some models that are built on a 1-inch tube and others that are built on a 30mm tube, while the Diamondback scopes are only built on a 1-inch tube.
So, if you’re giving some thought to either of these two scope models, but want a 30mm tube, then the Crossfire II would be your only option. If you are thinking about doing any long-range shooting, then the 30mm tube model Crossfire would be a better choice as the larger 30mm offers a larger range of windage and elevation range compared to the smaller 1-inch tube.
Having spent a substantial amount of time looking through both series, my opinion is that the glass on the Diamondback models is ever so slightly better than the glass on the Crossfire II models. This opinion has been validated by Vortex reps who have confirmed that the glass is slightly better.
How much better? Not all that much. The Diamondback glass seems just a little clearer and brighter, but you just about have to look at them side by side to see the difference.
Now, does that mean that you should consider the Diamondback over the Crossfire II? Not necessary as you might want to see my overview below on eye relief.
Both the Crossfire II and the Diamondback series of scope are available in basically the same reticle options: Vortex’s Deadhold BDC and their V-Plex.
|Vortex DeadHold BDC Reticle
|Vortex V-Plex Reticle
Now the Crossfire II does have a few models with an illuminated reticle, where the Diamondback models do not have any illuminated reticle options. Here are those illuminated reticle models:
The Crossfire II series is advertised as, depending on the specific model, having an eye relief anywhere from 3” to 3.2”, while the Crossfire II models, depending on the specific model, are advertised as having eye relief anywhere from 3.5” to 4”.
Having shot over both models, I can say, without a doubt that the Crossfire II models have much longer and much more forgiving eye relief when compared to the Diamondback scopes. With the Diamondback models, the eye relief is not only shorter but also more critical to specific head positioning.
And by critical, I mean that the eye relief is more sensitive to the shooters head position for a clear sight picture. It’s not overly sensitive, just a little bit more so than the eye relief on the Crossfire scopes.
Both of these scope families are covered by Vortex’s excellent Lifetime Warranty program, which is one of the best optical warranties in the business. The warranty, coupled with Vortex’s excellent customer service, is one of the reasons that Vortex Optics has done so well in the riflescope market.
So, which model do you suggest?
Personally, I think that for the money involved, the wider range of power magnifications, and the more forgiving eye relief; the Crossfire II series is a better buy than the Diamondback series.
Here are some of my favorite Crossfire II scope models:
Here are some other commonly asked questions that I’ve seen or heard regarding the Vortex Crossfire vs Diamondback scopes:
If I wanted an illuminated reticle, what’s the best choice between these two scope models?
Between the Diamondback and the Crossfire II, only a few of the Crossfire II scope models are available with an illuminated reticle option. My personal favorite model with the illuminated reticle is the Vortex Crossfire II 3-12X56 (Vortex model CF2-31049).
What is the main difference between the Vortex Crossfire and Diamondback?
I’m assuming you are asking about Vortex Crossfire II scopes as the 1st generation of the Vortex Crossfire scopes have been out of production for 4 or so years. If you are asking about the differences between those two scope families, see my write-up above.
What can you tell me about Vortex Diamondback scope problems?
Other than the somewhat critical eye relief issue, I’m not aware and have not heard of any known issues or problems with the Diamondback series of scopes. There isn’t a scope maker on the planet who doesn’t occasionally have a scope that fails or breaks, so I’m not saying that I haven’t seen some of the Diamondback models returned to Vortex with occasional issues here and there. However, I haven’t seen a repeated or common issue (other than the critical eye relief) in regard to the Diamondback series.
Are Vortex Diamondback scopes any good?
The Diamondback scope series is a good quality scope that is part of Vortex’s more budget-friendly series of scopes. While I do think that the eye relief on the Diamondback could be better, its still a very good scope for the money, especially for hunting purposes. My favorite Diamondback scope model is the 3.5-10X50 model with the V-Plex reticle as it’s enough magnification power to meet the needs of most hunting scenarios. That model can be seen here.
If I had narrowed my scope choices down to the Crossfire II or the Diamondback, but wanted a first focal plane (FFP model) which one would I choose?
The answer would be neither because neither of those scope families is available in an FFP configuration. All the Crossfire II and Diamondback models are built using a second focal plane (SFP). If you were looking for an FFP scope configuration in the Vortex line, I’d suggest looking at either the Diamondback Tactical series (which is their entry-level FFP line) or the Viper HS LR in 6-24X50 FFP.
Can you talk me through how to zero a Vortex Diamondback scope?
The Vortex Optics Diamondback series of rifle scope models is zeroed in just like any other Vortex second focal plane scope. You start by getting the scoped rifle on paper on your desired sight in range (which is usually either 50 yards or 100 yards).
Once you’re on the paper, then you use the elevation adjustment knob to move the point of impact either up or down as needed, and you use the windage adjustment knob to move the point of impact either left or right as needed. Here’s a link to another article on the site where I go into more detail about how to sight in a scope, and the instructions work just as well for the Diamondback scope models.
Are Vortex Crossfire scopes any good?
I’m assuming that you are asking about the Vortex Optics Crossfire II series of scopes versus the original Vortex 1st generation Crossfire scopes as those models were discontinued years ago. Even though the Crossfire II series is more of a budget-oriented scope series, it’s probably Vortex’s top-selling scope line due to a combination of price point and features. While there are more expensive Vortex scope models that I like better than the Crossfire II models, I do think that the Crossfire II models offer an excellent scope value for the money.
As I come across more questions related to the Vortex Diamondback vs Crossfire scope topic, I’ll try to include them in the FAQ section.
I’ve been working in the firearms and sporting optics industry for over 20 years, with a personal and professional interest in all things related to rifle scopes, Through a combination of work experience, formal training, and personal experiences, I have extensive experience mounting, testing, and evaluating different rifle scope models across most major optical brands.