There are a lot of 1-4×24 scopes with a 30mm tube coming out of China these days. Even the reputable companies like Vortex, Burris, and Zeiss all have a 1-4×24 that was manufactured in China as an offering in their line up. At the lower end you have Bushnell, Leatherwood Hi-Lux, Athlon and even straight up crap brands like NCStar and Barska (offering a 1-6×24 option) where every purchase gets a free helping of sorrow and regret.
If you don’t like buying something made in China, don’t buy something made in China, look into a Leupold 1-4×20 VX Freedom scope, it’s in the same price range as the “good” Chinese scopes. If you really don’t care one way or the other, here’s my take on the Vortex Crossfire II 1-4×24
First, the name. “Crossfire” is an unfortunate name for a scope being used for High Power. I did in fact “cross fire” on the very first warm up match of the season (because it was a warm up match I just shrugged and reminded myself to double check the target number).
Secondly, now that I have three of these to compare, the quality is definitely a variable. I have two illuminated models and one regular. One of the illuminated models has a fleck on the reticle plane, and the illumination if set above “5” starts to have some washback that gets distracting. The other illuminated model has no additional flecks on the reticle plane, and the illumination doesn’t wash back even at max setting.
The regular scope is just as clear as the “good” illuminated version, although it has a standard “duplex” crosshair setup where the illuminated version has a center square “dot” that reflects the illume.
The good: Tracking seems to be nice and consistent. I started using the “good” illume version last August and it is tracking fine for High Power competitions. Turrets are easily set to zero using just a coin.
The bad: The turrets are smaller than I’d like, and the adjustments can be “mushy” so you need to be able to see the turret to make sure you are adjusting to the right graduation line on the turret. Battery life is measured more in terms of hours and days rather than weeks and months, the CR2023 lithium coin battery does not last very long if you forget to turn off the illumination prior to storing the rifle.
The interesting: I shot my service rifle with the “good” optic on top in a pretty miserable match in March. The rain made everything wet, including the objective and ocular lenses, which I simply wiped the lenses off using the shemagh I had wrapped around my neck, and proceeded to shoot a personal best score. That’s not exactly a “hard use” scenario but it didn’t fog up, stayed tight, and let me do my job as the shooter.
The yet to be seen. I put together a “derp tier carbine” using Palmetto State Armory and Anderson parts, and got a “CCOP” mount (looks like a knockoff Burris PEPR mount which is also made in China) and hopefully I’ll get to run it through some paces. I don’t have any 3 gun matches or carbine classes on the immediate horizon, but we’ll see how she does when I can get a chance to test her out, rifle and optic.
Why don’t I use Vortex’s unconditional guarantee to replace the scope that has illume washback and a fleck on the reticle? Because I want to see if it’ll hold up first. If it gets through a couple hundred rounds with no problems, odds are it’ll get through a couple thousand rounds as well based on my experience with things made in China.