Product Review: Vortex Diamondback Spotting Scope

Product Review: Vortex Diamondback Spotting Scope


Advantages: Great optics, ruggedly built, low price
Disadvantages: Some cloudiness in the optics
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I got this scope to replace the ancient Bushnell I inherited from my father in law. 10 years as a commercial photographer taught me what to look for in a a piece of glass, and this scope offers excellent results at a price that won’t break the bank.


The controls are logically placed and have everything you want in a serious spotting scope such as a rotating tripod mount for bench or prone use and a sensitive, easy to use focusing knob. The scope is rugged built and comes with a convenient soft carry case that also doubles as a thermal cover (a nice touch)..

The Vortex Diamondback scope is easy to use in the field or on the bench and transmits colors and details to the eye cleanly with little optical aberrations such as color shifting or fringing, but there is a general cloudiness in the lens. Is there a difference in clarity at higher powers between this scope and something costing five or ten times as much? Yes. Are those other scopes five or ten times clearer and easier to see through? Oh heck no.

If you have to have the very best and are willing to spend for it, go for it and get a $2000+ scope. If you want a spotting scope to do the job day in, day out, this is the scope for you.

Hunting Show 2.0

Hunting Show 2.0

So what would it take for me to add another hunting show to my DVR lineup?

  • Make it about something other than just hunting.
    Do hunters REALLY want me to believe that hunting is just about tramping through the woods and pulling the trigger? 
  • Embrace the localvore, organic lifestyle
    How many of the trendy restaurants these days are about locally-sourced, antibiotic-free, free-range meat? Isn’t fresh game the ultimate expression of that idea? Why is Steve Rinella the only one acknowledging that fact?
  • Assume nothing about your audience
    Don’t just go through the motions of the hunt, take the time to explain *why* you’re doing things.
  • Don’t ignore the beginner
    Let’s make a short list of all the hunting shows out there for the beginning hunter. Ready? Go. 
    There, that was fun, wasn’t it?
  • Make it accessible to city dwellers
    America is a primarily urban nation now, but you’d never know it by watching a hunting show.
  • Teach me something new with each show
    Don’t just show me what you’re doing, tell me *why* you’re doing it, and if you can’t do that, tease it and then move the instruction part on to YouTube.
  • Personalities drive television, but we’re not all hicks
    I love “Dual Survival“, and it’s the living, breathing embodiment of what I’m talking about (minus the hunting). Hunting shows could learn a lot from Cody Lundin, Bear Grylls and Les Stroud about bringing us city folk into the outdoors. 

 Ok, those are my suggestions. What are yours? 

Why I Don’t Watch (most) Hunting Shows.

Why I don’t watch (most) hunting shows.

Here’s 90% of most of the hunting shows on TV in one paragraph: 

“Hi, here’s the sponsor’s product. Watch me as I go to someplace you’ll never go and shoot something you’ll never shoot with the sponsor’s product. Oh, and I’m not going to let you learn anything from what I did other than the sponsor is cool and I’m cool and you’re not. See you next week.”

It always amazes me that every single hunting show on TV assumes that a) I know how to stalk b) I know how to skin and prep a kill c) all my friends know how to do this as well. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: There are more organizations devoted to getting women introduced to the shooting sports than there are getting men who’ve never hunted into hunting. What would be perfect for urban professionals like me is something like this, but with testosterone, not estrogen.

That lack of backfilling men into hunting is going to hurt hunting in the long-term. Hunting organizations LOVE to talk about the “father to son tradition of generations of hunters”, but I can’t pass on the tradition of hunting to my sons if I don’t hunt myself.

Ok, hunting organizations, your move. 

What Competition Is And Is Not

What competition is and is not

Let’s look at this from an outcome-based perspective:

Best Case:
You win
Average Result:
You don’t
Worst Case:
You DQ
Best Case:
A walk in the woods and a trophy
Average Result:
A walk in the woods, no trophy
Worst Case:
A walk in the woods in really horrid weather
Defensive Gun Use
Best Case:
You survive and aren’t charged
Average Result:
You survive and are charged
Worst Case:
Let’s not go there, ok?

The action (pulling the trigger) may be the same for all, but the outcomes are completely different. This also explains why a lot of firearms trainers consider competition to be a bit frivolous, because compared to the stakes involved in a violent encounter, it is. But competition is also more fun than most training, because let’s face it, playing basketball is more fun than calisthenics.

This Is Why You Take “no Target Shooting” Warnings Seriously, People

This is why you take “no target shooting” warnings seriously, people

 KNXV_Doce_Fire_2_20130619200653_320_240The horrible tragedy of the Yarnell fire that claimed the lives of 19 firefighters is still fresh in our memories here in The Copper State, but before that fire, there was another fire in the Prescott (rhymes with “biscuit”) area, the Doce fire. 

Which was probably started by gun owners ignoring the “no target shooting” fire warnings.

Flagstaff Fire Captain Bill Morse said the fire started south of Iron Springs Road near Doce Mine and a target-shooting area.

Morse told CBS 5 News that officials have not ruled out target shooting as a cause of the wildfire. Morse said there was no lightning in the area, so they have no reason to think natural causes started the fire. 

Metal objects headed downrange at high speeds can cause a lot of sparks if they hit the wrong things, muzzle flashes and dry bushes are a recipe for disaster and burning hot brass and dry grass don’t mix. 

There are PLENTY of ranges in Arizona: Let’s make sure we have a forest to shoot in when it’s safe to do so.

After Action Report: Dairy Farm Dove Hunting

After Action Report: Dairy Farm Dove Hunting

I had an opportunity to jump back into Gun Culture 1.0 and do some dove hunting with Jim from Generations Firearm Training and a few friends at a local dairy farm that needed some pest control, and it turned into a fun way to spend a Sunday morning. 

We had a decoy to bring in the birds, and they soon started showing up in droves. And by “birds” I mean white wing doves, which are not in season right now.

Here’s the problem: 


Eurasian doves and rock doves (aka pigeons) could be blasted at will because they are invasive species, but white wing doves are a no-go until dove season opens in September. 

This is not an easy thing to figure out when the sucker is flying towards you at treetop height at 30 miles an hour. So what showed up? White wing doves, by the dozen. 

For all my inexperience at this sorta thing, I did ok. Despite all the out-of-season birds, we did managed to sort out a few doves we could harvest, and I managed about 5 shells per bird, which is about average, I’m told.

Or maybe they were just humoring me.

Will I do it again? You betcha: I can’t wait for dove season to start up so I can have a little more freedom on what I can and can’t shoot.

Hunting Is More Popular Than Ever

Hunting is more popular than ever

The NSSF reports that Mossy Oak is the new black.

A new survey shows that 79 per-cent of the American public approves of hunting, reports the National Shooting Sports Foundation. This figure is the highest level of support for hunting since 1995, according to data compiled by Responsive Management, an independent research firm.

The nationwide survey, conducted in February, showed that the public’s approval of hunting rose five points in the past year. Responsive Management is still reviewing the survey results to better understand why approval has increased.

One reason for hunting’s surge in popularity might be that any animals harvested in a hunt are organic and free range by default. 

The Myth Of Stopping Power

The myth of stopping power

... clean off.I had an epiphany awhile back that the idea of knockdown power for defensive handguns might be a holdover from hunting, where it’s important to bring “enough gun” to humanely drop an elk or some other big critter in one shot. For long guns, “Knockdown power” is a very real thing, given the amount of force that a centerfire rifle drops onto its target. Considering, however, that there isn’t NEAR as much variance in body mass between two humans as there is between, say, a coyote and a bear, and that any centerfire rifle is going to thump much more than any centerfire pistol, I think the “knockdown” effect of 9mm vs. .40 and .45 is pretty moot. 

Wanting some more input from someone in the industry who’s not just a schmuck with a website like myself, I reached out to Matt DeVito of DownRange Firearms Training for his thoughts on the matter.

Hey, Matt, quick question,
I know Rob (Pincus) prefers 9mm over .40 now: What say you, and what is your feeling about “knockdown power” versus follow-up shots? 

Matt’s response:

9mm is preferred over .40 and .45 for a few reasons. First reason being magazine capacity. Look at 3 guns, Glock 17 (17+1), Glock 22 (15+1), Glock 21 (13+1). In a world where people think that “knockdown power” is a real and viable term, 9 out of 10 people would choose a .45. However, knockdown power, aside from being internet lore, is complete bullsh*t. No pistol round in history was ever designed to take a man off his feet. Bullets are used to “stop” a threat by 2 methods, physical, and psychological. A physical stop essentially is that you’ve shot the attacker, usually multiple times, and they have ceased the attack. A psychological stop is when you draw the gun, shoot attacker, attacker says “Oh %@#, I’ve been shot,” runs away and the cops find him behind a dumpster 5 miles away after he’s bled out.

All that aside, handgun bullets do maximum damage by “cutting” through soft tissue, tendons, ligaments, and destroying bone and muscle. There’s two types of wound tracts, temporary and permanent. You are looking to maximize permanent wound cavity. Permanent, (if you look at a block of ballistics gel, it is essentially the pieces that are irreparable), temporary is the damage done by the “shockwave” as the round passes through something, but again like in a ballistics gel test, will bounce back into place. 

Also it’d be good to note that most “bare gel tests” are just that; bare gel and not representative of flesh as theres no bone/muscle involved. We just did a ballistics text on a pig recently; all the rounds performed the same minus the .40 which was actually the worst performer. 

And no matter the caliber, its been proven that modern bonded hollow point is the round you want and is the most consistent performer even through intermediate barriers
As far as “defensive” handgun rounds go we group then into 3 categories
VIABLE: .380, .38, 9mm, .357mag, .40, .45, 10mm.
RECOMMENDED: 9mm, .40, .45,

Which kinda falls in-line with my feelings as well. Sure, that “Don’t bring a gun to a gunfight unless it has a caliber that starts with ‘4’.” talk sounds all macho and stuff, but I’d prefer to be alive with my nine than dead with a .45 in my hand…