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Vortex SPARC Solar Red Dot Optic – Review

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When sighting in a shotgun using some heavy turkey or varmint loads you’ll want to use a Caldwell Lead Sled.

U.S.A.-( I recently tested out a Mossberg 930 shotgun tipped off with a Vortex SPARC Solar Red Dot. Bill Olson, the publisher of Texas Outdoors Journal was working on lining us up some January varmint hunts and March/April turkey, hog and varmint hunts and wanted me to use a shotgun on the hunts and to use the Vortex SPARC Solar Red Dot scope.

Vortex SPARC Solar Red Dot

To mount the Vortex SPARC Solar Red Dot scope was easy. To begin you’ll need to grab a Mossberg picatinny rail. It comes with two sets of two screws. Make sure to use the two shorter screws on the front end of the picatinny rail or you can’t work the action on the Mossberg 930. Use the two longer screws on the backend. I always use Brownell’s Loctite when mounting scopes. You don’t want to spend the time, energy and expense to sight in a gun and then the screws loosen and throw your aim off.

Next mount the Vortex SPARC Solar Red Dot scope to the picatinny rail. Place it on the rail after you determine the proper eye relief and then tighten it down snug. (You can actually mount the Vortex SPARC Red Dot at two heights, 22mm above the base surface or 40mm. To mount at 40mm use the Mount Base included in the package. I like to mount all of my optics as close to the barrel as possible).

You are now ready to sight it in. To begin, install the CR2032 battery with the lettering facing up. Screw the cap back on snug. The battery will act as a backup when there is no sun.

To operate the SPARC is simple. Press the + button to turn it on. Press the – button and hold for five seconds to turn it off. If you forget to turn it off or are hunting for long periods of time it will automatically shut off after 14 hours. If you allow it to automatically shut down though it has a motion activation feature which when it is picked back up it will turn back on.

According to the desired lighting where you’re hunting, there are 12 setting. The bottom two are made for use with night vision equipment. To adjust your brightness just hit the + or – button. The SPARC battery system is listed as lasting for 150,000 hours when placed at the 6th setting. That’s unbelievable. Let’s calculate that out.

Let’s say that you’re hunting for 10 hours/day. Divide the 150,000 hours by 10 and you discover that it will last for 15,000 days or divide that by 365 and you find that it will last for 41 years! So, for a red dot scope the SPARC is a battery saver to say the least. That’s unbelievable!!! The solar panel for the Vortex SPARC Red Dot is on top center extending forwards.

To sight in the Vortex SPARC Solar Red Dot is easy. There is an elevation turret on the top of the red dot near the rear end and the windage turret is on the right side near the rear. Each click moves the point of impact 1 minute of angle (MOA). So, one click will move the point of impact ¼” at 25 yards on up to 1” at 100 yards.

As stated above, I mounted the red dot on a shotgun. But yes, it will work fine on your AR. To sight it in with a shotgun you’ll need a few pieces of big cardboard. Mark a point in the middle of the cardboard and shoot. Mark the center of the pattern and measure how far you need to move it to hit at the desired point of impact.

The MSRP ON THE Vortex SPARC Red Dot is $399.99 and as is usual, we will close with the specs.

The daylight bright 2 MOA dot is fast and easy to use. Choose among ten variable illumination settings – the lowest two settings are night-vision compatible.

The SPARC® SOLAR harnesses the power of the sun for up to 150,000 hours of battery life. Auto D-TEC technology automatically switches from solar to battery power when the sun can’t power the dot to your choice of 10 daytime illumination settings and two night-vision compatible settings. Its daylight bright, 2 MOA dot delivers a clear, precise point of aim, and is motion activation capable for worry-free activation in high-stress situations.

Vortex SPARC Solar Red Dot Specs:

  • Dot Color Bright Red
  • Dot Size 2 MOA
  • Eye Relief Unlimited
  • Adjustment Graduation 1 MOA
  • Travel Per Rotation 42 MOA
  • Max Elevation Adjustment 100 MOA
  • Max Windage Adjustment 100 MOA
  • Parallax Setting Parallax Free
  • Length 2.6 inches
  • Weight 5.9 oz

About Tom Claycomb

Tom Claycomb has been an avid hunter/fisherman throughout his life as well as an outdoor writer with outdoor columns in the magazine Hunt Alaska, Bass Pro Shops,, and freelances for numerous magazines and newspapers. “To properly skin your animal, you will need a sharp knife. I have an e-article on Amazon Kindle titled Knife Sharpening #ad for $.99 if you’re having trouble.”

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