The long-range rifle game is growing in popularity by the minute. From people wanting to increase their effective range in the hunting woods to those wanting the ability to reach out and touch steel north of 1,000 yards, it’s in the crosshairs of many.
Traditionally speaking, the rifle scopes built for these particular tasks are anything but affordable. High-end performance is going to cost you. These scopes need not only to possess the optical capabilities needed for long-range accuracy, but they also need to be reliable and durable.
Vortex Optics has officially closed the financial gap you’ll have to leap for long-range performance. The Strike Eagle 3-18×44 has entered the chat.
In short: Hunters looking for a mid-tier long-range rifle scope that screams capability and versatility will be happy with the Strike Eagle 3-18×44. It’s not a Cadillac, but it’ll damn sure get you where you want to go.
- Weight 27.3 oz.
- Tube size 34 mm
- Reticle EBR-7C (MOA or MRAD)
- Magnification 3-18x
- Long-range affordability
- Seems to hold zero nicely after abuse
- First focal plane
- Doesn’t excel at any one thing
The Strike Eagle 3-18×44 is a 26.6-ounce FFP rifle scope made with versatility in mind. The 34mm tube allows for a wide range of magnification travel and should be noted when selecting scope rings, of course. Vortex includes a nifty throw lever to help quickly adjust that magnification too.
It’s got an exposed locking elevation turret, capped windage turret, and side parallax knob. The parallax knob can be adjusted from 10 yards to infinity. Right with the parallax knob, there is also an illumination dial that allows you to control the brightness of the illuminated reticle when in use.
This scope can be purchased in either MOA or MRAD and, of course, is backed by the Vortex Optics Unlimited, Unconditional, Lifetime Warranty. Shoot cans at 20 yards, ring steel at 1,000+ yards, or embrace the shot of a lifetime in the hunting woods. The Strike Eagle can do it all.
RevStop Zero System
With the new Strike Eagle, you’ll find the Vortex RevStop Zero System. This is a simple ring that you’ll install underneath your elevation turret after you’ve zeroed your rifle. It prevents you from being able to dial the scope back down past a certain point of zero. The RevStop will allow five clicks past your zero, just in case you’d like to dial for shorter ranges.
I also want to point out that you don’t have to use this feature if you don’t want to. Having it installed, though, definitely provides peace of mind that you’re not going to accidentally misdial the scope.
First Focal Plane
Another gem of the new Strike Eagle is the fact that it’s a first focal plane (FFP) rifle scope, adding to the versatility. First focal plane allows for all of the reference marks on your reticle to be valid no matter what magnification you’re set at. This means you can use them for quick holdover references on the go.
Your reticle will change size within the scope as you zoom in and zoom out, as opposed to SFP (second focal plane), where your reticle size is fixed within the scope. With SFP, the reference marks are magnification-sensitive, and their values change at different magnifications.
In those critical moments hunting during first and last light, the illuminated reticle feature on the Strike Eagle will come in handy tenfold. With the press of a button, you can illuminate your reticle for better reference under low light conditions. Because, let’s face it, a black reticle doesn’t show up well in a darker setting, especially when aiming at something like a black bear.
Your illuminated reticle brightness can be controlled by the reticle dial near the parallax knob. This all operates off of a CR2032 battery, which is included with the purchase of the scope.
When I first got to try out the Strike Eagle, it was under the roof of the Vortex Edge facility on its pristine 100-yard indoor range. I shot with the scope mounted on a 6.5 Creedmoor and was really impressed with the groups I was getting.
Throughout this time, I didn’t have any issues with eye relief, losing my zero, or any of that jazz. I really liked the feel of the exposed turret, too. This felt and acted like a much more expensive scope than it was. The real test would be spring bear season, though.
Before my departure to spring bear camp, I shot with the new rifle and scope as much as I could. Conditions ranged from cool and crisp to blistering hot with high winds and dust. I experienced no malfunctions, and my shooting was better than it had ever been. The FFP was awesome for references while sighting in.
My spring bear hunt was a backpack hunt into some of the most rugged country in the lower 48. The Strike Eagle was dragged through just about everything in a wide variety of temps, and I even fell on it in pursuit of my bear. Most of the time, it was strapped to the outside of my backpack. Even after all of that, I made a perfect shot on my bear at 502 yards. He dropped like a stone.
The only feature I didn’t utilize during this hunt with the Strike Eagle was the illuminated reticle. And that was honestly because I just didn’t have to. My bear was a strawberry blonde, so the black reticle popped nicely.
Before I dive in here, I just want to say that I really love this scope. In my opinion, it is the best bang-for-your-buck long-range rifle scope that’s out there. The performance outweighs the price by a long shot (pun intended). Of course, nothing is perfect.
The only real con I found with the Strike Eagle is the fact that I didn’t feel like it was a master of any one thing. It did everything well, but it wasn’t incredible. For instance, the glass is clear, but not Razor LHT clear. This is a mid-tier priced scope and should be expected, but it needs to be noted. With that said, it’s about as solid as mid-tier comes.
While gear doesn’t replace skill, it certainly makes things easier out there. Quality glass can certainly lower the barrier to entry in the long-range shooting game. The cost can certainly add up quickly and easily prevent someone from diving into the far-shot world. This scope remedies that barrier.
They say to buy a mid-tier rifle and spend the majority of your money on a top-tier rifle scope. I’m happy to say that the Strike Eagle 3-18×44 debunks that, at least from where I’m sitting.
Throughout my entire time using the scope, I never felt like I was handicapped by the fact that it is a mid-tier scope. And while it does hold true to mid-tier, the end results speak for themselves. This is a scope that gets the job done when the distances start to stretch beyond your norm.