Scope Review: Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6×24 Rifle Scope

Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x24

Courtesy Vortex

I think of myself as an overachiever. Others think of me as a type-A pest. Regardless, when I decided to take not one, but two, rifles to hunt Cape Buffaloes in Mozambique this November, I knew I needed a new riflescope. This scope would be mounted on my .35 Whelen Improved discussed in a previous review (TTAG).

Unlike the riflescope already on this rifle, the new one would need to be a lower power variable optic (you don’t shoot buffalo at 200 yards, or at least I won’t), possess an illuminated reticle for visibility against a black animal, and be tough as an old boot.

The hunt for a Cape Buffalo will take place in swamps associated with the Zambezi Delta. We will be leaving the Zambeze Delta Safaris camp at around 5 a.m., driving a minimum of three bumpy hours to get as deep into the swamp as possible, and then we will stalk buffalo for the rest of the day. I can’t afford to have my riflescope fail as it bounces around in the vehicle, is wrestled through sawgrass and papyrus, and slides along the ground as we crawl up to the herds.

Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x24

Photograph Courtesy of Mark Haldane of Zambeze Delta Safaris

With all of the above in mind, I approached Vortex Optics. I have quite a bit of respect for their optics due to my earlier experience with their rangefinders, binoculars and riflescopes. Also, when I have asked friends from the military — including those from the Special Forces — for their recommendations for glass, they often state flatly, “Vortex.”

I explained what I wanted in the riflescope, and they suggested the Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6×24. This isn’t an optic that’s usually used in this role. The Strike Eagle 1-6×24 has true one-power on the low end. With the illuminated reticle on, it acts as a red dot scope for close quarters engagements.

Vortex’s reasoning in suggesting the Strike Eagle for my hunt was that it has an appropriate magnification range and a lighted reticle with BDC (bullet drop compensator) hashmarks out to 600 yards. Again, I’m not going to be sniping at a big, mean animal that could make an oily spot out of me if provoked by a poor shot. In fact, the Strike Eagle comes equipped with a fixed parallax adjustment set at 100 yards.

Importantly, even cranked up to 6X, at 100 yards this scope has a field of view of over 19 feet. That will allow me to see additional animals and reference points to aid my PH in getting me on the correct buffalo.

The Strike Eagle 1-6×24 has an etched, illuminated second focal plane reticle with BCD holdover hash marks making it ideal for my use.

Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x24

Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6×24 second focal plane etched AR-BDC reticle courtesy Vortex Optics (Courtesy Vortex)

When I asked if the Strike Eagle was designed for AR-platform rifles equipped with muzzle brakes instead of heavy-recoiling, big-game rifles the Vortex rep told me, “It’s rock solid – should have no problem holding up.” In fact, the shockproof riflescope’s single-piece tube is constructed from a solid block of aircraft-grade aluminum. So, it is externally rock solid. Given the track record of Vortex products I have been using, I expected its internal components to be just as solid.

Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x24

The Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6×24 is waterproof and fog proof, perfect for taking into the African bush. Its XD coated glass provides near optimal low-light performance.

The Strike Eagle has a low turret profile, with the standard positioning of the elevation turret on the top…

Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x24

… and the windage turret on the right side.

Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x24

The lighted reticle control is on the left side of the 30 mm tube.

Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x24

The Strike Eagle also comes equipped with a handy thread-in magnification throw lever.

Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x24

The 1-6×24 LPVO design with its fast focus eyepiece is perfect for quick target acquisition, both at close quarters and out as far as 600 yards. That’s ideal for the AR shooters who will be the most frequent buyers of this optic.

 

Range Workup: Eye Relief

For the range workup, Hornady sent me some of their .35 Whelen ‘Superformance’ ammunition topped with a 200 grain Spire Point bullet to use from my .35 Whelen Improved rifle. I produce brass for reloading by fire-forming .35 Whelen brass. Though not quite as accurate as my reloads, I knew the .35 Whelen ammunition would be sufficient for checking out the performance of the Strike Eagle.

Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x24

When dealing with a heavier recoiling rifle, sufficient eye relief is a major concern. Scope bite is a thing and just about every rifle shooter has experience it. I have a hunting article due to appear in the near future titled, “Embracing My Inner Idiot”. When a client allows their scope to hit them in the face, African PHs refer to the resulting cuts and bruises as ‘idiot marks’.

The ‘Embracing’ article tells the story of the time I put a gash on my nose when firing this rifle while hunting in Africa. The problem with this rifle (which I inherited) is that the stock is too short for me. I refuse to alter the lovely stock, and that brings us to the second issue; I am an inveterate stock-crawler. Hence, the idiot marks from that previous scope.

Happily, the eye relief on the Strike Eagle turned out to be sufficient that I don’t have to worry about putting another idiot mark on myself from the shooting positions I’ll likely use in Mozambique off of my 4StableSticks rests while either standing or sitting.

Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x24

The Strike Eagle 1-6×24 comes with lens covers and a lens cloth.

Range Workup: Box Test

As is my habit, I did not lock the rifle into a lead sled etc for the box test. I used a Stukeys portable shooting bench, sandbags and an Armageddon Gear Waxed Canvas Optimized Game Changer support bag.

Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x24

In spite of using the heavy .35 Whelen ammunition and not locking the rifle down, the box test results were very good. I adjusted the Strike Eagle such that each corner of the box should have been approximately seven inches from the nearest corners. Shots 1-3 were perfectly in line with the adjustments. Shots 4 and 5 were slightly outside the seven inch length. Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x24

Not shown is a 100-yard group produced prior to the box test. The group size using this ammunition and rest were approximately three MOA (i.e. three inches in diameter). This accords well with the ‘group’ sizes from shots 1-5.

The Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6×24 isn’t designed to be used for hunting dangerous game in Africa. Most buyers will mount the scope on their AR to be used in 3-gun competitions, varmint hunting or range shooting. It’s an extremely versatile low power variable optic for all kinds of uses. But with its XD coated glass, illuminated reticle and excellent light transmission even in low light conditions, this great scope is not only affordable, but it will work extremely well for me on my Mozambique hunt.

Specifications: Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6×24

Magnification: 1-6x
Objective Lens Diameter: 24 mm
Eye Relief: 3.5 inches
Field of View: 116.5-19.2 ft @100 yds
Tube Size: 30 mm
Turret Style: Low Capped
Adjustment Graduation: 1/2 MOA
Travel Per Rotation: 44 MOA
Max Elevation Adjustment: 140 MOA
Max Windage Adjustment: 140 MOA
Parallax Setting: Fixed @100 yds
Length: 10.5 inches
Weight: 18.5 oz
MSRP: $399.99 ($299 retail)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Glass Quality * * * * *
Like all of my own Vortex optics, as well as others I’ve reviewed, the Strike Eagle has fantastic light gathering, clarity, sharpness and transmission. I used the Strike Eagle 1-6×24 both in full sun, heavy overcast and at dusk. The illuminated reticle brightness is adjustable and that worked well for matching it with the various conditions. I also tested it without the illumination on to check out what would happen if my battery goes dead while I’m in the field. The scope’s optics were more than clear enough in all of the light conditions, even without the illuminated reticle.

Durability * * * * *
The Strike Eagle rifle scope is recommended for rifles used in combat-type competitions that are very hard on the firearm and riflescope. I have fired 100+ rounds of heavy-recoiling .35 Whelen Improved since mounting the Strike Eagle and the scope has been rock-solid. I expect it to stay that way.

Build Quality and Precision * * * * *
Each of the turrets and adjustment rings rings move smoothly and gave positive resistance, making adjustments easy without drift. They have a high quality feel at a very affordable price point. The box test demonstrated that the windage and elevation components were manufactured to a high level of precision.

Overall * * * * *
My experience with Vortex products has been consistent; the optics have always provided excellent clarity and performance. The Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6×24 was the same. Obviously, I have no intention of using this riflescope out to its 600 yard maximum range. However, under all the light conditions I have used the Strike Eagle, it has provided me the needed magnification and clarity necessary for the expected 100-150 yard shots I intend to use against a Mozambique Cape Buffalo. If something gets screwed up while firing at a Cape Buffalo, it is very unlikely to be because of the Strike Eagle.

 

Mike Arnold writes for a number of outlets; links to other articles can be found here.

Unless otherwise noted, all photos courtesy of Frances and Mike Arnold. 

 

comments

  1. avatar enuf says:

    Your plan would seem ill advised at this time:
    https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/mozambique/terrorism

    1. avatar California Richard says:

      Thats why you bring guns.

  2. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Really good scope at a very good price. And I like that reticle.

    Mr. Arnold, I’m curious to know if Mozambique has lightened up on their rifle permit fee.
    It was fairly expensive last trip there, so we shot the PH’s rifles he had in camp.

    1. avatar Michael Arnold says:

      Hey, Tom. I think you asked this one time before, and I meant to check for you, and flat forgot it! I will ask Mark Haldane and reply to you again shortly. Best, Mike

    2. Hi Tom. Just heard back from Mark. The permits are $275/rifle. Best, Mike

  3. avatar Xaun Loc says:

    Great scope. Great review.

    But why would any reputable company still be putting a BDC reticle on a Second Focal Plane scope?!?

    Note: Don’t bother flaming me for not loving all things Vortex. I already know why Vortex puts the BDC reticle in there (because Americans want an instant ballistic solution at ranges where they can’t hit things anyway because they refuse to understand that BDC is specific to one ammunition and one barrel length) and they put it in a SFP scope because Americans want it cheap.

    1. avatar sound awake says:

      some folks dont like a reticle that gets bigger when you zoom in
      because it ends up being too small to use at 1x

      1. avatar justsomeguy...withguns says:

        S&B solved this problem by putting the center dot (the “red dot”) on the SFP and the reticle itself on the FFP (model is the Short Dot CC). Little more pricey than this (or any other) Vortex but it’s the ultimate LPVO.

        1. avatar BeoBear says:

          I suspect they didn’t go that route specifically because it would have put the scope at a much higher price point. Vortex has a very high end line for that kind of stuff, the Strike Eagle series is for those without big bank accounts.

    2. avatar ironhead says:

      Uh huh. Cause we are all millionaires who want to spend 3-4k on a rifle scope. Get lost fucko.

      1. avatar blackice85 says:

        Yea I checked it out when the other comment said it’s a ‘little more pricey’, and I see it’s 10x the price. Who really thinks $4k~ is just a little more than $400~? That’s a completely different market segment.

      2. avatar sound awake says:

        exactly

  4. avatar sound awake says:

    $10,000 safari to africa
    bringing 2 rifles
    to hunt for dangerous game
    puts a $300 scope on his 4000 ft lb energy wildcat caliber bolt gun
    right on man
    right on

    1. avatar justsomeguy...withguns says:

      Yeah I never understood lowballing yourself on optics. Optics should be the single most expensive component of your hunting or precision stick.

      1. avatar Anymouse says:

        Their Razor HD Gen II-E 1-6xz24 can have the same reticle with a better eye box, better glass, and more adjustment. It’s $1400, but I don’t see the reason to go cheap with all the other premium expenses. The Razor was submitted to SOPMOD over the Strike Eagle for a reason. I’ve never heard someone regret getting the HD, but I’ve heard lots of people complain about getting a Strike Eagle before going up to the HD.

        1. avatar Someone says:

          But Vortex needs to sell these Chinesium Strike Eagles, so it paid for a commercial, I mean review, of Strike Eagle.

      2. avatar sound awake says:

        im not a scope snob by any means
        $300 is right at my personal limit for an optic
        i might get this exact scope for my birthday next month for one of my 16″ ar carbines
        im just sayin if youre spending that much money on a safari and getting a passport and flying to another continent to go shooting at stuff that will kill you in an instant
        dont get the strike eagle
        get the viper

        1. avatar The Grey Man says:

          “shooting at stuff that will kill you in an instant”
          ………………………………………………………………………………
          Just come to Chicago, it’s cheaper!

  5. avatar former water walker says:

    Thanks for the review of an optic I might actually get! I’ve been checking out lpvo’s and already knew about Vortex. Waiting on bifocals and cataract surgery so I’m at loss on what to get…

  6. avatar Shawn says:

    Got the Vortex Viper PST. $200 more but not made in China.

  7. avatar BeoBear says:

    I just swapped out my Leupold VX-R. HOG 1.25-4 for a Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6 on my .50 Beowulf so it’ll get tested. The Leupold held up perfectly but the reticle on this particular optic is heavily geared towards hunting and is too thick for shooting paper. I, unfortunately, have been shooting more paper than anything so swapping to the finer reticle of the Vortex made sense. I have several Vortex optics and they’ve all been dependable so I have no doubt it’ll hold up just fine.

  8. avatar Accur81 says:

    I have a Strike Eagle 1-8x, 2 PST IIs (3-15 and 5-25x), and an old crossfire 6-18x I am going to replace. The
    1-8 Vortex is better than my first-gen 1-8 Primary Arms ACSS. I’d like to get the upgraded FFP 1-8 PA ACSS, but can’t find it. The Eagle is nice for the price, but I wouldn’t trust it for dangerous game. I agree that this review reads like a commercial. With that said, I have also been recommending Vortex.

    It’s nice to have premium glass, which I also have, but if you want to put a lot of scopes on a lot of guns, you either need to rob a bank or go with some low grade / mid grade options. Still, I wouldn’t go with a cheap optic on a big hunt. I’d like US Optics or S&B, but top out at PST, Bushnell ERS, and Burris XTR. All those are good for sub MOA to sub 1/2 MOA, so I’m happy.

  9. avatar Tyler says:

    Dude You do not know glass quality if you give this thing 5 stars, if you give it 5 stars based off on being a $300 scope okay I can see that but lets be real the strike eagle is a good bang for your buck optic but it is not a 5 star scope if you actually compare it to other scopes. It is not daylight bright and has an okay reticle.

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