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Delta Stryker HD 3.5-21x44
Seeing light at the end of a tunnel
October 08, 2023
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As I write this, I was supposed to be out on a pronghorn hunt.

Naturally, we make plans and then life happens.  A couple of days before I was supposed to leave, kids brought some sort of a virus home from school.  FIrst they got sick, then my wife got sick, then I got sick.  What was supposed to be a three day hunt will be a one day hunt tomorrow.  I am feeling better today, but get winded from going up the stairs.  Hopefully, I will be in better condition tomorrow.

In the meantime, the insanity in Israel kicked off, but there is nothing I can do about that aside from quietly cursing at my computer screen.

I figured I need a distraction from all that and a brief first look at the new Delta Stryker 3.5-21x44 is going to be just that.

I set it up and sighted it in on my Fix rifle as a backup scope for the pronghorn hunt.  Given that It is turning out to be a one day hunt, I doubt I will need it, but I did end up doing a good amount of shooting with it as general training and preparation.  I have not yet taken it past 530 yards, but will in the next few weeks.

Just like the new 1-10x28 from Delta I have talked about a week ago, it is a new design and this scope is from a first production batch.  They should be making it to our shores shortly.  I just checked and I do not think Annex Defense have it listed on their website yet, but I am sure they will.  I think it should retail right around $2k, but we'll see how that works out.

The scope that I have is equipped with the new DPRC-1 reticle.

Here are some basic specs:

For the metrically challenged, that's 28.4 ounces of weight and 12.4 inches of length.  This scope fits rather squarely into my definition of a crossover.  Apparent FOV is 22.8 degrees which is pretty good.

Before I move on, I have a philisophical question: if you use a scope to look down a tunnel, does that mean it is tunneling?

There is no other kind of tunneling with this scope, which is a good thing.  It turned out to be pretty comfortabel to get behind.  As I was shooting with it, I could not help but think about Leupold's Mark 5HD 3.6-18x44.  The new Delta is a direct competitor and Leupold should be worried.

On paper, Delta is two ounces heavier and hald an inch longer.  In every other way possible, it is a better scope: closer focus, more adjustment range, broader magnification range, wider FOV.

Reticles are in the eye of a beholder, but until Leupodl puts an illuminated PR2 into the Mark 5, there is no modern tree reticle available for the Leupold.

Now, as a general disclaimer, the Delta reticle is not my design, but again, I had a chance to offer my suggestions.  As is usually the case, they adopted some of them and discarded others.  Overall, I like DPRC-1.  It looks busier on paper than it does when shooting with it.  In some ways, it is a fusion of a conventional tree reticle with an abbreviated grid reticle like Schmidt's GR2ID that I also like.  With only the main studia illuminated, it is a good general purpose design for people who like tree reticles.  You get prominent 0.5mrad holds and as you go up in magnification you also have 0.1 and 0.2 mrad holds.  Usign 0.5 mrad hodls quickly is very natural.  Going finer that under time pressure looks doable, but will require a little practice.  The design is a little different from what is commonly offered now, but it looks very viable from my limited use so far.

For people who do not like tree reticles, I think it will eventually also be availabel with Delta's DLR-1 reticle (mil-hash design without a tree) that I also happened to like.

Turret configuraiton is a little different with the Delta.  WIndage turret is capped, while the elevation turret is not locking, but has zerostop.

At first blush, optical quality looks very good to me.  Now, I was looking at next to a 3-18x50 S&B and I will honestly tell you that optically S&B is a better scope in terms of image quality.  On the other hand, switching back and forth, I did not feel underscoped with the Delta.  There were no obvious optical issues that jumped out at me.

Mechanically, the turrets seemed to track as they should.  I did not harass them too much yet, but at moderate ranges where I was shooting, they dialed true.

As a brief aside, Badger's Unimount, when using a torque wrench remounted to well within my ability to shoot.  If Badger is indeed discontinuing these, maybe I should pick another one up while I can still fidn them under $200.  Opticplanet seems to have a few in stock: https://shrsl.com/482av

It is not as slick looking as some of the more modern designs like Reptilia, but it is rock solid and works wellf or under $200.

Going back to the optic, I am pretty pleased with what I see so far.  The magnification range is very appropriate for my needs.  It is not ideal behind a clip-on, but with 6.3degree FOV on 3.5x, it is perfectly workable.  Image quality looks very respectable so far.  The scope is not overy heavy for what it is and quite compact.  There is enough adjustment range for everything up to and including rimfire ELR.  45 mrad is a lot of adjustment.

Turret feel is reasonable.  It is no Tangent, but I did not miss any clicks either.  Turret reset is toolless, but you need a small allen wrench to reset the zerostop.

The new eyepiece of the 1-10x28 and 3.5-21x44 is a reasonable step up over the older Stryker models: FOV is wider and it is well corrected.

My 308 Fix is, in many ways, a perfect example of a true crossover rifle.  I can do everything with it from hunting to long rane precision to night hunting to you name it and the new Stryker is one of the best matched scopes for it I have seen to date.




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