Delta Optical Stryker HD Review

Just to get the ball rolling, this scope is somewhat confusingly etched “HD” on the scope’s objective bell but “ED” in most of the online resources, so, be careful you don’t get caught out there. It’s symptomatic of the acronyms used with optics these days as to how many items of varying specifications seem to be called HD for some reason or another. What’s more important to me is to ignore the marketing hype and take things at face value.

After that, the Delta Optical Stryker HD has pleased me no end. It’s a Japanese-made scope based around a 34mm tube for a stout but compact chassis. The 56mm objective is well proportioned for a true long-range-capable scope and is not overwhelmed by the 37mm diameter elevation turret, standing 30mm above the central spherical saddle. This, along with the left side windage dial, is smoothly machined and burnished to accept a lustrous black hard anodized coating (that doesn’t remove the skin from your fingers), with subtle knurling to aid grip when controlling adjustments.

The left side parallax dial is similarly formatted, with a central illumination knob numbered 1 to 11 with intermediate ‘off’ positions. It doesn’t have auto off or a position sensor. The screw-off cap is easy enough to pop off and replace the CR 2032 battery, one of which should really always be carried as a spare anyway these days. Unfortunately, when winding the dial back and forth, is a little too easy to slacken off the battery cap and, if you’re not paying attention, will totally unscrew and pop the battery out so caution is advised. Coin slots on internals are a bit more secure.

The well proportioned elevation turret is a joy to use with great functionality and simple but effective zero stop

After zeroing within the total 31.5 mRad offered, slightly more than the spec sheet suggests (but beware of binding if you push the limits of mechanical travel) for vertical adjustment, unscrew the turret cap with the supplied hex key. It lifts off and can be re-positioned to mark ‘Zero’, and there is a secondary collar under the turret that can be adjusted down against the base of the turret’s internals. It’s a beautifully simple but effective (and easy to understand) zero stop for which Delta’s engineers should be congratulated!

It’s a shame the critical parallax zone for a centrefire 30x optic is squeezed into such a small mechanical arc

Each moderately weighted but tactile and audible click ‘moves’ the reticle 0.1 mRad (equal to 10mm at 100 metres), and thankfully is one of the simplest most logical systems out there. There are 10 mRad per turn (100 clicks) anticlockwise rotation adding elevation. The windage knob is laterally slimmer, standing only 17mm away from the tube with equally easy to adjust and thankfully, like a true ‘dialler’s’ scope, marked 5 mils left and right of centre, rather than the lazily applied 0-10 some manufacturers think is acceptable – well, I don’t.

Intermediate stages between the 11 illumination levels turn it off for fast return to your desired setting

In true modern Tactical format, the LRD- 1P reticle is sited in the first focal plane so fully corresponds with the click values at all magnification settings. The floating centre dot is extremely precise, with only the centre half mil of the surrounding cross illuminated. Outwards from this you can read on to 7 mils laterally before the stadia thicken with 12 mRad marked toward the base of the reticle. It does depend on magnification setting as the reticle alters in apparent size, but I must say it has been extremely well proportioned to make it as versatile as possible. At 4.5x with illumination on, you see a virtual centre as a dot for point and shoot capability, and as you wind up to 30x the full complexity of the reticle appears for precise measurement and aim-offs, but never becomes too heavy to obscure even small targets. This is further assisted by the centre floating dot and its capability of red illumination enabling it to contrast well with black targets if necessary. Small illuminated dots accompany the mil hash marks going out from the centre to aid measurement in low light.

The elevation and windage dials are easy to lift off and reposition to mark zero

Parallax control perhaps hinted toward the airgun origins of the scope. I’m not one to treat markings on a parallax dial as sacred, but half a turn progresses focus from 25m to infinity, yet with the latter 250 to infinity range utilising only about 10 of those 180 degrees…I don’t really think that can be ignored. Long-range parallax adjustment could do with better definition to fully appreciate the capability of the control, especially on a high magnification optic that I pretty much left at 250 and ignored. Gaining any meaningful definition improvement was not really worth the effort when those 750 yards are crammed into such minimal rotation. This really was the only detriment to the scope as I felt the perfect focus was there, it was just so hard to precisely define. Eye relief is quite long so just watch the mounting position for prone shots on a short-actioned rifle. Thankfully the exit pupil is easily accessed, and although shrinking at high magnification will be expected, remains bright with consistent eye relief and certainly no pinhole, as extreme magnification scopes can become. Extra turns on the turret are indicated with a vernier scale below which is quite appropriate at this budget.

You can set up a beautifully simple zero stop under the elevation turret

The HD/ED (take your pick) glass does give a bright, flat image and rich colours, but at longer ranges, it is hard to nail down the parallax and focus as cleanly as that of more expensive optics. That said, at half the price of a comparably capable Minox, and a third of that of a S&B, I’m not complaining as I found target shooting and longer-range plate shooting great fun with the Stryker. Unlike the similarly marketed and priced Zeiss V6 Long Range, the optic is more focused (excuse the pun) on the discipline in question thanks to the fully thought-out reticle choice.

Fast focus enables sharp reticle focus – though eye relief is quite long

The rear fast-focus eyepiece was generous to set up with a slim rubber protection ring on it, and although quite firm, the magnification adjustment ring was extremely smooth with no hint of stuttering. A ‘cat’s tail’ lever is supplied that screws into the zoom ring for faster movement as well as a 100mm sunshade that’s a worthy addition. Lens caps are rubberised transparent lids so again, simple functionality. Most interesting was the fact that its light transmission to my eyeball, image brightness and clarity were linear in their progression, from the brightest low magnification, to an understandably darkening image on high magnification in fading light.

I don’t really pay much heed to the marketing hype surrounding the mythical suggested capabilities of optics with three letter acronyms, but this is what I will term a very ‘honest’ optic, completely worthy of its price and totally capable of its suggested uses. The image might not be just quite as crisp or as bright as optics of far higher price (I blame the inherently critical parallax control) but in terms of value for money for long-range target, steel plate or daylight varminting, it is a serious contender and I don’t say that lightly. I have used pretty much all of them and well-known brands will really need to watch their pricing as this is a serious contender for mechanical capability and functionality for all other than low light purposes. I doff my cap! A 10-year warranty is offered and there is no hint of vignette and certainly no tunnelling at low magnification.

The reticle was as good as they come in terms of size and proportions for versatile target size and colour engagement in most light conditions

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Posted in Optics, Reviews

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