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Vortex Strikefire & SPARC

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/18/2010 at 15:11
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Chief Sackscratch

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In recent trading I acquired a Vortex Strikefire,  Vortex StrikeFire Red Dot Sights, It hasn't been mounted on anything other than a makeshift optics holder which consist of an old stock and a dowel rod attached in the barrel channel with a weaver base on it. (Don't laugh, it works and gives correct eye position)  I believe it will be a good fit on an AR and plan to mount it up over the Thanksgiving break and give it a rather extensive test.  Vortex also offers another style red dot scope in the SPARC, Vortex SPARC Red Dot Sights, I had eyed this one several time thinking it would be a good fit on an AR as well, or with its more compact size, a handgun.  A few calls to some very nice folks and very little begging I have found a loaner which arrived today.  It just like the Strikefire in the sense it seems to be very stout and comes with loads of optional accessories to make it fit near about anything you could imagine.   I haven't had a chance to mount it on my makeshift optics rig yet but plan to tonight as well as see how it will do at arms length, like it would be held if used on a handgun. 

Both these will be  initially tested on a 16" AR upper in 223.  I will be doing some fast target acquisition, accuracy testing at 100yds out to 300yds, low light usage, and general plinking testing on the gun.   I plan to have a friend over with his Beowulf upper but that is still in lingo at the moment.  They may have a stint on a 6.5 Grendel if need be.  I also plan on mounting the SPARC on a 6" Dan and Wesson in 357 Magnum and seeing how it works out and handles the recoil.  It also may ride a 22lr pistol as well to test some more fast target shooting but time will factor all I can do. 
 
Now, I will not be putting rounds down range with these for another few days but want anyone with suggestions or request of what you'd like to see to please chime in now so I will be sure to try to fill your request on the range.  Also, anyone in the Southeast part of NC is welcome to stop by and check them out over the Turkey Day weekend if you'd like with the only obligation being you give me your honest opinion. 
 
Pictures and Review to be posted following the 11-28-10 weekend.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/08/2010 at 18:40
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Originally posted by SVT_Tactical SVT_Tactical wrote:

Pictures and Review to be posted following the 11-28-10 weekend.


ahem...(clearing throat)...........today is December 8th, 2010. And it is AFTER the 11-28-10 weekend! Jerry Springer

JK...just anxious on your review--------Bboy623  

No Pics
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/08/2010 at 19:07
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Chief Sackscratch

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I had some issues getting the sparc ready for testing.  I have everything lined up to FINISH this weekend as I didn't get to test the SPARC as much as I wanted to last weekend or thanksgiving
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/08/2010 at 20:08
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Ok man...just messing with you a bit. Sorry I wasn't able to come down last weekend...got extremely busy! And I gotta work this weekend! Looking forward to your review. I'd like you to throw a Bushnell TRS-25 in the mix if you have one lying around-----Bboy623
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/12/2010 at 15:11
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Red Dot VS Red Dot.............Vortex VS Vortex.............StrikeFire VS SPARC

 

 

This is a few weeks later than I originally hoped to get this up but as the saying goes better late than never.  As stated before I wanted to compare the two Red Dot Optics offered by Vortex.  I had taken a StrikeFire in on trade and Scott at Vortex was generous enough to send me a SPARC for review.  I spent much more time testing than I did taking pictures and in fact had to rush to get some for the review cause we all know pictures are what we all wanna see!

 

The StrikeFire-

 

I really like this red dot.  I have had Eotechs, Aimpoints, and ACOG’s on AR’s and this held it ground with all of them.  I really like the built in flip ups, they came in handy when I put it to the test in the rain.  The red/green option is also nice and gives you the choice with the quick push of the button which you prefer.  The one downside to this is the power button is also the toggle button.  From off one press will turn it on to red, another green, and another off.  There is no delay and just pushing it will toggle.  I didn’t like this all that much because there where times laying the gun down would cause the StrikeFire to turn off.  This could become and issue if on a stalk or in a law enforcement or combat situation.  

There had been several reviews where people noted the dot would wash out in the sun or the brightness would be to intense and not dim down with the controls, I did not experience any of it.  On the first day of testing it was full sun and shooting in the open in all directions I never had the dot wash on red or green.  At night the dot can be toned down to a usable low with the up down toggle switch located beside the eyepiece.  Also located in the same spot is the night vision toggle switch I used this a few times to go from a room with light to a room without and it worked will to dim the dot to a more manageable illumination without sacrificing usage.

All StrifeFires, to my knowledge, come with a “doubler”  Using the doubler is a double edged sword in my book.  Everyone views the extra magnification as being able to be more precise but yet it also increases the size of the dot which will normally decrease accuracy.  For my purposes I doubt I will use the doubler that much but I did test with it several times. It does bring targets closer and on my gun, 1-2MOA, it didn’t hurt me for what the gun was built for, minute of man. 

I would highly recommend the StrikeFire to anyone who wants a cheaper alternative to the Aimpoints and EoTechs out there.  It is a very tough red dot and I now have over 1000 rounds on my unit in both good and foul weather and its never given me an issue.  In my opinion it’s the best value Red Dot on the market for the price ore even double its price.

 

 

The SPARC –

 

When I first talked to Scott at Vortex about doing a review he told me he had one they send out for that very purpose and he would get it off the shelf and send it to me. When it arrived I really like the size and compactness of it.  It seemed like it would be a lot more versatile than the StrikeFire.  Well before it was mounted the dot quit working.  I thought at first it was the battery so I went and bought two more new ones just in case.  Neither got the unit working.  I persuaded the battery holder a little and it came back, loose wire? Don’t know, might be, it was working.  Given that this particular unit was sent out to be abused and not knowing who had it before or what had been done to it before I kept and open mind.  I first mounted it on an AR, same AR I had ran the StrikeFire on.  It comes with several different riser mounts to get the SPARC to the correct eye position for each user.  If you wanted to co witness the supplied mounts would defiantly have you take care of.   Aesthetically, I thought the SPARC looked a little odd that high in the air off the flat top of the AR but it worked.  I shot quite a bit with it, probably close to 600 rounds and it held up fine.  I used the double it was supplied with and for all intensive purposes the doubler is the same as the StikeFires mechanically.

One thing that separates it from the StrikeFire is the on/off switch.  Instead of a simple press toggling it you have to hold it for a few seconds to get it to shut down.  I li

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/12/2010 at 15:11
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Chief Sackscratch

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SPARC -
 
50 yds no doubler
 
 
SPARC 60 shots off hand playing merry go round.  1 shot on each target in varying orders.  no more than 1 second between shots.   I believe when i counted i had 57 hits. 
 
SPARC with Doubler
 
SPARC with Doubler at 100 yds off hand, 30 shots going in a 1,2,3,4,5,5,4,3,2,1 order.  all 30 where on paper, but a couple but not always on target. Wink Again this is free hand and only taking maybe a second between shots.
 
Last test with the SPARC, the target
 
 
The Results.  Off a front bag at 200 yds no rear support, with SPARC and Doubler  17 out of 20 shots on target.
 
 
Mounted on the Dan Wesson
 
\
 
 
 
 
 
STRIKEFIRE -  I don't know what happened to the member chip with all the first day of testing I did.  Here is the day I tested it in the pouring rain.  Yes I got soaked getting yall some pictures and a good review of the toughness of this thing.
 
 
View at target from 50yds with Doubler
Before -
 
After - 30 shots, 30 on paper, 22 on the dogs.  100 yds with doubler free hand
 
 
Target for 200 yds -
 
 
20 shots, 19 hits, 200yds with doubler with a bag in the front and no rear rest
 
 
Rain aint never hurt me -
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/12/2010 at 16:24
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Originally posted by SVT_Tactical SVT_Tactical wrote:

All StrifeFires, to my knowledge, come with a “doubler”  Using the doubler is a double edged sword in my book.  Everyone views the extra magnification as being able to be more precise but yet it also increases the size of the dot which will normally decrease accuracy. 



Nice review.  I did not care for my strikefire, but maybe things have changed a little with it. 

The dot does not get any larger in relation to the target.  Yes it does grow, but so does the target so it should not affect accuracy negatively as it will cover the exact same amount of target either way.  Basically it is an FFP scope, the target and the dot both grow when using the doubler. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/12/2010 at 17:32
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Chief Sackscratch

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Good point ST  didn't hink about it like that
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/13/2010 at 12:50
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Nice review, SVT!

One more comment on the doubler: the biggest drawback with the doubler is that it gives the sight a very strong tunnel effect and the field of view gets narrow.  Usage of a doubler is a bit of a double edge sword, but if you plan to use, try to mount the sight so that with the doubler on it is as close to your eye as is practical.  That alleviates some of the FOV issues.  I also have a Strikefire and I use the doubler for sighting in, but otherwise, it is off the rifle.  I have been procrastinating in putting together my red dot review for the longest time: I've got the Strikefire, Aimpoint and Millett ZoomDot that I already tested, but need to do the write-up on.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/13/2010 at 12:54
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yes the doubler does add quite a bit of tunneling 
 
 
i did find though that even with the doubler I could keep both eyes open and still engage targets. and when i kept both open the tunneling went away for the most part
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/13/2010 at 12:57
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Thanks for the positive comments on the review as well.  That means a lot coming from you.  its nowhere near the professional way you do yours but I try.  I can't seem to organize all my thoughts good enough to write all I want down.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/13/2010 at 13:04
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Originally posted by SVT_Tactical SVT_Tactical wrote:

Thanks for the positive comments on the review as well.  That means a lot coming from you.  its nowhere near the professional way you do yours but I try.  I can't seem to organize all my thoughts good enough to write all I want down.

You are welcome.  I think you did a good job.  As far as organizing your thoughts, there are a few tips I can give:
-structure the tests before you head out into the field: before  I test anything, I decide which tests I am going to do and in which sequence
-take notes at regular intervals.
-do multiple runs to make sure you that if you repeat a test you come up with the same conclusion as before

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/13/2010 at 14:19
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Ill try that with the burris shot cam
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/23/2010 at 07:45
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Originally posted by SVT_Tactical SVT_Tactical wrote:

One thing that separates it from the StrikeFire is the on/off switch.  Instead of a simple press toggling it you have to hold it for a few seconds to get it to shut down.  I like this much better and if they could incorporate this into the other it would make it a much better option. .



The StrikeFire red only version is identical to the Sparc in this aspectWink






Scott
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/23/2010 at 10:26
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Good to know Scott.  I can give up the green option for that feature. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/07/2011 at 12:19
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Update on this. The SPARC that i tested was sent in to Scott, he looked it over, abused it (his words) and couldnt' get it to duplicate the results I had.  I have it back now and under ABNORMAL abuse I haven't been able to get it to shut off again either.  I am goign to run it this weekend some more to see what happens. 
 
Both myself and Scott are thinking that the reason it went at first was a dead battery originally coupled with me not tightning the battery cap down enough with the replacement battery, you really have to crank it down tightern than you'd think needed.  Then the second time it quit was quite possibly the fact that I had the windage and elevation adjustment caps off in the rain and moisture got into the unit, by the time it arrrived to scott it was dryed out and worked fine.  Either way i have it back and it has not given up yet..........even to the rubber malletBig Grin Thats right Scott, you said try to get it to do it again and I am by all means necessary short of intentially damaging it.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/07/2011 at 13:54
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Originally posted by SVT_Tactical SVT_Tactical wrote:

Update on this. The SPARC that i tested was sent in to Scott, he looked it over, abused it (his words) and couldnt' get it to duplicate the results I had.  I have it back now and under ABNORMAL abuse I haven't been able to get it to shut off again either.  I am goign to run it this weekend some more to see what happens. 
 
Both myself and Scott are thinking that the reason it went at first was a dead battery originally coupled with me not tightning the battery cap down enough with the replacement battery, you really have to crank it down tightern than you'd think needed.  Then the second time it quit was quite possibly the fact that I had the windage and elevation adjustment caps off in the rain and moisture got into the unit, by the time it arrrived to scott it was dryed out and worked fine.  Either way i have it back and it has not given up yet..........even to the rubber malletBig Grin Thats right Scott, you said try to get it to do it again and I am by all means necessary short of intentially damaging it.
Rubber mallet, come on. I was using an actual hammer and wood block!!!Big Grin  I am sure some will think I swapped it out or fixed it, but I can assure that when it arrived back to me it was on and I couldn't do anything to turn it off,besides the power button of course. I am sure SVT will recognize some of the marks that were already on this demo unit and will vouch that it is indeed the same optic.


Scott
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/07/2011 at 13:58
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vortex equipment.... its that goodThunbs Up
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I will 100% say it is the same unit I put some very destinct tool marks on the battery compartment and know what there. Plus the battery I sent in had a sharpie mark on it so I knew which was new and it came back with it in it.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/27/2011 at 07:42
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Final update, I shipped this back to scott a couple days ago.  i had a chance to run it on the 357 using mag loads, eh 30-30 using heavy loads, and another AR.  All in all about another 600rounds through it and no failures or issues.  All this was done after i tried all normal means to get it to duplicate, including dropping it from the second story onto the hardwood floor, rubber hammer beating, underwater dunk test (with caps on), steam test, and freezer test.  Nothing seemed to get it to replicate the results.  It has a bunch more marks on it but it was still going strong.  A+ product Scott.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/22/2011 at 17:12
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SVT, let me ask you a question on the SPARC.  Is the red dot visible to the naked eye on the lowest NV setting when the lighting conditions are still good enough to see reasonably well with the naked eye?  I foolishly purchased an Insight Technologies MRDS for it's night vision setting and light weight for use on my Dan Wesson 375 supermag for some night time amusement.  Contrary to Insights published data, the red dot on the NV setting is visible in reasonably light conditions, that combined with the dot not being "clean" makes it useless for target shooting with good night vision equipment.  It is simply way to bright for anything but large target close range work.  Between the dot not being clean, and the bloom, it must be the equivalent of at least a 10 moa dot and completely washes out any target.  Insight was quick to have me send it in to them for testing if anything was wrong with it, and it checked out fine according to them, but for some strange reason they wanted to keep that one and sent me new one.  Alas, the new one was exactly the same.  This with a true current milspec ITT night enforcer pinnacle auto-gated pvs14.    So if the SPARC dot is visible to the naked eye on the low NV setting, I know to wipe that one off the list.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/22/2011 at 17:45
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the the best of my knowledge and rmemory you had to get in the dark to see the dot on NV mode. I don't think you will have a problem with it at all. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/24/2011 at 09:34
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It is not visible to the naked eye in a pitch dark surrounding. It is a true usable NV setting. Trust me if it wasnt we would not have it there as the extra NV button sometimes is mistaken for the power button.


Scott
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Originally posted by SVT_Tactical SVT_Tactical wrote:

yes the doubler does add quite a bit of tunneling 
 
 
i did find though that even with the doubler I could keep both eyes open and still engage targets. and when i kept both open the tunneling went away for the most part

try closing both eyes using the doubler and see how that works...



You had some very good points there, G.  Watch it or you wil ruin your "rep"...
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