Styrka S7 Rifle Scope Review

Styrka S7 Rifle Scope Review Styrka Optics provided the S7 scope for testing and review. I installed it on the S&W M&P10 AR10 rifle (click HERE for full review) and headed […]

Styrka S7 Rifle Scope reviewStyrka S7 Rifle Scope Review

Styrka Optics provided the S7 scope for testing and review. I installed it on the S&W M&P10 AR10 rifle (click HERE for full review) and headed to the range to see how the Styrka Optic performed.

Who is Styrka?

Styrka Optics is a relatively new company specializing in hunting scopes.  The scopes are backed by a lifetime warranty and even offer free annual cleanings.  Their product line is segmented into three groups, S3, S5, S7, each occupying a different price point.

Styrka ST-95025 S7 3-12×42 BDC

The Styrka scope model we received was a non-illuminated, second focal plane (SFP), S7 series 3-12X42 SH-BDC with side focus.  The MSRP is $679.95. Amazon offers the Styrka ST-95025 S7 3-12×42 BDC for $569 with free shipping (link) as of 18nov16. Styrka suggested that the S7 scope has the ability to get out to 500-600 yards. As Tom demonstrated in the Smith & Wesson M&P10 .308  AR10 rifle review, Styrka was being a bit modest as he had a first shot hit at 600 and also a hit at 800 before his limited ammo ran out.

Styrka S7 Rifle Scope review in boxHere are the specs from the Styrka website:

  • Magnification: 3-12x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42mm
  • Lens Coatings: Fully Multi-Coated – STYRKA SXL-MAX Coating
  • Angular Field of View: 6.6°-1.6°
  • Linear Field of View: 34.6-8.4ft@100yds, 11.5-2.8m@100m
  • Tube Diameter: 30mm
  • Reticle: SH-BDC
  • Illuminated Reticle: No
  • Eye Relief: 3.9”, 99mm
  • Exit Pupil: 12.7-3.5mm
  • Adjustment Gradation: 1/4 MOA
  • Elevation ADJ Range: 60 MOA
  • Windage ADJ Range: 60 MOA
  • Zero Reset: Yes
  • Parallax Setting: 10 yds to infinity
  • Waterproof: Waterproof (IPX7) and Nitrogen Purged
  • Relative Brightness: 161.3-12.2
  • Twilight Factor: 11.2-22.4
  • Weight: 21.4 oz
  • Size (LxWxH): 12.94×2.6×2.2

Styrka S7 Scope First Impressions

  • Mounting longer optics onto the M&P10 could pose a problem due to the handguard. There is no Picatinny rail up front therefore one may run out of rail over the upper receiver when fitting optics with lengthy eye relief.  Luckily for us Vortex Optics was nice enough to send over a 30mm Precision Extended Cantilever mount effectively moving the optic forward to make this a non-issue.
  • Occasionally upstart optics companies run into initial teething troubles.  Whether design, materials or quality control related, the end result are scopes which don’t quite deliver.  This was definitely not the case with the Styrka S7.  The scope boasted excellent brightness and clarity.  I was particularly happy to see chromatic aberration, both purple and yellows, were especially well handled.  The glass is certainly respectable.  At this price point many manufacturers don’t put enough thought into it.
  • The Styrka S7 comes with a neoprene scope cover similar to those found on Trijicon ACOGs though I would have preferred a sturdy set of scope caps instead.
  • Even smaller areas such as eye relief distance remained constant between low and high magnification.  Leupold, for example, is notorious for requiring the shooter to spend time adjusting their head position.  The hunter style turrets are ¼ MOA per click, 15 MOA per revolution and capped.  The clicks themselves are defined but not audible.  I would have liked to see a turret elevation indicator for shooting longer distances but understand this scope is focused towards hunters, not target shooters.
Styrka SH-BDC reticle

Styrka SH-BDC reticle

Styrka SH-BDC reticle

One item I wasn’t a fan of is the Styrka SH-BDC reticle.  Unlike most BDC reticles which are set to an arbitrary caliber and load, Styrka’s offers flexibility by utilizing a free downloadable smartphone app that allows the user to set their own load, weather, and target distance.  After a bit of calculating, it provides a point of aim on the SH-BDC reticle for the user to aim at. While the application is relatively easy to use and detailed enough for reloaders to modify ballistics coefficients, the downside is time. It takes a good 5-10 minutes to properly set all of the parameters.  Ideally would also be wise to chronograph the load in order to properly set the velocity which changes with barrel length. Understandably, for those with poor eyesight this can be somewhat inconvenient. As I was shooting at mostly set distances during the testing, I wasn’t able to fully check out all the features this scope and app combo provides. Maybe on a future trip I’ll have an opportunity to test it more thoroughly.
*Editor’s note: Tom might prefer the Styrka ST-95020 S7 3-12×42 or Styrka ST-95021 S7 3-12×42 models. Both have reticles in MOA subtensions. However, I chose this scope for review prior without talking to Tom first.

Overall

As the scope currently stands I’d give it a 3.5.  Overall the scope was well built, tracked accurately and held zero throughout the testing phase, however the SH-BDC reticle was a bit thin for hunting without illumination and necessitated the use of their smart phone app in order to calculate bullet drop, which may not appeal to all.  With a traditional thickness duplex or an MOA graduated reticle option to match the turrets, the rating would be bumped up to a 4.

The SH-BDC reticle would better be served on a FFP (first focal plane) scope since the point of impact would stay the same throughout the magnification range.  On an SFP scope, the point of impact only works at a specific set mag power.

Gears Rating

Gear Score
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The Styrka S7 scope boasts excellent brightness and clarity. I was particularly happy to see chromatic aberration, both purple and yellows, were especially well handled. The glass is certainly respectable.

Defender Ammunition CompanyThanks

Defender Ammunition Company

Without the support of our ammo suppliers we would not be able to do nearly the amount of gun reviews that we do today.

Big thanks go to our Ammo Sponsor Defender Ammunition Company for supplying ammo for our tests and reviews on an ongoing basis. For this review we shot a few magazines of Defender’s 165gr Soft Point .308 Winchester ammo with great success.

Smith & Wesson M&P10 .308 AR10 Review - s&w logoSmith & Wesson

One of the world’s most iconic firearms brands, Smith & Wesson sent the M&P10 rifle for review.

Styrka

styrka_logoStyrka Optics is a relatively new company specializing in hunting scopes.  The scopes are backed by a lifetime warranty and even offer free annual cleanings.  Their product line is segmented into three groups, S3, S5, S7, each occupying a different price point. Styrka provided the S7 optic for this review.

Vortex OpticsVortex Optics

Vortex Optics provided the cantilever scope mount base that allowed use of the Styrka S7 scope on the S&W M&P10 rifle.

About Tom

Based in Morrisville NC, Tom is a project manager and software engineer by trade. A recent MBA graduate from UNC Chapel Hill, Tom holds multiple degrees in both IT and business. Tom logs a LOT of frequent flier miles setting up financial systems in exotic destinations like China, Korea, Japan and Mexico for an insurance company.

Tom’s other love is of course shooting. After being introduced in 2006 by his buddy Dom, he’s built up an impressive collection with particular focus on accurate long distance rigs. After taking several training courses from Academi (formerly Blackwater), Tom has participated in various handgun, 2-Gun and long range competitions.
Having met Jeff seemingly by luck at at the range one afternoon, he later became a regular Gear-Report team contributor in 2016 after finishing grad school. Having background knowledge in high end optics from his birdwatching days, Tom especially loves nitpicking at glass and scopes. Look for Tom’s product reviews throughout the Shooting section of Gear-Report!