Store shelves tend to be loaded with scopes in the 3-9x power range. The market (or marketing departments) have determined that to be a very useful power window for much of the hunting we do in North America. Styrka’s S5 3-9x40mm Plex is yet another entry into that busy product category, so what makes it different? Here are five features that you need to know.
1. It has an optional side focus adjustment. Almost every scope on the market with a top-end magnification of less than 10 or 12x has its parallax pre-set from the factory. John Barsness’ Optics for the Hunter defines parallax as “ the apparent displacement of an observed object due to the difference between to points of view.” In layman’s terms, parallax is whether the target and the reticle are not on the same optical plane, almost like a camera that is focused on the wrong spot. So why the science lesson on parallax? Well, unlike most 3-9x40mm scopes on the market, the Styrka allows you the option of a side-focus adjustment to control parallax in the field. It can be focused from 10 yards to infinity, which means it is equally useful on rimfire or centerfire rifles.
2. It uses a Duplex reticle with defined values. If you’re going to use your reticle for holding above or off the target for windage or elevation corrections, you have to know how much to hold. Many duplex reticles don’t readily provide that information which leads to trial and error or worse, guessing afield. At 9x, the Styrka’s reticle measures 13.25 MOA from the center of the crosshairs to the beginning of the thicker post. Need to hold 3.5 inches high at 200 yards? Hold halfway between those points and send the shot.
3. It uses a one-piece tube. Some scopes use two or three-piece tubes threaded together to save on manufacturing costs. The problem with this is that you end up with more seams to leak and more seals to fail—not a great thing on a wet and foggy hunt. The S5 uses a one-piece 6061-T6 aluminum tube so there are fewer failure points by design. The tube is nitrogen-purged to prevent fogging and the entire thing is 100 percent waterproof (no word on how deep and for how long).
4. Adjustments are made in ¼” MOA clicks. Scopes that adjust in half-minute increments are fine if you’re not going to be doing any shooting at over 150 yards or so but those adjustments get pretty coarse if you’re trying to establish a precise 200-yard zero. The S5 uses ¼” minute adjustments which are far better for those of us who care about such things.
5. It has a “Styrka Pride” warranty. Not only does the scope come with a lifetime warranty, but the company will service the scope annually for free. Once per year, Styrka will pay the shipping for you to send your scope in where it will be cleaned, inspected, and repaired as-necessary. I can’t say that I’ve ever seen that type of guarantee before. MSRP for the side-focus model is $399.