For Years, the Vortex PST line of riflescopes has been the go-to riflescope for many long-range shooters. I have personally been shooting the PST range of riflescopes since the first generation of PST’s were released and have considered them the absolute best value for money until now. Vortex recently released the Strike Eagle 5-25 x 56 riflescope, giving the more expensive Viper PST Gen-2 a good run for its money.
So, which one is the better riflescope for the money, The PST Gen-2 5-25 or the Strike Eagle 5-25?
While the Vortex Viper PST Gen-2 5-25 is considered a more premium riflescope than the Strike Eagle 5-25, the PST Gen-2 lacks features that the Strike Eagle offers. The Vortex Strike Eagle has a larger objective lens, thicker scope tube, and lockable turrets, all of which the PST Gen 2 lacks. Furthermore, the Strike Eagle comes in at a much better price point, making it a better rifle scope (for the money).
The PST Gen-2 does have a slightly better glass (not that I could notice), and the turrets have a much more tactile feel. But is this worth the extra R9,000? In my opinion, it is not. After using both the PST Gen-2 and the Strike Eagle for a substantial length of time, I have decided to stay with the Strike Eagle, and I will explain why in the rest of this article.
Vortex PST Gen-2 5-25 vs. Strike Eagle 5-25 Overview
When I first thought about this comparison article, I wanted to level the playing field while comparing these two contending rifle scopes with each other. I tried to compare “apples with apples”. Let’s look at each feature of these scopes side by side and give each a score out of 10.
|FEATURE||PST GEN-2||SCORE||STRIKE EAGLE||SCORE||WHICH ONE IS BETTER?|
|Locking Turrets||No||5||Yes||10||The Strike Eagle features lockable turrets that |
prevent accidental adjustments where the PST Gen-2 does not.
|Focal Plane||First Focal Plane||10||First Focal Plane||10||Both the Strike Eagle and the PST Gen-2 are the first focal plane, which is ideal for long-range precision shooting.|
|Tube Diameter||30mm||8||34mm||10||The Strike Eagle features a thicker scope tube, which allows for more internal adjustment. Theoretically, it’s also stronger, and for what it’s worth, it looks way more tacti-cool.|
|Objective Lens||50mm||8||56mm||10||The Strike Eagle features a bigger objective lens. |
While the PST Gen-2 has (ever so slightly) clearer glass, the
Strike Eagle’s larger objective lens more than makes up for it by capturing more light.
|Zero Stop||RZR™ Zero Stop||9||RevStop™ Zero System||10||While both these rifle scopes offer a zero-stop system, |
the PST’s RZR system is way more complicated than the Strike Eagles RevStop system.
|Price||R 28,999.00||7||R 19,999.00||10||At R9,000 less, the Strike Eagle offers you more features, |
making it a much better rifle scope for the money.
|Reticle||EBR-7C||10||EBR-7C||10||Both these riflescopes have a very capable reticle.|
|Field of View||4.8 ft @ 100 yds||9||5.2 ft @100 yds||10||At 100 yards, the PST Gen-2’s field of view is 4.8 ft.|
The Strike Eagle’s field of view at 100 yards is 5.2 ft.
The Strike Eagle offers a wider field of view than the PST Gen-2.
|Elevation Adjustment||20||8||31||10||The Strike Eagle gives you more adjustment range for elevation.|
|Turret feel||10||6||The PST Gen-2 does have much better feeling clicks when you turn the turret. The Strike Eagle feels a bit squishy, however, the adjustments in the Strike Eagle still feel very deliberate and solid.|
|Weight||884.50 grams||10||861.83 grams||10||The Strike Eagle comes in at a lighter weight, but, depending on the type of shooting, a heavier scope may be more beneficial. |
Either way, the difference in weight is negligible.
|Glass Quality||9||8||The manufacturer claims that the PST Gen-2 has clearer glass than the Strike Eagle, but I can’t for the life of me see any difference. I would say we are splitting hairs here and 99% of shooters wouldn’t notice any difference between the two.|
2 mm hex wrench
2mm hex wrench
Rubber style lens covers
|10||You get more extras with the Strike Eagle. |
Both scopes come with a battery, lens cloth,
hex wrench, and sunshade.
Only the Strike Eagle comes with a turret tool,
throw lever (valued at R2,000), and rubber lens covers.
|Parallax||25y||9||15y||10||The Strike Eagle can adjust its parallax down to 15y, while the PST can only adjust down to 25y.|
|Eye Relief||8.63cm||9||9.39cm||10||More eye relief is better. Longer eye relief allows you to position your eye further from the scope. |
The Strike Eagle offers more eye relief than the PST Gen-2.
|TOTAL SCORE:||129||144||The Strike Eagle by far is the best deal out of the two.|
With a score of 144, it’s clear that despite the lower price point, the Strike Eagle offers a better option for the money over the PST Gen-2, coming in with a score of 129.
Just to make sure we’re not missing anything, in the next part of this review article, I will go through all the features, explain which one is better and why. Let’s take a look at the turrets, adjustments, scope tubes, objective lenses, glass quality, aesthetics, and see what extras each rifle scope offers.
Turrets and Adjustments
Both the Strike Eagle and the PST Gen-2 have very capable turrets packed with features, and the Strike Eagle does have some features that the PST Gen-2 does not. Let’s look into the characteristics of each and compare them, including the locking turrets, zero stop, and the actual adjustments of the turrets.
Locking turrets are pretty crucial to me.
I am sure I am not the only shooter who has walked up to the firing line, and after firing my first shot, was baffled at how far out our zero was, only to realize that my windage or elevation has somehow made a full rotation.
This can quickly happen while you sling your rifle on your back, or while your rifle is in transit in a rifle bag, or on your back seat.
DOES THE VORTEX VIPER PST GEN 2 HAVE LOCKING TURRETS?
Vortex Viper PST Gen 2 does not have locking turrets, which I feel is seriously lacking, especially at this price point. If the Strike Eagle (A lower price point scope) can have lockable turrets, then there is no reason that the PST Gen 2 should not. I really hope the next generation of the PST rifle scopes come with locking turrets.
DOES THE STRIKE EAGLE 5-25 HAVE LOCKING TURRETS?
The Vortex Strike Eagle has locking turrets, giving this scope a serious advantage over the PST Gen 2. An advantage more significant than most care to admit, and quite frankly, is ignored by many dealers.
Zero Stops are essential when you are doing long-distance shooting. If you are shooting at long ranges up to and beyond 1,000 meters, most rifle scopes need to be adjusted to more than one revolution. That means it can be easy to forget how many rotations you need to return to zero.
With a zero stop, you can simply turn the turret back until it stops at zero. Without a zero stop, you could turn back too far and dial way beyond your zero.
DOES THE VORTEX POST GEN-2 HAVE A ZERO STOP?
The Vortex PST has a zero stop but is quite complicated to use.
DOES THE VORTEX STRIKE EAGLE HAVE A ZERO STOP?
The Vortex Strike Eagle also has a zero stop and is much easier to install, but when it is set, the zero stop will limit the amount of elevation adjustment that is available.
The Vortex PST Gen 2 has 20 MRAD of adjustment but has a much more tactile feel for each click than the Strike Eagle. The Strike Eagle’s tactile feel is not bad and might be worth the slight sacrifice for the extra elevation adjustment, which is 31 MRAD in the Strike Eagle.
Scope Tube, Objective Lens, and Glass Quality
SCOPE TUBE DIAMETER
The scope tube diameter affects the adjustment range of the scope. The bigger the adjustment range, the further you can adjust. The bigger the scope tube, the more room for additional adjustment. A thicker scope tube is also believed to be stronger. Personally, I think it looks way cooler, which is pretty essential.
VORTEX PST GEN 2 SCOPE TUBE DIAMETER
The Vortex PST Gen 2 has a 30mm diameter scope tube, a substantial upgrade from a 1-inch scope tube. A larger scope tube allowed for more adjustment in the scope’s turrets, allowing you to adjust for further shots. The 30mm scope tube allows 20 MRAD of vertical adjustment.
After zeroing the riflescope on a 0MOA rail, you’ll be left with around 11 MRAD, enough adjustment for ranges up to approximately 950m if you are shooting a standard .308. You can increase this adjustment by installing a 20MOA rail on your rifle, giving you another 5.8 MRAD, and increasing this range to around 1,100m.
VORTEX STRIKE EAGLE 5-25 SCOPE TUBE DIAMETER
The Strike Eagle has an even larger scope tube diameter. Its 34mm scope tube allows for 31 MRAD of vertical adjustment. That’s an extra 11 MRAD over the PST Gen-2.
After zeroing the riflescope on a 0MOA rail, you’ll be left with around 21 MRAD. This allows adjustment for ranges up to around 1,250m if you are shooting a standard .308. If this isn’t enough, you could increase the range even further by installing a 20MOA rail onto your rifle, which will add another 5.8 MRAD to your adjustment range, expanding the range you can adjust for to around 1,400m
OBJECTIVE LENS DIAMETER
The Objective lens is the glass lens at the front of the scope. It is responsible for light gathering. The larger the lens, the more light it will gather, resulting in a brighter image. This helps a lot when shooting at long distances or at night. A larger objective lens does not increase the clarity of the image, only the brightness.
VORTEX PST GEN 2 vs. STRIKE EAGLE OBJECTIVE LENS DIAMETER
The PST Gen-2 has a 50mm objective lens diameter. While this is plenty, and more than most rifle scopes, the Strike Eagle has an even larger objective lens, coming in at 56mm, which brings more light into the scope tube, making for a much brighter image because of a larger exit pupil, and is especially important for high magnification scopes.
Both the PST Gen-2 and the Strike Eagle have XD™ Lens Elements that are “Fully Multi-Coated”. While you’d expect the glass in the PST Gen-2 to be substantially superior to the Strike Eagle, you might be surprised that they are pretty much the same. I thought I’d put these two rifle scopes side by side and take some photos through each at night. This is what I ended up with.
I loaded the best images into photoshop, zoomed in as far as I could without distorting the images, and compared them. They were both pretty much identical. In fact, I found that the Strike Eagle actually has slightly better contrast than the PST Gen-2.
PST GEN-2 GLASS QUALITY
The claim is that the PST Gen-2 has better glass quality. But in reality, I couldn’t notice any difference. After using both riflescopes for a substantial amount of time, I can honestly say that I don’t see any difference in the optical clarity between the two. I find it difficult to justify an extra R9,000 for “better clarity” that I can’t even notice, even in low light conditions.
STRIKE EAGLE GLASS QUALITY
The Strike Eagle’s glass quality is more than sufficient enough for shooting at very long ranges and can quite easily be used at night with no fuss. Despite the claims by many experts that the PST Gen-2 glass is better quality, I certainly did find the PST Gen-2 to be superior to the Strike Eagle when it comes to clarity, even at night.
I will go as far as to say, that to me, they are both equal in this regard.
The longer the eye relief of the rifle scope, the further away you can move your eye while maintaining a good sight picture. If you are shooting a high-powered rifle, and don’t want to end up looking like a pirate, a rifle scope with a more extended eye relief is going to be your best choice.
The Strike Eagle has an eye relief of 9.39cm while the PST Gen-2 has a shorter eye relief of 8.63cm.
Rifle Scopes are gas purged to remove and keep out all oxygen and moisture. This prevents internal fogging and corrosion. Traditionally, nitrogen gas was and is still used to purge riflescopes and other optics. More recently, Argon gas has been used in modern rifle scopes.
VORTEX PST GEN 2 GAS PURGING
The PST Gen-2 is Aron Gas Purged. Argon is a denser gas than nitrogen, and an industrial application purged using argon will keep moisture and oxygen out more effectively as a result. Its molecules will disperse less easily than with nitrogen. In theory, Argon does a better job at keeping moisture and air out of the scope than Nitrogen will, and because it’s has a larger molecule, it is less likely to leak. Argon gas is also colorless, apparently allowing better light transmission.
VORTEX STRIKE EAGLE 5-25 GAS PURGING
The Strike Eagle is Nitrogen Gas Purged. Nitrogen purging is more affordable but is claimed to not be as effective as Argon gas purging. Having said that, most experts will agree with me that When comparing argon vs. nitrogen-purged optics, the results are way smaller than splitting hairs. Don’t worry too much about i
Aesthetics and Extras
If you’re still on the fence at this point, maybe this next section will sway you one way or another. We all want our kit to look cool, and that’s okay, so which one seems more “tacti-cool”? If you’re anything like me, you certainly appreciate freebies, so let’s see which riflescope offers the most extras.
Beauty is in the eye of the beer-holder, so you are welcome to disagree with me on this one. Be sure to leave your two cents in the comments section, though.
If aesthetics aren’t important to you, then feel free to ignore this section. However, you can’t ignore the fact that the features that make the Strike Eagle look better, also make it a more capable rifle scope.
Aesthetics are important to me. Personally, the proportions of the Strike Eagle’s larger objective lens and thicker scope tube look more premium than the proportions of the PST Gen 2. The looks of the Strike Eagle very much resemble the cool factor of the more top-of-the-line Vortex Razor HD’s.
Personally, I prefer the finish on the Strike Eagle. It is more of a matt finish and looks like the finish on the premium Vortex Riflescopes, the Razor HD AMG. The PST Gen-2 has a glossy finish and doesn’t look quite as classy as the Strike Eagle.
Both the Vortex PST Gen-2 and the Strike Eagle come with a:
- CR2032 battery
- Lens cloth
- 2 mm hex wrench
But the Strike Eagle has some nice extras that the PST Gen-2 does not…
The Vortex Strike Eagle comes with a switch view throw lever in the box valued at around R2,000. That means if you want the PST Gen-2 with the same functionality, you’ll have to spend an extra R2,000 on this little gadget, which is, in my opinion, essential for PRS style shooting.
The Strike Eagle also comes with a nifty little turret tool that you can use to open the turret caps. Usually, you’ll use a coin to do this, and you will most likely end up scratching the turret cap. Not ideal if you like your kit looking spick ‘n span. The PST Gen-2 does not include this item in the box.
The Strike Eagle comes with rubber lens caps. Most people will upgrade these to better-suited flip-up caps, but a valuable piece of kit if you do not have the extra cash for proper caps. The PST Gen-2 does not come with these.
While the Viper PST Gen-2 is considered by many to be a more premium riflescope, the Strike Eagle has more to offer than PST Gen-2. With has a more extended eye relief, a larger objective lens, and tube diameter. It provides more elevation adjustment and a larger field of view. The Strike Eagle also offers locking turrets and includes a free switch view throw lever valued at R2,000, all for R9,000 less than the PST Gen-2.
Both rifle scopes have a first focal plane illuminated reticle and are both in the EBR-7C configuration. The PST Gen-2 and the Strike Eagle have a zero stop system and weigh just about the same. While it is claimed that the PST Gen-2 has superior glass quality, I cannot see the difference for the life of me. In my opinion, after using them both for a while, they are practically identical in clarity, even at night.
If you have a keen eye for aesthetics, you’ll find the Strike Eagle to have better-looking proportions and finishes than the PST Gen-2 and looks a lot like the top-of-the-range Razor HD AMG.
For what it is worth, I have swapped out my PST Gen-2 for the Strike Eagle on my primary rifle and will keep the PST Gen-2 as a backup riflescope. It really is a better package overall, and what’s more, it comes in at R9,000 cheaper! What more can you ask for?
What are your thoughts?
Have you tried both riflescopes? Which one do you prefer?
Also, if you have any specific questions about either one of these riflescopes, please feel free to ask me in the comments section below.
If you disagree with anything I said in this comparison article, let me know.