A quality firearm and optic is essential for consistent and successful hunts, and this Traditions Vortek and Vortex combo fits the mold.
Muzzleloaders...there is something unique about hunting with one.
They makes my mind trail back to the good ol' days of hunting with the old school styles of flintlock and black powder. I've always wondered what that would have been like.
Lucky for us, muzzleloaders and their capabilities have come a long way. One of the best examples of that on the market now is the .50 Cal Vortek StrikerFire series from Traditions Firearms.
Although the summer heat is in full swing, hunting seasons are creeping in. As a matter of fact, hunters have applied for muzzleloader tags and permits in increasingly large numbers as of late, and many of you might be looking into purchasing a new gun altogether. After all, it opens up a whole lot of opportunities.
You're in luck, because the Tradition's StrikerFire and Vortex combo is the real deal.
Traditions Vortek StrikerFire
After a season of hunting with the Traditions Vortek StrikerFire, I can confidently recommend this muzzleloader to anyone. Overall it's a great combination of performance, fit, and feel, and boasts outstanding innovation and functionality.
With the Vortex Diamondback HP scope I topped it with, once entering the woods, there is no shot I would not be comfortable taking. There's a sense of ease I've developed, knowing that I have a muzzleloader in hand that I have the utmost confidence in to perform.
Before getting into the nuts and bolts of the gun, the thing that jumped out to me the most (and what really made me enjoy this more than any other muzzleloader I have shot or hunted with) was the weight of the gun, and specifically its balance.
Totaling only 6.25 pounds (non-scoped), the Vortek StrikerFire was incredibly light to carry around in the field for long stretches. I own quite a few firearms and have hunted with tons of guns over the years, and never have I held a gun who's weight (or lack thereof) stood out like the StrikerFire.
This would be an amazing choice of firearm to use on backcountry hunts. If I ever draw an elk muzzleloader tag, I won't hesitate to take my StrikerFire over other muzzleloaders. I'd do it without a doubt and virtually no extra thought.
Add the notably comfortable sling that comes included and attaches to the sling swivel studs, and you've got a recipe for an ideal muzzleloader no matter where you need to take it.
Freehand shooting the StrikerFire is as steady as I have ever felt on a gun, mainly because of the balanced distribution of the firearm. If I'm being honest, I'd say it shoulders better than any other hunting weapon I own.
Take my word for it, this muzzleloader is incredible in the "instant comfortability" department.
Innovation and Functionality: The Hammerless Revolution
The StrikerFire employs a level of advanced technology that is unheard of in other muzzleloaders on the black powder market.
The StrikerFire has no hammer, giving Traditions room to integrate a very user-friendly and advanced system.
To cock the gun, you simply slide the striker button forward as far as possible until it locks. Once it clicks and locks into place, the rifle is cocked and ready for firing, once you turn the safety off. This ultimately gives your firearm a double safety mechanism.
The recessed de-cocking buttons allow you to reach up with your thumb for a quick and silent de-cocking process. The StrikerFire is also equipped with an auto de-cocking mechanism; when the gun is opened, it de-cocks the rifle itself. It's another incredible safety measure that helps bring the dual safety system to life.
I put this quick video together to try and showcase what all I mentioned above, as well as the simplicity of the Accelerator Breech Plug.
That Breech Plug is also what promotes the functionality and user friendliness of this firearm. There's no breech tool needed, which makes for super easy cleaning.
By eliminating the external hammer and adding this innovation, the StrikerFire allows hunters a faster lock time, the ability to mount your scope closer to the bore, and the chance to operate a gun with less weight.
It's some impressive innovation packed into a muzzleloader, with the focus on providing hunters with a top notch product for any species.
But There's More!
The StrikerFire I own has 1:28" twist rifling and an ultralight, chromoly tapered, fluted barrel at a length of 28 inches. They come equipped with a TAC2 Trigger System, which is a two-stage, competition-style trigger set at two pounds.
For those of you who don't know much about the benefits of an aftermarket trigger, I encourage you to shoot some at your local gun shop and range to understand what Traditions was going for. It seems simple, but you can really tell the difference when shooting a trigger with a crisp break.
That confidence in a trusty trigger is just another way the StrikerFire stands above the competition.
Continuing through the gun's features, there is a Stow-N-Go removable butt pad system that lets you easily remove the recoil pad with the push of a button. You then can store small materials within the stock of the gun, like muzzleloading supplies, hand warmers, ear plugs, or anything else on the small side.
Beyond that additional storage, I attached a stock sleeve that Traditions sent with my order, which allowed me to add even more materials. I started to doubt if I'd even need a pack on shorter, close-to-home hunts with all the room I had to carry things!
My model is covered in Kryptek Camo, which gives it a really unique look in my opinion. There are many other options, including Realtree Xtra camo. I really love the Cerakote finish on the gun, which is called "Soft Touch" for a reason.
It is hard to describe in words, but it is a super soft material that almost feels like a rubber coating. The "Soft Touch" gives you a tight and strong grasp of the rifle whether it's wet or dry. The Hogue comfort-grips are the cherry on top of the sundae.
There's another feature that's new to the Traditions line that I'd be remiss not to bring up. It's the Quick-T Ramrod Handle, which functions like a palm saver and T-handle all in one. It makes it far easier and more comfortable to load the rifle, and was a welcome advancement once I got the hang of it.
The t-shaped piece has a brass jag that can screw in, allowing your ramrod to function like a work or cleaning rod. It sits on your ramrod, right on your rifle, when it is in the storage position.
Traditions' Speed Load System is said to promote smoother loading and more consistent groups as an end result, but I had a little trouble with it at first. I was skeptical of this system, but I'm now pretty certain my issue stemmed from a residue buildup close to the breech within the barrel that was crushing my pellets from the rod pressure and causing me to have loading issues.
After a thorough cleaning, I think this issue has been resolved, so in turn I am just more cautious and careful with my cleaning routine now.
Bottom line, when you combine the Quick-T Ramrod with the Speed Load System, you've got a dream muzzleloading experience.
That should give you a pretty clear idea of what the Traditions StrikerFire has brought to the muzzleloader arena. I believe it's a high quality, innovative firearm that, since it's designed specifically for hunting, is right up most of our alleys.
As great as the muzzleloader is, I am a firm believer that your firearm is only going to perform as well as your optic will allow it, so I wanted to match the Vortek StrikerFire with a scope of equal quality.
Optics: Vortex Diamondback HP
I topped my Vortek StrikerFire, which is already pre-drilled and tapped for a scope, with Vortex's Diamondback HP series optic. With a relatively short amount of total time using it, I can already say this scope is incredible.
The Diamondback I have is the 3-12x42 with a Dead-Hold BDC reticle. Overall, it's a high quality scope that goes together perfectly with a muzzleloader. Below is the reticle.
The clarity and sharp, crisp imagery is what stands out the most with this scope. The Diamondback HP has XD Extra-Low Dispersion Glass that increases resolution and color fidelity, which gives you an amazing visual. The multi-coated lenses also help for maximum brightness, which really allows you to see well at peak movement dusk/dawn times and in low light situations.
And if you ask me, that's when you really need an optic to perform, because it's when whitetail hunting mostly takes place.
There's no denying you'll have to come face to face with Mother Nature when you're hunting, and rain and snow is sometimes a given. Vortex scopes feature Argon Gas Purging with O-ring seals, which promises to protect your optic from fog and liquid. That way, you can rely on a great performance no matter the conditions.
The Diamondback is a single-piece scope made out of the same highly durable aluminum alloy that Vortex has become popular for. With the black matte finish and sleek body, it really sits well and looks great atop the StrikerFire.
The Diamondback also includes a fast-focus eyepiece, quick-reset turrets, side focus parallax adjustment, and a 4x zoom range. It is virtually perfect for whatever shot opportunity I may come across, whether it's Midwest whitetail hunting or chasing elk in the mountains.
I mean a Vortex on the Vortek...it sounds like it was meant to be.
A Killer Combo
As a combination that can naturally help with your overall confidence, this is a great hunting package. When you head to the woods, you don't want to have any doubt if your gear will perform. With the Vortek StrikerFire, there has never been an instance where I thought I may not like the result if I pull the trigger.
The StrikerFire System is great option to help fill your muzzleloader tags and freezers this fall, and one that I enjoy taking in and out of the case more and more each time I do.
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