Reader Question Burris MTAC vs Vortex 1-8

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How do you like the Burris MTAC? I’m personally between that and the new Vortex 1-8x Strike Eagle. Didn’t know what pushed to one versus the other. Any advice on low power variables? Keep your powder dry.

Ryan here: I really like the Burris MTAC. To my best memory what pushed me to the MTAC over the Vortex was that I liked the reticle better and the Burris MTAC had a good reputation. I have the 1-4X model. I sold an ACOG to get it and finance some spare parts. I wanted a ‘do everything optic’ and a 1 power (or darn close as a lot are like 1.1 to 30 feet or something) scope that could be magnified for longer range work with an illuminated reticle. I shoot better at distance with a magnified optic, honestly I think everyone does. Also the big difference between red dot (or irons) and a magnified optic is that I can see well enough to make good decisions. Yes you can hit at 300-400+ yards with a red dot but you can’t really tell if that person is a threat or a friend coming to help. My experience with shooting the MTAC has been quite positive.

Pros: It holds zero and adjustments are consistent.

The circle and dot reticle is pretty cool. The circle will work for really fast up close stuff and the dot is sufficiently precise for my needs. Its illuminated reticle is nice.

It is a rugged optic. John Mosby had one leave a vehicle onto pavement at freeway speed and all that happened is it jammed one of the adjustment knobs so you could not move it by hand. Short of an ACOG or say a Leupold HAMR I don’t think there is a more rugged optic out there and those are 3x plus the cost of the MTAC.

Cost- The Burris 1-4X MTAC is about $300 with mounting options for $60-200+. In this range the MTAC is pretty affordable and on par with an Aimpoint patrol or Eotech. All of these are within the range of a normal person given some planning.

Cons- Weight. Amazon says it weighs 1.1 points which seems about right.

Battery- They use the CR2032 which is kind of a special snowflake battery. I wish they used CR123 or AAs.

As to the Burris MTAC vs other offerings. I purchased my MTAC a few years ago,I was in Arizona so it would have been roughly 2013. At that time the moderate cost offerings from Burris, Vortex, Leupold, etc that had a 1 (or close) power bottom end topped out at 4 power. One power scopes with higher ends existed but not in my budget. The 1-6 and 1-8x offerings were in the high end Leupold, Vortex Razor and Night Force type with a cost range starting at a grand. I have been quite happy with the Burris MTAC 1-4x and think you would be too.

Fast forward to 2017.  Things have changed. One power scopes with higher top end have matriculated into the moderate budget range of optics. The 1-6 and 1-8x Vortex Strike Eagle offerings look very appealing. Additionally the ability to put a quick switch lever on the scope to make rapid transitions is pretty cool. I really like that.

The Firearms Blog did a review of the 1-6X which seemed positive.

http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2016/04/12/vortex-strike-eagle-1-6×24-ar-scope-review/

I am happy with the Burris 1-4x MTAC on my rifle but that doesn’t mean it is the best thing out there today in that same general (say $300-500 for the optic) price range. New stuff is available and in particular the Vortex offerings look very attractive.

I would have to look at the difference (beside the $100 or whatever cost) between the 1-6 and 1-8 power but unless there is a big downside a higher top end is better. A 1-8X scope from a good manufacturer that fits in an average guy budget without too much pain is pretty neat. At this current time with what is available now should I find myself in the market for another variable 1X scope I would look hard at the Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8X. I would spend the money to put it on a good mount.
For full disclosure I have no personal experience with the Vortex scopes in question so what I say is relying on a quick google search and Vortex generally having a good reputation.
Hope that helps,

Checking Batteries and Fighting Load Out Conveyance

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While on vacation I visited some family in Montana. We did some shooting. Took out my AR for them to play with. While shooting it the illuminated reticle on my Burris MTAC died. I did not have another battery readily available and forgot about it.

Later that trip I grabbed a random mag light (they are fairly cheap and I have a half dozen or so) to use in the dark and it didn’t work. Grabbed another one and got on with my day.

There is not a good excuse for my failure to keep a good battery in the MTAC. I check it most times when I handle the rifle but the way it died after 5 minutes on the range showed that plan is a failure. Clearly I need to just replace the battery at some regular interval like 2x a year. The only plus side is with the MTAC you an still shoot just using the normal reticle. Granted that is less than optimal at night but if I am shooting a long gun at something in the dark it will probably be pretty close. Also I may want to look into one of the pistol grips that would hold a set of batteries for the rifle and maybe some spare parts.

Went to change the batteries in the darn mag light and I guess they had corroded in there. Managed to knock them out by slamming the light on a hard (carpet over concrete) floor. Went to put new ones in and they would not go in as it was corroded. When I have my tools back I will scrape it out and try to put some batteries in, mostly just to see if it still works.

At the start of this move I wanted a relatively discrete way to move my rifle and fighting load into and out of places. Went with a pretty standard gym bag because well I had it. All I did was put my rifle, pistol, pistol belt and chest rig in the bag. The bag is a bit short for the rifle, it fits but not optimally, though otherwise it works OK. A better bag is eventually in order but right now I am working with that I have.

Got to thinking about what I might reasonably do with that system to enhance it.

-First I want to put some more first aid gear in a side pouch. Something closer to a trauma kit than an IFAK.

-Second as noted by the recent issues with batteries a small container with spare batteries, cleaning stuff and some likely to break parts would be a good idea.

Since I can do these largely with stuff I have on inventory it is an easy decision to implement. This should leave me with a discrete way to transport (albeit taken down) my rifle and fighting load plus some likely to be needed items. A simple grab and go solution.

I am curious about whether any of you have thought about this issue and what you have done. Bonus points if the answer isn’t throwing money at the problem as I’m not long on that these days.

As always the comments section is open