Mathews V3

| July 26, 2021
Buck Shooting the Mathews V3
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.
Cams | Double
Draw Length | 26-30.5 inches
Axle to Axle Length | 31 inches
Brace Height | 6 inches
Draw Weights | 60, 65, 70, 75
Let Off | 80% 0r 85%
Bare Bow Weight | 4.5lbs
IBO | 342 FPS
String | Zebra Trophy
Color | Green Ambush
Features | Centerguard cable containment, 3D dampening
Warranty | Lifetime, contact Mathews for details
Country of Origin | USA
Price | $1199

Mathews has long been known as one of the premier bow builders in the industry. Each year, archers eagerly await the announcement of their new flagship models. Building off the success of the beloved VXR, the new for 2021, V3 will not disappoint. Offered in 27″ and 31″ axle to axle lengths, the Mathews V3 was designed with accuracy and stealth in mind. Sporting new features such as centerguard cable containment and a new noise and vibration dampening system, this bow will meet the needs of even the most demanding shooters.

First Impressions

Just by picking this bow up, you can tell you’re working with quality. With an excellent hand-feel and an extremely polished finish, it’s exactly what you would expect from Mathews’ flagship bow. We purchased the V3 31” in ambush green and couldn’t be happier with the look. Based primarily in California’s Eastern Sierra and the western slope of Colorado, the matte green is perfect for everything from sage country to the high alpine.

We enjoy the hand feel of the stock grip, but you do have the option of removing the shaped grip and adding side-plates, at an additional cost, that make the grip flat and flush with the machined sides.
We decided to leave on the stock string and cables and after releasing hundreds of arrows, have yet to have an issue with them.

In The Field

When we took our first shots while trying this bow at our local pro shop, we immediately noticed how dead in the hand it is. There is virtually no in-hand vibration and has as quiet of a release as we’ve ever encountered. Built into the bottom of the riser, the new Nano 740 harmonic stabilizer is meant to reduce noise and vibration and as far as we can tell, it does exactly what it claims.

Focused and Drawn on the Mathews V3

Focused and Drawn on the Mathews V3

The other new technology included on this model is the centerguard cable containment system. What this means is that during the draw cycle, the angle of the cables are equalized, which in theory optimizes your cam timing and makes it easier to keep your cam timing in tune. Practically speaking, the draw cycle on the V3 is buttery smooth. With no lurch and a hard back wall, we don’t really have anything to complain about.

While just going out and buying a premium bow isn’t going to instantly give you tighter groups, you really don’t have to worry about outshooting the V3. Whether you’re shooting at a target or an animal, a properly tuned V3, paired with the right arrow setup, will give you every opportunity to take the best shots you’re capable of.

We paired our bow with a Mathews Ultrarest HDX (built by QAD). The V3 has a built-in dovetail to accept their proprietary rests, which makes for a clean and easy set-up. For a sight, we chose the Black Gold Ascent Verdict 5 pin and opted for a Mathews 6.

Mathews V3 Sights

Black Gold Ascent Verdict 5 pin Sight

With western spot and stalk hunting as our primary use for this bow, we felt that the 31″ vs the 27″ wouldn’t be a hindrance as we spend very little time in a tree stand or ground blind. So far, this has proven to be true as we’ve spent time hunting small game in sage country.

Sighting in our bow took minimal effort once all the componentry was installed. After changing up our initial arrow set up to increase the FOC, resighting the bow to our new arrow weight took just a few turns of our dial to correct for some expected vertical drop. As we get ready for elk season, we’ve started broadhead tuning and have found that our field points and broadheads are grouping together right out the gate.

Conclusion

The Mathews V3 is no doubt one of the best bows on the market right now. Whether or not you prefer this bow to other companies’ flagship models will largely come down to minor preferences. We’d suggest going and shooting the Hoyt Ventum or the PSE EVO to see how other premium models compare.

Overall this bow is incredibly quiet and easy to shoot. There is almost no vibration or hand shock when shooting. Easy to tune and forgiving when shooting broadheads, we have almost nothing bad to say about the new Mathews V3. Whether you’re after whitetail or elk, this bow will be the last thing you are worrying about when it’s time to fill your tag.

Mathews V3 Bow

The Mathews V3 Bow is one of the best bows on the market right now.

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Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6-24×50 FFP

| July 3, 2021
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.
Reticle | EBR-2C MOA
Objective Lens Diameter | 50mm
Magnification | 6-24
Magnification Range | 4x
MOA Adjustment | .25 MOA
Eye Relief | 3.9 Inches
Focal Plane | First Focal Plane
Tube Size | 30mm
Length | 14.28 inches
Turrets | Exposed Weight
Illumination | NA
Mount | None. Requires Scope Rings
Battery | NA
Battery Life | NA
Waterproof | Waterproof, Fog Proof, Nitrogen Purged
Country of Origin | China
Warranty | Unlimited, Unconditional, Lifetime
Includes | Rubber Bikini Lens Cover, Microfiber Lens Cloth
MSRP | $499
Price | $399

We’ve tested and used a lot of second focal plane scopes at Sportsman’s Magazine, but as first focal plane scopes become more available at more affordable prices, we decided to give the Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6-24x50 FFP scope a try.

The Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6-24x50 FFP, with an MSRP of $499, and a street price of $399, is sort of like the more affordable little brother to the Vortex Strike Eagle 5-25x56. The Strike Eagle has an MSRP of about $799 and a street price of about $699. That makes the Diamondback about $300 dollars cheaper than the Strike Eagle. The price point makes the Diamondback a more budget-friendly option and a good first foray into long-distance shooting with a first focal plane.

Initial Thoughts

The Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6-24x50 FFP is a big scope. It is built around a 30mm tube, instead of an inch tube, and while that is only about half a centimeter larger in diameter, it adds some significant girth to the scope. So does the 50mm objective lens. The Diamondback Tactical is over 14.25 inches and almost 27 ounces. Compared to more traditional hunting scopes with 4-12 magnification, a 40 mm objective lens, the Vortex Diamondback 4-12X40 SFP scope is a perfect example, the weight of that scopes falls somewhere around 14.5 ounces with a scope length of about 13 inches.

Beyond size, the build quality is obviously solid, and what you’d expect from Vortex. While Vortex does manufacture the Diamondback Tactical in China, they also have an incredible warranty and stand behind their products, so you are pretty much guaranteed to get a great scope, at a great price. Not just a crappy Chinese clone, of an actual decent scope.

Inspecting the scope, the finish looked great, the turrets all seemed to have good tactile and audible adjustments, the glass was bright and clear, the magnification ring was tight but smooth, and the etched reticle looked clean and crisp. Again, at least upon first inspection, it was all the hallmarks of a Vortex scope. Great value for money.

Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6-24x50 FFP

Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6-24×50 FFP magnification ring.

Field Tests

So yeah, the Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6-24x50 FFP is a pretty big optic for those used to older more traditionally sized scopes, especially when you add on the extra 3 or so inches of sunshade. Considering the size and weight, it’s easy to question whether or not the large objective lens and magnification range are really worth humping the extra size and weight into the backcountry.

Of course, like all scope reviews, we mounted the Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6-24x50 FFP to a capable rifle and took it to the range to sight in. At the range, the light transmission, sharpness, and brightness of the optic were really good. Whether or not it was the low dispersion glass, the multi-coatings Vortex uses, or the combination thereof, the optical performance was more than satisfactory.

We did mount the scope using Warne Maxima 30mm quick detach rings that we already had, and with the lower height, notched a gap for the from sight in the included sunshade. We made sure there was zero contact, and made sure not to overdo the clearance. Besides not having to buy new rings, the scope, can be quickly removed, and the 270 can function as a great close-range bear or deer rifle using the built-in iron sights.

Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6-24x50 FFP Turrets

Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6-24×50 FFP parallax adjustment, elevation, and windage turrets.

The notch in the sunshade had no negligible impact on glare, light transmission or clarity in the field. We also had no issues with parallax whatsoever and only made the most minor adjustments with the parallax side adjustment dial. For sighting in, we shot 140 grain solid copper handloads 3100 feet per second, at a 100 yard target, and shot off of a bipod. Sighting took 11 rounds, with adjustments to the turrets between almost every shot. The turrets were tactile, didn’t have any play, and made a solid audible click for every 1/4 MOA adjustment made.

Without patiently waiting for the barrel of the CZ carbine length rifle to cool, as we should have, we then shot 3 more rounds to produce a sub MOA group. Although we will have to make a correction for the point of impact, so it perfectly matches our point of aim, we were pleased, and look forward to taking the scope to the task at much longer distances once fully dialed.

The 24 times zoom is big when compared to a more common 4-12 times zoom. It takes some getting used to if you aren’t already shooting other firearms with that great of a magnification. Every movement is obvious, and you become more mindful of the slightest movement, especially any tensing or pulling. That type of feedback can only better one’s shooting abilities with any scope.

Conclusion

The Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6-24x50 FFP does fall at the intersection of performance and value. Although it’s probably more at home helping hunters take big game at greater distances, its performance is good enough to make it an entry-level scope for precision rifle shooting. This supposed to be an objective gear review, and as such, we did have some criticisms worth sharing.

The included bikini cover is okay without the sunshade, but you will end up wanting to invest in good flip-up lens caps, which will add an additional 30 to 50 dollars, depending on the brand. The magnification ring could benefit from a throw lever for faster, easier, more leveraged magnification adjustments. From a hunter’s perspective, covered turrets would have been nicer than exposed ones. The shooter will have to check that turrets did not get banged around, accidentally adjusted in the field, and are all set back to zero before a shot. Lastly, while they are typically much more expensive, other scopes seem to achieve the same performance in a smaller lighter format.

It’s hard to compare it to other scopes, without referencing more expensive scopes, like other tiers of Vortex offerings, or scopes built on an even larger 34mm tube. The Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6-24x50 FFP delivers performance that could potentially give buyers of more expensive scopes some buyers remorse, and it is really impressive Vortex is able to produce the level of quality and performance at such a budget-friendly price point. If your optics budget doesn’t exceed seven hundred dollars, but you want a big FFP optic, the Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6-24x50 deserves your consideration. If you are able to spend just a little more, then the Vortex Strike Eagle 5-25x56 might be worth looking into.

All-in-all the Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6-24x50 FFP scope is a great scope, even with a few very minor shortcomings, it’s well worth a street price of $399. We will also be following up this review with additional shooting, really exploring Vortex’s EBR-2C MOA reticle at longer distances. So keep an eye out for that. As always, leave us a comment or question, and we’ll try to follow up as fast as we can.

Quality | 4.8/5 |
Size | 4.4/5 |
Weight | 4.4/5 |
Features | 4.8/5 |
Performance | 4.9/5 |
Value | 4.9/5 |
Overall | 4.7/5 |
  • Pros
  • Great Performance
  • Budget Friendly
  • Incredible Value
  • Cons
  • Heavy
  • Large Size
  • Exposed Turrets
  • No Flip Caps
  • No Throw Lever
Vortex Diamondback Tactical Sub MOA Group

The proof is in the pudding. After eleven rounds to sight in the Vortex Diamondback Tactical on a CZ 557 Carbine chambered in 270, the next three rounds we shot produced a sub MOA group.

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5.11 Tactical Geo7 Stryke TDU Pant

| July 2, 2021
Tactical Geo7 Stryke TDU Pant
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.
Color | Geo7 Camo
Material | 80% Polyester / 20% Cotton
Features | Teflon Coated, Bartacked Stress Points, Gusseted Crotch, Stretch Panels
Pockets | Pockets, Cargo Pockets, Knee Pockets
Closures | Button, Zipper, Blouse Straps, Velcro
Fit | Straight
Country of Origin | India
Warranty | 12 Month Material and Defect
Price | $89.99

The 5.11 Tactical Geo7 Stryke TDU Pants have been on our shortlist of pants to try out since we first noticed 5.11 tactical came out with the Geo7 pattern, created by Veil Camo, exclusively for 5.11 Tactical. It’s an aggressive and well-designed camouflage pattern, that looks well suited to tactical duty, or hunting.

First Impressions

The Geo7 camouflage pattern of the 5.11 Tactical Geo7 Stryke TDU Pants is aggressive. Geo7 is like a crazy combination of hydro dip camo paint and a topo map. From the outdoor photos, it’s clear the camo pattern works, and really well. In fact, it works so well, that to see the pants in our gear review photos, we actually had to blur the background focus.

Camouflage, lightweight materials, and the durable construction of the Geo7 Stryke TDU pants are great. The pants offer a stretchable waist and breathable mesh near the hip pockets. The knees are also gusseted with the same stretchable material. Both the waist and seat pockets are lined with a breathable mesh. All the stretchable gussets, combined with reinforced belt loops and major seams, make the TDU pants both comfortable and durable. The double-layered articulated knees are also designed to accept kneepads for tactical duty, and the canted cargo pockets on the thighs are large, with multiple separators for storing tactical gear. The TDU pants also have built-in blousing straps.

In The Field

The pants are true to fit, but clearly designed for thicker thighs, or those that prefer a looser fit on the thighs and lower legs. Although, it’s probably not a complaint most will have, as the fit is typical of many TDU, ACU, or BDU pants. The built-in blousing straps, do help prevent some rubbing and snagging, but so would gaiters.

Thinner more tapered cuts, like that of the 5.11 Tactical Ridge Pants, do not rub at the ankle or thighs and do not snag on vegetation. Because of that, they are also quieter and provide for greater stealth while stalking. The fit and design of the Stryke TDU pants make them better suited for individuals with a thicker build, while the Ridge Pants with a more tapered cut, are better for those on the skinnier or thinner side of the spectrum.

Tactical Geo7 Stryke TDU Pant Rear

It doesn’t matter what angle you look at the 5.11 Tactical Geo7 Stryke TDU Pants, they disappear in terrain.

The Geo7 Stryke TDU pants were designed for tactical duty. As such, they have certain features that are presumably great for tactical duty but aren’t super great for hunting in the backcountry or moving quietly through thick brush.

We are specifically referring to the built-in blousing straps. Unless you hike and hunt with tall duty style boots, there isn’t a whole lot of use, or desire for the blousing straps. However, they are easy enough to remove, and considering that the Geo7 Stryke TDU pants were not intended as hunting pants, it’s hard to be too critical of the built-in blousing straps.

Outside of a larger fit and blousing straps, the Geo7 Stryke TDUs are incredible pants. They are maneuverable, comfortable, and provide a good amount of breathability moving through almost any terrain. The pants also seem to strike a good balance between durability and weight, and while you wouldn’t hike the PCT in them, they certainly have a place on backcountry hunts where the trade-off of durability and lighter-weight materials is desirable.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a pair of lightweight, durable camouflage pants for backcountry hunts, tactical features, and aggressive camo, then the 5.11 Tactical Geo7 Stryke TDU Pants are a great option. They are perhaps even one of the best options at the price point, for those that don’t desire or require a more tapered cut and don’t mind the built-in blousing straps. The Veil Geo7 camo pattern disappears, and the materials seem like they will hold up well against heavy use. The bottom line is that the Geo7 Stryke TDUs are a good value, and well worth giving a try.

Fit | 4.2/5 |
Durability | 4.4/5 |
Features | 4.9/5 |
Price | 4.2/5 |
Overall | 4.4/5 |
5.11 Tactical Geo7 Stryke TDU Pant Mesh Pockets

Love them or hate them, the 5.11 Tactical Geo7 Stryke TDU Pants have mesh hip and seat pockets.

5.11 Tactical Geo7 Stryke TDU Pant Cargo Pocket

The 5.11 Tactical Geo7 Stryke TDU pants cargo pockets have convenient pouches for separating and organizing gear.

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