Rifle Scopes  Athlon Ares BTR - First Impressions

hstambaugh

Private
Minuteman
Feb 13, 2019
30
13
Kentucky, USA
If you don't want to read any of my background thoughts, skip the Yellow.

When it comes to riflescopes I don't normally step outside my comfort zone. Since moving on from fixed power scopes it has been a challenge to find the low light brightness and overall reliability I came to expect (Unertl, SWFA SS, Trijicon, Weaver). Presently, I still can't justify the expense of a Kahles or S&B in order to play the game. I've used variable power scopes for hunting for a while but have mostly stuck with a Bushnell G2DMR and a Vortex Viper HST which at least functionally I've found superior to my old fixed power scopes in every way that matters. Now here we are today, I just had a son arrive, budget isn't what I'd like, and I have a 6.5 CM in desperate need of a scope.

I'm not a glass snob by any means, I just like things that work the way they're supposed to for a good long while and fulfill their purpose as expected.

All that being said, my first choice was a Nikon FX1000 6-24 MIL. I'd read the posts on here, decided to give it a try based on the fact it was designed by a PRS shooter for PRS shooters. Long story short, it was defective. I've since heard about many more of them being defective. The glass was underwhelming considering what I expect from Nikon lenses and the overall fit/finish seemed like it could have used some more attention to detail. The nail in the coffin was a reticle that rotated with the power ring by about 3-4 degrees. I'm sure there are good ones, my sample size was one. Still, bad taste in my mouth, I don't trust the design anymore whether rationally or not.No thanks. It went back.

I spent a good long time thinking about another Bushnell, I've had a lot of luck out of their products. Still, I feel the need to try something different if for no other reason than to learn. I've been hearing about these "Athlon" scopes competing directly with Vortex. My first instinct is to wonder how long this company will last, how will they compete against the old guard? I remember thinking the same thing about Vortex, they don't appear to be going anywhere. I still regret not getting a Razor HD when they were cheaper.


Ares BTR 4.5-27x50 came in today. I've spent the day looking it over and considering what my first impression may be. What I can say for certain, the glass is clear. I haven't charted it yet but.. it is clear edge to edge, the resolution is superb, the eye-box is perfectly fine, and at low powers it sees things in low light that i don't see with my naked eye. I don't care for the black-black finish of the scope or the thick lettering commonly adorning chinese scopes but this is a superficial consideration. If it bothers me that much I can rattle can it.

I didn't get a chance to check windage tracking but while I was installing the scope's level I did run the full range up the plumb bob string with the reticle and string both being projected onto the wall in order to have them on the same focal plane. I didn't note any creeping around or walk of the reticle so that is a good sign.

The brightness of the reticle illumination is appropriate and reasonable. 6 settings seems to be plenty and all the adjustments are positive.

The scope I received had the "Updated" caps. Clicks were positive and audible. Alignment was good. It doesn't have that hard to describe happy-feeling (You know how if it is off the line it sorta ca-thunks back to it) of the Unertl but the clicks are the best I've felt on an asian scope. The best way i can describe it.. is about like a halfway worn out Nightforce NXS that has experienced some sand intrusion. It isn't perfect but is far from a bad thing. I'd imagine that as it breaks in it will feel even better..until it doesn't.

I'm kind of disappointed that the guts are brass and not stainless steel but.. It ain't a S&B.

Right now, I feel like the money was well-spent. I don't have any buyer's remorse. While i'm still a little weirded out purchasing an asian scope that lacks the re-sale reputability (and following) of a Vortex, I think it is a good scope. Hopefully when I wear it out the company is still around to warranty it. If you're considering scopes in this price range, I feel like these are worth a try.
 
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acudaowner

Old Salt
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Dec 26, 2018
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why , every scope you mentioned is Asian glass if its good its good , well besides the s&b and the cost they come with. I went with a Romanian scope and never had the chance to see through it till i got it , to me that's a huge risk with a lot of money . 2 years later and I'm still thrilled with it yea for me. I am glad you liked the scope and i hope it continues to keep you happy , they do look nice . and hope to see a full review on your thoughts after a year of using it.
 
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hstambaugh

Private
Minuteman
Feb 13, 2019
30
13
Kentucky, USA
why , every scope you mentioned is Asian glass if its good its good , well besides the s&b and the cost they come with. I went with a Romanian scope and never had the chance to see through it till i got it , to me that's a huge risk with a lot of money . 2 years later and I'm still thrilled with it yea for me. I am glad you liked the scope and i hope it continues to keep you happy , they do look nice . and hope to see a full review on your thoughts after a year of using it.

You're spot on. If it is good it is good. I'd really never call an IOR scope a big risk but I understand where you're coming from. I've never owned an IOR but have shot a few of them, including one DMR type scope (I think 1-4x) that had been through pure hell for about 5 years and was still performing beautifully. I plan to leave thoughts here on the Athlon as I use it and abuse it over the next while. It is mounted on a rifle that will see a lot of miles, bumping around, dialing around, and getting carried in the field. I'm genuinely optimistic about the scope.
 

steve123

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Mar 16, 2008
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Mine has been great, same with my friends Ares BTR, his being in MOA. My next scope will likely be a Ares BTR 4.5-27x50 because I love that APLR3 all .2 mil reticle! Wishing for that reticle to be put in the TAC line.

Another friend, and myself, had IOR's, all 3 broke, were replaced by the Co, then sold immediately.
 

hotload

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Sep 13, 2018
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17
Got a 2.5-15 BTR coming next week to put on my rimfire. Looking forward to it even more after this review.
 

Sled

Sergeant of the Hide
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Feb 27, 2019
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285
I was looking hard at this scope, especially since the sale this month...… but there are a lot of internet complaints about mushy inaudible turrets, even with the updated scopes. Thoughts?
 

hstambaugh

Private
Minuteman
Feb 13, 2019
30
13
Kentucky, USA
I was looking hard at this scope, especially since the sale this month...… but there are a lot of internet complaints about mushy inaudible turrets, even with the updated scopes. Thoughts?
the 4.5-27x50 I received yesterday isn't mushy and is as audible as it needs to be. YMMV but mine is good.
 

Sled

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Feb 27, 2019
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the 4.5-27x50 I received yesterday isn't mushy and is as audible as it needs to be. YMMV but mine is good.
Good to know, I'm haven't seen one in person, just reading reviews online....
 

steve123

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Mar 16, 2008
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Good to know, I'm haven't seen one in person, just reading reviews online....

I know my last few Athlon Argos BTR's turrets are WAY better than the first year production.

I think what's happened is the manufacturer gets the feedback from each shipment and as parts old parts are used up they make improvements, so at least they don't sit on their hands and are interested in making a pleasing product worthy of competing in their prospective price points.

The 4 Ares BTR's that friends and I have gotten seem to show improvement in steps from first to last. I'm not unhappy at all with mine and I got it over a year ago. I took the bottom oring out at the bottom of the turret which made the feel and sound of the clicks more appealing. Click lines and the line on the housing have lined up well on all of them.
 

Singleshot

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Sep 5, 2013
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I also just received mine (2.5-15x) this week. No mushy turrets compared to an old Midas BTR. Glass quality looks identical. Some say Ares is a tad better. I can’t tell.
 
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Jayhawkhuntclub

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Minuteman
Jan 26, 2019
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Wish I liked that reticle as it's a great price. That thing gives me a headache just looking at it.
 

Guyinaghillie

Private
Minuteman
Apr 13, 2021
5
1
No
If you don't want to read any of my background thoughts, skip the Yellow.

When it comes to riflescopes I don't normally step outside my comfort zone. Since moving on from fixed power scopes it has been a challenge to find the low light brightness and overall reliability I came to expect (Unertl, SWFA SS, Trijicon, Weaver). Presently, I still can't justify the expense of a Kahles or S&B in order to play the game. I've used variable power scopes for hunting for a while but have mostly stuck with a Bushnell G2DMR and a Vortex Viper HST which at least functionally I've found superior to my old fixed power scopes in every way that matters. Now here we are today, I just had a son arrive, budget isn't what I'd like, and I have a 6.5 CM in desperate need of a scope.

I'm not a glass snob by any means, I just like things that work the way they're supposed to for a good long while and fulfill their purpose as expected.

All that being said, my first choice was a Nikon FX1000 6-24 MIL. I'd read the posts on here, decided to give it a try based on the fact it was designed by a PRS shooter for PRS shooters. Long story short, it was defective. I've since heard about many more of them being defective. The glass was underwhelming considering what I expect from Nikon lenses and the overall fit/finish seemed like it could have used some more attention to detail. The nail in the coffin was a reticle that rotated with the power ring by about 3-4 degrees. I'm sure there are good ones, my sample size was one. Still, bad taste in my mouth, I don't trust the design anymore whether rationally or not.No thanks. It went back.

I spent a good long time thinking about another Bushnell, I've had a lot of luck out of their products. Still, I feel the need to try something different if for no other reason than to learn. I've been hearing about these "Athlon" scopes competing directly with Vortex. My first instinct is to wonder how long this company will last, how will they compete against the old guard? I remember thinking the same thing about Vortex, they don't appear to be going anywhere. I still regret not getting a Razor HD when they were cheaper.


Ares BTR 4.5-27x50 came in today. I've spent the day looking it over and considering what my first impression may be. What I can say for certain, the glass is clear. I haven't charted it yet but.. it is clear edge to edge, the resolution is superb, the eye-box is perfectly fine, and at low powers it sees things in low light that i don't see with my naked eye. I don't care for the black-black finish of the scope or the thick lettering commonly adorning chinese scopes but this is a superficial consideration. If it bothers me that much I can rattle can it.

I didn't get a chance to check windage tracking but while I was installing the scope's level I did run the full range up the plumb bob string with the reticle and string both being projected onto the wall in order to have them on the same focal plane. I didn't note any creeping around or walk of the reticle so that is a good sign.

The brightness of the reticle illumination is appropriate and reasonable. 6 settings seems to be plenty and all the adjustments are positive.

The scope I received had the "Updated" caps. Clicks were positive and audible. Alignment was good. It doesn't have that hard to describe happy-feeling (You know how if it is off the line it sorta ca-thunks back to it) of the Unertl but the clicks are the best I've felt on an asian scope. The best way i can describe it.. is about like a halfway worn out Nightforce NXS that has experienced some sand intrusion. It isn't perfect but is far from a bad thing. I'd imagine that as it breaks in it will feel even better..until it doesn't.

I'm kind of disappointed that the guts are brass and not stainless steel but.. It ain't a S&B.

Right now, I feel like the money was well-spent. I don't have any buyer's remorse. While i'm still a little weirded out purchasing an asian scope that lacks the re-sale reputability (and following) of a Vortex, I think it is a good scope. Hopefully when I wear it out the company is still around to warranty it. If you're considering scopes in this price range, I feel like these are worth a try.
so recently due to world events my wife has gotten into bolt guns and long range shooting and i have a couple questions on her gun she is using a simmons 8x 14 until she gets into this further i don't want to go over 300 or so on an optic but id like to get her better glass. i was looking a an athlon they seem to have some rather powerful optics will on of such brand match well with the 6.5 cm or should i get a vortex or nikon like i said while she is just getting into this and we are waiting for her begarra she is rather accurate with a patriot. last part some one tried to sell her on boyds stocks are they worth it on a rifle that is getting humped around. thanks so much
 

steve123

Lt. Colonel
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Minuteman
Mar 16, 2008
9,104
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so recently due to world events my wife has gotten into bolt guns and long range shooting and i have a couple questions on her gun she is using a simmons 8x 14 until she gets into this further i don't want to go over 300 or so on an optic but id like to get her better glass. i was looking a an athlon they seem to have some rather powerful optics will on of such brand match well with the 6.5 cm or should i get a vortex or nikon like i said while she is just getting into this and we are waiting for her begarra she is rather accurate with a patriot. last part some one tried to sell her on boyds stocks are they worth it on a rifle that is getting humped around. thanks so much

Spend a hair more and get her a Athlon Argos BTR G2 6-24x50.

This is a Ares BTR thread and you won't find even a used G1 for $300 unless someone doesn't know what they have or is desperate.
 

Guyinaghillie

Private
Minuteman
Apr 13, 2021
5
1
No
so the btr g2 6_24X50 is decent or would you say good. sh likes the simmons but there is parallax issues and well then the zoom only bieng 14 x but will she see a difference.
 

Jayhawkhuntclub

Sergeant of the Hide
Full Member
Minuteman
Jan 26, 2019
335
125
Wish I liked that reticle as it's a great price. That thing gives me a headache just looking at it.
I ended up buying one of these (Gen 1.5) when they closed them out. Solid scope. And the reticle is not as bad, in person, as I expected. This scope got me out to a mile with m 6.5 CM. If you can get a Gen 1 or 1.5 for around $400, that would be a great deal. Don't think you'll see it for $300 though.
 

steve123

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Minuteman
Mar 16, 2008
9,104
1,563
none of your business
so the btr g2 6_24X50 is decent or would you say good. sh likes the simmons but there is parallax issues and well then the zoom only bieng 14 x but will she see a difference.

It's so far above a Simmons it's ridiculous.
Unless both of you study up on First Focal Plane/FFP scopes, the advantages thereof, and the reticle hash values, you won't understand what's up with it. It's a scope you two can grow into.

The simple part is that a 'mil is a mil', or a 'moa is a moa', on "any magnification" in a FFP scope. That is not the case with a second focal plane/SFP scope.