Inexpensive 22lr target scope? Arken or Athlon or other?

penguinofsleep

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Looking for an inexpensive target scope that is about 5-25 or 6-24, x50 or x56 objective, between 10-25yd minimum parallax is fine, and ideally less than $500, hard stop is at $700. Haven't shopped in this arena for a while, need some advice.

EDIT: After the below, based on price alone, going with the SH4. On a different note - does anyone know of a 30 or 40MOA rail for the Kidd 10/22 - it doesn't use standard 10/22 bases given that it has a different hole pattern. Kidd only makes up to 20MOA and my search yielded nothing.


Based on the use described below, it looks like my best options are:
1. Arken SH4 gen2 6-24 (on sale for $325 shipped for 4 more days, about 108MOA total elevation adjustment)
2. Arken EP5 5-25 (out of stock, otherwise about $565, about 110MOA total elevation adjustment)
3. Athlon Ares ETR 4.5-30 (about 110MOA total elevation adjustment)
4. Athlon Ares BTR Gen2 4.5-27 (about 80MOA total elevation adjustment)
5. Athlon Midas Tac HD 6-24x50 (about 85MOA total elevation adjustment)

6. Can you find a Leupold vx-3i 8.5-25 FFP for under $700 anymore?

I'm going to get the SH4 gen2 before the sale ends simply b/c it's cheaper and there seems to be enough people here and elsewhere saying it's good enough for the price unless others can say that their EP5 or Athlon options really are "noticibly better". Also, between the 3 Athlon options, does anyone have experience with 2 or all 3 of them to explain what the differences are? Are all of these clear at the upper ends of their magnification range or are any realistically capped at 20-22x max power? - let's call clear enough being able to see font 30-36 size text somewhere between 50 and 100yd.

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USE / PREFERENCES:
Will be used on a 22lr rifle shooting at around 1070-1080fps between 25/50yd out to 300yd typically but would love to try 350 or 400yds on steel if possible. Won't be using this optic forever, just need something to hold me over until I save for "premium glass". I understand and expect there to be some chromatic abberation and other issues at this price point and can live with it. Not strictly limited to matches, a lot of this will also just be for plinking around at miscellaneous targets from paper to small steels to golf ball sized objects, etc. Based on a ballistic calculator for 1070fps, it looks like I'm going to have about 98MOA of drop at 300yd, so 49 MOA (from 98/2 = 49) internal adjustment upwards + 20 MOA base + ~10MOA of hold over at around 25x = ~79 MOA minimum internal adjustment.

I do feel that better / clearer glass helps with 22LR shooting on paper a lot or at small targets in the distance so I will pay if it's noticibly better but worst case I just use my spotting scope when plinking. A small eye box really irks me and I would be willing to pay more for another scope if it's really bad on the SH4gen2. Prefer a Christmas tree type reticle with an open center and small dot, although a MIL/MOA dot reticle with intuitive subtensions (ex SWFA SS reticle) is fine too. Slight preference for MOA with 1/4 MOA clicks for slightly finer adjustments, but MIL vs MOA here is a very low priority consideration that will come last. Don't care about illumination at this price point. Zero stops nice but not needed.
 
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n2ishun

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    You can probably do a lot better in that price range.
    Just an example, not a recommendation.
    Expand your search areas, find something nicer for the amount you're intending on spending.
    Definitely check euro optics demo and sale sections, camera land ny, swfa's demo site (sample list if I remember right).
    Lotsa places to buy from....start digging.

    Here, just saw this one too....
     
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    beetroot

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    I'd be looking at Vortex Stike Eagle, or if you wanted to save a bit of coin go for the Venom.

    I've not used any of the Arkens but the eyebox on the Strike Eagle is pretty darn good and the FOV is stupidly wide.

    The rev stop does limit you in elevation to 2 rotations but you don't have to use it and using rings like the Burris signatures with the inserts you can tune it to get the max possible elevation adjustment and end up with a somewhat zerostop once the magnification bottoms out.
     

    gr8fuldoug

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    Your timing is great as we are running our Father's Day Sale - Now through June 20th. All Athlon Riflescopes are on sale. Also, take a look at the Element Riflescopes as they offer excellent quality, features and value.
    As a long standing supporting vendor here on the forum it is our pleasure to assist in discussing different options and opportunities with you. Please give a call, 516-217-1000, when you have a few moments
     

    db2000

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    Since your post says inexpensive, bang for the buck, the Arken you ordered may be the best fit. If it works for you then you’re all set. If. Or, if you don’t care for it, you can get what you paid for it since it’s on sale. Or throw it on another rifle. EP5 is noticeably better Japanese ED glass but the eyebox does get a lot right on full mag. Otherwise very impressive for $550. As mentioned the Strike Eagle for under $650 and especially Ares for $700 would be the top picks I would think.
     

    redneckbmxer24

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    A Chinese scope isn’t what I’d put on a 22 that’s going to have the turrets cranked a lot. That’s just asking for disappointment.

    For $300 you can get an SWFA fixed power that has a ton of elevation, tracks flawlessly and reliable. I just picked up a lightly used SWFA 3-15 for a 22 for a little over $500 and they’re nice too. You can get them on sale for $400 at times.
     

    Lightning8

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    Very happy with the Vortex Venom 5-25 MIL on my B14R for PRS/NRL.
     

    Sig Marine

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    As mentioned above, the Vortex Strike Eagle is a very good option especially when based up to 40-50 MOA depending on your individual scope. We have one shooter who is using a 50 MOA base and zeros at 50 yards and has 30+ MILs of up travel and able to dial out to 400+ yards. Another shooter tried the 50 MOA base and could not zero at 50 yards so he mounted the scope on a 30 MOA base in Burris XLR rings and used inserts set for 15 MOA for a total of 45 MOA and now he's golden. One thing to remember, if you use enough base you DO NOT need the zero stop as the down travel will be less than one full revolution after zeroing at 50 yards. If you do decide to use a 25-30 MOA base with the zero stop, you may not get the full amount of up travel needed for shooting at longer distances.
     

    Neurotic

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    When I think of an inexpensive 22lr, I think something relatively light. The last thing I'd want to do is put a chonker of a scope on a light rifle. From recollection, the Arkens are full on chonkers, some of the Athlons are light. A $700 ETR is a great deal, but it's still pretty heavy.

    A fixed SWFA is a great option.
     

    z71rat

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    I personally like to have some weight on my 17HMR and 22's. I would go with the Arken, especially with the 30% discount goin on right now.
     

    Lightning8

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    What do people here think of the Bushnell Match Pro for this?
    Good option. I had one but I preferred the Vortex Venom - purely personal preference. My shooting partner now has my Bushnell Match Pro and loves it.
     

    FuhQ

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    I don't own any Athlons, but I have both Arkens you mentioned, and a Strike Eagle 5-25x56 EBR-7C. All 3 are great scopes for the money. The Arken EP5 has ED glass, and it's very nice for the money. The Strike Eagle and SH4 Gen2 glass is very similar through my eyes, and it's pretty damn good for it's price-point, as well.
     
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    BLJ

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    IMO. 1) Midas Tac 2) Venom 3) Arken SH4.
    We’ve had very good experiences with a 6-24 and a 5-25 Midas Tac. Dialed a lot with zero issues. Same goes for the Venom.
    The Arken gets really gray for me above 18x. Again, this applies to my eyes. I have a friend who loves his. Another friend prefers the EP5 over his Ares ETR.
    The turrets and reticle are nice on the Arken, but the glass is a deal killer for me. IMO.
     

    st1650

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    you’d be crazy not to get a Midas Tac 5-25 (34mm) or 6-24 (30mm) for a 22lr.
    Better turrets than the vortex. Better reticle and I get the full 85 moa of travel with my Burris bushing rings which allows me to hit 450 yards without holding over.
     
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    penguinofsleep

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    Thanks for the feedback everyone...

    Very annoyingly the prices of all of the Athlons went up significantly after my post... not sure if my post triggered some complaints somewhere or something of the sort... anyways, based on cost alone now, sounds like I'm going to get the Arken while I save up for more premium glass. And yes, worst case I imagine I can get enough of $320 back on the Arken if I sell it. Some good deals here and there on other product but these options were still over $500. Yes, there is SWFA SS for even less, but their variable zoom only goes up to x15 or x18 I think and their fixed 20x isn't as clear as I'd like unlike their 10 and 12x, or at least in my experience.

    For those with the Strike Eagle and have had experience with other Vortex ~$300-800 - I was happy enough with Vortex glass in the above price range about 5-10 years ago or so... However, I was hesitant to look at the Strike Eagle initially as the Vortex scopes I've seen in the last 3-4 years under $1k I've felt were a bit lackluster and I would rather buy something else (including good used stuff) for the money. Haven't been able to look through a Strike Eagle, but for those who know what I'm saying, did Vortex "fix" this with the Strike Eagle? IIRC they used a different OEM on this scope.

    On a different note, does anyone know of a 30 or more MOA mount for the Kidd 10/22 which doesn't use the same hole spacing / pattern as a standard 10/22?
     
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    ECK

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    I went the other way. The more expensive scope with better features is on the rimfire, less expensive scope is on the centerfire.
     

    FuhQ

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    Thanks for the feedback everyone...

    Very annoyingly the prices of all of the Athlons went up significantly after my post... not sure if my post triggered some complaints somewhere or something of the sort... anyways, based on cost alone now, sounds like I'm going to get the Arken while I save up for more premium glass. And yes, worst case I imagine I can get enough of $320 back on the Arken if I sell it. Some good deals here and there on other product but these options were still over $500. Yes, there is SWFA SS for even less, but their variable zoom only goes up to x15 or x18 I think and their fixed 20x isn't as clear as I'd like unlike their 10 and 12x, or at least in my experience.

    For those with the Strike Eagle and have had experience with other Vortex ~$300-800 - I was happy enough with Vortex glass in the above price range about 5-10 years ago or so... However, I was hesitant to look at the Strike Eagle initially as the Vortex scopes I've seen in the last 3-4 years under $1k I've felt were a bit lackluster and I would rather buy something else (including good used stuff) for the money. Haven't been able to look through a Strike Eagle, but for those who know what I'm saying, did Vortex "fix" this with the Strike Eagle? IIRC they used a different OEM on this scope.

    On a different note, does anyone know of a 30 or more MOA mount for the Kidd 10/22 which doesn't use the same hole spacing / pattern as a standard 10/22?
    Not sure about the Vortex "issue", but I have some older (alpha production) Vortex Viper HS-T 6-24x50 VMR-1 scopes, and while the glass is ok, my Arkens and my Strike Eagle beat them. Also, the FOV is nowhere near as good on the HS-T as it is with the Arkens and Strike Eagle. That 34mm tube really makes a huge difference in field of view range. Honestly, the Strike Eagle isn't bad at $699-799... But the Arken SH4 are half that and perform similarly, and with similar glass quality. There are some features I like about both scopes and some I don't. But most of those are personal gripes and me being picky, not necessarily anything wrong with either of the scopes.

    I did some googling for the scope base, but found nothing more than 0 MOA bases. Sorry. Sounds like you might be kind of SOL on that one, unless you can find someone who can custom make you one... Contact Evolution Gun Works. They do some custom and crazy stuff...They might be able to help you out. 👍🏼 https://www.egwguns.com/ruger-10-22-picatinny-rail-30-moa
     

    st1650

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    Thanks for the feedback everyone...

    Very annoyingly the prices of all of the Athlons went up significantly after my post... not sure if my post triggered some complaints somewhere or something of the sort... anyways, based on cost alone now, sounds like I'm going to get the Arken while I save up for more premium glass. And yes, worst case I imagine I can get enough of $320 back on the Arken if I sell it. Some good deals here and there on other product but these options were still over $500. Yes, there is SWFA SS for even less, but their variable zoom only goes up to x15 or x18 I think and their fixed 20x isn't as clear as I'd like unlike their 10 and 12x, or at least in my experience.

    For those with the Strike Eagle and have had experience with other Vortex ~$300-800 - I was happy enough with Vortex glass in the above price range about 5-10 years ago or so... However, I was hesitant to look at the Strike Eagle initially as the Vortex scopes I've seen in the last 3-4 years under $1k I've felt were a bit lackluster and I would rather buy something else (including good used stuff) for the money. Haven't been able to look through a Strike Eagle, but for those who know what I'm saying, did Vortex "fix" this with the Strike Eagle? IIRC they used a different OEM on this scope.

    On a different note, does anyone know of a 30 or more MOA mount for the Kidd 10/22 which doesn't use the same hole spacing / pattern as a standard 10/22?
    You don’t need a new base. You need a set of Burris bushing rings. It can give you as much as 50moa.
     

    FuhQ

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    You don’t need a new base. You need a set of Burris bushing rings. It can give you as much as 50moa.
    Or, just buy a decent scope with enough adjustment range to allow dialing out to distances, and sight in a 100 yards.

    Honestly, with a semi-auto, you're going to be doing good to be consistent at 200 yards...Any farther and it's really going to be a crap-shoot. My custom Ruger 10/22 is like 90% aftermarket including the barrel and all the internals. The only thing factory are the receiver housing and the bolt body...Everything else is Valquartsen...Incluidng the match-grade CF barrel. And 200 yards is a stretch between the wind, flight times, and inconsistent muzzle velocities (persistent problem with rimfire ammo) to hit the 5" gongs consistently.

    And scopes with less than 10 MILs is more than enough from a 100 yard zero, with subsonic ammo. My Ranger 22 with CCI SV is sighted in at 100, and it's only 5-5.1 MILs to zero at 200.
     

    st1650

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    Or, just buy a decent scope with enough adjustment range to allow dialing out to distances, and sight in a 100 yards.

    Honestly, with a semi-auto, you're going to be doing good to be consistent at 200 yards...Any farther and it's really going to be a crap-shoot. My custom Ruger 10/22 is like 90% aftermarket including the barrel and all the internals. The only thing factory are the receiver housing and the bolt body...Everything else is Valquartsen...Incluidng the match-grade CF barrel. And 200 yards is a stretch between the wind, flight times, and inconsistent muzzle velocities (persistent problem with rimfire ammo) to hit the 5" gongs consistently.

    And scopes with less than 10 MILs is more than enough from a 100 yard zero, with subsonic ammo. My Ranger 22 with CCI SV is sighted in at 100, and it's only 5-5.1 MILs to zero at 200.
    I don’t disagree with you but the OP was looking for 30moa+ base and I believe these rings are perfect if you can’t get a slanted base.

    I’ve also seen some competitive 1022 up to 300m and that would require a good 16 mils of travel depending on velocity.

    Finally just because you’re going to do most of the shooting at 100yards, doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel great to hit a 3moa plate at 400m with a 10/22.
     

    FuhQ

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    I don’t disagree with you but the OP was looking for 30moa+ base and I believe these rings are perfect if you can’t get a slanted base.

    I’ve also seen some competitive 1022 up to 300m and that would require a good 16 mils of travel depending on velocity.

    Finally just because you’re going to do most of the shooting at 100yards, doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel great to hit a 3moa plate at 400m with a 10/22.
    I shoot distances farther than 100 (sometimes MUCH farther) every time I take a gun out (including rimfires). I just zero everything at 100 and start my load development at 100, because that's the only thing that makes logical sense to me. And if someone can't shoot a .22 consistently at 100, then they're not going to have much luck beyond. And yes, hitting a plate at 300-400 meters with a .22 is tons of fun...But with a 10/22 that's going to be a serious crap-shoot, no matter how good of a shot you are, or how much your gun costs, or what quality of the barrel and parts in it are, due to the function design of the firearm not being that accurate (think AR-15 of the rimfire world), and the inconsistencies in most all bulk-pack .22LR ammo.
     

    penguinofsleep

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    Agree with both of you. It feels good to plink at a 400yd plate with a 10/22 and hit it more than once or twice via dumb luck. But also agree that past 300 it's a bit of a crap shoot with a 10/22, even a custom one like this. A good barrel + ammo and a chassis / stock that takes full advantage of a rear tang Kidd receiver along with some torque and other minor tuning do all help quite a bit between 200 and 300. But even after that, it's still maybe 10-25% luck 200-300 and past 300, it seems to be at least 50% luck. Probably b/c not the absolute best rimfire ammo + the rounds are all slightly deformed due to the way the 10/22 feeds, but I don't think this surprises anyone here.

    I knew going into this build though that it won't outshoot a Vudoo/RimX or even a factory 452/455/457 with only minor tuning and minor work done ... and with these I would say the crapshoot starts closer to 300 than 200 or 250, but it still happens.
     

    ma smith

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    IMHO 22LR is often a bit of a fair-weather game and. I'm usually pretty careful to gather dope on calm days. The stuff thats "hard to see" in matches is the 1.5 inch posicle at 69 yards with paint that has been blasted off by a ton of hits.
     
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    FuhQ

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    Agree with both of you. It feels good to plink at a 400yd plate with a 10/22 and hit it more than once or twice via dumb luck. But also agree that past 300 it's a bit of a crap shoot with a 10/22, even a custom one like this. A good barrel + ammo and a chassis / stock that takes full advantage of a rear tang Kidd receiver along with some torque and other minor tuning do all help quite a bit between 200 and 300. But even after that, it's still maybe 10-25% luck 200-300 and past 300, it seems to be at least 50% luck. Probably b/c not the absolute best rimfire ammo + the rounds are all slightly deformed due to the way the 10/22 feeds, but I don't think this surprises anyone here.

    I knew going into this build though that it won't outshoot a Vudoo/RimX or even a factory 452/455/457 with only minor tuning and minor work done ... and with these I would say the crapshoot starts closer to 300 than 200 or 250, but it still happens.
    Right now (through June 26th) Christensen Arms is running a $250 off rebate for their Ranger 22 rifles...


    Which means you can get one for $500-550 (retail usually $800). It has a CF sleeved 416r match-grade barrel with a Bentz Match and polished chamber. It also uses regular old Ruger 10/22 mags (10, 15, 25, 30 rounders). I paid full price for mine a year ago, and I am very happy with the purchase. It shoots sub-MOA out to 200 yards if I do my part. I've shot .3xx" 3-shot groups at 100, and a 1.2" 3-shot group at 200 yards with regular old bulk CCI SV ammo.

    For that kind of discounted price, I'd definitely get one (I'm considering getting a 2nd one at that price), if you're wanting a bolt-action to compliment your 10/22. That's what I did. Unfortunately, now the 10/22 sits in the safe more than it ever has because the Ranger 22 is so accurate. 😂

    I have a thread documenting it in the "Everything Rimfire" section if you want to check it out. 👍🏼
     

    RALA

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    I've got an Arken SH4 Element Helix, Athlon Midas that I run on various 22's for different matches. Along with Vortex and Leupolds. In today's golden age of rifles and optics. most items within a certain price range are going to provide very similar performance. Some matches you don't have time to dial and need to use holdover. It really boils down to the reticle. What works best for you.
     
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    JohnCarter17

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    If you can make SFP work for you, and the reticles on the higher mag Trijicons, Eurooptic has some closeout scopes here.


    And, as others said, check EuroOptic used/demo
     

    ptosis

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    Have a look at the Vector Optics 34mm Continental 4-24x56 FFP. 34 mrad = 117 MOA total elevation, very decent optics and mechanics, tracks flawlessly, zero-stop, 10 mrad per turn, turn indicator, etc.

    I am running a 3-18x version (44 mrad / 151 MOA total elevation) on a Tikka T1x rimfire trainer. With a 20 MOA rail, there's enough clicks to reach 400m, and with counter-aiming it goes up to 500.
     

    Budrichard

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    I purchased an Athlon from Doug for my 10/22 Custom Shop competition.
    Couldn't be happier with my purchase.
     

    rustyinbend

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    I use the Hawke Vantage IR 4-12x50 for Subsonic 22 and it's a terrific price-performer. Using CCI Clean-22 Subsonic ammo and a Silencerco 22-Sparrow suppressor on my Masterpiece Arms 22 Bolt Action rifle ... the last thing the Rock Chucks on my ranch hear ... is the round going through their ear hole. It's reticles are velocity-matched to specific speeds, and there's a wide variety of them to match what you shoot. It's a terrific price-performer and priced well under it's value. IMHO ...

     

    Peahi2

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    I have a Kidd supergrade...I just had to buy their available 20 MOA rail. I have a Midas tac and now a Arken...but I did an appleseed 200y known distance and for that I had a Vortex PST2 3-15x44. It was a sweet setup..and I had plenty of adjustment range left to shoot further (hope to try sometime). A big scope like my Midas tac or Arken wouldn't work well for me with shooting against the clock in sitting, standing portions, and transitioning.

    With a 25 yard zero, using SK long range match my elevation was only 7.5 mil...going to 300 would be no problem I think (?), someone can chime if they have better info.
     
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    NewsShooter

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    I have a Kidd supergrade...I just had to buy their available 20 MOA rail. I have a Midas tac and now a Arken...but I did an appleseed 200y known distance and for that I had a Vortex PST2 3-15x44. It was a sweet setup..and I had plenty of adjustment range left to shoot further (hope to try sometime). A big scope like my Midas tac or Arken wouldn't work well for me with shooting against the clock in sitting, standing portions, and transitioning.

    With a 25 yard zero, using SK long range match my elevation was only 7.5 mil...going to 300 would be no problem I think (?), someone can chime if they have better info.

    300 would be about 13 mils. Why wouldn't a "big scope" work? I have a Athlon Cronus on my Bergara and my 10/22. Works well for me and it seems that most doing NRL type matches have a big scope. I shot 385 yards at a match this past weekend. 20 mils elevation, all dialed.
     

    Peahi2

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    300 would be about 13 mils. Why wouldn't a "big scope" work? I have a Athlon Cronus on my Bergara and my 10/22. Works well for me and it seems that most doing NRL type matches have a big scope. I shot 385 yards at a match this past weekend. 20 mils elevation, all dialed.
    No it wouldn’t be a problem. I’m talking about for Appleseed known distance for me , where I try to keep things as light as possible. There is a lot of movement in the stages that challenges me: standing to sitting; standing to prone; and standing. Some of the stages have tight time constraints and mag changes. It’s just you and your sling, there aren’t barriers to rest on. So you have to move and get into position, check npoa, and shoot, change mag, regain npoa, shoot… ding time is up. Lol.