Short write up of Athlon Ares BTR 2.5-15x50 and fun story.

steve123

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Mar 16, 2008
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Bear with me a minute please so I can tell this quick story which is revalent to this post.

Two days ago someone on another forum contacted me with a semi emergency situation, he had an out of state deer hunt coming up next week and said he wasn't sure if there was something wrong with his rifle set up or not. He also wanted to learn to shoot out to 500Y and basically get the dope down for his rifle, which we planned to do yesterday morning.

We went out and within a few minutes I discovered his Leupold was broke, we couldn't zero the scope at all. He did say his scope was zeroed last weekend but didn't understand why his groups were erratic. My guess is whatever was wrong got worse.

I told him I didn't have any new scopes for sale but had plenty of used ones I'd sell to him if he liked any of them. So back to the house we went. Long story short he chose my Athlon Ares 2.5-15x50 in mil, mainly because it was in the price range he was willing to spend.

Off we went to sportsmans warehouse to buy 30mm rings dovetail ring for his Leupold mounts since his other rings were 1". He bought a cheek riser with foam inserts also to get a better cheek weld for his M700 in 7RM since we had to buy higher rings.

On the way into town I find out this is a guy that doesn't dial turrets except to sight in, didn't know about setting the diopter, or about side focus parallax, or mils and moa, or SFP vs FFP, or using reticles for measuring POA to POI, or holding over and off using a reticle. So what I'm getting at is we're short on time and starting from scratch. Making use of the time we had and I'm trying my darndest not to overwhelm the guy with info, I explained the differences, lol, between his old Leupold and his new Ares. He was intimidated but I assured him that he could use the Ares just like his Leupold by putting the mag on a lower magnification, I suggested 4x, and setting the parallax at 150Y which he was relieved to know, lol.

By 11:00 we're back out to the bench with scope mounted, leveled, and eye relief set for him and nice soft cheek pad at the correct height.

Okay so he's using cheap Remington Core locks from Walmart and his rifle isn't grouping but 2' at 100Y but even still I managed to show him how to measure POA to POI with the APLR3 mil reticle. It definitely took more shots than those of us used to shooting sub 1/2" rifles but it was what it was.

Briefly, buy 1:45 in the afternoon, he learned how set the zero stop and zero the turrets, he knew what a mil was, what a 10th of a mil was, in the reticle and on the turrets, how to adjust the diopter and the side focus parallax, and how to both holdover and off for wind using the reticle or dial the correct dope on the turrets. Yay! He also had hit all the steel from 200Y to 500Y in windy switchy conditions. So to wrap this up, by the time we were done, the guy was quite delighted with his Ares and totally relaxed using the milliradian system.


I hadn't planned on reviewing this Ares until I had more time with it, being mounted on my AR I shot long range with it 5-6 times, this was over about 3 months. I shoot mostly steel but we'll go out and range rocks at various distances then shoot at the rocks, I was happy with the results. I didn't do an official tracking test but instead used the same dope, via SHOOTER app, as with my Bushnell LRHS 3-12x44 formerly mounted on this AR in the same rings, my dope was right on the money. The farthest I shot was 812Y and the dope lined up well at all distances. I like to holdover a lot and the reticle was the same dope as the turrets were. It's when the dope on the turrets doesn't line up with the reticle is when I start looking for reasons.

I like to use my own rating number system so there can be some kind of comparison to judge with between different scopes, their features, and controls. I use a 1-10 system with 1 being really crappy and 10 being as perfect as someone could hope for. These are my impressions only so you might feel differently and you are welcome to your opinion.

I own a SWFA 3-15 at $699 MAP, owned till yesterday the Ares at $799 Map and the Bushnell at $1199 MAP. I often compared them to each other, especially when I first got the Ares to see what the differences were, specifically things I like about each one. I wrote about some impressions which can be found in the Athlon thread but I'll put some here.


Onto my ratings, B for the Bushnell, A for the Ares BTR, and S for the SWFA.

Glass; B-8, A-7 and S-6. No other way to put it than the B has glass way over it's asking price. A, has nice glass, above it's price point. S, is okay at best and falling behind the other two. B has warmer image and A has better resolving/15x both are clean to the edge of the FOV. I didn't notice CA on any of them but my eyes don't pick CA up for whatever reason.

Eyebox; B-6, A-5, S-7. B, not bad, not that good either, A, it's a bit tight at 15x as I was noticing yesterday but the eyebox was centered well. S, is easier to get lined up than B.

Reticle; B-6, A-9, S-4. I like the G2H reticle in the LRHS and appreciate the circle for hunting on 3x but it's never been my favorite. A, I absolutely love the new APLR3 mil reticle, it's the best tree reticle I've seen, with .2 mil round about and each mil line numbered to the outside of the reticle!!!, S, the old milquad, gets the job done and that's as far as it goes for me.

Turrets; B-7, A-6, S-5. I like B elevation turret the best because it is low profile, is 10 mil per rev, has ZS and comes with a pointer arrow on top, although the detents on mine exhibit some lash or in other words a tiny bit of movement. I like the capped but finger adjustable windage knob and that it is tool less to adjust as well. The 10th click lines true up fairly well with the line on the housing but not perfect.
A, I would have given these turrets a 7 but they have the lightest action to them of the bunch. The 10 mil turrets do have a nice audible click and line up well, with less lash than the B. Oddly my friends Ares BTR 4.5-27x50 has turrets with more tension, I can't fault them at all???
S, other than being 5 mil per turn and no factory ZS, I like these turrets.

Controls, diopter feel, parallax knob feel, mag ring feel; B-7, A-9, S-7. There's not much to report here as far as feel, they were all about the same. I like close focus though so I am giving A, the highest rating because it focuses down to 10Y at 15x and focuses to infinity well. S, for whatever reason the parallax knob has come to it's stop and the image past 700Y is slightly blurry. B has 50Y minimum parallax which can be limiting on a 22rf or PCP air rifle for close in shooting and I've been moving toward close focus in case I want switch scopes around to any of my rifles regardless of power or caliber. Parallax was easily dealt with for all scopes with perhaps more depth of field for B.

Weight, length, objective size. For me there's no clear winner here. You can look up all the specs if you want but personally I like the 50mm objective on A, vs the S at 42 or B/44. B is the shorty and S is the lightest.

Which would I choose and why.

As a whole I really do like the Ares the most. It's the close focus, the nice glass and the ultra fantastic reticle. Cons were tight-ish eyebox and light-ish turret tension but remember my friends Ares has more tension and I don't recall that it's eyebox is as tight as mine.

I like the LRHS for next in line. I wish it were 15x instead of 12x and wish it had 10Y parallax like it was originally spec-ed to be (why I bought two of the first shipment). I could live with the reticle. As is, the LRHS is has a sight edge in a few ways. Of course there's the 4.5-18 LRHS but reports I've read state the eyebox is very tight on 18x???

The SWFA, which I've had 3 of. Has been GTG. Just a bit dated. The problem is I can buy two Athlon Talos BTR's for the price of one. I traded the other two 3-15's and am staying with the Talos 4-14's because I find them plenty adequate on the rifles I put them on and I definitely prefer the reticle plus the glass is tad bit better.

I hear Athlon will be coming out with a few scopes for 2018 so I'm going to try one to see how I like it. Back to the AR goes the LRHS for the time being.

I'll be editing this post for various reasons, mostly mistakes in spelling and stuff like that.









 
Last edited:

steve123

Lt. Colonel
PX Member
Minuteman
Mar 16, 2008
8,935
1,391
none of your business
Bear with me a minute please so I can tell this quick story which is revalent to this post.

Two days ago someone on another forum contacted me with a semi emergency situation, he had an out of state deer hunt coming up next week and said he wasn't sure if there was something wrong with his rifle set up or not. He also wanted to learn to shoot out to 500Y and basically get the dope down for his rifle, which we planned to do yesterday morning.

We went out and within a few minutes I discovered his Leupold was broke, we couldn't zero the scope at all. He did say his scope was zeroed last weekend but didn't understand why his groups were erratic. My guess is whatever was wrong got worse.

I told him I didn't have any new scopes for sale but had plenty of used ones I'd sell to him if he liked any of them. So back to the house we went. Long story short he chose my Athlon Ares 2.5-15x50 in mil, mainly because it was in the price range he was willing to spend.

Off we went to sportsmans warehouse to buy 30mm rings dovetail ring for his Leupold mounts since his other rings were 1". He bought a cheek riser with foam inserts also to get a better cheek weld for his M700 in 7RM since we had to buy higher rings.

On the way into town I find out this is a guy that doesn't dial turrets except to sight in, didn't know about setting the diopter, or about side focus parallax, or mils and moa, or SFP vs FFP, or using reticles for measuring POA to POI, or holding over and off using a reticle. So what I'm getting at is we're short on time and starting from scratch. Making use of the time we had and I'm trying my darndest not to overwhelm the guy with info, I explained the differences, lol, between his old Leupold and his new Ares. He was intimidated but I assured him that he could use the Ares just like his Leupold by putting the mag on a lower magnification, I suggested 4x, and setting the parallax at 150Y which he was relieved to know, lol.

By 11:00 we're back out to the bench with scope mounted, leveled, and eye relief set for him and nice soft cheek pad at the correct height.

Okay so he's using cheap Remington Core locks from Walmart and his rifle isn't grouping but 2' at 100Y but even still I managed to show him how to measure POA to POI with the APLR3 mil reticle. It definitely took more shots than those of us used to shooting sub 1/2" rifles but it was what it was.

Briefly, buy 1:45 in the afternoon, he learned how set the zero stop and zero the turrets, he knew what a mil was, what a 10th of a mil was, in the reticle and on the turrets, how to adjust the diopter and the side focus parallax, and how to both holdover and off for wind using the reticle or dial the correct dope on the turrets. Yay! He also had hit all the steel from 200Y to 500Y in windy switchy conditions. So to wrap this up, by the time we were done, the guy was quite delighted with his Ares and totally relaxed using the milliradian system.


I hadn't planned on reviewing this Ares until I had more time with it, being mounted on my AR I shot long range with it 5-6 times, this was over about 3 months. I shoot mostly steel but we'll go out and range rocks at various distances then shoot at the rocks, I was happy with the results. I didn't do an official tracking test but instead used the same dope, via SHOOTER app, as with my Bushnell LRHS 3-12x44 formerly mounted on this AR in the same rings, my dope was right on the money. The farthest I shot was 812Y and the dope lined up well at all distances. I like to holdover a lot and the reticle was the same dope as the turrets were. It's when the dope on the turrets doesn't line up with the reticle is when I start looking for reasons.

I like to use my own rating number system so there can be some kind of comparison to judge with between different scopes, their features, and controls. I use a 1-10 system with 1 being really crappy and 10 being as perfect as someone could hope for. These are my impressions only so you might feel differently and you are welcome to your opinion.

I own a SWFA 3-15 at $699 MAP, owned till yesterday the Ares at $799 Map and the Bushnell at $1199 MAP. I often compared them to each other, especially when I first got the Ares to see what the differences were, specifically things I like about each one. I wrote about some impressions which can be found in the Athlon thread but I'll put some here.


Onto my ratings, B for the Bushnell, A for the Ares BTR, and S for the SWFA.

Glass; B-8, A-7 and S-6. No other way to put it than the B has glass way over it's asking price. A, has nice glass, above it's price point. S, is okay at best and falling behind the other two. B has warmer image and A has better resolving/15x both are clean to the edge of the FOV. I didn't notice CA on any of them but my eyes don't pick CA up for whatever reason.

Eyebox; B-6, A-5, S-7. B, not bad, not that good either, A, it's a bit tight at 15x as I was noticing yesterday but the eyebox was centered well. S, is easier to get lined up than B.

Reticle; B-6, A-9, S-4. I like the G2H reticle in the LRHS and appreciate the circle for hunting on 3x but it's never been my favorite. A, I absolutely love the new APLR3 mil reticle, it's the best tree reticle I've seen, with .2 mil round about and each mil line numbered to the outside of the reticle!!!, S, the old milquad, gets the job done and that's as far as it goes for me.

Turrets; B-7, A-6, S-5. I like B elevation turret the best because it is low profile, is 10 mil per rev, has ZS and comes with a pointer arrow on top, although the detents on mine exhibit some lash or in other words a tiny bit of movement. I like the capped but finger adjustable windage knob and that it is tool less to adjust as well. The 10th click lines true up fairly well with the line on the housing but not perfect.
A, I would have given these turrets a 7 but they have the lightest action to them of the bunch. The 10 mil turrets do have a nice audible click and line up well, with less lash than the B. Oddly my friends Ares BTR 4.5-27x50 has turrets with more tension, I can't fault them at all???
S, other than being 5 mil per turn and no factory ZS, I like these turrets.

Controls, diopter feel, parallax knob feel, mag ring feel; B-7, A-9, S-7. There's not much to report here as far as feel, they were all about the same. I like close focus though so I am giving A, the highest rating because it focuses down to 10Y at 15x and focuses to infinity well. S, for whatever reason the parallax knob has come to it's stop and the image past 700Y is slightly blurry. B has 50Y minimum parallax which can be limiting on a 22rf or PCP air rifle for close in shooting and I've been moving toward close focus in case I want switch scopes around to any of my rifles regardless of power or caliber. Parallax was easily dealt with for all scopes with perhaps more depth of field for B.

Weight, length, objective size. For me there's no clear winner here. You can look up all the specs if you want but personally I like the 50mm objective on A, vs the S at 42 or B/44. B is the shorty and S is the lightest.

Which would I choose and why.

As a whole I really do like the Ares the most. It's the close focus, the nice glass and the ultra fantastic reticle. Cons were tight-ish eyebox and light-ish turret tension but remember my friends Ares has more tension and I don't recall that it's eyebox is as tight as mine.

I like the LRHS for next in line. I wish it were 15x instead of 12x and wish it had 10Y parallax like it was originally spec-ed to be (why I bought two of the first shipment). I could live with the reticle. As is, the LRHS is has a sight edge in a few ways. Of course there's the 4.5-18 LRHS but reports I've read state the eyebox is very tight on 18x???

The SWFA, which I've had 3 of. Has been GTG. Just a bit dated. The problem is I can buy two Athlon Talos BTR's for the price of one. I traded the other two 3-15's and am staying with the Talos 4-14's because I find them plenty adequate on the rifles I put them on and I definitely prefer the reticle plus the glass is tad bit better.

I hear Athlon will be coming out with a few scopes for 2018 so I'm going to try one to see how I like it. Back to the AR goes the LRHS for the time being.

I'll be editing this post for various reasons, mostly mistakes in spelling and stuff like that.
Thanks for the like!

Well the update is, is that the guy that bought the Ares got a big Muley, a 5x5, well actually his daughter got it.

Been out a few times with the mentioned friend and his 4.5-27x50 Ares BTR shooting long range. He's happy and so am I.

The Athlon Ares ETR 4.5-30x56 was at Shot. It fits nicely in between the Ares BTR and the Cronus BTR! It has a center dot in the mil version, locking windage, ZS and even better turrets with stiffer action than the Ares BTR. The big question is, will this scope equal or surpass the PST2???, my answer is yes, it will surpass it in most ways. But you know how it is when someone is a fanboy. By mid summer you can judge for yourself, until then save your money, you'll want this scope!

The Midas TAC and HMR were there too. Good basic scopes without illume and with more basic reticles.

VERY awesome things coming in 2019, expect class leading quality for the Ares series and Midas lines.
 

ra2bach

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Feb 20, 2004
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Atlanta,GA
thanks for that. I have the Ares 2.5-15 and SWFA 3-15 and I agree with your thoughts. no experience with the Bushnell.

anyway, on the Ares I've noticed the elevation turret being a little softer than the windage and not quite as good as the SWFA or a Vortex PST Gen2 2-10x32.

is there something I can try with this - is the 'grease' trick relevant on this model? is this worth sending a note to Athlon about?..
 

steve123

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Mar 16, 2008
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none of your business
I forgot to mention my old SWFA 3-15x42 that I sold to a good friend around a year ago.

Showing up late at our Wednesday afternoon shootfest a couple months ago, my friend waves me over and pointed to his SWFA. I look down and the parallax knob was laying on the shooting bench, lol. I'm a bit embarrassed right then because I'm thinking that he's thinking I sold him a bumm scope. Nope, it worked fine when I had it and it was babied.

The last few times he shot his 6.5x55 with this scope on it we couldn't get the dope to line up, now we know why.

Anyway, my point is that even the supposed reliability touted for SWFA isn't perfect.

He sent it back and they sent him a functioning scope.