Vortex DB 6-24 or Arken SH4 GEN II 6-24

kmckinnon

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I'm looking for a scope for my RPRR. I had been using an Arken EP4 4-16x50 that was on an AR that I sold. I struggled with its EPR reticle. I've narrowed my choice to these 2 scopes. The Vortex is a proven budget scope from a company with history with parallax adjustment to 10 yards. Arken is a relatively new company. Its SH4 VPR reticle is illuminated. That could b3 a real help to my old man eyes at lower magnifications. It's also a 34mm tube and adjusts to 25 yards. Both are going for about $399 right now. A wait to get the Arken. The Vortex appears in stock.

If you had to pick between these 2 how do you go?
 

BLJ

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I've been going through a very similar situation recently. Trying to find a budget up to 24x scope for a new .22lr. If I was ordering today, it would be a vortex. I like the Arken, but my concern with new company is longevity. Meaning there is a possibility of needing the warranty eventually. I want the company that I purchased the scope from to still be around. 20 years from now, i might purchase an Arken based on features. Today, vortex, because I know that within a week or 2 I would have a replacement or repaired scope as opposed to a broken scope made by a company that is no longer around. Sad to say, but for me, $400 Is a fair amount of coin and I want my investment to be serviceable to me for a long time.
 
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kmckinnon

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save up a little more and get the new strike eagle 5-25 ffp. much better scope than both of those
I couldn't agree more. However, as the rifle is intended for NRL22 Base class the combination of rifle and scope MSRP cannot exceed $1050. The Strike Eagle would put me over. MSRP is another reason I sold the Arken EP4.
 

kmckinnon

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I've been going through a very similar situation recently. Trying to find a budget up to 24x scope for a new .22lr. If I was ordering today, it would be a vortex. I like the Arken, but my concern with new company is longevity. Meaning there is a possibility of needing the warranty eventually. I want the company that I purchased the scope from to still be around. 20 years from now, i might purchase an Arken based on features. Today, vortex, because I know that within a week or 2 I would have a replacement or repaired scope as opposed to a broken scope made by a company that is no longer around. Sad to say, but for me, $400 Is a fair amount of coin and I want my investment to be serviceable to me for a long time.
I am leaning the same way right now. For the same reason. I'm retired and $400 ($500ish with rings) is significant. FWIW my AR sports a Vortex UH-1 and VMX-T3.
 

b6graham

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    I couldn't agree more. However, as the rifle is intended for NRL22 Base class the combination of rifle and scope MSRP cannot exceed $1050. The Strike Eagle would put me over. MSRP is another reason I sold the Arken EP4.
    that would have made a difference if noted in OP

    i wouldn't hold myself back to shoot 'base class' at some local NRL22 matches but that's just me
     
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    kmckinnon

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    that would have made a difference if noted in OP

    i wouldn't hold myself back to shoot 'base class' at some local NRL22 matches but that's just me
    B6graham my bad for not mentioning the rifles intent in OP. Thank you for any insight you might have on those scopes. I'm leaning toward the Vortex because they're a proven company that should be around for a while. Although I already have mounting options (34mm One-Piece and Rings) for the Arken I can probably sell those as those are virtually BNIB.
     

    kmckinnon

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    Any thoughts on the Swampfox Patriot? At $429 MSRP I stay under the &1050 limit and they'll give me Military discount. But again they're a relatively new company.
     

    b6graham

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    it's hard to argue with a big company that has been around and will be around.

    all these new OEMs are a big shot in the dark. easy to get their money and run. leaving you high and dry 2 years down the road
     

    BLJ

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    If NRL base is a requirement, I've also been looking at the a Athlon Argos BTR 6-24 and the Sightron S TAC 4-20. The Sightron is SFP but I was intrigued by the simple reticle. Something to think about.
     
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    Swaim13

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    I started with the athlon argos and have since moved on from that scope but for the money, it's not bad. I have hit 500 yard targets w a 223 with one as well.

    Tbh, I wouldn't worry about being in base class. I would spend the money for the best optic you can afford. You wont get the money out of the lower priced optics that you can out of the more expensive ones. Yes, you'll be competing against Vudoos but at the nrl22 distances, it's not as big an advantage as when you push in out to 200 and beyond. Just my 2c.
     
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    PracticalTactical

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    Before spending your money on a Vortex DT, I would strongly suggest that you download and print this Optical Resolution Chart first. Set up on it and compare to better scopes.

    https://onedrive.live.com/?authkey=!ALSuE00MvIQ2HzE&cid=001601E8475ACCD8&id=1601E8475ACCD8!108&parId=1601E8475ACCD8!106&o=OneUp

    If you examine multiple scopes using such a chart at the minimum parallax distance, you will quickly be able to identify the optical differences between them.

    Shooting is a sport that truly requires a high grade optic to see subtle things like mirage in overcast weather, or even bullet holes or the bullet in flight. You just cant see that without good glass.

    So sure, "Good" is a subjective reference point and it's up to each of us to define what good enough is.

    But I have 2 Vortex DTs, one on a PCP air rifle which is fine for 10 yard practice in the basement, and one more on a 22LR which for me, was a mistake.

    Comparing the Vortex DT on the optical resolution chart, I can see clearly that it is certainly the worst glass of any scope I have, and I will be selling one off soon enough to replace it with something optically better.

    There's just no free lunch with optics and we just cant expect to get good glass at low prices. The hard part is really trying to determine how little we can spend and still feel satisfied. Hopefully the chart in the link above will help.

    TIP: If you have a hard time deciding between two scopes with your naked eye, use the camera on your cell phone and zoom in. Then you can enlarge the detail and hopefully then see the difference. It also helps to turn auto focus off when you do this.
     
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    JG26_Irish

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    I am in the same boat. Setting up a rifle for PRS & NRL22 type matches. I looked at Sightron, Athlon, Arken and Vortex. I was close to choosing the Vortex Strike Eagle when I got some reports of quality issues with the rectical being crooked and other serious defects. That took it off the table for me. I have 2FP Athlon on another rifle and while it is a good scope, I did not think it was clear enough for the job. Sightron is a great scope. Still I was having difficulty justifying it for a 22. This application was going to require a FFP optic to help facilitate acquisition of multiple tgts at variable ranges and different magnification levels all within a very short time window. Many times there is not enough time to dial up to the next tgt and a hold over is a more efficient choice. I wanted a MRAD rectical and the Arken SH4 VPR seemed like the best balance of functionality, quality and price. The only downside is that it will take about 2 months to deliver.
     
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    kmckinnon

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    Yes Arken says 7-9 week wait. Then again a lot of scopes, Vortex included, are out of stock due to the impact of Covid on Chinese made products. The Bushnell Match Pro 6-24x50 caught my eye too but nobody's got one in stock or knows when they'll have more.
     

    Tallahassee

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    Any thoughts on the Swampfox Patriot? At $429 MSRP I stay under the &1050 limit and they'll give me Military discount. But again they're a relatively new company.
    I just got one of those this week. Their le/mil discount is good. For the price I think it is a good deal. Definitely a $400 chinese optic, so if you can be comfortable with that, it's okay. Very similar to the diamondback tactical. Ordered it on Friday afternoon, shipped Friday afternoon, got it Tuesday.

    Originally wanted a Bushnell Match Pro, but those are out of stock. Figured I would give swampfox a shot. The Kentucky Long model looked good, but they didn't have an eta for it to be in stock.
     
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    ceekay1

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    Supposedly I'll be receiving an Arken SH4 Gen II tomorrow and I also have a Vortex DB Tac FFP 6-24x50, so I'll let you know what I think when I see them side by side... I also ordered one of the newer Strike Eagle 5-25x56's which is supposed to show up tomorrow as well, so I'll be able to add that to the comparison mix...

    Ordering the Arken was a strange experience actually: I stumbled upon it on a retailer's site looking for something else, then after doing just a tiny bit of intel work via searches/youtube/reviews about the scope, I ordered one. Later in the evening after ordering it, I did a little more digging around which is when I found out about the semi-shit-show of it being backordered and having a 7-9 week lead time with a bunch of guys waiting on them. Since I was then pretty sure I had just unknowingly placed a pre-order, I decided to order the Strike Eagle for a little more money (nearly double really) and sent an email about canceling my order of the Arken (because I was pretty sure the retailer I ordered it from didn't really have one in-stock for me).
    Well, the retailer got back to me and said: yeah, they had one, last one for a while, and was I sure I wanted to cancel or did I still want it? So I said "cool" and the Arken shipped... Hopefully it's actually the correct scope, SH4 Gen II MRAD, guess I'll see sometime tomorrow...

    I've kind of turned into a serial-returner using Amazon Prime/Brownells/MidwayUSA/etc in cases of when I get something I'm not happy with when it shows up, so re-taping up a box and driving to the local UPS store is old hat now for me, fear not the art of the return... the better scope stays, I'll return the other one.

    Whichever scope I keep is going to be a replacement for the Diamondback Tactical: it's actually a really decent scope for the money, mine is clear as fuck for $400, but I've just uncovered a few things that get on my nerves so I'm going to sell it. I know it's a budget scope, but the few things I don't like are: the focus/parallax adjustment has very little distance/range between "300" marked on the knob and "infinity" (it's on a 6 creed that I shoot out around 400-500 regularly and 800-1200 sometimes, and getting it set for a shot at 400 or say 600 requires barely turning the knob just the slightest amount to go from "out of focus terrible" to "great", just a tap of the knob can knock it off and it's annoying as hell... Secondly, I don't mind the EBR-2C reticle really, but I need a center dot (I'm not really a group shooter but for load development and stuff the dot helps me with groups a bunch), thirdly (and this isn't really an issue as much as a preference) I actually wish it was heavier, I've spent near a couple hundred bucks adding weights to my chassis and love the added "dumb" stability the weights provide, the weights aren't cheap and getting an extra 10-12oz for "free" with a heavier scope is desirable for a PRS-style rifle IMO.

    FWIW, something to remember with these budget $400ish Chinese scopes is: even with the exact same model they're all a little different, some are better than others, you could buy 4 Diamondbacks and 3 might look kinda crappy and 1 might look great. My buddy has a DB 6-24x50 that is exactly the same model as mine and his is kinda "meh", mine's glass looks 99.8% as good as my other buddy's Viper PST Gen II...
     
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    ceekay1

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    :rolleyes:

    On topic... my Arken showed up: it's a fucking tank! (y)

    I'm still waiting on some rings to show up for it in order to mount it and shoot it, but so far, as compared to the DB Tactical 6-24: based on first impression, just wait for the Arken, full stop.

    Literally everything is better: the glass, the turrets, the reticle, even just the way it looks... it makes the DB look like a little kids' airsofter scope lol. If anything, the Arken seems made better than the DB, or at least as well. It's stout in every way.

    The clicks, in sound and feel, are very reminiscent of a much more expensive scope... there's more of a positive "thud" than any wimpy "tick".

    Something I hadn't noticed which is nice is that the magnification dial turns the opposite way as the DB; with the DB I'd been using just a big-ass tie-wrap as the couple throw levers I tried just got in the way of running the bolt, the Arken doesn't have this problem because the throw lever will end up completely out of the way, nice.

    Honestly the biggest impression I have so far about the Arken is that in no way, shape or form does it seem like a budget scope... it just feels beefy all-over like a Razor HD does if you've ever handled one.
    Obviously the glass is not on Razor HD level for $400, but it may be on Viper PST Gen II level? I'll have to look at it next to my buddy's to see... It sure as hell looks/feels cooler than an Viper PST Gen II if you like the shear massiveness of the Razor HD's. It's glass is A LOT better than the DB's, that's for sure. It's honestly pretty crazy what $400 can get you these days.

    IDK, time will tell how it performs, my rings will be in and my schedule should allow me to shoot early next week and I'll report back... I'll also chime in later with how it looks compared to the new Strike Eagle as that's supposed to show up later today...

    Here are just a couple quick pics I took that maybe demonstrate what I'm talking about as far as shear beefy-ness compared to the DB:

    image0-4.jpegimage1-3.jpeg
     
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    ceekay1

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    So the Strike Eagle 5-25x56 arrived: I'm returning it and keeping the Arken (and extra $300).

    The glass on the Arken actually seems a tiny bit better to me than the Strike Eagle's, which is kind of unexpected not just because of price difference, but mostly because the Strike Eagle sports a 56mm objective vs the SH4's 50mm one.
    Going back and forth a bunch of times between the two, it's really really close, but the Arken just seemed better to me. The Arken's glass looks more like just looking through one single piece of window whereas the Strike Eagle had some distortion/fisheye around it's edges. Brightness was about the same, sharpness was near the same but the Arken seemed slightly sharper to me (looking at leaves and branches out at distance and such). There's just not a lot more to say from just playing with the two of them for a while: maybe actually shooting them the Strike Eagle would cut through mirage better or something like that and maybe show me something more, IDK, but from my kitchen and back porch looking out to around 400 yards or so I didn't see anything that made it better than the Arken. The difference wasn't huge, but like I said, I preferred the Arken's glass.

    One thing that was big (if you care about illumination): I don't really care about illumination at all, it wasn't a factor at all to me with either of them, but that said, it might be nice to have for if I'm caught still out at the range at dusk... The SE's illumination was really distracting/annoying to my eyes, the whole Christmas tree lights up and I don't like it at all. On the Arken just the dot and crosshair at the center lights up, I prefer that by a mile. Also weird is the cheaper Arken has "off" positions between each setting like one would expect on a "pro" scope, the more expensive SE only has one "off" so you gotta cycle through all the settings when going up and down in illumination.

    The SE's turrets look and more importantly feel crappier than the Arken's, there's no getting around it, they just do. The SE's clicks just aren't as nice as the Arken. The SE's are also much more busy to look at do to their size/shape and how the numbers and hashmarks are printed. I wouldn't say they're hard to read, but next to the Arken they are. The Arken wins here no contest IMO.
    I don't care about locking turrets, the SE wins there if that's your jam, but for me, more than likely the worst the scope's life will ever get is shooting a PRS match, locking turrets won't remind me to reset to zero after a stage, I can forget to do that with any scope. If I was fast-roping out of a chopper into a range where people shoot back, then I'd probably care more about locking turrets, but then I wouldn't need to be discussing a budget Strike Eagle because I'd want the best shit out there hahaha.

    While I didn't mess with it, I've seen enough reviews on the SE's zero stop to know the Arken wins the zero stop battle too.

    So that's my opinion... One of the biggest things that jumps out comparing the two is: besides the SE having a bigger objective lens, if one didn't know better, I'd bet they'd swear the Arken was the more expensive of the two. I think even guys who know guns/glass would think so after looking at both side by side ala "Coke vs Pepsi test" conducted with these two with the logos removed, my money would be on the Arken. My wife thought so, I asked her which one cost more and she said that one (pointing to the Arken), I asked why and she said "just looks tougher and I know most guys will pay more for that crap" lol.
     
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    kmckinnon

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    Thanks for your review of the Arken! One might be in my future. I'd save a few dollars going that way as I already have 34mm mounting options from the Arken EP-4 I just sold.
     
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    Tallahassee

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    Any thoughts on the Swampfox Patriot? At $429 MSRP I stay under the &1050 limit and they'll give me Military discount. But again they're a relatively new company.
    Was able to go the range with the Patriot. Still think it is a good deal for the money. The reticle is a little on the thin side, at least for me anyways. Glass seemed really good for the money, I was surprised. Everything adjusted and focused well. The budget scopes have definitely gotten better over the years. If it fits your budget, I'd say you should be fine with one.
     

    ceekay1

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    Got the SH4 mounted up, zeroed it and put 50rds downrange with it today... So far I'm really digging it, it's a huge upgrade over the Diamondback Tactical.

    My thoughts thus far are: everything checks out and works as it should, probably better than it should for $400 (or maybe scope companies have been ripping guys off for a while lol).

    It's glass is really really good, I shot at my usual range with perfect conditions and looking at the same targets I'm used to at 100, and the same steel plates I'm used to at 400 the upgrade in clarity was really easy to notice. I set up a target with 2 of the small KRG targets that come with their chassis at the top (these are like 5" x 7" with 1" squares) and 1 large shoot-n-see type target with 5-1" diamonds below that. I'm very used to looking at these targets, on the same range, at the same distance (100yrds), but I don't ever remember being able to read the small print on them, or reading much of anything besides "KRG" on the littler ones, but I could today. With the steel at 400, which again I'm very used to looking at, I could make out the chips in the paint, not just the impact marks, I mean the different layers of the chips and multiple coats of paint, I couldn't see that level of detail before.

    The one thing, which I've also heard about the EP4, is that the reticle lines are kind of fine/thin... Personally, I like it, the whole FOV seems uncluttered and the whole reticle feels more precise than I'm used to, but the middle of the reticle with the dot and "crosshair" is a bit thicker, which is nice because that's what we use most... Everyone's eyes are different, and mine aren't perfect by any means, but with my 24/7 wear contacts the reticle was totally good and usable, but I don't know if someone with poor eyesight would like the fine/thin reticle as much. For guys who complain about being too fine/thin, my retort might be something like: maybe it's time to see the optometrist and get a contact upgrade hahahaha..? Honestly though, I bet this will be the biggest complaint they get, I wouldn't be surprised if they made the reticle a tad thicker for the "Gen III". That said, as far as I'm concerned it's cool the way it is, I think I might appreciate it shooting at 700-1000+ yards and I think this scope is plenty capable of those distances. IMHO, some of these reticles out there are a little bananas, just too much, the VPR reticle they went with has all the info too, but just seems a lot less busy and less-fatiguing to look through than other ones I've looked through ... I like the reticle and it just might not be as cool any thicker, so maybe keeping the reticle mostly fine/thin except for the center was a great idea, I think I'll like it more as I get used to it.

    Anyways, so far so good, zeroing and setting the zero stop was a piece of cake, also had missed it earlier but noticed today that the witness lines for counting revs are more extensive than I thought, there's even rev witness lines on the windage turret... I might not use them much (6mm Creedmoor is good out to 1000 with 8 mils which is 1 full rev), but it's pretty badass that Arken stepped up to that level of detail at the price point (and rimfire dudes will be psyched)... everything about the turrets just screams top quality.
     
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    kmckinnon

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    @ceekay1 do you have any problem with there being 3 dots between Mils (.25 Mil) on windage vs. 4 dots (.2 Mil)? I don't see it as a problem as I suspect most people hold for windage rather than dial.
     

    ceekay1

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    @ceekay1 do you have any problem with there being 3 dots between Mils (.25 Mil) on windage vs. 4 dots (.2 Mil)? I don't see it as a problem as I suspect most people hold for windage rather than dial.

    I don’t have any issue with it at all... like most, I usually only dial for elevation and hold off for wind, and I don’t even know if it matters as it’s always a bit of a guessing game anyhow to a degree. I’ve always looked at the hash marks as a guide so at least one is guessing with the help of a ruler hanging out there... .25 vs .20 is good enough for me, if I’m off it’s usually me or the wind, I wouldn’t blame the reticle and think the “ruler” tells you enough of what you need to know.

    FYI/FWIW, just noticed when I referenced the picture of the VPR reticle that Arken shows on their site that it doesn’t show that the “crosshairs” around the dot are thicker than the rest of the lines, which is how it is on my actual scope... not a huge deal, but it’s better in-person.
     
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    ceekay1

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    Here's a couple pics of the VPR MIL reticle "in the real world"... just so I could show the thicker/bolder lines at the center "crosshair" that I mentioned. These are just the best I could do with an iPhone real quick (it's not easy to do).

    Scope is at 24x, plates are at 400 yards. The pics aren't the greatest, and is no way representative of the quality of the glass, the iPhone pic is just shitty, it looks great IRL.

    VPR 1.jpg
    VPR 2.jpg
     
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    IHFarmer07

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    I ordered 2 gen2 Arken sh4 scopes, 4-16x50, 6-24x50......couldn't pass up the good price, the reviews and when they raise the price, from what other reviewers have said about them I'd say they will go up near $500-$600....can't wait, just need some rings and scope covers.
     

    Cheezy

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    I'm looking for a scope for my RPRR. I had been using an Arken EP4 4-16x50 that was on an AR that I sold. I struggled with its EPR reticle. I've narrowed my choice to these 2 scopes. The Vortex is a proven budget scope from a company with history with parallax adjustment to 10 yards. Arken is a relatively new company. Its SH4 VPR reticle is illuminated. That could b3 a real help to my old man eyes at lower magnifications. It's also a 34mm tube and adjusts to 25 yards. Both are going for about $399 right now. A wait to get the Arken. The Vortex appears in stock.

    If you had to pick between these 2 how do you go?
    I have both scopes and prefer the Arken over the vortex all day!! In fact I just order 3 more Arken a to replace some of my DB Tacticals.
     

    Norman1950

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    Thank you for the extensive review of the Arken. I have been going back and forth on the DBT and the Arken. After reading this, I think it might worth the 2+ month wait.
     

    beretta_man11

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    I've got a couple arken sh4's mounted on 22s. I've extremely happy with them and whole heartedly recommend them to friends. It is replacing an Athlon Midas Tac 5-25x56 and meopta optika6 3-18x56. I love the meopta, but like you, the scopes are for nrl22 base class rifles. Even so, I'd take the sh4 over the midas tac, probably not the meopta. While I do not own a DB tac 6-24, I have used a couple, and to me, the comparison isn't even close, arken all the way. I have also used the bushnell matchpro and forge, again, arken wins that one for me.

    While they are good, they aren't perfect. The illumination bleeds over pretty bad- 8mils per rev- no locking or capped windage. Other than that, I think they're great.