In the world of shooting nothing is more difficult when you get started than figuring out what scope is best for you. When it comes to Base Class shooting we have selected some of the top Titan's in the shooting world that you will see out there at matches to put side by side and see how they stack.
To start lets lay down the criteria of why we picked these scopes.
Now that's out of the way lets jump into the weeds.
MSRP and Reticle
Helos BTR 6-24×50 APLR2 FFP IR MOA - $683.99
Diamondback® Tactical 6-24x50 FFP EBR-2C MOA - $499.99
Argos BTR 6-24×50 APMR FFP IR MIL - $444.99
Best Reticle Design -The Helos really steps up with the Best Reticle Design of the three with it's Floating Crosshairs design. Below 10x The Helos and Argos are a superior reticle, as they are easy to read from minimum to maximum magnification. Once the Diamondback Tactical (DB TAC) gets to about 12x it's fine reticle starts to hold it's own. As we reach the 20x plus mark the DB TAC really starts to shine and be the best. The Helos and Argos get too bold/thick to use efficiently. The Argos's sweet spot is at 18x and the Helos is 20x. When competing in PRS or Hunting I find myself moving my magnification from 8-20x range. I rarely use full magnification unless spotting something for a visual.
Helos - Had the best Turret Design with locking beefy over sized turrets. I was just at a match last month where the rifle had to be grounded to start. When the buzzer started I reached down to grab my rifle and hit my windage turret unknowingly. Causing for a very bad start to that stage. If I would have had locking turrets on that rifle it would have saved me some points. The Helos also had the most tactile feel for it's clicks and also the loudest audible click sound. Making it hands down the winner in this category.
DB TAC - The machining of these turrets as my favorite. Short and Fact tactical turrets. awesome feel. The Audible click was great, right off a scope that I would expect to be well over $750.00. The Tactile feel of the turrets was lack luster. It has a mushy front and rear to it's position change. But! When you get the wall for it to click over to the next position it did have a very positive "click" feel when you made the position change. Very good for it's price point bracket.
Argos BTR - Seems to be a great fit for it's price point. The Turrets are easy to use. The thin Base with the over-sized tops makes these turrets the easiest to use while wearing gloves. Something to think about if this will also be used for hunting. The Turrets tactile file was better than the DB TAC. Very Crisp in comparison. Something similar to what you would expect from a $750.00 Scope. While the audible click, it was the worst. Hollow and shallow in sound. What I would expect from a $300.00 Scope.
Magnification and Glass Quality
When staring this section of testing I thought for sure we had a clear winner. The DB TAC had the best clarity when testing from 6x to 12x out to about 100 yards. The Parallax adjustment was smoother and easier to get things into focus. When testing the Helos and Argos they did fine but just not as good as the Vortex did. At this point in time we had our mind settled. The DB TAC was going to walk away with the show.
Next we changed to testing out to 100 yards with 12x plus magnification. The Higher the magnification the more drastically unforgiving the eyebox became on the DB TAC. Making it very difficult to hit the sweet spot on the scope. Also as we adjusted the magnification higher the harder it was to adjust the parallax to get a crisp image. As in all scopes the higher the magnification the less forgiving the eyebox is, but both the Athlon Scopes were more forgiving than the DB TAC.
Past the 12x Point the Argos and Helos stayed about the same as with ease of use of the parallax adjustment to crisp up the image. No drastic change positive or negative. At the max magnification the Athlon scopes did perform better with parallax adjustment.
Moving out to 200, 300, 400, 500 and 600 Yards everything stayed about the same when comparing the scopes. 600 to 875 yards The Athlon scopes held slightly sharper images. Looking out to 1000 and 1400 yards they looked about the same between all three scopes. You could see the target but very difficult to try to call any impacts. We have shot out with all three scopes to 1000 yards plus and can make it happen no problem. Just make sure you have a good spotting partner.
On a side note on the magnification rings. Both the Athlon scopes came with built in Throw levers. The DB TAC had a very nice standard style ring.
In conclusion these are all three great scopes! Each one earns it's right to be a Titan in the base shooting world. Here are our final thoughts.
We hope this helps ~ Happy Shooting! BRINK EXCURSIONS Team
Sidy By Side Review
Athlon NEOS 10x42 vs. Vortex Diamondback HD 10x42
As part of looking of doing a product review you have to establish a baseline. On this review we are going to be using the Vortex Diamondback HD 10x42 as the benchmark. The Vortex DB HD 10x42 are by volume the most sold pair of binoculars in the United States. There are more of these in the hands of shooters and hunters than any other 10x42 binoculars on the market. I personally have been packing these in my hunting gear and truck for years. They have been the perfect match of Price and Features to fit most Average Joe’s needs. I’ve enjoyed these binoculars and would strongly recommend them to anyone that is looking for a do it all pair of binoculars.
The comparison between may seem like an Apples to Oranges comparison. But I was really surprised when I took these binoculars head to head.
It was explained to me that the NEOS line was produced to meet the entry level market place. Getting the budget minded hunter a pair of good binoculars with a Lifetime Warranty at a great price. I personal think they hit that mark out of the park. Let’s get into the meat and potatoes.
Here are things I found when comparing the two.
Overall Feel – How did the units feel in my hands? Both are rubber coated, giving a feel that if you drop them they aren’t going to break. The Vortex DB felt more streamlined refined feel. While the NEOS had a meaty “Let Me Get-A-Hold of That” feel. I would not say I felt better than the other.
Eyecups – When picking up a pair of binoculars the first thing that I do is deploy the Eyecups. The DB units worked as expected. The NEOS worked as designed. Not as smooth, but got the job done.
Center Focus Wheel – Same as the Eyecups, the focus on the DB’s were smooth and seamless. Allowing for easy adjustment to find focus from target to target. The NEOS were not as smooth. Causing the user to persuade the dial to get where it needed to be to find focus. Once in focus the wheel held true and did not require constant adjustment.
Diopter- Exact same experience as the Center Focus Wheel. DB nice and smooth, NEOS needing persuasion.
Lens Caps – Some people never use them. They get tossed back in the box or right into the garage. Being one that is anal-retentive about clean glass, they are a must. The Eyecup rainguard covers were on par with each other. The front objective lens covers on the other hand are a different Story. The NEOS would just randomly fall out. While having them sit on the counter I would just look at them and one would fall off. Don’t waste your time using them for the NEOS, just leave them in the box.
Accessories – Both come with your standard Lens Cloth and Neck Strap. The NEOS came with a standard binocular carrying case. Vortex recently upped their game and now includes their GlassPak Harness Case with the binoculars directly from the factory. Sweet add on!
So by now it may seem I’m very biased and beating up on the NEOS, but let’s get to the last point.
Glass Quality and Clarity – As stated the Vortex DB are the standard of “Good Glass” for the Average Joe. I tested these units during Midday, they did very well going head to head. I was impressed. The field of view was a little better with the DB. But not enough for me to throw a stink about it. Now here comes the WOW moment. Dusk – I had focus points and went back and forth between the two as the last moments of day light started to escape the day. And to my astonishment the NEOS actually held their own till it was too dark to see. This is not what I was expecting.
Summary – Although the Athlon NEOS are a little on the unrefined side in production they are a pretty nice piece of glass for their price point. Perfect for the budget minded individual that can handle something rough around the edges but when it comes down to it they work. Athlon really hit it out of the park with The NEOS for those hunters. For the Range I would say these would be ok for using it to Zero a rifle or call impacts at 1 single target at a time out to 300-400 Yards. I would not recommend this for PRS shooters. If this fits your bill enjoy the units for half the money.