After my recent foray of posts covering reticles and zeros, I took a look into the gun safe and looked at the various riflescopes I’ve accumulated (it’s not a large number). As I glanced at the glass, I remember each purchase being filled with excitement and felt a little nostalgic as I recalled memories of experiences with each of the scopes. Funny how the new gear excitement is fleeting and we become more critical of gear features as time passes. Anyway, I came across the scope mounted on the long distance precision rifle and realized I haven’t yet given it a proper review.
The Athlon Cronus BTR 4.5-29×56 FFP rifle scope is arguably my favorite scope of the lot in the gun safe. Since it’s also among the most expensive (with a $1400 street price), I’m also very critical of it and I don’t think it’s perfect for all applications. However, it has a large combination of really good features.
This is a large scope which should be obvious given the 56mm objective lens diameter given in the model name. It also has a large 34mm diameter tube. The result is a phenomenal light gathering ability and a generous field of view through extremely clear glass. While I have limited exposure to more expensive riflescopes, I can say that I’ve spent several hours looking through this glass on several occasions and remain impressed by the edge to edge clarity of the glass without experiencing any noticeable eye fatigue. I’m not going to claim this is the best glass ever made and best scope ever assembled, but it’s among the best I’ve spent notable time with.
The biggest downside to a large scope is the weight. This scope weighs in at 35.8 ounces which makes this also the heaviest scope I’ve worked with. This is definitely something to keep in mind for activities where weight is a concern. For me, it was definitely a reason I didn’t simply put this scope on the lightweight hunting rifle.
I really like the exposed elevation and windage turrets on this scope for a few reasons. First off, the tactile adjustment clicks are outstanding making it a breeze to count and leave no doubt of an adjustment taking place. The adjustable zero stop on the elevation turret is a really nice and welcomed feature that makes it painless to quickly undo any adjustments back to the rifle’s zero. The elevation and windage turrets have a generous total travel of 32 MIL and 18 MIL respectively which is ideal for long range applications. I’ve had zero issues with tracking and zero retention even when putting this scope through its paces with the punishing recoil of the .338 Lapua Magnum.
On the left side, opposite to the windage turret, are the parallax and illumination adjustment knobs. The reticle illumination adjustment is on the outside and also has a crisp tactile feedback. There are eleven different illumination intensity settings with an off setting available between each intensity level. The battery is housed within the illumination adjustment knob. The chief complaint I have about this scope is how difficult the battery cap can be to remove. However, it does provide a very secure tight seal around the CR2032 battery.
The inner adjustment knob is on the inside, closest to the scope’s main tube, offers parallax adjustment from 25 yards to infinity with several hash marks and labels for various distances that I’ve never actually used. This adjustment doesn’t have any tactile feedback which isn’t something I would want or imagine other folks would want.
As the model name suggests, the magnification range on this scope starts with a minimum magnification of 4.5 and can be increased with the magnification power ring up to a maximum of 29. The previously mentioned generous field of view at 100 yards is 24.8 feet with the lowest magnification setting and is reduced to 3.83 feet at the maximum magnification setting.
The eye relief on this front focal plane scope is 3.6-3.8″ which is inline with the eye relief found on other large front focal plane scopes with strong magnification.
Last but not least is the Christmas tree illuminated reticle. This is currently my favorite reticle on the scopes I have access to. The reference hash marks and dots are very fine and can be hard to use at the lowest magnification setting. This is due to the nature of front focal plane scopes where the reticle is magnified along with the objective. The other thing to note is that at higher illumination intensities the red illumination can “starburst” here and there on the reticle. I’m fairly certain this is a function of my astigmatism rather than a defect with the scope (I’ve experienced this with other scopes as well) and is akin to folks with astigmatism tend to experience this with red dot sights.
Overall, I think very highly of this scope. It works very well for long distance precision shooting, which is the primary application of the rifle I’ve mounted this scope on. I’ve also noticed a small handful of pros who compete in precision rifle shooting competitions compete with this scope. That gives me a bit of confidence that my opinions of this scope are completely misplaced. As always, your mileage may vary.