For regular followers of this blog, you know we don’t frequently do product reviews. That said, you will see several reviews over the next week or two as one of our members over at 2AOS made us a great offer to give back to the club when folks buy any Athlon optics from them- 10% off for you, 15% of the sale is donated back to the club, so a win for everyone!
However, none of the folks in senior club leadership were familiar with Athlon Optics, so we couldn’t necessarily endorse the products, and as a newer entry to the game, there’s not a ton of reviews out there for them, so we asked to see if we could demo a few pieces of gear to see what it was all about. And 2AOS and Athlon really stepped up. They sent us three different products to test out- this review is the first one we’re writing about.
So for the first optic we tested, our fearless leader of membership and training got to test out the Midas Tac, which has an MSRP of $689, on sale for $589, and you can get it for around $530 with your discount code. Let’s start of with shipping- 2AOS had register on their website and everything was ordered and shipped through it- the process was simple, and shipping from Kansas to California happened over the weekend- ordered on Friday and got it on Monday. Everything was extremely well packed from 2AOS, and the Athlon packaging was also done very well- just how you’d expect with foam protection to keep it from getting banged around too much.
The Midas is setup clearly as a tactical scope, and one of the key features about it is the “First Focal Plane” (FFP). If you’re unfamiliar with scope lingo, which some of you may be, this refers to how the reticle is embedded. With a standard scope, when you are working at longer ranges, the bullet drop is only consistent at a set magnification. So if you crank it up from 4x to 16x, the bullet drop will not match the ballistics drop chart for the scope and load. The FFP fixes that issue by magnifying the reticle as you zoom in, so you can use any zoom level and still have your drop dialed in at any range. Until the last couple of years, this was only found on really high end scopes, and it’s nice to see they included this feature on this mid-tier offering.
Other important things I noticed when getting it out of the box and setup on my AR- the focus can be set from 10 yards to infinity- a lot of scopes will have a minimum of 25 or 50 yards- this made it handy to do some testing at home before it made it out to the range. It would also make it a great airgun scope if you were in the market for a higher end scope for that purpose, since the ranges can be quite a bit shorter for those. The top turret is not covered, and is similar in size to my Bushnell HDMR H59, and the turret adjustments are firm with a positive click- not mushy in any way. The horizontal adjustment turret is covered with a cap (to prevent accidental movement) and also has a very positive feel. I used a grid target and a rifle stand to verify that the adjustments worked as they should, although it was not a professional level test, just making sure that the adjustments worked and returned to where they were supposed to, with no issues.
When looking through the glass at 4x when I pulled it out, the glass is clear and bright, with no obvious hazing or distortion, but this is also where one of the flaws of the FFP comes into play- the trade off between fine detail and visibility. At 4x the reticle is very small. You can use it for a basic X, but using any of the ranging features of the scope at minimum magnification is going to be about impossible. Some manufacturers compensate by enlarging the reticle at the expense of covering more of your target at a higher magnification- it’s mostly personal preference on which way they go. A .003 MIL center dot makes for nice precise shooting at 16x, but will make for a very fine reticle at minimum magnification.
At the higher magnification levels, the scope still pulls in a good amount of light, and retains clarity- to be fair, I was not able to test this in the summer when you’d get more heat ripple, but on the cloudy and cool November day in northern California, I had zero issues with the clarity- You can see the Midas on the right and a comparison shot from my Leupold (both set to 16x) on the left here, both have the same tube size, with the biggest difference being the FFP (and more useful reticle) on the Athlon. Being a cloudy day, the light pickup was good to go.
One of the only downsides to this particular scope is the exit pupil at higher magnification- 1.8mm. Make sure that your cheek weld is repeatable and the distance is correct, or you will struggle to get a sight picture. On an AR where you use nose to charging handle, and have the scope setup to work with that, the problem is largely mitigated, but it’s something to be aware of, and if you don’t get lined up on the rifle at the right distance and position, it can lead to scope shadowing. As a comparison, my Leupold AR 6-18 has a 2.2mm exit pupil, which doesn’t sound like much, but it is noticeable. The larger 44mm objective lens on the Midas gives you an extra 12ft to your field of view at 100 yards compared to the Leupold which is at 40mm.
So I got it mounted up on the AR and headed to the range.
It was a nice clear afternoon at the range, after having some on and off rainy weather in Northern California for the last week, so it was a perfect day to do some testing. I was planning on spending an hour or two for at range testing, and wound up at around an hour and a half. So some basics from that test.
Does it hold zero? Yep. Are the adjustments easy at the range. Yep, but. There was more than once that, on the horizontal adjustment, that the turret seemed to skip an additional click over. I couldn’t get it to do it consistently, and it may have just been the fact that I was purposely moving it all over the place to make sure it would get back to zero after making adjustments. Which is did just fine at.
Light pickup was good, it wasn’t warm enough outside to see how the scope would handle heat mirage. With the 30mm tube and 16x, the exit pupil is still usable at the range, as long as you have your rifle setup to get yourself a consistent cheek weld in the right spot. It was an interesting trip for me, as I wasn’t shooting for groups- I know the rifle I was using does about 1″ groups at 100 with good reloads, worse than that with some factory ammo (I’m looking at you Freedom Munitions).
So would I recommend this scope? It seems to be a good value- less expensive than something like a Vortex Razor, with a bit better optics than my Leupold (which was a little less money). The turret clicks are positive and repeatable, with no degradation doing wild clicks in all directions. The parallax to 10 yards is a nice feature as is the side focus and FFP setup, with the scope being sturdy and well built. It’s not a $1000 optic, but it’s also not priced that way- it’s budget friendly at $689 MSRP, and $589 on sale- you can also knock an extra 10% off by using the LGC Member Discount code that you got in your inbox.
If you can’t find it, send us a message with your membership number and we’ll kick it back over to you again, and all purchases between now and December 31 give the LGC 15% of the total sales of Athlon over at 2AOS.com. Don’t forget to become a member or make a donation to the LGC during the pledge drive!