Athlon Helos 1-4.5x24 CMP/NRA Service Rifle optic

MattDK

Private
Minuteman
Jan 15, 2019
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The Athlon Service rifle optic has been on the market now for a few months, and Service Rifle shooters have had it in their hands now for awhile. I have had the final production prototype on my rifle since last October.

SR is a sport that is not especially demanding of optics (broad daylight, fixed distances of 200, 300, 400 and 600 yards) but unforgiving on tracking, since there is a fair bit of dialing in the sport from station to station day after day, and matches/leg points are often won by x count.

I approached Athlon about creating this scope back when SR scopes were just coming to market prior to the rules being official. I believe that was late 2015. I learned of Athlon here at the Hide when their scopes were just coming out and the company was soliciting a lot of feedback from the PRS community here.

At the time there was nothing specialized available that fit the sport's rules limitations, and SR has a lot of participation from juniors teams with a lot of young shooters whose parents are already getting hammered with costs for gear, travel, ammo etc. I wanted to see if Athlon could make an affordable scope for the sport. I got in touch with Kevin @ Athlon and he was open to the idea. But Service Rifle is a fairly niche market and it took awhile to get something together. But through it all, Athlon sought feedback from myself and a small group of shooters who were asked about the various bits and features we needed. In the end we got something that is working *really* well. The fact that we're starting to see extended reviews that say the tracking is on in the first place, and holding up over time, is really encouraging. There are other SR scopes on the market and thats not always what you hear - regardless of their buy-in cost.

Stuff that matters in Service Rifle:
  • 4.5x magnification matches rules-maximum
  • Good clear glass
  • Adjustable parallax down to 30 feet. Good for matches and can be dialed down for indoor practice. Eliminates the common use of a separate practice upper with an airsoft scope or similar on it.
  • Illumination - This was a feature almost dropped but kept after feedback from testers who found it worked great for practice work in the basement etc.
  • Bigass turrets with easy to read numbers for quick changes in the rapid stages. One revolution only on elevation eliminates a common problem where the shooter loses rotation count in between stages.
  • Firm, precise clicks. Not Kahles kind of clicks but not that price point, either.
  • Its got a great reticle. A little odd at first glance but within the context of shooting round fixed targets its turned out to be really popular. the reticle was probably the thing that went thru the most changes via shooter feedback over time. For the sport, only whats inside the circle matters, and even then for the most part only the floating 0.5moa dot and the space between the in-circle hashmarks is noticed while shooting. The rest of the reticle is mostly there for making the scope marketable to law enforcement, although the circle's size and diameter came from some published research on aperture sights and what works for white space around the target black.
The price point is a fraction of what you'd spend for some of the other scopes out there and in most cases the feature set is better or at the least equal to the top tier SR scopes.

Hopefully this scope will prove to be popular. It seems to be off to a great start, if the feedback on the National Match forum is any indicator. My thanks to Athlon for making this happen!

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