Not many people know the company Apex Tactical, which would not surprise us here at Sniper Central, as Apex Tactical is a small optical company that essentially only has one scope offering. It so happens that this one scope offering is a 6-25x50mm Tactical rifle scope that is designed for the long range tactical world. We received the Apex Tactical rifle scope a while ago but have just now had the opportunity to give it a full review which is contained here on this page.
According to the Apex Tactical web page, they have been in business since 2004 and as far as I can tell, this 6-25x50mm model is the only scope that has been in their lineup. The scope comes packaged in a typical scope box with cut out foam for the scope to fit in. There is a small instruction booklet and some bikini style scope caps included with the scope as well as a lens cloth.
The scope tube itself is a one piece tube made from aircraft grade aluminum and is 30mm in diameter. The overall finish is a matte black that appears to be high quality and has a nice even look to it. Most of the markings on the scope are bright white which does show up well, but also is a bit “anti” tactical, especially the large Apex Tactical logo on the side focus knob. The shape of the tube is a traditional shape that does not taper too fast, or too slow, but does leave a decent amount of tube area to mount the scope with rings. At 16″ long and nearly two pounds, the overall size of the scope is fairly large but not in the class of the “huge” scopes that tend to be popular in the higher end scope market.
The price is in the mid price category competing with Burris TAC 30 and XTRs, Leupold Mk ARs, Nikon Monarchs and the higher end Bushnell 4200 and 6500 series of scopes. The price is above that of Chinese sourced scopes but there is no indication of the origin of manufacture for the tube and mechanical parts, but Apex does indicate that the glass is sourced from Japan. The scope only carries a 5 year warranty which causes me to raise an eyebrow as most mid quality scopes will carry a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects.
The eyepiece has a fast focus adjustment with just minor indentions on it which are there to help with gripping the eyepiece, but are not really deep enough to help much. But you typically only need to set the reticle/eyepiece focus once and it usually remains fairly fixed. There is a large adjustment range to cover just about anyone’s eyes with or without glasses. The eye piece also has a rubber ring on the end to help minimize skin damage for those that get too close during firing and receive a “scope kiss”. The eye relief on the scope is 3.5″+ though, so that should not be a problem. There is an indicator hash on the body of the scope, but the reference dot on the eye piece is only visible once you have adjusted the eye piece most the way out, so I’m not sure it is really much use.
The Apex Tactical scope does have an illuminated reticle and the brightness control knob is at an angle up on the eye piece, this allows the operator to be able to see the elevation and side focus knobs without being obscured by the brightness control knob. There are 11 brightness settings for the reticle and the brightness control knob is quite stiff. There are raised ribs on the knob to help with gripping it but they are not very tall and are fairly smooth making getting a good grip on the knob difficult, which in turn makes changing the brightness a challenge at times. The battery goes into the top of the knob which has a “coin” slot in it to help get that battery cap removed. Each of the 12 settings (11 brightness settings plus off) have a stop, or click, and the functionality works well. Only the very center crosshairs on the reticle are illuminated, so performing mil readings in low scenarios will be difficult, especially with the ghost dots which we’ll get to a bit later in the review.
In front of the illumination control is the power selector ring that controls magnification from 6-25x. The power selector ring has the same shallow indentions as the eye piece and again the control is a bit stiff. But there is a larger protrusion that rises up and does a good job of helping the operator manipulate the magnification ring. The power numbers are clearly marked in white, though they are flat causing the operator to have to raise their head to see what power the scope is set on. Because this is a second focal plane scope, the mil reticle is only accurate at one give power, 10x in this case. There is no indicator on the power ring to remind the operator what power setting the reticle is set for. If desired, the operator can also set the power on 20x and then the distances between dots would be .5 mils, allowing for more accurate measurement.
The elevation and windage knobs, as well as the side focus, are set up on an elevated shoulder that is flat and a bit longer than most. The elevation and windage knobs are the same size and shape and are tall with a knurled end on them. There is also a unique device on the end of the knob that is a screw down device to lock the actual elevation and windage knobs. There are several other scopes on the market that have a similar design and the idea is to keep the external knobs from accidentally moving without the operator knowing it. The ones on the Apex Tactical scope screw down to lock the knob and then you loosen them to free the knobs back up. I’m not a huge fan of these devices as snipers tend to set the knobs and check them quite frequently and will typically know where the knobs are set and may not like fiddling with the little screw device when trying to quickly make a change. But, they do work and there have been times when external knobs can get moved without the operator knowing.
The elevation knob itself is tall and similar to the Leupold M1 knobs and there is an elevated turret that it sits in with a very clear reference mark that stays fixed and is easy to see from behind the scope. The knurled end again is smoothed and there is not as good of an area to grip as I would like to see, but the clicks are positive with good tactical indication as well as a metallic audible click as well. Apex Tactical indicates that the internal gears are steel on steel which should lead to good durability over time. There is 15 MOA of adjustment per revolution and Apex Tactical lists 50 MOA of total elevation adjustment for the scope. This particular sample has 48 MOA of vertical adjustment. For a long range scope I would like to see more vertical adjustments, but with a 20 MOA base, it can work fine. The knob is clearly marked for each full MOA with a number and each .25 MOA increment with a hash. There are also horizontal hash marks to help keep track of how many revolutions you have traveled. There are no indicators visible from behind the scope to indicate which way is up or down, you need to look on top of the knob to see the arrows. The windage knob is the same as the elevation knob in every way.
The focus knob is located on the left of the scope and slightly forward of the elevation and windage knobs. It is a different shape than the elevation and windage knob and is not as tall and has no lock. It moves smoothly and is marked from 10 yards to infinity, but with a fairly small adjustment space between 100 and 700. The force is not as great to adjust the focus knob as the other controls and so the shallow indentions do offer enough gripping in this case to adjust the focus.
The reticle on the scope is what Apex Tactical calls a “Ghost-Mil” reticle. It is essentially a traditional Mil-Dot reticle but with hollowed circles instead of solid dots on the reticle. There is also a tiny little dot in the middle of the hollow circle that is intended to aide with more accurate mil measurements and to also allow viewing smaller targets at longer ranges through the dots. There are also 6 mils in each direction instead of the traditional 5 between the center crosshairs and the thicker stadia. There is a small solid dot at the half mil marks as well. The Ghost-Mil concept I think is a decent idea, but the circles are so small in this case that you really cannot see much through them and the tiny dot in the center of them is all but invisible unless viewing a plain, light colored target; I had issues with seeing the dots on various dark or complex targets. I did find the thicker center crosshair and dot to be a good aiming point though. A diagram of the reticle can be seen below
The glass and lens coatings on the scope are decent and seem on par with other scopes in the same price category. For testing purposes we mounted the scope on our traditional “mule” test rifle, a Remington 700P chambered in 308 Win, and conducted the standard battery of tests. The mechanics of the scope seemed to perform as desired without major hiccup. We shot the scope through the box and the adjustments seem to be accurate and repeatable. We also had some testing to do with a Barrett M82A1 which we needed a scope for and the Apex Tactical was sitting on the bench, so I put it on the Barrett 50 BMG for some longer range shooting and durability testing.
While mounted on the Barrett the scope held up without any problems and the zero remained fixed and the adjustments held. With the steel internals and lockable turrets I would expect the scope to hold up under strong recoil without any problems and this proved to be the case with the testing we did. The testing phase with the Barrett also was during some sub freezing temperatures which did not pose any problems either. Mechanically the scope seems to work well, optically it did fine also.
All in all, the scope isn’t bad. But there are certainly some things that need some refinement such as the stiff knobs combined with mediocre gripping surfaces. Some improvements to markings and visibility of controls as well as refinement in other areas such as the reticle would go a long way to improving the scope for tactical use. I would probably recommend removing the locking turrets and trying to get some more vertical adjustments in order to make the scope better suited to long range sniping work as well. The 5 year warranty probably needs to be increased to show confidence in their product as well as demonstrate quality. The company is new, and it is a new scope offering, perhaps with time and a willingness to improve the product it could become even better.
Sniper Central – 2010