looking for a scope that you can hang on a Thompson Contender for Field Pistol
competition during the shooting season, and then switch over to a big bore
rifle for hunting in the fall, the Alpen Apex 4x16 would be a extremely viable
choice. In my humble opinion, a good 4 X 16 is probably one of the most
versatile powered scopes on the market. In fact, Iím so enthusiastic about 4 X
16 scopes, I currently have three.
While itís true
that the very top competitors in Field Pistol will use much higher powered
optics, many, many people who arenít part of that elite club just arenít ready
yet for the super magnifications, so the 4 X 16 is a good intermediate step. A
4 X 16 also offers the advantage of a significantly wider field of view. This
is important as itís very easy to get on the wrong target with one of the
super powered scopes because their fields of view are so limited.
A 4 X 16 also
has the advantage that at the lower portion of its range, it makes a very good
close quarters deer scope. If youíre hunting elk at longer ranges, no
problem. Thereís still plenty of power there to accommodate the need. Even
better, when cranked all the way up to 16X, they can be used very effectively
for antelope at extended distances, or even for small targets like ground hogs
out to 250 yards or so.
a number of 4 X 16ís out there, one of my very favorites is the new Alpen
Apex. I was lucky enough to actually check out and play with a prototype of
this scope several months ago. I was very impressed with it at that time and
gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up to the Alpen management. Well, Iím happy to
report that the production model is actually even a bit nicer than that first
Like all of
the other members of the Apex line, the most distinguishing feature of the
4x16 is their big bubba 50mm objective lens. This is a very large lens so
youíll have to mount it in high rings if you should want to put it on a rifle.
Itís also a high quality, fully multi-coated lens that sucks in photons like a
massive gravity well in the Gamma quadrant. The result is a impressively
bright image that would make even many spotting scopes envious.
having significant dimensions up front, itís also a long scope - measuring
just under 15 inches. The advantage of that length is that it provides a
generous three inches of mounting space both in front and behind the
elevation/windage knobs - which is plenty to accommodate just about any
situation. Additionally, the weight comes in at 23 ounces which means itís no
Let me just
make a quick observation about weight in scopes. Obviously, if a scope is
going on a gun thatís going to be carried around all day long, weight is an
important consideration. If a gun is not going to be carried around all day,
itís less of a consideration. As long a scope isnít going to push the weight
of your gun over a competition limit, scope weight can actually be an
advantage in dampening body/crosshair movement while scoping a target. Itís
also going to help absorb recoil as well. Those are real world advantages. One
more point - as a general rule, heavier scopes have more glass in them than
lighter scopes. That means they have more internal lenses for better image
quality, and all those lenses are made of glass, not plastic.
So what does the Apex look like? The exterior of the scope sports a high
quality, glossy black matte, hard coat anodized finish. The objective lens
markings and the Alpen logo appear in subdued gold lettering. Additionally,
the markings on the power ring are in a brighter colored gold which is easier
to read. Horizontal ridges on the objective and power rings provide a useable
gripping surface. I found both rings were somewhat stiff to turn but not
The target knobs are the low profile type. I have to admit that Iíve come
around to preferring the lower knobs over the traditional super high knobs.
Itís a personal preference thing, but I just think that the lower knobs give a
scope a more streamlined, and modern appearance. Setting the zero on the knobs
is very easy. Just use a quarter or a nickel to remove the slotted screw on
the top of the turret, then lift the
turret ring off the mounting and re-orient the ď0Ē with the index mark.
the screw, and youíre done. I also found the clicks on the windage and the
elevation controls to be very firm and very positive. Besides being able to
distinctly hear the clicks, I was actually able to feel the clicks snapping
into place through the turret. Perfect. BTW, the clicks will move the point of
impact a quarter of an inch. Thereís also a rubber gasket at the base of each
knob which forms an effective weather seal when the knob cover is screwed
down. Itís interesting that some very expensive scopes donít have this small,
but significant feature.
the rest of the Apex line, the 4 X 16 Alpen features a fast focus eyepiece. As
you know from my other reviews, I prefer fast focusing eyepieces because
theyíre - fast. A quick half turn one way or another will get the crosshairs
razor sharp in usually five seconds or less. On the other hand, the
traditional lock ring/fine threaded focus arrangement found on other scopes
seems to take forever to get things dialed in. A ribbed rubber ring around the
eyepiece provides a good gripping surface when making adjustments.
So, how do
things look in the Apex. Nice, very nice. The field of view at 100 yards is a
super wide 23 feet at 4X and a little over 6 feet at 16X. So even at top
magnification, youíll still have a nice wide view of things and should have no
problem picking up your target in a rapid fashion. Eye relief is a good three
is bright and clean at 16X, and at the lower powers, itís even better. As
mentioned before, the big 50 up front is funneling a lot of light down the
tube, so itís not too surprising that the picture is as bright as it is.
Additionally, there was absolutely no image distortion of any kind - not even
way out at the extreme edges. Colors are also true and correct with no tinting
or off shading. On many modestly priced scopes, colors can often be a shade or
two off from the real thing. Iíve even noticed off shading on some very
expensive Japanese scopes. However, the colors in the Alpenís image were dead
on. Resolution was also excellent. Edges were well defined and there was no
bleeding or softening even out at the extreme edge of the lens. Using my
standard home made resolution target which consists of several lines of ďOísĒ
in decreasing size, the Alpen was able to resolve 14 point type at 50 yards.
me say something about Alpenís quality control. Itís no secret that the great
majority of the sport optics products sold in the U.S.A. are made in Asia, and
this fact certainly applies to Alpen products as well. The standard procedure
for almost all companies importing these products is to randomly pull a couple
of scopes out of a shipment and run a quality check on them.
Alpen does it
a little differently. I happened visit the Alpen facility a couple of days
ago, and when I walked in, I found the owner/president out in the
warehouse. He was personally checking out the quality of a new shipment of
binoculars by looking through them at a set of resolution targets (including
my ďOĒ target) that were taped to a wall on the other side of the parking
lot. He wasnít just looking at a small number of random samples either. Each
and every set of binoculars in the shipment were personally examined. Binocs
that didnít pass his inspection were marked with a blue tag and set
aside. Theyíd be later returned to the manufacturer. I found out that he does
that for all of his products. Is that great or what? How many other companies
have their president or anyone else for that matter out in the warehouse doing
that? To be honest, I donít know of any. The point here is that when you
open the box on an Alpen product, you know itís going to be right.
In summary, I
have to say that the Alpen Apex 4 X 16 is a very, very well built product that
provides a ton of optical performance that will satisfy anyoneís needs in this
magnification range. Throw in the fact that when I did a quick internet
search, I found that it could be purchased for as little as just under $300.
Where else could you get a 50mm 4 X 16 of this quality for that price? Not
anywhere that I know of. In reality, Alpen should be selling this scope for at
least $500. Bottom line. If you want high quality and performance in a 4 X 16
at a very reasonable price, take a look at this Alpen. Iím pretty sure you Ďll
like it as much as I do.
ALPEN APEX 4X16