So youíve decided that you want a 6 X 24 variable rifle scope to put on your
Field Pistol gun. You like the idea of using a variable scope since youíre a
relatively newbie to Field Pistol silhouette competition. You reason that the
variable magnification will allow you to start off at a lower power where itís
easier to hold the crosshairs on the target from the standing position. Then
as your skill to control your swaying body and the wiggling crosshairs
improves, you can slowly increase the magnification to the point where youíre
finally able to use the whole 24 enchiladas. Additionally, during the off
season, that 6 X 24 will make a great varmint scope and is perfect for rifle
silhouette as well. No doubt about it, a good 6 x 24 can provide a ton of
utility in a lot of different areas, making it one of the most cost effective
multiple use scopes around.
You also know that you want a quality scope, not a low end ďpromotionalĒ
model. While some of these cheap scopes have improved over the last couple of
years, you want the confidence, reliability, and top performance at all powers
that comes from well made product. (Promotional scopes are notorious for
having a poor image at their highest magnifications.) On the other hand, you
canít go crazy either. After consulting with your accountant and financial
advisor (the little lady who is the mother of your children), you decide that
around $350 is doable without exploding the family budget and snatching the
Pop Tarts out of the said childrenís sticky little hands.
making your decision, itís time to start researching that stack of catalogs
thatís accumulated over the winter. Well the first thing you discover is that
thereís not very many 6 x 24ís around. While thereís a ton of 6 x 20ís on the
market (almost all of which far exceed your budget), 6 x 24ís seem to be a
little scarce. Well, you want as much power as you can get for your buck so
you press on with your search.
Then you come
across the Alpen Apex 6 x 24 x 50. Mmmmmm. You already know that Alpen makes
that really nice 80mm waterproof spotting scope that a lot of people seem to
be using these days. In fact, didnít they donate one to the Internationals
last year? It also costs only around $350. Hey, I seem to remember they also
make those 60 and 50mm waterproof spotting scopes that won the Outdoor Life
Best Buy awards for two years running. And donít they make those really nice
Apex binoculars that have all the same technical features that those super
expensive brands use - like phase coatings, and BAK-4 glass prisms? You know,
now that you think about it, Alpen puts out a really good product for the
money. Hey, letís take a closer look.
Well, you first note that the most distinguishing feature of the scope is that
big, humungous 50mm
objective lens. Man that thing is huge. Itís a good thing that youíve got
that set of extra high rings sitting in the closet. We need to put that big
baby in a reeeeeally high chair.
It was only a
few years ago that 50mm lenses were only found on spotting scopes. Today,
theyíre becoming more and more popular on rifle scopes and for good reason.
First, big lenses mean a heck of a lot more light is entering the tube, and
more light = a brighter image. Makers of inexpensive promotional scopes often
will hang large aperture lens on their products to make up for a mediocre
optical design, poor quality materials, and a lack of lens coatings. While a
large lens can help overcome some of these deficiencies, it can only help so
much. However, when you couple a large objective lens with an expertly
designed optical train, high quality components, and full multi-coating, the
image becomes impressively bright - even at the very top magnification
powers. Indeed, this is exactly what you see in this Alpen.
brightness is one thing and resolution is another. As you well know, when you
crank up the magnification on a scope, resolution diminishes - sometimes
drastically. While at the range with the big fifty, I ran my standard
resolution test which consists of several rows of the letter ďOĒ in decreasing
sized fonts. The Alpen was able to easily resolve the smallest line (9 point).
In fact, it was resolving even smaller type on a standard rimfire target that
I also happened to have on my target board. I really donít know the size of
that lettering but I would guess it was probably around a 7 point font. This
was unmitigated first class performance.
Alpen 6X24X50 is a high quality scope at a very modest price."
advantage of a large diameter objective is the improved field of view. It
goes without saying that a 50mm lens will give you a wider field of view
than a 40mm at the same magnification. And, as anyone who has ever shoot
standing can tell you, a wider field of view is always preferable. Why?
when that image is dancing around on a row of targets, you want to be sure
that the target that youíre looking at is the one youíre supposed to shoot
and not the one thatís next in line. If a scope has a narrow field of
view, that can easily happen. At 100 yards, the Alpen 50mm provides a
generous field of view between 6 and 18 feet, depending on the
Like all variable scopes with these magnification powers, the Alpen is not a
dainty wallflower. Itís a very handsome, masculine looking scope sporting a
hard anodized, black matte finish. Hard anodizing means that when you tighten
up the rings, theyíre less likely to mar the surface finish. Subtle gold
lettering completes the picture. This is a big scope, but thatís to be
expected. If you want higher magnifications with a quality image, generally
speaking, you need longer focal lengths, and long focal lengths = a longer
tube. I found the scope measures 16.2 inches in length, which is only about a
half inch longer than my two 6 X 20 scopes. This means for only a little more
in extension, I got 4X more in magnification. Thatís a good trade off.
Another feature that I really liked, was the fast focus eyepiece. Instead of
the usual eyepiece assembly which rotates on fine threads and then uses a lock
ring to fix it in place, the Alpenís crosshairs could be brought into precise
focus in just a quarter to a half turn. A ribbed rubber ring at the end of the
eyepiece made gripping this adjustment even easier. Itís a personal thing I
know, but I just hate the time consuming turning and twiddling of trying to
focus a conventional eyepiece. This is much better.
are the low profile, finger adjustable target turrets. I found the clicks to
be firm, and very positive. There was absolutely no wiggle room or slop when
making adjustments. The amount of effort to move from one click to another was
also just right. Some scopes have really hard clicks and others move from one
adjustment to another so easily that itís easy to overshoot your setting. The
tactile feedback when moving the knobs on the Alpen was very good. Each click
= an eighth of an inch in movement at 100 yards.
adjusting the knobs was also very easy. All you had to do was just insert a
coin, like a nickel, into the slot on the top of the turret and back out a
large screw. Lift the cap and turn it so the ď0Ē is aligned with the index
mark, reinsert the screw, tighten, and youíre set. No problem.
also found both the objective lens and the power rings to be easy to adjust.
Some scopes, even some very expensive scopes, make turning these controls very
difficult. Some other objective rings will also bind when turned and will take
a breaking in period before they smooth out. Other rings can be too loose and
will turn off their settings after the gun has been fired a couple of
times. The Alpen adjustment rings worked smoothly with no binding right from
the get go - just right
found that this is a very reliable scope. Iíve been putting one through its
paces for probably around nine months now. Iíve hung it on everything from a
TC 22 rim fire, a 222 Kimber, and a Remington 30-06 coupled with some really
nasty 180 grain loads and itís never given me a bit of trouble. All Alpen
products come with a no bull lifetime warrantee. However, the chances are that
youíll never use it. If you do, youíll never have to worry about getting
hassled as Alpen goes the extra mile to keep its customers happy. To
illustrate, once when I visited their facility, they showed me a junky pair of
binoculars made by someone else that an individual sent in for repair. I mean
these things looked like a toy that had been run over with a pick up. It
wasnít even their product and the individual wanted Alpen to fix them for
free! Going that extra mile, they sent that person a brand new set of Alpen
binoculars. Is that great or what? Now donít go sending them that old pair of
trash binocs that you bought at K-Mart for $12.95 in 1979, hoping to get a new
set. Thatís not going to happen, but this incident illustrates that Alpen
stands behind itís products 110%.
I found that the Alpen Apex 6 X 24 X 50 is a very high quality, reliable
product with an exceptionally reasonable price tag. You can easily spend $450
and up to buy a more expensive scope, but why would you?