I am currently buying various scope brands for comparison purposes. I watch reviews from Cyclops on YouTube and he never steers me wrong.
I received a Tract Optics 4-20x50 a few months ago and I just ordered an Arken 6-24x50 yesterday. I have a Vortex HS-T 6-24x50 and a Leupold LRT 8.5-25x50 also. So the Arken is $450 on the low end and the Tract was $1295 but has the German Schott glass in it which is supposedly superior clarity etc. I am taking them to the range on an overcast day towards late afternoon to compare them. Since the Tract is 3 times the money I’m not going ti be happy if it’s not a VASTLY superior sight picture than the others especially the Arken. OTOH I could look at it like I found Tract and Leup quality at a vastly lower price. I’ll update with my findings after I get the Arken. Which could take a while.
Yeah Tract is a great product and great people but if it doesn’t blow the Arken out of the water on resolution you would have no reason to spend 3 times the money on one.
I was putting rings and lens hoods on the scopes today so was making more comparisons. One I realized was that with the 34 mm tube the Arken has 32 MILS of adjustment whereas the Tract has only 20! That’s a huge advantage for Arken. I also hadn’t noticed that Arken has locking turrets and zero stop like the Tract. The more I’m studying the Arken the more amazing it’s looking. I don’t know how they can stuff so many features into a $450 scope. Then offer a scope level, a shooting bag and a throw lever for a few bucks more? It’s absolutely the value king that’s for sure. The Bushnell Match is right there also but no zero stop which is a big negative. However their turrets are an even 10 mils per rotation which really make doing the math in the field much easier than Arken’s 8. I’m sure that was a design tradeoff on their part because their turrets are much larger than B’s. At this price point/value it’s really nit picking on Arken and Bushnell.
I will try to post some pics tomorrow showing the Arken next to the others I’ve been comparing.
those are some instructions for such a test. Mostly used for scanners and borescopes these days but formerly used for any optic. I placed mine at 100y, fwiw.
the camera test articles you intend to use will serve the same purpose.
that is good info re: Tract. They've been on my radar as well.
I don’t know what that is. Can you explain? I will be using resolution testing sheets the camera lens people use to get something more than subjective observations.
As I said above if the Tract and Leupold don’t way outperform relative to the Arken and Bushnell then the market will hand them their asses. I really like one other feature of the Tract. It’s owned by two guys who are basically online about 18 hours a day that you can chat with or call for personal advice. They’re very aware that asking someone to drop serious coin on their scopes sight unseen is a big deal. So they offer a no hassle return if you don’t like what you ordered.
When I received mine I had never seen a FFP reticle so didn’t like it. I called them and asked how to return it. They just asked me if there was some defect they should know and I thought here we go with the runaround. I told them the scope was solid but I didn’t like the reticle. To which he said ok send the scope back and we’ll issue a refund on your card. So I learned firsthand these guys are honest and legit.
So I kicked it around for another day and just couldn’t send it back. It was the most amazing scope I had seen to date and I decided I’d just get used to FFP which I did. I have a long history of being resistant to changes but eventually embracing them and I figured this is just another thing to learn. So I called them back and said I’m keeping it. Jon said of course he was glad I decided to keep it. Try calling the owners of L or B. I really like the direct to consumer sales model but that means you can’t walk into a big box store and physically look at one. Absolute integrity is vital to Tract and Arken both and I know firsthand Tract means what they say and I have no doubts about Arken based on their explosive demand and watching a YouTube interview Cyclops did with one of their guys. Now an interesting fact about Bushnell and their Match Pro. They only sell it directly from their website to contain costs and ship in in a very plain cardboard box. So apparently the startups like Arken are at least spooking them enough to give direct sales a try. From their wait times on the Match Pro it working very well for them also.
I think this new trend of small direct to consumer model of sales is shaking things up in a good way. It makes the company very attentive to what their customers want and need. If we all support them they will thrive.
Will you be using a USAF-1951 target to quantify the results with groups and elements?
Ok so I did an initial comparison on these four scopes:
Tract Toric 4-20x50 $1295
Leupold 8.5-25x50 LRP $1000
Bushnell Match Pro 6-24x50 $500
Arken SH-4 6-24x50 $450
A little background first. I had been out of the shooting sports for quite a few years and just in the last couple got back to them. What I found was vastly superior equipment at much better values than back in the day. Technology has advanced by leaps and bounds so while I used to be very knowledgeable I’ve had kind of a Rip Van Winkle experience. Sort of like a model A and a self driving Tesla are both cars but they have more differences than similarities. So here goes.
As I stated earlier I had some surprising observations and some previous assumptions that are no longer valid.
One was a quality scope with repeatable adjustments would start at around $800.
Another, a small company selling their products directly couldn’t possibly compete with a large well established and trusted company like Leupold. And who could trust them enough to buy sight unseen anyway? If you spend twice the money you’re getting twice the quality.
Who needs FFP or christmas tree reticles?
This one was because I was thinking hunting scope and not longer range precision shooting.
Now of course there are exceptions to every rule but I either got a fluke bunch of examples or there’s a new breed of scopes coming out!
This is the first time I’ve ever compared products side by side and what I learned was this. When I compare them side by side I see difference both good and bad I wouldn’t notice if looking at each at separate times. So this will be my new normal from now on.
My initial surprise, I was literally shocked at the build quality of all four scopes. I expected a downward trajectory (pun intended) from higher to lower price points. That assumption was proven false. Both the Arken and
the Bushnell were right with the Tract at 2.5 times the money!
The Arken looks the beefiest and for that reason they should name it after a tank! It looks like a $3000 scope. As to the specs. The Arken has a 34 mm tube while the others are all 30 mm which gives it much more vertical travel than the 30’s. Which is why it’s the heaviest at 36.6 ozs. The T is 34, the B is 30 and the L at 23.
Leopold is still the king in lightweight in each category.
All are similar in magnification and all are 50 mm objective lense and parallax adjustable. All are similar length.
All are mil based and all but the L are illuminated and FFP which I have discovered I really prefer. There are different approaches in them however. The Tract illuminates the entire reticle, the B just a few mils around the center and the Arken mostly the center. I’m initially thinking the Tract may be too much illumination because you only need the be really clear at your aiming point. That being said, it also has 11 settings so it doesn’t blow out the sight picture with internal glare.
This is something I learned about FFP reticles. At lower power they are unusable. UNTIL they are illuminated which then makes them usable in hunting situations. So with illumination I now prefer them to SFP reticles.
All have very smooth adjustments, smooth not because of loose tolerances but because of precision manufacturing. There’s no discernible difference between the $1300 Tract and the $450 Arken! All have similar eyeboxes with the lone exception of the Leupold which is small in comparison. The Leupold was also the only one without a fast focus ring.
Now to the turrets. Here’s where things get interesting. I’m guessing there’s a large bit of subjective preference here. Not so much better or worse but just different. The Leupold was the quieter and the Bushnell was the the loudest. All had very precise clicks but differences in ease of turning. The L felt almost too easy to turn and clicks close together like you could overshoot and jump them. I didn’t like these turrets at all. The A and the T both are similar in audible and tactile while the B is noticeably louder and stiffer to turn. Which upon initial reaction I like the most but could change with actual usage. They felt most precise and you aren’t going to accidentally jump clicks with this one. The T has locking turrets so they obviously won’t move inadvertently. So here’s the subjective part. Will you be annoyed having to pop up the turrets every time you want to move them? Will you be annoyed with stiffer turrets and decide you prefer smoother quieter turrets with the possibility of them moving? Will you like the more audible click so you don’t have to look at the turret‘s settings or will you want them quieter for something like varmint hunting where you would just perceive it as noise? The A and the T have the similar large knobs that you could probably operate with mittens on. The L and the B are noticeably smaller but still easy to see and operate.
As expected the T has more features and German glass so it had better be vastly superior to the B and the A or they are going to get their asses handed to them.
I never would have expected to hear myself say this but the only scope I regret buying is the L. I bought both the Arken AND the Bushnell together for less than the L. Even if the L was $450 I wouldn’t buy it as it has less features than all the others.
So here’s the two caveats that may change my opinion of these scopes.
Glass resolution and reliability.
Obviously glass is the #1 feature followed by turret accuracy. So the Leupold would have to be superior even to the Tract for me to keep it but I’m guessing the German glass will win out. HOWEVER, if the T is not vastly superior to the B and the A then Arken is going to be both Leupold’s and Tract’s new nightmare.
So these are my observations and I’ll do a follow up after range testing.
I unboxed 4 scopes last night and did a cursory inspection and comparison with some surprising observations. I’ll post more later as I have a honeydo list to tend to LOL
My post is under “GOT SCOPE”
Check out my July 15 post comparing that same Tract to the Arken Sh-4 and Bushnell Match Pro in low light conditions. You reminded me the Tract Toric has German glass and the scope is assembled in Japan.
The Tract should win hands down.. but will be interesting to see your perspective... Might test the tracking and then also consider.... can the SH4 do the job..? period? I know some NF guys that got some Arkens as in their view it works and I got more coin in my wallet now too.. but its no NF... but I don't need a NF on every rifle I own or I would be broke.