Conree Electronic Earmuffs

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Conree contacted me and sent me a their electronic earmuffs to test. Hearing protection is a must when participating any shooting sport because hearing loss is caused by exposure from loud noises above 85dB and once damaged, hearing loss can not be healed. Along with eye-protection, it’s not worth it to cheap out and use a product that doesn’t provide the minimum level of protection promised.

I had never heard of the Conree brand before which is not a good start when choosing hearing protection. Fortunately, I have the tools to test the earmuffs before wearing. So if they failed to reduce noise to a safe level, I wouldn’t take them out to the range.

The Conree ME123 headphones come in a Spartan black box with an illustration of the headphones. Inside the box was a ~1.5ft 3.5mm audio cable, user manual, and the headphones. The user manual was as Spartan as the box, with very little instructional information, repeated in multiple languages.

The headphones are black plastic and light weight. The headband had a faux leather cover and allowed the ear cups to fold into a compact 5x5x4.5 configuration. The headphones run on 2 x AAA batteries, housed in the left earcup.

The earcup’s foam earpads are comfortable and provide a good air seal and sound isolation. The AUX jack can be used to connect the headphones to phone or radio. The sound level is dependent on the headphones volume level; when turned off, no AUX sound can be heard. The speakers have poor bass response and high volume output from my computer sounded clipped, so these are not headphones you would want for hifi music listening.

In my audio testing the headphones reduced ambient noise from my handvac by approximately 27dB; this is 4dB better than Conree’s stated 23dB NRR (Noise Reduction Rating). While the noise profile of a high-speed vacuum motor is not the same as that of a .44magnum handgun, it is a good enough for me to feel it safe to test these headphones on the range.

At the range, I was pleased to find that the headphones were light weight and comfortable for the 1hr I spent shooting my 9mm Glock. The headphones did respectable job. Unlike some headphones by Earmor and Caldwell, gunfire noise was attenuated (reduced) but not completely cut off, so I was able to follow people’s conversations around me rather than completely dropped out.

What I would have liked is a bit more max volume. Many of us use supplemental foam earplugs under our electronic earmuffs when we shoot indoors. The Conree’s max volume was barely loud enough to hear speech around me without earplugs, and not enough to amplify natural sounds of prey animals that are useful in hunting.

Overall, these headphones compare well against my Howard Leight Impact Sports. Not quite as low-profile or as loud but very close in audio quality and a bit better sound seal around the ears. I would recommend them for smaller heads or kids for whom Impact Sports do not provide a comfortable and secure fit.

A few days after my range test, I discovered that I had forgotten to turn off the headphones. The LED light was still on but I could hear no sound through the headphones. The unit has an auto shut-off after about 4 hours. This did work in my case to deactivate the headphones except for the LED light, but it did conserve battery life which still held a full-charge based on the reading from my battery tester.

Available on Amazon from my Affiliate Link:

SunwayFOTO TT2340CE Tripod

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When I was offered a travel tripod by SunwayFOTO, I wasn’t expecting more than another clone Chinesium tripod that would likely last long before some screw stripped itself. What I got was a feather light carbon fiber tripod that impressed me.

This tripod comes in a black velvet pouch containing the folded and collapsed tripod and a plastic pouch containing four Allen wrenches (to tighten screw joints which work their way loose over time) and a cleaning cloth. While the velvet was probably meant to make it feel high end and protect the parts, it does make for a dust magnet.

The tripod weighed in at 1.67 oz on my scale and that includes the metal ballhead! The overall length when collapsed was barely 14″. Technically I’ve used lighter tripods but these were mini-tripods or accessory tripods; not real photo tripods that you could mount a full sized DSLR and telephoto lens with any confidence or stability, and certainly not at eye level. Fully extended, the tripod stands at 52″ in height, perfectly standard.

The ball head has a slight divot cut in the ARCA QR mount to make room for the tripod foot to rest in it, making the tripod just few millimeters smaller. Levers were used instead of twist heads for added torque on locking joints. These little design details make the SunwayFOTO stand out as a cut above typical tripods. As does it’s price, which is a around $220 as of this writing, so not as expensive as some higher-end carbon fiber tripods; it’s certainly not cheap.

The leg segments lock and unlock with a 180º twist at the feet. They utilize an internalized locking mechanism without individual locking rings at the segments, so extra care needs to be made if you attempt to retract an individual leg or segment, as twisting the outermost segment can transfer torque and unlock the previous segment. This makes adjustments on uneven surfaces tedious but this also makes deployment on normal level surfaces extremely fast.

I was able to unfold and depoly the tripod in under 19 seconds pretty much the first time without rushing it. And the leg extension and locking can be done essentially one handed. This makes this tripod ideal for guerrilla-style shooting where you have to get into position fast, get your footage an go.

The light weight, fast deployment, and compact size make this an ideal travel tripod or live event vlogging tripod. This will surely be my go-to tripod for my range videos and I’ll be sure to give those leg locks a thorough durability test in the near future.

This tripod is available from B&H and directly from SunwayFOTO.

How good is a free scope that comes with a rifle combo package?

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Last Black Friday, I bought a Savage Axis XP at Sportsman’s Warehouse that came with a Bushnell 4-12×40 scope and rings pre-installed in the rifle in the box. It was a great price and I assume Savage has been trying to sell through their remaining stock of the Axis now that the Axis II model has been out for a couple of years.

I didn’t hold high expectations for a “free” scope. I expected it to be about the same quality as Budget scopes by CVLife, Pinty, etc. with an unknown ability to hold up to the recoil of the .308 cal rounds the rifle was chambered for. Upon close inspection I wasn’t far off. I could not find a match for this scope in the Bushnell website? Bushnell does sell a Banner 4-12×40 but it looks nothing like this scope; with a side parallax knob instead of this scope’s AOE. It had the “Bushnell” logo on it but it looked more like a knock-off Bushnell.

I gave it a try on the rifle, going through about 50 rounds of 7.62mm breaking the rifle in and zeroing out the scope. The packaging says it was “factory bore-sighted”, which just means that you can get on paper. That I did and I was pleased and relieved to find that once zero’d the scope held its zero.

I fully expected to replace this free scope with one of the higher end scopes I’ve recently reviewed like the Hawk Sidewinder or Arken SH4. But after shooting with it, I decided to keep it on the Savage and keep the rifle stock. For a basic hunting rifle, the scope is perfectly acceptable. To their credit, as much as the Savage Axis is a budget rifle that does the job it’s designed to do, so does the scope they chose for it.

Group: -2
Element: 5

Build: 3
Glass: 3
Reticle: 3
Holds Zero: 5
Box Test: 5
Turrets: 3
Eye Box: 3
Value: 5 (It was free)


Power: 4-12x

Objective: 40mm

Sanag Multi-Adapter Powerbank

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Anybody who has been out on a trip or stuck on location knows the utility of a powerbank to keep your devices running when you can’t plug in to recharge. But if you’ve ever forgotten to bring the correct cable for your device, knows the frustration of that moment. Thankfully there are powerbanks that come with built in charging cables and this Sanag is one of the most versatile in that respect.

I was sent a Sanag 10,000mAh travel powerbank to test and evaluate. It comes with 4 built-in cables: USB-A, Apple Lightning (iOS), Micro USB, and USB-C. The unit can charge up to 4 devices simultaneously using its various cables and plugging an additional cable to its USB-A port.

The cables are designed to fold almost flush into the shell. The shell is of the unit is black plastic with a unique faux brushed metal texture. This is both aesthetically appealing as well as practical as it provides a high-friction surface for a firm hand hold.

To recharge the unit, there is a Micro USB port next to the unit’s power button or you can plug its built-in USB-A cable to a standard USB port on a wall charger, computer, or charger hub. I discharged the unit and recharged it overnight. I recorded a total charge of 8156mAh to reach 100%, while this is approximately 1844mAh short of its stated 10k capacity, I suspect this is a safety shut-off on the unit, to keep the device from completely discharging.

This is available on Amazon through my Affiliate Link:

Sig Saur Buckmasters 3-9×40

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Sig Saur is a Swiss firearms company with an historic reputation for making rifles and pistols built to Swiss engineered quality. But recently they’ve also been releasing a line of accessories and optics at a competitive price like their popular Romeo line of red dots. Their Buckmasters 3-9x40mm is their least expensive magnified hunting scope at around $100 or under.

Unlike other budget price tier 3-9x scopes, the Buckmasters appears to be well built. It has a tight and well built tube with clear markings and smooth moving components. A good indication is the moulded SIG branded lens caps. A company that was just cashing in their brand on trash optics would have settled for unbraded caps or cheap printing on generic caps.

Typical of hunting scopes, the caps are capped which protects the turrets from the elements, moisture, and accidental bumps. The turrets are resettable using the included Allen wrench. They turn with nice audable clicks and are tactile positive, with only a little slop. In testing, the turrets returned to zero in box tests.

The scope has a BDC reticle but oddly manual doesn’t provide information as to the ammo and rifle used to establish the reticles dope markings. Perhaps this is an admission to the failure of this reticle type to live up to its promise because it’s unlikely the buyer will have the exact same rifle and use the exact same ammo. That said, I prefer reticles with any type of hold mark to provide a reference point for applying hold overs with follow up shots.

Optically, the scope’s sharpness and resolution was typical of 3-9x, in the Group -2 category using a 8.5″x11″ USAF Optical Resolution chart at 100yrds. But unlike typical budget scopes, the Buckmasters displayed no chromatic aberration and maintained an even sharpness and focus from center to edge. In addition, the scope maintained about a 3.5″-4″eye relief and decent eye box.

For the price, this scope exhibits better optics than the similarly priced Bushnell Banner and much better build quality and clarity than cheaper CVLife and other no-name scopes. It does have a limited lifetime warranty which isn’t as forgiving as Vortex’s but if you don’t abuse your gear, it should be effectively the same.

Support this publication by buying this scope on Amazon:

Group: -2
Element: 5

Build: 4
Glass: 4
Reticle: 3
Holds Zero: 5
Box Test: 5
Turrets: 4
Eye Box: 3
Value: 4


Power: 3-9x

Objective: 40mm

Weight: 400g

Tube Dia.: 1”

Tube Length: 12.5”

FOV@100y: 11.349”-34.1”

Eye Relief: 3.85”-4.17”

Exit Pupil: 4.4-13.3mm

Which Rumble License Should you Choose?

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After posting videos explaining how to auto sync your YouTube videos to the rival video platform, Rumble and on copyrights, one of the most common questions I would get in the comments for those videos was, “Which Rumble License Options should I choose?”

When you upload or sync content to Rumble, you’re asked to choose 1 of 4 options to license your video with Rumble. Options #1 and #2 look confusingly similar as they are both titled “Video Management”. If you choose either, what you are effectively agreeing to is contracting for Rumble to manage the licensing of your video.

This is useful if you create content that other 3rd parties may want to use to create their content. These include Advertising agencies, film makers, news outlets, etc. who are looking for stock footage or content to create with. If they found a video on Rumble that was licensable, they could simply click on the “License” button and pay a fee to Rumble, who in turn would share those proceeds with you, the creator.

Option #1 give Rumble exclusive online rights which could bite you in the ass if you had previously posted your content on YouTube or elsewhere. Now if YouTube wants to continue showing your video, they have to negotiate a licensing agreement with Rumble. That could potentially cause your content to be removed by YouTube from their platform.

Option #2 excludes YouTube from Rumbles management which sounds promising. But in reading the fine print of Rumbles the Terms of Service, should you choose either Option #1 or #2 you are agreeing to give Rumble Management Rights to your video for up to 50 years! Thats means you do not have the right to remove your content from Rumble either because Rumble has a license to use your video for the term of the agreement.

This is a reminder of how important it is to always read the fine print. Or in the case of online Terms of Service, all of print. To their credit Rumble doesn’t hide any of these details or

That is why I always choose Option #3 which only grants Rumble the right to play and put advertising on (monetize) my videos. This is the same license I have with YouTube so it’s really no different. Option #4 is choosing to not monetize your content; allowing Rumble to play it but not put Ads on it or re-license it.

Area 419 CZ457, 455 Rail

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Area 419 sent me their 15MOA rail and it was exactly what my CZ 457 VPC needed. This rail has an uninterrupted 6″ Picatinny rail with a 1/2″ rise providing more than enough space to mount my new Arken EP-5. Those who shoot long range tend to buy higher magnification scopes, with larger tubes, and larger objective lenses.

The EP-5 has a 56mm bell and that means extra height is required to mount the scope without it touching the barrel. In addition, this 15MOA rail has a slight downward angle effectively aiming your scope downward 15MOA. Even with this slant, the EP-5 with an extended sun shade, clears the barrel without difficulty.

I always wondered why CZ did not include a Picatinny rail adapter with their rifle when they took the effort to create a custom designed chassis for the VPC? This rifle was designed for ELR shooters, not hunters. The long range rimfire world pretty much uses the Picatinny standard when mounting optics.

But even if CZ did include their rail with this rifle, I would probably have had to replace it for the Area 419. The 419 is rail is a much better design. The CZ-made rail lacks a complete set of Picatinny slots over the full length of the rail; this limits the number of positions that you can install rings and prevents the use of scope mounts.

The Area 419 rail also has a generous cut-out arch over the CZ ejection port so as not to interfere with shell ejection (for either standard or left-handed actions). It is twice as high as the CZ rail. And best of all, it has a built-in bubble level at the rear of mount. It is the rail that CZ should have put on this rifle in the first place.

Purchase this on Optics Planet:

Coliben TV LED Backlight Kit

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I think it was Phillips or LG who first came out with LED backlighting in their flatscreen TV’s about a decade ago. I thought it was a novelty and for the most part, it never caught on with the general public. But now with the mass production of LED multi-color strip lighting, this feature can be easily and cheaply added on to just about anything.

I was asked to test out the Coliben LED backlighting kit for TV’s. Honestly, I didn’t have much interest in an LED backlighting system for my TV. It reminded me too much of Rice Rocket Tuners (cars). But I thought I’d give it a shot and see what all the hype was about.

The unit came in a graphic box without any branding or logo. Inside was the kit which included the LED strip inside an old-school 8mm film/magnetic tap reel. The unit had a small user manual which went over the controls using their App on your smartphone but it lacked physical installation instructions?

I did some Googling and looked at photos and videos of similar products and figured out the install process. The LED strips come in 4 segments, each connected with a short cable section which form the corners. The strips were self-adhesive on the back and the segments were to be applied to back side of your flatscreen. Depending on the size and design of your TV, the placement of each segment would vary.

The LED strip connected to a control box with a built-in camera on a stalk, which would hang over your TV and look back at the screen. The control box had 3M adhesive strips on one side but the design did not lend itself to securely attaching to the back of my TV (or at least not in the way I thought it should). I tried attaching LEGO bricks to the control box to try and secure it. But ultimately I ended up using additional double-stick adhesive gel strips to adhere the box to the back of my TV in a less obtrusive fashion.

The control box has two USB-A ports. You can plug in the LED strip to either. A separate 4.4mm jack powers the unit via a wall plug. The box has an on-off-reset button on the “front” but the unit is primarily controlled using a smartphone App. The manual did cover the calibration process and the App was fairly easy to use.

In use, the color lighting was fascinating but I did find it a bit distracting. In it’s “default” multi-color mode, the colors rendered were not 100% reflective of all of the colors in the TV screen. Black areas on video footage get translated into intense blue LED colors. Using the App, custom color pallets/moods could be selected. There were also Audio-Sync modes where the colors would pulse or change depending on the beat/sound heard by control unit’s build-in mic.

Initially, I wasn’t that keen in installing mood lighting in my house. But after trying it, I can see (literally) the attraction. The Coliben is an inexpensive way to enhance your video setup. But the install process wasn’t dummy proof and it has issues which can be resolved:

• Lacks clear installation instructions

• Control box design is not well thought out

• Unit should have been designed also run off a USB-C port and allow for connecting to a TV’s USB port.

• Colors not 100% true to the scene

• Requiring the installation of a smartphone App, along with the unit’s built-in mic and camera make me a little uneasy from a personal privacy standpoint

Products available on Amazon

Coliban LED Backlight Kit:

Heavy Duty Clear Mounting Tape:

Moondog vs. Old Fat Dad 100yrd Contest

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As Old Fat Dad put it, “This is an East Coast vs. West Coast Rivalry”. The Old Fat Dad Goober channel and I decided to have a fun competition to see who could shoot a better score with our 22LR rifles. Him repping South Carolina and me ‘Cali’.

We would shoot 3 targets (which I designed) from 100 yards. Each of us would fire 5 shots into each target, the total score would be based on hits on the numbered rings. Hits breaking a line counted as the next higher value. The X-ring would only be used for tie-breakers, otherwise scoring as a 10.

Old Fat Dad with his Bergara BMR and a Vortex Razor HD Light Hunter pulled out a 48 point high scoring target. I wasn’t sure I could beat this but I would try my best. I went to the range with my factory stock CZ457 VPC topped with an Area 419 15MOA rail, and a new Arken EP-5 that I was also testing that day. I decided to use CCI Standard Velocity 40gr LRN, the same ammo Old Fat Dad was using.

I got some good groups but from what I could see through the scope, I did not think I matched Old Fat Dad’s score. When I walked up to the target stand and scored the holes, I was surprised to find both my first and thirds targets had a score of 38. A numerical tie!

As Old Fat Dad says, “Everybody hates a tie.” My target had 2 pure hits inside the X-ring (including one almost dead center), whilst Old Fat Dad’s best target had 1 carving hit on the X-ring. I won this contest. It was very close but that’s how she breaks.

We’d like to invite our viewers to join in on the fun and see how well you can shoot my targets. Print out your own targets and send us your best. And to make things more interesting everybody who sends us a photo or video, regardless of score, will be entered in a drawing to win my personal Barra H20 rifle scope.


The final score was 38 vs. 38. But in case of a tie, standard match rules use X-ring hits and proximity to determine the winner. On the X-ring I had two pure hits to Old Fat Dad’s single cutting hit.


Participate in the Moondog vs. Old Fat Dad 100yrd challenge. This drawing is open to all subscribers of Moondog Industries and Old Fat Dad Goober channel. Share your best-of-three targets like we did.

Your score will be based on your 5-shot group on your best target. Regardless of score, your entry will be registered in a drawing to win my Barra 4-12×40 H20 BDC scope. This is the scope I used to film some of my first ammo reviews. But it’s been sitting on the shelf for months as I’ve had to replace it with other scopes I’ve been testing and reviewing. I want to find it a new home and give back to our fans. All contest entries will be proudly displayed on this website on its own gallery page.

Barra H20 4-12×40 BDC

The prize winner will be chosen from all contest entries submitted between September 25 and October 25, 2022. Entries must be received no later than 12pm EST on October 25, 2022.


1. Download this target and print 3 copies to use in your match.

2. Hang all targets 100yrds from your shooting position

3. Fire 5 shots into each target with any 22LR gun. Score and submit your best target. Note: you may take unlimited sighter/calibration shots on a separate target sheet, prior to the start of your match run but you may not take sighter shots during your course of fire. More than 5 shots/holes per target disqualifies for that target.

4a. Take a video of the shooting process and a close up of your best target. Upload your video to YouTube and share the link in an email (link below). A video entry earns you 10 entries in the contest drawing.

4b. Take a photo of your best target

NOTE: Please fill out the form at the lower right corner of your best target and show this in your photo/video.

5. This drawing is open to all subscribers of Moondog Industries and Old Fat Dad Goober channel. Take a screen shot of the both channels showing you have subscribed to both Moondog Industries AND OldFatDad Goober and include it in your email it.

6. Email with the Subject: “Goober”
• Attach the JPG or PNG screen shots from both channels
• Include your full name and ship-to address in the email (so I can confirm you live in the US or Canada)
• Include a link to the video of your best target or a photo of your best target

Use the button email below or email me directly at:



1. Eligibility

Void where prohibited by law. Must be legal resident within the USA or Canada. Moondog Industries employees, subsidiaries, affiliates, suppliers, advertising and promotion agencies, employees’ immediate family members, are ineligible participate in the contest/giveaway.

Entrants must be willing and able to appear on YouTube to discuss the contest and post images of the prize on their social feed should they win the contest.

2. Sponsors and Platforms

Moondog Industries (known as the SPONSOR) is a video Edutainment producer and game promotor based in San Francisco, CA. YouTube, TikTok, Rumble, and online video platforms (known as PLATFORMS) are not SPONSORS or in any way affiliated with the contest or content.

3. Agreement to Rules

By entering your contest, participants agree to abide by the SPONSOR’s Official Rules and decisions. The SPONSOR retain the right to refuse, withdraw, or disqualify entries at their sole discretion. By submitting an entry, the participant agrees to accept the decision of the SPONSOR as final and binding.

4. Entry Period

Contest email entries must be received between:
12:00pm EST Sep 11, 2022
12:00pm EST Oct 30, 2022

5. How to Enter

This contest requires your skill in safely shooting at targets with a 22LR, as well as in navigating your phone or computer controls to screen capture an image of the following YouTube channels/Social Media accounts. Subscribe or Follow and make a screen capture of those pages showing a greyed out Subscribe button or indicator that your account is Following that page. Send a screen capture image file of any of those sites to . One entry per person or per Social Media account. Fraudulent methods of entry, photo retouched, or other methods of circumvention of the rules may result in the SPONSOR invalidating a participant’s entries.

6. Prizes

Winner must be able to receive the prize by e-mail or by physical mail. Prize may be substituted at the sole discretion of the SPONSOR. Acceptance of the prize grants SPONSOR permission to use the Winners entry, name, and likeness for advertising, promotion, and trade without further compensation or remuneration unless prohibited by law.

7. Odds

Odds of winning is dependent upon the number of eligible entries received.

8. Selection and Notification of the Winner

The winner will be chosen at random by the SPONSOR from among the entrants that demonstrated the skill to navigate the electronic entry and have met the minimum requirements. Winners will be contacted via the email used to enter the contest no later than December 31, 2022.

SPONSOR are not liable for the winner’s failure to receive notification of winning if he or she provided a wrong email address or if their email security settings caused your prize notification to go into the spam or junk folder. If a winner does not respond within 24hrs of sending a notification, the SPONSOR will select an alternate winner. Receipt of the prize is upon the condition of compliance with federal, state, and local laws.

9. Rights Granted by the Entrant

The SPONSOR, upon submission of an entry into the giveaway or contest, has the right to use the participant’s submission, voice, likeness, image, statements about the contest, etc., for publicity, news, advertising, promotional purposes, trade, and so forth, without any further notice, review, consent, compensation or remuneration.

Participants shall defend or settle against such claims at their sole expense, and shall indemnify, defend and hold harmless the SPONSOR from any suit due to damage of or by the prize.

10. Terms & Conditions

The SPONSOR reserves the right to modify, suspend, cancel or terminate in the event that non-authorized human intervention, a bug or virus, fraud, or other causes beyond your control impact or corrupt the security, fairness, proper conduct, or administration of the contest/giveaway.

11. Limitation of Liability

Entry into this contest constitutes the participants agreement to release and hold harmless the SPONSOR and PLATFORMS, subsidiaries, affiliates, employees, etc., against all claims liability, illness, injury, death, loss, etc., that occurs directly or indirectly from participation in the contest or use/misuse of the awarded prize.

12. Disputes

As a condition of participating in the promotion, the participant agrees to resolve all disputes with an arbitrator designated by the SPONSOR in the state of California, without resorting to any form of class action. Entrants waive all rights to punitive, incidental, or consequential damages, and waive all rights to have damages multiplied or increased.

13. Privacy Policy

Participants agree to abide by all privacy and NDA laws in the State of California and any federal laws of the United State of America.

14. Winners List

Participants may request a list of winners by submitting a request in writing to Moondog Industries for up to 30 days after the contest ends.

15. Social Media Platform Rules

Winners will agree to post a photo of the prize on their social media channels in such a way as does not violate any rules of that platform. The winners also agree to appear for an interview where they will discuss the prize and its performance. If there are functional problems with the prize, the winner agrees to make a good-faith effort to resolve all issues with the SPONSOR prior to posting reviews or opinions about the prize.

16. Affirmation of Acceptance of and Agreement to All of the Official Rules

By entering the contest, the entrant has affirmatively reviewed, accepted, and agreed to all of the them. 

Arken EP-5 5-25×56 FFP

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The EP-5 has been one of the most sought after scopes since its release in early 2022. Unfortunately it’s been sold out for most of the year due to post-COVID supply chain issues and the high demand. I got a sneak peak at one at Shot Show this year but like all but a lucky few, I’ve been waiting six months to get one.

First let me be up front with reality. No, these are not AS GOOD as a $3000 Nightforce, Zeiss, or [INSERT HIGH END BRAND HERE]. But for a scope that retails for under a $1000, this comes much closer than one could hope for.

For a small Texas optics company less than Arken has earned an outsized reputation. About 5 years ago, thanks to reviews by YouTubers like Iraqvetran8888, Affordable Optics, and Cyclops Joe Rhea, reports of their high quality turrets and surprisingly good optics called this brand out. The $600 EP4 quickly became THE “budget” scope to buy in ELR and NRL22 communities.

The scope uses German ED glass which is bright and sharp, easily resolving down to Element 6 in Group -1 in the USAF optical resolution chart (if my eyes were better I’d even say Element 1 in Group 0). That’s better than man x45 spotting scopes!

The eye box did get a bit smaller at higher magnification but the eye-relief did not reduce appreciably. The overall image was sharp with a hint of softening around the edges. Best of all there was no noticeable chromatic aberration at its highest magnification.

The EP5 replaces the EP4’s EPR Horus style reticle for the SH4’s more efficient VPR reticle, by far my favorite Christmas Tree reticle design used. Designed by former US Navy S.E.A.L., Arken’s reticle strikes a perfect balance between data and reference points for long range adjustments at high power, while keeping the center clear and focused.

The tube has an illumination dial stacked on the parallax focus turret. The dial has 6 levels of illumination with off between each brightness setting. Only at the the very center cruciform is illuminated, which functions like a red dot at low magnification. It is visible at twilight conditions without being annoyingly blooming like lower end optics which light up almost the entire tube.

The best part of the EP5 are high-quality turrets that Arken is famous for. Adjustments were audibly clear and extremely tactile positive. They built in zero-stop was well designed and precise, using a set screw to engage and stop-bar inside the elevation turret. The turrets do not lock; a feature favored by ELR shooters.

Some shooters complain about imprecise range markings on the parallax focus. But you shouldn’t be using them as a range finder. Focus depends on multiple conditions like the reticle/ocular focus, magnification and not just the parallax.

Arken’s scope prices are going up slightly but they are still an excellent value for anybody getting into competitive ELR or NRL22. And should you be concerned with buying from a company you may not have heard of, they offer no-hassle returns and lifetime warranties. They also sell their Precision Pack which is an accessory bundle which includes high quality 34mm scope rings, a throw lever, bubble level, and high quality weatherproof lens caps.

Does the EP5 live up to the expectations of my 6-month long wait? Yes. Yes, it does.

The EP5 is available from the Arken website. Use coupon code: Save25%
And now also available on Amazon

Group: -1
Element: 6

Build: +5
Glass: +4
Reticle: +5
Holds Zero: +5
Box Test: +5
Turrets: +5
Eye Box: 4
Value: +5

E-P5 Specs

Magnification: 5-25x

Objective Diameter: 56 mm

Eye Relief: 3.4 inches

Field of View: 25.3-4.9 ft @100 Yards

Tube Size: 34 mm

Turret Adjustment: 1/4 MOA / 1/10 MIL

Reticle: First Focal Plane

Reticle Style: VPR MOA

Zero Stop: AZS Zero Stop System

Zero Reset: Yes

Elevation Adj. Range: 110 MOA 32 MIL

Windage Adj. Range: 55 MOA 16 MIL

Adjustment Per Revolution: 25 MOA

Parallax: Side Parallax Adjustment 25Yds – Infinity

Illuminated Reticle: Red

Length: 14 inches

Weight: 39.2 oz

Battery: CR2032

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