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:

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