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ArkenOpticsSH4 4-14x44 Review

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    Posted: December/30/2019 at 23:01

Arken Optics SH4 30mm tube 4-14x44 Review and Testing

 

First impressions:  First, this review and test exercise is a set of one… it is a good indicator, but by no means indicates that all scopes of this line perform exactly the same. 

The Arken Optics SH4 comes very well packaged with a quick operations manual that does its job for describing how to get the scope ready for mounting and for setting up for operations once mounted.  The scope appears to be well constructed with no apparent flaws.  It is a mil adjustment/mil reticle scope in first focal plane (FFP)(0.1mil “clicks”) and field of view (FOV) is good, glass is better than average (HD glass), no tunneling, mechanicals are crisp (tactile and audible).  Magnification adjustment is a little tight when cold, but loosens up with movement.  I suspect that with continued use it will smooth out.  I’ve adjusted it up and down a few times and it does loosen up with usage…however, still a little tight after sitting for a while. The scope comes with clear lens covers, a lens cleaning cloth and a wrench for setting zero stop and zero point on the adjustment caps.  The box says “precision tracking guaranteed”, so checking that was one of my first test objectives. 

Mounting:  I’ve been through 3 mounting systems for this scope…one set of rings was just too low and the Near Alphamount with its two front mount rings/one rear mount ring just did not agree with the scope.  It is also too low.  The scope tube, on this scope, has some sensitivity to ring screw torque… especially in relation to the parallax adjustment.  Using a Wheeler torque driver, it was difficult to tighten down the ring caps without impacting parallax adjustment.  I changed to TPS tall rings and eliminated both the scope height issue and the torque issue, but they are torqued to 12inlb.    I have fired nearly 100 rounds of 7mmSTW (139 grain Barnes at approximately 3325 fps) and .308 Win (168 grain SMK at 2645 fps) with no scope movement.  I will be exploring this further on .378 Weatherby Magnum, then .50BMG. 

“Dry” Testing:  I set up on a solid platform with the scope objective face exactly 100 yards from a Snipers Hide Scope Adjustment Test Target to test the adjustment precision spending 3 hours putting the AZ/EL adjustments and magnification adjustments through their paces.  In that 3 hours, I expect I spun those adjustment knobs and power ring way more than an average shooter does in a year.  Testing for exactness, with and without zero stop active, running through the entire 10 mil vertical and 2 mil horizontal range (on the target) in 0.1mil increments, multiple mil increments, various combinations of change… it was dead on, every time.  There are 5 mils per full turn on the adjustments.  The adjustments are as exact as can be seen with the human eye.  With a zero MOA rail, I have 13.8 mils of UP adjustment (44.5MOA).  That’s right at 1250 yards worth.  Zero stop works great. 

I’ve spent several mornings and evenings checking MY visual low light capabilities using this scope.  Legal shooting hours here are 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset.  Easy to ID game at 100 plus yards 4-14 power.  Just a few moments ago, I was able to count 7 points on a buck I had not seen before at the far edge of my pasture… distance based on relationship to some targets I have set up, he was between targets at 100 yards and 100 meters, about 106 yards.  Previous testing in low light has been in heavy haze or rain, which reduces ability to make that kind of designation. 

Shooting tests:  I first tested with the scope on Winchester Model 70 Laredo 7mmSTW.  It has heavier recoil than .308, but not a heavy banger by any means.  The scope tracked well through all adjustments, adjustments repeatable for all shots.  

Scope is now on Ruger American .308 in a Magpul stock.  Once again, recoil has no impact on scope… as expected.  I have Picatinny rail on my Champlin in .378 Weatherby Magnum… will check it out next.  My final test of this scope will be on .50 BMG.  I will add final results to this report. 

This is a good scope, especially for the price.  Lists right at $350.00.  I’ve not found many scopes of this caliber in this price range.  It is .50BMG rated, I’m going to test it.

As an aside, in process of testing this scope, I tested out the Caldwell Deadshot Fieldpod… I will quite nicely say it has extremely limited utility.  It is unsteady, not conducive to many rifle stock types, off balance without excessive manipulation to find a good balance point… flimsy construction.  I’ve used a pair of sticks I found on the ground and found them better suited to shooting stabilization. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rancid Coolaid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/31/2019 at 09:33
So a 15 inlb ring cap - which is very common - will be problematic? At what distance from the saddle or from the ends does the ring need to go to avoid locking down the parallax adjustment?

That would be helpful in determining if this would best fit a long action or a short action.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kickboxer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/31/2019 at 10:29
There is a point 0.46 inches from the adjustment stack (rear of the ring to the stack) where there is no binding of the parallax adjustment at 15 inlb.  I did not move the rear ring.  I have moved the front ring up and down the tube a number of times and this is the "sweet spot" I've found.  I have not moved at minute increments but earlier testing I had to set at 12-13 inlb at 0.5in from the stack.  I have not calibrated the Wheeler torque driver in several years, but last time I did it was within 1inlb +-.  I no longer have access to that test equipment
As stated at the beginning, this is a "one-of" test and I do not assume that this is a representative flaw.  Based upon the whole body of performance I have encountered so far, this has been the only niggling issue.  If I have to spend a few extra minutes finding a sweet spot, it certainly does not overweigh the overall performance of the scope.  There has been no impact to accuracy or precision in the 94 rounds fired using the scope, so far.  However, it does bear note.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kickboxer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/31/2019 at 16:47
I spoke with Mike Reilly who started the company... he said the issue is being addressed by the design team.  There is a new release coming out that should take care of the tube "binding" issue.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kickboxer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/06/2020 at 12:44
I recently conducted a test that, while not extensive, is positive.  The SH4 was mounted on Champlin .378 Weatherby Magnum for testing (12.5lb with 21oz scope and 3+1 rounds loaded).  Performed a 100 yard zero... fired one round, adjusted reticle to the bullet hole on the target, fired a second round to check zero... dead center hole in the target... then 3 more rounds, (for a total of 5 rounds) adjusting elevation up 10 mils and back to zero, azimuth left 1 mil, right 2 mils, back to zero... with all 3 rounds impacting basically "same hole".  Recoil averages about 77ftlb with one of the highest recoil velocities of any DGR.  (personally, I believe the recoil is overrated/exaggerated)   Then performed a precision test several times adjusting random EL and AZ adjustment checking at 0.1 and 1.0 mil increments and back to zero.  No anomalies.  
Next test platform is Anzio Ironworks single shot match .50BMG, 18.5lb with scope, loaded .  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kickboxer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/21/2020 at 16:30
10 rounds M33, 660grain .50 BMG.  Once again, no impact to adjustment precision.  I would say the SH4 is good to go.  I've "twisted the knobs" hundreds of times, AZ/EL is still dead on.  


This scope is a good value.  The tube stiffness issue is being addressed at the factory, but it is not a "fatal error"... can be overcome with attention to mounting location.  I would prefer illumination, but that is not a necessity, just a "want".  This scope is going back on one of my hunting rifles in the near future.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kickboxer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/19/2020 at 13:40
The SH4 has now been tested with 5 rounds of .458 WinMag Remington Hi-speed 510 grain RNSP at 2150fps  and 5 rounds of .458 Lott Hornady FMJRN 500 grain at 2300fps.  
Zeros were very similar at 50 yards... only 3 clicks right movement from WinMag to Lott.  There was one outlier in the WinMag group, but that was on me... I slipped the shooting bag just as I squeezed the trigger... shot was low and left... discounted it. 

Running through the mechanicals, parallax, AZ/EL, the adjustments were dead on at 100 yards on the Snipers Hide Scope Adjustment Test Target used previously.  There has been no detriment to the scope in testing with .308, 7mmSTW, .458 WinMag, .458 Lott and .50BMG.  Not an extensive set of tests, but I've seen several scopes fail with less.  The .458 Lott has a more "robust' "Moment of Recoil" than all the others.  

I enjoyed the testing and intend to enjoy this scope.  It is a good value: Quality vs price.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bigdaddy0381 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/19/2020 at 13:57
Very nice, I spoke with M&M at shot. seemed like great guys and a nice optic.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kickboxer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/19/2020 at 14:22
It has some growing pains, but they are addressing those and the big bangers have apparently had no ill effect on it.  I like it.  Probably going to put it on one of my .308s... or maybe my long range 6.5 Grendel. You should check it out.  

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote koshkin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/20/2020 at 09:13
I talked to them a little at SHOT.  They seem like good guys and I am rather interested in the 4-16x50 as soon as they add illumination to it.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kickboxer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/20/2020 at 09:24
They are very good people.  I fully agree that illumination is a missing ingredient.  I also intend to get a 4-16 once they add illumination.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bigdaddy0381 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/20/2020 at 09:27
would you want the retical or just the center to illuminate?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kickboxer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/20/2020 at 09:38
Originally posted by Bigdaddy0381 Bigdaddy0381 wrote:

would you want the retical or just the center to illuminate?

I prefer the entire reticle, but just a center cross or center dot is acceptable.
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