Athlon Cronus vs Nightforce vs Mark 5

brisket

Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2018
Messages
64
Location
Texas
I just signed up for a rifle to be built and am now getting serious about picking an optic. I’m looking for some help from people that use rifles the way I’m intending this rifle to be used.

Most of my serious rifles wear NF optics, some rifles wear SWFA, and some “never dial that thing, it will get confused” rifles wear Leupold or low end vortex.

Shopping for a new scope, it looks like the Athlon Cronus BTR has at least as big a following (in my area anyway) as the Bushnell upper end optics do. I’ve also heard some really good reviews of the Leupold mark 5’s. I’m looking for someone experienced with either the Leupold or the Cronus to compare tracking/durability with NF optics. (To me, the rest of an optic review is so subjective, you’re better off trying for yourself)

Does anyone out there have any first hand experience with either optics?
 

HellsCanyon

Senior Member
Joined
May 29, 2012
Messages
3,297
Location
Lewiston ID
I’ve ran a couple of Cronus scopes. They are the only Athlon scope made at the LOW factory in Japan (Same factory as the Bushnell Elite scopes, LRTS, XRS-II, DMR...etc).

They’re stout, better glass than NF NXS, good clicks, track good, and I wouldn’t hesitate to use them on anything. Only downside for me is they’re a bit heavy for a mountain rifle.

The new MK5HD with the 34mm tube is a darn nice scope. I just fondled one at SHOT. Clicks are stellar, glass seems good, good eyebox.
The 30mm version felt like a different erector system entirely. Clicks not near as good. Glass seemed similar though. Soon as I felt the turret I quit the fondling due to my general avoidance of Leupold. The MK5HD 34mm was impressive though.

Which NF optics do you run the most?

Mike


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
OP
B

brisket

Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2018
Messages
64
Location
Texas
I like my ATACR the best, so it sits on the rifle that gets the most use. I’d like to run that optic on everything, but I don’t have pockets that deep, so the other rifles that dial wear NXS series optics.

I fondled a Mark 5 35mm, and the clicks felt great, and the lighter weight is a serious advantage. I’m just concerned about the scope really tracking well enough to depend on it when it counts.

Good to hear a positive opinion of the Cronus. To me the Cronus glass is head and shoulders above the NXS line, and the Cronus can be had a lot cheaper
 

zeroforhire

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2015
Messages
1,348
I wonder where the tract toric fits in this discussion.

Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk
 

Brush Buster

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2017
Messages
101
I’ve ran a couple of Cronus scopes. They are the only Athlon scope made at the LOW factory in Japan (Same factory as the Bushnell Elite scopes, LRTS, XRS-II, DMR...etc).

They’re stout, better glass than NF NXS, good clicks, track good, and I wouldn’t hesitate to use them on anything. Only downside for me is they’re a bit heavy for a mountain rifle.

The new MK5HD with the 34mm tube is a darn nice scope. I just fondled one at SHOT. Clicks are stellar, glass seems good, good eyebox.
The 30mm version felt like a different erector system entirely. Clicks not near as good. Glass seemed similar though. Soon as I felt the turret I quit the fondling due to my general avoidance of Leupold. The MK5HD 34mm was impressive though.

Which NF optics do you run the most?

Mike


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I’ve ran a couple of Cronus scopes. They are the only Athlon scope made at the LOW factory in Japan (Same factory as the Bushnell Elite scopes, LRTS, XRS-II, DMR...etc).

They’re stout, better glass than NF NXS, good clicks, track good, and I wouldn’t hesitate to use them on anything. Only downside for me is they’re a bit heavy for a mountain rifle.

The new MK5HD with the 34mm tube is a darn nice scope. I just fondled one at SHOT. Clicks are stellar, glass seems good, good eyebox.
The 30mm version felt like a different erector system entirely. Clicks not near as good. Glass seemed similar though. Soon as I felt the turret I quit the fondling due to my general avoidance of Leupold. The MK5HD 34mm was impressive though.

Which NF optics do you run the most?

Mike


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
What are some of your "go-to" scopes right now for your builds?
 

HellsCanyon

Senior Member
Joined
May 29, 2012
Messages
3,297
Location
Lewiston ID
Mike, it’s actually a 35mm tube which limits mounting options. It did look like a nice scope, and I hope to get one for testing.
Thanks for that correction Matt, that indeed limits the scope ring options! I wrongly assumed the 34mm spec.

Mike


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

HellsCanyon

Senior Member
Joined
May 29, 2012
Messages
3,297
Location
Lewiston ID
What are some of your "go-to" scopes right now for your builds?
Bushnell LRTS is a fantastic scope for LR hunting if you like the FFP/MIL option and don’t need high mag. Really like the reticle, lack of illumination, low profile turrets and lock down windage turret. Glass is great as well.

The ATACR series seems to be the more popular of the high mag FFP customers.

For the MOA/SFP customers they typically buy a Nightforce NXS.

For the guys on a leaner budget the Athlon Midas Tac has been doing very well. Haven’t had one come back for warranty work yet and I’ve sent out 10 or so.

For my 15 lb Norma Improved I’m either going with the Cronus or might try a Steiner T series. Those caught my eye at SHOT. I have no hookups with NF so I can’t justify the cost for them personally.

Mike


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Brightwhite

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2015
Messages
1,185
Location
Colorado
I really want the Mark5 HD to work, I am just skeptical... lots and lots of positive reviews, but then a couple of flyers saying tracking was off or something else has kept me from jumping on board just yet.

I have to figure out what scope my 300WSM that Mike is Working up for me is going to get. I keep going back to the 4-14x42 ATACR, but that mark5 sure is tempting!
 

CApighunter

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2018
Messages
128
I put a mark 5 3.6-18 on my 280ai, fantastic glass for the money, and very light weight for the class of optic that it is.
 

Journeyman

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2015
Messages
113
Location
Bozeman
I've been running a Mark 5 3.5-18 with Tremor 3 on my match rifle since last September.

Funny enough my first match with it was a 2 day PRS match and a buddy of mine had a brand new ATACR 7-35. He was having weird issues all weekend. When he got home he determined it wasn't tracking and had to send it back to Nightforce. I haven't had a single issue with my Leupold and I'm close to 4000 rounds on it now. Lesson here is all manufacturers can have a bad apple. Leupold had a bad reputation going for a while with dialing but I believe the Mark 5 has corrected any of the old issues. Mind you it's possible to get a bad Mark 5 or ATACR but rare from what I hear.

As far as use of the scope, I can't speak highly enough of it especially for the money. The turrets are amazing, the zero stop is brainless, you can set the parallax to your eye, glass is great. Only issue with the 35 mm tube is if you already have a set of 34 mm rings but there are plenty of options out there (Leupold, Badger, ARC, Spuhr, Seekins).

I also love Leupold as a company. American company that stands behind their products. If you end up needing to use their customer service, they're easy to get on the phone and will solve your problem ASAP.

FYI I upgraded my entire match rifle this winter and I tried out a US Optics B25 but I went right back to my Mark 5.It just didn't compare. Shot my first match of the year this past weekend and snuck into 1st with it including hitting a cold bore shot at 960.
 
OP
B

brisket

Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2018
Messages
64
Location
Texas
I've been running a Mark 5 3.5-18 with Tremor 3 on my match rifle since last September.

Funny enough my first match with it was a 2 day PRS match and a buddy of mine had a brand new ATACR 7-35. He was having weird issues all weekend. When he got home he determined it wasn't tracking and had to send it back to Nightforce. I haven't had a single issue with my Leupold and I'm close to 4000 rounds on it now. Lesson here is all manufacturers can have a bad apple. Leupold had a bad reputation going for a while with dialing but I believe the Mark 5 has corrected any of the old issues. Mind you it's possible to get a bad Mark 5 or ATACR but rare from what I hear.

As far as use of the scope, I can't speak highly enough of it especially for the money. The turrets are amazing, the zero stop is brainless, you can set the parallax to your eye, glass is great. Only issue with the 35 mm tube is if you already have a set of 34 mm rings but there are plenty of options out there (Leupold, Badger, ARC, Spuhr, Seekins).

I also love Leupold as a company. American company that stands behind their products. If you end up needing to use their customer service, they're easy to get on the phone and will solve your problem ASAP.

FYI I upgraded my entire match rifle this winter and I tried out a US Optics B25 but I went right back to my Mark 5.It just didn't compare. Shot my first match of the year this past weekend and snuck into 1st with it including hitting a cold bore shot at 960.
Sweet. Appreciate the feedback!
 

Kotaman

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2012
Messages
1,655
I have a couple of ATACR's in the stable, and they have been my favorite. However, with my two most recent builds I opted for the Leupold Mark V 3.5x18. Gunwerks is now also gravitating towards this scope. So far so good. They are lighter, have great clarity and so far, they've been reliable in the "click" department. Some more range time this summer will be the tell tale for me.
 

magtech

Newbie
Joined
Feb 15, 2018
Messages
3
Location
Michigan
Anyone know what the difference between the athlon Cronus APRS and APRS1 is?
The difference is in the reticle. The APRS1 reticle has an opening in the center of the crosshairs with a small dot. The APRS has a + in the middle of the crosshairs. This is the most distinct difference. There may be additional subtension differences or tweaks.
 

gjk5

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2018
Messages
13
Location
Western CO
Bushnell LRTS is a fantastic scope for LR hunting if you like the FFP/MIL option and don’t need high mag. Really like the reticle, lack of illumination, low profile turrets and lock down windage turret. Glass is great as well.

The ATACR series seems to be the more popular of the high mag FFP customers.

For the MOA/SFP customers they typically buy a Nightforce NXS.

For the guys on a leaner budget the Athlon Midas Tac has been doing very well. Haven’t had one come back for warranty work yet and I’ve sent out 10 or so.

For my 15 lb Norma Improved I’m either going with the Cronus or might try a Steiner T series. Those caught my eye at SHOT. I have no hookups with NF so I can’t justify the cost for them personally.

Mike


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I have one of the Ares BTR 4.5-27 FFP/MOA on a Christensen 6.5 CM and pretty happy with it so far for the price. And 27 oz. is pretty light for that magnification.
 

jdweisbrod1

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2019
Messages
17
The mk 5 greatly exceeded my expectations and continues to keep me satisfied. The glass is fantastic, turrets are great, and super light. The eye relief is arguably the most impressive part. Not quite as robust as a NF but not sacrificing anything in the quality department for a significant discount.
 
Top