The Cronus is Athlon Optics’ leading range of scopes for long-distance sport shooting and tactical work. Magnum’s test model had the Advanced Precision Long Range (APLR) first focal plane IR MRAD reticle.
The scope is 365.7mm long without the sunshade and weighs 1kg. The objective lens-housing is 66.04mm in diameter – consider this when buying mounts and rings. The one-piece body is 6061 T6 aluminium alloy with a 34mm diameter tube and is waterproof, fog proof and shockproof. The tube is argon-purged to further ensure waterproofing and thermal stability.
The lenses are fully multi-coated with additional coating on the outside for protection against oil, dirt and scratches. They provide a sharp image, right up to the edges. I was able to call a fellow shooter’s individual shots less than an inch apart on a gong at 500m. Eye relief is 91–96.5mm. The focus ring on the eyepiece turns smoothly but firmly. The magnification ring is broad and grooved for fast operation.
The turrets are the exposed, direct-dial tactical type with audible, tactile clicks and a zero setting for a quick return to zero. The elevation turret has click markings with two rows of numbers and a zero stop feature. The windage turret has white click markings and a single set of numbers. The white lettering is clear with arrows: DOWN, UP, L and R. When you dial a full rotation for elevation, a horizontal line appears as a visual indicator, repeated after the second and third full rotations. One click gives you 0.1 MIL and one rotation adjustment is 10 MIL. The total elevation adjustment is 33 MIL and the windage adjustment is 18 MIL.
A left turret has an external dial for controlling the reticle’s illumination – 11 brightness settings with intermediate battery saver OFF stops. This turret also accommodates the lithium CR2032 3V battery and parallax adjustment dial marked from 25 yards to infinity. Initially I battled to remove the parallax error as rapidly as I wanted – it will take practice to get a perfectly clear sight picture under pressure.
The APLR first focal plane reticle allows for any sub-tension on the reticle to be the same at any power, and assists with quick holdover positions, windage corrections and distance determination. It provides 0.2 MIL hash mark increments from the centre on all four legs of the crosshair. The red illumination facility lights up holdovers all the way up to 10 mils, with the .2 mil mark increments in between.
Zeroing the turret involves removing the locking screws of the elevation turret knob, which reveals a black plate inside. Loosen the three side screws of the plate, while ensuring that the stopping screw on the bottom of the plate touches another stopping screw on the base so that the plate will not turn any further clockwise (downward direction). Tighten the three screws again and put the turret knob back on with the zero line aligned to the vertical mark below the turning knob. Lastly, tighten the knob screw to lock the knob in place.
First I tested the reticle for tracking. I dialled ten clicks (1 MIL) into the scope and fired a shot at 100m. After returning to zero, I held a 1 mil holdover on the reticle and hit the same spot. To test it at its highest magnification, I dialled ten clicks up, ten clicks to the left and ten clicks down, to bring the point of aim back to the zero’s horizontal line. The shot hit the line. From there I dialled 10 clicks down, 20 clicks to the right and 10 clicks up, again to the zero’s horizontal line. The shot hit just above the line. I then dialled 10 clicks left to zero and the shot hit centre. To double-check the zero, I took a follow-up shot at a gong at 100m, hitting it dead centre. The Cronus’ tracking works very well.
This is a true professional grade MRAD long-distance and tactical scope. Made in Japan under strict quality control, these scopes are marketed by Athlon Optics, Kansas City, USA and come with a lifetime guarantee. The model we tested retails at around R39 000. For your nearest retailer contact Adrian Anderson of Optimax Distributors on 082-922-5571, or firstname.lastname@example.org.