Arken Optics EP5
- By Chris Parkin
- 0 Comments
- Last updated: 01/11/2022
Every scope I see is a compromise between the factors the user needs from an optic, the scale with which the company can budget for the price point, and the reality of how well it meets its advertised capability. No scope can do it all but some show significantly versatile capability without any obvious drawbacks. I was keen to see where Arken would fit in with their EP-5.
Arken has gone for the familiar 5-25x56 specification to attack the precision shooting market. The 56mm objective lens offers maximised light entry into the glassware of the 34mm tube. There is 53mm of free tube space on either side of the saddle for the rings.
As usual, the right-side turret offers windage control and the upper does elevation. Parallax and illumination are on the left side. All clicks are 10mm at 100m (0.1 MRAD), with 100 per turn enabling 10 MRAD per revolution. All the clicks are tactile and audible, with firm detents to prevent overrun. Elevation is anticlockwise for ‘up’ and windage anticlockwise for ‘right’. The latter is marked 5 MRAD left and right of the centre zero position.
Both turrets are 42mm in diameter and 34mm tall, giving ample space to get a good grip. The engravings are clear without looking cluttered, and as my own eyesight has started to favour reading glasses, these are helpful factors to consider. I certainly appreciate them.
Parallax shows almost one complete revolution to span 25 yards to infinity. It’s silent with smooth when rotated and there is no tactile or audible sense of motion within the internal lens packages of the tube. The outermost left side dial is the illumination control. The intensity settings are marked 1-6 with intervening off positions.
The first focal plane (FFP) reticle illuminates crisply with no problematic red colour bleed or undesirable sparkle. However, remember to turn it off as there is no automatic power-off feature. The CR2032 battery fits under a cap on the outside of the dial and no tools are required to access the cell.
The magnification control collar on the front of the ocular body is 47mm in diameter and shows machined grip knurling. Throw levers have become popular but there isn’t one here. However, I didn’t miss it, as grip is good and of course throw levers can often get in the way of a bolt handle on some rifles.
The ocular body is parallel with a 43.7mm diameter, making it suitable for additional night vision camera add-ons. Plus, the fast-focus eyepiece won’t obstruct anything as it’s tapered with a 42.5mm diameter, preventing it from being snagged by said devices. Arken supplies a sunshade and some rubber lens caps.
The fact I used the Arken on a £6000 rifle says a lot about its capability, because not only did the hard anodised, smoothymachined main tube exude an air of quality, but all the glass surfaces and coatings were non-reflective and modest. The Arken avoids looking too fancy and the money has been spent on details, not glamour. Also, I wouldn’t have kept it on the rifle for an extra second were it to have given me any suspicion of fault, so a big thumbs up from me already.
The eye box is quite spacious and there is also no tunnelling effect on the field of view at low magnification. Arken’s VPR Mil reticle shows multiple aim-off markings, with all dimensions explained in the detailed instruction manual. The centre floating cross illuminates red and the fast-focus eyepiece had no problems resolving a crisp reticle picture to use with relaxed ease. This will never be a specific low-light scope but as a longer-range target tool or daytime varminter, I have nothing but positive things to say.
I especially like Arken’s Zero- Stop system for which Allen keys are supplied. Zero the rifle, ease off the circumferential screws to reset the outer dial markings to ‘0’ and then comes the beautiful simplicity - you set the zero-stop position with a single Allen screw at 6 O’clock on the elevation dial. It does allow negative travel if desired but requires no turret disassembly and frankly, it is one of the best systems I have ever used on any optic at any price point.
Image quality was pleasant to use with no specific colouration disadvantages, plus the field of view was flatly focussed without weak points across edge-toedge clarity. Accessing the exit pupil was particularly intuitive because eye relief is 87mm, making it well suited to heavier, low-recoil, target-oriented rifles.
Arken is a name I will look out for and appreciate seeing more of. This is a very competitive price point for identical specification scopes that can truly be judged head-to-head, so in this 5-25x56 / 34mm tube / ZeroStop playing field, they can certainly hold their heads up high.
Metric MRAD is perhaps similarly the unit of choice in this European-inspired specification, but Arken also offers an MOA (minutes of angle) version for those who prefer the imperial unit. It has a similar MOA reticle in the first focal plane that works in conjunction with the turret adjustments for simple aim-off or dial-off accuracy at any range. I like the etched reticle’s numbering system, as I find them easy to read and there are also no problematic focal adjustments required on the eyepiece across the magnification range. I have been using Trigger Cams quite a lot for filming and this is an especially noticeable benefit of stable focal controls and as mentioned before, the tapered fast-focus eyepiece is hard to nudge, so that’s another beneficial point for the Arken.