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A £60 scope – is it any good?

Bruce Potts puts the Atom 3.5-10x50mm scope through its paces and is pleasantly surprised

checking a scope

It is wise to re-zero your rifle if the scope has been knocked

I have always been an advocate of buying the best scope you can afford, as its reliability and performance will repay you in the long run. This still holds true but the cheap scopes of 10 years ago have improved to the point that they are often all you need.

Impressive spec for an inexpensive scope

One such is the Atom, which has 
an impressive spec for a scope only costing £59.95. You get 3.5-10x magnification range, an illuminated reticule, a 50mm-diameter objective lens and external raised turret adjustments. It is light, so a rifle with this scope and a sound moderator fitted is still a handy outfit to take 
into the field.

The larger ½in adjustment per click is a bit coarse, but I managed to zero the shots to the cross-hairs just fine at 50 yards on the rimfires and close enough on the centrefire. At, say, 200 yards that is an inch adjustment per click — a fact worth bearing in mind.

What I noticed

  • I really liked the adjustment turrets as these are the target type with no covers, so are clearly visible all the time and you can adjust the elevation or windage quickly.
  • There is a ring 
to each turret that is turned clockwise to lock after adjustment, so your zero is not knocked off when stalking through the bushes.
  • The click adjustments are clear and when I performed the “shooting 
the box” test (adjusting the zero in 
a square to return to the original zero) there was only ¼in to ½in runout — 
so pretty good internal precision.
  • The 30mm body tube is large, allowing for a good adjustment 
range for the turrets and the length 
of 14.2in gives a good mounting option on short- or long-actioned rifles.
  • The overall satin black anodised finish is smart on the aluminium scope body.
  • The zoom magnification range is practical as it offers a wider field of view at 23ft at 100 yards when set on x3.5 power and then 6.8ft on the top x10 magnification.
  • You have a nice range of an open view for woodland and a narrower one for concentrated longer shots. Combined with the 50mm objective lens it offers 
a decent amount of light through the multi-coated lenses for a clear image.
  • Best of all is the illuminated reticule; a typical 30/30-type with the thinner inner cross-hairs having six mil-dots added for extra aiming marks for trajectory compensation.
  • There is also an illuminated turret fitted which is unusual as it has three different colours: green, red and blue. I have not seen blue before but each colour has three intensity settings for all lighting situations and by turning the turret in between each setting you can turn it off.

Atom scope adjustment

The Atom on test

I tested the Atom on a variety of rifles and calibres over the course of a month. It performed in very hot weather, in rain and on an air rifle, .22 rimfire, .22-250 and .30-47L rifle with no problems. It is light and I had no difficulty mounting it to all the rifles. As already noted, the zero and re-zero tests were fine, though that ½in adjustment per click is too much.

The illumination is excellent and gives a decent non-bleeding illuminated reticule, while the choice of colours is handy against different backgrounds. Optically there is no parallax adjustment, so on the higher magnifications at ranges below 50 yards it is hard to focus the image and reticule — which is normal, but worth bearing in mind.

Optical quality is pretty good. The image is flat and not convex as on some cheap scopes. There is a small degree of aberration to the edges, but the main central sections are clear and light transmission is fine for normal use.

Atom scope on Sako

The Atom fitted to a Sako custom rimfire accounted for these two bunnies with no problem

Check out the Atom if you’re looking for cheap scopes

This scope should appeal to air rifle and rimfire users in particular as its price will not add too much to a rifle outfit. That said, I would choose a ¼in per click adjustment model.

For more info or to buy visit In Your Sights

Technical specifications

  • Make  Atom Model 3.5-10x – 50mmBE
  • Objective lens 50mm
  • Magnification 3.5-10x
  • Length 14.2in
  • Weight 20½oz
  • Field of view 23-6.8 ft at 100 yds
  • Eye relief 3-3.9in
  • Exit pupil 3.6-11mm
  • Adjustment ½in at 100 yds
  • Illumination Red, green and blue

Price £59.95