When I was a child, my grandfather was a pro at passing along words of wisdom. He was full of one off tidbits that were usually off color and good for a laugh. Of all of the wonderful euphemisms and sage advice that he passed along, his favorite by far was, “Son, you get what you pay for.” I have found this to be true in many occasions, but every once in a rare while, I have found exceptions to this rule. The exception that I am going to reveal comes in the form of a new scope manufacturer, Acme Machine.
The world of optics is, much like all technology advancing at a rapid pace. Not 10 years ago, a decent piece of glass for your rifle would set you back a pretty penny. First focal plane? How about you sell a kidney? Illuminated reticle? That liver will suffice in trade! Locking turrets would, for the average guy on a state budget, take a boat load of overtime to attain. Ladies and gentlemen, those days are long gone. You can have all of those phenomenal perks for the ridiculous price of $339 as of this posting.
Usually when things seem too good to be true, they are. However, I am proud to say that when it comes to the Acme Machine line of scopes, this was not the case. I had the chance to test a few different variations of the Acme Machine scopes, and honestly they were very good. The glass clarity was quite good, I would put it in the same quality tier as offerings from Vortex, Bushnell and entry level Burris. I was able to put quite a few rounds through it in different lighting conditions, and the scope handled everything from bright daylight to dusk in exemplary form.
The first scope that I will cover is the offering in 1-8x. Several things stood out for me as exceptional. The turrets were delightfully tactile, and i was pleasantly surprised with the audible response I received when turning the dials. The most apparent place that companies cut corners usually comes by way of the turrets, and these were crisp. Another pricy feature this scope brings to the table is the ability to lock the illumination turret. In addition, this scope also tracked very well. While performing a box drill at 50 yards this scope was right on the money, with a complete return to zero from whence I started. This was no easy task, as I chose a rifle that has put some optics to the test. My Bren 805 has a very large bolt carrier group, which equates to a very large reciprocating mass. This has, in my experience, changed zero on lesser scopes with ease. The Acme Machine 1-8x however handled it like a boss.
The reticle on the 1-8x was useful. At 1x, being in the first focal plane, I was able to use it in the fashion of a red dot. This made target transitions a breeze, while still providing for the capability to easily take the shots out to 300+ yards. When it’s time to crank up the magnification, the power ring was stiff, but not unusable. The reticle at 8x was a smidge busy, but as was mentioned earlier, it was usable. In the world of Christmas tree reticles and ballistic drop calculators built in, I wish the horse shoe segments were smaller, and the cross hair stadia slimmer. This is one of the very few things about this scope that I would change if given the chance or opportunity.
Alright, so the scope has very good glass, tracks well, is first focal plane, is illuminated, has nice audible and tactile turrets, and has a modest price. Whats the catch you ask? There is a very small list of things that I would change, and they are as follows. At 1X magnification, it is almost as if the scope is showing you a sight picture at .75X instead of true 1X. I found the sight picture to be closer to true 1x at around the 1.5x mark. Not a big deal to me, but when I was practicing both eyes open shooting, I made sure that the power ring was at 1.5X. The second and to me most glaring insufficiency when it came to the scope came by way of the anti reflective coating, or lack there of on the glass. This manifested itself in a few interesting ways. When turning the illumination on, it was almost as if the scope was reflecting light from the diode, and the resulting effect was a large halo around the exterior of the sight picture. The scope also reflected light off of the ocular lens at the back of the scope. Anytime I got a direct light source from about 4 o clock to 7 o clock, I would inevitably catch the light directly in my eye. This was, to me, mildly annoying at worst.
So the question remains, would I pitch the Acme Machine 1-8x to my grandfather as a viable option in the low power variable scope realm? I absolutely would. For me, the few cons are drastically outweighed by the pros. I think that this is an excellent example of technology finally being applied to the firearms market, and I would offer it as a competitive option for a midrange carbine. Long gone are the days of exorbitant prices for decent rifle glass, and I am happy to say good riddance to them and welcome to the era of new exciting options. Acme Machine scopes definitely get a solid nod of approval from me.