Red dot revolution

Aimpoint is known for setting the standard in red dot sights, and Chris Parkin is among the first to test the company’s new offering, the ACRO C-1.

The new ACRO C-1 red dot sight from Aimpoint is the next step in their quest to broaden the range of aiming solutions on offer. After having hunted with H34 and Micro H-2 sights over the last few seasons, the chance to travel to Italy for a two-day boar hunt was an exciting opportunity to see and use the latest Aimpoint.

The ACRO C-1 is the civilian model of the existing P-1 that is designed for professional military and law enforcement users. The fundamental design attributes are shared with only minor specification changes to NVD settings (that a boar shooter is unlikely to use), and anodising with five metres water submersion protection rather than the hard anodising and 25m submersion proof capability of the P-1. Base plates are available for many guns that require proprietary mounting solutions, but with the supplied Merkel Helix on this hunt, the Picatinny option with a quick release lever suited the role perfectly.

The distance from base of the mount to the optical centre of the 16x16mm aperture is only 14mm, which brings your eye/cheek lower and closer to the bore. This also reduces the overall height of the rifle/optic package, definitely more streamlined and quieter in close cover with branches that may snag.

Rifles with adjustable cheekpieces are becoming more popular; correct gun fit is prioritised for rifle hunters in the same way as it has been for centuries to shotgun hunters, whose intuitive natural gun mount and natural ‘pointability’ on winged quarry is very much desired by fast-reacting larger game hunters, especially on quarry like driven boar.

Zeroing the scope shows use of recessed dials for which an Aimpoint tool or Torx key is needed. On an optic this compact, traditional fingertip dials would be far too bulky, so you can thank Aimpoint for keeping the unit compact while still easily functional. The CR1225 battery can also be replaced without disassembly of the scope from the rifle, and has Aimpoint’s usual long battery life with accurate details of longevity versus illumination intensity.

The zeroing tool is easily manipulated with cold or gloved hands, and the firm ‘clicks’ on the dials ensure a secure zero is mechanically held internally. Each click moves the point of impact 17mm at 100 metres, so at our zeroing range of 50 metres they become 8.5mm. Had we been at 25 metres, that would have become 4.25mm per click.

Aimpoint’s patented fully multicoated lens assemblies guarantees a parallax-free image with infinite eye relief on the sharply rendered 3.5MOA dot (covering about 50 mm at 50 metres on target), and choosing how far forward to mount the scope on
the rifle is generally down to the ergonomics of the specific gun and the comfortable focal length of your own eyes, simply to make it easier to see the controls.

The left side shows twin up/down buttons to activate the illumination within the sealed body, the smallest fully enclosed unit on the market in fact. The lowest-intensity settings are for night vision – use with brighter settings to suit the most likely daylight environments. I found stage 4 suited me best for average conditions, and 3 in lower light scenarios when the tree canopy restricted the sunlight on the forest floor. Swapping up to 5 when the sun broke through the trees made the dot more visible against brighter backgrounds.

The zeroing session had reminded me of my prior experience with the .30-06 Merkel Speedster using the latest Norma 11.7gr/180gr BondStrike ammunition, which was itself brand new. The rifle was pleasantly soft to shoot, with accuracy on paper as good as the shooter could hope for, creating overlapping bullet holes with a 1x magnification scope is always pleasing. The latest Speedster variant shows a co-polymer moulded stock in black and orange that is definitely the one to go for when visibility is desired!

The hunt saw us walk to our shooting platforms with most stands offering shots in front and behind the line of guns, generally us separated by 50-75 metres. The forest floor was deeply undulating, with steep banks rising and falling 5-10 metres, so there were plenty of safe shooting angles with good backstops. Long shots were unlikely, and hearing leaves disturbed was the first sign of approaching quarry.

My first shot opportunity was the first for anyone of the day, only five minutes after climbing into my seat. I heard, then saw the boar 10 metres away. It came up in low light, and was quite tricky to track as it approached slowly. The colour and image contrast were a little strained in the gloom, and by the time I had a good visual position and shot opportunity, it had come out on to the road and passed across the safe shooting line.

But just as another shot rang through the woods a few hundred metres away, it turned and came back, this time on a better line directly across my front. My shot connected solidly at no more than 15 metres on the walking boar. The boar blended in incredibly well, seeming to completely fill the 16mm square aperture in the sight.

Reliance, trust and practice in coordination and use of both eyes becomes even more important with this smaller ACRO. Compact is nice, but it does come with some compromises, and had the boar been moving faster it would have been difficult keep track of. Aimpoint’s philosophy is to shoot with both eyes open, and the smaller the sight gets, the more important I think that becomes – if you close your non-shooting eye, the visible picture becomes very different to a normal daytime scope optic.

My second shot opportunity was over an hour later, by which time the higher sun had considerably brightened the woodland. As it approached directly towards me along the bed of a stream, I took a downward shot into the head and neck. It was actually easier to take the shot before it approached too close and filled the field of view as placing the red dot in the correct zone of the boar’s overall silhouette was far easier when that dark hairy silhouette didn’t obscure the whole field of view. Keep both eyes open!

Superb optical capability, parallax-free alignment and crisp 3.5 MOA dot make shot placement precise, regardless of range

The ACRO C-1 and its P-1 brother were primarily developed at such a compact size for pistols. They have been tested and approved after 20,000 rounds test fired under them from a .40 calibre semi-automatic developing some 6200G per shot so durability is well assured. Given the low weight of a pistol and ACRO’s attachment to the reciprocating slide of such a compact weapon, the 1000G developed by a comparatively heavy .30-06 rifle is a relatively easy life.

The unit is fully waterproof to withstand submersion to five metres and has no lens caps, though the hardened glass is extremely durable. Given the overall size of the optic with just a 30mm frontal silhouette and 47mm length, the addition of lens caps would have added an unnecessarily large proportional addition, so this is no real loss as I removed the lens caps from the larger H-2 when I found their size, even in proportion to that larger optic, interfered with my field of view.

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