Simmons AETEC Riflescopes

By Chuck Hawks

AETEC 3.8-12x44
Illustration courtesy of Simmons

Simmons, Weaver, and Redfield are all familiar riflescope brands to experienced shooters. This triumvirate of brands has rather recently been acquired by Meade Instruments Corporation; a U.S. based astronomical telescope manufacturer who has branched into importing small telescopes, binoculars, riflescopes, and other optical goods.

Simmons is the entry level (or "popular priced") brand among the trio. Nevertheless, some Simmons models are endowed with rather sophisticated features. Among these upscale Simmons riflescopes is the AETEC line.

The Simmons AETEC line of riflescopes was the first to introduce aspherical lens elements. First used in very expensive astronomical telescopes and camera lenses, an aspherical lens system makes it possible to provide sharper images across the entire field of view by reducing lens aberrations.

Most lens elements for binoculars and riflescopes are ground as segments of a sphere. Spherical lens elements are relatively easy to grind and mass produce, which primarily accounts for their popularity. Only recently has it become possible to economically produce aspherical lens elements. Simmons makes this significant optical breakthrough available in their AETEC line of riflescopes.

In addition, every AETEC scope features a 1" (25mm) diameter tube and fully multi-coated lenses for superior light transmission and flare suppression. They incorporate 1/4 MOA fingertip adjustments and waterproof, shockproof and fogproof construction.

AETEC scopes feature long eye relief to minimize the possibility of scope cuts and provide superior comfort and usability for eyeglass wearers. This is an important but often overlooked specification, particularly when the scope is to be mounted on a hard kicking rifle.

Simmons promotes their AETEC line as wide-angle (WA) scopes, providing a greater than normal field of view. This is borne out by their specifications (see below).

The Simmons Truplex (a Duplex type) reticle is supplied in all AETEC scopes, and two models come with illuminated reticles. Simmons offers a limited lifetime warrantee on all of their AETEC scopes, pursuant to which Simmons Outdoor Corp. guarantees them to be free of defects in materials and workmanship for the lifetime of the original purchaser.

And, best of all, the AETEC line is reasonably priced. The 2005 MSRP for the 3.8-22x44mm AO (#802104) model tested was about $200, and the actual retail price at a local discount department store was about $158.

Here is a list of the various AETEC models by stock number:

802100 - 2.8-10x44mm, WA, Black Gloss
802101 - 2.8-10x44mm, WA, Black Matte
802102 - 2.8-10x44mm, WA, Silver Matte
802104 - 3.8-12x44mm, WA/AO, Black Matte
800865 - 2.8-10x44mm, WA, Black Matte, Illuminated Reticle
800866 - 3.8-12x44mm, WA/AO, Black Matte, Illuminated Reticle

As you can see, what we have here is basically two models, a 2.8-10x44mm scope, and a 3.8-12x44mm scope with an adjustable objective (AO). Both are available with the standard Truplex reticle or an Illuminated version of the Truplex. The 2.8-10x44 is available in gloss black, matte black and silver matte; the 3.8-12x44 is available only in matte black.

The basic specifications of the AETEC 2.8-10x44mm (#802101) model are as follows: Actual Magnification range* 3-10; Objective lens diameter (mm) 44; Exit pupil range (mm) 14.6-4.4; Field of view at 100 yards (feet) 44-14; Optimum eye relief (inches) 5; Length (inches) 11.9; Weight (ounces) 15.5.

The basic specifications of the AETEC 3.8-12x44mm (#802104) model are as follows: Actual Magnification range* 2.9-11.9; Objective lens diameter (mm) 44; Exit pupil range (mm) 15-3.7; Field of view at 100 yards (feet) 33-11; Optimum eye relief (inches) 4; Length (inches) 13.5; Weight (ounces) 20.

* Calculated from exit pupil diameter

All in all, the AETECs are good scopes for the relatively modest investment, able to more than hold their own against other brands in their price class. I would rate the Simmons AETEC scopes a "Best Buy."

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Copyright 2004, 2005 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.