Mueller APV 4.5-14x40mm AO Riflescope
By Chuck Hawks and the Guns and Shooting Online Staff
Mueller Optics (www.muelleroptics.com) has been quietly carving out a niche in the scope world with their line of high value, reasonably priced, illuminated reticle riflescopes. We have previously reviewed the Mueller Eraticator 8.5-25x50mm varmint scope and 3-9x40mm Sport Dot big game scope. Both incorporate Mueller's handy illuminated dot (with surrounding crosshair or German type) reticle, and both got very favorable reviews. Three Guns and Shooting Online staffers, including myself, now own and use Mueller scopes. So while Mueller Optics may not, yet, be a household word, their scopes are out there and gaining recognition in the industry.
The new Mueller APV (which stands for "All Purpose Variable", but should stand for "all purpose varmint") is a less expensive scope that lacks the illuminated dot reticle. It is the entry level Mueller, designed to bring new customers into the fold. And it has been a spectacular success, selling out the first production run in something like three weeks. Our review scope is the first of the second batch, and APVs should again be available through the Mueller Online Store and at Mueller dealers by the time you read this article.
The Mueller APV, which is assembled in China, comes packaged in an attractive green Mueller Extreme Sport Optics box and is protected by a Styrofoam insert. Included are instructions, a Limited Lifetime Warrantee (transferable!), lens caps, a 3" sun shade, and a dust cloth. That is a complete scope package, and we wish that other manufacturers were equally generous!
Our APV scope was supplied with the APV reticle, which is a tight Duplex style. The scope's scratch resistant finish is matte black, with a green accent ring around the objective and a green Mueller oval on the adjustment turret.
The scope is built on a 25mm main tube. It uses fully multi-coated optics for superior brightness and contrast. Overall length is 13.8", outside objective bell diameter is 2.08", and outside ocular bell diameter is 1.64".
Other features include fingertip 1/4 MOA windage and elevation adjustments, a heavy-duty spring clip assembly for enhanced adjustment accuracy and reliability, and a high-torque power change ring. Focus is "American style," achieved by multiple turns of the ocular bell, which is secured in place by a lock ring. The scope is guaranteed to be shockproof, waterproof, and fogproof.
I mounted the Mueller APV on a NEF stainless/synthetic Handi-Rifle in .223 Remington caliber, using a Weaver base and Weaver medium height rings. No mounting difficulties were encountered. Bore sighting was accomplished using a Bushnell magnetic boresighter.
Subjectively, the view through the Mueller APV was rated good by the entire Guns and Shooting Online staff. It is not equal to a Leupold VX-III (which we happened to be reviewing at the same time) in optical quality, but is every bit as good, in fact better, than the new Bushnell Trophy that we also had at the range. Optically, the Mueller is the best that we have encountered at its price point.
The Mueller APV is not perfect, no scope that sells for under $130 could be. It is fairly critical in regards to eye position. If you get your very far off axis the scope "winks" at you.
And the windage and elevation adjustments are not nearly as precise and repeatable as the target adjustments provided in the Mueller Eraticator that we tested a couple of years ago. They tended to interact with each other and were not particularly consistent. They were, however, no worse than the adjustments of the aforementioned Bushnell Trophy riflescope.
Test shooting was accomplished at the Isaac Walton outdoor gun range south of Eugene, Oregon. This facility offers covered bench rest shooting positions and target stands at 25, 50, 100, and 200 yards. It was summer in Western Oregon, sunny with clear skies and high temperatures around 90 degrees F. Doing the honors at the range were Guns and Shooting Online regulars Bob Fleck, David Tong and yours truly, Chuck Hawks.
Having previously found that the inexpensive Remington/UMC factory loads using a 45 grain JHP bullet at a MV of 3550 fps shoot as well, or maybe a little better, than anything else in this rifle, that is the ammunition we used while testing the Mueller scope.
We started, as always, with a target at 25 yards to insure that the first bullet fired at least hits the paper. It did, and three more rounds were sufficient to "walk" the bullets into the X-ring at 25 yards. Then we moved back to 100 yards and proceeded to zero-in our .223 test rifle to hit 2" high at 100 yards, as we would if we were setting it up for hunting jackrabbits, foxes and coyotes, the purpose for which we actually intend to be using this rifle.
As mentioned above, the APV's windage and elevation adjustments were not perfect, but they were good enough to get the job done. We managed to zero in our test rifle with a box of ammunition (20 rounds). Once zeroed, hunting scopes rarely need to be readjusted. So, unless you change loads, zeroing is basically a one-time operation.
We might question the "All-Purpose Variable" designation when applied to a 4.5-14x variable power scope (a 3-9x scope would seem more "all-purpose" to me), but there is no doubt about the value represented by this scope, which carries a list price of only $129.95, including a free sunshade. You will seldom see so much scope offered for such a low price. Anyone who looking for an "all-purpose" varmint scope at an economical price should consider one of these Mueller APVs.
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