Unless there's something funky with the device, activeroot (so named for a reason) should root any Samsung Galaxy S4 Active in a second or two at most, any variant produced so far. If you got rooted without it, fantastic but activeroot should have
worked without a single issue on a stock ROM... interesting.
Only thing it's not working with right now is 4.3 based stuff, and maybe if we're lucky geohot will drop an updated activeroot at some point, at least that's my hope since we have the 4.3 pre-release ROM for our AT&T I537 variant now to play with.
But then again, 4.3 does make some changes to things, and with Samsung pushing Knox on end users pretty hard, we could be approaching a time where rooting a device - let alone unlocking the bootloader - might become just another thing of the past.
Currently using nothing at all...