We have decided that a optics shootout would be a lot of fun, and what better category could there be than the 1-8x optics that are on the market. I was able to obtain this fine scope from the folks at Bushnell Tactical. This is the Bushnell Elite Tactical SMRS 1-8.5-24mm. SMRS stands for Short/Mid Range Scope. This scope boasts a 34mm main tube, locking turrets with mil based adjustments and a mil based reticule. This one was equipped with a FFP BTR-2 reticule. The scope weighs in at 23 oz. and is 10″.
This scope will initially be mounted in rings on a 18″ AR-15 and will be used in the very near future on some hunts in the Texas Panhandle. Without the optic mounted I can tell it has a generous eye box, and the glass is very clear edge to edge and bright. The glass is exceptional and Bushnell Tactical has put a lot into this optic. With just a small amount of time with this scope, I would say it’s glass is on par with the US Optics SR8 and slightly behind a Leupold Tactical MK6 1-6x. The illumination and weight are in my opinion going to be the Achilles heal of this scope. The scope seems very heavy in hand, but seems to have very solid construction. The illumination however is not daylight bright and with the reticule being in the front focal plane it washes out in the bright Texas sun. I will get some trigger time with this soon so I will be able to report back on how it does in practice. The BTR-2 reticule has a upside down horseshoe with a dot in the center, and lines extending downward for holds. I think it’s a good design, however think that it would be better suited in a SFP design because at 1x the reticule is very small and with the dim illumination, it makes it hard to find quickly.
The illumination is turned on by a knob on the left side of the optic, and it turns off in between each of the 11 settings. 2 of the settings are listed as N1 and N2 and are good for night vision, which is a very cool feature to me if you like to hunt hogs at night with night vision. The turrets lift up to make an adjustment and then are pushed back down to lock. They have a screw on the top that when removed with a flat head screw driver or even a coin, will allow the turret to be removed and reset to zero. The magnification ring moves with confidence and is not such a long move that a cat tail cannot be utilized like the SR8. The eyepiece is a fast focus type and works well.
The scope ships in a black box that is more attractive than most, and comes with manual and instructions. It also comes with the scope covers that are the rubber band type that I don’t really care for. Overall, I think this optic shows a lot of promise and will compete well with all the other 1-8x scopes on the market. Look for an in depth comparison of this with a Leupold CQBSS 1.1-8x, US Optics SR8 1-8x and most likely a March 1-8x. Bushnell did a great job with this scope, and you cannot truly appreciate the features until you’ve spent a few minutes with the scope.
by: Jason Hallmark
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