Rifle Scopes  Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

DMack

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I normally don't get into optics reviews... because there are so many out there that do a fine job at it. But, recently, I came into a new Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP to do a long term test with. This scope is going to showcase the HORUS reticle... but, I had them etch a traditional MILDOT in it, since that is what my eyes are used to. This new glass is hefty... built like a tank, and the glass is ultra clear and bright. The scope seems to track through the power range very well, and the erector is not masked in this optic.

Looks like Bushy did their homework.

I have not mounted it on a rifle yet, but will during Christmas. It has a 34mm tube, so I have to get rings for it. But, my initial impression is that this would be a good scope for the money. Bushnell is trying to break into the tactical market with the FFP design, so I'm anxious to see how it performs against my US Optics and Nightforce test mules.

The first thing I did today, is throw it in the pool for a solid hour. It sat submerged on the step, at a depth of 2 feet for one hour. I literally set my alarm, while I painted some rifles.

I took it out of the pool, the glass was crystal clear, no fogging, no leaks what so ever. This is good, since I swim with my rifles from time to time.

So, stay tuned. This thread will start to move soon... I know it's a new optic on the market, but looks promising. The turrets lock, by pushing down on them... you have to lift up on them to make changes... I will have to see how I like this.

Stay tuned...
 

woodspider

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Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

Keep us posted. Interesting you passed on the H59?? for a traditional Mildot Gen 1? I kinda like that H59 no dialing all holds.
 

DMack

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Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

WS:

I looked at the Horus H59 reticle and I must say, I found it very, very busy for what I do. I have been using a traditional MIL DOT reticle for over 20 years, and it's what my eyes are accustomed to. The H59 makes sense to me in theory, but when I look through it, all of the markings tend to run together. It has it's place with a "new" shooter to help him / her learn holds... but, most... if not all of my students are equipped with traditional MIL DOT reticles. I'm a huge fan of the US Optics MIL-GAP reticle, and my 1.8-10 SN3 has that reticle. I'm also a fan of the reticle that John Boyette designed for IOR... I got to shoot that recently, and became a huge fan of it.

I use the traditional MIL DOT reticle to teach range estimation, and shooting at distance using hold over / hold under... but, for the typical LE engagement distance, most Law Enforcement Marksmen will take the time to dial the DOPE into their optic.

I'm looking forward to seeing if this scope will perform. It feels very well built. The shape of it is a bit odd... it has a large tube, and a 50mm objective bell... but the bell is short, which gives the optic an odd profile. The turrets are HUGE!!!!!

I thought the traditional Elite series turrets were big, but these things are GINORMOUS!!!

Stay tuned... more to come. I took some pics yesterday of the scope in the pool, but did so on my Cell Phone Camera... I have to load them into Photobucket so I can post them.

Take care, be safe out there.

v/r

DMack
 

Scimitar

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Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

Been impressed with mine. Got it mounted on a GAP AR10.
Look forward to reading the rest of your report
smile.gif
 

DMack

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Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

What rings or mount did you use?
 

HPLLC

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Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

Sounds like a good product. It's nice to see more competition- maybe prices of the better brands will begin to drop into the more "sane and reasonable range" now.
 

steve123

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Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

I like these scopes. In fact I bought 3 of them.

A great scope value for the price,especially with a Horus reticle which would normally be a $400-$800 upgrade from other companies.

No problems and few complaints so far. I've used mine with H-59 reticle from 11Y to 2390Y, both dialing and holding over with fantastic success.

Too me every premium scope has some strengths,weaknesses or features which would suite one person better than another. The HDMR meets 99% of my needs and 90% of my desires.

DMack, I'm looking forward to the long term reports on yours.
 

koshkin

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    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    I have one of these with the MilDot reticle sitting on my 308 and I have been using it for a bit now with exactly zero complaints. It is a somewhat unusual looking scope, but I have been very happy with its performance.

    ILya
     

    LoneWolfUSMC

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    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    I am hoping to have one of these to put through the wringer sometime in January.

    If the other tactical scopes in the lineup are any indication it will take WAY more than one hour in the drink. We did our 6-24x for 48. Of course the pressure at the bottom of the pool is a little more than our bucket test, but I still don't think it would have a problem.

    Definitely looking forward to getting my hands on one since I think this is a great candidate for an LE Sniper rifle.
     

    DMack

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    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    Lone Wolf... I caught your video review and smiled. You do some of the same drills that I do. I will PM you my infamous 900 inch drill... You can add that to your tool box.

    I have very high hopes for this scope. I've had great luck with the other Bushy glass I've used. So far, this thing has my attention. I just have to get a sun shade and some Butler Creek caps for it.

    The turrets lock nicely, and have a Nightforce feel to the detents. I will see how well it repeats when I run my 900 inch drill with it.

    Be safe Brother...

    DMack
     

    a_bishop

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    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    I have really been looking at this scope for a new build. I am a die hard nf guy but looking to branch out to a less spendy optic on my new build. Why do u think of this scope compared to the nxs dmack?
     

    DMack

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    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    AB... I think it will give it a run for the money. It's just different. The thing is a brick house! The glass looks great so far. Let me get it mounted and run it hard.

    I will weigh it tomorrow... It's heavier, but shorter overall.

    I am a die hard US Optics user... But this has my attention.

    Stay tuned...
     

    jerseymike

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    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    From all the scopes I've owned ( sb 3-12, sb, 4-16, several Leups and several NFs) the hdmr is my favorite scope and does everything I need it to do. Some people complain about 5 mils per rev, no zero stop, no illumination. To me that's what is so good about the h58/59. Put it on zero and just hold over/under. No need to fuss with knobs and it's a lot faster especially when dealing with multiple targets at various distances. As far as illumination, I've never had the need to actually use it.
     

    frankythefly

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    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    I like the HDMR, however I wish the turrets where 10 mils per revolution and had better clicks. I also do not care for the flat head screw that locks the turret housing in place, wish it was a torx.(Mine is all gummed up from using thin flat head drivers)
     

    a_bishop

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    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: jerseymike</div><div class="ubbcode-body">From all the scopes I've owned ( sb 3-12, sb, 4-16, several Leups and several NFs) the hdmr is my favorite scope and does everything I need it to do. Some people complain about 5 mils per rev, no zero stop, no illumination. To me that's what is so good about the h58/59. Put it on zero and just hold over/under. No need to fuss with knobs and it's a lot faster especially when dealing with multiple targets at various distances. As far as illumination, I've never had the need to actually use it. </div></div>

    I shoot more and more hold over every year. I borrowed my buddies f1 w h58 reticle and it was rather clumsy looking and at almost 3k it was way too spendy for nf glass. I am trying to thin my fleet down to one comp rifle and one play rifle and just have the best of the best on both I'm looking hard at the s$b but don't know if I can commit the cash
     

    DMack

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    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    Ok, here are a few pictures.

    First, the pool... I put it in for a full hour while I painted some rifles.

    IMAG0870-1.jpg


    Took it out, zero leaks, no fogging, glass remained clear.

    IMAG0872-1.jpg
     

    DMack

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    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    The information stamp is on the bottom of the tube...

    HouseandBushyScope011.jpg
     

    DMack

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    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    The knobs are rather large, and you must pull out on them, to unlock them to be able to spin them. They have the same general shape of the other Elite Tactical line, but are MUCH bigger.

    HouseandBushyScope012.jpg
     

    DMack

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    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    As stated, the turrets are held in place by a slot screw. It's beveled, and looks as if it was intended to be loosened using a quarter?

    HouseandBushyScope013.jpg
     

    DMack

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    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    Yes, a quarter works well. (Forgive my dirty fingers... paint residue)

    HouseandBushyScope014.jpg
     

    DMack

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    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    This is my first negative.

    The turrets (both elevation, and windage) are stuck between hash marks. Try as I may, I can not get them to line up. My guess is that this unit, was not lined up at the factory... Bushnell uses a cogged gear up on top, and another cog to lock the turret down.

    HouseandBushyScope015.jpg
     

    DMack

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    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    As expected... there is a nice O Ring under the turret screw and there was a liberal amount of silicone on it to prevent water seepage.

    HouseandBushyScope016.jpg
     

    DMack

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    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    This is with the turret cap removed, and the turret pulled up in the unlocked position. The material that this is made of "seems" like plastic, or Delrin of some sort, it MAY be aluminum, I didn't feel like scratching on it to find out.

    HouseandBushyScope017.jpg


    The upper cog (smaller) is what the turret cap holds on to, to be able to spin the turret. The lower cog (larger) is what locks the turret in place, when the turret cap is pushed down. There is no positive lock, to keep it from raising if you didn't want it to... but, it does have an O Ring for sealing... the turrets are not "hard" to raise or lower, but I doubt that they will raise on their own. I would feel confident crawling with this optic, and the turrets staying in place.
     

    DMack

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    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    As you can see, this scope is beefy. The turrets only give 5 mils of elevation per rotation, and there is no zero stop, on either windage or elevation. This is not really an issue to those that are accustomed to NOT having that feature.

    The objective bell is large, and short. The fast transition from the tube to the bell gives the scope a stubby look. As stated earlier, it's a funky looking optic, but it is very, very heavy duty.

    My only concern is the turrets not lining up the hash marks. In all fairness, I am no scope guru. I assume that you can loosen the brass screw and make minute adjustments. I will call Bushnell and get the answer on this. At this price range, allowing a scope out of the factory with the hash marks not lining up, does not make sense to me. However, I am sure that it's an easy fix.

    Another small note... it is possible to raise the turret high enough to spin, without it being in the fully raised position. If you are dialing massive elevation into this optic, this could cause issues. The register marks, or horizontal hash marks to let you know what revolution you are on, are obscured if you don't raise the turret to it's fully raised position. In a hurry, this could cause you to loose track of where you are in the range (how many revolutions you have dialed).

    This is just something to be aware of. As you can see, I don't even have it mounted on a rifle yet. I'm waiting on my Badger rings to get here...

    Now, there is a lot of discussion on the H59 reticle... this scope was designed to showcase that. I had mine made up with a traditional MIL DOT, for reasons already stated.

    I will defer to those of you that are using this optic with the H59 reticle to add input that I can not. After all, this is the bring the good and the bad of this optic out for the consumer.

    Take care everyone, be safe out there.

    v/r

    DMack 1*
     

    frankythefly

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    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    Nice review, My index lines on mine line up perfectly, could be the scope or how it was zeroed? I always forget to have a quarter with me when I go to the range, need to add one to the ole range box. AS mentioned earlier I gummed it pretty bad using a conventional flat head screw driver. I like how you dumped it in the pool. Nice solid optic. Do you notice tunneling on yours from early on low powers to high? I do notice a slight tunneling on mine with the H58
     

    DMack

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    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    Franky,

    That "tunneling" is actually a GOOD thing. It means that the erector is not masked. Essentially, you are getting the proper field of view at the lower powers. This is unavoidable without masking the erector.

    Now, I am not a scope builder... but I have spoken with Arnold at US Optics enough to get a mental idea of what goes into these things. That's the first thing I looked for.

    It's normal, and I was actually glad to see it.

    I'm waiting on a call back from my Bushnell contact to see if I can get the hash marks to line up. I don't want to monkey with it too much...

    v/r

    DMack
     

    Pointman308

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    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    My tactical elite 5 x 15 turrets do the same thing and it just drives me insane. Another thing that happens: when I zero my rifle one day, I will go back the next and my zero shifts an inch to the left. I dont think that it is cold bore related either. My rifle shoots .30 most days if I havent had to much caffine. The turret internal design is a little different on the one you have than the one I have. The one I have has the brass internals. I think the problem with these scopes is the geared spline that the turrents drop down onto. I am not a machinest, but I think this is why they dont line up a lot of times. Not sure, just my two pennies.
     

    dcjs

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    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: DMack</div><div class="ubbcode-body">That "tunneling" is actually a GOOD thing. It means that the erector is not masked. Essentially, you are getting the proper field of view at the lower powers. This is unavoidable without masking the erector.</div></div>
    That is a very "creative" way to explain the problem.

    Actually, there are two ways to avoid tunneling. First, by putting a field stop into the second focal plane that restricts the FOV so that the tunneling at low powers is not visible. This means having a small (but even) angular FOV throughout the magnification range. This is the easy way.

    The other way is building an optical and mechanical system that allows for a large FOV on low power so that the angular FOV is even (and evenly large) at all magnifications. This is the hard way, because there are optical and space constraints that are working against the designer trying to maximize FOV on low power, especially in a FFP scope.

    Labeling tunneling as a "good" thing is just taking the cheap marketing exit out of a complex optomechanical problem. Sure, it's better than cutting FOV on high power just to achieve uniformity, but it's worse than designing a scope that does not need this workaround in the first place.
     

    DMack

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    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    David,

    I didn't even want to get into that topic, for I am not educated enough to hold a conversation on it. As stated, I am not a scope builder, never have been, never will be. I just gave an example as it was explained to me.

    I know when to tap out of a conversation... I will save that for people who actually know about it.

    I know my 3.2-17 SN3 does it... which prompted me to get on the horn with US Optics.
     

    DMack

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    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    Pointman...

    I too have found POI shift with some of the other Bushnell scopes I have used. I am hoping that this one will hold fast. Time will tell...
     

    Pointman308

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    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    Time for me to upgrade. Now which one........................
     

    DMack

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    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    Badger low rings on a Badger base. This is going on an AR-10. At least, that's the plan for now. I have a few AR's that I want to try this on, so using John Boyette's method of installing the rings on the base, allows me to move it from rifle to rifle easily.

    I don't have a one piece mount for a 34mm tube size, so I will go with the individual rings in case I want to move it to one of my bolt guns down the road.

    At least, that's the plan as of now...

    Cheers!
     

    DMack

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    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    Sorry Brother...

    I'm fairly positive the 34mm Low Rings will work on your bolt gun set up.
     

    Mike 338

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    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: DMack</div><div class="ubbcode-body">This is my first negative.

    The turrets (both elevation, and windage) are stuck between hash marks. Try as I may, I can not get them to line up. My guess is that this unit, was not lined up at the factory... Bushnell uses a cogged gear up on top, and another cog to lock the turret down.

    HouseandBushyScope015.jpg
    </div></div>

    This happened to me with the Weaver 3x15 locking caps / turrets. Enough other owners had this same problem so I returned it and got my money back. Can't understand having hash marks if they don't line up. Most others didn't care. For me, a sure trigger for the slow burn of buyers remorse.
     

    frankythefly

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    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    I can not get mine to Look like yours,(Hash marks not be lined up)I think you may have one that slipped by QC.
     

    dcjs

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    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: DMack</div><div class="ubbcode-body">My only concern is the turrets not lining up the hash marks. In all fairness, I am no scope guru. I assume that you can loosen the brass screw and make minute adjustments. I will call Bushnell and get the answer on this. At this price range, allowing a scope out of the factory with the hash marks not lining up, does not make sense to me. However, I am sure that it's an easy fix.</div></div>
    This is probably the explanation for the above behavior:
    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: DMack</div><div class="ubbcode-body">The upper cog (smaller) is what the turret cap holds on to, to be able to spin the turret. The lower cog (larger) is what locks the turret in place, when the turret cap is pushed down.</div></div>
    The number of splines on the upper cog (which determines the rotatory position of the turret cap) is lower than the number of clicks in the turret mechanism (which probably corresponds to the number of splines on the cog that locks the turret, so you can push the turret cap down at every click). Thus, the hashmarks may or may not line up depending on where the rifle is sighted in. There would have to be one spline on the upper cog for every turret click in order to make the hashmarks line up the same under all conditions.

    This same issue has been discussed at some length when the 5-20x SS came out.
     

    HPLLC

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    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test



    The not lining up hash marks are a stupid problem to have. If the knobs have gears that mesh that means they engraved them all without checking one for the axial orientation of the laser engraving. Hopefully they straighten these issues out.
     

    DMack

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    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    I have the fix for the hash marks issue. It's a super easy fix. Will post when I get home...
     

    Hellbender

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    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    Interested to see what your solution is.

    I think all the Japanese and Chicom (splined) scopes have this problem, the # of splines don't match up with the # of clicks.

    I think it is done that way on purpose, as getting the right # of clicks to match up with the marks on the turrets would be very difficult and on many of the scopes then NONE of the marks would line up.

    This way, it allows them to manufacture the turrets with no indexing (very easy), and it is only very far off one time in 3, so that immediately eliminates 2/3rds of the problems. and of the other 1/3 of the people left, only a few of them will complain.
     

    DMack

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    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    Ok, after speaking with Bushnell, this is what I was told. They do a "dunk tank" where the optic is placed in a tank of water, and then taken out to be dried once no leaks are found. The turrets are taken apart, new silicone is placed on the O Rings, and then the turrets are re assembled.

    It is the re assembly process that most likely caused the turret hash marks to not line up.

    The process to fix this is as follows:

    Take a nickel and unscrew the top silver turret cap screw. Take care and remove the small O Ring.

    Pull the turret cover off.

    Take a thin straight blade screw driver, and remove the brass screw that is visible in the center of the turret. Now, the black turret "cog" can be removed, leaving the brass inner turret exposed.

    Put the black "cog" into the removed turret cap, and then hold the scope with the rear of the scope to you, so you can see the hash lines.

    Carefully push the black "cog" and turret cover back onto the scope, lining up the hash marks perfectly.

    Re-install the brass screw... do not over tighten.

    Install the o ring and the silver turret cap cover screw.

    Done.

    Mine centered perfectly, and I ran the knobs click by click in full revolutions and the knobs lined up perfectly. The inner brass gear is MUCH finer, and allows you to seat the black "cog" in the proper tooth.

    Easy Peasy.


    Also, I'd like to add... I realize that it is easy to talk about "Jap" glass, and "CHICOM" glass (not directed at anyone, just borrowing the terms)... and NO, it's not US Optics, S&B, Nightforce, etc... This is Bushnell, trying to up their game, and bring a lower cost quality optic to the general consumer. They are really listening to input, and I applaud them for this. If more "low / mid" end companies up their quality, it makes buying products a bit more enjoyable to the end user.

    Will this replace my SN3's as my primary optic? Probably not. But, will I enjoy putting it through the ringer and reporting back what I like and don't like? Heck yes... all day long.

    Now... about those rings... I can't wait to get behind this and put some rounds down range.

    Cheers!

    DMack
     

    DMack

    1SG
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Nov 15, 2006
    726
    0
    52
    FL
    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    There is a video on YouTube by Promiselandguns that really shows that the turrets and the reticle tracks properly. He did a nice job with that...

    I am not using the Horus reticle, for reasons stated. But, I will do the tracking drills that I run my students through, and let you all know. I have no doubt that this optic will perform admirably.

    Thank you all for input. Everyone that is using this optic is encouraged to post your results. I have a few contacts with Bushnell that will look at this thread. As stated, they are listening to the input of the end user... and I think that is very admirable.

    Be safe out there...
     

    Tburkes

    Sergeant
    Commercial Supporter
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Nov 14, 2002
    827
    8
    Bandera, Texas
    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    I've got an HDMR with the H58 reticle that has been all over the country for the last two years on top of a .338 Lapua running matches and demos with thousands of rounds through it.

    I've had it for quite a while and have run it through some matches on my AX .308. It's also been used in several different classes when students rifles have had problems. I would estimate that I have around 2500 rounds through it in the last year or so with my shooting and students using it.

    There have been no problems at all with the scope during any of this time. Every one who looks at the scope has really liked it.

    I'm pretty confident that you'll really like the scope DMack and your other scopes might just take a back when you see how well it performs.

    We've also seen what the future holds for these scopes and it is awesome!

    Good luck with your testing.
     

    DMack

    1SG
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Nov 15, 2006
    726
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    52
    FL
    Re: Bushnell Elite 3.5-21x50 FFP long term test

    PM sent Lone Wolf...