Bushnell AR 1-6x24
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- Last updated: 23/01/2021
OK; I’ll readily admit we are a little left field with this brand new Bushnell scope on an airgun. A fixed parallax distance of 100 yards means it’s more in the field of rimfire and centrefire shooters with their AR15-type rifles, who want a light and compact optic that allows fast target acquisition plus a low range, variable magnification for close to medium range targets, on a handy and shootable platform. However, the sheer compactness and sleek profile had my attention from the off.
Bushnell as a premium optics company need no introduction, and their reputation has been well earned in the field, where serious enthusiasts need technical kit they know won’t let them down. Open the protective packaging and you’ll find alongside the scope, Allen keys, a lens cloth, an additional throw lever for the magnification ring (more of that later) and elasticated lens caps. In keeping with an irritating trend lately, no instruction booklet is included. Instead, Bushnell refers you to their website for the manual. OK; the bulk of the functionality is pretty self-explanatory for those of us who have spent their life around shooting kit, but it’s always reassuring to have back up guidance to hand.
Pick up the AR 1-6X24 and it has that look and feel of a well-made precision product, synonymous with the brand. The silky matt black, non-reflective, anodized finish, is practical, whilst the straight-walled 30mm body tube parallel keeps everything low profile. The 24mm objective lens lets in plenty of light, and low profile, set and forget turrets are in keeping with the streamlined theme. Fully multi-coated lenses are all part of the spec sheet and the usual shockproof, waterproof declarations are here, along with Bushnell’s guarantee.
Variable magnification between 1-6x is deliberately low, as this scope is all about quick target acquisition and a large field of view. Given that many of these models will probably find their way onto AR15s and similar self-loading, military-style rifles, one key feature is the ‘Throw Down’ extension lever that is attached to the magnification ring and hinges in and out as required. This is designed to offer faster leverage when dialling in the mag to cope with various scenarios. For example, a shooter may be faced with multiple, shortrange targets where 1x is ideal for fast acquisition and reaction. Then be presented with a 300-400 yard shot, here they will want to quickly select 6x for greater precision.
The way the throw lever folds back into the scope chassis is particularly neat, but it can also be extended by unscrewing the top rubber head, and screwing in a longer, 15mm replacement. This increased length will offer even better leverage if required. Movement through the magnification settings is reassuringly smooth too, with just the right amount of resistance.
Bushnell fit their BTR-1 reticle to this model in the second focal plane (SFP) and you have the option of illumination with a rheostat drum on the left of the saddle. As is common the CR2032, coin-type 3V battery contained within it, under a screw off cap. There are six brightness levels in red, and these alternate between ‘off’ stages, which is always more convenient for a quick close down or preselecting a level you want if the situation demands it.
The BTR-1 design is pleasingly simple, which all adds to the point and play feel to this optic. A bold outer ‘doughnut’ shape ring draws the eye to the target, whilst a fine central dot makes a perfect aim point. Lower stadia drops down from this, and whilst the four marked lines are designed to relate to 200 yards onwards, they are totally relevant as reference markers at airgun distances, being suitably proportional to our expected trajectories. All you need to do is shoot them at your distances to see how they correspond.
Low profile turrets are perfect for this style of glass, and movement is entirely finger-friendly. Click values are 0.1 Mil, and the movement is nicely positive and audible. I set up at 25 yards, and with 30mm mounts all in place and zero set, I then ran the grid test to check the tracking of the turrets. All came in on cue, nice and precise plus repeatable. Happy with your zero setting, then replace the caps for peace of mind, to keep everything protected.
I found this reticle just encourages speed shooting, and whilst the parallax can’t technically be dialled out (being non-adjustable) it didn’t stop tight ragged groups coming in at this closer distance. Opt to shoot sub 25 yards and you always have the option to dial down the mag when required for finer focus. Image quality is impressive nonetheless, with a sharp edge to edge clarity and a vivid bright picture.
I just love that BTR-1 reticle, and with such an open clear image, plus uncluttered, bold aim points, this sleek little Bushnell holds much appeal. At just 10.2” in length, the ultra-compact profile means it can find a place on many guns that would otherwise be easily unbalanced by larger glass.
As for its end use, I’ve admittedly taken it from its natural AR environment.
But for any general-purpose use, hunting duties, informal practise, or straight forward fun sessions, this model is hard to fault. All the usual Bushnell plus points and build quality, in a very neat package.