Bushnell Elite Tactical DMR
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- Last updated: 25/08/2017
Bushnell’s Elite Tactical DMR (Designated Marksman’s Rifle) 3.5-21x50 stands out as a serious piece of kit with its 34mm forged, aluminum alloy, one-piece body and 50mm objective. In addition, it shows sizeable elevation and windage turrets, with 0.1 mil (1cm @ 100m) clicks. These match up nicely to a Mil-Dot reticle in the first focal plane (FFP). The other control is a side parallax drum on the left of the saddle; the finish is a hard-wearing black matt. Weighing in at 32.5 oz, it’s not light but does instill confidence, as it’s built like a tank! It’s quite short at only 13”, and a 4” sunshade is included, which is always useful.
Glass quality on the DMR does not disappoint. It is not quite up there with Swarovski or Zeiss but did compare favorably during a side-by-side comparison with a Vortex PST. It also came out on top when compared to a Sightron SIII, which is a great compliment in this price range. I was able to clearly see shots on paper at 100 yards and identify groups too. It performed well in low light and under the lamp, the fine reticle managing to stand out well. The lenses are fully multi coated and ultra wide band coated. I was particularly impressed with Bushnell’s RainGuard HD coating, which really did shrug off some pretty severe rain and allowed me to continue shooting.
There are two reticle choices; both FFP; a standard Mil-Dot and the G2 (on test). The latter is hash- styled, showing full and half Mil subtensions with a digit every 2 mils. At the extremes of both the vertical and horizontal lines are hashes, which are .1mil apart to allow for more precise measurements.
The bottom of the vertical also includes some additional horizontal lines, growing in length as you get further down. If you prefer to holdover, or run out of adjustment, then these will make measurements easier. The G2 worked really well when shooting steel plates at distance, allowing for quick and precise measurements. Being FFP, the values on the reticle stay the same no matter the magnification setting, which is great. Points to Bushnell as well for getting the balance of thickness, visibility and precision correct with this pattern.
With a scope of this type, it is very important that it tracks correctly; as the ability to be able to zero, make multiple adjustments and then return to zero, is critical. All these functions should be infinitely repeatable and is a true test of the engineering that goes into making it. The DMR has a Mil reticle and turrets; meaning adjustments made on the turrets should correspond to the markings on the reticle. The test process was simple, zero then make an adjustment (say 4 mils of windage) and the next round should land precisely in line with the corresponding hash mark. This was repeated a number of times without deviation and reinforced when shooting steels at varying distances!
The steels were position out at 100, 200, 250, 300 and 380 yards, and moving randomly from one to another dialing in corrections for both windage and elevation each time. The scope returned to zero after at least 60 corrections throughout the day, which is exactly what is required!
The T-LOK turrets, as well as being large, are easy to operate and their white markings are visible without moving your head. They lift to unlock and adjust, then push back down to lock when out in the field. Clicks are tactile and quiet, thus giving a quality feel, there are 5 mils per rotation with 29 Mils of adjustment, compared to 19 on a Vortex PST.
There’s no zero stop, but you do get rotation lines to help you. Not that this was too much of a problem as 4.8 mils got me out to 650 yards with my 223. To zero the turrets, you must place them in the locked position and then undo the securing screw. Once undone, you can lift the drum off and re-position it at 0. I was pleased to see that the markings on the drum and body line up perfectly. The parallax is large but not as tall as the windage and elevation and is easy to grip in wet conditions. It offers a nice level of resistance and is marked from 50 - ∞.
Magnification is generous at 3.5-21 and offers great flexibility. The adjustment ring is slotted, with a raised, fast-dialing blade, which represents 8 x magnification when it’s centered at 12 o’clock to the eyepiece bell. This can help to identify your setting you are on as the numbers are out of view to the user when behind the rifle. Perhaps less important on an FFP reticle like this model!
At minimum magnification (3.5x), the reticle typically was understandably fine, which may not be to everyone’s taste but that is the nature of FFP systems. I found that the exit pupil size at 21x magnification highlighted any errors with regards to my head position, so I did have to adjust my setup to compensate for this. It might be a good idea to make sure you get the correct height mounts for your rifle, as your eye needs accurate alignment on any scope with a similar magnification range.
This model came to my attention because it is built like a tank and has decent glass, turrets and controls. Features include a Mil-Dot reticle that matched the turrets, which offer a very good range of adjustment and it is only £845.00! To top it all off, it is also an FFP system, which I now prefer. At the time of writing, I firmly believe that this is one of the best value scopes on the market today and that is why I own one!
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