Bushnell Elite 6500 4.5-30 x 50mm
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- Last updated: 14/12/2016
Bushnell produces an extensive range of riflescopes. They offer red dot sights through traditional optics to scopes incorporating laser range finders, all this while catering for all budgets too. The scope on test here is from the more expensive Elite 6500 series with a specification of 4.5-30 x 50. At first glance the specification of this scope looks impressive and suggests that this is a very versatile piece of equipment.
Ticking All The Boxes
When I first came across this scope I dismissed it as not having enough magnification for my purposes as a Field Target shooter. I thought that was a shame, because apart from the magnification it seemed to tick all the right boxes and the options for FT shooters are fairly limited. How inconsiderate of a major manufacturer to overlook a niche market that I happen to take an interest in! The 4.5-30x has however begun to appear on the FT circuit and with a degree of success too, so I thought I had best re-evaluate my initial dismissal and see what this scope has to offer, not just for FT shooters, but all disciplines.
The 4.5-30 x 50 is a very compact scope, even without taking into account its high magnification. The satin black finish is practical and complements the overall design. There is nothing brash here, everything about this scope is understated. The length of the scope - without the supplied sunshade - is 343mm and it weighs 599grams. Therefore the whole scope has a reassuringly solid feel without it feeling like it will unbalance a rifle when mounted.
Constructed using a 30mm body tube the 50mm objective, which seems to be common nowadays, it doesn’t look ungainly especially as the side focusing format of the scope negates the need for an adjustable objective and the extra diameter that brings with it. Light transmission should be good with this set up and combined with Bushnell’s ‘Rainguard’ system and the multicoated optics, it doesn’t disappoint with good clarity throughout the zoom range.
A rubber armoured eyepiece allows fuss free setting up for an individuals eyes and Bushnell have chosen to give this scope a long eye relief. This may be good for ‘recoil safety’ as the brochure states, but it gives more room for unwanted light to stray into the rear of the scope affecting the sight picture and reticule definition in particular. I did find this to be the case under certain conditions but it is easily remedied by using a rubber eye cup or by wearing a baseball cap. Also, given the compact nature of the scope, that extended eye relief may cause some difficulties when trying to position the scope on a rifle. This of course is a possibility with any scope and nothing that couldn’t be remedied with the huge selection of scope mounts available.
Moving forward from the eyepiece is the magnification ring. Its design is easy to grip and the operation is smooth throughout the travel from 4.5 times to the much highest 30 times magnification. This huge range in magnification is one of the scopes really strong points. It opens up the appeal of the scope allowing for high magnification precision, and at a twist of the magnification ring down to 4.5 times, light gathering capability and fast target acquisition.
Magnification and Mil Dot
The various magnification settings are depicted in gold lettering with the exception of 10x power - this is red. A mil dot reticule is fitted in the scope and this sits in the second focal plane. The reticule therefore remains the same as the magnification is adjusted and the target either grows or shrinks. This means that the reticule only acts as a true ‘mil dot’ at one magnification, 10x – hence the highlighting in red.
Staying with the reticule for the moment I wouldn’t describe it as either overly thick or thin. The thick posts of the reticule lead your eye in towards the centre of the sight picture, and the mil dots, even if you don’t use them as such, provide a useful reference point for holdover and wind allowance.
When using the scope I have to say that I wasn’t really aware of the reticule. This has to be a good thing as it lets you concentrate on the shot with minimal distraction.
Point of impact adjustment is catered for by a pair of target style turrets which only stand about 1 cm high and when not in use they can be covered by screw on caps. The turrets seem wider than most and that seems to emphasize their low profile. The graduations however are clearly marked (again in gold) and aren’t at all fiddly to use even with cold fingers. The zero on the turrets can easily be reset too by simply lifting the cap, setting it to the desired position, then pushing the cap back down into place. Audible clicks can be heard whilst adjusting the turrets and although not overly crisp each click is positive.
For the technically minded, each click gives ¼ inch of adjustment at 100yds with an adjustment range of 50 inches and while we are at it, the field of view at 100yds is 21.6 feet on 4.5x magnification shrinking to 3.4 feet at 30x mag.
As previously mentioned this scope utilises a side focusing mechanism and the scope allows focusing from 25 yds to infinity. Like the magnification ring the focusing adjustment is very smooth throughout its travel and I could not detect any flex or play either. Shooting at ranges shorter than 25yds is easy enough too, as simply using a lower magnification gives a clear enough picture and is therefore no different to using a low powered fixed parallax scope.
There are some small details too that I like about this scope. For instance lettering and markings are all clear, simple and complement each other. The little Bushnell emblem on the windage turret cover is stuck on straight and those covers spin on and off smoothly too. Supplying the sunshade within the price also helps to give the feeling that some thought has gone into the package as a whole.
Bushnell has produced a riflescope that will appeal to a large audience. Its flexibility with regard to the magnification range means that it shouldn’t be found wanting in most situations. This in itself is no great feat though. The fact that the scope isn’t large and cumbersome is the real trick. The quality of the construction is exactly what you would hope for at this price point too. The RRP is £979.95 with an actual ‘street price’ of up to 30% less.
If you know exactly the type of shooting you are going to be doing, for instance hunting using a low magnification, then a specialised scope is always going to be a better choice. On the other hand if you suspect you might find yourself shooting under different circumstances from day to day, and don’t want several different set ups, this scope should certainly be on any shortlist.
21.6 ft at 100yds (7.2m at 100m) on 4.5x magnification
3.4 ft at 100yds (1.1m at 100m) on 30 x magnification
Fully multi-coated optics with Raingaurd HD 100% water proof, fog proof and shock proof. Parallax adjustment from 25yds to infinity
PRICE: £979.95 RRP