Most rifle owners who’ve been hunting and shooting for some time have had an experience with Bushnell in one form or another. The company is massive, and produces a wide variety of optical goods. This includes binoculars, red dots, spotting scopes, and rifle scopes. They’ve been around for a long time, and have a solid place in the mid priced optics range. Bushnell is also commonly associated with hunting rifles and more traditional hunting scopes.
Lately they’ve expanded more into the tactical or black rifle market with their release of their AR optics line. As the title suggests these optics are specifically for AR style rifles, and AR optics line is quite large, incorporating both variable optics, fixed magnification, and red dot optics. For this review we look at the Bushnell AR optics 1-4 power standard optics.
Similar scopes we have reviewed before:
The Bushnell AR scope has a very aggressive look to it, and definitely takes some inspiration from other tactical optics. Everything is aggressively ridged, and overbuilt to a degree. This optic could easily be used with gloves, wet, or even numb hands.
The tactical aspect is thrown into the optic’s packaging, and Bushnell’s slate grey and orange box makes it well known that the optic is made for an AR. The AR scope comes with the basics, including the manual, registration card, scope caps, an Allen key, and of course the optic itself. The scope caps are bikini style with a single elastic band keeping them in place.
Quick Technical Overview
The rifle scope has a 24 mm objective lens and is reasonable small and lightweight. At 9.5 inches long and weighing in at 16.9 ounces the optic is not the lightest, but is an excellent option for a carbine in terms of weight and size ratio.
The optic has a matte black finish that’s well applied over the entire optic. The rear lens has the kind of advertising I hate on any of my gun accessories. The rear lens has a massive silver sticker that shows the reticle and proclaims AR optics in bold print, and to the right another AR/223 logo. A bit too much for my more subtle tastes.
The turrets are finger tip adjustable, and very aggressively textured. You get a nice sure grip when you grab those turrets. The turrets are tactile and audible as they turn and give solid feedback to the user. The turret themselves are capable of being zeroed out after you sight in, and it’s relatively easy process to go through.
The magnification ring and fast focus eyepiece have the same bevelled aggressive texture of the turrets. Both pieces take some force to really move, but the movement is still smooth. The aggressive texture does make moving the magnification ring a bit easier, and it’s comforting knowing the ring isn’t going to ever move by itself.
No Parallax Adjustment
The optic does lack an adjustable objective, or side focus turret, this means there is no parallax correction. In my opinion this limits the optic’s potential.
Since it’s designed to be a medium, to close range optic I would expect parallax adjustment if I wanted to use the optic for hunting. Out past 100 yards shooters won’t have an issue. Within 100 yards the shooter may encounter parallax and distortion. For sport shooting like 3 gun, this effect may occur, but will be minimized due to the target’s size. For hunting you are trying to humanely take an animal down with a well placed shot to the animal’s vital zones.
On To The Range
On the range the optic was easy to zero. The turrets made it quite easy to make small adjustments, with its ½ MOA adjustments you aren’t trying in to dial in at a 1,000 yards. The optic itself is a 30mm tube, which makes it easy to mount the optic, and I used a set of Vortex rings to rock and roll. The rifle was our old reliable Smith and Wesson M&P 15.
The lenses do have a slight tint to them, which can be expected from the fully multi coated lenses. These lenses do allow a surprising amount of light come through, especially considering the small 24 mm objective lenses. The optical quality is top notch, and everything through the scope came through it beautiful high definition.
The reticle is a drop zone BDC. Which consists of a standard duplex reticule with a series of dots that represent the bullet drop for the 223 round. This bullet drop scale is designed exclusively for 223 rounds with a projectile weight between 55 and 62 grains. Anything outside this range is going to change the rate of fall with the round. It’s important to understand that this is a second focal plane scope.
The BDC has circular dots that compensates from 200 to 600 yards. Without going into detail on how SFP scopes work, just know for the bullet drop compensator to be accurate the scope has to be in the highest, in this case 4 power magnification.
The weapon’s BDC was dead on with some standard Federal 62 grain ammunition at 300 yards. With some careful wind calls we were making a dueling tree dance. I would have liked to have seen a set of mil dots or MOA dots across the horizontal duplex to make wind calls easier, but it’s forgivable when you consider the optic is really designed for close and medium range shooting.
When you crank the magnification to 1x and use the Bindon aiming concept you have a very effective close range optic. This leaves users with the ability to seamlessly transition from target to target rapidly. The additional magnifications are nice, but in reality 1x and 4x is where the optics shines. 1x for short range, and 4x so the BDC works.
Summing It All Up
At the sub 150 dollar price tag it’s hard to find much wrong with the optic. The few things I don’t like include the lack of parallax adjustment, the second focal plane nature of the scope, and the ridiculous advertising on the scope body. Except for the advertising, the SFP and lack of a parallax adjustment device can be expected at this price level. Overall it’s a well built scope, and anyone in the market for an affordable, close range variable optic will be well served by it.