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GUNS Magazine January 2010 - Page 34
• JOHN BARSNESS • This scope is just at home on a hunting rifle. ccording to some hunters a scope must cost at least $1,000 or A it just won’t do for hunting white-tailed deer at 100 yards, much less the grand distances some big game animals are apparently shot at these days. Supposedly “affordable” scopes don’t provide the toughness, optical quality or adjustment repeatability required by modern hunting. In my experience, one of the consistent contradictions to that contention is the Burris Fullfield II. These scopes have been providing fine service on several of my hunting rifles for years now. Fullfield II’s used to be made in Burris’s Colorado factory, but a few years ago Burris started making them in the Philippines. Please note “making.” Burris did not outsource the manufacturing to a Pacific Rim “vendor,” the common euphemism for getting optics made by another company, but provided the actual tooling and training for making the same Fullfield IIs once made here. The result? I’ve run several Fullfield II’s from both Colorado and the Philippines through extensive tests and, if anything, the overseas models are little better. rifle on a steady rest, I focus the scope, then look at the chart and note the thinnest line I can clearly see. Below that line the chart appears gray, exactly like a zebra in the distance. Fullfield II’s have always done very well in this test, ranking alongside some much more expensive scopes, including a few made in Europe. Sometimes the view through the Fullfield II’s has been a little fuzzier around the extreme outside edges than in more expensive scopes, but over the decades I have also noticed the reticle is located in the center of the view of any scope, not around the edges. BURRIS FULLFIELD II 3-9x TACTICAL and exit pupil size both affect apparent brightness and sharpness, so to truly compare the optical quality of different scopes the magnification must be the same. The exit pupil must also be at least around 7mm in size, the maximum diameter of the pupil of most human eyes in dim light. Since just about all modern variables of 3-9X or more have 40mm objective lenses, setting them on 6X provides a sufficiently large exit pupil. (The distance is only 25 yards because at greater distance the atmosphere itself begins to interfere with testing. In effect, air becomes another variable in the test.) The test itself is really simple. With the scope mounted on a rifle, and the RuggedValue Fullfield II’s have also done quite well during ruggedness tests. These take place on a rifle that kicks pretty hard, anything from a .300 Magnum on up. Generally if a scope will last for at least a couple boxes of ammo on a .300 of some sort, then it will last a long time on most hunting rifles. Last year I LightTransmission This wouldn’t mean much if the original Fullfield II’s hadn’t been darn good scopes in the first place. These days many shooters judge scopes primarily on optical quality, so over the years I’ve developed a method of comparing the view through different scopes. The two biggest components of optical quality are light transmission (brightness) and definition (sharpness), so I made up a simple chart with black and white lines that decrease in width from 1" to 1/8" from the top to the bottom of the chart. This chart is set up at night 25 yards from a shooting rest just inside one of the windows of my house, and is illuminated by the 100-watt light on my back porch, also 25 yards from the chart. Thus the light lands only on the chart, not the scope itself, so stray light doesn’t interfere with the view through the scope. The scope is then set at 6X (unless, of course, it doesn’t go that high). This levels the playing field. Magnification 34 TheFullfieldIITacticalismountedinBurrisSignatureringsfeaturingaplasticinsert.Theinserts anchorthescopewithoutmarringandallowyoutopreciselyalignthescopewiththebore. WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • JANUARY 2010