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GUNS Magazine April 2010 - Page 12

OPTICS • Jacob Gottfredson • FINd, RANGE, SHOOT Bushnell’s Upside Down Christmas Tree. t is curious how few people thought about using mil dot reticles I for hunting 20 years ago, although it has amazing utility for such a chore. The first reticle with holdover bars to really hit the industry running seems to be the TDS reticle designed by Col. Tom Smith and used in Swarovski scopes for several years. Introduced only about 12 years ago, the reticle took the shape of a Christmas tree. The distance between bars was used for holdover. Each lower bar was a little longer horizontally than the one above it to account for a 10 mile per hour wind. Variation after variation followed until almost every manufacture had holdover dots or bars of some sort and with some logical purpose in mind. But then Bushnell did something very curious: They turned the Christmas tree upside down. Why? has not been provided. The dials are 1/4" clicks and can be set to zero once you have sighted in. The scope is a 1-piece design, and is labeled “made in Japan.” The warranty is excellent. I could not fault anything I saw or tested. The 50mm objective transmits light very well. An excellent hunting scope. Bushnell Elite Riflescope Bushnell was kind enough to send along one of their 3-9x50mm 3200 Elite riflescopes for this article. I tested it at the range for resolution, contrast, and aberrations. It was outstanding. I had just finished an article on their 8x42 Legend Ultra HD binos with ED lenses, and was as impressed with the glass in this riflescope as I was with the binos. The riflescope is waterproof and fog Thescope’slinesarecleanandsimple. Mysample,newintheboxandcellophane wrapped,hadexcellentglass.Thereticlewas verycrispandsizedtoallowittobeseenin twilightconditions,yetstillsmallenoughfor precisionwork. SUVARI proof and mENA has their Rainguard DOA Reticle Coating. The lenses are HD coated, and the reticle Bushnell’sDOA600reticle So much for the is their 600-yard DOA, or provides holdover bars boilerplate. Let’s talk Dead On Accurate. Twisting aswella“RackBracket about the upside down the power ring showed me System”tosizemuledeer Christmas tree holdover the reticle is in the second andwhitetails.Whilethis bars. While most bar focal plane. That means might appear to restrict designs are rather simple, only on its highest setting, its use to certain calibers they provide the shooter i.e. 9X, do the holdover and just hunting deer, the with a tremendous bars hit the distances given reticlecanbeusedwithany advantage unknown to by Bushnell with selected cartridge,foranyanimal,and hunters 20 or so years cartridges. That is not quite forrangingaswellifyou’do ago. It is true Premier true. Much more about that someworkaheadoftime. Reticles and a few in a moment. other folks have been This particular model installing holdover dots has the European-style quick focus for particular cartridges and ballistic eyepiece. Since it is only a 9X scope on trajectory for several years prior to this, its highest setting, parallax adjustment but the rush to more elaborate holdover bars is a relatively new phenomenon. To satisfy marketing, many reticle designers and manufacturers find it expedient to tell people the holdover bars will hit at particular ranges with several popular cartridges—true to a certain extent, and certainly simpler to say so. The truth, however, is a bit more complicated, and the fact is most people don’t want the complication. In the case of Bushnell’s 600 DOA in this scope, the main reticle is sighted in at 100 yards, allowing a 200-yard hit for the first holdover bar below the main reticle, 300 yards for the second, then 400, 600, and finally 650 where the vertical stadia wire gets thicker. The smart hunter understands margin of error, realizing if he’s shooting an elk at 300 yards, the second holdover bar will produce a hit in the vital zone. No problem. However, at 500 and 600 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • APRIL 2010 12

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