So many scopes, so little time!
The folks over at AMPRO sent me down a couple of the higher end Bushnell long-range scopes to check out. Sadly, life has a way of getting in the way sometimes, so I only really had enough time to play with one of them – the Bushnell Forge – 4.5-27×50.
They also sent over one of the Nitro scopes – but – due to time, I selected the scope I was most likely to use – that being the FFP Forge over the SFP Nitro. I do have to say, right off, the grey of the Nitro did appeal a lot more to me than the Brown of the Forge. Each to their own though.
Anyhow, the Forge boasts better glass, and better coatings than the Nitro line – actually, the forge has an actual waterproof rating.
The other bugbear, I had, and I put this up front because it’s just personal preference, nothing more, was that the Forge was in MOA – in fact, if you want it in Terrain – I believe you can only get it in MOA, not MIL. Not sure of the reasoning.
Anyhow, unpacking was fun – there is a lot of people going on online about the high level of packing that the scope comes in. And yes. It’s packed like an iPad. Of course, once it’s out of the packaging, that all lives in the cupboard.
Mount it up!
I put the scope into the Tier One Rings, on top of the 308, an immediately realised my first mistake. I had just stacked a 6 MIL mount on a 20 MOA rail. 40 MOA in this scope did not make for a 100m zero!
I would always use a 100-meter zero – I just don’t see any reason not to for a precision target rifle – hunting being a separate matter. Anyhow, not a reflection on the scope, just a muppet moment on my own behalf. Wasn’t really a major though – I just ended up zeroing it further out as a temporary measure.
Suffice to say; the turrets did what they were meant to do when zeroing the rifle. Clicks are accurate to expectations. Sadly, I didn’t have time to do my own tracking test, but all the ones online I found while researching for this article were positive – remember – you need to test your actual scope, because much like rifles, each one will be slightly different – and you want to check the physical one you are using, not rely on the ‘generic’ testing you see online. That’s not your scope.
Turrets, Zoom, fit’n’finish…
The locking turrets are, well, large – which I actually like. Nice and easy to reach and grab. Not as a solid click as the Vortex AMG for example, but perfectly adequate.
With a stated 50 MOA total elevation, that being 14.5 MIL, you are going to want at least a 20MOA rail to get the most out of the scope. Most 6.5 Creedmoors, for example, are going to be around 11 MIL for 1k. So you are going to need to move that zero down low, to be able to get it back up high. So to speak.
The throw lever included with the scope is an excellent addition, something that really should be standard on all ‘tactical’ scopes these days. The included sunshade, well, is black. Which is something I probably would have colour-matched
One notable thing is that the parallax adjustment on the side goes down to 25 yards – actually making this scope quite a viable option for a precision 22 build.
The issue we often have is a limitation on high-quality optics that have a close enough parallax setting for the close-range shots often present in 22 field competition. Sure, a 100 ft, or even 50 ft may seem close enough for most things, but some short-range, small targets really highlight a need for such optics.
As you would expect from most modern glass, the image is clean and crisp, and noticeably in this scope – ‘bright’ – I feel it a combination of light gathering, and contrast – but the image does pop a little bit more than some other scopes I have been looking through recently.
I have also been playing the Forge 15x bino’s recently – and would make the same comment – I wonder if it might in part be due to the coatings that Bushnell is using on this range of glass.
The reticle has become more and more my focus when it comes to scopes – the amount of information it gives you, they want it interacts with your brain. It’s what you spend most your time looking at when it comes to a scope, so it is rather vital that it functions as you want it to, and, makes sense to your way of working.
As mentioned previously, I would have prefered the MIL version of the scope, and I am quite used to them now – so on first look, I thought the Bushnell had made a really odd decision – .2 graduations in the reticle on an MOA scope. However, after stopping and thinking it through (and a quick reference to the manual) – it occurred to me that I wasn’t looking at .2 graduations – I was looking at 1 MOA graduations, with a large mark every 5 MOA. That made a lot more sense.
The MIL version beaks the windage down to .5 MIL graduations – still a bit chunkier than I am now used to on my EBR-7B ret in the AMG. Each to their own though – if you don’t intend to use the reticle for wind calls, or quick corrections, no major – though I can’t see why you would actually bother with an FFP tactical style scope if that were the case.
However, in my limited use, the reticle worked as expected – and I am sure with more use, I would get more used to it, and quicker working around it. This aspect is why sticking with one system makes a lot of sense.
For the previously mentioned reasons, I really didn’t get to use this scope as much as I would normally like before writing something up about it, so, apologises to both AMPRO and Bushnell on that one. However, I am back to being out shooting on pretty much a weekly basis again.
For the limited use I did have, the scope performed well. Even better when I stop and reflect that it is available for near half the price of my standard, the Vortex AMG.
When I frame it that way, it becomes a very good proposition. Maybe a MIL version in the black for the new rimfire build? Maybe… 😉