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Straight Shooters Cast Bullets
Rifle Magazine
March - April 2001
Volume 33, Number 2
ISSN: 0162-3583
Number 194
On the cover...
This issue is only available on CD-ROM.The stainless steel Marlin Model 336M is shown with a Leupold LPS 1.5-6x 42mm scope in Leupold rings and mounts. Photo by Stan Trzoniec. Purchase the CD-ROM here
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Rifle Magazine
Product Tests
Electro-Dot Burris Variable

Al Miller

 This year Burris offers its Electro-Dot reticles in several different scopes. Electro-Dot? What’s that?

It’s a battery-powered, ruby-colored pinpoint of light that, when turned on, appears precisely where the crosshairs meet in the center of the lens image. The test scope, one of the Signature Series, was equipped with the device.

Its advantages are obvious. How often have you seen a scope’s crosshairs seem to disappear when aimed at something cloaked by a late afternoon shadow? Or did you ever have difficulty trying to distinguish them when you’re hunting on the north slope of a heavily wooded mountain in November? When afield under those conditions, all it takes is a twist of the flat control knob on top of the Burris’s ocular bell housing and a mite-sized red light flashes to life right where the exact center of the lens is.

There are two settings on the control knob, by the way: One lets the pinpoint of light sparkle brightly; the other reduces its luminosity about half.

Interestingly enough, when the light is on and the scope is pointed at a bright light or a surface that reflects light, the tiny Electro-Dot can’t be seen. I discovered that while aiming the scope at a lizard scurrying around a rock pile some 60 or 70 yards away. Although he was difficult to spot whenever he ducked into a shadow, the little red dot enabled me to keep him centered in the sight. When he dashed across the top of a boulder under the late morning sun, the crosshairs stood out in stark relief against the glare, but the Electro-Dot was completely invisible. That’s why, I’m told, so many hunters simply turn the system on and leave it running while they hunt. No matter what lighting conditions they might encounter, they’ll either see their crosshairs or the Electro-Dot. Battery life should be 24 to 36 hours, depending on the make.

Another handy feature on the test scope allows a hunter to estimate the range to a target with remarkable accuracy. Simply by moving the magnification ring until an object around 18 inches wide is bracketed between the center of the crosshairs and the point of the Heavy Plex permits the range to be read from the legend stamped on the rear face of the power ring.

To check that system’s accuracy, I selected a mailbox at what I judged to be 150 yards away for the first target. In my neighborhood, mailboxes average 18 to 20 inches in length. Bracketing the target as closely as possible in the reticle by moving the power ring, I managed to get a reading of approximately 170 yards. Checking the distance with an electronic rangefinder showed the box was actually 159 yards. Not bad.

For a second test, a box way out there was selected. My estimate was 300 to 325 yards. According to the power ring, it was 350 to 360 yards. Measured electronically, it turned out to be 337 yards.

For the range tests, the Burris variable was mounted on my favorite test rifle, a heavy-barreled Remington Model 700 VS chambered for the 6mm Remington. A sub-MOA rifle, it has never let me down. Factory ammunition featuring 80-grain hollowpoints was used.

For the initial test, the target was “squared,” that is, a series of three-shot strings were fired, using the same point of aim but moving the adjustment knobs between each string. First, a string was fired, then 10 clicks of elevation were added, then another string and 10 clicks of right windage; another string and 10 clicks down; another string and 10 clicks left windage. If there were no play in the adjusting mechanism, the last group would land right on top of the first. It did. Three-shot strings were fired because range temperatures were in the low 90s, and I wanted to prevent the barrel from overheating.

Next, the objective was to learn if there was any shift in the point of impact when the scope’s magnification was changed. A string was fired with the magnification ring set on 3x, another with the setting on 6x and, finally, a third at 9x. Then another string was fired at 6x and a last one with the ring back on 3x. Every string fired slammed into the center of the target at 100 yards. There was no hint of the point of impact changing between strings.

As usual, the clarity, brightness and resolving power of the Burris lenses were impossible to fault. Several reticle designs are available. The test scope was equipped with the Heavy Plex. I would have preferred the Fine Plex. With an Electro-Dot available, Heavy Plex seems like overkill.

Anyone in the market for a new variable will do themselves a favor if they’ll take a long, hard look at the Burris Electro-Dot models. They’re blessed with a hard-earned reputation for reliability and durability. They’re protected by the firm’s Forever Warranty too. Best of all, they’re American made - and well made too.

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