some reason, Bushnells 2.5-10x, despite its 40mm
objective lens, seems smaller than most variables in its power range. Its 13 1/2
inches long and according to two different household scales, weighs one pound even.
Mounted on a Mauser-actioned 7mm Remington Magnum, it didnt alter the rifles
balance perceptibly nor did it make it more of a burden to pack afield.
initial range session was devoted to zeroing the scope and squaring the
target, once it was set up at 100 yards. Its a familiar test: Fire three rounds (all
the magazine holds), crank on eight clicks (1/4 inch shift in the point of impact at 100
yards) of elevation; fire another three rounds, add eight clicks of left windage, fire an
additional three rounds, twist the elevation knob eight clicks down, fire three rounds
then turn the windage knob eight clicks to the right and fire a final three-shot string.
Through the spotting scope, it was obvious that the last three bullets had landed right on
top of the first group fired, evidence that the scopes internal windage and
elevation adjustments were spot-on.
covers protecting the windage and elevation knobs are about an inch in diameter, stand
almost .5 inch high and are encircled by semicorrugated rims. Those generous dimensions
make them easy to grasp and to twist off and on with little fear of dropping and perhaps
losing them when afield.
knobs themselves are fitted with raised crossbars just large enough to grasp with the
fingertips. Each ratchetlike movement of either knob is accompanied by a plainly audible
click. In addition, a slight jolt can be felt through the fingers each time a
knob is shifted from one graduation to the next. No system is completely foolproof, but
the approach taken by Bushnell engineers comes pretty close.
scope is equipped with the Firefly reticle. The reticle silhouette is reminiscent of some
of the old pre-World War II patterns favored by many German and Austrian scope
manufacturers: four thicker-than-usual black bars extending about 75 percent of the way
from the outer edge of the lens toward the center. At that point, the bar narrows abruptly
and extends centerward another, say, 15 percent of the distance, leaving just enough room
for a finer crosshair in the center. Frankly, its a reticle that takes a bit of
getting used to, especially in open country. It would undoubtedly be right at home in the
woods, but out on the grassy plains, in sage country or up in the mountains where
distances tend to stretch a bit (and I tried that scope in all those different settings),
I found those thick bars more distracting than helpful.
reason for that extra width, they tell me, was to give the reticle the additional surface
area needed to display the reflective material applied to it.
to the Bushnell instruction booklet, to activate the Firefly reticle, a lighted flashlight
(a small one is supplied with the scope) should be held against the objective lens for
about two minutes an hour or so before dawn or dusk. To see if the reticles working
properly, cover the objective lens (a lens cover is very effective) and look through the
ocular lens. If all is well, the crosshairs should shine brightly for awhile, then
gradually fade to black.
in the field, as long as theres sufficient light to see the crosshairs without
difficulty, the Firefly coating will remain dormant. As the daylight grows dimmer, the
crosshairs should appear brighter and brighter.
the Firefly system work? Yes, it does and exactly as advertised too.
the ambient light fades, the crosshairs begin to glow green and are plainly visible. In my
experience, however, and Ive spent more than a few hunts searching for game at dawn
and dusk, when its too dark to see your sights, whether iron or optical, its
too dark to see the animals you seek as well. To put it another way: Firefly is a very
ingenious bit of technology, but irrelevant.
that doesnt detract from the Elite 4200s other merits. Optically, for
instance, its hard to beat. Examining the world as it appears when viewed near the
edges of the yawning objective lens revealed no hint of distortion, no matter what the
magnification. Switching from one magnification to another had no effect on the scopes
zero either there wasnt the slightest shift in the point of impact at 100
yards no matter how often the magnification knob was turned or how great the change was.
Out in cap-rock country, color transmission proved faithful to a fault.
claims its lens coatings allow the 4200 series to transmit 95 percent of the available
light theoretically, thats the best anyone can expect at the current stage of
optical technology. How could I put that to the test?
once, the weather gods came to the rescue. Clouds drifted in from the northwest, lowered,
dropped rain showers, spit snow, thickened, rolled and dropped lower still. The whole
world turned dark gray. Shadows disappeared. Colors faded. So did contrast. It was an
ideal day to test optical quality.
a distant target was selected an easily identifiable rock, one with a peculiar fold
or crack or silhouette, something my eye could catch quickly. Then, a quick glance through
the scope at it, immediately followed by an unaided, bare-eyed look. As far as I could
tell, after trying that little exercise on a dozen different targets, there was no
difference in what I saw through the scope and what my unaided eyes reported; no
difference in color; no difference in light or if there was, it was too slight for
my eyes to register.
has been making a lot of noise about a new lens coating it calls RAINGUARD. The company
maintains its a water-repellent coating on which well, let me quote them:
which condensation forms in much smaller droplets than on standard coatings. These
droplets form when the scope is exposed to rain, fog or snow. These smaller droplets
scatter much less light than the larger droplets on other coatings . . .
insist that RAINGUARD is the first coating that can protect a riflescope against external
fogging. One morning, when the outside temperature was 33 degrees Fahrenheit, I breathed
on the ocular lens. It fogged over completely. Nevertheless, when I raised the rifle, I
could see through the scope clearly, even though the lens appeared to be covered with a
fine mist. Once again, a Bushnell claim had proved out.
satisfy myself further, the same experiment was tried with another, older scope (made by a
different manufacturer). The result was a blurry field of view that gave no evidence of
clearing up in the near future. If a target were big enough and close enough
I probably could have seen well enough with that second scope to make a killing shot, but
fogging certainly limited its use for a long, long time.
ads also maintain that the Elite tubes are hammer-forged from one piece of
aluminum-titanium alloy, which is 30 percent stronger than aluminum alone. There was no
way for me to put that to the test, but considering how the other claims proved out, Im
willing to take Bushnells word on that one.
in all, theres a lot to praise and not much to criticize about the 2.5-10x 40mm. Its
optically excellent. Its reticular adjustments are quick and easy to make and once
set, stay put. Granted, the reticle itself, in my opinion, is oversized enough to be
distracting, but I suspect, with practice, a hunter would become accustomed to it. The
Firefly system works as advertised, but its unnecessary. The scopes
magnification range is wide enough to cover just about any conceivable hunting situation.
Its a first-class riflescope by anyones definition.