Bushnell Elite Tactical – ERS

Riflescope, glass or precision optic; there are just as many terms for the tubular magnifiers that sit atop your prized weapons as there are manufacturers and options for these pricey items.  Quite a few have come and gone throughout my locker over the years, but a handful have stayed based on use, repeatability, glass quality and overall ruggedness.  The few hours I had at SHOT this year I was talking with Darryl Bolke about optics and he said I needed to see the new offerings from Bushnell.  Evidently the look on my face made Darryl respond with, “Seriously, you need to believe me on this one.”  Hearing that from a trusted friend, I followed and we met the Director of Military and Law Enforcement Sales, Tom Fuller.  An hour later, with an exchange of business cards, I had arranged for two of their new production scopes to be sent my direction when they came off the line.

Shortly after the meet at SHOT I had a Bushnell Elite, Extended Range Scope (ERS) sitting in my office awaiting mounting to a rifle.  The flavor they sent out was a 3.5-21×50, with a 34mm main tube in Flat Dark Earth.  Having done a bit of research about this scope before it arrived I had read many favorable reviews and really wanted to get it out of the box and onto a rifle.

Bushnell shopped around what was wanted and needed in a scope that would be abused by military, law enforcement, high power rifle shooters and people who wanted a solid optic.  Going back to the drawing board and meeting with the right people over the past year or two, Bushnell took their already popular HDMR and improved upon that platform.  What came off the shelf is what we have here, the ERS.

The ERS took shape from the HDMR, but appears to have been influenced internally by some of the European optics that have been favored by the those described above.  Take a look at the adjustments on the turrets that feature a 0.1 Mil click value, gone are the ¼ MOA adjustments that most of us have seen for decades on US made scopes.  The First Focal Plane (FFP) reticle is also something that has been borrowed, all for the better I might add.  Couple these with G2DMR reticle made popular by George Gardner of GA Precision and the shooter has a good foundation for an optic.  Bushnell added the Zero-Stop feature to their locking turrets, which allows you to mechanically stop when you turn the turret counter-clockwise and get back to you desired zero.

The glass on the ERS is incredibly clear and I learned that this is because Bushnell employed some newer methods in glass selection, sourcing, grinding and polishing.  My guess is they took lessons from the Europeans here too; end result is better clarity while still keeping costs to the consumer down a bit.  That said it is not the same glass you will find in a Schmidt & Bender, Kahles, Swarovski or Premiere; but it is nice to look through.  Compared to one of my S&B’s it is very similar in the lower powers, but once you start creeping up the difference is noticeable.  Still, the glass on the ERS is impressive and at 21 power you can see some fine details at .308 yardages, which is where most of my shooting is done.

How does all of this add up and work when sitting atop a rifle; pretty damn good!  I tossed the ERS on what started out as a Robar SR-90, but the barrel became shot out and it went back to GA Precision for a face lift.  Zeroing the rifle and optic was completed in minimal rounds and then I deferred to the instruction book to set the zero-stop.  Yes, I may have lost points on the “man card” referring to the directions, but I wanted to see how easy or difficult this was to perform.  Step by step with a few twists of an Allen key and boom; it worked.

I was able to take this combo and track the turrets up, down, left and right a few mils each direction and when I can back to zero the rounds landed where the crosshairs hovered.  Taking it out on steel incrementally out to 800 yards it was spot on for the day.  Shooting at 100 yard intervals I came back to zero before going back out to a different yardage and it was true each ring of the steel.  Impressed, you bet.

The look that I gave Darryl at SHOT is no more and I am leaning towards more of these for the type of shooting I do on a routine basis.  For the price, I am beyond sold.  I think Bushnell hired the right folks for this project and they are looking towards the future with their optics.  Bushnell, give them a look…

This entry was posted in Gear, Long Guns, Review by Jason Davis. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jason Davis

Jason Davis is currently employed as a Sergeant with a municipal agency in Southern California. In addition to his daily duties Jason is the coordinator for the Force Training Unit and he is assigned as a sniper on his department’s SWAT Team. Having held many different positions within the department; police officer, School Resource Officer, Detective and Field Training Officer, Jason brings a wide array of knowledge to this site. In his off time he works for Colt Defense as an Armorer Instructor where he has taught throughout the United States and overseas.

10 thoughts on “Bushnell Elite Tactical – ERS

  1. Just for clarification, this was actually from SHOT 2013. I am still pleased with my HDMR on my LaRue Ranger Rifle and at the same time that Jason was getting his ERS, I picked up a SMRS 1-8.5×24 for my Colt 901. I will get up a review within the next couple weeks after a year with it.

    As I told Jason, “they aren’t S&B glass, but they are close at half the price”. What I like is that Bushnell has actually “listened” to the subject matter experts that were brought into the organization specifically to address their “tactical” scopes, and it shows.

  2. I’ve had terrific luck with Bushnell’s Elite line of optics as a whole. I own some and the feedback from my customers has been extremely positive. Almost all my experience either first hand or through customer feedback is on their hunting optics. All the scopes I’ve handled appeared to be brighter than even Leupold’s VX-3 optics.

  3. I was given the same Bushnell Elite Optic by an engineer to try out on the Colt 901.

    I was very impressed with the clarity in the glass. The CMR, HDMR type reticle are all the rage and I have been brought out of the cave and into the condo as it were.

    The reticle is a little busy at first but once you understand the concept you have an epiphany. It was a a great optic out to distance.

    I found that it was heavy on the 901. The 901 is a beast and in reality it was like adding a deck chair to the Queen Mary. In a fixed overwatch position this is a great piece of glass. I shot it during the day and at night. At night it did gather the ambient light. I was afraid the reticle would be a smudge. That didn’t happen.

    Overall good glass for the price.

    However for muzzle to 600, I am leaning towed the Bushnell Tactical Elite 1X6 or 1X8
    BTR 2 reticle. For tactical options, in my current job with the 901, this is what I am leaning towards.

    I have been a long time user of another brand. Bushnell Tactical Elite has punched out of the tree line with their products. Great kit.

  4. My brother has one of the larger Bushnell Elite Tacticals and loves it; I’m considering a 1-8 for a light do-all .260 truck gun.

    And speaking of handy rifles, Jason, what are the barrel specs on that snub-nose GAP?

    • Dan,

      The barrel is the MTU profile and it is a shorty. From the lug to the rear shoulder of the SF762 adapter is 13″. Add the adapter and OAL is 17 1/4″. I run that with the SF 762SS can and it comes in about 21-22 OAL. It is a handy little rifle for what I do around here, wouldn’t want to lug it around too much!

      Be safe

      • Jason,

        Thank you; sorry it took a few days for me to get back. I know the piece was really about the excellent scopes, but curious what kinda MV you’re getting with duty rounds?
        A very handy package at typical LE engagement ranges.Something like that in a Manners folder would make my heart go pitty-pat.

        • Dan,

          No worries on time, I know how precious time is these days. I shoot Black Hills 175’s out of four different weapons, a 13″, two 16’s (one semi and one bolt) and a 22″, and MV’s go from 2520 to 2560. Perfectly acceptable for LE ranges and for what I am doing.

          As for a Manners folder on a weapon, stand-by on that, I am building a 300WM with that folder and a 20″ PROOF barrel. Should be a light weight brute and will likely be done by the end of the month!

          Be safe

  5. First I like that rifle. Second are the ERS and the HDMR different models?

    • Ryan,

      That rifle is a beast of a shooter, thank you.

      As for the HDMR and the ERS, yes, they are different. The ERS took the outline and structure from the HDMR, but Bushnell then added quite a bit to the ERS for final production.

      Be safe

      • Thanks for the reply. I have a new FN SPR A2 that needs some glass. I was able to shoot a Bushnell HDMR with the G2 at RO this past September, enough rounds to be interested. Looks like ERS will be it, now to cash in some OT.

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