To test this scope I pawed through several rifles. No 5.56 NATO model came quickly to hand. Pretending to use one would only have fueled the myth that no gun writer ever really gets to the range, so I snatched up an accurate Ruger American Predator in 6.5 Creedmoor.
“Wait!” you bellow. “The scope dial is matched to the 5.56!” Uh, yes. But the scope is blissfully unaware of what’s actually rocketing downrange. It is not cartridge-specific; it is arc-specific. Ballistics tables showed me that Hornady’s 120-grain A-Max load for the 6.5 Creedmoor closely parallels the track of a 5.56 NATO round, at least out to the 400-yard mark on my local range.
So I fitted the scope to the Predator’s rail, bore-sighted, then fired to zero at 100 yards. I trotted the target to 200, dialing up the four quarter-minute clicks that brought “200” to the index mark. Bullets struck not quite half a minute low. At 300 yards (eight additional clicks), I got the same slight shift. Ditto at 400 yards (12 more clicks up), where three shots stayed well inside a minute of angle. To check repeatability, I dialed all the way back, then up again with the same results.
Getting bullets to strike within a half-minute of angle of point of aim by dialing to the distance is a real convenience! No ranging shots; you’ll hit as close as you can hold under field conditions, maybe as close as you’ll hold from sandbags. Slight deviation can be expected, even from the designated NATO load, depending on your barrel and environmental conditions. If testing shows consistent error, just make that correction. In my case, one or two additional clicks would have centered groups to 400 yards.
By the way, as the wind was frisky and the sun slipping fast while I trotted back and forth setting targets, I ignored the right-hand placement of groups, shading slightly left to keep them near the middle. Dialing windage shouldn’t affect elevation. Alas, the sad truth is that even in some costly scopes, it does. I didn’t want an unnecessary variable to color my tests of the arc-specific elevation dial. After you check out a dial with your load on a calm day, refine the windage, then fire again at the longest ranges practical. If groups print high or low, fire another series, all the way back to zero at 100. For that elevation dial to be useful, you must trust it!
What about adjusting for drift on a windy day? Well, ordinarily, you’d want to hold into the wind, instead of dialing. Unlike gravity, wind isn’t constant. Still air is a “zero condition” baseline from which to shade right or left. Keeping that windage dial set for still air eliminates the danger you’ll lose track of the setting or, by moving it, affect elevation. Burris helps you hold off for windage with a “Wind Map”—a tidy adhesive chart you affix to the objective bell. For the designated load, it shows minutes of drift in a 10-mph wind at 100-yard intervals out to 600 yards.
The Burris AR 4.5-14×42 weighs 18 ounces and has an adjustable objective for tack-sharp target focus and to zero out parallax error. Up front is a threaded anti-reflection device, a honeycomb screen that cuts glare from your lens so you won’t be seen by someone who wants to shoot you. If you’re not facing coyotes armed with sniper rifles, this screen is best removed, to keep images as bright as those excellent Burris optics permit. See the AR 4.5-14×42 ($479) at your outdoor retailer, or for more information contact Burris Optics; Tel.: (970) 356-1670; Web: www.burrisoptics.com