For the longest time I ran nothing but Iron Sights on all my rifles. Perhaps it was my upbringing and the fact that everything in my childhood home wore only the factory “open” sights, but over time I clung to them as a way to avoid the high price of quality optics. Many things have contributed to my move to include quality glass on some of my rifles and carbines: my aging eyes and younger shooters on the fields of competition, targets getting smaller and further away and because now I don’t have to spend a month’s pay to get durable, repeatable, quality optics from a stand-up and well-known company. I can run Burris Optics!
I have fallen in love with several Burris offerings including the 1-5x and 5-25x from their XTRII line of rifle scopes. Their 1 to 5 helps me drive several of my AR carbines in 223 in 3-gun competitions, and the 5 to 25 is at home guiding bullets to their marks on FT-R Class and Precision Rifles. This article is about one of Burris’s most versatile models in the XTR line-up, the 1 to 8x XTRII! It wasn’t too many years ago that scope engineers were able to jump the 4 and 5 times zoom hurdle. This gives us 4 to 16 and 5 to 25 scopes that are now more popular than your Dad’s then-crazy 3 to 9 (3 times zoom) hunting scope!
What you see above and below are what Burris calls the Modular Adjustment Dial (M.A.D.) System. This allows you to choose from competition-style exposed knobs or capped knobs on both windage and elevation adjustments in any combination you desire. A Zero Click Stop function is standard on both knob styles. This new design also allows for custom knobs to be added to the riflescope to perfectly match the trajectory of your ammunition.
The following knob styles are available in the M.A.D. System:
Mil or MOA Marked CAPPED Knobs (low and tall options available)
Mil or MOA marked EXPOSED knobs (low, single-turn and tall, multi-turn available)
Custom-Lasered CAPPED Knobs
Custom-Lasered EXPOSED Knobs
Knobs are easily changed with included hex key. You are able to request an exposed windage knob at no cost and special order custom knobs by contacting Burris Customer Service.
That M.A.D. set-up is an excellent extra you don’t pay extra for! Thanks Burris!!!
Let’s get into this 8 times zoom unit a little more and see why I think this will be the new hot thing for the hunter, the more tactical among us, the recreational shooter and the action shooting community.
This scope is an off-the-shelf production unit that has only been in my hands for couple weeks. However, it’s winter here in the North, so though the scope has not guided many rounds down range, I have set up a few tests that the XTRII passed with ease.
The Box Test. Yes, this one as been around awhile and for good reason: it does a good job of verifying a scope’s ability to “track.” Or using a few more words, the ability to adjust the reticle up, down, left and right with predictable repeatability. Generally this is done at the range from a good stable rest where the shooter breaks a shot or two at the center of the reticle and then “dials-in” some elevation and fires again using the previous aiming point. And then again after dialing some windage and again after dialing the elevation back out (important to remember the “come-ups”) and ultimately returning the windage to the starting point to match the final shots. What we want to see is a nice square BOX with the shots at each of the 4 corners.
With my local weather reports showing 1’s and 10’s for the day’s temps and winds of 12 mph+ I opted to do this test using a camera and I feel this may be my new protocol! This poor scope had to run the gauntlet about 20 times till I got adequate…Photos! The scope “tracked” beautifully as you can see in the photos. Keep in mind that my testing had me making FULL revolutions of the windage and elevation knobs! Those turns are just shy of 10Mils, with 1 Milliradian being about 3.5″ at 100 yards. I moved that point of aim THREE FEET at a time making my box 3′ square…ain’t nobody got time for that (at the range).
Check the photographic evidence. Note: I hate to offer qualifiers on my work, but the low temps had me shooting through windows in these photos so the clarity is not as I would have liked to provide you.
The photo below is the first and last shot from above set side by side. This scope TRACKS! Not only does it track, it does so with crisp, firm and audible clicks at each tenth of a Mil division.
Like I said it is winter here so…what test could I do? Oh yea, I’ll bury MY OWN SCOPE in the snow for an hour!!!
Despite the outside temp of 13* I buried my new personal favorite scope in about 8″ of show and left it for a little over an hour to…cook? I must say I was a little apprehensive upon removing the scope from its frigid tomb and then hosing it down in the kitchen sink thinking that I might have ruined a scope that would NEVER otherwise see that kind of abuse. Yet there I was rinsing the snow off my brandy new optic and seeing what I expect the engineers at Burris would expect…NO evidence of Fog or Condensation!
Since a good part of this model’s versatility is the fact that it sports a true 1 power on the bottom end, I have provided some visual evidence that in fact it does. No fisheye, no distortion, just a very nice “two eyes open” fast shooting sight set-up!
Yup the door frame and the door itself run pretty darn true from through the scope to outside. That my friends is a true 1x image.
Since this is the Front Focal Plane model (a rear or 2nd focal plane model is available) the reticle divisions, known as “subtensions” hold the same value no matter the scope’s power setting. This is something I prefer on most any scope above about 5 power with a reticle that offers elevation hashmarks (stadia lines). This type of reticle in the Front or 1st focal plane lets me concentrate on making the shot based on my knowledge of the reticle at any power rather than being concerned on what power the scope is set at. You guys know the drill…have the scope on the lower setting while woods-walking for that “jump shot,” because a “scope full of fur” doesn’t make for a good shot. And if your quarry far enough away to need some “zoom” you can do that without spooking your target. With the 1st focal you can twist in as much power as you like and still be able to make full use of the reticle.
Another feature that many will appreciate is the illuminated reticle. The photo below shows what it looks like at 8x on a bright sunny day. I will tell you that the 2nd focal plane scope’s illumination is brighter. That is a function of the differences in how 1st and 2nd focal plane scope are built.
I fully understand that some people do not want a predetermined BDC (bullet drop compensating) reticle and a simple Full Mil or Half Mil or MOA or…or…or might find more favor with them. But look closely at the reticle. It is very close to Mil/Half-Mil values and honestly….NO bullet’s trajectory will line up exactly with ANY reticle’s stadia line subtensions! And forget about having precise distances in the field. Just plug your ballistic data into your favorite App and establish a zero that works best for…YOU. Personally, I like to set my center zero so that one of the lower stadia marks fall on an exact yardage. That lets me check zero at distance on a square range AND makes it easy to remember that value. Of course with the excellent repeatability of the Burris XTRII turrets your could always hold center and “dial.”
Speaking of dialing…this scope is what many have been looking for. They are looking past the popular 1×6 scope and thinking bigger is better. And ya know, sometimes it is. So dial up Defender Outdoors and get yourself in on the advantage and versatility of 8 Times magnification. You will be pleased with the view!
Happy New Year Shooters!