September 23, 2010
Burris' newest laser rangefinding scope gives you instant dead-on aim.
The latest step toward sights that do everything comes from Burris in the form of the new Eliminator. It's a laser-rangefinding scope that can be programmed to give you a lighted aiming point where your bullet will strike at any reasonable range.
Basically, the Eliminator is an upgrade of the Burris laser-ranging scope that appeared a couple of years ago. It's a rail-mounted scope with a thick body (60mm up front) that has a 5.7-inch rail with two clamps. The clamps tighten with hex nuts around the rail and a matching Picatinny or Weaver base on the rifle.
The clamps feature transverse bars that take up recoil. When you mount this scope, pull it firmly forward before cinching it tight to ensure at least one bar bears firmly on the shoulder of a base slot.
The Eliminator that came to my door for range trials mated without resistance to the rail of a SIG Sauer SSG 3000 — an accurate, tactical-style bolt rifle in .308. Though the SSG 3000 has an adjustable comb, the Burris scope settled in at just the correct height with the comb at its lowest position. The sight's bulk is offset by the way the rail hugs its belly. For an AR-style rifle, you might need an elevator block.
A 4-12x40 variable, the Eliminator has a standard power ring and a helical ocular ring for quick reticle focus. Eye relief is three to 31„2 inches.Field of view at 4X is 25 feet — a bit small for the power but big enough for hunting. At 12X, the field shrinks to nine feet.
The windage and elevation dials at midsection are low-profile and finger-friendly, with quarter-minute clicks and about 50 inches of latitude. There's a battery compartment on top, ahead of the power ring; a slotted screw releases the cap. The main power switch is on the left side, about a third of the scope's length forward of the eyepiece.
The right-hand side has a four-way setup button you'll use for programming but not normally in the field. Small protrusions near the belly of the scope on both sides are receivers for the remote ranging control, a wafer-like device with its own CR2025 battery and a strap you can affix to your rifle's fore-end for quick access to the laser.
This sight can be used as an ordinary scope. Apart from its profile and weight, it's much like any other 4-12x variable.
The reticle resembles a plex, but the bottom bar is heavy all the way to the center; it does not "step down." That's because this bar holds a column of electronically controlled dots that light up when you engage the Eliminator's ranging and trajectory-compensating innards. Until then, the reticle is black. You'll notice a faint vertical herringbone shadow either side of that bottom bar.
When you press the main switch, a display lights up in the scope. A second push of that button and you'll get the yardage to the target — as far as 800 yards if it's reflective, about 550 if you're aiming at animals such as deer.
If you've done no programming, the next step is just correcting your hold for estimated bullet drop and drift.
There's help in that bottom bar, activated by the laser to illuminate five dots. Their spacing corresponds to that in Burris' popular Ballistic Plex reticle. The scope has also compensated for vertical shot angles by displaying the horizontal component of bullet travel, the distance that matters. But you can demand even more.
You can program the Eliminator for the load you're shooting so that when you press the ranging button, a single lighted aiming point pops up on the reticle. Hold that dot on the target and fire. It's very easy and faster than dialing an elevation knob. Provided you keep the scope at 12X, it's also astoundingly accurate.
Of course, you must load the scope with data first. The setup button lets you specify range in yards or meters and gives you the option of zeroing at 100 or 200 yards.
The final step is choosing a drop number from the table Burris supplies with each Eliminator. The drop number derives from inches of bullet drop for a given load at 500 yards, with a 100-yard zero.
For example, Hornady offers a .22-250 load with a 50-grain V-Max bullet that falls 38.4 inches below point of aim at 500 yards. The Eliminator drop number is 38. You press arrows on the setup button to lock in that number next to your zero range (1 for 100 yards or 2 for 200). The scope remembers the three-digit number until you change it.
To test the Eliminator, I first scanned the five pages of drop numbers. For most hunting cartridges they range from the mid-30s to the mid-60s. A sleek 150-grain bullet from a .308 yields a drop number of 55 or 56. Boosting bullet weight ratchets the number up to 63. I set the scope display for "155," gathered up several boxes of ammo, then hied off to the range.
Significant Drop -Ordinarily, I'd sight in at 200, but I wished to see how the scope worked when it had to correct for significant drop. I also wanted to try heavier bullets without changing the elevation dial for a second zero (easier at 100 yards).
About half the 150-grain loads from the SIG Sauer struck at point of aim. I set the rest aside for another day. Then I fired ammo with 165-, 168-, 175- and 180-grain bullets, hoping some would land in the bullseye at 100. Three loads qualified.
After trotting a target out to the 400-yard board, I filled the magazine with selected 150s. Centering the reticle on the target, I pressed the main switch. The display read 395 yards (as far as we can set a target without losing sight of it in a coulee).
A tiny orange dot glowed on the reticle's bottom bar. I held it on the target and fired. I got another shot off before 80 seconds elapsed and the Eliminator's brain automatically shut down. No problem. Quickly I ranged and fired once more, then followed with a three-shot group from my next 150-grain load.
Manipulating the setup button again, I raised the drop number in the scope to 63 and switched to heavier bullets. I managed a couple of groups before weather closed in and a bullet struck the target's iron support, tearing most of my paper to shreds.
The results for
both settings were impressive, and the reticle's herringbone shadow I feared might impair precision at distance apparently did not as accuracy was excellent. The 155 setting placed my 150-grain bullets about a minute low, while at 163 the heavier bullets struck about that much high.
The four inches of vertical error is easy to eliminate by changing the drop number in the sight. Burris, in fact, encourages proofing each load against the chart, and that makes sense because ballistic coefficients listed by bullet makers are approximations and because BCs depend on variables that include muzzle velocity and atmospheric conditions.
Had I programmed the scope with a slightly higher drop number for the 150s and a slightly lower one for the heavier bullets, they would have struck within an inch of vertical center. The more distant the target, the more crucial the accuracy of the load data.
While the new Burris Eliminator is a heavier, bulkier sight than I'd install on a mountain rifle, it offers features that make it a smart choice for tactical rifles or hunting rifles often used at long range. The laser rangefinder and the controls work as advertised, though I found getting to the proper display in the programming sequence a bit of a chore.
Battery life is nominally rated at 5,000 cycles; a battery icon in the scope keeps you up on its status. I like that feature, and the big, bold numbers on display.The herringbone takes some getting used to and could be an irritant in poor light. The bottom bar is heavier than I like for small targets at distance, though my targets indicated it's no handicap. On balance, this is a marvelous instrument, a sight you must use to appreciate. It brings a new level of sophistication to the riflescope.