September 20, 2011
Just returned from Wyoming, where I got my first chance to hunt with Burris' Eliminator Laserscope. If you're not familiar with it, the Eliminator 4-12X not only gives you the range to target, its built-in ballistics software also gives you the correct holdover courtesy of a lighted aiming point on the vertical crosswire.
It works like this. Zero the rifle at 100 or 200 yards and program in your cartridge and bullet with a "drop number"; the Eliminator comes with a listing of more than 1,700 drop numbers for loads ranging from .17 HMR to the .505 Gibbs. The drop number is based on inches of drop at 500 yards when sighted in at a given distance.
For instance, I mounted the Eliminator on my go-to rifle for hunts such as this: a Rifles Inc. Remington 700 chambered in .25-06. The load I chose was Hornady's 117-grain SST. Based on the Burris chart, after sighting it in at 100 (normally I would choose a 200-yard zero, but I wanted to be able to test the Eliminator across the widest range possible), I programmed the scope with "147" — which translates to "1" for 100-yard zero and "47" for inches of drop at 500.
When we arrived in Wyoming, we went to the range to check zero and also to stretch the distance as far as we could. I'd already done this on my home range, but without a spotter I couldn't be sure where on the steel I was hitting. This time I had plenty of help.
After confirming my 100-yard zero, I hit the button to range the 300-yard resetting steel target the Burris guys had set up, and a
lighted dot appeared just under the main crosswire. I put that dot on the target and squeezed off the shot. Hit. Too easy. I went to 400, a metal silhouette on a chain. The aiming dot now a bit farther down the wire, I pressed the trigger. Another hit. At 500 I missed, but only because I didn't have the wind quite right. I held into the breeze a bit more and got a hit on the second shot — perfect elevation.
On the first morning of our hunt, we spotted a decent pronghorn buck bedded across a small draw. I got behind my shooting sticks, and hit the remote control that activates the scope. I didn't get that part quite right, so I reached back and hit the activation button on the side of the scope and instantly got a reading: 317 yards. I estimated the wind at less than 10 mph and somewhere between half and full value. At the shot, my hunting partners called it just in front of the buck's chest — not enough wind. The buck got up, wondering what the noise was, and stood just long enough for me to hold farther back on his body and squeeze the trigger again. The .25-06 barked, and the buck went down and never even kicked.
I was pretty impressed. Between my range work and the performance I saw in Wyoming, I have to say this system works, but it's not without its bugs. The remote is finicky. It works fine at the range, but in the field, when you're trying to get on an animal as quickly as you can, it's too easy to get part of your hand between the remote and the sensor on the body of the scope — thereby blocking the beam and preventing activation. And because the remote is simply attached via an elastic band, it can also shift positions and not be aligned with the activation sensor. Fortunately, it's a simple matter of reaching back and hitting the button on the scope body to get the range, but I think Burris needs to come up with a better design for the remote.
Also, be sure to use the supplied sunshade — not just to allow a clear view in bright conditions but also to prevent moisture from collecting on the lens. That will prevent the return ranging beam from providing a reading. Remember, too, that you need to have the scope set at 12X for the range-compensation feature to give you the correct holdover.
All in all, though, I think the Eliminator is a powerful tool. Yes, it's heavy at 26 ounces and it has its issues, but there's no denying how well it works. Look for a more thorough review of the optic in an upcoming issue of Rifle Shooter.