In this Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II review, we are going to look at one of Bushnell’s top of the line rifle scopes in the Elite Tactical XRS II 4.5-30×50 mm. Featuring Bushnell’s best glass, the Elite Tactical XRS II gives you the magnification you need to make those extremely long shots, but also allows you to dial it down to a 4.5x magnification for your up close shots.
Bushnell just came out with their next iteration,, the Elite Tactical XRS 3! More zoom (6x-36x) and a larger objective (56mm) and a newly redesigned eye box! Much of the below review still applies though as the new Elite Tactical XRS 3 appears to only be better!
Love optics? We certainly do here at Backwoods Pursuit, so make sure to check out our other optics reviews, as well as our massive 19 Spotting Scope Review where we lined up 19 of the best spotting scopes on the market and tested them side by side!
Now before we get into the details, I just want to say that I am by no means an expert long-range or competition shooter. The basis for this review is coming from a hunting perspective and from someone who enjoys shooting longer ranges. Bottom line: We tested this scope to see how it performed on a hunting rifle (my old Ruger M77 Mark II) chambered in a 7mm Rem Magnum.
Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II Review: The Testing
I had was able to carry this old faithful gun, topped with this new Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II, on multiple mule deer hunting trips (both in Colorado and Idaho) to see how it performed in the field. Unfortunately, we never found the buck I was looking for when I was carrying this gun, but I did take a buck in Idaho on a trip in which I carried another gun with the Bushnell Forge 4.5-27×50 mm rifle scope on it.
However, this Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II 4.5-30×50 mm rifle scope was put through some extremely tough conditions during my week of mule deer hunting in Colorado- temperatures that dipped down to -16 degrees Fahrenheit, a foot of snow and lots of times with me ending up on my backside from the slippery, steep, snowy conditions, which isn’t fun to admit. The Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II rifle scope took a beating on that trip, but came out unscathed.
Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II Review: What’s In the Box
The Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II 4.5-30×50 mm rifle scope comes with a nice sun shade that can be installed on the scope, as well as a neoprene cover, plastic lens cover, throw lever, and the Allen wrenches you’ll need to get the Zero-Stop set on the turrets. I opted to pick up a set of the Butler Creek flip up scope covers as I prefer that style personally.
You may notice that the the old Ruger M77 Mark II got a sweet facelift with the Boyd’s At One Adjustable Thumb Hole Stock pictured above, following the hunting season. Man, what a difference that makes! Customize your gun with the style and color you choose in one of these stocks, and it’s like buying a new gun!
Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II Review: the Specs
The Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II is full of great features that are super impressive and include some pretty impressive specs:
Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II Review: Eye Relief
The Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II gives you a nice 4 inches of eye relief, keeping your face plenty far away from the scope to avoid getting a nice half moon decoration on the top of your nose/eye. I did find, however, during testing for this Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II review, that the eye relief decreased significantly as you zoomed in to the upper parts of the magnification.
I tested it side by side with others like the Bushnell Forge 4.5-27×50 mm as well as the Athlon Cronus 4.5-29×55 mm rifle scopes, and the Elite Tactical seemed to suffer a bit more than those two in holding its eye relief. It’s not a huge deal, but something I did notice.
Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II Review: Turrets & Parallax
Between field testing and range time testing for this Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II review, I found the turrets were nice and crisp, well defined, featured a very nice zero stop (covered below), and were very comfortable to use. The numbers are easy to read and you get 10 MILs per rotation with the turrets on the Elite Tactical.
The Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II gives you an impressive 30 MILs of elevation adjustment and 20 MILs of windage adjustment, plenty for those longer shots if you are into that. I found myself wishing the Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II turrets were a little more audible and not quite as “soft” of a feel, if that make sense. I found it easy to go past the adjustment I was wanting to make, even though the turrets are nice and crisp. They are very smooth and could be a little more defined with more of a “click” at each stop to make it easier to stop where you intend.
The Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II also gives you a parallax adjustment that ranges from 75 yards to infinity, and the knob is located on the left side of the scope. Some would say the minimum of 75 yards is a bit on the high side (and it kind of is) for parallax adjustment, but in all reality you won’t likely need to mess with it if you are inside of 75 yards (at least not in a hunting situation).
The parallax adjustment functions very well and the numbers are easy to read. I felt like this knob (and the zoom knob) were a bit on the stiff side, which has its pros and cons. On one hand, neither of them move unless you intentionally move them. On the other, they are quite stiff and you need the throw lever to comfortably change the zoom.
Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II Review: RevLimiter Zero Stop
Another very handy feature of the Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II rifle scope is its Zero Stop feature. A lot of scopes have this these days, but it really is a useful feature for easily zeroing your scope without having to look at the numbers to make sure you are zeroed. It’s easy to set up once you get your scope sighted in and your zero set to whatever yardage you prefer.
Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II Review: Image quality
A good Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II review wouldn’t be complete without testing the optical performance throughout the zoom range of the scope. While testing both in the field and at the range for this Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II review, I found that the Elite Tactical provides you a nice, crisp image and good edge-to-edge clarity.
I did, however, notice that there was a notable loss of image quality at the upper end of the magnification range. Some of this is corrected using the parallax and/or the eyepiece focus adjustment, but the image quality just wasn’t quite as good at maximum magnification. As you probably already know, this isn’t uncommon with optics in general. The image was still great and more than good enough to find your precise aiming point.
Testing the Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II Review: Tracking Test
Another part of this Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II review was to hit the range and see how the scope tracked. To test this I used a dead sled, zeroed my rifle at 100 yards, and put a bullet in the bullseye. Then I moved the turrets one MIL up and one MIL to the right and took a shot, set the scope back to zero, then moved the 1 MIL down and 1 MIL to the right and took another shot.
I did this around the four corners of the target to see if there was any variance in the ACTUAL reticle travel vs. what the turrets said. I found the Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II to be dead on in this test as I couldn’t find any variance in actual travel.
4.5-30x50mm Magnification & Functionality
With the Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II rifle scope you get a monster zoom range of 4.5 up to an impressive 30x for those long-range shooting sessions. The zoom mechanism is smooth and a great throw lever is included with the Elite Tactical XRS II. I did find that it required a bit of force to operate the zoom mechanism, and using the throw lever is highly recommended. I would have definitely welcomed less resistance when operating the zoom on the XRS II, but with the throw lever it’s not too bad.
How The bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II Ranked
Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II Review: Conclusion
After going through the paces for this Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II review, I really came to like the Elite Tactical XRS II and it really offers you a great value. You get a lot of bang for your buck in a great zero stop, well designed layout and very user friendly and readable turrets, a monster zoom range of 4.5-30x, a great throw lever, 3 inch sun shade and neoprene case, as well as the needed Allen wrenches needed to get your zero stop, all included. At the end of the day, the Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II 4.5-30×50 rifle scope really impressed me all the way around. A great scope at a great price.
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