emotional scope comarisons


One of my hobbies is comparing optics. Most certainly I am an amature, but have as much fun as any pro; maybe more since I don't have to please anyone but me.

Would anyone like to see a comprison by a couple gun smiths and me looking through a Bushnell 6500, a Nighforce BR, and a Swarovski z5? In what order do you guys think they finished in bright sunlight? How about low light?
Emotion reigned last year when I posted this comparison on another forum. I was told I had eye problems, or was too stupid to buy such nice scopes, or I purchased them out of the back of someone's car and if I looked closely I would discover the names were not really spelled correctly, or being to ignorant of properly use technique I didn't test them in the correct order, or any number of emotional responces.:huh:

The Bushnell was the third one. I ordered one when they first hit the market; but found it was blurry above 25X so sent it in for service. Very quickly it came back. Right away I dialed it up to 30X: Crystal clear! Dialed it down to 4 1/2X and thing were blury. I retuned it to Bushnell because they have the one year satisfaction money back guarentee; if you have your reciept.

I waited several month for the first batch to get out of the consumer pipeline. Then I ordered the one I have now. It is everything I think the designer had in mind.

At the range I have compared this Bushnell with many Leupolds, Burrises, Nikons, a Swarovski, and others. By better, I mean sharper image and brighter. It is better than any other scope I compared it to for daylight hunting; except my NightForce. None so far are as sharp or bright as this Bushnell except a Minox 62 spotting scope. With both set on 30X the Minox produced a barely sharper image. Since none were as good as the Bushnell and none were as variable as the Bushnell I decided to purchase a more competitive Swarovski to compare with. I already owned the 12-42X56 NightForce in the following comparison.

The Swarovski in this comparison was returned. You will see why after you read the comparison. I ordered another in. The second one is about the same as the first: Very nice. They are way better than the Bushnell in low light and lighter in weight. They are much eaiser to use at the top magnification than the Bushnell. It has never been mounted and is now sitting in the box with all its papers. It is for sale at a killer price.

Don't forget I purchased each of these scopes with money I earned on my job. Since I own them all, I am not knocking something that someone else owns and I can't afford. The chips fall where they do.

Line Test

Sergeant Joe Friday used to say, “Nothing but the facts, ma’am.” Well, here are some facts. The sky was totally overcast with an occasional sprinkle. That takes care of the weather. Now the glass.

I compared the Swarovski Z5 5-25X52 ($1,675) with my Bushnell 6500 4 ½-30X50 ($620) and my NightForce NP-R2 12-42X56 ($1,440). It took about two hours to complete the comparison. I made an "eye" chart with five lines on an 8 1/2X11 copy sheet, laminated it to keep it dry, and taped it to a cardboard box. The lines are 9/32” wide with 9/32” spaces between the lines. After setting the box out I drove down the road a ways.

With the trusty Leica 1200 in tow I stepped back from said test sheet till I could no longer distinguish lines. In other words it looked like a grey rectangle on the page. The Leica read 40 yards. The lines were crystal clear in the 7X21 monocular (To my surprise the Leica made the lines with ease out to 236 yards.). I drove down the road a ways.

The test idea was to see at what range I could no longer see lines, but a grey rectangle and then turn the scopes up and focus them and record the magnification setting. After reading the following and think about the cost, which would you keep?

Here are the yardages and magnification results:

202 - Swaro: 5 1/2, Bush: 4 ½ with ease
236 – Swaro: 6 Bush: 5 ½
309 – Swaro: 8 ¼ Bush: 7 ½
393 – Swaro: 10 Bush: 10 ½
470 – Swaro: 14 Bush: 15
521 – Swaro: 16 ½ Bush: 15 ½ Night: 12
572 – Swaro: 17 ½ Bush: 17 Night: 12 ¼
690 – Swaro: 24 Bush: 24 Night: 18
706 – Swaro: 24 Bush 24 Night: 18
724 – Swaro: 25 Bush: 27 Night: 20

The day was quickly closing so I think the ability of the Swarovski’s low light superiority over the Bushnell started to come into play at the 724 yard range. I am sorta impressed with the Leica 1200 reading the bush next to the box above 572 yards. But the biggest surprise came at 202 yards. If I didn’t know they were lines, I couldn’t make them out with the Swarovski on 5X and yet the Bushnell showed them with ease on 4 1/2X. Who would have guessed it?


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