by Richard Mann - Saturday, October 21, 2017
Do you have any idea how much precision it takes to hit a target the size of a softball at 600 yards? Let’s extract from this equation shooter skill and ammunition performance, and assume both are without flaw (neither ever are). Let’s also ignore wind (something you can never do). In order to hold a flat-shooting 6.5 Creedmoor rifle dead on and get a solid hit, your optical sight must make an 84.80-inch elevation correction with an up-or-down margin of error of less than 1.50 inches.
If that does not sound difficult enough, consider that a single click on a riflescope with .25 MOA adjustments is supposed to equal 1.57 inches at 600 yards. Actually, this is rarely the case; most adjustments apply just a smidge more or less correction. This hardly matters at close range, but at distances like we are talking about here it becomes critical. There’s practically no room for mechanical error when shooting a softball-sized target at 600 yards. Your scope adjustments must be perfect!
What would you expect to pay for a scope that delivers this level of precision every time you twist the turret? Keep in mind not all that long ago you could not purchase such precision for any amount.
Prior to a recently concluded 30-day safari, I secured a 6.5 Creedmoor rifle from the Remington Custom Shop and one of the new Engage riflescopes from Bushnell. The rifle was for my son, who did not want his hunt thwarted by the inability to get within several hundred yards of springbok and blesbok. Before the safari we gathered ballistic data from Hornady’s 4DOF program; my son dialed it into the scope and checked the setup out to 700 yards. While in Africa he made first-round, lethal hits on multiple animals as small as springbok at distances beyond 500 yards. He simply dialed the elevation correction into the Engage scope, held dead on and collected his trophy.
Here’s the punch line: The suggested re-tail price for this scope is a staggering $299!
The Engage line of riflescopes represents Bushnell’s latest evolution in optical sights. It includes nine configurations, and the 2.5X-10X-44mm version my son and I tested might be considered the bridge between the line’s traditional and target-style scopes. It has the lowest magnification of the four scopes in the Engage line that come with exposed target-style turrets and a 30mm tube.
These turrets are pretty darn cool. By unscrewing a top disk after you sight in the scope, you can set the windage and elevation turrets to zero without any tools. The circumference of the turret is marked with easy-to-read numbers indicating every MOA of adjustment, with .25 MOA marks between them. One rotation of the turret provides 15 MOA of correction. With a 6.5 Creedmoor, this is enough adjustment to take you to about 650 yards. You can rotate the turrets as many times as you like until you exceed the 50 MOA of built-in adjustment. They also lock; to make an adjustment, pull up, twist and then push down. The windage turret marks have right and left indicators.
The scope’s new Deploy MOA reticle is a simple affair with a great deal of practicality. The thin vertical and horizontal crosswires are marked at 1 MOA intervals, with heavier marks at each 5 MOA interval. There are 20 MOA of reticle correction available to the right and left, 5 MOA of correction above center to hold low, and 30 MOA of correction below center to hold high. This is way more reticle correction than you should ever need.
Though possibly a little thin for use during low-light hunting situations in the dark timber, the Deploy MOA reticle is uncomplicated and ideal for going long. Since the reticle is positioned in the second focal plane, you’ll have to apply these marks with the riflescope set at its highest magnification to get the indicated correction. If you’re shooting at distance you should not be too rushed to adjust the magnification. If you are, you ought to consider passing on the shot.
Other features include a fast-focus eyepiece adjustment, side parallax adjustment graduated from 20 yards to infinity, waterproof construction and fully multi-coated glass. Coatings include Bushnell’s Exo Barrier, which helps to shed water, fog and other debris—such as smudges—from the lenses. It works by filling the microscopic pores in the glass so stuff just slides right off. Combine all of this, along with Bushnell’s coatings designed to enhance a wide band of color, and you get a lot of riflescope for your money.
Given the category this scope is competing in, it is also relatively compact. I’ve always thought a scope that was longer than a foot or heavier than a pound was too big for a sporting rifle. It’s difficult to find a precision long-range scope that falls within those specs, but the 2.5X-10X-44mm Engage is very close. Considering it has proven it’s capable of reaching out there, I’m willing to forgive the additional 1.6 inches and 3.3 ounces.
When discussing riflescopes in this price range the question of durability always comes up. The Engage was tossed in and pulled out of a Land Cruiser, carried on countless stalks and had its turrets twisted hundreds of times. A 17-year-old boy abused it so much the Bushnell logo wore off the ocular bell. Still, on the last day of the safari he crawled behind the rifle, dialed in 13.5 MOA of correction and punched a springbok through the heart at 601 yards. That’s softball precision, at a third of a mile, for less than $300.
• Magnification: 2.5X-10X
• Objective Lens Diameter: 44mm
• Eye Relief: 3.6"
• Exit Pupil: 13.3mm (2.5X), 4.4mm (10X)
• Field of View @ 100 Yds: 45' (2.5X), 11' (10X)
• Reticle: second focal plane; Deploy MOA
• Adjustments: 50 MOA in .25 MOA increments
• Coatings: fully multi-coated; Exo Barrier
• Dimensions: tube diameter 30 mm; length 13.6"; weight 19.3 ozs.
• Construction: one-piece anodized aluminum tube; nitrogen-filled; waterproof, fog-proof; locking target-style turrets; side-mounted parallax adjustment
• Accessories: lens covers
• MSRP: $299.99
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