• Bushnell 3-12x40mm Rimfire Scope

    Purchasing a scope for a new rimfire rifle is often one of the hardest decisions we shooters will have to make. On one hand we want a good quality scope, but on the other we often donít want to spend a lot as the rifle itself was fairly inexpensive. Not many shooters are willing to drop $400+ on a scope for a rifle that cost them less than $300 so optic manufacturers have to walk a fine line between cost and features in hopes of finding that ideal balance that will appeal to consumers.

    Bushnell has attempted to achieve this balance with their relatively new side-focus models within the Rimfire Optic line of rifle scopes offered in 3-9x40mm, 3-12x40mm and 6-18x40mm. These units feature a one inch one-piece main tube construction, multi-coated lenses, and are both waterproof and fogproof. The turrets offer ľ MOA tool-less fingertip adjustments with 80Ē of total travel at 100 yards, while the ocular bell features a fast focus eye-piece. All three models come with Bushnellís Multi-X duplex-style reticle and include two additional calibrated elevation turret caps Ė one for 17HMR and one for 22LR. Last but not least, the side-focus parallax adjustment offers a range of 10 yards to infinity.

    The model I received for this review was the 3-12x40mm which was mounted atop a Savage B22 FV in 22LR with Burris Signature Zee medium height rings. My initial impressions of the scope were that the build quality and finish were nice, and the optical quality looked to be quite good for an optic in this price range. The turrets offer a nice audible click, but the tactile detent seemed a bit mushy and undefined.

    The field of view on this particular model is listed as being 33 feet @ 3x and 10 feet at 12x (at 100 yards). Eye-relief is generous at 3.9Ē, while the exit pupil is 13mm @ 3x and 7mm @ 12x respectively. Overall length is 12-inches, the mounting length is 4.8 inches, and the weight is listed at 20 ounces. Bushnell doesnít list MSRP prices on their website, but the street price on the 3-12x40mm model varies from $115 to $145 at the time of this writing.

    Before heading out to the range I ran the turrets through their available travel a few times to alleviate any set they might have taken since assembly, and then returned both the windage and elevation to their mechanical zeros using a mirror. Internal adjustment often runs out well before the turrets reach their mechanical limits so make sure you are watching the reticle movement through the scope if you opt to employ this break-in procedure on your own scope.

    Heading out to the range my first course of action was to check the repeatability of the adjustments using a sight-in target with 1Ē grid and adjusting the turrets around a 10Ē box. Scopes in this price range donít normally do very well with the box test, but this one did better than most being off just two clicks from the initial starting point when finished which admittedly could also have been a result of a slight shift of the rifle in my rest as I made the adjustments.

    Optically the Bushnell Rimfire Optic surprised me as the glass was better than I was expecting at this price point. Some curvature of field is noticeable in the outer ľ of the field of view, but the level of distortion is minimal and not to obtrusive. The image is bright and crisp with good contrast and resolution, though I did observe some chromatic aberration when using red targets that wasnít present with black targets.

    The Multi-X reticle is pretty boring and basic, but it does its job and offers an uncluttered view of the target unlike some of todayís more popular ballistic reticles. Itís a little heavier than I would like for precision target work, but itís ideal for plinking and hunting. That didnít stop me from shooting several dozen sub MOA groups at 50 yards during my testing though, so if youíre primarily a paper puncher itís plenty capable.

    The additional turret caps are a nice inclusion, though I was a little surprised to find the 22LR cap is intended to be zeroed at 75 yards rather than 50, and that the 17 HMR cap is zeroed at 25 yards rather than 50. I even double checked the ownerís manual to make sure the markings were for yards and not feet, which they were. The 22LR cap is market out to 150 yards, while the 17HMR turret has markings out to 275 yards. The ownerís manual lists the various factory loads that correspond with the calibrated caps.

    Most ranges Iíve been to over the years have 50 and 100 yards backstops, and most folks shoot their 22ís at 50 yards, so the 25 and 75 yard zeros calibrated turret caps seemed very strange to me. It was for this reason I opted to forgo the 22LR cap and just stick with the standard ľ MOA cap.

    The side-focus adjustment worked very well and I had no problem adjusting out any parallax that was present at both 50 and 100 yards. At 50 yards the target image was just slightly out of focus when adjusted for no parallax, but I could still easily make out my bullet holes in the black of the target.

    As mentioned in my initial impressions the tactile feeback of the turrets leave a lot to be desired as they are very soft and mushy feeling. They give off a nice audible click, but on a live range you often wonít be able to hear it while wearing hearing protection. This is the one area I think Bushnell could afford to improve this product Ė even if it means a slight increase in the products price.

    Over the course of 1700+ rounds of testing with the rifle and scope combination I was extremely pleased with the performance of this Rimfire Optic scope from Bushnell. It is by no means comparable to a scope costing two to ten times as much, but I donít expect it to be and neither should you. For the price itís a very good optic that offers very usable performance at a price point most everyone can afford and would be willing to spend for a rimfire optic. Bushnell even includes a Limited Lifetime Warranty.

    Tracking was very good with small adjustments to account for condition changes being accurately represented on the target. I havenít spent enough time using the scope at various distances to say whether I would recommend it for that type of use where you are frequently dialing for different ranges, but so far the tracking looks promising and honestly Ė if youíre a serious shooter doing that type of shooting youíre probably going to be looking at more expensive scopes anyway.

    All said and done I would have no problem recommending this scope to anyone looking for a good rimfire option. Generally I donít bother to look at scopes costing less than $300 these days, but in this instance Iím glad I did as these Rimfire Optics offer quite a lot of bang for the buck. Not only have I just mailed the check off to purchase this particular test unit, but I also went out and purchased one of the 6-18x40mm models as well.

    Additional Photos:

    Contact Information
    Bushnell Outdoor Products
    9200 Cody
    Overland Park, KS 66214
    (800) 423-3537

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. WV1951's Avatar
      WV1951 -
      Thanks for the well laid out review.
    1. caymin last's Avatar
      caymin last -
      Very informative, great write up, an affordable scope that seems well thought out. Thanks!