• Bushnell Nitro 2.5-10x44mm Rifle Scope

    Last month we took a look at Bushnell's new Prime series of rifle scopes in our review of the 3-9x40mm model. This month we're moving up a tier in Bushnell's arsenal of optics to their Nitro line, this time focusing on the 2.5-10x44mm model with Multi-X reticle.

    The new Nitro line from Bushnell is very similar in features to the lower-priced Prime line and the higher priced Forge line - the main differences being the quality of glass and the additional features/options available in each line. Where the Prime series uses a 3x magnifier lense, the Nitro line uses a 4x lens affording a wider range of magnification in each model.

    Like the Prime scope we reviewed last month, the new Nitro features the same EXO Barrier lens coating on the exterior surfaces which molecularly bonds to the glass, repelling water, oil, dust, debris and preventing scratches.

    The Nitro also features the same IPX7 Waterproof construction with o-ring seals to ensure the optic stays dry inside and allowing it to be immersed in water up to three feet deep for thirty minutes. The Nitro is also nitrogen purged to prevent fogging.

    The Nitro also has the Ultra-Wide Band anti-reflection coating applied to all lenses and prisms for the best possible light transmission. The ocular bell is fitted with a fast-focus eye-piece for focusing the reticle.

    The 2.5-10x44mm model we are focusing on today features capped 1/4 MOA target turrets that provide 50 MOA total travel for both elevation and windage and 15 MOA of travel per full revolution of the turret. The turrets can both be reset to zero once the rifle is sighted in by unscrewing the tool-less screw and lifting and turning the main dial back to zero. This model also features a side-focus parallax adjustment with a range of 10 yards to infinity. All models within the Nitro line offer the customer the option of having the reticle located on the first or second focal plane.

    Overall length of the 2.5-10x44mm Nitro is just shy of 13.4 inches and the weight comes in at 23.9 ounces. Main tube diameter is 30mm and the eye-relief is stated to be 3.6 inches. Exterior finish can be had in Matte Black or Matte Grey, though not all reticle options are available in both finishes.

    Speaking of reticle options, the Nitro 2.5-10x44mm is available with the following choices:

    • Multi-X SFP
    • Deploy MOA FFP
    • Deploy MIL FFP
    • Deploy MOA SFP

    MSRP for this model is $369.99 per Bushnell's website.

    For testing I mounted the Nitro atop the Savage Model 110 Tactical LH in .308 Winchester which I had reviewed last fall. Tasco 30mm Low aluminum rings were utilized for mounting the optic to the rifle.

    Initial impressions of the Nitro were very favorable. Like the Prime we looked at last month, the Nitro comes very nicely packaged in an extremely well padded box. Inside the box Bushnell provides a quick-start guide that explains all of the features on the scope and how to make any necessary adjustments. No owners manual is included, but the guide includes the URL where you can download the manual in PDF format from Bushnell's website.

    Also included in the box are a few accessories that I totally wasn't expecting. First up was a nice 2.5" sunshade - something most manufacturers don't seem to include anymore and those that do usually only include them with their higher (20X+) magnification optics. The other surprize was a very nice set of flip-up lens caps to protect the lenses when the the scope isn't in use. At first I figured they were just plastic cap's, but once I pulled them out of the foam I realized they were made of a softer, more rubbery material.

    Looking through the new Nitro I was greeted by a very bright, clear and crisp image that extended all the way out to the edges. No curvature of field or fuzziness here like we had with the Prime 3-9x40mm last month. Colors were bright and vibrant with no discernible tinting of the image or chromatic aberration.

    Mechanically the Nitro proved to be a solid performer as well. The capped target turrets provide very positive and precise feeling clicks, and proved to be plenty accurate throughout my testing. I didn't do extensive dialing up and down during my testing, mainly because this isn't the scope you're going to buy if that's what you are planning to do. What I did do was a couple simple box tests at 200 yards to ensure it would return to zero, which it did.

    Overall the Nitro 2.5-10x44mm offers very good performance for the money and is a scope that rightfully deserves consideration for mounting on most any hunting rifle. The magnification range is wide enough to be useful for both close-in and longer distance shots, and with the 44mm objective it provides plenty of brightness at any magnification for use at both first and last legal light. The mechanics are good to go as well, and being the turrets are capped you don't have to worry about them accidentally getting turned and shifting your zero.

    The big question for most people in regards to the Nitro line is whether or not it's worth the extra cost. The Prime 3-9x40mm we looked at last month has an MSRP of $190 while the Nitro 2.5-10x44mm has an MSRP of $370. That's almost twice the cost, but having spent time with examples from both lines I think the honest answer is that it will depend on how you will be using them.

    If you're a short-range hunter who doesn't ever take a shot at more than a few hundred yards the Prime line will probably suit your needs just fine. The Prime does have some minor image distortion at the edges, but it's very minimal and is well outside the aiming area of the crosshair. The Prime's 3x zoom also results in a smaller overall magnification range than what the Nitro offers which may be a deal breaker for some.

    For those who's shooting may extend out further, or those who need a little sharper image to locate and identify critters holding tight in the thick stuff, the Nitro would be more in line with your needs. The higher quality glass warrants the higher price, and the larger zoom range is always beneficial on a hunting optic.

    This isn't to say that the Prime can't be used for hunting at longer distances or that the Nitro can't be used for close-range hunting mind you, quite the opposite. Both the Prime and Nitro lines will serve you well for years to come no matter how you hunt, but I would recommend stepping up to the Nitro if your budget allows as it will prove to be money well spent and I say that based on more than 20 years of extensive experience shooting and hunting with the Nitro's predecessors.

    If the old Elite 3200/4200 and 3500/4500 series of rifle scopes are any indication of the durability and reliability we can expect from the new Prime and Nitro lines, they should endure decades of use in the field without fail.

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