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Bushnell Elite Tactical 8-40x60mm Spotting Scope

When the news broke that Bushnell was discontinuing the Excursion FLP Spotter, it was a huge letdown for tactical rifle shooters. The Excursion was one of the few affordable spotters that could be had with a mil based reticle for tactical shooting.

A reticle in a spotting scope gives you a much needed reference point for calling corrections to a shooter. It is much more accurate than the old "hold a half target width" or "move up a couple inches".


In September 2012 we were invited out by Bushnell to take a look at some of their 2013 products. Some were full production versions, but a couple were still in the development phase. One that appeared to be almost finished was the Elite Tactical 8-40x60mm Spotting Scope. We were sworn to secrecy until now.

There is absolutely no doubt when handling this scope that it was designed for battle. The exterior is rubber armored and had a 1/4-20 threaded insert for tripod mounting. There are threaded inserts around the body to allow for mounting picatinny rails. Included in the rail package will be an extended forward rail for clip on night vision mounting.

The controls are robust. The magnification selector ring can easily be gripped with gloved hands. The eyecup can be twisted down for use with glasses or field protective (gas) masks.

The reticle on the model shown was the Horus H32. While I am not a huge fan of the Horus Reticle when shooting, it worked very well for spotting impacts. The reticle is located in the first focal plane, so it can be used to spot at any magnification setting. We got a good deal of time behind the Elite Tactical Spotter while shooting various rifles at Rockcastle Shooting Center. The scope just worked.

The magnification range is 8-40x. In my opinion this is a great range for a tactical spotter. The 8x bottom end may seem low, but it makes the scope compatible with clip-on night vision devices such as the AN/PVS-22 and AN/PVS-27. The 40x high end magnification is greater than most rifle scopes and allows you to really get up close and personal. Most shooters have seen the insanely high magnification range spotters on the "bargain" shelf at the local sporting goods store. When looking through those scopes at their top end magnification it is very similar to looking through the bottom of a milk glass. It would be barely usable for spotting impacts on target. This is not an issue with the Elite Tactical Spotter. It is clear all the way up to 40x.

While this is still a pre-production model, if it went to market exactly as-is I would have one in my ruck.

At the time of this writing Bushnell is planning a release in March 2013. A "naked" version with no rails and a "railed" version are planned. Bushnell also hinted at a Canon EOS adapter that has been requested by certain groups. For my personal use this may be an amazing way for us to film through a spotting scope. We hope to have more information for you at the 2013 SHOT Show.

Update: Bushnell has advised us the standard version of the spotter without reticle or rails will list for $1699.99. The version with the H32 reticle and no rails will list for $2199.99. No word on the railed/reticle version yet. These are MSRP so we will have to wait for March to see what the street price will be.

Copyright © 2011 8541 Tactical

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