Courtesy Chris Dumm for The Truth About Guns
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Courtesy Chris Dumm for The Truth About Guns

Let the testing begin! Barely two weeks after my ‘pleasepleaseplease send me one’ post, Bushnell has loaned me their newest and hottest tactical/3-gun scope. It will soon take the place of honor atop my heavy-barrel AR. And then maybe my AK. And then probably my .308 Model 700 PSS just for fun. Damn, I wish the weekend were here already. I wish several weekends were here already…

Courtesy Chris Dumm for The Truth About Guns
BTR-1 Reticule @ 1x
Courtesty Chris Dumm for The Truth About GUns
BRT-1 Reticule @ 6.5x

These shots show the BTR-1 reticule at each end of the SMRS’ magnification range, preparing to smoke-check my neighbor’s cedar tree. As you can see, the reticule remains the same size because it’s etched in the second focal plane. The reticule is much bigger than it seems from these photos; my camera’s wide-angle lens has a marvelously wide depth of focus, but it makes scope reticules look tiny.

Courtesy Chris Dumm for The Truth About Guns
.1 mil target turrets, protected beneath screw-on caps.

Unlike other low-power variable scopes I’ve tested (and which I’ve f–ing loved, for the record) the SMRS powers down to true 1.0x magnification. This lets you use it with both eyes open like an Eotech or Aimpoint. The SMRS doesn’t have as wide a viewing angle as a reflex sight (it is a 10.5-inch long optical tube, after all) but the 24mm objective gathers sixteen times as much light.

And speaking of brightness, the illuminated reticule has 9 daylight and 2 NOD settings. The NOD settings are invisible, and the daylight settings up to 4 are pretty weak sauce. But level 9 is bright enough to read a map by.

I’d better stop now. If I don’t, I won’t have much to say for the real review.

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  1. Be sure to post how it stands up on the .308. I read your post and this looks like just the thing to top off my G3 on a Pic rail…not quite a 3-gun rifle, but fun to shoot.

    • The SMRS can handle .308 recoil with no issues: we put hundreds of rounds through them in Tennessee atop JP AR-10s. The holdover reticle is only calibrated for 5.56, however.

  2. looks pretty good and i am actually in the market for a 1 to 4/6 power scope. How would this compare to the trijicon accupoint 1×4 scope?

  3. Good unboxing review except for one striking inaccuracy. When you compare a reflex sight to the scope in question you said the scope “gathers 16x more light”. This is not only inaccurate and misleading it doesn’t even pass the common sense test. Assuming there are no ineffeciencies in the glass, the significantly smaller tube (when compared to a reflex sight) cannot let in more light at zero magnification.

    • I’m a telescope guy too, although I may be reaching the limits of my optical knowledge here. Your comment made me work through the optics numbers again, and I think I’ve found the error you point to. At least partly.

      A 22mm objective is dramatically larger than a human pupil, so a scope like this has much more light to work with at its gathering end. The typical equations for determining exit pupil size break down when dealing with complex variable optics like these (especially when they’re cranked down to 1x) so 22mm divided by 1x magnification doesn’t yield a straight 22mm exit pupil. Instead, Bushnell lists the exit pupil as 11.4mm.

      This represents 3.8 square cm of light-gathering at the objective end (11mmx11mmx3.14) being concentrated into onto approximately 1.0 square cm (5.7mmx5.7mmx3.14) of exit pupil. Of course your own pupil can only open to less than 8mm wide, so much of the scope’s increased brightness is be wasted as it’s reflected off your iris.

      Reflex sights don’t do any light-gathering (they just pass it straight through) and they have less than 100% transmission because of an Aimpoint’s internal partial silvering or an Eotech’s thick prisms.

      You’re right that ’16 times as much light’ was incorrect and I stand corrected, but a 22mm objective does gather and focus additional light into your retina, and you’ll notice some extra brightness during dusk when your iris is opened and light levels are marginal.

      • Since there is no magnification at 1x, isn’t the maximum amount of light passing through the objecive relative to the optical tube diameter not the objective diameter? Since light in has to equal light out (assuming no inefficiencies), since your objective is larger than your tube, the light out per sq cm is less than at the front of the tube. If that is correct and I’m not nessesarily saying it is, isn’t a pass-through with a larger diameter hole going to allow more light?

        • You may be correct; I have now reached the limit of my knowledge of optics and am not qualified to prove you either right or wrong. (Oh my aching head…)

  4. The Vortex Viper PST 1-4×24 seems like a cheaper option for those on a budget. Looks like you can snap them up for just under $500. They got great reviews too.

    • You pay a lot more for for that number “6” as compared to the “4.” Prices really start getting ugly if you want the number “8” in your 1 x( ___) scope.

  5. I’m interested in the from the point of view of the previous post, that Bushnell is trying to reposition itself as no longer being the “KMart brand” scope that its name had come to represent.


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