The scope reviewed here has since been replaced by the Bushnell Elite Tactical scope which is very similar.

Well, as many of you know, I have built a prototype tactical rifle, and when the time came to test fire the completed rifle, I needed a scope. My old Redfield that I’ve used as my evaluation scope for several years ended up puking during my review of the Howa. There have been several people asking about the Bushnell Elite 3200 Tactical, and the big reason why was because of the affordable price. So, why not, I figured it would be a good opportunity to review a new product while testing the prototype rifle.

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Bushnell decided a few years ago to do away with the Bausch & Lomb name and then integrated the B&L line of scopes into Bushnell, giving them the “Elite” model line. The 4200 and 3200 series of B&L scopes became the Bushnell Elite 3200 and 4200 series. The B&L scopes have always been decent scopes for the money, with some of the upper end 4200 scopes being quite good. This particular scope is an Elite 3200 Tactical. Its a fixed 10 power and it has some nice features like mil-dots and large target knobs. But the most attractive feature (to those of us that are not rich) is the price tag. I bought mine for less then $200 out the door.

The scope is decent. The knobs are easy to grip and so far have provided solid clicks (none audible) and has been pretty solid. I like the knobs, they are easy to read, easy to adjust and provide 100 MOA of adjustment, which is a lot for a 1″ tube scope, and should get even the 308 near 1000 meters without too much effort.

The optics are not as clear as I would like, but they are as clear as any of the sub $200 scopes. Compared to my Leupold Mk4, its not nearly as clear and doesn’t transmit as much light, but it also 1/5 the price. I did have some difficulty getting a good crisp focus at 100 meters while wearing my glasses. It wasn’t bad, but I’d find myself continuously making minor focus adjustments. It was better at further ranges, and without my glasses. Nothing major, but an annoyance.

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The adjustments have remained right on during all of my shooting up to this point, and mounted on a .300 Win Mag, its a decent test. I have not done any major adjustment tests, and I haven’t had the scope for too long, but initially, everything is checking out good.

Overall, the scope is certainly worth the price, and I would say for its price range, I have not used a scope I like better… yet. Of course, if you can afford it, I always recommend buying the best glass you have money for. You generally get what you pay for, especially with scopes. But for an entry level tactical scope, this one will be hard to beat. It makes a very good rival for the Leupold Vari-X II 3-9X Tactical. Currently, I’d still give the edge to the Leupold, but the Leupold is also a bit more money, especially with the mil-dots. Its nice to see some good competition in this price bracket.

 

7 Comments

Chris Weldon

Since it has been over 12 years since this review I was wondering if your opinion on this scope has changed any. Also I was curious do you know if the 10x Bushnell that uses the mil adjustments is using the same glass? The reason I ask is because has the years go by materials get better and sometimes cheaper. Finally how does this compare to the SWFA 10×42? Do you think that because the Bushnell has a fixed Paralax it is more durable?
Thank you

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Mel Ewing

Over the past 12 years I would say that they have made some incremental improvements to the scope, primarily with coatings. The new scopes do not have as many elevation adjustments either, but there is still a good amount. I suspect this was done to preserve longevity of the internal springs. The same scope with MIL knobs instead of MOA has all the same glass, so it should be good to go. Comparing it to the SWFA SS 10x42mm, the SWFA scope has an adjustable objective and a 30mm tube which provides more elevation adjustments. I would probably give the edge to the SWFA scope, its solid for what it is and the price it sells for. But it is $100 more than this little bushnell, but does have those nicer features. The SWFA tracks great, but the clicks are nicer and more positive on the Bushnell.

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Mel Ewing

Yeah, guilty as charged. In the early days, the reviews were a “quick eval of whether the scope could work on a sniper rifle or not.” Since then, the reviews have become much more detailed as we have found where scopes (and rifles and spotting scopes and other equipment) come up short when deployed with a sniper team. So we try to review them from a practical stand point. Why do some features just not work? What things are really important when used with a sniper team? We do not go into the crazy details comparing the light transmission of high dispersion glass, but we focus on what really is important when deployed. The reviews seem to be popular and they constantly change when we discover, or readers mention, things that are critically important for duty work. Then we add it to our standard battery of tests.

Chris Weldon

FWIW, this was the first review I read on your site way back in 2004. I was active duty in the Army and just getting into precision rifles. Based on your review I bought this scope and a Savage model 10. I got hooked and kept upgrading my equipment. First a Leupold Mark 2. Actually did a Sniper course with that scope and did well. I upgraded to a Leupold Mark IV but I can’t say it was all that much better. Went from Savage to Remington. Factory stocks to bedded stocks. And so on.
I am now married with children. I have been out of shooting for a few years now but I am trying to get back into it. Obviously I don’t have the money to spend on my hobby that I did when single and I see a lot has changed equipment wise. Still, I reckon the foundation is still the same. With that in mind I am looking at building my rifles with a minimal mindset. Durability , dependability and value are what I am looking at now. I can’t afford to be cutting edge but still need performance just maybe without the frills.
Anyway just thought you might want to hear that through the years your site has always been the first one I looked to when it comes to sniping / precision shooting info. Thanks

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