Starting back when the Elite 3200 and 4200 series of Bushnell scopes were a part of Bausch & Lomb, they have had a very good reputation for quality of construction and clarity and brightness of glass. Even with the take over by Bushnell these elite series scopes, and including the new 6500 series, still have a very good reputation. We have reviewed the basic Elite 10x tactical a while ago and figured it was probably about time to review one of their other, newer, tactical series of scopes. A loyal SC member (thanks Bryant) volunteered his new 4200 6-24x50mm to be tested and reviewed here.
These 4200 elite series scopes are really a high quality scope made in Japan and the quality is obvious from when you open the box. The packaging is nice and there are some good instructions that come with the scope. The finish on the scope is a very nice and even matte black and the markings are an off-white color instead of brilliant white, to help keep the subdued theme, which includes some nice laser etching in a few places.
The single piece aluminum tube is 30mm in diameter and is nitrogen purged and sealed to be waterproof, fog proof and shock proof. The scope also includes a nice matching 5″ (127mm) long sunshade as well as the standard plastic lens covers with the elastic/bungee strings between the two to hold them on. The Butler Creek flip up lens covers you see in some of the pictures in this review are not included with the scope when purchased new. The exterior quality appears to be very high on the scope and of course it carries the Bushnell “Bullet Proof” warranty, meaning there is a 1 year no questions asked return policy and then after that year is expired, there is still a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects. This is probably one of the better warranties in the industry.
The eyepiece is a fast focus design that operates smoothly through the dioptre focus range and I was able to easily focus the reticle for myself with and without glasses. The power ring also adjusts very smoothly through the entire range and requires fairly light force to move but yet is stiff enough to prevent accidental movement. The power ring itself has some nice knurling on it to aid with gripping the ring as well as a larger protrusion right on the 8x where a single finger can easily be used to aid in adjusting the power from behind the scope. This is also where the set screw for that power ring is placed. The markings on the power ring are easy to read and bunch up more as the power goes up through the range.
This is a second focal plane scope meaning the mildots will only be accurate at one power setting. In this case, that power is 12x and the power ring is marked in red at 12x, making it obvious at what power the mildots are accurate for. 12x is not a typical power to set the mildots to, but on this scope it is quite nice as it allows you to crank the scope up to 24x and then you can use the mildots with even more precision as each space between the dots will now represent .5 mils allowing you to get more precise with your mildot measuring. Also, on the other end, at 6x, they are again accurate with the distance between each dot now representing 2 mils. 12x was probably the ideal power at which to set the reticle to be accurate at and it is nice to see a larger scope maker take the time to think about it.
The knobs on this scope are the traditional exposed Bushnell Tactical knob which is one of my more preferred knobs. They are tall and have a good knurl on them to allow easy grasping in all weather conditions. They also have a very nice tactile click to them that feels very good and a muted audible click. There is 12 MOA of adjustment per revolution on both the windage and elevation knobs which is two more than the 10 that is present on the Elite 3200 10x Tactical. There are also indicators marked on the slight vertical portion of the tube right beneath the knob to indicate which way is up/down and right/left and is visible from behind the scope. There are horizontal marks under each knob that gets revealed as the knob rotates all the way around, helping to track where you are at in the adjustment range. Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot to keep track of. The specification sheet says there is 50 MOA of adjustment, but our sample scope here only had 44 MOA of elevation. This is a bit disappointing for a 30mm tube scope as that is one of the main reasons to go to a larger tube diameter. I would think 60 would be easily doable and 80+ preferred, but we do not have that with this scope. As it is, with a 20 MOA base which puts you really close to bottoming out the scope at 100 yards, you will barely get a .308 to 1000 yards and even then there is not many clicks left to spare at the top. The windage knob counts up one direction (right) and is of the same design as the elevation knob. Everything works as designed with no issues beyond the limited range of adjustment.
The scope does have a side focus knob which is a different style than the elevation and windage knob, which in this case is a good thing. The focus knob is smaller and of a different shape. There is knurling on the knob but with smaller serrations and again, it has just about the right amount of friction to not be too stiff but yet stiff enough to hold in place and not easily be knocked off a set focus spot. It moves smoothly through out the adjustment range and focuses from 25 yards out to infinity. The adjustment range is broad down on the low side but as you move up in range, especially above 150 yards, the numbers are tightly bunched together. Overall though, the side focus is nice and works well.
The optics on the scope is a bright spot (pun intended). The scope is very clear and bright in all conditions and the optics will rate well with the higher end optics, which the $600+ price tags puts this scope into. It does compare well side by side with other scopes in that same price range and it is obvious where the reputation of the old Baush & Lomb optics comes from. The crosshairs on the mildot reticle are a bit thick, but for tactical use a bit thicker crosshair does not hurt as it allows it to be picked up easier on dark backgrounds. The dots themselves are of circular shape, and while I do not have the substension dimensions in front of me, I would suspect they are the army .22 mil diameter dot.
We mounted the scope on our Remington 700P mule rifle in .308 and headed out to the range. With the 50mm objective we used High Burris Signature Zee rings. We like to use the signature zee rings with the inserts on evaluation scopes so we do not leave any ring marks. The field of view on the scope is right in line with other high quality 6-24 power scopes. We fired the scope at various ranges and primarily during early morning hours. Light gathering is very good along with that optical clarity. We also did a low light optical test at night with very good results.
We fired the scope through the box with good tracking, with the final group just slightly lower than the original group of the box. We also fired consecutive groups at 20x and 8x to check for group shift when adjusting the power, and the groups were right on top of each other. So it appears the adjustment mechanism and other internal parts are all precisely aligned and working properly.
The eye relief is listed at only 3″ on this scope which is on the lower end of the acceptable range, but while shooting it did not feel that short and we had no issues at all. In fact, we did not realize it was 3″ until I looked up the specs for writing this review. Doing an informal measurement I get 3.5″ at the lower magnifications and just slightly over 3″ at 24x. Those numbers are actually in the normal range for a quality scope of this magnification range.
Overall, the scope is very nice, with the biggest limitation being the limited amount of vertical adjustments. It is enough, barely, to be used with a 15 or 20 MOA canted base which should take care of the long range issues. The glass is excellent as are the knobs and the overall scope leaves a favorable impression and would be suitable for tactical use and we certainly would not hesitate to use one on a tactical rifle here.