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Thread: Bushnell 4200 Elite

  1. #1

    Default Bushnell 4200 Elite

    I am wondering if anyone has tried the Bushnell Elite scopes. I was doing some coastal hunting a few years ago, and prior to the trip I bought an Elite 4200 because of it's RainGuard feature. It is a little bit heavier than I would like, and a bit on the long side, but in sighting in, I was impressed with the sharpness. I installed it on my Mod. 70 in .338 Win. I shot some of the best groups I have put through that rifle on a dark and rainy day that discouraged fine shooting. One of my friends was using a Swarovski and the other friend a Kahles scope. We did a twilight comparison to see which seemed to have the best brightness and resolution to read the target labels at 100 yards. We could detect no difference, although there is an enormous difference in cost.

    I thought the downside would be in durability. I had then purchased a low power Bushnell 3200 for a .45-70 barrel on my Encore. The barrel, minus the rest of the rifle, fell off the top of the gunsafe and landed on the subjective end of the scope on my grade 4 ceramic tile floor, hard enough to knock a chip out of the tile. Amazingly it did not deform the rim of the scope. I was sure the internals were totalled, so I did a leak test in hot water. No leaks. After cursing myself for being so stupid and clumsy I took it to the range and sighted it in again. It was off about 4" at 100 yds, but once corrected, shot great groups. I don't think I have ever had a scope that would take this kind of abuse and live. That was 2 years ago, and that little 3200 still works great. It was very forgiving.

    The Monarch 4200 worked great on that coastal trip and lived up to the company claims about giving a clear picture even when it had quite a bit of water on the lenses. We hunted for 5 days in the hardest continuous downpour I have ever seen. My companions had trouble the whole trip with external fogging on their scope lenses, and didn't have a sight picture when they brought their rifles up without (gasp!) wiping the lenses.

    I have usually hunted with Leupold's better scopes, or Nikon Monarchs since they have been available, and they have been excellent with the exception of the earlier Leupolds being a bit dim. (If you have experience with the earlier Leupolds, they tended to look dim, like purple sunglasses when held against snow.)They have both been durable. The Nikons have always been bright.

    I have found the Bushnell Elite scopes to be fantastic bargains in the scope world, at least for my purposes. Did I mention that mine have the Firefly reticle feature? It is wonderful at twilight. I have to remember to keep a tiny flashlight handy to charge the reticles. I don't want to sound like an advertisement for Bushnell, and indeed, some of their earlier scopes performed poorly for me, but I can't afford Swarovski, Zeiss, Kahles, Schmidt & Bender, Leica or other comparable European scopes. Perhaps I could if I hunted with only one rifle, but then I wouldn't have the Firefly reticle or the RainGuard features. My Elite scopes have been hunted hard with and have survived being dropped, falling into mud and rocks, and having my clumsy old body fall over backward on them, and they keep on working. I just thought I would share this, since I know there are other dedicated hunters out there that can't afford the Royalty of the world's "best" scopes, just as I cannot, but they want to be able to hunt tough terrain in inclement weather also.
    I love it when I find moderately priced scopes that are way tougher than I am.
    Jack.

  2. #2
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    Default Zooke Cream

    Jack,
    I agree on the Bushnell Elite series scopes being a good scope for the money. My only dig on them is their eye relief tends to be more critical than Leupold's VX-ll or lll. By this I mean you need to keep your eye at an more exact distance from the scope than with Leupold or Zeiss Conquest. I believe Leupold's term is "non-critical eye relief".

    For fogging have you tried Zooke Cream or Cat Crap (love that name)? I started useing Zooke cream skiing and snowmobiling (snowmachining for you Alaskans) to keep my goggles from fogging. Now I use it on all my outdoor optics, it really works. I pick up the Zooke cream at our outdoor show, the Big Horn Sportsman Show, we have in the spring in Spokane, Washington.

    http://zooke.com/shop/catalog.php

    Woody

  3. #3

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    I have several 3200 and 4200 and I am a big fan of them also.
    For the price they are hard to beat.

  4. #4

    Default Zooke Cream?

    Thanks for the info., Wa. Woody. I have used AFAS (anti-fog, anti-static), but it didn't last very long. I kept having to put it on the lenses, and I finally gave up. Went back to wiping them (scream). I will see if i can locate the products you recommended and give them a try. I have a bunch of good scopes, some dating back quite a few years, but they need something to stop outside fogging on coastal hunts. Rain, carrying the rifle close the the body, melting snow, any high humidity situation tends to fog scopes. Sometimes I just give up and carry one of my old rifles with aperture sights, even though my range is limited because I can't see the sights well anymore.
    Jack.

  5. #5

    Default

    I have 2 3200's with friends who use 4200's. used on .338mag, 35 gibbs, 7mm mag and 6.5x55. No problems at all. The rain guard is an unusual thing in that it actually does what the manufacturer says it will. In foggy/dewey/rain conditions you can see your animal with clarity. There are possibly some scopes slightly better optical quality in perfect conditions, but for a hunting scope that gets used in crappy conditions and dropped! they are hard to beat for the price.

  6. #6

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    Forgot to mention, they are bulky and heavy, particularly the lower powers - for their magnification. Eye relief is not as good as others, so not my choice for a light mountain rifle or a very heavy kicker

  7. #7
    Member MARV1's Avatar
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    Default

    I have one on my .300WM, and it flat out works great. Have a 3-9x32 for my .22WMR that has seen better days and isn't babied at all that I take on my snowmachine all the time and it hasn't failed me yet, and can still take ptarmigan with head shots.
    The emphasis is on accuracy, not power!

  8. #8
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    Default

    I would not hesitate to use a 3200. Great scope and lifetime warranty. Only Bushnell I ever broke was a 4x on a .22 rifle. It was 30 years old and one day I noticed one of the wires in the cross hairs was broken and I sent it back and they sent me a new one.
    I doubt anyone could look through a 3200 and see any optical difference between that and a Leupold VX II or III. Only negative is they have a shorter eye relief than the VX III's
    Tennessee

  9. #9
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    Thumbs up Bushnell Elites are top shelf

    I currrently have a few 4200s, and they are top shelf scopes. I've used Leupold glass for many years, then got a chance to check out the Bushnell Elite 4200. IMHO, the optical difference is clear (so to speak). Although I've read another posting with comments doubting the Rainguard coating, I've hunted through the sloppiest of sloppy Alaskan conditions and have only good things to say. Rainguard works. The anti-fog products I've applied to other scopes have required frequent reapplication. That's okay, but the permanent Rainguard is a nice touch.

    Attracted by the Zeiss reputation (I'll confess), I put a Zeiss Conquest on my last rifle purchase. If you get a chance to do it at the gun store, lay a Leupold VX-III, a Bushnell 4200, and a Zeiss Conquest side by side. (Obviously, they must be the same dimensions.) Take a look through them, experiment with different light conditions and different backgrounds, and I bet you will see a difference. Again, just my opinion, but for clarity and brightness, the 4200 ranks right up there with the Conquest, (or, gulp, maybe even better). I can't say that for the Leupolds.

    The comments above about eye relief are correct. Something to think about, but this micro-difference has never affected me in practice or in the field - just on paper. I have a Bushnell 4200 on a 375 H&H and haven't had a problem with eye relief.

    The 4200s are made from a titanium-alluminum mix, rather than the alluminum you'll see on the other scopes. The Internet says this makes them "30% tougher", whatever that means. I think they are bomb proof.

    Although I want my equipment to work all the time (especially when I've laid down the dough for a transporter to bring me out to heaven), Bushnell Elites have a no questions asked lifetime repair/replacement warranty. I've put my 4200 scopes through more than I'd like to admit - in fact, more than I will admit - and I've never had a problem.

    Obviously, I recommend them but the bottom line is what you see when comparing them side by side. I can't help but think that wearing glasses and individual eye diffferences can change what works best for different folks. Armies of folks who are still loyal to Leupold can't be wrong, right? (And no, I don't get a check from Bushnell!)

    Okay Leupold guys, let 'er rip!

  10. #10
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Morgan View Post
    I have used AFAS (anti-fog, anti-static), but it didn't last very long. I kept having to put it on the lenses, and I finally gave up. Went back to wiping them (scream). I will see if i can locate the products you recommended and give them a try.
    Jack,

    I'm not familiar with the military anti-fog stuff, but if it's a liquid I would give the Zooke or the Cat Crap a try. They're a paste, I'm guessing some sort of wax base, but they last quite a while. I clean my optics and coat them good with the paste prior to a hunt and call it good. If it's a float trip I'll carry extra with me, but not on a backpack or fly in trip. REI caries the Cat Crap brand, I bet they have it at the Anchorage store. I prefer the Zooke brand, it seems to last the longest.

    Woody

    PS: I can relate to the open site with older eyes, my new eye prescription is for bifocals. - It's rough gettin' old.

  11. #11

    Default Zooke.

    Wa Woody, thanks for the info. Sounds like good stuff. I'll try it.
    I have to wear tri-focals now @*&#@**!

    I keep tellin' the young 'uns, gettin old ain't for sissies!
    Jack.

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