Bushnell 8-32x40 Review

by Neil MacKinnon

Hidden light under a Bushnell

Anyone involved with FT shooting will be only too aware of the difficulty in finding really good scopes. Neil MacKinnon looks at a rare contender.

As I have said before, finding a scope, at a realistic price, suitable for Field Target shooting is always a problem. Even moving into the big league, price wise, does not improve things much, as there is a very limited selection.

Bushnell is not a name that would immediately jump to mind when looking for a scope for this purpose. They are a bit of an unknown quantity, although without a doubt a quality product. I was therefore delighted to get my hands on an Elite 4200, in 8 –32 X 40 recently.

From the moment you see the box, you know you are looking at quality. The scope is long and slender, the engraving neat, the caps semi target, and for the test scope, in a flawless matt finish. It comes complete with a 6 inch sunshade, and the lenses are treated with a coating called ‘ Rainguard’ which is said to eliminate moisture build up on the lenses.

I very carefully mounted the scope onto my baby 100 series Air Arms, and took a first look. The optics are clear and bright, and for once I was not confronted with Mil-Dots, but instead a nice duplex reticule. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of Mil-Dots, but they can sometimes get in the way of actually seeing the target. Before zeroing, I tried both turrets, which have very neat half sized target knobs. They are designed to be adjusted by hand, but are half the height. The action of the turrets was positive, and the numbers neatly engraved in gold. There are 48 clicks to a full rotation, and 4.2 rotations from one end to the other.

As I have said before, I have a thing about close range finding, or lack of it, on many ‘FT’ scopes. The Bushnell has no such problems. At maximum magnification, it will focus down to 10 yards, and the magnification ring can then be used to accurately bring that down to 6.5 yards, which is well below my minimum requirement of 8 yards. The front bell is market for range finding in both yards, and metres, and both would appear to be quite accurate, and therefore a good place to start from.

In use I found both the magnification ring, and the damped parallax ring to be very smooth, and easy to adjust. The turrets, although smaller than I’m used to, proved no different to use, even in the very cold conditions I was testing in.

I tend to judge optics sensibly, in comparison to price, and at this price point, the scope had better be up there with the best of the field. Checking clarity, and relative range separation out, by focussing on the branches of a big tree in my garden, proved that the Elite 4200 is as good a scope as I have tried. I was able to work my way from front to back, with perfect clarity and excellent target separation. The degree of detail I was able to pick out, even looking into dark areas, from bright sunlight, was what I would have expected, excellent.

Moving from a warm club house out to a freezing cold range, and back again several times, produced no fogging on the lenses at all. This would seem to prove the worth of the ‘Rainguard’ coating.

On zeroing the gun, one thing I did find, which often occurs when fitting a full bore designed scope onto an airgun, is that the angle of declination was wrong. In other words, I ran out of upward adjustment on the elevation turret. I suspected I would, bearing in mind there are only 4 turns top to bottom on the turret. There are two fixes for this problem. Carefully pack the bottom of the rear scope mount with shimming, or fit a set of adjustable mounts. With a scope of this value, I would tend to go for the latter.

The Bushnell is, as I said long, in fact 18” long without the sunshade, so it will not necessarily fit carbine sized rifles, but it is also light in weight at 1.3lbs, which would make it an ideal partner for rifles like the FWB and Walther, that are at the heavyweight end of the rifle scale.

The Elite 4200 is an impressive scope, it is light, the optics are clear, with good light collection properties, and it range finds accurately. It is priced well, in comparison to its competitors, and is available, I waited a fortnight for this one. For once I am not adding to my collection ( addiction !), but I happily would if I needed a top notch FT scope.

Tech Spec:

Bushnell Elite 4200 8-32 X 40

Objective: 40mm
Body tube: 1”
Reticule: Duplex
Finish: Matt Black
Turrets: Semi-target
Adjustment: 1/8” @ 100 yards
Weight: 1.3 lbs