Gear, Parts and Accessories

Review: Bushnell Nitro Rifle Scope

Bushnell Nitro scope close up

For more than 40 years, I have used Bushnell products with excellent results. Bushnell is under the Vista Outdoors group, which means plenty of support.

There is a tremendous amount of research and development involved with these scopes. The end-user gets the benefit.

I recently mounted the new Bushnell 2.5-10x44mm Nitro rifle scope on a long-serving rifle. The Nitro features the Deploy MOA SFP reticle. (More on that later.)

Here are my thoughts.

Bushnell Nitro scope wide view
The Bushnell Nitro rifle scope is a great upgrade for a classic rifle.

First Impressions

There is some similarity to the lower-priced line from Bushnell, but more resemblance in both appearance and performance to the Bushnell Forge line.

The Nitro features the new EXO Barrier lens coating. This coating helps shed anything that would normally adhere to the lens.

Bushnell’s IPX7 waterproof technology is also added to the Nitro. Like most modern rifle scopes, the Nitro is nitrogen purged in order to eliminate fogging.

There is also an anti-reflection coating that seems to work well.

Features and Fit

Looking to the ocular bell, there is an excellent and fast adjustment. The adjustment turrets are quite easy to use well. Each offers 50 MOA adjustment in total terms.

If you reset the turrets for long-range use, it is easy enough to reset the turrets to the original setting. There is also a parallax adjustment located in a side-mounted turret.

The Nitro scope weighs 24.1 ounces on the scale. The tube is 30mm in diameter. The matte finish is evenly applied and attractive.

The padded box includes a nice sunshade and lens caps. Ocular clarity is excellent. I appreciate the scopes clear lens and well-designed reticle.

Setting the scope for maximum magnification the colors and the target were clear and there was no distortion.

Bushnell Nitro scope top view
Adjustment turrets are easy to use well and positive in operation.

One of my favorite hunting rifles was overdue for a new optic. While I appreciate a vintage scope and rifle, the Weaver Marksman 3×9 is outdated.

It still functioned fine and was as clear as the day it was mounted, at least 37 years ago. I don’t have to go into the improvement; the improvement was profound.

The Mauser Mark X is a legendary and underappreciated rifle. The Mark X is affordable on the used market.

It features a rugged Mauser claw extractor, controlled feed, excellent reliability and well above average accuracy. The Mauser was fitted with the Bushnell scope using a set of TASCO rings and bases.

These rings are well-finished, offering excellent fit and usefulness.

After mounting, it was simple enough to sight the rifle in, using a minimum of clicks to get on target first at 25 yards and then properly sight the rifle for 100 yards.

I usually set the point of impact for 1.25 inches above the point of aim at 100 yards. It didn’t take long to sight this .30-06 rifle in and then to evaluate the scope.

The primary loading used was a standard handload using the Speer 150-grain bullet over a stout charge of IMR 3031. This is a proven field load with excellent performance.

Putting It In Action

I fired quick shots at 50 yards, offhand at 100 yards in deliberate fire, and bench-rest firing at 100 and 125 yards.

I really liked the scope and frankly cannot find a drawback or trade-off, especially considering the middle of the road price.

The range of magnification is much superior to the standard 3x9x40 mm rifle scope, but then it should be.

When set at the lower magnification setting, the Nitro scope offers excellent speed on target and good practical accuracy.

Bushnell Nitro scope close up
Note the Nitro rifle scope also features a parallax adjustment.

Crank the magnification up and you will have a rifle scope that offers first-class accuracy well past 200 yards. In this day and age, quality rifle scopes are surprisingly affordable.

The less-costly Bushnell scopes work fine for most uses—and that means hunting deer and boar to 150 yards. There is some compromise when it comes to clarity with budget rifle scopes, but consider the price.

The Nitro offers much better clarity at longer range, a sharper picture, greater magnification and more choice in the reticle.

I think that when you are deploying a rifle capable of longer-range accuracy and performance, the Nitro is well worth its price.

Conclusion: Bushnell Nitro Rifle Scope

Bushnell Nitro rifle scope angled view
Magnification and eye piece adjustment are easy enough, but positive in movement.

The bottom line is this: the Nitro is well suited to fast shooting at closer targets—so are the less-expensive scopes—but it really walks away from them at longer range.

I also tested the reticle subtensions. The Nitro is similar to a high-end camera in some ways.

It works fine for most users in the casual sense, but the shooter that takes time to learn its subtleties will have a more useful tool.

I worked extensively in the MOA reticle. Every hash mark is an MOA measurement. This is just over an inch at 100 yards. The hash marks are correct and holdover and hold underworked as designed.

As for my ability to fire accurately with the rifle, the vintage rifle and modern scope make an excellent combination.

Using the Federal 168-grain Hybrid Hunter .30-06 Springfield loading, I fired several 1.25-inch three-shot groups, all the rifle has ever been capable of.

Berger and Federal each enjoy an excellent reputation and this is a happy match. The groups came easier with the superior rifle scope.

Federal Premium ammunition
If you like precision, accurate ammunition and nickel-plated cartridge cases, you will really like the Federal/Berger combination.

Field of view, clarity, and range of adjustment are excellent. Even if you are using a rifle scope superior to my old Weaver—and you probably are—the Nitro is a worthwhile investment.

What do you think of Bushnell’s new Nitro rifle scope? Are you a fan of Bushnell products? Let us know in the comments below.

About the Author:

Wilburn Roberts

When Wilburn Roberts was a young peace officer, he adopted his present pen name at the suggestion of his chief, as some of the brass was leery of what he might write. This was also adopted out of respect for families of both victims and criminals. The pen name is the same and the man remains an outspoken proponent of using enough gun for the job.

He has been on the hit list of a well-known hate group, traveled in a dozen countries and written on many subjects, including investigating hate crimes and adopting the patrol carbine. He graduated second in his class with a degree in Police Science. It took him 20 years to work himself from Lieutenant to Sergeant and he calls it as he sees it.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

1 Comment;

  1. Thanks for the interesting write-up. I wish there was a visual of the reticle, but no worries. I’ll just head to a shop that carries this scope. I’m more interested in close-in shots and defense. Having a scope gives me better better distance, and I only go out to 150 yards in defense classes. I’ve already got a red dot, but it lacks the magnification for me to even see the target past 75-100 yards.

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