Burris XTR II 5-25x50mm Riflescope Review
Back in 2013, it seems that Burris revamped their lines of riflescopes with a focus on offering features, quality, performance and value to cover the full spectrum of hunters and shooters today. It was a bold statement when they rolled out their AR Riflescopes™, C4 Plus™, Droptine™, MSR Riflescopes™, Predator Quest®, Veracity™ and XTR II™ series of riflescopes, yet a statement that I think was a great move for Burris. I've studied their website many times since and I have been waiting for the right rifles to pair up with some of these new riflescopes. Recently I got Ruger's new Ruger Precision Rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor and thought that the perfect riflescope for this system would a Burris XTR II™ Riflescope (XTR stands for Xtreme Tactical Riflescope). Some of the key features that I wanted in a riflescope were a five or six times zoom system, front focal plane, MOA reticle and turrets, elevation turret zero stop, side focus/parallax adjustment, 50mm objective lens and a price tag that wouldn't break the bank. The XTR II™ riflescopes had all these features plus an illuminated reticle, rock solid reputation and the Burris Forever Warranty™ that cannot be overlooked.
My next task was to decide on which XTR II™ Riflescope would be best for my shooting needs. Burris offers a variety of zoom ranges to choose from such as 3-15x, 4-20x, 5-25x and 8-40x, any of which could pair up nicely with my rifle. Since I wanted to setup this rifle primarily for long range shooting, but still wanted a relatively wide field of view for scanning areas in the event I setup for some type of hunting situation, I chose the 5-25x50mm riflescope for my rifle. I struggled a little with the selection because I always seem to over-scope a rifle, but after many sessions at the range I feel I made the perfect choice for my needs.
Finally, I had to make a decision on which type of reticle/turret configuration I wanted, which was actually very easy for me. Everyone has their preferences when it comes to riflescopes being configured in either Mil or MOA units and I'm no different. My preference is a MOA reticle with MOA turrets. Fortunately, the Burris XTR II™ riflescopes have this option with their SCR™ MOA reticle. SCR stands for Special Competition Reticle. These images below show each of the reticle types available for the 5-25x power riflescope. Based on how the reticle looked in my 5-25x riflescope, I would say the zoom range is about 15.5x for these images taken from the Burris website.
To give you a better look at the SCR™ MOA reticle, these next two photos were taken at 5x and 25x through my riflescope. Keep in mind that because this is a first focal plane (FFP) riflescope, any of the reticles above will look much smaller when you are at the lowest magnification level. At increased or higher magnification levels, the reticles will become larger and the details easier to identify.
One thing I noticed on the SCR™ MOA reticle was that the image at the Burris website was slightly different than the reticle on my rifle scope. The image below shows the advertised reticle configuration which has the thick windage lines at 36 MOA on the left and right. Also the illuminated portion of the reticle goes out to 12 MOA on the left and right.
Please ignore the bad photo below, but it still shows the reticle at the same zoom level as above. The actual reticle thick windage marks are at 32 MOA on the left and right and the illuminated portion of the reticle (not turned on in the photo below) goes out to 10 MOA on the left and right. I point this out only to show that there is a slight difference between what you see at their website versus what you may get in your riflescope. Perhaps the advertised image is in some of the other power (zoom) range riflescopes and not this particular model.
The cost of this riflescope is $1249 at several places online like Optics Planet or Midway USA. Make sure you always shop around for the best prices. If you are interested in the G2B Mil-Dot™ version, then the price seems to be about $50 less.
During my reviews I like to compare my results to the manufacturer's claims where possible so the following text in colored italics was taken directly from the Burris website on 8/18/15 and gives the Key Features and Specifications for the Burris Xtreme Tactical Rings. The , and are my way to keep up with details that I have covered in this review with either photos, commentary or both.
This video below shows what comes with the Burris XTR II 5-25x50mm riflescope along with giving you my first impressions on this riflescope.
The riflescope came boxed as shown below.
The side of the box has some of the features identified such as waterproof, shock proof, fog proof, nitrogen filled and their Forever Warranty.
The end of the box gives all the details about the scope such as:
The contents were packed as shown below.
Inside the box were the:
These next photos help me document the "as received" condition of the riflescope along with showing all sides of the scope. The exterior matte black finish of the riflescope looked perfect which it should for a new scope. The overall length measured 16.4" with the fast focus eyepiece at the midrange. Adding the sun shade lens caps brings the total length to just under 20".
The scope tube is a solid one piece construction that according to Burris is 25% thicker than their original XTR riflescopes. There is no doubt that this scope with its 34mm tube has a very solid feel.
The bottom of the turret housing area has a cap. On the cap is the serial number of the riflescope along with "Made in the Philippines."
The riflescope weighed in at 1 pound and 15.4 ounces (1.96 pounds or 31.4 ounces).
Burris provides a nice set of their flip-up lens caps along with a 3" sun shade.
Adding these accessories to the scope brings the total weight to 2 pounds and 2.8 ounces (2.18 pounds or 34.8 ounces).
This next video tries to show external features of this riflescope and these details are also covered in depth with photos and commentary following the video.
The eyepiece has a smooth finish and the eyepiece focusing rings also has a smooth exterior finish. This photo below is also the first opportunity to take a look at the glass used in the riflescope. Burris advertises "High-performance optics offer Hi-Lume® multi-coated lenses. The lenses optimize target resolution, contrast, and low-light performance." Along with "Index-matched Hi-Lume® multi-coating aids in low-light performance and glare elimination, increasing your success rate." Basically the Hi-Lume® stands for a multi-coating system that yields 99.5% light transmission per lens surface.
Burris created a video back in 2010 that does a great job on explaining why Burris scopes are so bright and clear. It is also a good educational video to help you understand how manufacturers rate theoretical light transmission and I recommend taking the 7.5 minutes to view the video.
Both sides of the eyepiece included the Burris logo along with their brand name.
The top of the eyepiece is marked with the model and zoom range of the scope, "XTR II 525", along with "RETICLE FOCUS" which is probably not needed on this high end level of riflescope. The power adjustment ring has a sculpted ridged style that is also used on the turret caps which gives a good gripping texture. The ring is marked with the powers 5, 7, 9, 12, 15, 20 and 25 powers and it only takes about 1/2 turn of the ring to zoom from 5x to 25x.
These next two photos show the reticle focus adjusted fully in and fully out. The outside diameter of the eyepiece measures about 44.25mm and the outside diameter of the reticle focus ring measures about 44.3mm. The eyepiece flip-up cap fits nicely over these surfaces.
The riflescope comes with large diameter elevation and windage turret caps, side focus/parallax adjustment knob and multi-position illumination switch. Each of these has a ridged sculpted surface similar to the power adjustment ring.
Potentially the greatest feature in any long range riflescope is going to be elevation and windage turret adjustment features with an emphasis on the elevation turret. If you cannot rely on the values indicated, the repeatability of making adjustments and the ability to return to zero, you will not be satisfied with your riflescope. Burris states that their XTR II riflescope internals are "All hand-fitted internal assemblies are triple spring-tensioned for absolute shock-proofing, even under severe recoil. They are vibration resistant, even on extended vehicular patrols." I would love to take the scope apart and study this triple spring system, but instead I'm going to take Burris' word on that feature and know that I can rely on their Forever Warranty if I have an issue in the future.
The elevation turret cap is marked with two rows of numbers. The first (lower) row is marked 0 through 24 MOA with 1/4 MOA hash marks between. The second (upper) row is marked 25 through 49 MOA. Above these numbers is the direction to turn the cap to produce an "UP" bullet impact. Basically the turret cap has 25 MOA of adjustment per revolution and the ability to dial directly to 50 MOA without having to keep up with adding turns which gets you out to about 1275 yards with just two turns using a 6.5 Creedmoor with Winchester 140gr BTHP Match ammunition. At 25 MOA per revolution and 1/4 MOA clicks, this gives the turret cap 100 clicks per revolution. The top of the cap is marked with "1/4 MOA" and "UP →".
This elevation turret cap also has a Zero Stop which allows you to dial back down to your original zero and the turret comes to a firm stop preventing further down travel. Burris states the "Zero Click Stop adjustment knobs let you quickly and easily revert back to the original yardage setting without counting clicks" and I feel this is a "must have" feature on a rifle scope that is used for long range shooting. If you are diligent and disciplined to always dial back to your zero between firing scenarios, you might be able to get away without a zero stop. The combination of 25 MOA per turn and the zero stop feature are big plusses for this riflescope.
As you dial in an up elevation value, the turret housing is marked showing each full revolution just in case you get lost in the adjustment. In the photo below, I maxed the up travel to 66 MOA which represents two full turns (50 MOA) plus the additional 16 MOA shown. Burris states "Elevation Adjustment, Total Capability: 90 MOA Example: 50 MOA is roughly 25 MOA from center." I think this is a little confusing, but I interpret that total capability means ±45 MOA. The Users Guide states "This riflescope is shipped from the factory with the optical center set 20 MOA below center. Without tapered bases, the initial sight-in or bore sighting will likely produce a considerably high initial point of impact. Because of the Zero Stop feature, as shipped from the factory the scope has no immediate capability for downward point-of-impact adjustment." Since the riflescope shipped with a 20 MOA below center point, the 66 I was able to dial in makes perfect sense (45 from true center plus 20).
The windage turret cap is clearly marked with MOA values of 1 through 11 in both the right (R) and left (L) directions. There are two major hash (MOA) marks that are unlabeled which would represent 12 MOA for each direction. Just like with the elevation turret, the windage turret has 25 MOA of adjustment per revolution with 1/4 MOA clicks for a total of 100 clicks per turn. The reticle comes centered for windage and has about ±27.5 MOA of adjustment which should be more than enough for most situations.
The side focus/parallax adjustment and illumination switch are incorporated into the left turret side of the turret housing. The focus/parallax is adjusted with the inner ring and can be adjusted from 50 yards to infinity (∞) with markings at 50, 75, 100, 200, 300, 400, 800 and ∞. This ring has a smooth firm feel as you adjust the focus. The illumination switch is on the outside of the focus/parallax adjustment. The switch has 11 different intensity levels from 1 to 11. Between each level, there is a dot symbol. This dot symbol and the OFF positions located before 1 and after 11 all represent locations where the illumination is off. Basically, there is an off position before and after each illumination level to allow you the ability to quickly turn on the illuminated reticle to your desired intensity.
In an effort to always be full disclosure on any review, I started noticing that the illumination switch was a little finicky shortly after I received the riflescope. After range testing, the switch would only work in certain illumination levels. I sent the riflescope back to Burris and they corrected the issue. From the time I dropped the riflescope off at FedEx until the time it arrived back at my door was only 12 days and they sent me a new riflescope. I don't know if this happens in every case, but I feel it was a testament to their Forever Warranty policy on their premium brand riflescopes. Also, some of the exterior marking such as logo and brand were slightly different on the new riflescope and you may see these differences in some of my videos.
The portion of the reticle that is actually illuminated is the center portion shown below. These photos were taken at 15x in both bright light and nearly no light. Under low light situations, the illumination really helps make the reticle visible and especially at low magnification levels. During my range testing of the Ruger Precision Rifle, I never required the illumination because there was plenty of light and I spent the majority of my time at 25x. If I were in a situation where light levels were low and the reticle lines appear thin due to being at a low zoom level, illumination would be a welcomed feature and in some low light situations it may be required.
The battery cap is actually the end of the illumination knob. To unscrew the cap, you must dial the illumination all the way to the OFF position just past the 11 intensity level. The scope takes a single CR2032 battery.
The objective bell outside diameter of the riflescope measured 58mm in diameter and houses the 50mm objective lens. The 50mm lens and 5-25x power zoom range produces an exit pupil diameter of 10 to 2mm. As you increase the zoom level to the maximum, the small 2mm diameter of light hitting the pupil produces a definite darker image just like you would expect from any riflescope. At lower magnification levels, the riflescope is extremely bright.
Of the three different reticle types for this riflescope, the SCR™ Mil and SCR™ MOA reticles are nearly identical except for the difference in units where the SCR™ Mil reticle is in Milliradians and the SCR™ MOA reticle is in Minutes of Angle, both of which are angular measurements. These reticle styles include the capability to apply target hold overs, wind hold-off, range estimation and impact measurements. The areas above and on the left and right of center are broken down into 1/4 MOA to aid in precise range estimation. My equation for range estimation using a calculator with a MOA reticle is simple; Target Size (inches) / Measured MOA x 95.5 = Range (yards). Sometimes a calculator is not always available, so this equitation gets simplified to Target Size (inches) / Measured MOA x 100 = Range (yards) or just Target Size (inches) / Measured MOA = Range (hundreds of yards). The great thing about this being a First Focal Plane (FFP) scope is that the MOA subtensions are always constant which allows you to zoom in or out as needed for making the MOA measurement.
To get an idea on how the optical performance compared against some other riflescopes, I got out my Bushnell Elite Tactical 4.5-30x50mm and Zeiss Conquest 4.5-14x50mm riflescopes. I setup at 150 yards and then spent about an hour going back and forth looking through these different riflescopes.
The image I used for comparison was a house down the street which you can see below. I tried to take some photos at different magnification levels looking through the Burris XTR II riflescope, but these photos in no way do the riflescope justice. I find it hard to every get a photo to look as good as the image seen by the eye, but they at least give you something to examine.
The brightness and image clarity were great on all these riflescopes, but where the Burris was superior was in image color. The vivid image was clearly better than the Bushnell and the Zeiss was only slightly less. The image was crisp and sharp throughout the entire field of view and the photo below is a good example where all the bricks, even on the outside edge, all look very uniform and detailed.
I debated not putting this photo below in the review because I really struggled getting the camera aligned with the narrow exit pupil diameter of light when at 25x, but the photo still gives you a good idea on how the reticle stands out against a background with varying contrast. If you ignore that the lower part is dim and the upper part is bright (my photo issues), you can still see there is no distortion in the image and lines are straight, crisp and clear.
You can see an extensive video on this comparison of these three riflescopes by watching the video below.
The last things I wanted to try and check were the MOA divisions on the reticle and the MOA adjustments on the target turrets. To do this, I setup a board with a MOA grid on the surface. The spaces between the centers of the grid lines was about 1.047" which represents the vertical or horizontal distance equaling one MOA (minute of angle) at 100 yards. Since 100 yards was too far in my back yard, I setup the grid board 50 yards from my riflescope. At 50 yards, one grid line was equal to two MOA. By aiming the reticle at the center of my grid, I was able to see how well the MOA hash marks lined up with my grid. The reticle MOA marks did a great job at matching the MOA grid on my board and I checked it at several different zoom levels including 5x and 25x. Based on this, I was convinced that you can successfully use the MOA markings on the reticle for applying hold overs and wind corrections.
Next, I setup a laser on my rifle with the laser adjusted to the reticle center with my turret caps set at 0 Elevation and 0 Windage. This made the laser act like the point of impact of the bullet which would show shift as I made adjustments on the turrets. Since I had already confirmed that the first focal plane reticle matched my MOA grid, I was able to dial in varying elevation or windage adjustments and compare where the reticle shifted over the laser red dot at 50 yards. Again, I got matching shifts in the reticle based on my turret caps compared to the reticle hash marks. I also consistently got returns to zero. I spent about 15 minutes studying this with varying combinations of elevation and windage adjustments and in all cases I was pleased with the tracking on the turrets.
During my range testing, I found the 3.5" to 4.25" eye relief distance to be very comfortable and feel it would be very adequate on larger caliber rifles. At maximum power (25x), the small 2mm exit pupil diameter has a very tight box for eye placement, but that seems to be par for the course on this power riflescope with a 50mm lens.
I'm very pleased with performance and value you get from the Burris XTR II 5-25x50mm Riflescope. The optics looked great, the turret tracking seemed to be true and returned to zero, the zero stop and illuminated reticles are great features, the Forever Warranty can't be overlooked, and you get all this for around $1250 in a first focal plane scope. I know that some people may find it hard to think of $1250 as being a value price for optics, but I feel if you compare these same features and performance against other riflescopes on the market you will agree the Burris XTR II is a great riflescope for the money. If you are in the market for a first focal plane precision riflescope, make sure you take the time to compare the Burris against others on the market.