written by ILya Koshkin, December 2017
I spent the last several months evaluating several scopes, among them the two low range variable power (LRPV) scopes from Burris:
I will offer a little more detail further down, but to make a long story short, both easily made onto my recently updated list of recommendations. I think both of these offer excellent value in their respective price ranges and, frankly, while there are some specific application where I might be inclined for a different scope largely due to reticle options, for overall use on an AR-15 chambered for 5.56×45, I can think of no better scopes for the money.
I’ll start with the RT-6 and then continue with the XTR II in a subsequent post.
The RT-6 is a second focal plane (SFP) design, with Burris’ Ballistic AR reticle.
|Burris RT-6 1-6×24||Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6×24||Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8×24||SWFA SS 1-4×24||HiLux CMR4 1-4×24||Burris MTAC 1-4×24||Steiner P4Xi||Hawke Frontier 1-6×24|
|Main Tube Diameter, mm||30||30||30||30||30||30||30||30|
|Eye Relief, in||3.3 – 4||3.5||3.5||3.1 – 5||3||3.5 – 4||3.5 – 4||4|
|FOV, ft@1000yards||106 – 18.5||116.5 – 19.2||116.5 – 14.4
19.2 @ 6x
|100 – 25||94.8 – 26.2||100 – 26||110 – 27.5||108 – 17.6|
|Exit Pupil||11.5 – 5.2||9 – 4||9 – 3||10.5 – 6||11.2 – 6||12 – 6||10-3|
|Click Value||0.5 MOA||0.5 MOA||0.5 MOA||0.1 mrad||0.1 MOA||0.5 MOA||0.5 MOA||0.1 mrad|
|Adj per turn||30 MOA||44||44||5 mard||8 mrad|
|Adjustment range||80 MOA||140MOA||100MOA||55 mrad||>100MOA||130 MOA||130 MOA|
Looking at the specs, there is nothing terribly exceptional about RT-6. However, it easily exceeded my expectations for the price range and to do better (and not by much) you have to step up to the much more expensive Hawke Frontier which I also included in the table for comparative purposes.
I tested it on two gas guns: LR-308 and AR-15 chambered for 308Win and 223Wylde, respectively.
First things first: the scope held zero admirably on both rifles. Turrets adjusted accurately although this is not the scope designed for turret twisting. Hence, I did not spend a whole lot of time testing the turrets. I sighted the scope in and proceeded to abuse it a little to see if it will hold zero, which it did. Then I did my vertical “step ladder” test where I fire a shot, adjust up a little (either 4 MOA or 1 mrad, depending on the scope) and fire one shot, then adjust up again by the same amount and so on. Then I return to zero and repeat the exercise a couple of times. I expect to see several three shot group spaced 4 MOA apart. If everything looks reasonably consistent it is a good indication that the turrets work as they are supposed to. On precision scopes I do a lot more than that, but for a low power variable I deemed that to be sufficient and the RT-6 did fine during this test.
With the cover removed, the RT-6 turret is easy to grab, but beyond the basic tracking test, I never bothered to mess with the turrets.
The illumination is controlled by a turret on the left of the scope tube which is angled up slightly. I am not 100% sure why Burris sets it up this way, but it is a touch easier to reach with the right hand because of this. The illumination is not quite day bright, but it is reasonable. It also goes down low enough for low light use without effecting your night vision. Every other click is an OFF position which I like.
The reticle is what Burris calls “Ballistic 6x”. It is a fairly straightforward design that is easy to use. Essentially, it is a horseshoe/dot arrangement with a few BDC hashmarks below it and several mrad stadia along the horizontal axis.
Personally, I would have preferred it to just be mrad everywhere instead of the BDC, but it works well as is. The BDC hashmarks are pretty much dead on for a 55gr 5.56×45 with a 100 yard sight in. With 77gr, I had to tweak the sight in a little, but it was easy enough. I was able to hit steal plates out to 600 yards with the reticle, so I called it good enough. Equally importantly, the reticle is very easy to see and quite quick at 1x. Here is what it looks like at 6x and at 1x:
The picture was taken on my LR-308 with a 15″ handguard. A shorter handguard is not as prominent in the FOV at 1x.
The target frame you see in the pictures is 50 yards away. When I want to go fast at closer distances, anything inside the horseshoe is a hit.
The scope comes with a removable cattail, so switching magnification is pretty straightforward. Eye relief changes slightly between magnifications, I think, but not enough to force me to change my head position. I shot with it off the bench, prone and offhand and getting behind the eyepiece was pretty straightforward.
In this price range, this is easily the least finicky 1-6x scope available. Setting the eyepiece focus is best done at 1x. I spent a few minutes getting it just right to get the distortion dialed out as much as you can and magnification matched to what you see around the scope. I confirmed that the reticle looks nice and sharp at other magnifications, but most of the adjustment was done at 1x.
Optically, the scope was better than I expected. I have looked at just about every LRVP scope out there or close to it and this is the only sub-$600 1-6x variable I added to my recommendations. All the other scopes in this price range I think I sufficiently well sorted out are of the 1-4x variety. Optically performance stayed reasonable out to the edges. Fish bowl effect at 1x is well controlled. Resolution at 6x is quite good and contrast is better than the competition. During low light testing, I did not see any particularly objectionable flare or stray light issues.
I shot some groups at different magnifications and if there is zero shift with magnification, I am having a hard time seeing it. I have not yet had a chance to put this scope in front of the collimator at work, but I will do so before too long.
In other words, try as I might, I could not find any significant flaws with this scope, which by itself is pretty impressive considering the fact that I can pick it up for less than $400. However, the more I use this scope, the more it grows on me simply because of how easy it is to use and how good the glass is.