Bushnell Elite 4500 2.5-10x40mm Scope Review
Bushnell is an industry leader and has been an all-round giant of firearms optics for over 65 years. With a vast product line covering nearly every optics category, most outdoorsmen at some point has come across or owns one of their optics. It is mind boggling how many products they offer. In this review, we’ll take a look at the popular Bushnell Elite 4500 scope which is the middle child of the Elite line. This scope retails in the mid-$400 range but has a street price closer to the low-$300s.
The Elite lineup are predominately hunting focused scopes. Here is how Bushnell describes the Bushnell Elite 4500 scope:
- Available with Multi-X(452104) or DOA 600 CF(452104B) reticles
- RainGuard® HD
- Ultra Wide Band Coating
- Fully multi-coated optics
- Magnum recoil-proof construction
- One-piece tube
- 100% waterproof, fogproof and shockproof
- Argon purged
- ¼ MOA or finer fingertip, audible and resettable windage and elevation adjustment
- Finish: Matte
- Power x Obj. Lens: 2.5-10x 40mm
- Reticle: Multi-X or DOA 600 CF
- Lens Coating: Fully Multi-Coated & Ultra Wide Band Coating
- RainGuard HD: Yes
- Tube Diameter: 1in
- Parallax Adjustment: Fixed
- Field of View: ft@100yds/m@100m
email@example.com / 10.8/3.6@10x
- Weight: 16oz/453gr
- Length: 13.25in/336.55mm
- Eye Relief: 3.3in/83mm
- Exit Pupil: firstname.lastname@example.org / 4mm@10x
- Click Value: .25in.@100yds/7mm@100m
- Adj Range: 50in.@100yds/1.4mm@100m
- Mounting Length: 6.0in/152mm
- Focal Plane: Second
The model we have for testing is the 2-10x40mm with a DOA 600 CF reticle. It offers a flexible magnification range suitable for most hunters. The non-illuminated scope comes with a hard plastic corded scope cover. Why can’t scope companies just include a set of scope caps? No other solution works as elegantly in my opinion. The scope appeared well built with a slick matte black finish. Overall the weight and size are in line with other scopes of its magnification range such as the Nikon Prostaff and Vortex PST.
When evaluating scopes I place high emphasis on image quality. This scope does not disappoint. The glass delivered high levels of contrast while the 40mm objectives lens kept the image relatively bright even in fading light. Chromatic aberration was also held relatively in check. Image clarity was very good near the center, but degraded towards the edges. The field of view was about average for its class. The fairly thick black ring which is apparent when looking through the eyepiece as noted in the pictures was a bit of a distraction.
Nothing is Perfect
A weak point on the scope was the feel of the capped turrets. They were quite mushy and lacked a distinct tactile click. This alone wouldn’t be so bad if not for the fact they were also completely inaudible. Lackluster feel plus no auditory feedback is not a combination I enjoy. On the positive side the turrets featured rotation markings which are there to prevent the shooter from getting lost while dialing through each revolution. This is beneficial to both long range shooters and those with lower velocity rounds whom need to account for bullet drop.
As the scope does not have an objective or side focus, its parallax is set at a fixed 100 yards. Therefore when shooting at targets significantly closer or longer, a measurable parallax error is present. I’ll save the conversation on how to calculate the error for another time, but have included the maximum possible deviation for some common distances below. Be aware of this when making farther shots. Try to keep a consistent cheek weld when shooting to minimize the error.
- 50 yards: ~0.4”
- 100 yards: 0”
- 200 yards: ~0.8”
- 300 yards: ~1.6”
- 500 yards: ~3.2”
The scope was mounted to a Savage Lightweight Hunter rifle chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. Although we did not have an opportunity to try the scope long term, throughout two separate test sessions the scope performed like a champ. I noticed no zero shifts upon repeated firing and when we switched between four different types of ammo. I had ample time to test the turrets making the necessary adjustments to dial in the point of impact. Tracking on both the elevation and windage turrets appeared accurate.
Since we didn’t try the scope at longer ranges I didn’t get a chance to fully test the DOA 600 CF reticle. As discussed in a past review of the Styrka S7, I’m not a fan of bullet drop reticles especially on second focal plane scopes. The reason being the drop markings are only accurate at a specific magnification power (typically maximum). Often hunters do not require 10x power which means they must compensate the drop in correlation to the power they’re using which is both time consuming and confusing.
At least the Styrka included a smart phone app so hunters could calculate the exact yardages for each aim point on the reticle tailored to their specific load. Bushnell’s solution attempts to generalize all centerfire calibers. Each dot in the diagram below represents 100 yard increments. Unfortunately in the real world different caliber bullets don’t drop at the same rate. The hash marks can only be used for approximation further limiting the reticle’s usefulness.
As the afternoon of testing wore on, the sun gradually crawled closer to the targets downrange. When this happened I began to notice a moderate amount of lens flare. This is caused by scattering light bouncing inside the scope resulting in reduced image contrast and a prevalence of light artifacts which made aiming more difficult. Unfortunately a sunshade is not currently offered on this model. Different scopes tend to handle lens flare differently. For the final volley of the day I switched over to a gun with a Vortex Razor Gen II mounted which exhibited minimal lens flare even without a sunshade.
Before wrapping up, I had an opportunity to splash some water on the front objective lens. True to form, it beaded up immediately and channeled most of the water away effortlessly. Having used the RainGuard HD coating before in the field on some of Bushnell’s other products, I can’t say I was surprised of the results. I am definitely a fan of the lens coating.
The Bushnell Elite 4500 is very solid optically and mechanically. The biggest positives include above average image quality paired with accurate tracking. While it offers good value for its set of features, the scope can be further improved by expanding its reticle choices. Personally I’d like to see Bushnell offer ranging reticles with MRAD or MOA based subtension lines and matching turrets. In fact, Bushnell already offers them in their top of the line Elite Long Range Hunter series (LRHS). With a few small improvements the Elite 4500 certainly has the potential to become a class leader in the affordable high quality hunting optics segment.