Bushnell Elite 4500 Scope Review

Bushnell Elite 4500 2.5-10x40mm Scope Review Introduction Bushnell is an industry leader and has been an all-round giant of firearms optics for over 65 years. With a vast product line […]

Bushnell Elite 4500 2.5-10x40mm Scope Review

Introduction

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.

Features

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
    41.5/13.8@2.5x / 10.8/3.6@10x
  • Weight:  16oz/453gr
  • Length:  13.25in/336.55mm
  • Eye Relief:  3.3in/83mm
  • Exit Pupil:  15.6mm@2.5x / 4mm@10x
  • Click Value:  .25in.@100yds/7mm@100m
  • Adj Range:  50in.@100yds/1.4mm@100m
  • Mounting Length:  6.0in/152mm
  • Focal Plane: Second

Initial Impressions

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.

Fixed Parallax

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”

Field Testing

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.

Summary

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.

Gears Rating

Gear Score
Gearswww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Clear glass and accurate tracking make this SFP scope a great value at a reasonable price point. For those who prefer Bullet Drop Compensator scopes this one might just be for you.
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About Tom

Based in Morrisville NC, Tom is a project manager and software engineer by trade. A recent MBA graduate from UNC Chapel Hill, Tom holds multiple degrees in both IT and business. Tom logs a LOT of frequent flier miles setting up financial systems in exotic destinations like China, Korea, Japan and Mexico for an insurance company.

Tom’s other love is of course shooting. After being introduced in 2006 by his buddy Dom, he’s built up an impressive collection with particular focus on accurate long distance rigs. After taking several training courses from Academi (formerly Blackwater), Tom has participated in various handgun, 2-Gun and long range competitions.
Having met Jeff seemingly by luck at at the range one afternoon, he later became a regular Gear-Report team contributor in 2016 after finishing grad school. Having background knowledge in high end optics from his birdwatching days, Tom especially loves nitpicking at glass and scopes. Look for Tom’s product reviews throughout the Shooting section of Gear-Report!