In 2010 the Precision Rifle Optics market was taken by storm by a little known company called Vortex. Now I hear what you’re thinking, why is a Burris review talking about one of its competitors? Well, to fully appreciate the Burris XTRII we have to first look back at when the Vortex PST was created. Back then, this segment of the market was dominated by Leupold and Nightforce. There really was no “budget” tactical scope on the market, especially a full-featured one for around $1000.00. Vortex released the PST and customers were thrilled with them from day one. The demand grew from there and other manufacturers took notice. After all, competition is a good thing.
Many manufacturers started cranking out similar products in the next few years trying to get back part of their market share. Burris instead completely redesigned the XTR series and improved not only on what they had done before but also on what Vortex was doing. The Burris XTRII production was moved to the Philippines and is under strict watch according to Burris reps. They do a final quality control check here in the US before the scopes hit the shelves and it shows. These XTRII’s are some of the finest optics to come from the Philippines. The fit, finish, feel, and functionality rivals scopes costing twice as much.
There are plenty of models to choose from in the XTRII line. Magnification choices range from a 1-5 all the way up to a 8-40. I have been using the 4-20x50mm G2B Mil-Dot for a couple years now. At the time I purchased mine, the Mil-Dot was the only reticle choice available in 4-20x but there are now more choices available and even MOA versions available.
The first thing that stands out about these scopes are the turrets. Unlike some of it’s competition, the elevation turret has an actual zero stop that is a hard stop and not just a shim kit that will get you close. They have a very tactile feel and are not overly easy to turn. The windage turret is also rotation limited so you will not get lost in over rotating it as well. Both are secured by small set screws that are nicely hidden in the attractive knurling of each knob. The zero stop is so simple in that all you have to do is zero the scope, loosen the turret, re-set it to “0”, and tighten the screws back down. That’s it.
Glass quality was also a pleasant surprise for this scope. It is easily better than the competition it sought to destroy. It is very good in fact. Not quite as good as scopes costing double and triple but not far off. For most of us using this type of optic the glass in no way will hold you back. The only way you would need something better is if you changed hobbies to bird watching.
So we’ve talked about the nice features, but what about the important stuff? Tracking and repeatability. This is the most important factor in using a scope of this type. When shooting at extended distances, if the scope does not track true to its measurements, you will not get consistent hits. Like many others have reported, my example of the XTRII tracks dead on all the way out to its elevation limit and returns to zero each time. Burris got it right. I frequently use this scope at extended distances and it still tracks as good as the first day out.
Long term durability is something that is a concern with tactical scopes. This is another area where Burris tried to improve on what the competition had done. They market the XTR II as a hard use product and there have been very few reports to the contrary that I have seen. This new line has only been out a couple years but so far durability is looking good. Only time will tell how well they hold up, but if you experience a problem, Burris stands behind their product and will make it right.
Some other notable feature of these scopes are 34mm tubes, fast-focus eye pieces, illuminated reticles, and now the ability to choose from capped or uncapped turrets with the new MAD turret system on some models. All of the functions of the scope operate smooth and precise and give an overall feeling of a quality build. The scopes are shipped with a very nice of flips caps also if that’s your thing.
So what are the negatives. Well they’re aren’t many. But if I was being picky its that these scopes are overbuilt. Some models weigh more than I would like even though the 4-20 is pretty comparable to other similar scopes. There have been some reports of a less than forgiving eye box at max magnification. This has mostly been reported with the 5-25×50 model, my 4-20 has a fairly large eye box at max magnification. There are only a few different reticles to choose from which may be a negative for some. Some users have also reported Cromatic Abberation in the glass but at this price level some is to be expected. Again, it’s no worse than some scopes costing double the XTRII’s price.
So if you are looking a purchasing a scope for long range work and have a modest budget to work with, these scopes are going to be one of the best on the market. Given the quality and features you receive for a comparatively low price you would be hard pressed to find a better deal on the market today. The future of this market looks great and I for one and excited to see what comes next.
– Brian Futch