Friday, January 27, 2012

Bushnell Banner Scope 1-4x Review

Bushnell Banner Scope 1-4x Review

There was a time when we all thought we “really” needed high power scopes to view the freckles on a gnat’s butt at 100 yards, however this strategy makes little sense in the practical and tactical worlds. For both hunting and tactical shooting we need a scope that can pick up moving targets without the optical appearance of looking through binoculars while on a carnival ride. This is where 1-4X scope have jumped in popularity. Add in the excitement and enthusiasm of folks building 1-4X optic topped 3-gun competition rifles and you have an exploding 1-4X scope market.

In my case adding a scope is an obvious choice for the Ruger 77/357 or other similar series rifles.  The 77/357 range, like most 3-Gun rifles are definitely tuned for higher percentage of shots under 150 yards and likely most shots will occur in the 50-75 yard range where open sight would be more than adequate.  A low power scope can definitely increase precision at those ranges for small game as well as shot placement beyond 100 yards.  I have used high end 1-4X scopes on a number of build and reviews and they are mighty handy, but most are a little up there in price for a $500 rifle or for those building a more budget minded competition AR rifle.  The challenge for the budget conscious just wanting this same functionality obviously becomes not spending $500+ on an optic, enter the Bushnell Banner 1-4X scope.

Bushnell has always been a leader in providing fine optics and although the Banner series fit and finish is not that of Bushnell’s higher lines, it is more than fine enough to dress up a working man’s rifle.  I will be the first to tell you that you get what you pay for when it comes to optics however keeping frills to a minimum helps the manufacturers concentrate on quality.  Scope technology usually trickles down from one year to the next. Last years most brilliant top tier design becomes the next lower tier's update a year later. In this case Bushnell has packed a lot of value in this scope with good quality fit, feel, and finish on this $75 street priced scope.

The Bushnell Banner 1-4 X32 scope was tested in a goofy way to check how it would hold zero.  I mounted the scope on my Ruger 77/357 pictured and then added a set of high Millet mounts mounting the scope upside down so that I could flip the scope and  mount it later for testing on my Delton AR15.  I then zero'ed the scope and shot around 300 rounds through the Ruger.  Leaving the Ruger rings in place and not re-zeroing, I mounted the scope to the AR and shot another 200 rounds through the Delton rifle.  This odd testing procedure allowed me to return the scope 77/357 to assure the original zero did not change, which retained the original zero perfectly.  Pretty good test for a $75 scope but without adjusting the scope, I had to use significant Kentucky windage with the Banner mounted to the AR.

This 1” scope provided all the magnification required for both fast moving shots and higher precision shots at closer smaller game or larger targets at longer distance.  The Circle-X reticle on the Bushnell Banner is unique and provides fast targeting via the circle and precision with the fine center cross-hairs inside the inner circle.  Glance through the optic quickly for fast shots and you see a large dot that can be easily placed on a target.  Take a little extra time and your can use the fine cross hairs to place a precision shot. Honestly I like the reticle more than many scope reticles.  The reticle is simple, fast and works.

Will the Bushnell Banner 1-4x32 deliver the performance of an expensive high performance optic? No, however it does provide above excellent optic performance for a $75 street priced scope and in many cases much better than scopes twice the price from other brands. It should be an automatic choice from most .22 rimfire shooters. The optics are clear, but not as crisp as you will find in Bushnell’s higher end lines. A variable 1-4X scope is actually more difficult to produce than a 3-9X scope and thus 1X usually is not a true 1X with a touch of magnification. Even the high dollar optics are challenged delivering true 1X magnification at tactical distances. Generally the higher end scopes will have less magnification and fish eye distortion at shorter 10-15 range distances. The Banner’s 1X magnification is really close, but has a little more fish eye at closer 10-15 yard tactical distances, but is unnoticeable beyond those ranges.This is a high value scope and a great all purpose scope for everything from a .22, to hunting rifle, to a start up 3-Gun competition AR build. This is a sleeper in the Bushnell line and for $75 is a steal for the price and performs extremely well for the price with a reticle that I think is tactically better than many in high end scopes.

Power / Obj Lens
1-4 x 32mm
Length (in / mm)
10.5 / 267
Field of View (ft@100 ft. / m@100 m)
78.5/26.1@1x 24.9/8.3@4x
Adj Range in@100yds/ m@100m
50 / 1.4
Weight (oz. / g)
12.2 / 345
Exit Pupil (mm)
16.9@1x / 8@4x
Eye Relief (in / mm)
4.3 / 108
Mounting Length (in / mm)
5.3 / 133
Click Value in@100 yds / mm@100m
.25 /7


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