Over the last several years, the Burris Company of Greeley, Colorado has achieved a dominant position in the production of high power pistol, scopes. In its efforts to service the handgun hunter, the Burris inventory has grown to include fixed power scopes of 7x and 10x persuasion, and a variable power 2-7x.
Not resting on past successes, Burris has introduced a new competitor to the arena of monster magnifiers. Weighing in at 15 oz. (without the very useful rubber: eye cap protectors) and measuring 10.75″ long, the 3-9x variable offers an increase performance over the 2-7x while reducing size and weight and maintaining field-of-view and eye relief.
According to the Burris folks, this is achieved through a complete new optic design. I didn’t take the scope apart; I took it to the range.
Grabbing an XL pistol with a 14 inch barrel in .270 MAX, 1 stripped off the iron sights, slapped on a Weaver base, mounted the scope in a pair of Burris rings and beat feet for the Escondido Fish and Game range.
Some observations after an hours shooting. First, I thought the scope had excellent clarity. With the power setting cranked up to 9X and shooting at 1″ black paster squares 100 yards away. I could see the cross hairs change location inside the square as the target frame moved in the wind. This was under heavy cloud cover late in the afternoon.
Second, I was impressed with the useable range of eye relief for such a high power scope. It’s impossible to “fit” everyone with our different shapes, shooting positions, and firearm preferences.
In this particular scenario, I was using an XL with the scope mounted such that the eyepiece extended about 1″ past my wrist. I was shooting off a bench with arms extended and my chin touching my arm. I had full field of view with every power setting from 3x through 9x.
In a conventional standing position, I could maintain full field of view up to 5x, which is about as high a power setting as I can use standing. In Creedmore, the field of view restricted even at the lowest 3x setting, but still useable if you can acquire the target.
Keep in mind, if you put this scope on an XP or TC, optimum positions will be different. One of my hunting partners in Colorado is using his 3-9x on a center-grip XP in .223, and when he shoots in the prone position, his arms have to get a couple of inches longer on the 9x setting.
Third, eye alignment with the axis of the scope is critical, but certainly manageable in bench type shooting with the arm-to-chin contact providing a repeatable reference point much like a rifleman’s chin on stock position.
I thought the alignment was less critical and demanding on this scope than on the lOx. I tried several months ago, but I’m working from an old memory here, and we all know what happens to the memory when you pass 40.
Shooters who have not used pistol scopes much will have more trouble on eye alignment with this big variable than they would with one of the lower power rigs.
Overall, I’m impressed with the scope. I think it’s an excellent selection for the long-range varmint hunter who occasionally chases medium size game.
Mounted on your favorite, minute-of-angle, low recoiling handgun. I think the 3-9x is a guaranteed winner. I have already planned a spring-summer varmint hunt with Burris’ latest offering, perhaps mounted on a super-accurate .223.
Published: American Handgunner July/August 1992