I had a chance to look over one of the new Bushnell DMR2 scopes when I visited Mile High Shooting this week. I don’t own one and certainly can’t speak to things like it’s durability or tracking but I did get to have a look at it and see what kind of impressions I could form. If you make a few assumptions about the scope you can start to see a somewhat clear picture of what to expect. For example, the Bushnell DMR2 had several predecessors. The Bushnell DMR, ERS, and XRS scopes. Those three scopes are wildly popular in the precision shooting world. They can be had for around $1500 down from the $2000 or so retail prices they command. They all track well, have decent glass, and have spent a lot of time in Military, Law Enforcement, and Competition scenarios. The durability of those scopes is established, consistent, and backed by Bushnell’s “No Questions Asked, Lifetime Warranty.” The question becomes whether the new DMR2 will live up to what came before it. Read on to see what I thought after some brief hands on time!
This is a pretty feature packed scope. To say I’m not thinking about lining up some overtime to snag one would be disingenuous. We’ll see when that plan comes to fruition but for now I had to settle with fondling one and checking it out while I was at Mile High Shooting. The Bushnell DMR2 feels every bit as bombproof as it’s predecessors. I’ve had really good experiences with the ERS and XRS models that preceded the DMR2. Bushnell went with the Rev Limiter Zero Stop from it’s LRHS line of scopes rather than the Z Lok found on the ERS and XRS models. This is probably because the Rev Limiter is a simpler design. There were so many folks having trouble with the Z Lok zero stop on the ERS and XRS models that we wrote up an article about how to set that stop with step by step instructions.
The Bushnell DMR2 retains features from the original DMR like the 34MM tube and 3.5-21X magnification range. It offers 30 MILs of vertical travel and 20 MILs of windage travel. It’s hard to find many scopes with more travel than that built in! New features include a Throwhammer cat tail for the magnification ring that makes adjusting the magnification level much easier and faster. You have two reticle choices in the non illuminated version of the scope. You can either go with the new G3 reticle or a H59. The illuminated version appears to only be available with the G3 reticle at this time. Speaking of the G3 reticle, it’s very similar to the G2, which is a good thing! The G2 reticle was designed by George Gardner of GAP Rifles. That’s where the “G2” moniker came from. I’ve seen Mr. Gardner shoot and he can hang with the best of them in addition to building some of the best and most accurate rifles out there. The G2 reticle is excellent for tactical applications.
I mentioned the new Throwhammer lever which is removable and clamps onto the magnification ring. That’s a handy feature because I honestly doubt it costs much of anything for a manufacturer to produce and include with the scope. However, to purchase one aftermarket you’re looking at anywhere from $30-$80 or so bucks depending on what it’s made from. It also shows that Bushnell has it’s hand on the pulse of the tactical shooting market. This is a feature tactical shooters want and they’ve opted to include it. Other differences from the previous models found on the new Bushnell DMR2 can be found with the turrets. The Bushnell DMR2 has a locking windage turret, but the elevation turret does not. I can’t say I ever had an issue with the locking turrets on the ERS and XRS but I suspect this has to do with the design of the Rev Limiter Zero Stop. I think they’ve basically had a good reception for that zero stop design in their Hunting series and have basically just transplanted that zero stop and turret into the new DMR2.
The other big thing this time around is available illumination. You know you’re purchasing an illuminated version by the DMR II-i designation in the model number. I believe this is also why we see a little bit of thickening of the reticle at the center cross where the G2 reticle was thinner. There probably is a minimum thickness you can get away with and still have a reticle that lights up properly in lower light conditions. I played with the illumination a bit looking out the door in daylight. There are multiple levels of brightness you can switch through by dialing the knob forward and aft and there are off positions between them, which is great! This way if you like setting 8 for example, you don’t have to turn it all the way to zero and all the way back every time you decide to use that setting. You just move a half position forward or back!
The illumination was plenty bright enough to see even during daylight. I can’t really see using that unless you’re in a lighted position shooting into a darker area and it was giving you trouble seeing the stadia on the reticle. I know some guys like to dial the power way down and slap a scope like this on an SPR or lightweight AR15 and use the illumination as a sort of red dot. If that’s your thing this will fit the bill but I don’t think it’s the best use of a scope like this!
These are going for $1600 at Mile High Shooting! That’s a lot of scope for the money. 34mm main tube, 30 MILs of elevation, first focal plane scope, illuminated reticle, zero stop and locking windage turret…BOOM! That’s about the perfect list of features and for a solid $800 or better less than a lot of the competition. There are a lot of nice scopes out there that cost a lot more than the Bushnell DMR2 for the same features. The glass may be a touch better but a lot of the differences in optical appearance are subjective. I’ve always thought if you can see the target clearly that’s about all you really need. More resolution and clarity are great if you have the funds but for me the basics are more important. Does it track reliably and does it have the features I want. If I have money leftover then I start looking at what options are available for better optical features. I think these will be very popular in the coming months as Bushnell continues to pump out feature rich scopes with input from the precision shooting community! If you have any questions I’ll try to answer them in the comments below!