Burris Eliminator III Review
November 13, 2013
Long-range shooting requires complex skills and copious range time. Burris aims to change that. Its Eliminator III lets average shooters extend their effective range, giving even ballistically challenged shooters a way to connect on distant targets without even glancing at a drop chart.
In order to give the Eliminator III a thorough test, I mounted the scope atop a supremely accurate T/C Icon Precision Hunter chambered in my newest cartridge crush, the 6.5 Creedmoor. Excellent ballistics make this cartridge a keeper. The scope might be a keeper, too; I'd find that out later. Now was the time to gather first impressions.
The Eliminator may be a rangefinding marvel, but it's also a hulking, sci-fi-looking scope that spans nearly 16 inches and tips the scale at 26 ounces. If it weren't for lenses on both ends and a Picatinny rail on its belly, it could easily be mistaken for a miniature submarine drone built to patrol our coasts for enemy U-boats.
Fortunately for us, no hostiles were on the docket. In fact, wind and my limited grasp of long-range shooting were the only enemies encountered'¦yet even those didn't faze this scope.
To put the Burris Eliminator III to the test, my father and I, along with friend Blake Bosckis, headed to a remote section of Washington State and set up a string of rocks against distant dirt banks, ranging from 300 to 746 yards.
Temps were in the mid 70s and wind speed varied from 5 to 20 mph. Like most hunters, I'm not a long-range marksman. The farthest I've flung lead at targets was 640 yards. My father and Blake, however, hadn't surpassed 500, and as we bore down on the distant targets, doubt filled the air like a lingering cloud of Pyrodex smoke.
Blake's first shot at a rock 300 yards out confirmed the system was working. His next shot at 365 yards turned a grapefruit-sized chunk of stone into gravel. One box of Hornady's finest was all it took to transform us from doubters to destroyers, crushing rocks with nearly every squeeze of the trigger. The next three boxes were just for grins, confirming what the first box had already proven: This system works.
After the shoot, I called my uncle Joe, an avid and capable shooter, and told him how impressive the unit was.
"How far?" he asked, voice heavy with doubt.
"Oh, 746 yards," I replied. "We smacked the football-sized rock dead-center, and it was our first shot at that range. I couldn't believe it, either."
After hearing us tag rocks at nearly half a mile, my uncle's interest was piqued — and that's not surprising. Long-range shooting is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing segments of our industry. To supply this demand, manufacturers have been developing specialized rifles, optics, and ammunition at a frenzied pace.
The tools are there, but many shooters, myself included, lack the knowledge and skill for precision shooting at dizzying ranges. Traditionally, long-range proficiency was earned through years of practice and ungodly amounts of ammo, both difficult to come by. The Eliminator scope, however, represents the closest thing to a "plug and play" solution currently available to shooters.
How easy is the Eliminator III to use? Place the reticle on the target and click the ambidextrous range button. Along with a distance reading, an illuminated dot will appear in the vertical stadia of the X96 reticle, indicating how much holdover is required for a hit. Align this dot with your target and send the round downrange. If the wind is calm and the shot execution is up to snuff, the bullet will strike your intended target. Pretty simple, right?
There is a bit more to it. Setting up the scope is time-consuming at first, but thanks to Burris's enormous database of cartridges and loads, the process is not as difficult as it first seems, and the shooter only inputs the bullet's BC and drop number. Complex algorithms, algebra, trigonometry, maybe even nuclear physics, are certainly involved, but the onboard computer takes care of all that, allowing you to focus on executing the shot'¦and reading the wind.
As we found out, bullet drift is not nearly as simple as drop. This is not a shortcoming of the Eliminator III. In the world of competitive shooting, wind reading is what separates champs from chumps, and while this scope does provide a wind drift value to assist the shooter, it's based on a 10-mph crosswind. With Hornady's 120-grain A-Max, the difference in bullet drift between a 10-mph and a 17-mph crosswind is over 30 inches at 750 yards. A solid grasp of wind drift ensures hits.
Applications and Ethics
According to Burris, the scope will range and provide drop to an astounding 1,200 yards on reflective targets. On non-reflective targets, the unit is rated for 750 yards. Should hunters be firing at live animals that far away? Depending on skill and animal size, maybe. For some animals, like prairie dogs or distant coyotes, this scope approaches perfection, as it provides a precise aiming point with unmatched speed. Big-game animals are a different story.
If used responsibly, this $1,500 scope should help the average shooter extend their range for cleanly taking big game. On the other hand, this technology could give hunters a distorted view on acceptable shot distances, likely resulting in wounded and lost animals. Forgetting wind drift entirely, the bullet's time of flight at 750 yards is just over one second. A lot can happen in that time.
The simplicity and effectiveness of this range-devouring wizard blew me away. It doesn't make long-range shooting easy; rather, it all but eliminates one variable from the equation: bullet drop. The other two legs of the stool — shot execution and wind reading — remain, making the Eliminator III a helpful tool in the long-range equation, not a magic wand.
Ethics aside, assuming your shooting is up to snuff and the wind is calm, this unit makes it remarkably easy to put bullets on target way out yonder.