June 14, 2021
The old adage “spend $100 on the gun and $1,000 on the scope” has always stuck with me. Although finding a gun for $100 these days is near impossible, and for many hunters, a $1,000 scope is just too much. And that’s not a problem. As technology continues to advance, companies are able to make more affordable scopes that offer similar performance as the higher-priced items. While taking the frugal route may not land you with Zeiss-level glass, you can be confident the scope you pick will perform.
This year, Crimson Trace, a company known for its laser sights, has introduced 50 new riflescopes, including the line of Brushline Pro optics. These scopes were designed with the hunter in mind. I recently tested the Brushline Pro 4-16x50 with the bullet drop compensator (BDC) reticle.
I was able to test the Brushline Pro 4-16x50 scope in Texas in pursuit of whitetail deer and hogs. Atop a Weatherby High Country chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor, the scope performed exceptionally. It all started on the range getting zeroed. My first impression of the scope was great: easy to use, easy sight acquisition, accurate adjustments, and a spring-assisted zero reset. All of this made sighting-in a breeze. The turrets are also capped to ensure they don’t get bumped when in the field.
On the Range with the New Brushline Pro 4-15x50
Many hunters rely on dialing their turret for distance these days, and with the technology being readily available, it makes sense. While you can do this easily and accurately with the Brushline, it also comes with a simple BDC reticle to help with longer shots when you don’t have time to dial.
Usually, I don’t like BDC reticles. They take up too much of my sight picture and aren’t comfortable to look at. This reticle wasn’t the same as others I have used, and it was incredibly simple to use and not to mention accurate. I always test my ballistic information before hitting the field (you should, too) to ensure I have the right distances. I easily walked my shots out to 600 yards. The sweet sound of lead against steel rang out every time I pulled the trigger—this reticle was spot-on. Being a second focal plane reticle, I did need to make sure my magnification was maxed out before being able to accurately use the BDC.
When you’re on the range, it’s very common to be shooting in ideal conditions: good light, comfortable bench rest, and a mostly controlled environment. As hunters, we usually aren’t that lucky. Many times, shots come in low-light situations when conditions are challenging.
Hunting with the Crimson Trace Brushline Pro in Texas
Once I had the scope sighted-in and I was comfortable, we hit the field. Being Texas, most of the hunting consisted of box blinds, which offered relatively close shot opportunities. Sitting in these blinds can be challenging. Tough shooting positions, poor light, and bad rests are all common occurrences, and these blinds were no exception.
I was very pleased, though; the scope allowed for easy sight acquisition in nearly every position I could think a shot would present itself. The generous four-inch eye relief makes getting on your scope easy and finding the full-sight picture a breeze. After testing my possible shooting angles, it was time to wait for a target to present itself.
Texas is a target-rich environment, and on the first evening, a boar walked out. Not wanting to take a shot early and spoil a chance at getting a buck, I watched the boar through the scope for hours. He fed and rooted around, and I practiced my shot sequence and target acquisition. Watching the hog through the 16X magnification made it feel like I was on the ground with him. The picture was great.
As the evening got later, the light began to fade, but no buck made an appearance. As I was getting ready to shoot the hog, which had stayed the entire time, a challenger appeared. The two boars fought, and through it all I watched them through my scope. Though the light was dim, the fully multicoated lenses allowed for great light transmission, and I never had a hard time seeing through the optic.
As the second hog stood victorious, I squeezed the trigger, and I found myself looking at my first boar lying dead. The scope performed flawlessly—just as one would hope in the field. The next day offered more hunting and more field-testing for the Brushline Pro.
A change in stand locations came the next morning: a high point on a hill—well, a hill for Texas—overlooking prime brush country. I waited again for a buck to make an appearance. My shooting angle was somewhat steep, but the added height gave me a better vantage point and the possibility of a longer shot.
Several good deer showed themselves that morning, but one, in particular, stood out above the rest. As soon as I saw him I knew I would take him. The deer first appeared walking alongside a road at nearly 400 yards. Full magnification with my BDC set, I waited patiently for an appropriate shot. He continued to work towards me, 300 yards, then 200 yards, and then he stopped. As I followed him on his approach, I was ready for a shot whenever it was presented. The great thing about the Brushline is the ability to aim via the BDC reticle with confidence. At every spot I saw that deer, I knew I could make the shot.
At just under 200 yards the buck presented an opportunity. I held the crosshairs just above the vitals and squeezed the trigger. The impact looked perfect through the scope, but he was still on his feet, so one more quick shot through the vitals anchored him. The 7.5-year-old buck lay motionless through the scope. Clear as day, I could see that he had expired.
After the excitement around my buck mellowed, we continued the hunt. A spot-and-stalk pig hunt yielded a missed shot, and we realized that my point of impact had changed. During the excitement, the scope must have been dropped, bumped, knocked, or changed in some way because I was now shooting high. This was the only issue I had with the scope, and I don’t fault the construction. I try to be gentle with all my riflescopes, understanding that a slight knock can move the crosshairs and change the point of impact.
Once we corrected the issue, the next shot—again in a spot-and-stalk situation—yielded a big meat sow. Again, the scope made it easy to get set for the shot and make quick adjustments and offered a clear sight picture in the low light, which allowed me to take the hog.
Scopes are one of the most important pieces of your hunting setup. While this Crimson Trace scope won’t catch the eye of a connoisseur, it will perform when it needs to. With clear glass, a crisp reticle, and accurate adjustments, I would be confident using this scope in any hunting situation.
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