Is the Bushnell AR Optics Drop Zone-223 Best Pick for the Money? [Review]

LAST UPDATED: January 3rd 2021
GUIDE: Chris Browning

If you are looking for a tactical mid-range scope at a feasible price, you can easily fall prey and end up buying a scope which doesn’t accommodate what you really wanted. Therefore, it is important to look for some core features including reliability, optics, accuracy and ease-of-use, among others.

The market is flooded with mid-range scopes which may make you indecisive. If you are still researching, you might want to check out the Bushnell AR Optics Drop Zone-223. It’s not perfect but certainly competitive.

The Bushnell AR Optics Drop Zone-223 Reticle riflescope is a fine example of a product that combines value at a relatively acceptable price point without having to miss out on the most important features or aspects that a good riflescope must have. Let’s take a quick overview of this scope.

The AR Optics Drop Zone-223 is an excellent mid-range hunter having a BDC reticle that is calibrated for 55-62 grain. It boasts one of the brightest multi-coated optics riflescope available in the market. The high quality materials used to make this scope ensure that the product is highly durable and long lasting.

Furthermore, the scope comprises of a 24mm objective lens and its lightweightedness makes it an excellent option for a carbine with respect to weight and size ratio. For a more detailed analysis, let’s further dive into details and technicalities regarding this scope.

Things to consider before buying

The Bushnell AR Drop Zone-223 is a tactical-use riflescope capable of hunting targets at mid to long range. However, there are some things you might want to consider before actually buying this.

Even though this scope excels at midrange accuracy and offers high-quality multi-coated optics, if you are looking for seriously long range hunter, you might want to reconsider your options.

If the mid-range accuracy suits you and moreover, you are looking for a tactical scope, this is one of the finest options you will come across in the market. As with all products, there are some cons if you choose to buy the Bushnell AR Optics Drop Zone-223.

  • Some users may find this scope a bit on the heavy side. Weight can affect accuracy
  • The scope is essentially featureless only offering bare essentials, therefore:
  • No side focus.
  • No battery powered illuminated reticle for those seeking to go an extra mile with scope’s additional features.

Features of The Bushnell AR Optics Drop Zone-223

Product Specs


Rifle Scope

3-9x 40mm

Product Features

highly impressive accuracy at mid-range distances

BDC Drop Zone reticle

Generous eye relief


  • Accuracy – Despite its low magnification settings, this scope offers highly impressive accuracy at mid-range distances.
  • Reticle – The BDC Drop Zone reticle allows you to compensate for bullet drop for a particular round at specific distances.
  • Windage, Elevation – Easily adjustable without losing focus of your target
  • Turrets – 0.1 click value, tactile, audible and fingertip adjustable
  • Physical versatility – Sturdy and built to last. Stays committed to providing precision, accuracy even in the harshest of climatic conditions.
  • Eye-relief and Lenses – Generous eye relief. Fully multi coated lenses which offer an impressive amount of light transmission, high optic quality and remarkable viewing clarity.


  • Limited only to 1-4x magnification
  • No included mount is a headache


One of the major strengths of the Bushnell AR Drop Zone is its close quarters accuracy, primarily due to enhanced therage optics and turret targeting system. Another advantage of using this scope is its fast focus eyepiece feature. Its range spans 100-500 yards. The only limitation is its 1-4x magnification within which the scope has deadly accuracy.


This scope comprises of a 30mm tube (which makes it easy to mount the optic) along with a BDC reticle which does not lose focus as you alter the magnification. The reticle is a drop zone BDC. It consists of a standard duplex reticle having a series of dots which represent the bullet drop for the 223 round. It is important to note that the bullet drop scale is exclusively designed for 223 rounds (55-62 grains). Outside this range, the rate of fall will be different. Keep in mind that this is a second focal plane scope.

Windage & Elevation

The windage and elevation can be adjusted without losing focus of your target. The Bushnell is hard to compete with as far as clarity in optics is concerned. When calibrated for 55-62 grain, the BDC reticle is quite impressive and excels at mid-range precision.


As for the turrets, they have a 0.1 click value, are finger tip adjustable and are quite aggressively textured. They are tactile and audible during adjustment. One of the most salient features regarding the turrets is they can be zeroed out after you sight in with relative ease. The turrets also make it easier to make small 1/4 MOA adjustments

Physically Versatile

This scope is made out of aluminum alloy but is a bit heavier, weighing 16.9 oz. Its anodized finish makes the scope scratch, water, fog and rustproof. Even in the most adverse and physically challenging circumstances, the Bushnell AR Drop Zone will stay committed to giving you the best performance you would expect. Furthermore, the  matte finish not only adds to the aesthetics, but also holds up with heavy wear and tear

Eye Relief and Lenses

The scope is generous when it comes to eye relief. Seasoned shooters can enjoy a noticeable zone however, this may irritate newbies. Though it offers a bit bigger size than many other scopes, it offers greater advantage to the shooter.

When it comes to the lenses, the Bushnell AR Optics Drop Zone 223 features lenses that have a slight tint to them. This may not come as a surprise given the fact that the scope boasts fully multi coated lenses.

The good thing about these lenses is the impressive amount of light transmission they offer. The optical quality is nothing less than top-notch and everything viewed through the scope is high definition and impressively bright and clear.


1. Nikon P-223 3-9×40 Mate BDC 600

Nikon P-223As far as precision optics are concerned, Nikon is a brand that users trust. The P-223 is a suitable alternative to the Bushnell AR Optics Drop Zone-223 if you are looking for a accurate long range shooting and HD optics.

It boasts a light transmission rate of 98%. Field adjustments are fairly simplified given the scope’s patented reticle and tactical-style turrets. The Nikon P-223 Mate BDC 600 is definitely a good option if you are willing to loosen your pocket.

2. NightForce 5.5-22×56 NXS Riflescope

NightForce SHV 5-20x56mmIf you want a scope that meets your shooting demands with high performance and innovation without compromising craftsmanship, dependability and ruggedness, you definitely want to check out the NightForce NXS.

This scope is not meant for normal day-to-day circumstances, but is the epitome of extreme long range shooting. It is perhaps the number one choice for military and law enforcement professionals who demand nothing less than masterly and consistent performance.

The NXS offers impeccable magnification combined with range and a large field-of-view. Not to forget four inches of eye relief and 100 MOA elevation travel. Field adjustments allow you to reach the 2000-yard mark with deadly accuracy thanks to its MOAR reticle and extremely fast aiming. The only downside of this scope is that it is very capable of making your thick wallet thin.

Final Thoughts

Realistically speaking, you will not be able to find a lot good scopes which have a magnification range of 1-4x and work flawlessly for the user. The Bushnell AR Optics Drop Zone-223 is relatively better off in this regard but obviously not flawless. It certainly has its fair share of drawbacks.

Ironically the advantage of this scope turns out to be its biggest fault too. The scope is essentially featureless and does little to stand out of the pack from the rest of the market consisting of scopes which offer more or less the same features. The lack of features drag away the competitive advantage of Bushnell.

Furthermore, the lack of mounts adds to the headache of the user as well as the scope’s weight. The additional weight may complicate things for an average shooter, especially one who is in the learning stage. This is perhaps the biggest downfall of anyone considering to purchase this as their primary or even secondary scope.

A product that lacks bells and whistles shouldn’t result in an immediate bad judgment formed of it, but in a market where new scopes are arriving on a daily basis comprising of numerous features, it is not so surprising that one might be underwhelmed with the Bushnell Drop Zone, especially after exploring the rest of the product line.

On the other hand, the scope offers a good high-quality result, which is one of the foremost feature a good scope must have. Even though this scope cannot be classified as a ‘must-have’ item in your wishlist, it can still be considered a good purchase for an average shooter at a competitive price range.

The best incentive which may actually push forward people to buy this scope is the epic clarity its lens offers. Make sure you research thoroughly before reaching any conclusions.

To read more rifle scope reviews visit our Gun Scopes Resource.

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5/5 (1 Review)


  1. Sir,
    Which scope exactly did you use for this article? I have been trying to find a scope for my AR and this is one that was on my short list mainly because it boasts both the side focus and side parallax adjustment in pretty much every description I have read and even the picture of the scope in your article shows that there are adjustment turrets on the top and both sides of the scope. About the only issue that I see that is a turn off would be the lack of illuminated reticle. I just wanted to be sure that we were both talking about the Bushnell 3-9×40 223 BDZ scope. Thank you


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