Bushnell Elite 4200 Review – Good or Bad?

LAST UPDATED: August 12th 2017
GUIDE: Chris Browning

Riflescopes are supposed to be perfect when it comes to shooting at different ranges. Obviously there are some drawbacks here and there with every scope and no one scope can be considered the epitome of riflescopes in all aspects combined.

However, there are some important features that scopes in general must attend to. These include magnification and range, light transmission, image quality, and field of view. If you are looking for an easy-to-use all-rounder riflescope capable of handling diverse situations, you might want to check out Bushnell’s 4200 series.

The Bushnell Elite riflescopes are technically descendants of the premium Bosch & Lomb Elite lineup. As far as the 4200 series is concerned, Bushnell has produced numerous variants of this model.

These are: 1-4x24mm, 2.5-10x40mm, 2.5-10x50mm, 2.5-10x50mm SF (side parallax focus), 4-16x40mm AO (adjustable objective parallax focus), 4-16x40mm SF, 4-16x50mm SF, 6-24x40mm AO, 6-24x40mm SF, 6-24x50mm SF and 8-32x40mm AO models.

There are slight tweaks in each model. However, the 4200 series also shares some core features present in all variants.

Things to consider before buying

No riflescope or optical device for that matter will be able to offer you everything from A to Z. It is inevitable that whatever product you buy, it will come with some compromises. Now it is important for you to choose a device whose cons won’t affect you, or your usage of the device.

Speaking of the Elite 4200 series scopes, these products are larger and heavier than most other rivalling scopes which may make them unsuitable for some users. The 1-4.5×24 variant weighs 15 ounces while all other variants weigh greater than that figure.

Therefore, if you are looking for a lightweight scope that does not significantly add weight to your rifle (without exception), you might not be satisfied with the Bushnell Elite 4200 but if your sole concern is performance, this scope might impress you.

As far as the eye-relief is concerned, the 4200 offers a 3.3” eye-relief, including the popular 2.5-10x and 1-4.5x variants. However, this much eye relief may not be of much use if you are using hard kicking rifles with tremendously heavy recoil. These are facts and should not be considered as mere criticisms.

If you want to purchase any riflescope, you must think along the lines of the context in which you intend to use that scope, because no scope is best for every purpose or every rifle. The Elite 4200 is a good scope, but needless to say, it cannot cater to every demand of every user. So make sure you do your research and buy a scope that suits your unique demands.

  • A bit heavier than typical scopes. If you are looking for a lightweight option, this may not be the scope for you.
  • Not sufficient amount of vertical adjustments available. If you don’t want to compromise long range AT ALL, you might not find this scope that appealing.
  • If you intend using it for non-tactical combat, you may find it uncomfortable to find that the crosshairs on the mil dot reticle are a bit thick. It may turn you off.

Features of The Bushnell Elite 4200

Product Specs

Manufacturer:
Bushnell

Type:
Rifle Scope

Reticle:
FireFly

Optics:
6-24x40

Product Features

FireFly reticle

Great FOV

Bulletproof warranty

Pros

  • Rainguard – Dry nitrogen and O-ring make scope water and fog proof. Rainguard aids vision
  • Reticle – FireFly feature useful in low-light situations; mil dot reticle
  • Optics – fully multi-coated optics offer bright and clear vision
  • Magnification – Greater FOV and sharp, contrasting image
  • MOA (or finer) click, resettable, fingertip windage and elevation knobs
  • Field adjustments –  Fairly easy to reset the scale to zero and to the index dot.
  • Bulletproof Warranty & Recoil immunity, “No questions asked” one year replacement (U.S. customers only). Strong immunity to recoil
  • Power Ring – Adjustable power, easy to use and read

Cons

  • There is a limited amount of vertical adjustments, barely enough to be used with a 15 or 20 MOA canted base. This compromises long range.
  • Crosshairs on the mil dot reticle are a bit thick and somewhat unsuitable if you want to use the scope for non-tactical combat.

Rainguard

The Elite 4200 comes with an O ring and nitrogen purge which removes all moisture from inside the scope during manufacturing, rendering the scope internally fog-proof. Moreover, the O-rings prevent moisture and dust finding their way in.

The Rainguard lens has a water repellant coating that not only protects your Elite 4200 from water, but also prevents the lens to fog up due to condensation on the outside surface of the lens.

Don’t mistake the Rainguard of being simply a moisture repellant. The lens also complements good light transmission and image brightness. The 4200 series boasts a remarkable rate of light transmission. All you have to worry about is cleaning the lens before you use it, something that you would have to do even before using a regular scope.

Reticle

One of the most impressive features of the Elite 4200 is its FireFly reticle. This feature is optionally available for most 4200 variants and is extremely useful in low light situations. What it essentially does is illuminate your scope’s crosshair after a brief exposure to a flashlight beam.

To top it all, this feature isn’t battery powered which eliminates the possibility of it not working due to battery failure. On the downside, the crosshairs on the mil dot reticle may be described a bit thick.

This is a problem if you do not have any tactical use. For tactical use, this feature is not a drawback but a slight advantage because a bit thicker crosshair can be identified more easily in darker backgrounds.

Optics

The Elite 4200 offers high-quality optics and its good contrast adds to a crisp view. It effectively curbs flare and optical aberrations which are not so uncommon in most other riflescopes.

In addition, the mounting latitude and ring positioning is also good in the 4200 and have proven to be very applicable in a variety of situations. The most impressive feature regarding this scope’s optics is that the vision remains very clear and bright under all circumstances.

In fact, the Elite 4200 boasts 95% light transmission and claims to deliver the brightest image possible across all other scopes available. Here is a sneak peek of the scope view of the Bushnell 4200.

Magnification, FOV

Regarding magnification characteristics, if you were to compare the Bushnell Elite 4200 with a pedestrian 3-9x variable that might fit a deer rifle, the former is 2” shorter in length. If both these contenders are at their lowest magnification setting, the Elite 4200 offers a 2.5 times greater field of view than the average joe.

Moreover, in all magnification ranges the Elite 4200 forms a 25% larger and brightest possible image for full eye thanks to its 30mm tube. For a better comparison, let’s compare the 4200 with Leupold VX-III, one of the most expensive scopes available.

One of the variants of the Elite 4200 comprises of a 24mm objective lens that has 44% greater surface area than Leupold’s 30mm tube and hence produces better optical results for your needs.

MOA; Windage & Elevation

The Elite 4200 also features a Fast Focus eyepiece so that the user can adjust the eyepiece in order to get the sharpest appearing reticle. The 4A reticle with an illuminated dot as show in the picture has a dot size of approximately ¼ MOA.

This dot can be switched off since it is powered by a 3V battery. If you do not want to switch it off, you can also control its intensity with the indexed ring surrounding the battery access cap. Apart from that, you can adjust the elevation and windage by your fingertips without the use of any tools or coins. The click increment is 0.36” at 100 yards.

Field Adjustments

If you are habitual of reading the scale on the scope and making field adjustments accordingly, it is fairly easy to reset the scale to zero and to the index dot. All you have to do is loosen two Philips head screws and then set the zero on the scale at the dot on the adjuster housing.

On the other hand, you can also do the adjusting by the tactile feedback because the clicks are distinct and audible. It should be noted that there is some disparity over the stated adjustment range of the Elite 4200.

Bushnell lists it as 25” of adjustment at 100 yards but with an approximate 250 click range at 0.36’’ per click, the outcome turns out to be slightly over 100’’ at 100 yards even if the adjustment is linear across the whole range. Inserting a laser bore sight might help you figure out these value differentials.

Bulletproof Warranty & Recoil Immunity

With regards to the scope’s exterior, the quality of the Elite 4200 is top notch and to top it all, it comes along with the Bushnell Bulletproof return warranty of one year with no questions asked. In addition, the company offers a lifetime warranty if the product manifests any manufacturing defects.

When it comes to handling recoil, the Elite 4200 have a solid reputation for being tough. They are considered to be immune to recoil to even the powerhouse cartridges such as the .375 H&H Magnum. This certainly compensates for the lacking eye relief on the scope.

Power Ring

The Elite 4200 includes a Power Ring which can be adjusted smoothly over the entire range. Though it requires a slight force to move but it is rigid enough to not accidentally move from its intended position.

There is a nice knurling on the power ring which helps you have a good grip on it. The power can be adjusted by a larger protrusion towards the right hand side of the ring. It consists of a screw that adjusts the power ring. Moreover, the markings on the power ring are not only easy to read but tend to bunch up as the power increases through the range.

Alternatives to Bushnell Elite 4200

1. Bushnell Elite Tactical Illuminated Mil-Dot Reticle ERS Riflescope, 6-24x50mm

Bushnell Elite Tactical Illuminated Mil-Dot Reticle ERS RiflescopeIf you have a thick wallet and need a nearly flawless scope with nothing less than HD clarity, you need to check this one out. It features adjustable power, tactical target scope with 6-24x magnification, a 50mm objective lens, and RainGuard HD anti-fog technology that keeps the lens clear in all circumstances.

In addition, it also comprises of an illuminated Mil-Dot reticle with one mil click value and target turrets, a three-inch sunshade and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

2. Vortex Optics DBK-10011 Diamondback Dead-Hold BDC Reticle/MOA High Performance 2-8×32 Riflescope

Vortex Optics DBK-10011 DiamondbackAnother good alternative to the Bushnell Elite 4200 is the Vortex Optics DBK-10011. If you are in for some serious long range shooting, you might want to check out this scope. Its extra-low dispersion glass significantly improves resolution and color fidelity which in turn offers you a highly crisp and sharp image when you view in through the scope.

With fully multi-coated lens proprietary coatings, this scope does not only have an impressive light transmission rate, but also features multiple anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces so that the user’s vision remains unhindered.

Its zoom lens also ensures that you can smoothly change the magnification settings under the harshest of conditions. Overall, this scope is ideal for tactical purposes. If you seek an enormously high-end scope, this might be suitable for you.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the Bushnell Elite 4200 is a noteworthy contender in the quite competitive line of four-star and medium-high price class of scopes. All variants within the 4200 series offer remarkable features including excellent optics, light transmission and recoil immunity.

After all the Bushnell products are essentially derived from famed Bausch & Lomb. You can get your hands on better scopes that are better suited to your needs for instance if you are looking for a serious long-range hunter, the Elite 4200 may not be the ideal choice.

However, within the price range, the 4200 series undeniably offers a range of outstanding features which make this scope stand out among other elite scopes within the four star category and the medium-high price range.

In addition, the sturdiness of this scope makes it equally good for tactical use as well. So there is no need to hesitate if you intend to place this scope on a tactical rifle.

For more rifle scopes reviews visit our scopes page.

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