Bushnell Elite 6500 Scope Review – Accurate Optics?

LAST UPDATED: July 27th 2017
GUIDE: Chris Browning

Anyone who wants to purchase a rifle scope fancies the idea of a high power scope with a good long range. However, a majority of high magnification scopes available don’t really work well when it comes to limited or low magnification.

Most of them may also have a narrow depth of field, low light transmission, and excessive magnification at the low end (6x or 4x zoom) which is simply too much for a fifty yard shot.

These are some of the concerns you’ll have to face with most rifle scopes out there. A good rifle scope is one which that gathers sufficient light and its efficient light transmission compliments the magnification in order to produce the best image possible.

The Bushnell Elite 6500 is famous for producing bright and sharp images at all magnification ranges. If you are looking for a rifle scope that pretty much offers the best of both worlds, the Bushnell Elite 6500 might be your best bet.

In this scope, neither high end or low end magnification is compromised and furthermore, its 2.5x – 16x zoom range is wider than any other scope’s magnification range available on the market, regardless of price.

Things to consider before buying

The Bushnell Elite 6500 is perfect for hunters and specifically those who need a versatile and high quality scope that works well in a range of environments, from Georgia’s pine forests to the high peaks of the Rockies.

The Elite 6500 has effectively captured a large enough audience by offering sufficient flexibility in terms of magnification. If you are looking for a compact and easy to use rifle scope which you want to use for moderate range, the Elite 6500 would easily satisfy your need.

However, if you know exactly the kind of shooting you are going to do, then you might as well explore other options. For instance, if you are looking for a scope specifically for short-range hunting which uses low magnification, it is always better that you find yourself a much more specialized scope that is specifically built for those demands.

However, if you think you are going to find yourself shooting in a range of circumstances depending on your versatile gun-activity schedule, the Bushnell Elite 6500 should certainly be in your shortlist.

  • This may not be your best bet if you want a short-ranged scope.
  • If you are obsessive about the field of view and do not want it compromised for an extended eye-relief, this product is not for you
  • The knobs aren’t target knobs. They can be used for dialing during elevation, but to be fair, they are low-profile knobs. If you think you are going to have to dial in your adjustments quite frequently, then you might want to consider the 2009 version of this scope which has target knobs.
  • The magnification range that the Elite 6500 offers is excessive. If you don’t want to spend extra cash on something you don’t need then you might want to check out

Features of The Bushnell Elite 6500

Product Specs

Manufacturer:
Bushnell

Type:
Rifle Scope

Reticle:
Mil-dot

Optics:
4.5-30 x 50

Product Features

No Questions Asked Lifetime Warranty.

Extended Adjustment Range

100% Waterproof / Shockproof / Fogproof

Features

  • 6.5x Power Ratio
  • 30mm 1-Piece Tube
  • Side Parallax
  • Push/Pull Turrets
  • 100% Waterproof / Shockproof / Fogproof
  • Dry Nitrogen Filled
  • Extended Adjustment Range
  • Covered by Bushnell’s No Questions Asked Lifetime Warranty.

Pros

  • Rainguard HD
  • Extended Eye relief
  • Fully Multi-coated optics
  • Magnification & Versatility
  • Mil-dot
  • Strength (Hammer forged and anodized aluminum body)
  • Side Focus for parallax correction
  • Dry-nitrogen filling
  • ¼ M.O.A. windage and elevation adjustments
  • Bullet-Proof Warranty
  • Aesthetics

Cons

  • The larger components and extra lens make the 6500 a bit more heavy. It weighs 17.3 ounces, 1.3 ounces more than needed.
  • The presence of an additional lens is indeed good for optics, but mathematically speaking, it decreases light transmission given lens quality, coatings and all other factors remain unchanged.
  • Due to the extra 3.9 inches of extended eye-relief, the 6500’s field of view is compromised by almost one and half foot.

Rainguard  

The Rainguard is one of the most salient features of Bushnell Elite 6500. The Rainguard is essentially a water-repellent lens coating which helps prevents the scope’s vision to get foggy during rain, sleet, snow or even your own breath.

This may seem ordinary for the inexperienced. If you have ever had the chance of going shooting uphill during the wet winter days, you might have experienced your scope getting blurry as a result of your breathing.

Wet winter weather messes up most optical devices but with the Elite 6500 you don’t have to worry about that anymore. In addition, this scope is waterproof as well.

Extended Eye-relief

The Elite 6500 incorporates a rubber eye piece, which is perhaps one of the most epic features that this scope offers. Setting up your eyes in line with the scope is entirely fuss free because the Bushnell Elite 6500 has an extended eye relief.

It functions not only to protect the user from recoil, but also to provide more room for unwanted light to stray into the scope’s rear and help you get a clearer vision through the scope.

Fully Multi-coated optics & Dry Nitrogen

The purpose of multi-coating in this scope’s optics is to cut down the glare and increase light transmission. The Elite 6500 comprises of multiple microscopic film coatings made up of magnesium fluoride. This helps maximize light transmission of the scope.

The scope contains dry nitrogen so that all the moisture present inside the scope is removed during the product’s assembly. The assembly is then sealed using O-rings in order to seal the internal parts of the scope from outside contaminants.

Magnification and Versatility

The Elite 6500 is an extremely versatile scope and can be used in a variety of circumstances. This is mainly because of its variable power range of 6.5X. In other words, this scope’s magnification can be adjusted by + or – 6.5 times its lowest or highest setting.

To give you an example, the Elite 6500 has a low setting of 2.5X. Therefore, the scope will be able to magnify up to 6.5 times of 2.5, which makes it 16.25X. Now even though you will seldom find yourself under circumstances where you need a 16.25X zoom, it is better to have it.

Accommodating both low and high magnification ranges, Bushnell Elite 6500 is the perfect candidate for being used in diverse scenarios and is easily a good all-rounder.

Mil-Dot & DOA

The Elite 6500 has a mil dot reticle that sits in the second focal plane so that it remains constant at any magnification setting. The mil dot reticle has a clean and crisp view which helps in effectively acquiring the target and even adjust the trajectory at various distances.

This is further bolstered by the fact the the Bushnell Elite 6500’s optics are so remarkable that no compromise has been necessary on the lens size – the 42mm objective lens not only maintains a low profile for the scope but also helps minimize loss of contrast from reflective surfaces. The DOA (Dead on accurate) reticle tops it all.

It consists of standard crosshairs with four horizontal wires and center dots below the crosshairs intersection, which essentially define the aiming points as shown in the diagram.

Strength

One of the most important strong suits of the Bushnell Elite 6500 is its strength, rigidity and durability. Hammer forged and anodized aluminum body makes this scope very rigid. Moreover, its durable cam tube that connects to the internal lenses and reticle allows the Elite 6500 to be shock-proof and magnum recoil-proof.

The tube is 30mm in length. It allows for more internal space and a wider range of adjustments as per the user, and brightens the image at the eyepiece.

Side Focus & Rangefinding

For a good sharp focus coupled with accuracy at all distances, parallax adjustment is crucial.

The Bushnell Elite 6500 incorporates a side focus feature which is extremely important when it comes to shooting long range targets. The side focus allows for a parallax adjustment starting from 25 yards all the way to infinity.

Similar to how smoothly the magnification ring functions, the focusing adjustment is equally smooth throughout its travel and does not have any flexes or play. Shooting within the range of 25 yards is easy enough for the Elite 6500 too.

Using lower magnification gives a clear enough picture, an outcome which is no different if one uses a low-powered fixed parallax scope. The side-adjustment feature makes it much easier for you to adjust your accuracy while you are in shooting position. This feature triumphs over most objective-bell-located designs

M.O.A windage

The ¼ M.O.A elevation and windage adjustments are repeatable, precise and even audible when in use. The finger tips work just fine without the need of any tools. Moreover, cap scales can be resetted to zero using a hex wrench that comes with the scope. This feature is complementary to the Mil-Dot reticle which helps in field adjustment.

The turrets contain a disengaging gear through which the reticle can be zeroed. Adjusting the magnification and eyepiece setting takes only a quick while. It is more like a stay-put kind of adjustment and very user-friendly. Moreover, the push/pull turrets of this scope feature a resettable zero. This makes sighting-in highly convenient and easier than ever.

The extended 50 inches of elevation adjustment and windage travel with 0.25” at 100 yards clicks make this scope greatly beneficial for hunters who shoot at wide ranges and distances that vary greatly.

Warranty

The Bushnell Elite 6500 comes with a bullet-proof warranty and “No questions asked”, one-year replacement within the United States only. This shows the manufacturer’s commitment to its customers and highlighting the company’s confidence of its product in terms of high quality and good performance.

The warranty is a big promise on behalf of Bushnell that it will satisfy your customer experience by repairing or replacing your product and ship it back to you at no charge at all.

Aesthetics

Lastly, apart from performance, aesthetics also play a vital role determining whether customers will purchase a product or not. The Elite 6500 has an impressively lean and symmetrical shape.

By looks, it seems like some hi-tech scope given the knobs in the center unlike other scopes. But more importantly, this product has good color, a nice finish, a physically proportionate shape and let’s not forget, clean indexing.

Alternatives for Bushnell Elite 6500

1) Nikon M-223

NIKON M-223The Nikon M-223 is another moderate range scope. It is designed to easily capture and engage targets that are 600 meters. This is more easy because the optic is designed in a way that it has a bullet drop compensator out to 600 yards.

The BDC places hash marks along the 600 yard distance and then automatically does the elevation compensation for you. The M-223 is specifically designed for .223 and 5.56mm rounds which are not only  lighter but also among the most popular in terms of caliber in the AR series of rifles.

2) Leupold VX-3

Leupold VX-3When it comes to LER (long eye relief), there is no scope that comes even close to the Leupold VX-3. It has a 2.5x – 8x magnification power coupled with a rifle sized 32mm objective lens.

Leupold’s quality hardly needs an introduction. If you think that Bushnell Elite 6500’s 4.0-inches eye relief won’t be enough for you, you definitely want to check out the Leupold VX-3. This beauty offers 15 inches of eye relief and comes with a lifetime warranty.

This product is ideal when used for hunting, target shooting, or simply as a scout rifle to stick it behind your truck’s seat. Generations of trusted high-quality and performance-oriented manufacturing make the VX-3 the first and last LER scope you will ever need.

Final Thoughts

Undoubtedly, the Bushnell Elite 6500 provides the greatest magnification range which is why the shooter can never complain that he was stuck with too low of a maximum magnification or too high of the minimum magnification.

If you are a hunter who likes to keep his options open regarding scopes, Elite 6500’s accuracy and extended range capabilities perfectly suit your needs. In terms of versatility, the Bushnell Elite 6500 wins by a landslide! In terms of field-of-view, the Elite 6500 faces a slight drawback as compared to its Leupold rival only because it tops out at 25x magnification.

The image quality, compactness and light weightedness, user-friendliness and not to forget the extended eye relief are some of the unique features of the Bushnell Elite 6500. Spending on this product is not an insignificant expenditure. However, if you want a one-scope-army to cater to all your needs, the Elite 6500 returns more excellent value to your investment.

If you like this review, and want to see more Rifle Scope reviews, visit our resource page.

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