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AR15 Mounts and Optics: Bushnell TRS-25 review

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Bushnell TRS-25 review

I mentioned in another post that I ended up picking up a Bushnell TRS-25 "ultra compact red dot" sight. I happened to be at Gander Mountain and these were on sale at $79.99 after a $10 rebate. I liked the brightness and crispness of the dot and the other stats on the box. The price didn't seem too bad either, so I picked one up.

Stats on the box:
3MOA dot
3000 hour battery life
Waterproof to 10 feet
11 position rheostat.
Shotgun, Pistol, Rifle use.
2 year warranty

Here's what you get in the package: The sight, the manual, an allen wrench, and a lens cloth and rubber lens covers. It also comes with a battery installed.

The package:

I read some reviews of this sight where people complained about the rheostat switch being too stiff. In my opinion it is a bit stiff, but It also has good positive indexing at each setting, and I personally like that over a sloppy loose switch. The markings are all clear as well.
It also has windage and elevation adjustment covers. You can see that the battery compartment, and the adjustment covers also have rubber o-rings installed.

The dot is actually pretty crisp, but I have read reviews of folks complaining about starburst effect, or weird shaped dots. Physiologically the human eye does not resolve a bright point of 3 moa or less very well, and this is also made worse if someone has astigmatism. Aimpoint has actually made comment about that fact with regard to their own sights with smaller dots. At any rate this one seems pretty good.

Here, I stuck the sight up to my camera lens and pointed it at the fence outside. It's pretty overcast and rainy today, but there is some definite blue tint to the front lens, to help make the dot more perceptable, and help reflect it back to the eye. Not the worst tint I've seen, and not the best. Pretty close to the same hue I have seen through an Aimpoint Micro H1. This is set on power level 4 for the picture, the overcast day made it visible at that level. I tried taking a picture like this with the sight cranked up to 11, but the camera automatically dimmed everything, so I'm not sure how well this picture conveys that the dot is definitely bright enough to see well in daylight.

Now, about mounting this thing. It comes ready to mount to a Picatinny or Weaver rail, with the included allen wrench. There are no other risers included with the sight to help co-witness on an AR or other platform. There are also no screw holes in the bottom of the sight to allow attachment to any of the existing risers, such as those made for the Aimpoint, or Primary Arms sights. (Here, I think Bushnell is missing out on an opportunity to market these to more AR/AK fans.) It does not allow for a quick detach option directly. There are few options for getting a quick detach base, or a riser for this sight. American Defense manufacturing offers a pretty expensive quick detatch riser, rail section for about $90 (Yeah, more than the sight cost). YHM makes risers that attatch with two Allen head bolts for about $25, then Leapers/UTG offers three different height risers that attach with a thumb nut for $8-12, and they offer a quick detach rail section for about $13. (Yep, I know Chinese Airsoft stuff, but reviews on Optics planet and youtube have been pretty favorable. And the sight is made in China to begin with. I'll expect a "Chinese junk" debate to completely sidetrack this review.)

Now you lever gun purists may want to look away from here on in the post, because I bought this to try as a inexpensive option for making my Multi-purpose Marlin 336...well... more multipurpose, and without dropping a lot of coin on a sight and then deciding I really didn't like it. The concept of this rifle is to have optional sights quickly available for different tasks. (A brief digression to explain the concept of this rifle in my mind: I want a red dot for brush hunting deer or piggies, and just for the quick targeting at the range some times. Then a set of good irons to fall back on and keep the rifle handy when I want to keep it simple, and a scope platform to help extend the range a bit and help me at the bench when I'm evaluating different loads and handloads for true accuracy potential. Eventually a XS Leverrail and Ghost Ring sight set will be purchased.) For now I mounted it on the Weaver base that I already had just to see how I like the sight in gerneral, and use it as a mock up. It is compact, low to the bore, does not add a lot of weight (about 4 oz) and doesn't clutter up the rifle too much (Though it doesn't look very John Wayne either). Now it just needs to be ready to detach quickly in the event of a failure. You can also see here that the red coating of the front lens is pretty bright , and there are no threads in front of the lens to allow for a kill-flash or hood.

Here's the side view, you can see that the rubber bikini covers can be pulled down and turned so they are out of the way,but still not likely to get lost. (This was another complaint I saw posted in a review, about not having any place to put the lens covers, while the manual tells you to pull them down like this to retain them. Guess some folks don't read the manuals.)

So far, I have not had a chance to take it to the range, but my observations to date are:

-Light weight
-Seems durable
-Ready to go out of the package
-Decent battery life (about 170+ days, not the same as the years an Aimpoint will do, but it's not $500 either)
-Definitely a daytime bright dot
-uses a common battery.
-Not a bad price point

-Limited mounting options(I do like that it mounts low for my intended application, but I think Bushnell is still missing an opportunity here).
-Lenses are kind of exposed, and there is no provision for a killflash or a hood to limit glare toward the target.

I hae also read some otehr crazy reviews of this product where people complained about the switch tension, or that the front lense was installed at an angle instead of perfectly squared (one guy sent his back). The front lens has to be tilted to get the appropriate angle of reflection to center the dot. Other people complained because when they looked really hard they could see the glue at the seams of the glass and the sight body. This is an epoxy that helps seal the body and make it waterproof.

I look forward to trying this sight out and keeping y'all posted.

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    02/25/2013 11:04 PM


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