Bushnell has a long and admirable history making high quality riflescopes and other sports optics. Their Elite line derived from the earlier excellent Bausch & Lomb range are among the brightest, sharpest rifle optics available from any source. Once well known for its innovative holographic electronic Holosight, Tasco is now offering a line of seven red-dot sights made in Japan to Bushnell specifications that offer maximum speed of target acquisition and accurate bullet placement in both high and low light conditions. Typical of these is the 1x28mm Red-Dot sight with a 4-dial-in electronic reticle, a green dot for low light and a red dot for bright light and adjustment for image contrast improvement.
Outwardly, the 1×28 Trophy resembles some other brands of red-dot sights, but offers several features not found in other red-dot sights. It is built on a one-piece, machined aluminium body tube with a large longitudinal control saddle onto which the adjustment turrets, reticle selector, reticle intensity switch/battery compartment and power switch are all mounted. The 30mm ocular and objective come with a pair of vertically split scope rings with integral claws that fit Weaver-style rails or bases. The ocular is rubber-buffered but it’s hardly necessary to cushion the shooter’s eyebrow in those instances where the sight is mounted conventionally, because eye relief is unlimited, allowing the 1×28 Trophy to be used on handguns, shotguns or Scout-style rifles. It can be either mounted to the rear or farther froward on a Picatinny rail like the one on Ruger’s Gunsite Scout.
The Trophy’s main power switch which is on the left rear of the turret, is marked “F”, “O” and “A” indicated off, on and automatic settings, respectively. The final setting indicates the Trophy’s most distinctive feature – an automatic power shut- off activated when the knob is rotated greater than 45 degrees on its axis for more than 5 seconds. The power knob also allows the choice of red or green reticles – a 3 MoA or 10 MoA dot, crosswires or a 65 MoA Red Circle with 3-minute red dot in the centre. This “donut”- style reticle probably works best on a shotgun where you can use it to centre a flying bird.
A 25mm diameter rotary reticle intensity switch at the top front of the turret has a rubbery non-slip ribbed rim and offers 12 heavily indented settings marked legibly in white: “0” (off) and 1 through 11 in ascending order of dot brightness. The switch controls reticle brightness and turns clockwise or counterclockwise through “O” to any setting. Having no mechanical stops it can be rotated in both directions to any setting, so there’s no need to go the long way around. A battery compartment holding a 3-volt CR2032 Lithium battery is housed inside the switch and is replaced by screwing off the knurled, coin-slotted top cover.
The elevation knob is on top of the saddle and like the windage knob at the rear of the saddle’s right side, bears against a rubber gasket. They are adjusted by removing the cap and using a 5-cent coin.
For testing I mounted the 1×28 Trophy on a Marlin lever- action .30-30 equipped with a Weaver-style rail. Once in place, operation was simple. Turn the main power switch to “O” or “A”, select the desired colour of reticle – green or red – to suit ambient light conditions and simply look at the target whilst swinging the gun up to the firing position. Immediately centre the dot with both eyes open, dab it onto the target and fire. Hunting pigs in lignum or deer in brush is where this kind of quick, instinctive shooting really pays off.
After I got the 1×28 Trophy sighted in to point of aim at 50 metres, I shot it off the bench at 100 metres for accuracy using a Birchwood-Casey Shoot.N.See Target with large 300mm black bullseye that was easy to aim at even with the 3-minute red dot. Spacing of the shots showed that click values actually were 1/2- minute. The click indents are easy to feel and the dials are marked to indicate direction of group shift. Tiny scale calibrations are unnumbered, so note how many clicks you’ve gone in whatever direction when temporarily departing from a zero to which you wish to return.
The target has a 75mm X-ring and 170mm 10 ring. The first shot landed in the X-ring and the next three were all in the 10 ring. Next I fired rapid shot strings at 25 and 50 metres offhand and found that the Trophy allowed quick target acquisition and excellent big-game accuracy.
On guns meant for sights, red dots speed up the shot. They’re faster than iron sights because you just slap the dot on the target. They’re faster than any scope because eye relief is less critical and the dot stands out against cluttered backgrounds. Though reticle subtension limits their utility at long range, 3- minute reticles with no magnification make sense for big game out to 150 metres,
Optically, the 1×28 Trophy was excellent. We detected no distortion in the viewing field and target detail showed clearly and distinctly. The overall image was suprisingly bright for a red dot even in bright sunlight. Effective anti-reflection lense coating prevented image degradation in high-glare shooting locales. Dot brightness was exceptional. The tiny dot was sharply defined and encourages precise bullet placement. There was no detectable parallax and eye relief is unlimited.
Summing up: the Bushnell 1×28 Trophy offers features not found on some other red dot sights at a price which places it well below those carrying a “Tactical” label. For the hunter looking for a red-dot sight with two-colour selectable reticles and a battery-saving automatic shutoff feature, the Trophy is one I am able to recommend without reservation.
This article was first published in Sporting Shooter Magazine May 2013.