Crimson Trace Brushline 3-4x40 BDC rifle scope

Review: Crimson Trace Brushline 3-9×40 BDC rifle scope

Brushline scopes are Crimson Trace’s entry-level range and the 3-9×40 is about as entry-level as they come at around $300 or less but what you get is more than that description implies. 

Sophisticated hunting optics are commensurately high priced but Crimson Trace sells incredibly advanced scopes for what most shooters would consider to be affordable prices.

Crimson Trace may be based in the US, but its scopes are made in the Phillipines using premium components. Let’s get that established right up front. 

Purely from a quality standpoint, the best riflescopes and binoculars coming out of Asia today are superb, the equal of most good American brands and surpassed only by the most prestigious European optics. I’ll reiterate “the best”, since the cheapest Asian scopes are still as bad as ever.

There are two models of Crimson Trace’s Brushline 3-9×40, one for centrefire rifles and one for rimfires; this review is about the former. 

It has a one-piece tube of aerospace-grade aluminium and a non-reflective anodised finish.

Crimson Trace chose to use a second-plane bullet drop compensation (BDC) reticle with three open diamonds in lieu of hash lines in this scope series to compensate for the trajectory of a specific cartridge and load. 

Crimson Trace BDC reticle
The Brushline’s BDC reticle has a number of marks for estimating trajectory

In this case, it’s the .308 Win 150gn bullet with a BC of .415 at a muzzle velocity of 2820fps, which I couldn’t duplicate. Instead of a .308, the scope was attached to a Mauser M18 in 6.5 PRC.

The 3-9×40 has ¼-MOA clicks instead of ¼-inch clicks and a proprietary system called CT Custom BDC. You can see a guide to this particular reticle here.

There’s only a small difference between MOA and inches but it introduces a five-percent error, since 1 MOA is equal to 1.047 inches, which might come into the equation for very long shots. As an aside, also be aware that Mdot and Mrad are not the same either, producing a 1.8-percent error if used interchangeably.

Yardages are calculated from three points on each diamond in the reticle — top, centre and bottom — which gives you 10 different aiming points and drop figures ranging from 100 to 500yd from a 100yd zero.

Adjustment turrets centrally positioned on the main tube have 5cm mounting distance at front and rear, which allows enough fore and aft latitude to work with just about any rifle/mount combination.

Specs of the scope are: length 31cm (12.3”); tube diameter 1”; weight 400g (14.1oz); and there’s 95 MOA of windage and elevation adjustment. Field of view shrinks inversely from 10.3m (33.9ft) at 3x to 3.4m (11.3ft) at 9x.

Crimson Trace didn’t skimp on glass or construction. The lenses are fully green multi-coated and nestled in a one-piece aluminium tube with matte anodised finish. 

I have one minor gripe: the scope doesn’t have a fast-focus European-style eyepiece; you have to rotate the entire ocular eyepiece and then tighten a lock ring to hold the setting.

This unassuming 3-9×40 is bargain-priced at about $300.

Crimson Trace is distributed in Australia by Outdoor Sporting Agencies.




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Nick Harvey

The late Nick Harvey (1931-2024) was one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable gun writers, a true legend of the business. He wrote about firearms and hunting for about 70 years, published many books and uncounted articles, and travelled the world to hunt and shoot. His reloading manuals are highly sought after, and his knowledge of the subject was unmatched. He was Sporting Shooter's Technical Editor for almost 50 years. His work lives on here as part of his legacy to us all.