December 11, 2019
Interest in long-range shooting is growing, and the Burris XTR III 3.3-18x50 scope offers all the features that dedicated competition shooters demand at a lower price than comparable optics in this class.
Built in Greeley, Colorado, the XTR III features a 34mm main tube, increased tube strength and up to 35 MIL / 120 MOA of elevation adjustment, which is enough to take the popular 6.5 Creedmoor out past one mile. And with an overall length of just 13.3 inches and a weight of 29.8 ounces, the Burris XTR III is one of the lightest and most compact scopes in this class.
PRS and NRL shooters are among the most demanding shooters and rely on their equipment to make precise corrections at great distances. Burris built the XTR III to provide the highest optical performance possible, and that begins with premium glass. Precision-ground lenses and best-in-class Index-Matched, Hi-Lume lens coatings provide a crisp image and gather plenty of light without distortion. Additionally, the XTR III’s fogproof/waterproof design offers peace of mind when shooting in the worst possible conditions. No matter the weather, the Burris XTR III will perform.
Burris offers three different Special Competition Reticle (SCR) options for the XTR III including the SCR MOA, SCR MIL, and the new SCR 2 MIL, available with or without illumination. My test scope came with Burris’s new-for-2019 SCR 2 MIL reticle, which is popular with competitive long-range shooters. The “Christmas tree” layout and front (first) focal plane configuration of the XTR III with SCR 2 MIL make ranging and shot tracking fast and easy.
Designed with input from professional shooters, the SCR 2 MIL reticle combines functionality with an unobstructed sight picture; this allows you to get on target faster. The 0.2 mrad graduations make this scope compatible with any rifle cartridge/caliber at most any range, and references within the scope offer precise holdover and windage adjustments for faster follow-up shots. The simple layout also makes it much simpler to make rapid adjustments to point of impact when working with a spotter.
The XTR III comes with Burris’s new “dragon scale” knurled turrets, which are aggressive and easy to manipulate, even while wearing gloves or in wet weather. This allows the shooter to make fast, precise point-of-impact or magnification adjustments, a feature serious shooters demand.
The elevation turret is easy to read with your head on the rifle, and that makes it simple to adjust without breaking your cheek weld on the gun. Large, white hashes and numbers allow the shooter to quickly identify the scope’s setting, and the Zero Click Stop feature prevents the shooter from accidentally over rotating when returning to zero. Because the scope’s optical center is set 20 MOA below center shooters without tapered bases may find that the rifle’s point of impact is too high. Burris offers a simple solution to the problem though; by loosening the screws on the turret with the provided 2mm hex wrench, you can raise the elevation turret until the base aligns with the second rotational hash mark. You can then rotate the knob clockwise slightly more than the number of MILs (or MOA) required to zero the rifle. Afterwards, tighten the adjustment screws and you have enough downward adjustment to reach zero. Then you simply reset the turret and you’re ready to shoot. Burris offers the option of a race dial for the XTR III which comes with a ¾-inch surface with powder coat finish for making custom competition dials, too.
Burris ships each XTR III rifle scope with their Modular Adjustment Style (MAD) system that allows you to select between a traditional capped or exposed competition-style windage knob. Regardless of which you prefer, both knobs offer 16 MIL / 55 MOA (total capability) of windage adjustment. Like the elevation turret, the MAD knobs are held in place via set screws that can be loosened using the provided hex wrench and set to zero for maximum adjustment range.
With premium glass, superb build quality and a long list of class-leading features that long-range shooters demand, you might expect that the Burris XTR III to carry a high price tag. But, with an MSRP of $2,039, it offers not only some of the best features, but also the best cost of ownership in this optic segment. Its long list of premium features and low cost of ownership make the XTR III one of the best rifle-scope values on the market today.
Burris XTR III on the Range
I mounted the Burris XTR III 3.3-18x50 to my AR using XTR Signature Rings, which come with 5-40 MOA customizable cant for improved versatility. They’re also some of the beefiest rings available with six top screws per ring and solid steel dual screw base clamps, so there were no worries about the scope working loose or a wandering POI.
The eyepiece focus is easy to adjust and side parallax/focus adjustment ranges from 25 yards to infinity. Once I had the rifle zeroed, I could turn the elevation dial down and the Zero Click Stop feature made it easy to instantly return to my pre-set zero without the unnecessary hassle of counting clicks or reading hash marks. What’s more, the XTR III’s adjustment clicks are easy to feel and hear. Being able to quickly reference elevation (and windage with the exposed dial) without breaking position is a great benefit.
The shooting session lasted for about three hours and included lighting conditions from full sun to dim evening light, but the XTR III’s Index-Matched, Hi-Lume multi-coated lenses provided a clear sight picture with edge-to-edge clarity regardless of external conditions. When you’re shooting long-range, either recreationally or in competition, you need to know that your scope is going to provide a clear sight picture and the Burris lenses do just that.
The SCR 2 Mil reticle is easily one of the best long-range, FFP reticle options on the market today. It provides a clear, unobstructed sight picture that allows you to locate targets quickly. When you’re ready to make adjustments for the shot, you have some of the most sophisticated features available in a long-range scope in the XTR III.
The SCR 2 MIL reticle was designed by shooters and it shows. Easy-to-read MIL graduations allow you to reference the reticle as needed to make on the fly adjustments, and it also allows for accurate ranging. The XTR III offers a generous 3.5-4 inches of eye relief, and field of view at 100 yards ranges from 37.5 feet (3.3x) to 6.8 feet (18x). Each Burris XTR III comes with push-button, flip-up caps and a sunshade.
It’s impossible to unlock the accuracy potential of even the finest long-range rifles without an optic that tracks properly, and the XTR III does just that. Using a modified box test technique, I evaluated the XTR III’s tracking ability at 100 yards. The results, shown below, demonstrate that both the windage and elevation adjustments track properly, and the rifle returned to zero. Not all scopes (not even all expensive long-range scopes) perform well in this evaluation, but the XTR III’s results speak to the quality of the scope’s construction. The Burris tracks on-par with some of the best scopes on the market, many of which cost thousands more. And since the XTR III is lightweight and compact it doubles as a functional hunting scope.
To routinely hit targets at long ranges, you must have high-quality gear. The American-made Burris XTR III scope is not only well-built but it’s also affordably-priced, and that makes it a must-have for anyone looking to go the distance.
Burris XTR III 3.3-18x50 Specs
- Main Tube Diameter: 34 mm
- Reticle(s): SCR MOA, SCR MIL, SCR 2 MIL
- Focal Plane: Front (First, FFP)
- Knob Style: MAD Knobs
- Click Value: 1/10 MIL, ¼ MOA
- Elevation Adjustment, Total Capability: 35 MIL/120 MOA
- Windage Adjustment, Total Capability: 16 MIL/55 MOA
- FOV at 100 yds: 37.7-6.8 ft
- Eye Relief: 3.25-4 in
- Finish: Matte black
- Length: 13.3 in
- Weight: 29.8 oz
- Illumination: Optional
- MSRP: $2,039 and up
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