Those familiar with the Burris Eliminator series, esp. the III, may have the impression it's huge - it really isn't. It isn't small but it's not that much bigger than some conventional scopes of the same magnification. Mine is the 3-12x44, not the 4-16x50 - more about that shortly. Here is the Eliminator III beside a Vortex Crossfire 3-12x50mm. As you look at the pics consider that many scopes have a 30mm tube vs the 1" Crossfire. The Eliminator III is about one inch longer than the Crossfire. Clearly it is bulkier in girth, but that seems to have little impact on anything other than looks.

How about weight? Well, Burris lists the Eliminator III at 26 oz, but that includes the base and one CR123A battery. I should have weighed it before I mounted it and zeroed it but I didn't . In comparison, the Vortex Crossfire 4-12x50, a conventional scope, (the only choices are 40mm and 50mm, the Eliminator III is 44mm) lists right at 21 oz. Both have adjustable objectives. So the Eliminator III weighs about 5 ounces more than the Crossfire, that's not huge either.

But what do you get for five more ounces and one inch longer? Incredibility! I was prepared for a disappointing experience; I perceived this to be more of a long range scope. After shooting it mounted on my Diamondback AR15, I have completely changed my mind. I'll get to the shooting pic shortly, but first, the features of the Eliminator III.

First is is a laser ranging scope, but it doesn't stop there. Not only does it range, it sets the aiming 'dot' (a small red dot) on the vertical axis that shows you holdover at any range from 50 yards to 750 for your specific load. It couldn't be simpler, press the button to range, put the red dot on where you want the bullet to go and well you know what to do from there!

I programmed the scope, easily I might add, to a Federal American Eagle 62 gr bullet. Although there are some 4,000 loads available, a Federal XM855 that I would be shooting was not listed, but it had very similar ballistics to the American Eagle so I used that one. You can 'roll' your own and program that in. Unfortunately, the surest way to program your own load is to zero for 100 yards and measure the drop at 750 yards! There are several other ways but that's claimed to be the surest. Not for me, I don't have any 750 yard ranges available.

I know what you're thinking, when the battery goes, you're done - not so! This thing has an etched glass, nice mildot reticle. Beyond just mildots on the vertical and horizontal, the EIII has windage and elevation dots. You could easily use this as a scope without every turning the ranging laser on. You could easily range a target with the reticle. Although a bit odd, it has a mildot reticle and an 1/8" per click turret! You read that right - 18" per click.

Some opine this is an awkward combination, but it really isn't. I think it's the best of both worlds - milrad for ranging and 1/8" clicks for adjusting. Why is that advantageous? I'm glad you asked! You range a target to get bullet drop, right? What other reason could there be for ranging a target. But that begs the question why do I think milrads is better for ranging than MOA? It's because of the formula you use to determine range. If you estimate your target size in yards and you get the mildots the target covers, the formula for range is:

Range = 1000 * target size in yds / milrads

While target size divided by milrads is not easy, multiplying by 1000 is. In comparison, if you measure with MOAs and inches the formula is:

Range = 95.5 * target size in inches / MOA

Some will say I just use 100 in place of the 95.5. Well, that introduces about a 5% error, not like there isn't enough error already in estimating the target size. Beyond about 200 yards that 5% error makes a big difference in bullet impact. This is well explained in this video from Vortex:

Anyway that's why I think mildots are better for range estimation - the formula is easier to use. Of course if you use a table, it doesn't make much difference which angular measurement you use.

So if the scope is in mildots, why not have a turret in mildots? Well because what we're after is adjusting the scope for bullet drop, if we use that method. So is it easier to adjust for a 4" drop in 1/8" or 1/4" per click or 0.1 milli-radians per click? Again though, if you have a table to tell you what clicks to make in mildots or inches it's of little consequence. Although, if you have inches of drop and inches on the turret it can be quite simple.

The scope is clear, sharp, and bright - it has good optics. I mentioned earlier that this was the 3-12x44, not the 4-16x50. The 3-12x44 is my preference. If you look at scope magnification and optics, you will find there is a relationship between exit pupil, objective lens size, and magnification. That's important because when the exit pupil gets too small, it makes the scope harder to use; you have to really get your eye lined up with the axis of the scope. The formula that calculates exit pupil is simple and is:

Exit pupil = objective lens diameter / magnification

Sooooo, a 50mm scope with a 16x magnification has an exit pupil of 3.125 mm. The 44mm scope with a 12x magnification has an exit pupil of 3.67mm, making it a bit easier to use at max power. Plus, as the magnification goes up, the field of view goes down, and more importantly, the 44mm is a bit smaller and you can do some pretty accurate shooting with 12x at some pretty long ranges. Speaking of shooting...

So off I go to the range with some apprehension that I may just have an expensive toy that might not live up to expectations - make that hope! I bore sighted at 50 yards and wound up right on horizontally and about 3 inches high. I made the adjustments and was quickly zeroed at 50 yds. I decided to have some fun before I moved to 100 yds for the final zero.

As I shot, I began to notice my groups opening up. My first thought was, I knew it, this thing is working right. I checked the scope bases and they were tight, and then I checked the 1/2" risers and they had worked loose. I tightened them and had to re-zero and from that point forward, I kept a close eye on them. The risers did not come with the scope, so it wasn't a Burris problem.

So continuing the fun, once again I notice the groups spreading and drifting low and right. Now what? Well, I paused to ponder the problem, everything was tight, could my scope just not be holding zero. Well I tried it again and it was back on target, then as I continued to shoot, it drifted again. I finally realized it was the barrel heating up.

I moved the target to 100 yards, meticulously zeroed it at 100 yds since that's the reference point and shot very slowly and got no drift. That was all without the electronics turned on. So off to the 200 yard range to see if it would actually range and indicate the proper bullet drop at 200. Bear in mind, I ranged with the built in laser, put the red dot on the bullseye and squeezed.

The upper target is the 200 yard target. It's kind of hard to see, but that's three out of six shots in the quarter sized bullseye! Two are touching and the third very close to them. On to 300 yards...

The bottom target is 300 yards. Let's be clear up front, I'm not saying a conventional scope couldn't do this, it can. But, with the EIII all you do is range and put the red dot on the target - it's literally that easy.

You can see four shots inside the inner green circle. The one at the top and one wide at about 5:00 and the third low at about 6:00 were my first three shots. Then I realized at 300 yards, I needed to pay more attention to everything - that's when I started getting the center hits. All those low and right shots - I believe they are barrel heating drift. I let the barrel cool and started shooting rocks at 300 yards pretty easily. And to me, the rock shooting was the more impressive part of the whole day.

These are the small, crumbly type rocks that pretty much just burst apart when hit; you couldn't ask for much better, and they were waaaay down on the backstop so there was no danger of a ricochet going anywhere. However, the rocks were a good 30 yards behind the targets so I was hitting these roughly 3-4 inch rocks at 330 yards by just ranging, 'dotting', and pulling the trigger.

Then I went back to the 100 yard range to see if I'm still on zero. Here's the result:

I used the electronics on both. The bottom target is at 50 yards and it's a bit smaller than a 1 MOA group. Remember, this is a Diamondback AR15 and I'm shooting Federal XM855 rounds. But this particular Diamondback has always been accurate.

The upper target is at 100 yards, it's right at a 1 MOA. Then came the rock shooting again. There's a big hill behind the targets where some grading has been done and it exposed some of those sand rocks. They ranged from 170 to 181 yards away. I picked one out, ranged, dotted, and shot - they typically exploded. I missed some of course but I hit most of them. I had to load one round at a time and I let the barrel cool some between shots and it stayed right on!

Just to take advantage of the mildot reticle, I decided to estimate the size of the rocks by re-arranging the range formula to solve for target size:

Target size in yards = mildots * range / 1000

The target measured almost exactly 1/2 milli-radian so the rock size was

size = .5 * 180 yds / 1000 = 0.09 yards

Well, I wanted the target size in inches so,

36 inches * 0.09 yds = 3.24 inches!

Right now, I love this scope. That could change with use; time will tell. The size and weight isn't an issue for me so far. I plan to add some correction to the bullet parameters to get it a bit closer - although on second thought - it's pretty close as it is.

I will be using this scope to hunt coyotes with. Not sure what rifle yet, but my DB AR15 is good to 330 yards at least - that should be enough!