Bushnell Elite DMR 3.5-21 FFP Precision Optic

DMack Gear Reviews, Uncategorized 2 Comments

Hello everyone… I would like to speak a little about the Bushnell Elite DMR that I have been beating the snot out of for some time now. A while ago, I was offered an oportunity to really run the new 3.5-21 DMR from Bushnell, and must say… I was skeptical at first.

As we all know, namesake is EVERYTHING in this community. I have owned Bushnell products over the years, and have always thought of them as “hunting” optics. So, going into this testing phase, I viewed it with that “slanted” perspective.

When the optic arrived at my house, I first noticed the packaging. The box that it came in was visually stunning, and well made. The optic arrived without any damage what so ever. Once I opened the box, I was immediately impressed with this optic. It is built like a tank! The knobs are large, and have the traditional Bushnell Elite “Tactical” feel, but are twice the size of the other knobs I have used from Bushnell products in the past. I also noticed that the optic has locking turrets. You have to pull up on the elevation knob (out on the windage knob) to make changes to the optic. This is a very nice feature, and is intuitive to the shooter.

The knobs can be zeroed easily in the field, by using a coin in the slot… you can also use a case rim if you don’t have a coin. They are scalloped out for this reason.

The clicks are very obvious when you make adjustments… which is important in a precision optic. The shooter can make changes and know where he / she is in the adjustment range without looking at the knob. The clicks are also very perceptible even when wearing gloves.

The parallax adjustment is on the left side of the optic, and is easily adjusted. The parallax adjustment also has quick reference marks (in yards) to give the shooter the ability to get it adjusted quickly.

As you can see in this picture, the “hash” marks were not totally lined up on the elevation turret, which was no big deal. This actually gave me a chance to make the necessary adjustment. I called Bushnell, and explained this, and the Customer Service Rep walked me through the process of resetting the hash marks.

Using a quarter, I removed the silver retainer, and noticed a very nice O-Ring seal. I then lifted the elevation knob off, and saw the inner workings of the turret.

The inner turret mechanism is made out of aluminum, with a nice interface of fine “cogs”. The turret was very easy to calibrate, and the hash marks lined up perfectly.

Once I was satisfied with the turret knob calibration, I took the optic outside and gave it a good dunk test.

I left it submerged for several hours… to see if it would leak at all. Bushnell says that it is waterproof, so I decided to find out. I can not in my good conscience, endorse a product that will fail in normal operational boundaries. It is highly feasible that the shooter would have to get his / her rifle wet. I know I swim with mine all the time, during waterborne operations.

I am happy to say, this Bushnell DMR passed with flying colors. No leakage, no fogging, just clarity.

I grabbed my Bushnell Elite 2.5-16 optic for size comparison…


2.5-16 on top, 3.5-21 on the bottom
Knob size… 2.5-16 on left, 3.5-21 on right

As you can see, there is a remarkable difference with this optic, as opposed to the other Bushnell scope. The DMR has a 34mm tube, and a 50mm objective lens. Finish is outstanding.

I took my MEGA MA-TEN upper / lower combo, and did a trial fit on it. I knew just what I would use this optic for… my AR-10 project.

With some 34mm LOW rings, it puts the objective bell right where I like it…

Once my MEGA MA-Ten monolithic upper was modified to my specs by GPI Custom Gunworks in Jacksonville, FL… I assembled the rifle, and began testing. This optic was to become part of a “package” that I used in conjunction with other parts, to create a rifle system that is ultra reliable, and won’t break the bank.

There are many great choices in optics out there for a precision rifle. However, out of the gate, my rifle system was going to be designed FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT, and the budget constraints that most agencies operate under. I have many “high end” optics to choose from, but when offered the chance to really flog this new piece from Bushnell, I was honored to give it a go.

I am happy to say, that I have really beat on this glass. It retains it’s zero, the reticle subtends perfectly throughout the power range… the glass is brilliant and clear, with little to no chromatic aberrations, and no edge deformation. I have run countless box drills with it, ran the erector to full stop in each direction, and it returns to zero. It swims well, it rides in my case well, and I have verified that it is absolutely solid.

Is it perfect? No. However, I don’t believe there is such a thing as the “perfect” optic. If so, we would all use it. Is it an amazing value? You betcha. For the money, even at FULL retail, you can not find anything out there that will come close to it. The list of what you get, is pretty amazing.

  • Long range capability all in a short 13.2” overall length (without sunshade)
  • RainGuard HD
  • Fully multi-coated optics
  • Locking T-Lok Turrets
  • 34mm Forged aluminum alloy one-piece tube
  • First focal plane
  • .1 Mil Click Value
  • 3″ sunshade (included in box)
  • Side parallax adjustment
  •  Many choices of reticles


I chose the Bushnell G2DMR reticle to use in my test. I like this reticle for LE use, because it’s less “BUSY” than the Horus Vision reticles but still allow some holds for windage at distance.

Bushnell G2DMR Reticle

I have the Bushnell DMR mounted in a 34mm DLOC mount from Alamo Four Star out of Texas. This combination is simply amazing in it’s ability to be removed from the rifle and re-installed… and hold zero. I have done it several times in testing this rifle… and I am going to shoot a video very soon showcasing this.

All in all, I am continuing to run this rig as set up. This optic has proven itself to me, time and time again. It’s repeatable, reliable, and affordable. My ONLY gripe on it, is the narrow exit pupil (picky eye relief). On a precision rifle, it’s really not a huge deal. I set my rifle up so I can get behind it with my eyes closed, get into position, and the optic lies perfectly in place. It’s a wee bit fiddly to set up, due to the narrow eye relief, but once you set the rig up properly, it becomes a moot point.

The field of view at 3.5 power, is wide enough to cover down very well at Law Enforcement call out distances. The 21 power (at full magnification) is perfect for “burning through” vertical blinds in a barricade situation, or allowing the marksman to make calls back to his / her team… (Observation).

I will continue to update this blog post… as I continue to flog the Bushnell Elite DMR. All in all, bottom line up front… I would urge you to consider this optic if cost is important. It is packed with features, and for the money, I would recommend it. Do your homework. There are tons of reviews on this glass out there, and they are showing up more and more on competition rifles at matches. It’s short, and powerful… get one and never look back.

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