December 30, 2020
Burris has been a premier manufacturer of high-quality hunting scopes for decades, and the brand’s current lineup includes some of the most technologically advanced optics on the market. Burris has launched their new Droptine line of hunting scopes, which offer a long list of premium features typically found on very expensive scopes at a price that hunters can actually afford. Available in 3-9x40 and 4.5-14x42 configurations, Droptine scopes offer a level of versatility and quality rarely encountered in optics less than $200.
For years, hunters have been told that we get what we pay for with hunting optics. Translation: Affordable scopes can’t compete with higher-priced models. Budget-friendly optics, we’ve been taught, work fine so long as the shots are close and the light is good, and during my career as a gun writer, I’ve found this largely to be true. Inexpensive scopes work fine in many cases, but buyers shouldn’t demand too much in terms of optical clarity, build quality and precision.
Burris’s Droptine family of optics, however, challenge that long-held notion by offering performance that far exceeds other scopes in their price range. With MSRPs ranging from $143 to $189, Droptine scopes are priced similarly to other entry-level scopes from a number of optics manufacturers, but the Droptine outperforms these competing optics in several ways.
First, the optical clarity in Droptine scopes is exceptional, rivalling optics costing several hundred dollars more. In natural light (not the fluorescent light that floods in the interior of a sporting goods store), it’s easy to see why Droptine optics, with their exceptional light transmission and superb clarity, have quickly amassed a loyal following among dedicated hunters.
Droptine scopes offer edge-to-edge clarity with minimal color distortion. Excellent color contrast may not be critically important to target shooters, but it’s vital to hunters who must be able to quickly and accurately identify a whitetail buck in a sea of brown leaves and limbs. Droptine scopes offer a level of clarity on par with optics costing hundreds more and far better than competing scopes in this price class. One reason Droptine scopes outclass competing optics is because Burris uses high-grade, precision-ground optical glass lenses with an index-matched Hi-Lume multicoating for maximum clarity, better light transmission and improved durability. In low light conditions, it’s still easy to identify wild game thanks to class-leading optical quality. These optics also are waterproof and nitrogen-filled to eliminate fogging in cold or rainy conditions.
Years ago, after missing a deer because by bullet was deflected by a limb I couldn’t see through my scope, I added an obstruction test to my optic evaluations. Obstruction testing involves placing a brown paper bag in shaded woods and propping a pencil-thick branch two feet in front of the bag. From 100 yards on high power, I give the scope a pass/fail grade based on whether I can immediately identify the obstruction. The Droptine scope passed with ease, and the obstruction was clearly visible on high power when preparing for a shot. Very few optics under $200 pass that test.
In addition to the obstruction test, I evaluated the Droptine using a box test to determine whether the adjustment dials on an optic are tracking accurately. I mounted the Droptine 4.5-14x42 on a Winchester Model 70 .270 WSM and, once the rifle was zeroed at 100 yards, I began moving the adjustments 1 MOA before firing again. The Burris Droptine perfectly tracked as advertised, making windage and elevation adjustments that coincided with bullet placement on the target. Burris scopes utilize premium components including steel-on-steel adjustments for consistent bullet placement and superb accuracy. Many competing scopes, which use polymer parts, don’t track well and that makes the rifle sight-in process a long, frustrating task. With the Droptine, every distinct click of the elevation and windage dials adjusted the bullet’s point of impact correctly.
With its one-piece, stress-free aluminum outer tube, the Droptine stands up to abuse. I mounted the scope in Burris’s Signature one-inch Zee rings and never encountered a shift in point of impact. The matte finish on the exterior body of the Droptine reduces glare and is resistant to the inevitable hard knocks associated with hunting, and the adjustment layout is simple to operate: The windage and elevation turrets are capped and offer 40 MOA of adjustment for both windage and elevation. The dials offer simple directions for adjusting point of impact. Parallax adjustments are done by twisting the ring on the objective lens of the scope and a ring at the rear of the scope allows for reticle focus adjustments. The straightforward design makes fine-tuning the scope fast and easy for any shooter.
Droptine scopes add very little bulk to your rifle, too. The 4.5-14x42 version weighed just 18 ounces and measured 13 inches long. The 3-9x40 is even lighter and more compact, weighing a mere 13 ounces and measuring just over a foot in length. Burris has managed to build Droptine scopes that are very light and compact without sacrificing optical clarity or quality.
The Droptine 4.5-14x42 I tested came equipped with a Ballistic Plex reticle, which features three stadia lines under the crosshair for accurate elevation holds as far as 600 yards, depending upon the firearm and cartridge. Burris includes an approximate drop calculation for muzzleloaders, rimfires, slug guns and standard and magnum centerfire rifles. Based on the ballistics for the particular .270 WSM load I was shooting (Hornady 145-grain ELD-X at a muzzle velocity of 3,100 fps) stadia-line holds and bullet impacts were within an inch-and-a-half of actual drop out to 400 yards and within three inches at 500 yards, based on manufacturer data. Holdover reticles are simple and fast, and the Droptine makes it easy to deliver accurate shots without having to dial.
Burris scopes are backed by the company’s Forever Warranty, but odds are you’ll never need to use it. Over the last decade, we’ve seen an increase in the number of affordable, accurate hunting rifles. It looks like Burris is intent on starting a similar high-quality, low-cost revolution in hunting optics, and that begins with the Droptine. It’s a great scope at a great price.
Burris Droptine 4.5-14x42 Riflescope Specs:
Magnification Range: 4.5-14x
Focal Plane: Rear
Reticle: Burris Ballistic Plex
Knob Style: Capped Hunter
Click Value: ¼ MOA
Elevation Adjustment: 40 MOA
Windage Adjustment: 40MOA
Field of View: 22 feet (4.5x) to 7.5 feet (14x) at 100 yards
Eye Relief: 3.1 to 3.9 inches
Exit Pupil: 9mm (4.5x) to 3mm (14x)
Parallax Adjustment: 50 yards to infinity
Clear Objective Lens Diameter: 42 mm
Main Tube Diameter: 1 inch
Main Tube Construction: Aluminum
Finish: Matte Black
Length: 13 inches
Weight: 18 ounces
Warranty: Burris Forever Warranty
Contact: Burris Optics, burrisoptics.com, (888) 440-0244