Bushnell Elite 6500 2.5-16x50mm – Mil Dot Tactical Scope

During a previous Big 3 Media Event last year, one of the event host, retired Sergeant First Class Dillard “CJ” Johnson told us the story of how he racked up 121 confirm snipping kills during his second combat tour in Iraq. Being an optic guy, I was interested in what optics he used to achieve that.

CJ said the standard M14 that he used for most of his shots was originally equipped with a fixed 10x power Leupold scope. While the Leupold performed adequately, however, its fixed zoom was the limiting factor. The Leupold was eventually replaced by a Bushnell Elite 4200 2.5-10x50mm scope that was acquired by CJ personally.



Bushnell is no longer making the Elite 4200 series. So, I requested their newer Elite 6500 series’ 2.5-16x50mm model. This model features an increased 6.4x fold magnification comparing to the 4200 series’ 4x zoom range. Not being a hunter, I asked for the Mil-Dot reticle version.



For testing the Bushnell Elite 6500 scope, I used the GDI P-ROM L-Model Telescopic Scope Mount. The GDI 1-piece optic mount has a built-in 25 MOA base elevation and features dual adjustable quick detachable levers. The machine work and finishing on the GDI mount is exquisite. It reminds me of the same quality of high-end mounts found on precision rifles made by Sako and Spuhr.



At the 2.5x magnification, the field-of-view is a very generous 42 ft. at 100 yard. The reticle consists of a cross hair with thicker sections toward the edge. The center part of the cross hair has finer lines with a number of Mil-Dots for use as BDC, ranging and leading aids.



Since the Bushnell Elite 6500 scope features a 2nd focal plane reticle, the 10x magnification is the designated setting for using its Mil-Dot reticle for range estimation.



At the 16x magnification glassing the San Mateo Bridge (it’s 10 miles away) the results were exceptional. The optical resolution of the Bushnell is so good that I could see every car on the bridge. The eyebox becomes a bit tight on the top magnification setting.



Although the Bushnell 6500 lacks reticle illumination,its large multi-coated 50mm objective lens collects a tremendous amount of light to make it a very bright scope. The lens coatings included Bushnell’s Rainguard HD non-stick lens coating that repels water and dirt & mud.



The capped adjustment turrets offer ¼ MOA per click with and revolution indicator built-in. Both turrets also offer a tool-less quick zero function that with a simple lifting of the turret allows it to turn free to set the zero mark. On the left side is the parallax adjustment turret. It has parallax correction from 15-300 yards then to infinity.



After few months using the Bushnell Elite 6500 2.5-16x50mm on my BCM Mk 12 Mod 1 build, I think it’s a nice upgrade from my original Leupold Mark 4 2.5-8x36mm optic. I really like the doubling of the magnification on the top end and a significant 18.3% wider field-of-view at the low end, plus the addition of the capped turrets and parallax adjustment. I also consider the Bushnell Elite 6500 2.5-16x50mm to be one of the best Japanese made scopes I have ever used.

CJ’s sniper log book with his recorded 121 confirmed kills is on display in the 3rd Infantry Division Museum at Fort Stewart. You can read about CJ’s Iraq War combat experience from his memoir: Carnivore.


Bushnell Elite 6500 2.5-16x50mm – Mil Dot Specification:

Magnification: 2.5-16x
Objective size: 50mm
Tube Size: 30mm
Field of View: 42 feet @ 100 yards range at 2.5x, 7 feet @ 100 yards range at 16x
Length: 13.5 inch
Weight: 21 ounces
Eye Relief: 3.9 inch
Exit Pupil: 20mm at 3.1x magnification
Turret Adjustment: 1/4 MOA per click
Price: $750

Writer and gear editor with articles published in major gun publications. A five year combat veteran of the US Marine Corps, Tim is also part of Point & Shoot Media Works, a producer of photography, video and web media for the firearms and shooting sport industry. Tim’s direct contact: Tyan.TFB -at- gmail.com


  • KiwiShooter

    Should be “sniping” not “snipping”

  • Yellow Devil

    That’s some nice evening “shots”.

  • Hitler Was Right

    come on- how hard is it to shoot women and children for the good of Greater Israel? besides- it’s not like they were fighting crack Waffen SS divisions.

  • Phil White TFB

    how hard can it be to shoot Iraqi women and children to achieve 121 kills for the benefit of a Greater Israhell?

  • John Daniels

    There was definitely an “inflammatory” comment here that has since been removed. lol

    I have a screencap, BTW.

    • Nicks87

      I am bigoted against Bushnell products but it wasnt me. However, I could care less about what scope someone used to get XXX number of kills. IMHO guns are for defending myself and others against aggravated active physical aggression. Not for going on Govt funded hunting expeditions to see how many “kills” I can rack up against people living in under-developed countries, defending their mud huts against the most technologically advanced military in the history of the world. By the way, I am a veteran and I spent plenty of time “over there” so I’m entitled to my opinion

      • Phil White TFB

        but the MIC’s gotta get paid

        • Nicks87

          Damn Phil, I didnt know you were into conspiracy theories too. Too many late nights out on patrol listening to George Noory on coast to coast AM, huh? Or Alex Jones maybe?

          • Nick you should be able to tell that wasn’t me posting. For future reference just ignore any comments posted under that signature as well as Waffen SS, Hitler was right etc.
            I’m sure you noticed we have a nut case posting racist comments and general hate.

  • Phil White TFB

    how nice of a scope do you need to kill 121 Iraqi women and children for the good of Greater Israel?

  • dp

    Nice piece. Shame I am not currently shooting.

  • Nicks87

    I dont mind that my post got deleted but do we really need to celebrate the fact that “he racked up 121 confirmed sniping kills” like it’s some kind of video game score? Probably not the best way to further our sport/hobby by making it sound like it’s a stat in some morbid competition. Some constructive criticism for the author would be to just state that a bushnell scope was acquired with personal funds because “CJ” believed in the quality and construction of the optic. Instead of saying “hey this guy used one to kill 121 people so it must be good”. SFC Johnson is not a hero in some people’s opinion and we are not going to win the war on firearms ownership if we alienate those same individuals.

    • Nick,

      I never saw your post. I sure didn’t delete it. What did you post about?

    • It’s different when we’re talking about the military. I mean that’s what they get paid to do. As horrible as war is that’s the job.

      • John Daniels

        “It’s different when we’re talking about the military. I mean that’s what they get paid to do. As horrible as war is that’s the job.”

        Not everybody believes that makes it OK. *shrug*

        That’s all I’m gonna say…

  • I understand—