Brand Review: Burris Scopes

Review: Burris Scopes

Burris Scopes may not be in the public eye as much as other firearms optics companies like Trijicon or Aimpoint, but it has a storied past and a good reputation for producing quality products.

They manufacture rifle scopes, spotting scopes, sights (red dot style), mounts, accessories and more. Today, we will be taking a look at what put Burris on the map: It's mid-range to high-end scopes.

We'll go over what makes the Burris company and their products unique, as well as exploring some of their most popular products. We'll see just how well Burris stacks up against the many players in the firearm optics market.

The Burris Company


The Burris Company was founded in 1971 boy Don Burris, for which the company is named. Don Burris worked for 12 years at the Redfield hunting scope company. There, Burris designed and developed scopes that would set the standard for hunting scopes everywhere.

Some of the ideas he pioneered include the first constantly centered, non-magnifying reticle in variable power scopes, the first 4-12x and 6-18x riflescopes and The Redfield Accu-Range trajectory compensating dual reticle scope.

Burris decided to go into business for himself and make even better scopes and continued to innovate until his passing in 1987. His company innovated the first multi-coated lenses in hunting scopes (more on that technology later) and the industry's first variable power handgun scope.

Burris Today

Today, Burris is part of the Beretta family of scopes. While it is owned by an Italian company, The Burris Company is still headquartered in Greely, Colorado. Recently, Burris has outsourced some of its manufacturing to the Philippines. With the changing economy, the cost of producing Burris scopes wen up, but prices did not.

Customers were not willing to pay for “Made in America” anymore, and instead of sacrificing quality or volume, they opened up a second plant abroad.

The headquarters, testing and packaging facilities still reside in Colorado. Additionally, some of the scopes in Burris's catalog are also still made there. Before anyone starts complaining about outsourcing, know that many big companies like Bushnell and Weaver produce their optics outside the U.S. as well. It's the world we live in.

What Makes Burris Scopes Unique?

Burris Company

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Burris is an old-style American manufacturing company. They may have been acquired by an Italian company and outsourced some labor to the Philippines, but they did so to maintain control and the level of quality that they believed was necessary.

Instead of ratcheting up their prices or cutting back on features and quality, they bit the bullet and made some sacrifices.The result is a line of scopes and optics that are both quality and affordable.

They may not be the flashiest or most "decked out" scopes around, but they also aren't the most expensive. Their products are fine mid-range to high-end products that have several features and standards that set them apart from their competitors.

Multi Coated Glass

In the scope world, the quality of the glass is paramount. You have to see what you want to hit and if you can’t, then the scope isn’t doing its job. The better the glass and the better is treated with proprietary methods and chemicals, the more light can be let into the scope for a sharper, clearer and brighter image.

A good scope lets in over 95% of light while a great scope lets in around 99%. It is generally accepted that efficiency cap for light transmission is 99.5% per lens element. How can a scope achieve this? By coating its lenses with chemicals that prevent reflection and other light scattering or absorbing phenomena.

The most common substance for this coating is magnesium fluoride, but many companies have their own proprietary mix of chemicals that achieve a similar result. Lenses may be coated, or multi-coated, meaning they have more than one coating of treatment or multiple coatings of different treatments. Fully multi-coated means that every lens element is coated with multiple layers of chemical treatment to ensure maximum light transmission.

Every single Burris scope is fully multi-coated. They do not manufacture scopes with lesser or ineffectual coatings to cut costs. They claim their "HiLume" fully multi-coated index matched system is second to none and offers high light transmission through their optics in all weather conditions.

High-Quality Components

Burris employs a series of high-quality components to give their scopes the edge. It raises the price some, but they are banking on their customers preferring quality and security over saving a few bucks. These components are varied in their importance, but together they make a big difference.

  • One-Piece Main Tubes: It should go without saying, but some cheap manufacturers do cut this corner, so it bears mentioning. Burris scope housings (the tubes) are made out of single pieces of metal as opposed to two smaller pieces fused together via welding. This fusing process makes manufacturing easier, but the point where the two pieces meet is a structural weakness.
  • Quality Seals: Instead of using standard O-rings for their seals, Burris uses quad rings. These rubber seals are shaped so that there are multiple sealing surfaces instead of just one as in the old style O-ring.
  • Steel on Steel Click Adjustments: The components used for adjusting the scope's alignment and elevation are all steel on steel. This system makes their adjustment more precise, as there is no wiggle room which could happen with softer materials. Adjusting to a previous setting will put you back where you were, with virtually no margin of error. Furthermore, audible clicks help you keep track of your adjustments.
  • Dual Springs: Their adjustment springs are sturdy and robust dual springs instead of single springs. This little addition means that the springs keeping the scope aligned will stay put longer and not decay in strength over time.

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Proper Purging and Gassing of Internal Scope Spaces

Internal Scope Spaces

In modern scopes, the spaces between lenses are purged of atmospheric air and filled instead with an inert or otherwise non-reactive gas. This process ensures that no unwanted chemical reactions are taking place inside the scope like oxidation or condensation.

High-end scopes use argon, a noble gas that won’t react with anything. Burris uses nitrogen which is not a noble gas and therefore technically reactive. However, the conditions required to get nitrogen to react inside a scope are virtually impossible to create unless you are trying hard to make it happen.

Many gun owners and optics enthusiasts argue over the advantages of argon over nitrogen; some claim that argon is better due to its total inertness, and others claiming that nitrogen is functionally the same and that argon is an overpriced marketing tool.

Burris has chosen to use nitrogen to keep costs down because they, and others, have not found compelling evidence that puts argon clearly ahead of nitrogen. Their purging and filling technique standards are set high.

Lifetime Warranty

Each and every Burris scope comes with a lifetime warranty. If it fails or does not live up to its word due to manufacturing error or lack of quality, then the Burris Company will replace it. Also, the warranty covers any damage to the scope that hinders its performance even if it was accidental.

The warranty does not, of course, cover deliberate or cosmetics damage nor does it cover loss or theft, but the warranty does transfer to any new owner of the scope. So, even if you buy a Burris secondhand, you can enjoy the perks of the warranty.

If they can't fix it, they will replace it no questions asked. It doesn't matter how old it is or how it was damaged. This is one of the better warranties out there, and it really helps Burris stand out.

Popular Products

Here are some of Burris's more popular products. They have many more in their substantial catalog but here is just a taste.

  • The Fullfield II: The workhorse of the Burris family of scopes. This is their most affordable and best-selling scope. The quality you get for the price has made it a favorite for years.
  • The Veracity: One of Burris's higher-end models, the Veracity competes well with other more expensive scopes, especially in low light.
  • Scout: Their scout scopes are popular with customers due to their ease of use and stability. Scout scopes are unique in that they are mounted forward on the weapon as opposed to the rear where it can be closer to the eye. Despite this, Burris scout scopes give a wide and clear view and help acquire targets quickly.
  • Handgun Scopes: As they have a storied history with handgun scopes, it is no surprise that Burris makes several great scopes. Their handgun scopes are rugged and powerful while still maintaining a manageable weight.

Public Perception

+ Pros: 

Users of Burris scopes are a generally satisfied bunch. Consumer reviews and reports tell of excellent quality optics with clear picture and fast target acquisition. Burris products don’t do much else than what they are intended to do, but they do it well.

Another of Burris's common compliments is how easy their scopes are to use. Not only do customers enjoy how easy it is to mount their scopes onto their firearms securely, but they also find that adjusting their scopes is a snap (pardon the pun). The scopes swiftly and reliably adjust for elevation and back with little error or excess work.

- Cons: 

Users also admit that most Burris scopes aren’t perfect. Some blurry images after prolong firing that eventually dies down, occasionally temperamental adjustment knobs and things like that.

However, to get a scope that is even marginally better than a Burris, you would have to pay much more. Many users don’t see the point and believe they are getting the best bang for their buck.

How Burris Compares to the Competition

Burris Compares

Burris stacks up well with many other manufacturers in the industry. They manage to beat out many brands on quality and performance while still maintaining affordable prices. There are plenty of affordable brands out there, but not all of them can hang with Burris scopes in terms of functionality. One option for affordable riflescope brand is by Nikon. 

Alternatively, their higher end competition charges much more than them. However, these premium brands do outperform Burris scopes in some areas. Resolution and repetition resistance is better amongst other more expensive out there. Burris may not be the best of the best, but you'd be hard-pressed to get better for the price they are asking.

Furthermore, the difference is not huge, but by and large Burris scopes tend to be more compact than their competitors. Not with every product of course but in general. If you are looking for a scope that doesn’t weigh as much as others or has a smaller profile, Burris is worth a look. 

What We Think

Our Rating
$ $

We were impressed with the performance of Burris scopes. The picture quality was good, and the reticles perform well, especially in low light. However, we do agree with many users in that it isn’t perfect. This isn’t to say that it’s bad, it just isn’t at the level of other higher end scopes. But, as previously mentioned, its price point isn’t as high either.

We found good economy with Burris scopes. The scopes that we found to perform better often cost much more, twice as much in some cases! Throw in their no questions asked lifetime warranty and you have an all-around smart purchase.

Its mid-range price and great performance mean that you could go both ways if they aren't for you. If you want cheaper, there are trusted brands at lower prices like Nikon and Bushnell, and even cheaper knock-offs that we can't really recommend. You could also go the other way and spring for the premium brands like Nightforce or Swarovski which will likely improve your experience but also weigh much heavier on your finances.