Bushnell unveiled its Legend Ultra HD line of riflescopes in 2012 to be a strong competitor in the mid-range price category.
Made in China, the Legend is designed to offer improved optical performance – a high level of light transmission for increased brightness and edge-to-edge sharpness in comparison to other scopes in this category.
Although they are rated as economy-class scopes, the Legend boasts ED glass, fully multi-coated lenses and rugged construction. HD lenses provide perfect reproduction performance even at high magnifications.
I could distinguish no discernable distortion or colour fringing, and given my previous experience with Bushnell’s flagship Elite scope, I started this evaluation with extremely high expectations.
The basis of the Legend is a one-piece aluminium main tube of aircraft quality alloy;despite its diameter the scope offers 65 and 85 MoA, worth of windage and elevation adjustment respectively. The adjustment
dials are clearly marked as to direction and have a click value of 1/4 inch – each movement being both audible and tactile. Turrets have finger adjustable knobs and are covered with screw-on aluminium caps.
A binocular- style fast focus eyepiece used in conjunction with a third turret on the left side for parallax adjustment – marked with incremental references from 30yds. to infinity – produced clean, crisp images at all ranges. Using both focusing controls in conjunction not only improved the view of the target, but also served to lighten or darken the reticle within the field of view.
Toughness of construction was verified, after the test Legend HD was mounted on a Montana rifle in 7mm Remington Magnum and proved durable and recoil proof during the firing of over 80 full-power rounds. The traditionally positioned power ring has a knurled surface as well as a thumb tab to enhance purchase. Its movement also has sufficient friction so as not to be inadvertently shifted by getting rubbed against something or by getting bumped.
The lenses feature Bushnell’s proprietary Rain-Guard HD lens coating which causes rain or other moisture beads on the lens surface to drop off rather than pooling or smearing. So if you’re shooting in misty or showery conditions, you’ll be sure of a clear view.
The Legend HD was submitted to an admittedly severe test by immersing it in a bucket of water followed by a couple of hours in a deep-freezer. This revealed no problems with leakage and the thin coating of ice melted off in a few minutes. Being nitrogen-purged, there wasn’t the slightest trace of any interior fogging.
Having a long tube with a distance of 70mm forward of the adjustment saddle and 65mm at the rear, allows plenty of latitude for shifting the scope back and forth in the rings to adjust for eye relief. This is an advantage not shared by a good many other modern scopes, too many of which have short tubes that make them critical to mount and they often need extension bases to achieve correct eye relief.
At the range we zeroed the scope for 100yds. and checked the accuracy of its adjustments by “shooting the square”. Although the scope didn’t track perfectly, it was only 1/2 inch off to one side or the other, good enough for all practical purposes. I also fired a six-shot group, changing the power for each shot and the bullet holes clustered into 2.10 MoA. This is pretty good considering the difficulty of holding precisely on the lowest magnifications.
With the scope zeroed at 200yds., we experimented with its tactical-style Mil-Dot Reticle to determine the proper holdover marks for 300 and 400 yds. The reticle provided 16 dots plus the pointed ends of the heavy side bars, for a total of 20 aiming points, the instruction manual that came with the scope made no mention of this type of reticle, or what distance the dots subtended. The colimator revealed that there was about 16 clicks (4inches) between the dots.
Shooting a handload driving the Hornady 139gn SST at 3400fps, and using the first dot to aim with, the bullet was 2 inches above point of aim at 300 and the dot under it produced a point of impact almost dead-on at 400. This would allow the hunter to hold dead-on a deer out to 400 which is the which is about as far as a serious sportsman would attempt to make such a shot on game.
The test unit measured 374mm long and weighed 530 grams, average dimensions for scopes in this class. Given a close inspection, however, several distinguishing features do stand out, notably the short 48mm ocular bell and lengthy free-tube areas which makes it easy to mount the Legend HD scope on virtually any rifle without extension rings. It also helps ensure owners can take full advantage of the Legend HD’s long average 92mm of eye-relief.
The line of economy class scopes includes three different magnification options - 1.5-5x32mm, 3-9x40mm and 4.5-14x44mm, and reticle choices include Multi-X, or DOA 600 as well as the Mil Dot model tested.
The provision of this range and diversity of options will provide enough options to cover 90 percent of the situations found by Australian hunters from cloes-in sambar stalkers to ptics for light varminting rifles.
Optically speaking, the Legend HD compares favourably with scopes of similar price. The scope proved especially impressive in the low lightconditions encountered late in the day. Based on my testing, the Bushnell Legend HD is a well-designed, mechnically sound riflescope that can be depended upon to provide a lifetime of service.
Bushnell Legend HD
Manufacturer: Bushnell Outdoor Products, 9200 Cody, Overland Park, Kansas 66214, USA
Model: Legend Ultra HD
Magnification range and objective: 4.5-14x44mm
Finish: matte black
Field of view at 100yds: 23 feet at 4.4x 6 feet at 14x
Eye Relief: 92mm
Windage and elevation adjustments: 1/4 inch clicks at 100yds
Adjustment range: 55 MoA
Reticle: Mil-Dot (tested)
Weight: 530 grams
Features: side focus knob for parallax adjustment from 20yds. to infinity. Fast focus eyepiece; sunshade
Accessories: lens caps
Likely retail price: $550.00
This article was first published in the Sporting Shooter March 2014 issue.