Burris 4-12x32mm Compact Rimfire/Airgun Riflescope

By Randy Wakeman

Burris 4-12x32mm R/A Scope
Illustration courtesy of Burris.

The tested 4-12x32 Compact Rimfire/Airgun scope is part of Burris Optics’ “Specialty Series.” It features 1/8 MOA tactical click adjustments, a fine plex reticle favored by many and an adjustable objective. It is 11.3 inches long and weighs right at one pound. Here are some additional specifications:

  • Item number - 200394
  • Finish - Matte black
  • Field of view at 100 yards - 19' at 4x, 7.2' at 12x
  • Exit pupil - 8mm (4x), 2.7mm (12x)
  • Maximum adjustment range - 32" at 100 yards
  • Eye relief - 3.7" to 5"
  • 2008 discount retail price - $348.99 (Midway USA)

At first blush, this appears to be a well-made scope with good optics and most of the features that many would like to see on their .17 HMR rifles, the very caliber of rifle on which I reviewed it. Although Burris product has deservedly received very good to rave reviews from me in times past, I’m afraid this little scope will not get one.

The biggest problem is the hypercritical eye positioning that this scope demands. Even at the bench, a minute movement or repositioning of your head results in an instant "blackout" effect. It exhibits this unfortunate tendency even at low power settings (6x to 8x) and quickly renders this scope unusable beyond that. There is no quick and easy formula that I am aware of to define “critical” or “non-critical” eye positioning. Nevertheless, like a bad fish sandwich, you sure know it when one has hooked you. Few scopes that I have reviewed have been this difficult to use.

Though the optics seem sharp and contrasty and the adjustments precise, the adjustment range is unusually limited, a potential problem in some installations. It is the annoyingly critical eye-position, however, that made this commentary short and not very sweet. I cannot think of anyone who would enjoy fighting this scope; I sure didn’t.

Part of the problem, I suspect, is trying to get too much out of the compact platform. This is one reason that “compact” binoculars and “compact” optics in general have often been viewed as more compromise than anything else. In any case, for those looking for this type of scope, it is time to look elsewhere.

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Copyright 2008, 2012 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.