BSA Huntsman and PMRS Red Dot Sights

By Dr. Jim and Mary Clary

Over the past few years, red dot sights have become a mainstay of tactical and law enforcement personnel. They permit rapid acquisition of the target while still allowing the shooter to maintain a full field of view in front of them. More recently, hunters and sport shooters who have difficulties with iron sights, yet do not want a riflescope, have realized that red dot sights are just what they needed.

If you browse through scope and optical sight catalogs, you will find prices ranging from under a $100 to well over $500 for red dot sights. Our question concerning the high priced sights is why, when they are so simple in design and construction, are they priced to bust your budget?

We are not talking about the difference between medium priced riflescopes and high end scopes where the quality of the optics and extra bells and whistles can justify the price. We are talking about basic devices, simple in design and easy to fabricate at a reasonable price.

So, what is the answer? Do you get what you pay for in the high end sights, or are you paying for the name and privilege of having their sight? For comparison, will your Rolex keep any better time in the real world than a $100 - $200 Stauer or Luminox? We don't think so. (Higher priced sights generally cost more due to superior precision, longevity, quality control and more accurate adjustments. - Editor.)

We ordered two red dot sights from BSA that are reasonably priced and mounted them on our rifles for field trials. One of the sights was the closed tube Huntsman and the other was the PMRS open reflector type.

The guns were hung on the racks behind the seat of our pickups, stuffed into gun cases and transported in the bed of the truck, propped up against trees at base camp and sometimes accidentally dropped while in the field. After four months of testing (abuse), we determined that these two sights were just as well constructed and reliable as those costing several times their price. We are keeping them for all of our short range shooting competition, brush hunting and weekly plinking at the range.

First up is the BSA Huntsman, RD20RGB sight.

BSA Huntsman Red Dot Sight
BSA Huntsman. Illustration courtesy of BSA Optics.

We mounted this on one of our Ruger Ranch rifle and what a difference it made to Jim. He has always had difficulty with conventional iron (open) sights, which is the reason most of his guns are scoped. However, with the Huntsman he was able to get on target quickly and shoot some respectable targets.

Although the Huntsman has three different dot-colors, Jim prefers the red at its maximum intensity setting. With an MSRP of $75.95, this is a bargain for someone who wants a solid sight at a reasonable price.

Huntsman Specifications

  • Magnification: 1X
  • Aluminum Body w/Matte Finish
  • Length: 63mm
  • Width: 42 mm
  • Height: 47 mm
  • Main Body Tube Diameter: 32 mm
  • Click Adjustment: 0.5 MOA
  • Windage and Elevation Adjustment Range: 45 MOA
  • Reticle type: 5 MOA Red, Green or Blue Dot (3 lens)
  • Rheostat Position: 3 intensities/color
  • Battery: CR2032
  • Eye Relief: Unlimited
  • Field of View in Degrees: 8.6
  • Parallax Setting: 50 yards
  • Lens Material: ALF2-2 Yellow Coated Glass
  • Objective Bell Diameter: 28 mm
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 20 mm
  • Ocular Bell Diameter: 28 mm
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 20 mm
  • Waterproof & Fogproof
  • 1 Year Limited Warranty; dust caps included
  • 2014 MSRP: $75.95

Next is the BSA PMRS or multi-reticle sight and this one is Mary's favorite.

BSA PMRS Red Dot Sight
BSA PMRS. Illustration courtesy of BSA Optics.

Our complaint with iron sights on AR platforms is they are difficult to get on target for fast shots. Not so with the PMRS. After mounting the PMRS on Carl's AR15, it was incredibly easy to stay on target at 100 yards. Now we know why they are so popular with law enforcement.

If you plan to use your AR for hunting, the PMRS is ideal. Whether you are going for whitetail in the scrub oaks of Pennsylvania or heavy brush of south Texas, you will be able get the sight on your game quickly. However, don't think for a minute that this sight is only for AR15 rifles. It is excellent for short barreled brush guns, such as the old Remington Model 600 or Savage Model 11/111 Hog Hunter.

Reticle selection is made with a thumb lever on the back of the sight, while the rheostat intensity control is on top, at the base of the battery compartment. Both controls can be readily accessed while holding the rifle to your shoulder. With an MSRP of $94.95, it is priced right for hunters and weekend target shooters.

PMRS Specifications

  • Magnification: 1X
  • Aluminum Body w/Matte Finish
  • Length: 8 cm
  • Width: 3.6 cm
  • Height: 5.5 cm
  • Click Adjustment: 0.5 MOA
  • Windage and Elevation Adjustment Range: 45 MOA; Adjustments with Allen Wrench (included)
  • Reticle type: Red multi-reticle
  • Rheostat Position: 7 intensities for each reticle
  • Battery: CR2032
  • Eye Relief: Unlimited
  • Parallax Setting: 50 yards
  • Lens Material: Reflecting Aluminum Fluoride Coated Glass
  • Objective Bell Diameter: 3.63 x 2.53 cm
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 3.45 x 2.44 cm
  • 1 Year Limited Warranty; dust cap included
  • 2014 MSRP: $94.95

For most sportsmen, these sights are more than adequate. You can spend more, but do you need to? Only you can answer that question.

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Copyright 2014 by Jim Clary and/or All rights reserved.