Having reviewed the original Burris Eliminator some time ago, it was with some excitement I received the news from Tony Saros of Beretta Australia that the new Eliminator III scopes had landed and one was on the way for me to put through it's paces. When I picked up the Eliminator III box, my initial thought was "holy crap it's huge, they've built a Hubble telescope". As it turns out my fears were unfounded and whilst the Eliminator III at 400mm long is 70mm longer than the original, it is a much more elegant design and of course magnification has been increased to a 4-16x range and a 50mm adjustable objective lens added for good measure. Weight remains at the same 737 grams which is no mean feat considering the changes from the original Eliminator.

          Other major changes include the extra turret on the left hand side which is not a side focus adjustment but the new housing for the Lithium CR123 battery which now provides enough juice for  a claimed 5000 laser actuations, well up from the 1100 cycles of the original. The integrated mounting rail has also been extended to 215mm which provides much greater flexibility in mounting the scope on a variety of action lengths and bases or rails. The Eliminator III ships with the mounting brackets & spanner needed for the rail, a sunshade, battery, micro fibre cloth, stickers to note load details, Eliminator logos you can put on or not, instruction manual and ballistic charts for most commercial loads and a front mounting plate (if required) should you need it to sight in the scope. What is not included is the remote! This has been dropped from the Eliminator III...more on this later.

          The biggest change though is the improved laser performance and enhanced ballistics of this scope. Laser range is now a claimed 1200 yds on reflective targets and 750 yds on less reflective surfaces. The scope will calculate an accurate hold over point automatically adjusted for an uphill or downhill shot as well as displaying a suggested amount of hold off for a 10mph cross wind (if a hold off for wind is required of course). And it will do all this at any magnification, not just the maximum magnification like the original Eliminator. A rubber covered 4 way switch provides input for setting up the scope to the exact ballistics of the load being used, it is based on zeroing the rifle at 100 yds and entering a drop number (in inches) of the load at 750 yds. There are 4000 ballistic curves provided or you can measure the actual drop at 750 yds and enter that yourself, and this what is recommended for best precision. There are also supplied instructions for correcting the drop number to take into account shooting at altitude. The scope also accepts input for the Ballistic Coefficient of the particular bullet you are using and choice of working in metres or yards.
 


          Getting hands on with the scope I got the impression that build quality has improved. The deep green bloom of the lenses suggest quality coatings and the redesign of the scope looks great finished in a flat black exterior. The adjustment turrets are now a more precise 1/8 MOA per click and have 40 MOA of adjustment and feel pretty good. The rubber armoured caps and battery cover cap are a nice touch and the equally grippy power change ring and quick focus eye piece are firm and smooth and stay where you set them. There are two rubber covered actuation buttons either side of the lower scope body at the 7 o'clock and 5 o'clock positions. Mounting the Eliminator III to my heavy barrelled Winchester Mod 70  .270 WSM was a very straight forward exercise and it is an impressive looking bit of gear. The boresighter showed extremely close alignment to the actual bore. This was reinforced by the first shot being only a few cm's from the bull at 100 yds and I had the scope dialled in with just a few more shots.
 
        The X96 reticle in the Eliminator III featuring a series of dots below the horizontal stadia which are used to hold off for wind. The small illuminated display to the right is the calculated windage hold off for a 10 mph crosswind, in this case it is 1.7 and so you would hold 1.7 dots into the wind. It certainly works.....if you have a 10 mph crosswind. The reality is for most of us it will be a guess at doping the wind. I am not a fan of the windage dots in this reticle, the same could be achieved with the mildots already on the horizontal stadia without the clutter of the pyramid of dots. Add to those dots you can see fine lines along each row of dots (not shown in example image) going across the reticle, I assume these are micro circuit tracks used to light the illuminated hold over point at various levels. It all adds up to a somewhat degraded viewing image particularly noticeable in poor light as if the lower half of the image was a little dimmer or not as sharp. They have also introduced a dimmer control for the display via the down arrow on the 4 way switch. This is something I wished for with the original Eliminator. Unfortunately it seems the display intensity selected is not stored in non volatile memory and after the scope powers down and not being activated for a lengthy period of time, on the next activation the display would illuminate at full brightness and I had to dim, it again...and again. So an epic fail on this feature.
         The laser performance of the Eliminator III is very good and as expected fast and accurate, with the ballistic calculations performed seamlessly. The Eliminator was always within 1m + or - to a Leica 1000 CRF that I used as a control. At the start of the review I could reliably range to 750m which was a little shy of the claimed performance, however there was extensive burning off being conducted all over the district and a permanent haze for weeks on end. Once conditions cleared the range increased to a routine 900m+ on good solid targets and 650m on fur. The beam divergence at long range is something I had to watch as it gets quite broad and can have interference from objects between the scope and target and this is true for most any laser rangefinder on the market. The optics are quite nice in good light but do drop off  above 10x in dusk/dawn situations
 and this is not helped by the proliferation of those windage dots in the X96 reticle. During a cold misty morning hunt I did experience external lens fogging on a couple of occasion whilst trying to get a bead on some Fallow deer. Otherwise the scope performed very well in some light showers and warm then cold days in the field. The Adjustable Objective allowed me to get a nice crisp image on the higher magnifications, though on most occasion I left it set at 200 yds for a perfectly satisfactory image. Eye relief is generous, though eye position is fairly critical to get a good clear image.

         Once I started using the rifle in the prone position with a bipod, I soon realised what a mistake it was to leave the Eliminator III without a remote means of activation. It is both frustrating and difficult to try and maintain the crosshairs on a distant target while breaking your hold to reach forward to press one of the activation buttons to fire the laser. To my mind this is the bread & butter scenario for a scope such as this and an easy means of accurately firing the laser is a must, as much the same technique is required to accurately range a distant target as it is to take a long range shot. Anything that disturbs the hold is undesirable, and using a bipod, your non master hand is usually under the buttstock of the rifle controlling fine elevation. The simplest solution is to equip this scope with a wired pressure/tactical switch which can then be taped or attached with Velcro into a position of the shooter's choice. I had toyed with the idea of wiring such a switch into one of the activation buttons, but with a RRP of around $1600 for the scope I was not that keen.
          My longest kill with the Eliminator III was a cross gully shot of 445m on a fox sunning itself in the morning light. I was lucky he was in no hurry as it took a few goes to get him ranged properly from a hastily assumed prone position. On another hunt, I did a sit and watch on an open basin and through my Zeiss binos spotted a large Sambar hind emerge from the tree line just on last light. There were quite a few cows feeding towards her and both deer and cows would wonder in and out of the tree line and shadows. I ranged her at 570m in poor light but opted not to take the shot, just too dark to be 100% sure. The higher 16x magnification and enhanced ballistics and laser performance allow this scope to reach out a long way. If you can shoot and make the wind your friend, the Eliminator III will do the rest.


          Out past 400m or so the reticle is getting a little coarse for varminting of small pests and is really at it's best on medium to large game. The Eliminator III performed well over the last month or so that I've been taking it into the hills and it appears solid and well built and I can't praise the accuracy of the ballistics programme in this scope enough. Time after time I made first round hits well beyond 350m on rabbits and some steel ram silhouettes out to 500m. I would feel confident on a deer sized animal at this range or even a bit further. To me the ethics of it all balance out with the reality that a well placed shot on a stationary animal at 500m is at least as ethical as a hastily taken one on a bouncing deer at 100m and having shot a few deer at both these sorts of ranges I am happy with what I do.

          I think this sort of integrated optics/ballistics technology is going to be more commonplace in the future and already the Eliminator family is growing with 3 models currently listed as available in Australia. The 4-16x50 Eliminator III I've just been writing about, the 4-12x42 Eliminator II which now has the enhanced ballistics on all magnifications too, and the smaller 3.5-10x40 Eliminator which is the newest model to arrive. I would think this last model may be of most interest to the mobile stalker hunter but I haven't been able to find accurate specs on it and the Burris site lists the same weight as the bigger models. Probably a typo I'm guessing. Tony Saros from Beretta Australia will no doubt know, and a big thank you to Tony for his continued support and arranging for AHN members the first hands on look at the Eliminator III. And so in summing up, just like the original Eliminator the Eliminator III is more of a good thing and a pretty good solution for the accomplished shooter looking to reach out to longer range without the fuss & distraction of adjusting turrets, holding over or number crunching drop charts. Short of reading the wind squeezing the trigger, this scope will take care of the rest. Obviously a subjective observation, but I really hope Burris address the omission of a wired pressure switch remote as the lack of one was a deal breaker for me.

 

Australian Hunting Net 2013